South of Kihei and Makena in the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, the snorkeling at Kanahena Cove is popular with beginners. Since it is a protected marine life reserve, there are tons of fish amongst the lava rock and coral. Also known as Waiala Cove or Ahihi Cove, the best water clarity can be found in the morning before the wind kicks up. The water depth starts ab...
South of Kihei and Makena in the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, the snorkeling at Kanahena Cove is popular with beginners. Since it is a protected marine life reserve, there are tons of fish amongst the lava rock and coral. Also known as Waiala Cove or Ahihi Cove, the best water clarity can be found in the morning before the wind kicks up. The water depth starts about knee deep and goes to 10 feet deep. The best snorkeling at Kanahena Cove is along the right-northern edge of the cove out to the point.
For experienced snorkelers, try heading out of the protected bay for deeper water and some exceptional snorkeling.
The snorkeling at Ahihi Kinau is best in the morning before the winds kick up. There is good snorkeling to the right out to the point with the house on it. You can expect to see moorish idols, tangs, wrasse, perch, humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Hawaiian state fish aka rectangular triggerfish), triggerfish, parrotfish, damselfish, goat fish and sea turtles. You'll definitely want to arrive very early for calm conditions and to avoid the crowds since there are over 900 average snorkelers here daily!
To reach Kanahena Cove snorkeling from Wailea-Makena, head south from Wailea along the coast and watch for signs to the reserve. At the cove, there are a couple roadside parking areas. There is also public parking lots prior to the cove and just past the cove. It is about a 45 minute drive from the Kahului Airport.
To reach the snorkeling on Maui by air, you will need to fly into Kahului Airport (OGG) which is located in the middle of the north coast of Maui. It is served by direct flights from the mainland US and also by inter-island flights from several other Hawaiian Islands by regional carriers. When planning a trip to the Hawaiian islands, be aware that the State Of Hawaii has banned all sunscreens that oxybenzone, which has been proven to kill coral reefs.
Note: When snorkeling in the ‘Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, keep in mind that there are seasons where the reef sharks come near shore to birth their pups. This event tends to attract numerous tiger sharks to the area. For example, in 2018, this marine reserve was closed for several weeks during the month of April. It is recommended to call the reserve before heading out.
Overall, Kanahena Cove is the 14th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 21 snorkeling dives in Maui. Several of the better snorkeling spots are nearby Kanahena Cove including Molokini Crater, La Perouse Bay, Maluaka Beach Park, Five Caves, Keawanaku Beach and Makena Landing Park.
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