Southwest of Lihue and south of Koloa on Kauai, the snorkeling at Koloa Landing is known for its rocky seafloor. Since there is no beach here, the best snorkeling access for Koloa Landing directly off the old, slippery boat ramp. You'll want to explore the snorkeling over the coraless rocks along the right or left sides of the small horseshoe bay, and stay away from the traffic to the ramp. Keep in mind that the visibility is usually poor due to murky waters and is even worse after recent rain. At best, you can expect the water clarity to offer 10-20 feet of visibility. The Koloa Landing in the Hanakaape Bay is very popular with beginner scuba divers.
While snorkeling off Koloa Landing, you may encounter green sea turtles, convict tangs, moray eels, goatfish, triggerfish and trumpetfish. From May through September, the surf off Koloa Landing is affected by seasonal southerly swells that kickup the large waves and generate strong currents so make sure to exercise caution.
To reach the snorkeling in Kauai by air, fly into the Lihue airport (LIH). There are direct flights from Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu. While most visitors to the island rent a car, it is possible to use the public bus but keep in mind that its small and slow. Plus, most of the main snorkeling beaches are well off the bus route requiring some hiking. If you do rent a car, make sure to leave the inside empty when at the beach to avoid attracting break-ins.
To reach the Koloa Landing snorkeling from Koloa, head south on Poipu Road. Turn right on Lawai Road towards Spouting Horn. Quickly turn left on Ho'onani Road, and then immediately look for a dirt road on the right leading steeply down to the landing for Hanakaape Bay. There are roughly twelve parking spaces.
Before snorkeling at Koloa Landing, make sure to check the current surf report. The waters off Kauai are known for potentially strong currents, high surf and rogue waves. Luckily, there are excellent up-to-date surf reports that can provide guidance on these adverse conditions. WIth the usually rolling surf, it is strongly discouraged to use open-tube snorkels which are common at snorkel rental locations -- only use snorkels with a dry-top splash-guard and a sump purge-valve in the mouth piece. In addition to changing surf conditions, a Koloa Landing snorkeling dive may expose you to sharp coral reefs and you may encounter sharks, such as whitetip reef sharks, galapagos sharks and tiger sharks. Most snorkeling shark attacks in Hawaiian waters tend to occur near spear-fishing snorkelers, so be aware of the activities of others in the water.
Overall, Koloa Landing is the 9th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 23 snorkeling dives in Kauai.