Kawakiu Beach Snorkeling

The MOST popular snorkel dive spot in Molokai.

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On the western shore of Molokai, the Kawakiu Beach is known for is small cove with good snorkeling. Since it is unprotected from surf by a reef, this is not a family-friend snorkel spot.

To reach the snorkeling at Kawakiu Beach from Kaunakakai, head west on Highway 460 past the airport turnoff towards Maunaloa. Turn right heading north on Kalua Koi Road. Turn right heading north on paved Kakaako Road for 0.5 miles where the road continues but turns into an extremely rough, rutted 4WD road that is not for the faint of heart. There are several side 4WD dirt roads but follow the main road north to the Kawakiu Beach (a GPS would be helpful).

While Molokai does have several good shore-accessed snorkeling spots, the best Molokai snorkeling is found off-shore along the 25 mile fringing reef. This coral reef crests about a half-mile off the southern and eastern coastline; the northwest wavefronts are too powerful for fringing reefs along the northern and western coastline. There are extremely healthy corals and excellent water clarity just outside the crest. The reef consists of green lobe coral, antler coral, cauliflower coral, finger coral and blue rice coral. From the Kaunakakai Harbor on the south coast, there is a snorkel boat tour that regularly heads out to one of 25+ dive sites on the fringing reef, usually in the morning when the winds are calms. It is a 20-35 minute boat ride out to the snorkel spots where the mooring is in 8-12 foot deep water. The water clarity ranges from 50 to 150 feet and the water temperature ranges from 70 to 80 degrees. The best time of year is from May through September. During Molokai snorkeling, you may encounter spinner dolphins, green sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, octopus, butterflyfish, parrotfish, wrasse, surgeonfish, triggerfish and the occasional monk seal.

To reach the snorkeling on Molokai, you’ll need to arrive on island by an interisland flight from Oahu provided by Hawaiian Airlines. There are several flights per day. While there used to be a ferry boat service from Lanai and Maui, it was discontinued in October 2016. It is best to rent a car to explore the various snorkeling spots, but keep in mind there is only one national rental car agency at the airport and one locally run rental car company. 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.

Overall, Kawakiu Beach is the 1st most popular snorkel dive spot of all 11 snorkeling dives in Molokai.


Local Contact(s):  Moloka'I Visitors (808) 553-3876; Molokai Fish And Dive, Kaunakakai (808) 553-5926.

Recommended Book:  "Snorkel Molokai" from Judy Malinowski

Recommended Map:  "Molokai Dive Map" from Franko Maps

Best Season:  May - Sep

Average Difficulty:  Moderate

Base Camp:  Dunbar Beachfront Cottages; Hotel Molokai

Luxury Loding:  None

Breakfast Restaurant:  Kanemitsu's Bakery; Kualapu'u Cookhouse

Reference Source:  click here http://visitmolokai.com/

Article Source:   Best Kawakiu Beach Snorkeling Review https://www.snorkelingdives.com/?id=23016

GPS:  21.203268, -157.247915

Date Published:  12/24/2011

Date Updated:  4/30/2018

ID:  23016

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Kawakiu Beach Snorkeling Map


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