- <18 Passengers, Maui’s only Semi-Private Tour
- 3 Certified Lifeguards onboard
- 5 Hour Tour
- Snorkel Instruction For Beginners
- Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks & Beverages
Maui’s Semi-Private family-style small boat venture to Lanai for snorkeling and dolphin watching. Less than 18 guests onboard makes this snorkel adventure the closest to a private charter experience you can get!
Adults (Ages 13+) $189
Kids (Ages 4-12) $169
Private Charters Available
Our Award Winning Lanai Tour is Maui’s only Semi-Private 5 hour ocean adventure on an adventure vessel! Snorkel 2-3 snorkel spots and stop to enjoy breakfast, lunch snacks and beverages. Our Lanai snorkel tours are for all levels snorkelers and offer beginner friendly snorkel instruction, 3 Certified Lifeguards onboard, flotation devices and a marine naturalist to learn about Lanai, marine animals, including dolphins and Hawaiian history.
Snorkel with tropical fish and look for sea turtles near Lanai. Other marine animal sightings may include octopus, rays, eels and more! Search for dolphins in their natural habit as we cruise Lanai’s coast and sea cliffs. We see dolphins on almost every trip (9/10). Our Lanai Snorkel tour includes whale watching in lieu of a snorkel stop from Dec-April during migration
Check-in at Dive Maui Shop, 1223 Front St, Lahaina. Parking at Longs at Lahaina Cannery Mall. Park and walk toward the ocean to Front Street. Make a left and walk over the bridge. The dive shop is on the right, next to Snorkel Bob’s blue building.
Gear up in clean and sanitized high quality snorkel gear included in the snorkel tour. Floatation devices including float belts and pool noodles for all level snorkelers. Short sleeve wetsuit tops available to rent at check-in for $20.
Our 3 Crew Certified Lifeguards and Marine Naturalist are onboard for a fun and safe snorkel experience, sharing educational information about Lanai, snorkeling and dolphins and will offer one-on-one snorkel instruction.
Breakfast: Sweet pastry with fresh fruit including watermelon and pineapple.
Lunch: Wraps - Chicken Caesar, Ham BLT, or Falafel/Veggie.
(GF wrap available upon request.)
Snacks: Maui style potato chips and cookies.
Beverages: Soda, diet soda, green tea and water. BYOB adult beverages ok, please no glass containers.
Bring towels, hat, sunglasses, reef safe sunscreen or a sun shirt! BYOB ok, just no glass containers. Waterproof bag for personal items. Camera or Gopro for photos and videos. Gratuity for crew (Venmo accepted)
Due to our style of vessel and activities, no children under 4 on tours, no pregnant or persons with back or neck injuries.
Please no spray sunscreen, rub on reef safe sunscreen is welcome!
At least 24 hour notice for cancellations and refunds. For parties of 5 or more, 72 hours notice is required. Private Charters require a 7 days notice of cancellation for full refund.
Tours may be canceled or rescheduled by Hawaii Ocean Rafting due to capacity or weather. Snorkeling Lanai is always our goal, but if ocean conditions do not permit channel crossing, Maui snorkel spots may substitute Lanai. Dolphins are wild animals. we do our best to find them but do not guarantee sightings.
Callen and Paul were fantastic. They both helped our private tour feel comfortable while rafting and snorkeling. The best part was that they scoped out private spots where we had reefs all to ourselves. Their knowledge and kindness helped me fall in love with snorkeling. Wish i could go back and spend more time with them. Highly recommend Hawaiian Ocean Rafting - local, small, superior knowledge.
Jill, Scott and Val were great guides and lots of fun. We went to two fantastic snorkeling spots and saw a huge pod of spinner dolphins up close. Highly recommended!
Such helpful guides, caring, knowledgeable about marine life and local history. Made all ages and ability levels feel comfortable and safe. We highly recommend this experience - it is worth every penny. We were able to swim with a sea turtle, boat alongside pods of spinner dolphins and watch many different species of fish in the awesome coral reef.
Small group snorkel tours create a family style experience by giving everyone the chance to get to know each other. We are family and locally owned and want everyone to have an Ohana experience with us.
You’re not going to get lost in the crowd on this tour. Instead everyone will know your name and our crew can give one-on-one snorkel instructions. Get all your questions about snorkeling, dolphins and Maui answered in this small group snorkel setting.
Smaller groups mean less impact on the environment. This setting also give’s our naturalist the opportunity to educate each guests. Experience authentic encounters with Maui’s marine life away from the crowds.
If it’s your first time snorkeling or you are looking for a new snorkel experience, going with a tour company can enhance your ocean adventure! check out these tips for best snorkel practices!
Having high quality snorkel gear that fits correctly can make or break your snorkel experience. You want a snorkel mask that fits snug but not too tight. Avoid full face snorkel masks as they do not allow for proper air circulation. The 2 piece mask and snorkel are the best and safest option. It’s important to use a snorkel mask defog to keep the mask from fogging while you are snorkeling. Snorkel stores sell defog, or a small drop of baby shampoo does the trick too!For snorkel fins, select a size close to your shoe size. You want them snug as they will loosen when you get in the water and begin snorkeling.Our snorkel tours include high quality snorkel gear and our crew will help you find the right fit. We even offer prescription goggles!
Before snorkeling, select a snorkel location that has clear, calm water. Contact the local snorkel store for snorkel reports or book a snorkel tour where guides take you to the best snorkel spots.
If in doubt, don’t go out. That’s what we say here in Hawaii when we are considering snorkeling and assessing the ocean’s conditions.
Avoid snorkeling after recent rainfall if the water is murky. If there are waves or signs indicating high surf or current, avoid snorkeling or getting in the ocean.
Lanai offers many snorkel locations that have crystal clear waters and healthy reef.
Always snorkel with a buddy. If gear fails or you feel ill, snorkeling with a buddy will ensure you make it back to shore safely.
Snorkeling on a guided tour is the best snorkel choice as a trained snorkel guide will teach you how and where to snorkel and ensure your gear is working correctly.
Booking a tour takes all the guesswork out and will help build confidence as a beginner snorkel- er. Once you feel comfortable snorkeling, rent snorkel gear and go snorkeling with a friend, using all the snorkel tips you learned on your snorkel tour.
Dolphins (Nai’a) are protected in Hawaii, which means no swimming or snorkeling with dolphins and we cannot approach them within regulated distance. This is why having a low to water rafting vessel is the best way to encounter dolphins as it provides close to water viewing when the dolphins decide to approach and the opportunity to dip your underwater camera in the water from the side of the boat, capturing epic video and photos of dolphins and other marine life.
Dolphins or Nai’a are considered ‘aumakua in our Hawaiian culture. ’Aumakua are spiritual guides and ancestral guardians that protect their ohana (family). There are some debates on dolphins being mentioned in Hawaiian history as they are not named specifically in traditional stories, myths or legends. The word nai‘a Some historians believe they were mentioned but under another name mano (shark). There are many stories of sharks and when thoroughly examined the description of the “shark” and it’s behavior implies that of a dolphin. One such example is the story of Mangaia and the goddess ‘Ina. Some have conclud- ed that the Hawaiian term mano was used interchangeably with sharks and dolphins in stories told.
Stories that do mention nai’a like No ka Lawai’a a me kāna Wahine, talked about dolphins having special powers, granting wishes and almost being human-like.
There are at least 8 dolphin species found in Maui near Lanai, but the three most common we see are spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and spotted dolphins.
Spinner dolphins are the smallest of the three species weighing in at 4-7 ft in length and 50-170 lbs. Known for their aerial acrobatics, spinner dolphins can travel in pods up to 300 animals, making them a very playful and social species. Because spinner dolphins are nocturnal feeders, recent legislation has come into law protecting them from human encounters, like swimming with dolphins, that may disrupt their sleeping, eating and reproduction. As the dolphin pod moves during the day, they are prac- ticing resting behaviors which is called “milling”. During their resting period, which can be approximately 4-5 hours from sunrise to late afternoon, spinner dolphins will rest half of their brain, while the other half remains active to control breathing and possibly monitor for predators. This is the time of day when mom and calf dolphins interact the most as well and seeing baby spinner dolphins will definitely melt your heart.
Bottlenose dolphins are the species you may be familiar with in film or television. Bottlenose dolphins are found all over the world in every tropical and temperate ocean, the only place you won’t find them are the Artic and Antartic Oceans. It’s estimat- ed a few thousand have made Hawaii their home, permanently residing in pods of two-fifteen animals. Because their pods are smaller, it is often harder to spot bottlenose dolphins compared with their sister species the spinner dolphins. Spinners are some of the larger dolphin species growing to lengths of 6-15 feet and adults weighing up to 1400 lbs.
Pantropical spotted dolphins are, well you probably guessed, spotted! Their darker spots can be seen on the lighter underside of their belly, not showing until they are around the age of 5 years. This species’ coloring and size does vary depending on where it resides. Some species outside of Hawaii can have almost no spots even into adulthood. Unlike bottlenose who reside more in shallow water, pantropical spotted dolphins are found in both shallow and deep water. Most spotted dolphins travel in pods averaging around 65 animals, but will sometimes travel alone or in mega pods up to 350 animals. Spinner dolphins aren’t the only species that jump, all dolphins can, and spotted dolphins can jump up to 15 feet out of the water.
Each dolphin is given a unique name (specific sound) by it’s pod.
Dolphins communicate using sounds that are whistles and high pitch squeaking.
Dolphins are mammals and give birth to their live young in the water and nurse them.
Like all toothed whales, bottlenose dolphins are predatory animals and feed on crabs, fish, octopus and other marine animals.
When not resting, dolphins are some of the fastest swimming marine mammals, sprinting up to 22 mph.
Dolphins can give birth to one young every year typically in spring or fall after reachign sexual maturity around the age of 7 years old. The average lifespan is around 20 years, but dolphins have been know to live up to 50 years.
Our morning snorkel tours take snorkelers to Maui’s nearby neighbor island, Lanai. Lanai offers the best snorkeling, and compared with Molokini, snorkel locations are less crowded and have more marine life. Lanai is more remote and its snorkel locations are easiest to access from Lahaina on smaller, faster boats.
We also have a chance to spot some of our favorite sea animals, dolphins. Dolphins frequent the channel between Maui and Lanai and we see them about 9/10 trips.
Lanai has more than a dozen snorkel spots around the island, most of our favorite snorkel spots are located along the east and south shores of the island.
Ocean conditions and weather determine which locations we can snorkel on any given day, but with many snorkel locations to choose from and lots of marine life, Lanai offers some of the best snorkeling in Maui.
Lanai snorkel tours are for all level snorkelers and every snorkel spot is selected to be beginner friendly and fun for all levels of snorkelers. Our experienced captains select snorkel locations with the mildest current along Lanai’s shallow coast line with marine life including tropical fish, turtles and on occasion octopus, rays and other sea creatures. Between snorkel stops, we frequently encounter dolphins as their pods travel around Lanai and across the channel back to Maui.
Club Lanai Snorkel Spot
The closest snorkel stop is 8 miles directly across the channel from Lahaina. This spot is called Club, named for the busy club house that previously welcomed tourists at that beach. Club can often have crystal clear water, turtles, tropical fish and small reef sharks, making it one of our favorite snorkel stops.
Shark Fin Snorkel Spot
Shark Fin is a fan favorite snorkel stop thanks to its unique pinnacle reefs and variety of tropical fish. Named for the coral reef that jets out of the water in a shark fin shape, this snorkel stop is most commonly snorkeled on our 6HR snorkel tour. Shark fin is home to pyramid butterfly fish, parrot fish, octopus, tangs and many more schools of fish that you will snorkel with.
Manele Bay Snorkel Spot
Manele Bay is tucked away in a secluded bay overlooked by the Four Seasons Resort Lanai. This snorkel spot is popular for visitors staying on the island of Lanai as it’s an easy access from the sandy beach. When weather is less cooperative on the rest of the island, Lanai’s public small boat harbor makes for snorkeling in calmer winds and seas. See tropical fish and turtles at this popular snorkel spot.
Sweetheart Rock Snorkel Spot
Sweetheart Rock is as beautiful above water as it is below. With its unique rock formation, Puu Pehe, towering at 80 feet tall and legend of the tragic romance of Maui and Lanai lovers, this popular snorkel spot has lots to love. Tropical fish and sea turtles can be spotted here and Lanai’s resident spinners frequently pass by this snorkel stop.
There are many more Lanai snorkel spots that are remote and teeming with marine life like Fish Rock, Armchair, Lopa, Dinosaur, Budha Bay, Lighthouse and Barge Harbor, to name a few.
Lana’i was formed by one large extinct volcano, Lanaihale, and is one of the smallest inhabited islands (with approx 3,200 residents), in Hawaii, almost completely privately owned by Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle. Lana’i was once home to the Dole Pineapple plantation, but is now known best for its pristine, remote snorkeling spots, exclusive resort and local community. Because the island of Lana’i has little coastal development or tourism, the reefs are better protected and are home to unique reef fish, turtles and multiple pods of a variety of dolphin species.
At their highest point, Lanai’s sea cliffs reach 300 meters (almost 1000 feet). While geologists still debate the event that led to these massive rock slides and sea cliff formations, there is no debate on the breathtaking view of these sea cliffs.
Lanai also holds many legends, one in particular about its inhabitants. Early inhabitants of Hawaii avoided Lanai because of its volcanic activity. One particular legend tells the story of Lanai as an evil land, where visiting it was forbidden. The legend says Maui’s chief sent his son, Prince Kaulalau, to drive away the evil spirits. Some stories say he was banished there, either way, he succeeded in his mission, exorcising the island, gaining control of Lanai and encouraging the native people from nearby islands to move to this newly inhabitable island.
It wasn’t until the 1790’s that Lanai became a part of the Hawaiian Kingdom under King Kamehameha. This wasn’t without resistance and blood shed. Lanai became primarily ranch land for sheep and cattle until it was purchased by the Dole family for $1.1 million dollars and became home to the Dole Pineapple Plantation in 1922, producing an estimated 75% of the world’s pineapple. High labor and land cost pushed Dole to phase out pineapple farming on Lanai over 150 years later in 1992, and later selling to Larry Ellison in 2012 for $300 million.
Today the island of Lanai has one small town, Lanai City, with a few places to dine, two hotels and not one traffic light to be found. A cultural center, cat sanctuary and some historic landmarks are a few things to see on the island, but the best part of visiting Lanai is along its coast, viewed from the water or while snorkeling its pristine reef.