What is the difference between Lanai vs Molokini snorkeling? While these two snorkel spots are arguably the most popular destinations when it comes to visitors looking for a unique snorkeling adventure during their travels to Maui, their accessibility, geography and marine life are very different.
Where Can You Snorkel in Lanai?
Lanai is the sixth largest Hawaiian island and is located within the chain of islands making up Maui County.
This 140+ square foot island can be seen from different vantage points along the south and west sides of Maui Isle. It is not only known for having been a huge pinnacle of agriculture due to Hawaiian Pineapple Company and later Dole relying on the landscape for their pineapple production.
The island's agricultural land, which made up 98% of the total island, was privately sold in 2012 after it began transitioning from an agriculture to a tourism related economy. The Four Seasons Lanai Resort was remodeled and became an elite vacation destination for travelers visiting Hawaii.
While there isn't much to see on the island itself aside from the resort and beach, the underwater world surrounding Lanai offers an exceptional snorkeling experience. There are more than a dozen snorkel locations teeming with life due to the lack of coastal development. The reef is very much alive and home to tropical fish, turtles, reef sharks, rays, octopus and more. Many resident pods of dolphins frequent the island and can be seen on snorkel tours.
During the months of whale migration you may even and see a whale or two breaching out of the water on your journey over to Lanai!
Where Can You Snorkel in Molokini?
Molokini is an uninhabited crater (unless you count the sea life that thrives in the reefs straight off the craters coast or the swarms of birds that use its rocky surface as a pitstop on their journey).
Many snorkeling tours venture to Molokini to see its unique geographical structure, and some marine life. While this may be one of the most common and therefore easily accessible snorkeling ventures that visitors to Maui can go on— it makes it a very busy snorkeling spot, sometimes with more than 1000 people snorkeling at once inside the small crater.
Over the years the marine life encounters have declined due to the visitor impact on Molokini as it is easily accessible from the south shores of Maui and gets a lot of publicity. If you choose to snorkel Molokini find a snorkel tour that goes at a unique time or snorkels the backside of the crater to avoid the crowds. Opt for scuba or snuba to enhance the experience. You'll definitely encounter clear blue water and tropical fish at this destination.
Should I Choose Lanai or Molokini For My Snorkeling Adventure?
That is really up to you! Both Lanai and Molokini (as you have learned) are very popular snorkel spot for their own reasons.
If you are looking to add adventure up your Maui vacation make sure that you book a snorkeling tour at one of these amazing spots! However, if you think cruising on a boat in the open waters touring around the islands of Maui and Lanai, don’t hesitate to book your whale watching tour! One of the most popular things to do in Maui is seeing the humpback whales that migrate here during the fall months to have their young— they give quite a show!