Molokini Crater: All Things That You Should Know About This Hawaiian Treasure?

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Molokini crater is a geological marvel located off the coast of Maui, Hawaii. This crescent-shaped volcanic crater rises 150 feet above the surface of the water and is almost three-quarters of a mile in diameter. The interior of the crater is a protected marine reserve, making it one of the most popular snorkeling destinations in the world. Molokini crater is also an excellent place to see dolphins, whales, and other marine life.

If you’re looking for more information on the Molokini crater, look no further! We’ve got everything you need to know about this fascinating natural landmark.

About Molokini Crater

Molokini Crater history

Molokini was a target practice area during World War II. The impact craters, shrapnel, and bullets left behind by bombing and strafing can still be seen today along Molokini’s slopes. Roosting and breeding birds are thought to have avoided Molokini during the War as a result of target practice and strafing operations.

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One of just three volcanic calderas in the entire world, Molokini

It is the only island marine sanctuary in Hawaii, and it is only a few miles offshore from Maui. According to scientists, Molokini Crater originated roughly 150 000 years ago.

With half of its surface concealed under the ocean, Molokini rises from 300 feet below the ocean’s surface, is only a little more than half a mile wide, and peaks at around 160 feet above sea level. The amazing undersea marine life draws divers and snorkelers from all over the world.

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Marine life

The magnificent underwater Marine Sanctuary at Molokini is located within the protected confines of the crater. A thriving coral reef may be found underwater at Molokini, where hundreds of fish and other marine life coexist. The shallow reef at Molokini is full of a wide range of vibrant and intriguing fish and marine life. At Molokini Crater, you’ll have a unique chance to watch the marine life up close.

You won’t soon forget your snorkeling experience on the island of Molokai! Because of its crystal-clear protected waters, Molokini is the best place to snorkel on Maui, and snorkeling there is a unique and safe experience for the entire family. Molokini snorkeling is excellent due to the area’s shallow, quiet seas, variety of marine life, and stunning coral reefs.

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Photo by frankallanhansen

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Nature conservation

In 1977, a Marine Life Conservation District was established on Molokini Island. Since then, the State of Hawaii has partnered with the University of Hawaii to monitor the water quality and coral covering at Molokini due to growing concerns and interest in the health of Hawaii’s Reefs. Commercial vessels, such as the Pride of Maui, collaborate to save Molokini by leaving nothing in its seas.

Instead of laying their anchors on the reef, passenger ships are moored. Fish and other marine wildlife are not harassed or fed. We’re all stewards, from tourists to those of us who earn a career by introducing people to Molokini’s breathtaking beauty, and our protective actions are essential to the island’s continued viability.

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Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor

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Wildlife here

The steep slopes of Molokini are overrun with seabirds. Bulwer’s Petrels and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters are the two main species of breeding birds. In the cliffs, almost a thousand pairs of birds breed. Most of them are shearwaters, which spend the day at sea feeding and come back to their nests and offspring at night.

Brown Boobies and big Frigate birds with wingspans up to 7 feet wide also roost in Molokini. With their superior flying abilities, frigate birds annoy other seabirds until they lose their food, which the frigate bird then picks up in midair. They were known as Iwa birds by the Hawaiians, which is Hawaiian for thieves.

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Photo by c_yat

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How deep is the water at Molokini Crater?

The depth when snorkeling at Molokini Crater ranges from 20 to 50 feet, depending on the exact location. A reef with up to 150 feet of visibility is located in Molokini Crater (on the backside and outside of the crescent). Due to this, experienced divers are very drawn to Molokini.

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Is Molokini an active volcano?

The southern wall of an extinct volcanic crater is represented by the Molokini islet. The crater’s submerged floor can be found in the small inner cove. It is one of the seven Pleistocene period volcanoes that contributed to the formation of the ancient Maui Nui island during the Quaternary Period of the Cenozoic Era.

One thing you must know is that the southern wall of an extinct volcanic crater is represented by the Molokini islet. The crater’s submerged floor can be found in the small inner cove. It is one of the seven Pleistocene period volcanoes that contributed to the formation of the ancient Maui Nui island during the Quaternary Period of the Cenozoic Era.

And one thing you need to know is that the trip to Maui’s Molokini Crater was unquestionably the highlight. What you need to know about snorkeling before you travel is listed below.

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Molokini Crater Snorkeling Guide

Why Snorkeling at Molokini is different?

Molokini Crater‘s seclusion makes for a distinctive snorkeling experience in Maui. The uniqueness of Molokini snorkeling is due to several important factors. The water surrounding Molokini is of outstanding grade and offers unparalleled clarity. Excellent visibility is consistently present, frequently exceeding 150 feet. Having no soil to wash into the water, Molokini is made entirely of rock.

The water is remarkably pure and devoid of sediment, allowing good sunshine penetration. The algae that live inside the coral are fed by this heightened sunlight. Food is carried by offshore currents, which also flush away any silt that may be present.

The result is a coral reef that is exceptionally healthy and offers the best snorkeling on Maui. This reef, which is in the center of Molokini, is shielded from waves and surges. Snorkeling at Molokini Crater takes about 45 minutes.

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Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor

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What to bring for snorkeling at Molokini Crater?

  • Calming ginger ale and some anti-nausea medicine: If you do decide to leave Maalaea, remember to pack some calming ginger ale and some anti-nausea medicine. Many ships boast that they have their own unique anti-seasickness juice recipe.
  • You should bring reef-safe sunscreen and a rashguard shirt with you. Typically, you can rent wetsuits and underwater cameras.
  • Swimsuit: Before you leave, put on your swimsuit. Although there are restrooms on board, they aren’t intended to be changing rooms. Bring a spare outfit to change into once you get back to dry ground and are waiting for a hot lunch at the cafe. Arrive with your swimsuit on underneath your clothes.
  • Towel: You must provide your towel. You’ll typically need to bring your towel on boats. One for the boat and one to sit on when you get back to your car are the two items we advise taking. You can borrow beach towels from the majority of hotels or purchase one at any of the convenience stores.
  • Slip-on shoes: Bring slip-on shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and that you can quickly slip on and off, like a pair of flip-flops.
  • Single bag: Bring everything you need in a single bag that is convenient to carry, such as a backpack or a hardy tote. Put your valuables, including your phone, in a waterproof bag and fasten them inside your main bag.

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Price and Tips of Molokini Crater snorkeling tour

A Molokini Crater snorkeling excursion might cost as little as $100 per person or as much as $200 per person, plus taxes and tips.

Tipping is encouraged and often ranges from $5 to $10 per person for each staff member following the tour.

Some Molokini Crater snorkel tours that we could recommend: Calypso Deluxe Molokini & Turtle Snorkel, Malolo Molokini & Turtle Town Snorkeling, Aqua Adventures Molokini Snorkel & Snuba Adventure, Seafire Molokini & Turtle Snorkeling Adventure,…

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Photo courtesy of Turtle Snorkeling

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How do you snorkel at Molokini Crater and warning?

A boat tour is the only way to take advantage of a snorkeling experience in Molokini. A family-friendly catamaran or a thrilling fast-paced zodiac raft are your options. While some trips include a BBQ meal, others include a deli lunch. Each excursion includes a continental breakfast as well as flotation devices and snorkeling equipment.

Molokini Crater is a popular spot for snorkeling in Maui, but it’s important to be aware of the dangers when you’re in the water. The crater is home to a number of coral reefs, and while they’re beautiful to look at, they can be dangerous if you’re not careful. There are also a number of rocks in the area, so it’s important to stay alert and avoid them. And finally, the current can be strong in the crater, so be sure to stay close to shore. With those warnings in mind, enjoy your time snorkeling at Molokini Crater!

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Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor

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What to know before taking a boat to Molokini Crater?

How long is the boat ride to Molokini Crater?

Nobody enjoys waking up early in the day. But if you want to go snorkeling in Molokini, you need to get up early because that’s when the water is the calmest and purest. The ocean is rough and visibility is poor by late morning. Pick the earlier departure time if you can select between a 6 a.m. and a 10 a.m. departure. Additionally, keep in mind that visibility will be very constrained if you see a heavily reduced afternoon trip.

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Get breakfast and booze on the boat

Speaking of early mornings, the majority of boat cruises brag that they provide a free breakfast. Store-bought pastries, fruit, yogurt, coffee, and pineapple-orange-guava juice typically make up this. Additionally, some trips provide breakfast sandwiches or quiche. Although decent, the food is not particularly exciting. The post-snorkel BBQ and alcohol for the longer tours are comparable.

The quality and variety vary from tour to tour, so I believe the best approach is to have low expectations and hope that they are exceeded. However, since snorkeling makes you hungry, a hearty post-adventure breakfast at a coastal cafe is a wise idea.

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The way will save more time

Although Maalaea is the departure point for the majority of Molokini Crater snorkeling tours, you have other options as well. Makena is the community that is closest to the Molokini Crater; depart from there with Kai Kanani. It follows that you will have the quickest boat voyage and will (typically) arrive first, arriving at least 30 minutes before everyone else.

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The larger boat offers more activities

The best boat for traveling to Molokini Crater for an amazing snorkeling excursion with friends and family is a double-decker luxury adventure catamaran.

Enjoy the views from the internal cabin’s shaded seating area, or climb to the upper deck for some sunshine, fresh air, and a great vantage point for observing Maui’s profusion of marine life.

Guests will have a fantastic snorkeling experience at both Molokini Crater and another spot at the captain’s option with aboard Marine Naturalists. Floatation devices, luxury snorkeling gear and training, a continental breakfast, a BBQ lunch, and unlimited non-alcoholic beverages are all included on all tours. A+ quality and service!

  • Kai Kanani

Kai Kanani gets exclusive shore entry at Makena’s Maluaka Beach with the closest departure to Molokini Crater. Take one of Maui, Hawaii’s most stunning sailing catamarans for a speedier route. Due to its roomy deck and cabin space, the Kai Kanani is never crowded.

Enjoy deli lunch, beverages, beers on tap, and cocktails in addition to the continental breakfast. You will receive top-notch snorkeling equipment, flotation devices, and snorkeling instruction. As you get to Molokini Crater faster than any other vessel, marine naturalists will lead the way through the waters for you!

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Can you go to Molokini Crater without a tour?

There is no simple answer to this question as it depends on what you are looking for in a Molokini Crater experience. If you are looking for convenience and want someone else to take care of all the details, then a tour is definitely the way to go. However, if you are looking for more flexibility and want to have more control over your experience, then you can definitely visit Molokini Crater without a tour. Just be sure to plan and do your research so that you know what to expect and how to get there.

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Are there sharks in Molokini Crater?

Yes, to answer briefly. They are oceanic creatures. The white-tipped reef shark is one of the shark species that can be found more frequently at Molokini Crater. The white point on the dorsal fin gives this shark its name. Its typical length is 4.5 feet. During the day, the white-tip shark is calm and can be seen cruising around the reef’s bottom.

Can you walk to Molokini?

It’s a little difficult to comprehend that we get this inquiry. It is an island. Unless you have the ability to transform water into wine and a cool beard, reserve a boat trip.

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Can you swim to Molokini Crater?

Molokini Crater cannot be reached by swimming. On Maui, there are a few key locations from which boats leave. The most convenient harbor is Maalaea Harbor, which is close to Molokini.

Can you anchor at Molokini?

Anchoring is not allowed. One of the state-provided moorings must be picked up by every boat. Someone will need to dive down to recover the pennant because the mooring floats are 3 meters below the water’s surface.

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Can you climb Molokini Crater?

In addition to the incredible aquatic life, Molokini Crater is a wonderful experience. You’ll want to climb on it, but resist the urge. A small, deserted islet formed by a partially submerged volcanic crater called Molokini is off-limits to the general public.


Molokini Crater is a popular tourist destination for good reason. With crystal clear water, abundant marine life, and stunning views, it’s easy to see why this spot is so special. If you’re planning on visiting Molokini Crater soon, make sure to read up on useful information first!

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