Discover the Best Snorkeling Beach in Maui to Swim with Turtles

Makena Surf Beach

Aloha Maui travelers!  E Komo Mai (welcome!) to LETSGOTRAVELMAUI!  

Welcome back to our BEST BEACHES IN MAUI series.

Maui, without a doubt, has the best beaches, with the most abundant mix of sea creatures you'll see while snorkeling!   Today we show you where the best Snorkeling is on Maui to swim with turtles.   It's always fun to swim with the Green Sea Turtles (Honu), get some selfies, while always remembering to respect their space (keep your distance) and underwater ecosystem.  You'll see why we picked Makena Surf Beach as our favorite beach for swimming with the turtles.  If you haven't checked out the video, take a few minutes to watch it (Be sure to Like and Subscribe so you stay connected to Maui!) 

Best Beach to Snorkel with  Turtles 

Turtles everywhere!  If you watched the video you can see why this is one of the best snorkeling spots in all of Maui.   Makena Surf, also called Paipu Beach, Love Beach, Keauhou Beach, and there are a few others but regardless of the name, this beach is one of our favorites, not only because of the variety of marine life and healthy coral, but the beach itself is great because it's nearly 1/2 mile long with a very gentle slope which makes it great for swimming, snorkeling, strolling on the beach, and sunbathing.   Some of the best coral, marine life, and underwater adventures can be found on the south end of the beach.

Makena Surf Map

Makena Surf Beach (aka - Love Beach, Paipu Beach, Keauhou Beach)

Makena Surf Beach (locals just call it Makena Surf) is located in South Maui.  Once you get to Wailea, at the end of the Piilina Highway (31), you will turn and travel down the hill to the stoplight.  There you will see The Shops at Wailea (a great outdoor mall with retail shops and restaurants).  Turn left onto Wailea Alanui (you can only turn left or right).  Travel about 2 miles to the Makena Surf Condominiums and you will see the driveway, on the right, for public parking. We recommend parking next to the Makena Surf Condos because it is much closer to the south end of the beach.  

Makena Surf Condo map  snorkel with turtles

Parking and Pedestrian Access

It's easy to miss the turn off into the public parking lot  so watch the video before you venture out.  Get there early as there are only 9 parking spots available.  The other main parking area (dirt lot with big pot holes - (c'mon County of Maui let's get this lot maintained) is about a 1/2 mile before you turn off for Makena Surf Condos.  As you can see in the photo it's an easy walk from the parking lot down to the beach.  It may seem strange as you feel like you are walking through the Makena Surf Condos...and you are!  The public pedestrian access traverses the property of the Makena Surf Condos.

Hawaiian Heiau

Bonus:  As you walk down the pedestrain path to the beach be sure to notice the sign, on the right, that says, "HISTORICAL HAWAIIAN LANDMARK". This is the spot of an ancient Hawaiian fishing village. This is a Hawaiian piece of history known as a Heiau. Hawaiian culture and history is extremely important to Hawaii’s locals so please respect this ground and marvel at it from the sidewalk.

Beach Safety and Responsibility

Okay, we know you are itching to get in the water and start snorkeling.  Just a few things to remember.  Even though this beach is more calm and gentle, the ocean can be loving and gentle, but it can also be very unforgiving if you are not mindful. In the Winter, the swell can make it great fun for boogie boarding. Never let your guard down or become complacent or turn your back on the ocean.   This beach does not have any lifeguards so take your time getting set up on the beach and take a few extra minutes to access the water conditions.  "When in doubt, don't go out!"  If the water is murky and choppy it's unlikely you will have fun snorkeling anway.  The best conditions for snorkeling are generally early morning, when the sun is coming up, and the water is flat and calm. Summer time is usually calm.  


Please use reef safe sunscreens.  Letsgotravelmaui recommends zinc or titanium as these are natural minerals that are safe for the living coral.  You can also wear a rash guard or tee shirt to protect the Hawaiian reefs when you snorkel.

Snorkeling with tons of turtles!

You can snorkel at either the south end or north end of Makena Surf.  We recommend the south end because the area is less exposed to tourists.  Probably because this area is right in front of Makena Surf Condos and at the far end of the general public parking (about 1/4 mile away).  Letsgotravelmaui gives the Maui travelers the inside scoop on where to park to gain access to the south end of the beach...’A’ ole palikir, Pronounced ah-oh-leh pee-lee-kee-yah (you are welcome)!  

Now go have fun and be prepared to see a ton of turtles. Here is a snorkeling recommendation that may provide some value and insight when you are kicking around with your fins.  Snorkel out to an undewater reef (usually that is just below the water surface) that is prominent and flourishing with coral and fish.  Just hang out observing all the sea won't be long before you see several turtles swimming by or cruising on their way to the surface for a  gasp of air . Take the GoPro and have it on video mode the entire time.  You never know what you might see...maybe an eagle ray, eel, never know so be prepared!  

Turtles at Makena Surf


aloha brah

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Mahalo nui loa (Thank you!) from your ohana at LETSGOTRAVELMAUI

Healthy reccomendation...Finish your snorkeling adventure with a 16oz elixir from 808elixirsmaui...your body will thank you...mention letsgotravelmaui

If you found this article  entertaining and informative and/or inspiring,  be sure to subscribe  and stay informed about how to make your travels to Maui Nō Ka 'Oi (the BEST) !  

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