When planning a snorkeling trip in Hawaii, you’ll have two amazing options: Lanai Island and Molokini Crater. Both have fantastic views and diverse sea life, but each has its own special features. Let’s compare the two in a Lanai vs Molokini snorkeling breakdown.

Lanai Vs Molokini Snorkeling Compare


Lanai Island vs. Molokini Crater Snorkeling



Lanai Island offers a variety of secluded coves and bays for snorkeling, and it’s sheltered from strong winds and currents. You’ll see incredible underwater visibility and a variety of tropical fish and vibrant coral beds. You may also spot dolphins or green turtles.

Lanai Vs Molokini Snorkeling Dolphins

Here are five must-see snorkel spots:

  • Hulopoʻe Bay: located in south-central Lanai, this bay offers an abundance of fish and coral for both novice and experienced snorkelers.
  • Manele Small Boat Harbor: this historic harbor has unique rock formations and a variety of colorful sea life, including octopus, lobster, and moray eels.
  • Kaiolohia Beach (Shipwreck Beach): this site has an old shipwreck and other sea creatures.
  • Puʻu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock): this iconic landmark has great opportunities to spot manta rays.
  • Shark Fin Reef: a popular spot for experienced divers and snorkelers, with a chance to see reef sharks or eagle rays.



Molokini Crater is ideal for first-time snorkelers or kids, with shallow waters and a protected location. The crater has clear turquoise waters and a variety of sea life, including schooling fish, pufferfish, moray eels, and octopuses.

Lanai Vs Molokini Snorkeling Crater

Here are eight must-see snorkel spots:

  • Tako Flats: a sand channel with coral heads, perfect for spotting octopus and manta rays.
  • Middle Reef: home to many types of tropical Hawaiian fish and protected with a garden-like hard coral experience.
  • Reef’s End: the crater continues beyond the rim for about 200 yards, but with strong currents.
  • Shark Condos: harmless reef sharks in cascading caves, 130 feet deep.
  • Enenue: a gentle slope for 60 feet, offering views of green sea turtle mating grounds.
  • Flying Sea Cliffs: scuba divers love exploring the hanging shelves at 50 feet before dropping 80 feet along the wall.
  • Back Side: for experienced divers, with strong currents and incredible views.
  • Edge of the World: a remarkable depth of 250 feet with exotic ocean life in constant shadow.



For the best snorkeling experience at Lanai Island, consider Maui Adventure Cruises. They have larger hulls than most rafts, giving them more stability and safety, and they offer cruises to both Lanai Island as well as whale watches (in season). Book your trip today by calling (808) 661-5550.


Maui Adventure Cruises
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