ALOHA!

 

The Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve is considered to be one of the best snorkeling spots on Maui. This is located in South Maui.

 

Where to go for best snorkeling spots in South Maui: Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. cove, bay, beach. best maui snorkeling beaches. maui hawaii travel blog

 

So there are 2 main areas to snorkel at the bay of Ahihi Kinau that are considered safe ocean entry spots (officially recommended by the state of Hawaii), and they are located in kind of separate areas. (But still pretty close to one another.)

 

This snorkeling area can include spots by any of these names:

  • Ahihi Kinau
  • Ahihi Bay
  • Ahihi Cove
  • Kanahena Beach
  • Kanahena Bay
  • Kanahena Cove
  • Maonakala
  • The dumps

 

This may sound confusing, but once you’re there, it’s really not all that confusing to find a snorkeling spot! Despite all these names, they pretty much cover 2 snorkeling entry spots. 

Once you arrive in the main parking lot area, you can have a look at the signs (with map) to direct you to the best snorkeling spots within the Ahihi Kinau Reserve. Just know that you can refer to the map once you’re there to figure it out with ease without having to remember! Just get yourself to the main Ahihi Kinau parking lot!

 

Where to go for best snorkeling spots in South Maui: Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve parking lot. maui hawaii travel blog

Where to go for best snorkeling spots in South Maui: map of Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. cove, bay, beach, trail. maui hawaii travel blog

Where to go for best snorkeling spots in South Maui: map of Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. cove, bay, beach, trail. maui hawaii travel blog

See another map.

 

 

Snorkeling entry points at Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve

 

1. Cove right off the side of the road

Commonly referred to as Ahihi Cove

Best snorkeling spots in South Maui: Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve, Ahihi Cove, Bay, Beach, the dumps. maui hawaii travel blog

Best snorkeling spots in South Maui: Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve, Ahihi Cove, Bay, Beach, the dumps. maui hawaii travel blog

 

 

2. Cove you get to by taking a trail behind the parking lot

Commonly referred to as “the dumps” on Maui… also could be Maonakala or Kanahena

Best snorkeling spots in South Maui: Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve, Kanahena Cove, Bay, Beach, the dumps. maui hawaii travel blog

Best snorkeling spots in South Maui: Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve, Kanahena Cove, Bay, Beach, the dumps. maui hawaii travel blog

 

 

Location of South Maui’s natural reserve

Ahihi Bay is located in South Maui, and it’s a pretty easy drive to get to this part of Maui.

Once you get further south closer to Ahihi Bay, it’s a scenic drive, too!

 

Driving to best snorkeling spots in South Maui: Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve, Ahihi Cove, Bay, Beach, the dumps. maui hawaii travel blog

 

If you’re staying in South Maui’s main resort area of Wailea, it’ll be about a 15 minute drive. If you’re staying in West Maui’s main resort area of Kaanapali, then it’ll be about an hour drive. 

 

 

Rocky beaches

What to wear snorkeling in Maui at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve snorkeling spots. maui hawaii travel blog

 

Both of these snorkeling entry spots are rocky entrances. This means they are not so much beaches to hang out at as they aren’t sandy beaches. This also means that if you won’t be wearing snorkeling fins, it will be nice to be wearing water shoes so you won’t be walking barefoot over all the rocks.

 

 

What the people of Maui would like you to know before snorkeling at Ahihi Kinau

…or before going to any beach on Maui

 

1:

One barrelful of sunscreen goes into the ocean around the island of Maui each day, one swimmer at a time.

 

Best sunscreen to wear snorkeling in Maui at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve snorkeling spots. maui hawaii travel blog

 

So consider wearing sunscreen that doesn’t have what can be considered the worst chemicals for marine life in it. Check the ingredients list of your sunscreen. Just because it says it’s a “mineral” sunscreen doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t have the worst chemicals in it. 

If you wear swim shirts when snorkeling, it means that’s less sunscreen you need to apply too.

 

 

2:

Never stand, unless on sand

 

Safe snorkeling in Maui at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve snorkeling spots. maui hawaii travel blog

 

When you’re in the water, standing up on a rocky surface could mean that you’re standing on living coral reef. So standing up could mean that you’re damaging the reef that attracts the colorful tropical fish.

 

 

🐠🌴

 
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IMPORTANT!!! If you wanted to see the famous Iao Valley in the West Maui Mountains, unfortunately that won't be possible from August 2022 and the rest of the year. Check the Hawaii State Parks website to confirm.

 

 

And now…

Here’s a bit about what you’ll see on the South Maui drive to the coves and bays of the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve!

These pictures were taken in January 2020.

 

 

Where to go for best snorkeling spots in South Maui: Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. cove, bay, beach. best maui snorkeling beaches. maui hawaii travel blog

 

 

So driving in South Maui, once you start to get near the Ahihi Kinau Natural Reserve…

 

How to get to Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve snorkeling spots - driving south maui, from wailea, from west maui, from kaanapali. maui hawaii travel blog

How to get to Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve snorkeling spots - driving south maui, from wailea, from west maui, from kaanapali. maui hawaii travel blog

 

You’ll see a sign that tells you you’re entering the area of the reserve. So you’ll be driving along the coastline that’s a part of the reserve.

 

How to get to Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve snorkeling spots - driving south maui, from wailea, from west maui, from kaanapali. maui hawaii travel blog

How to get to Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve snorkeling spots - driving south maui, from wailea, from west maui, from kaanapali. maui hawaii travel blog

 

You’ll soon come across one of the snorkeling spots, at Ahihi Cove. This is the snorkeling spot that’s accessed right off the side of the road. You can park on the side of the road and snorkel here.

 

How to get to Ahihi Cove snorkeling spot, Ahihi Bay, at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve. maui hawaii travel blog

 

You’ll keep driving to get to the other snorkeling spot, at Kanahena Cove (aka the dumps). You’ll see a sign leading to a parking lot.

 

How to get to Ahihi Kinau, to Kanahena Bay snorkeling spot parking lot - driving south maui, from wailea, from west maui, from kaanapali. maui hawaii travel blog

How to get to Ahihi Kinau, to Kanahena Bay snorkeling spot parking lot - driving south maui, from wailea, from west maui, from kaanapali. maui hawaii travel blog

How to get to Ahihi Kinau, to Kanahena Bay snorkeling spot parking lot - driving south maui, from wailea, from west maui, from kaanapali. maui hawaii travel blog

 

Once you’ve parked, it’s a short trail that will take you to the beach!

 

How to get to Kanahena Cove snorkeling spot, Kanahena beach Bay, the dumps, at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve. maui hawaii travel blog

How to get to Kanahena Cove snorkeling spot, Kanahena beach Bay, the dumps, at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve. maui hawaii travel blog

 

Right before you get to the beach area, there will be a sign. You can look at this to refer to the snorkeling entry area. 

 

How to get to Kanahena Cove snorkeling spot, Kanahena beach Bay, the dumps, at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve. maui hawaii travel blog

 

Basically, the snorkeling entry spot at Kanahena Cove is at the far end of the beach, where you see the fish sign. 

 

Best snorkeling spot at Kanahena Beach Cove, Bay, the dumps, at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve. maui hawaii travel blog

Best snorkeling spot at Kanahena Beach Cove, Bay, the dumps, at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve. maui hawaii travel blog

Best snorkeling spot at Kanahena Beach Cove, Bay, the dumps, at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve. maui hawaii travel blog

Best snorkeling spot at Kanahena Beach Cove, Bay, the dumps, at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve. maui hawaii travel blog

Best snorkeling spot at Kanahena Cove, Kanahena beach Bay, the dumps, at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve. maui hawaii travel blog

Best snorkeling spot at Kanahena Beach Cove, Bay, the dumps, at Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve. maui hawaii travel blog

 

And once you’ve had your fill of snorkeling at one (or both!) of these Maui snorkeling spots…

You can drive further south to La Perouse Bay and to hike the Hoapili Trail across lava fields.

Or you can just drive back! 

 

How to get to Ahihi Kinau natural area reserve snorkeling spots - driving south maui, from wailea, from west maui, from kaanapali. maui hawaii travel blog

 

 

And that’s a bit about some of the top snorkeling spots in Maui!

 

See some snorkeling essentials for Hawaii to pack for your trip to Maui!

 

See more beaches in South Maui:

And more great things to do in South Maui

Do the hike across old lava flows from La Perouse Bay, and then make it a post-hike recovery swim with snorkeling at Ahihi Kinau! Perfect hike + snorkel day in South Maui!!

 

HAPPY SNORKELING IN SOUTH MAUI!

 

Where to go for best snorkeling spots in South Maui: Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. cove, bay, beach. best maui snorkeling beaches. maui hawaii travel blog

 

 

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