Last month, I wrote a post about Planning your Maui Runcation, in which I highlighted places to stay, where to find local races, and what to do when you aren’t running. Well, we just got back from 6 blissful and relaxing (i.e. child-less) days on the island and am finally recovered enough to write this post. While we spent the vast majority of our time relaxing and reading on the beach, the things that bring me some of the best memories are exploring local running routes and doing fun activities like the Molokini & Turtle Town Snorkel Tour with the Pride of Maui.
Earlier this month, my wife and I went to Maui for my 35th birthday – a trip that was hastily scheduled in February due to the constant illness that was circling around our family and the crummy weather. We just needed something to look forward to in the midst of this cruddy time. After scheduling our flights and figuring out our lodging, the next thing we did was schedule a snorkel trip. The last time we went to Maui (2018), we skipped out on a tour due to the fact that the water quality was pretty crummy due to passing hurricanes. We knew we wanted to go back out on the water and hit up Molokini again.
We had been on a snorkel tour once in the past, and were looking forward to refamiliarizing ourselves with it. There are a variety of companies who offer tours in the pristine Hawaiian waters and we decided to partner with the Pride of Maui and their Molokini & Turtle Town Snorkel Tour. As we mentioned in our previous runcation planning post, in addition to their snorkeling tours, the Pride of Maui also has whale-watching (depending on the season) and sunset dinner luau options. They provide the gear, lunch, AND an open bar.
We ended up going with their morning snorkel tour (from 8a-2p) on their smaller Leilani boat (note: if you are on this boat, make sure you line up on the more distant part of the harbor. DON’T follow the large crowds to the bigger Pride of Maui boat of you will be in the wrong spot!). As someone who has a history of sea sickness, I was wondering how a smaller boat would affect me. I was nervous up front, but whether it was the Dramamine or the boat itself (or a combo of both), I had no issues with feeling ill. In fact, it was quite a mellow and easy trip that I was not expecting.
The day kicked off with some safety instructions, reef-safe sunscreen discussions (a little goes a crazy long way), and an overview of the day ahead of us. The first part was settling in for the 40 minute or so trip out to Molokini. During this time, we were treated to a surprisingly delicious breakfast and drinks. The bread was amazing and the fresh fruit was very welcome as well. With a smaller boat, I ended up being able to go back multiple times for strawberries and pineapple (more times than I’m willing to admit).
Molokini is a crater which is said to feature some of the best snorkeling in the Pacific, as the waters within it are better protected from swell and currents than the shore of Maui. The clear waters offer amazing visibility, in some areas up to 150 feet. Even with multiple boats at the small crater, I never found it too crowded. That was also the benefit on being on a smaller boat – there aren’t as many people to jostle with / run into while in the water.
It’s easy to see what all the fuss is about at Molokini – it’s quite beautiful. We saw a variety of fish, eels, and someone dove and saw an octopus, though I missed out on getting a glance. Though we weren’t exactly keeping strict time, we were able to be in the water for quite a duration if we desired (probably upwards of an hour or so). We ended up staying out for about a half hour or so, thought plenty of others stayed out longer.
Following Molokini, our second stop was an hour of snorkeling near Turtle Town. We stayed at a nearby resort for the final few days of our trip and saw numerous turtles, but did not have the luck of the draw on our cruise and missed seeing the shelled creatures. It was still a lot of fun checking out fish and the unique coral underneath however.
On the way back to harbor, we were again fed quite well. There were burgers, pasta, veggies, and free (yes free!) cocktails and beer from Maui Brewing Company. And this wasn’t a one and done sort of thing, you could keep heading back for all the food and drinks you could eat – and let’s just say that they were generous with their drinks across the board.
Even though some may balk at the cost of a snorkel cruise, when you factor in everything involved, it’s actually quite the deal. Maui is expensive in general, and even after factoring in the 5-6 hour excursion, you have to understand that you are getting both breakfast and lunch included with your ticket as well. Heck, you essentially just saved yourself money by doing the tour, as I know we easily spent over the total cost of a cruise at a single meal later in our trip! If you are in Maui on an upcoming runcation, and wanting to take in a snorkel cruise or some other water-based activity, make sure you check in with the Pride of Maui.
Many thanks to the Pride of Maui for providing us with a complimentary snorkel cruise. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.