Overview of Honolua Bay

Honolua Bay

Maui
Hawaiian Islands

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Honolua Bay offers a good experience for both snorkelers and divers. You may, however, be a little fatigued after the quarter mile hike down the private access road. But if you are up to it, you'll find the dive rewarding.

Directions: Travel North on Highway 31 until about mile marker 33. You'll notice a small access road dropping off to your left.


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

07/30/2016 Alan (Avg: 2.48 Review) - We dived this site in June of 2016. When we were there, the ramp was treacherously slippery but there was an easy sand entry 30' to the left of the ramp. Not many rocks to walk over but I imagine that changes with the seasons. The reef to the right side of the bay was good with good sea life and many turtles. The reef decreased in quality and eventually turned into a rubble pile as we swam farther out. I'm glad I did it once but probably wouldn't repeat the long walk to the shore.

08/09/2014 CJ (Avg: 4.45 Review) - One of the best shore dives in Maui in my opinion... if you don't mind the long swim. You can visit the left reef but the right is better and deeper... a cleaning station there, good chance to see turtles and mantas if you are lucky... here is a video of what I saw in one dive there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGmBbluGIi4&feature=share

03/11/2013 Yucca Be Hot (Avg: 3.95 Review) - This site we did twice in March because of the lack of people diving. 1st time visibility was 35-50 feet and 2nd time visibility was 7-12 feet. Lots of Big turtles and Big Fish. Used the little beach entry on left side, then swam out to right side of the bay. Then dove along corral reef to turtle beds, then to outer corral reef where four turtles were dancing to sounds of whales. 1st time swam out up to rocks and very carefully timed the steps out. 2nd time swam out through the little sand beach on right where I entered. Wonderful Coral and Fish.

10/13/2011 Gabe (Avg: 4.19 Review) - Of the whole week in Maui this was by far the most enjoyable thing we did. Entry into water is shaky but not extreme. Once in, it was amazing. We snorkeled to the right side of the bay, came back had lunch and then swam the left side. The right side of the bay is much better, my opinion.

11/02/2010 Stuart (Avg: 4.31 Review) - We did 2 tanks here in early September. We first walked down to the water and politely asked the Hawaiian family if we could bring our minivan down near the water to do our dives. The man was very nice and told us to drive down and park about 50 yards from the water. This was great as we didn't really want to be hiking up and down with our scuba gear and full 5mm suits in the hot weather. The spot we parked was also in the shade which was a bonus. We followed the reef to the right for our first tank and saw several species of eels, a very large Hawaiian scorpion fish, turtle cleaning station with 3 turtles, and lots of larger reef fish than other Maui sites. 108 min 35 fsw max depth. Second tank we went left and saw a lot of the same although the reef on the right seemed healthier. 2nd tank 80 min 38 fsw max depth.

10/24/2010 Jen J (Avg: 3.38 Review) - This dive afforded us some adventure. The sign at the beginning of the trail reads, "When there are waves you surf and when the water is calm you dive". Very true and we lucked out with it being fairly calm. You have to be ready to carry your tank and gear in and out. The entry was rocky but fairly easy and we swam along the right side. The reef and rocks were really beautiful and we saw many different types of fish and blue coral which is so pretty in the sun. I would do the left side next time and overall a very nice shore dive for beginner or advanced divers.

09/25/2010 Lindsey from Kihei (Avg: 3.97 Review) - Honolua Bay is an excellent site for snorkelers in the summer and surfers in the winter. Some people hate the hike down there, but the hike is just BEAUTIFUL. It's very green and usually not many people on there at the same time. Snorkeling is best to the right or far left. Center is okay, but not great. I've seen huge fish here and sea turtles. For beginners, in my personal opinion, it's the best spot on Maui.

07/22/2010 Rich Bender (Avg: 3.40 Review) - Just as everyone has noted previously, the entry is a bit rough getting through the rocks. They are very slippery and even the remainder of the boat ramp is slick. But after you get through that little hurdle you are rewarded with a magnificent dive. We kicked out just a short distance before dropping down in 10 feet and had great viz. It was a little murky in close due to lots of people in the water around the shore. We headed to the north side and found very cool swim through canyons in the lava and coral with tons of fish life. Unicorn fish were out in abundance along with parrots, butterfly, and boxfish. There is a sign posted about the break-ins , but we had no problems with the car or stuff being vandalized. One more thing, there is no sand at this beach, so my wife and daughter had to entertain themselves with the chickens running free and the mystery of the wooded forest that you walk through to get to the water. It is worth the drive and the walk to enjoy this site. Max depth for our dive was 37 ft viz 40-50, temp was 79. I am not sure, but I don't think that the aerial photo is the correct bay, it might be the bay just south of Honolua, as there is a very nice sand beach there. Not to mention a great dive spot as well!

08/13/2009 Sara Dobbs (Avg: 4.47 Review) - The family's first time and we did what every tourist did - pay to be taken on a boat to Molakini (sp) and visibility was horrible along with the tough surf that day. Then I remembered a Fish Sanctuary I saw when I was 16 and took the family on a trip - the best place to go and it didn't cost a thing! We brought our lunch and spent the day in the water. Every type of sea life you could imagine. If we had gone to this place first, we wouldn't have wasted our money on the snorkeling trip that was a wash.

08/12/2009 Jlcsnake (Avg: 3.59 Review) - Great shore dive in the Summer months when the North and West shores are relatively calm. One of my favorite shore dives on Maui. Good for snorkeling and novice divers as well. Max depth was 40 feet. Viz was 50-60 feet. Honolua Bay is a marine preserve so the fish life is very good. There are reefs to the right (North side) and left (South side) of the bay although the right side is generally the best. Parking is very limited on the main road. I asked the locals who live on the land if I could drive down and park since I had scuba gear (for a small donation in their donation box). They agreed and it was worth $20 not to have to hump all the dive gear 400 yards down the trail. Great dive if you are here in the Summer months.

05/30/2009 Jerry Burawski (Avg: 4.41 Review) - Great dive, did this dive 4 times during our trip. It's about a 500 yard walk from the car on a very clean, flat trail. Max depth is 34' on the outside. Dive starts in about 12' and slowly deepens as you round the corner on the right side. Once you reach the corner, climb up. That's were you find the turtle cleaning station. Along the way you see lots of turtles, yellow margin eels, spiny lobster, common octopus and 50 varieties of fish. Don't forget to keep your eyes on the sandy bottom. Not uncommon to see small spotted eagle rays.

11/14/2008 Bob from Chicago (Avg: 4.01 Review) - This is the best snorkeling on Maui when conditions are right. We went 3 times during our stay 10/10-10/18; it's all in the surf. First and third times the surf was down, no current to speak of, good clarity. The second time; surf was up and visibility was about 15'. Rule of thumb; if surfers are out, don't waste your time; but….. Unbelievable assortment of marine life. Turtles; eels (saw 5, one free-swimming along the bottom) SCHOOLS of fish; starfish. Coral looked pretty healthy. It was great. Snorkel the right side for the best. Entry is rocky, but if you use the remainder of the old boat launch, it's not bad. Snorkeling alone, I left my keys (I left the car open anyway so what the heck), shirt, reef shoes, lens de-fogger, with no problems. Nobody bothering you as you go in; so I guess that phase is over. Totally enjoyable experience.

05/16/2008 B Kuhn (Avg: 3.40 Review) - Honolua Bay 37 ft. There are no facilities here. It's about a half block walk from the parking area near the road to the bay. Wear hard soled dive boots as the walk is rocky. The visibility was 15- 40 ft. The reef is on the right side of the bay. This site is best dove in the morning before the wave action increases. Three stars.

07/31/2007 Anonymous (Avg: 3.19 Review) - Enter at Makuliea after walking down the stairs. There is beach access and plenty of stuff to see along the way to Honolua.

04/30/2007 Travis (Avg: 3.18 Review) - I went to Honolua today for the first time. I took a virgin snorkeler, and she loved it. We found the entry kinda hard as the beach is covered in large round rocks. So is the bottom near the shore. Once past the entry, however, Honolua is Awesome!! Saw lots of Humuhumunukunukuapua'a and a needlefish that was at least 5 feet long. The coral is nice and the shelter in the bay is perfect for noobies. Don't worry .. be happy.

04/05/2007 Joe (Avg: 3.06 Review) - I just visited the bay last week (3/30/07) and had an experience I'll carry with me forever. I parked along the road at a pull-out just across from the entry. Had no problems with break-in nor was I asked for a donation. I started out snorkeling up the right side of the bay. A lot of nice coral and sea life. About 300 yards up the reef on that side, I decided to swim over to the left side of the bay. The current had begun to pick up so it was slow going. I hit the middle of the bay where the reef ended. The water started getting murky, so I couldn't see bottom. Because of the current and the murky water, I was beginning to wonder if this was worth it. I came up to orient myself and saw 10-15 fins about 10 yards from me. That raised my heart rate quickly. I ducked back under water to see a pod of spinner dolphins. They began swimming to the right of me, to the left of me, and underneath me. I just floated in place for about five minutes as they played. Fortunately, I had my underwater camera; unfortunately, the water was a bit murky. But I do now have some pictures and memories that will stay with me.

02/10/2007 Andy Gallagher (Avg: 4.33 Review) - This is the best dive to get away from the crowds. Use a guide (I used Go Dive Maui) to really enjoy the dive initially.

01/08/2007 Bill in Albuquerque (Avg: 3.83 Review) - Great dive site. It is a little bit of a walk to get into, but it's worth it.

12/16/2006 Sean 'Stody' Stodelle (Avg: 3.13 Review) - We just dove this recently. The winter swells have been wrapping around here, and we went one day to find it flat. Two days later we found head-high surf rolling in with an Oahu-inspired North Shore surf line-up. We usually go in on the pineapple road just past the bay to avoid the taxing of tourists. Speaking of the taxing, aka the 'Demand for Donation', MPD has been doing stings and have actually arrested several of the family members due to their harassment/threats. Since then, Maui Land and Pine have filed lawsuits to seek full rights to the land as they say they have the title. The road to the bay has been locked so you are forced to park along the roads which is another reason to use the pineapple field access. The only tricky part is the trail, but if people can do it with surf boards under one arm, it really isn't that bad. We usually snorkel, though, so we obviously have less gear.

11/16/2006 Al Mialkovsky (Avg: 3.10 Review) - Here's the thing. It's changed here. The owners of the land, as mentioned in the earlier review, request a donation. I didn't drive down there, but instead parked up on the road as before. Well, I had a friendly chat with the owner but then some snorkelers (obviously vacationers) walked up and there was no such thing as a "donation". It was a fee, flat and simple. The happy Hawaiian said "5 dollars now". The young tourist said he parked up on the road and didn't have 5 bucks with him. The Happy Hawaiian said "Then you go now because someone will break into your car". Sound like a threat?? It did to me. Horror stories about this guy are getting passed around the dive shops. On one day he said the dive site was shut down and no one was allowed. When the scuba diver told him that the diving was still good, it got ugly and the diver said you don't have the right to deny me access, which is very true. He was denied, and there was nearly a fight. So the authorities are gathering evidence to pursue this character. But it's an old Hawaiian family, so don't hold your breath. A great place ruined by local stupidity; what a shame. I love it here.

10/07/2006 Dan and Kelley Holtman (Avg: 3.89 Review) - Sept.26,2006. 36FSW/81*/5-50'vis. FORGET ABOUT THE HIKE DOWN AND DO WHAT WE DID! Sorry to yell but we had to get your attention:-) Thanks to Maui Dive Shop in Kihei for telling us about this entry. We were able to drive right up to the bay, park in a safe place and walk geared up across black sand and a few small rocks. Drive past the overlook, past the "Honk Horn" sign, over a white, single lane bridge and turn left immediately after crossing bridge. Pull up to the wooden gate which is not locked. Undo cable, drive in, close gate, redo cable and drive down a forested, smooth road until you see the family who lives here & who maintain the port-a-potty. They ask for a monetary donation to park and use the facilities. Please do this graciously and thank them for the privilege of using their property. It makes diving here so easy! We surface swam out about 200 yards and stayed to the left of the middle of the bay. The reef became visible when a utility pole was on our right and a small ravine on our left. Snorkeling would be good here as the top of the reef was at 10-15'FSW and the vis much better than close to shore. We anchored the dive flag at 16'FSW and just followed the reef. The variety of fish was great here including Scale-eating and Ewa Blennies backing into their worm holes to hide from us. Dwarf & Whitemouth Moray Eels were abundant. We rounded the point and started to enter the next bay called Mokuleia but the coral and fish declined and we turned around to go back the way we came. Suddenly, we could hear dolphins squealing and clicking and they were getting louder. The two dozen Spinner Dolphin cruised by us about 50' away, spinning and jumping out of the water as they went by. Maui No Ka Oi! (Maui is the best!) Take drinking water.

09/12/2006 Todd (Avg: 3.77 Review) - We went to Honolua Bay on a tip from a local this past Memorial Day weekend (5/2006). I was truly amazed at the amount of large, colorful, healthy coral that existed in such shallow water (less than 3 feet)! On this particular dive, if you follow off to the right from the beach, there is tons of beautiful coral formations, but not much other sea life. If you head to the left, there's much more sea life including a large variety of fish, and I ran into a few different turtles hanging out in as shallow as 10 feet of water. If you continue around the rocks to the left, you will find another beach around the way with similar conditions. The visibility was 75-100 feet and you are protected from any major current or surge. It's a great site for snorkeling as well as for diving once you get in the water. However, since you have to hike down a little ways, and because you can see most things in shallow water, it would be a good time to practice snorkeling or free diving if you need a break from all of your gear. Location: You will need to park along side of the road and hike a little bit to get to a rocky beach, so it would be a little tough to lug all your gear... but not impossible.

06/05/2005 Al Mialkovsky (Avg: 3.98 Review) - Today Honolua was as good as a shore dive can get anywhere. The vis was well over 100 and the coral is looking very healthy. There were large schools of fish and the word is out because there were 3 large cattle boats pulling into the bay when we left about 9am.

03/26/2005 Gary Harmon (Avg: 3.11 Review) - 8/2004 Best if you go to the right. You need to go out a ways to get past the silt and then things clear up. Saw ton of fish, eel, and a couple of turtles. Sorry the tour boats have started coming here. Love2Snorkel

03/07/2005 Anonymous (Avg: 3.50 Review) - Excellent unless there is surf. Entry can be slippery.

02/07/2005 Anonymous (Avg: 4.32 Review) - First 100 ft. or so has a lot of silt due to a small creek that enters the bay on the left side of the shore. After that, the snorkeling is great in the clear water. Colorful coral and fish abound as well as several turtles. Bring your underwater camera!

08/16/2004 Bill H. (Avg: 2.42 Review) - The bay had a lot of fresh H2O runoff (made a cold murky top layer). Getting to the site was tough from the road.

08/13/2004 Ms Goorey (Avg: 3.85 Review) - My first time to this place and it was beautiful! A little hard to get into the water, and the rocks were slimy and grossed me out, but other than that the water was warm and visibility was great. Make sure you go in the morning before the winds don't come up.

05/17/2004 Anonymous (Avg: 3.34 Review) - No bugs, no cars broken into, or broken glass for that matter. You need to get there by 10AM or so, or the parking fills up quickly as space is limited. Getting in and out of the water's a little tricky due to round rocks near shore. There's not much to see in the middle, but along the sides snorkeling is great. Lots of turtles, eels, butterfly fish, parrot fish.....the list goes on. Go to the blowhole at mile marker 38 after snorkeling at this location.

10/26/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 2.75 Review) - Watch out for the barracuda in the murky shore entrance. A friend was bit this week and ended up with six inch gash on his arm that required 40 stitches and now has a 1 in 3 chance of further infection. Once you get to the clear water though I understand that this is the most beautiful spot to snorkel.

10/06/2001 Bill Stohler (Avg: 3.09 Review) - This is an excellent dive/snorkel site on the Upper West Side of Maui. It entails a 5 minute walk down a dirt road through the woods and over an intermittent stream. Entry is at a slippery old concrete boat ramp. The reef is good on both sides of the bay. Spinner dolphins can often be seen playing on the surface just outside the bay. Manta rays and spotted eagle rays are occasionally seen off the right side. For the best reef, and a deeper dive, go right. For a dive that can take you into the adjacent Makuleia Bay (Slaughterhouse), go left.

05/30/2001 Al Mialkovsky (Avg: 3.71 Review) - There are some great arches to dive through here and tons of sea critters that fear nothing as they are protected here, take nothing. In the middle of the bay is nothing but a couple of boat moorings, stay away from the middle. The best for diving is north, best for snorkel is south. Two concerns here, lots of bugs that will eat you alive and do NOT scratch if you've been bitten, you will regret that as I did. Also this is the main place that thieves break into cars. So leave nothing in your car, NOTHING. The broken glass in the parking area is a dead giveaway. But don't let that keep you away, just be careful of your valuables and DO this site.

05/23/2001 Mike Roberts (Avg: 3.89 Review) - Of all of the Maui sights listed here (I have dove and snorkeled every one) this is my favorite for snorkeling and right up there for diving. On the North side - just outside the reserve area - is a world class surf spot in the Winter and the viz ain't so hot. Also, if a heavy rain falls in the wash above, the water muddies up for awhile. But the rest of the time this place rocks! Driving up Hwy 30 go about a half mile past MM32. That's where you park where you can and follow the old road around the locked gate with the keep out sign (it's really ok!) and about a 1/8 mile walk under a beautiful canopy of trees, you'll find the old boat ramp. Enter here. On your left (Southside) is the more colorful side. Great snorkeling for amateurs and old salts alike. Lot's of overhangs and swim-throughs. If you are diving, keep going around the points and you might reach 50 feet of depth. The other side is cool too. Snorkel on top the reef or scuba along the edge. More turtles. I have seen a few big critters on this side as well. Dolphins, Mantas, spotted eagles, and white tipped reef sharks. All few and far between but the do come in there sometimes. Both sides are great for night scuba or snorkeling.


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Site Photos

Maps
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Photo
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Comments
Parking

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA0101
N21°00.7467'
W156°38.1826'

 

Parking at Honolua Bay 

Parking will be on the main road, since the private access road is gated.

Middle Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA0102
N21°00.8086'
W156°38.2703'

 

Middle Entry at Honolua Bay 

There is a small ramp for easy entry; rocky entry is on either side.

Right Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA0103
N21°00.8086'
W156°38.2703'

 

Right Entry at Honolua Bay 

To the right of the entry, you'll see access is a bit more rugged.

Aerial

 

 

Aerial at Honolua Bay 
(click photo for details)

Kick straight out, and explore the lava shelf on your right or the point on your left.

Last Verification: September, 2000  

 

Diver Averages for  Honolua Bay  (1=worst, 5=best)


Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  3.24
Bottom Conditions:  4.09
Reef Conditions:  4.30
Animal Life:  4.21
Plant Life:  3.24
Facilities:  1.73
Solitude 3.18
Roads:  2.97
*Site Average:  3.62
   

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  4.33
Beginner Scuba:  3.64
Intermediate Scuba:  3.79
Advanced Scuba:  3.48
Night diving Scuba:  3.24

Number of reviews for this site: 33

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