Overview of Papawai Point

Papawai Point

Hawaiian Islands


Papawai Point is a great vantage point for viewing the Maui coast line. The diving here can be spectacular, although the entry is for advanced shore divers only. Check it out to see if you are comfortable. Also, be sure to look for the local artists, working on their baskets and drawings. Talk to them and patronize their work!

Directions: Papawai Point is found at about the mile 8.7 mark on Highway 30. Look for the Turnout on the ocean side.


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

12/16/2011 Mark Robison (Avg: 3.50 Review) - This was one of my favorite dive sites. I dove here more than any other place in Maui. The climb down with all your dive gear and your camera was bit tricky, but very doable. The access was easy on days with no surf. A tongue of flat rock jutted out about 20 ft with a small pool of protected water to the right. I entered the same as off a boat-I jumped. Instantly you where among schools of Tangs as you moved down past the rock formations. I saw more morays here than any other place I dove in Hawaii. Amazing pictures. Turtles, Trumpet Triton shells, huge conger eels. Depths to 70 ft and then just sand. Night diving here is also fantastic red Spanish dancer's framed in my dive light -fish asleep moving with the slight surge of the waves. Exiting the water was also easy as there was virtual rocky steps back up the same tongue of rock. Again same as a dive boat, you took your fins off and just walked up. In 1985 there was some fishing gear down there-but I assume 27 yrs later there is more. I am 65 now living in Thailand, but this spot will always be in my memory.

02/17/2010 Jerry GoDiveMaui.Com (Avg: 3.19 Review) - Also called Scenic Lookout, on Highway 30 nearest mile marker 9, the signs for Scenic Lookout are one mile out on either side. Large paved parking area is a good lookout for whales in season. This site is easy to find but best done with an experienced guide. The path down the hill is steep and currents around this point can complicate the dive plan. The entry is a rocky ledge to the far left. You can do a giant stride here. The exit is easiest at high tide. This is a mini wall dive with a lot of ornamental fish. I don't see many game fish, which begs the question, why so much fishing gear on the bottom? If you turn south from the wall you'll reach depths fast and on the way find small out-croppings with every kind of eel.

06/09/2008 Sean 'Stody' Stodelle (Avg: 3.31 Review) - This spot was about 5 minutes from my old job so it became my after-work stress reliever. Mr. Stohler's review on the entry with higher surf is spot on as if there is a 'South Swell' being broadcast then you will either have a rough entry, or the vis will be junk. For some reason though, I always see the divers going in from the far left side as opposed to the far right (as you walk down the trail). The left side is almost always exposed to the occasional bigger waves that roll through, bigger even when it seems there is no surf. The right side entry is actually in a semi-protected cove. I can sit on the rocks, at the water's edge, and put on my fins about 90% of the time. The exit (same way) is almost always just a matter of swimming up, taking off fins, and walking up a gradual slope. BUT…..to get to the far right is best with 2 divers as there is a small rock step you have to go down (about 3-4'). It's best if you go down, then have your partner hand you the dive gear. Once you go down this rock step though, you have a nice big flat 'platform' of rock if you will that allows you to suit up. As mentioned, it drops off fairly fast. The close-in reef has a lot of wana (urchins) so be careful. A lot of good fish here when the moon is good and A LOT of fishing line so make sure you have a knife or two. I did recently get the state record slipper lobster here, as well.

03/08/2008 Kendall Roberg (Avg: 3.47 Review) - This is one of my favorite sites on the island. The entry is tricky as well as the hike down and then back up to the parking lot. When I dove it, the visibility was great. The reef drops off quick into some sand, and depths of 90 feet plus are quickly accessible. The reef close to shore is beautiful aside from the gross amount of fishing line and lead lost by the shore fishers. I have seen hooks here as big as my fist (not sure what there trying to catch). This is one of the healthiest yellow tang populations I have seen on Maui with schools of 50 plus fish. A fun sight for any advanced and healthy diver willing to work for a great dive.

02/27/2008 Larry Reuter (Avg: 3.70 Review) - I have snorkeled here. I found out about it when I took a snorkel trip by boat to this point and said to myself, "Hey, I can park at the overlook and hike down here anytime." It is clear and nice. I would not want to get in with scuba stuff on me. You get out by working with the surf. I got some good shin scrapes here and just with snorkel equipment. So, go to the area called Coral Gardens. Heading west from the overlook, go through the tunnel and on the right, mauka, is a parking area for the Lahaina Pali Trail. You suit up there, carefully cross the highway, climb over the guardrail and walk down to the ocean. Find an easy spot and get in. There may be some surf. Then swim southeast back toward the lookout. It's a bit of a swim but I'm assuming that you are fit and quite up to it. I think 10 minutes will do. While under, you can move closer to the lookout. It's really nice. The name of the area speaks for itself. I went back the next year.

03/08/2005 Bill and Michele (Avg: 3.71 Review) - Great dive site! The entry can be a bit tricky and the walk down and then back up is a chore in itself, but well worth it.

03/30/2002 Bill Stohler (Avg: 3.24 Review) - This is an advanced dive site from an entry standpoint that is not safe if surf is more than one foot. The reef drops off here to 70 feet, and lots of cool pelagics swim by (manta rays, eagle rays, humpbacks in season). The trail from the parking lot has loose rocks and soil, and is a bit too much effort for most divers. But it's worth it if conditions are good.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA0701


Parking at Papawai Point 

Parking is easy and ample.

Trail Head

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA0702


Trail Head at Papawai Point 
(click photo for details)

The trail down to the entry is steep with loose gravel. Schedule time to make several trips carrying one or two items at a time.

Right Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA0703


Right Entry at Papawai Point 

During calm seas, the lava shelf allows you to gently slide into the water.




Aerial at Papawai Point 
(click photo for details)

Head to the left or right, depending upon the current, for some spectacular diving.




Plaque at Papawai Point 

A plaque describing the migration of the Humpback Whales that can be seen from this point.

Last Verification: September, 2000  


Diver Averages for  Papawai Point  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  2.14
Bottom Conditions:  3.86
Reef Conditions:  3.86
Animal Life:  4.14
Plant Life:  3.00
Facilities:  1.57
Solitude 4.29
Roads:  4.00
*Site Average:  3.45

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.43
Beginner Scuba:  2.00
Intermediate Scuba:  3.14
Advanced Scuba:  4.43
Night diving Scuba:  3.29

Number of reviews for this site: 7


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