Overview of Pu'u Olai Beach

Pu'u Olai Beach

Hawaiian Islands


Pu'u Olai Beach has an incredible rocky point to explore! With two beaches to choose from, you may begin diving from either. The hike to remote beach is a bit tiring but may be worth it for you naturists! Due to the open-water nature of this area, do not dive unless you are capable of high surf entry and exit.

Directions: At the South End of Highway 31, bear right onto Wailea Iki. Continue to the T, turn left on Wailea Alanui. After 2.2 miles, turn right onto Makena Road. In 1.7 miles, you'll see the turn-off.


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

03/25/2019 Eric from Eagle (Avg: 3.00 Review) - NOTE: Not good for kids or weak divers. There is one heck of a walk to the beach, through hard and soft sand. I ended up carrying my 11 yo's tank/BC. Feels like a mile, but probably more like 1/2 mile. A wagon would have helped, but with the soft sand it'll need big tires. Beautiful beach. Definitely a good one to bring non-divers to relax on the beach. The parking lot gets busy early. I'd recommend being in the parking lot by 10am to get a spot. I'd also recommend bringing a big cooler, umbrella, and beach towels to enjoy the beach after the dive, it is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, and big enough to have moderate privacy. Dive: Tons and tons of fish. Great variety, lost of stuff my son hadn't seen before. We entered on the right side close to the rock. It was pretty rough and the water had some strong surges, so made it tough for my son to enjoy. We also couldn't get close to the tip of the rock because of it. Nothing real exciting for me, surely not worth the hike from the parking lot. Maybe as a first dive with no surge then it would have been better. Tip: No showers or facilities so we stopped at makena landing on the way home to clean our gear.

04/03/2008 Kendall Roberg (Avg: 3.94 Review) - This is also know as little beach and if you are a fish person this is the site for you. Plus this is your best chance to encounter naked snorkelers on the island (little beach is a nude beach). I have dove here several times and the fish life here is truly impressive! I even saw my first Saddleback Butterfly fish here as well as three Leaf Scorpion fish (Black, Purple, & Red) sitting right next to each other and a Slipper Lobster. I have seen fish here that I have not encountered anywhere else off Maui, this is truly my favorite fish site on the island. Unfortunately, it is a long hike with gear over the rocks that divide big beach and little beach. Once you get over the rocks, hike to far side of the beach and enter. Head north on the dive. This will usually take you against the current and you can just drift back when you are finished with the dive. If you head straight out from the north point in about 42 feet of water you will find "Charley's Reef" named after a local boat captain. This reef features a large school of Bicolor Anthias that are perfect for photographing. These normally shy fish are strangely less shy on this particular reef. This is an easy reef to find if you know where it is, but not if you don't. If you don't find it, just turn around and head back towards the reef near shore. The best parts of the reef are found by just following the shore north. There is even a swim through cave that usually has sleeping turtles in it. Many of the boats dive this site as a drift dive so if you are not an experienced diver and still want to dive here, a boat dive may be more appropriate. The current can really rip out here and just a couple weeks ago a snorkeler (possibly intoxicated) got caught in the current and drowned.

10/29/2007 Bill Stohler (Avg: 3.13 Review) - The road to the Black Sand beach was closed following last year's big quake and the inception of construction adjacent to the park; it was to have reopened, but political pressure seems to be keeping it closed. This site is great during calm conditions. We've seen lots of amazing things here....a dragon moray eel (on more than one occasion); fairly frequently, hawksbill turtles; a green turtle cleaning station; spotted eagle rays, crabs, eels, and even a very rare (endangered) Hawaiian Monk Seal! This site is not recommended during times when the surf is breaking as the current can be very strong!

10/23/2007 Dan and Kelley Holtman (Avg: 3.98 Review) - Oct.11-17,07. This report refers to snorkeling only (no diving this trip). We have snorkeled the reef north of Little Beach for many years and this visit was as great as ever. We feel this is the best snorkeling on the island and in our top 3 for the state. Every day this visit we found amazing things on one particular coral head just 2 minutes kick from the sandy beach to the right (north). The first day a Snowflake Moray Eel; 2nd day a Devil Scorpionfish; 3rd day Zebra & Snowflake Moray Eels; 4th day a Whitemouth Moray Eel; 5th day Zebra, Snowflake & Whitemouth Moray Eels! The 5th day was so much better because we went in the morning instead of the afternoon when the conditions were calmer and the tide was high. Also of note: Octopus, Spotted Eagle Ray swimming north, almost every butterflyfish in the book, 6 honu and more. This beach is our favorite place to watch the sunset; take a flashlight so you don't have to rush back over the rocks to Big Beach. The drum festival every Sunday afternoon is very entertaining. No facilities. Take drinking water.

05/30/2005 Al Mialkovsky (Avg: 3.66 Review) - We've done this site many times from shore, but today it was a second dive off of the B&B Scuba boat. Either way it's a great site. There was a large octopus out in the open today. It seemed tired :) The assortment of critters was amazing. Lots of eels, lobsters and even a frog fish. No sharks today, and the water is warming up, currently 78 degrees. Don't miss this site.

08/19/2004 Mark in Alaska (Avg: 3.46 Review) - Nice second dive location after doing Molokini Crater. Lots to see and explore here!

06/25/2004 Sean 'Stody' Stodelle (Avg: 2.96 Review) - Right now, the south swell is wreaking havoc on this area, but we went out anyway. This is area is known as both "Big Beach" (large open area to the right of the aerial photo) and "Little Beach" (the secluded cove in the middle of the aerial). But, the locals call it "Breakneck Beach" because the shore pounding waves are used by Maui's top skim boarders. Keep this in mind and time your entry/exit precisely. ***Word of warning to families*** The area known as "Little Beach" is Maui's NUDE beach. Due to its remote location the nudity laws are not enforced so keep this in mind so your little ones don't get an eyeful. The reef out to the left is great with a lot of fish and turtles. A lot of spear fishing here as the open currents bring in Ulua, Ono, and the occasional Tuna. Best in the morning as this area ALWAYS gets blown out with big waves by noon. Night diving is alright but it depends on the swell patterns.

06/12/2003 Al Mialkovsky (Avg: 3.68 Review) - Two weeks ago this site was horrible. Today it was fantastic with super visibility. We had a large south swell which is normal now but it has died down the past two weeks to about 1 foot. Things have cleared up. The swim through cave just north of little beach had two very large white tips in them. One is very agitated as he has a large hook in it's mouth. I'm sure it will rust out eventually as he's still fat and moving well. We did see an eagle ray and maybe 20 turtles. The whales are gone and the rays are in full force. This is an easy boat dive, a not as easy shore dive. Lots of rocks and if the surf is up at all you'll pay. Wear farmer johns or a full suit if you have any surf at all.

08/09/2001 Mike Boren (Avg: 3.12 Review) - I have dove this site from a boat and snorkeled it from shore mostly on fall vacations. The best time to dive it, is in the morning before the afternoon wind comes up. Underwater its pretty open and barren, buts its where the green turtles can be found. One afternoon while snorkeling I saw several turtles resting on the bottom and encountered two eagle rays going north.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA2101


Entrance at Pu'u Olai Beach 

The entrance is non-descript, so just watch for this turn-off to the right.


 Map     Sat
GPS: MA2102


Parking at Pu'u Olai Beach 

Lots of good parking-- but make sure you take all valuables with you!

Trail Head

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA2103


Trail Head at Pu'u Olai Beach 

You have a 100 yard walk down this trail, and then another 200 to the entry of the first beach.




Overview at Pu'u Olai Beach 

The Point to the right.




Overview at Pu'u Olai Beach 

And the beach to the left.


 Map     Sat
GPS: MA2106


Entry at Pu'u Olai Beach 

Here, you can enter to dive the Point, or carry your gear over the cliff trail to the s




Aerial at Pu'u Olai Beach 
(click photo for details)

The larger beach is known a Makena Beach or Oneloa Beach, and the smaller is the famous Pu'u Olai Beach. The parking is on this end of Makena.

Last Verification: March, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Pu'u Olai Beach  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  2.89
Bottom Conditions:  4.00
Reef Conditions:  3.89
Animal Life:  4.22
Plant Life:  2.67
Facilities:  1.89
Solitude 3.22
Roads:  3.22
*Site Average:  3.44

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.67
Beginner Scuba:  3.00
Intermediate Scuba:  3.78
Advanced Scuba:  3.78
Night diving Scuba:  3.33

Number of reviews for this site: 9


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