Olowalu, also known as “Turtle Reef” is one of Maui’s great treasures, a diverse and colorful coral reef with formations of lava, colorful fishes and marine animals, including Manta Rays, and Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. There are 24 species of coral at Olowalu, some are hundreds of years old.
Gentle, graceful creatures, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are comfortable with human visitors. Swim gently and without sudden movements, and they may swim up to you. Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are a protected species. Take pictures with your waterproof cameras, but keep in mind that it is unlawful to touch, ride or harass the turtles.
You may see turtles swim over to the reef and allow fish to clean their shells and flippers by eating the algae that collects on them. Sometimes a dozen or more Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles may congregate here at one time.
Snorkeling and diving conditions at Olowalu are excellent for even beginner snorkelers, as Olowalu is protected from trade winds. Olowalu’s waters are usually calm and clear. The waters near the shoreline are protected and shallow, making it a great place for children or the elderly to explore.
The water close to shore is shallow for about the first 300-600 feet as you make your way offshore. Once the water is deep enough, you must swim another 300+ feet to get to a place worth snorkeling. We strongly recommend using a trusted Maui snorkeling tour, as swimming out this far may risk injury or cause damage to the delicate coral reef.