Lanai Snorkel Tours
Nine miles across the Au'au channel from West Maui lies the privately-owned island of Lanai. It was once the largest pineapple plantation in the world; now very little pineapple is grown there. The island's economy is centered around the two resort hotels - the Manele Bay Hotel and the Lodge at Ko'ele. Most visitors to the island come over for the day from the island of Maui. The island is very dry and doesn't have the lush beauty found in Maui's rainforests, but Lanai has the longest stretch of coral reef in Hawaii. But the biggest attraction of Lanai is the large pod of Spinner Dolphins frequently encountered on Lanai's southern coast ... watching these marine mammals in their natural environment will surely be one of your most memorable vacation highlights!
Lanai Explorer - Our most popular Lanai tour
Lanai Explorer Dolphin and Snorkel Adventure - 4.5 Hours
$175.99 per Adult, $141.93 per Child (5-12) (Hawaii sales tax included)
This rate includes all taxes, harbor fees, and fuel surcharges
What a great trip! As your raft crosses the Au'au Channel on the way to Lanai the search for dolphins begins. You'll see the cliffs and coastline of the South Shore, including blowholes ... as the captain selects the two snorkel sites for the day. The tour includes snorkel gear, with a total snorkel time of a little over two hours, breakfast, a deli lunch, and dolphin watching ... all in a 4.5 hour trip. The Lanai Explorer Dolphin and Snorkel tour is available DAILY except Sundays ... check in is at Lahaina Harbor at 7:00am and the tour is from 7:30am to 12:00pm.
Not recommended for anyone with neck or back injuries or pregnant women. Minimum age for these tours is 5. Exceptions may be made for kids who are 4 years old and particularly adventurous and are good swimmers. Vegetarian lunches are available by request ... if you would like a vegetarian lunch please call our office after making your reservation using the form on the right.
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Paragon Lanai Coast Snorkel
$180.00 per Adult, $126.00 per Child (3-12), Infants (under 3) FREE (plus 7.5269% Hawaii sales/harbor tax)
For the leading sailing catamaran on Maui, look no further than Paragon! They combine a thrilling sailing adventure with world class snorkeling. Paragon Sailing has been dedicated to serving Maui visitors and locals for over 30 years, and their experienced and friendly crew create a personalized adventure. They specialize in performance sailing, and you will enjoy trade winds as you glide along ocean to the exclusive island of Lana'i.
This 5 hour tour is offered DAILY at 10:45am. Check in is at 10:15 a.m. at Lahaina Harbor. You begin your adventure sailing across the Au' au' channel to Lana'i. Gaze upon views of Maui, Moloka'i, Kaho'olawe, and Lana'i. Along the way we'll keep an eye out for the acrobatic SPINNER DOLPHINS that are commonly seen in pods of hundreds along the south shore of Lanai.
The captain will select the two best snorkel sites along the coast based upon wind and surf conditions. Paragon provides snorkel gear, and there are optical masks as well. Let us know if you require one. You can also bring your own snorkel gear. Spray-on sunscreen is not allowed aboard the vessel, because it has a tendency to go everywhere making it slippery and dangerous to move around the deck. It is also generally toxic to the marine ecosystem. Paragon encourages using reef-safe sunscreen, which they provide on their catamarans. Also, bring a hat, camera, reusable water bottle, sunglasses, and towels. Paragon does not provide towels, but they have them available for purchase onboard.
A deli lunch is served on board. Enjoy an often-relaxing (and sometimes EXHILARATING) sail back to the island of Maui. If conditions permit, there will be one last stop far offshore from the coast of Lahaina; here you can jump into the warm blue waters for a last dip to end your perfect Hawaiian day!
Note: Vegetarian or gluten free options are available, but those with severe nut allergies or celiac disease should be aware that the catering companies do not guarantee no cross contamination.
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Ocean Riders - the most adventurous Lanai tour
Ocean Riders has resumed operations and we are accepting reservations for all future dates!
List price: $192.00 SAVE $10.00 per adult!!!Our Rate: $182.00 per Adult, $182.00 per Child (5-12) (plus 4.167% Hawaii sales tax)
The Full-day adventure typically circumnavigates the entire island of Lanai and is available on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
Trip Length:7-8 hours, depending on ocean conditions
List price: $144.00 SAVE $10.00 per adult!!!Our Rate: $134.00 per Adult, $134.00 per Child (5-12) (plus 4.167% Hawaii sales tax)
The Half-day adventure goes along the South and West side of Lanai and is available on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
Trip Length:4-5 hours, depending on ocean conditions
Ocean Riders Full-day excursion is the ultimate Lanai adventure, completely circling the island in a zodiac raft in a 7 to 8 hour trip. They are the only tour operator that consistently circumnavigates the entire island of Lanai year-round. On a normal full-day tour you will see shipwrecks strewn along the north shore of Lanai. They anchor in shallow water and you have the opportunity to swim in and walk around on an isolated, remote beach where there is no hotel or road in sight! Your captain will pull inside a sea cave carved out of the cliffs by giant storm swells over the centuries. Witness the cliffs of the Kona Coast of Lanai ... and see Shark Fin, one of our favorite snorkel spots in Hawaii and one of the few places where pyramid butterfly fish can be seen.
Ocean Riders zooms in and out of every nook and cranny of the coastline, sometimes at breathtaking speeds! Lanai has some unbelievable scenery and wild rock formations on the back side ... places that very few people who live in Hawaii have ever seen ... but with Ocean Riders you get to see it all! For thrill seekers, this is the trip for you! It also offers you the ultimate get-away adventure. They are going to snorkel at places where other snorkel boats just don't go. On a normal day they will snorkel at three different spots ... sometimes four. And if there are dolphins anywhere along the route ... Ocean Riders will find them! This full-day adventure is offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays
New for 2020, Ocean Riders is now offering a Half-day Lanai trip that is 4 to 5 hours in length on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The Half-day Lanai trip doesn't have time to circumnavigate the entire island, but features snorkel spots along the south and west shores of Lanai. They still go places that very few other boats venture. The half-day is a great adventure for those who want something a little less hard-core than that long, 8 hour trip, but still feels adventurous compared to most other snorkel tours.
Ocean Riders features a deep-V rigid hull inflatable raft that is 30 feet in length and capacity is limited to 18 guests per tour. The boat is powered by twin 250hp engines ... this boat is truly the Ferrari of snorkel tours on Maui! Ocean Riders checks in at the Mala Boat Ramp just 1/2 mile north of downtown Lahaina (not Lahaina Harbor) ... check in is at 6:30am. The tour departs at 7:00am and returns between 2:00pm and 3:00pm (depending on ocean conditions).
This trip is limited to 18 people per day ... children under 5 are not permitted. Rough ocean conditions are sometimes encountered. No one who is pregnant or has neck or back injuries is permitted. Sound like the sign posted at the entrance of a roller coaster??? Maybe a little ... but after all, this trip is the ADVENTURE of a lifetime. There are a few days per year that the winds don't permit going all the way around, but circling the island of Lanai (or going to the north shore of Molokai) is always their goal.
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Makai Adventures Lanai Snorkel & Dolphin Adventures
$211.37 per Adult, $167.04 per Child (5-12) (Hawaii sales tax included)
Escape the crowds of Lahaina and explore the pristine waters of Lana'i with Makai Adventures! This 6 hour tour is offered April through November on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7:30am - 1:30pm. Their boat, Kainalu, is a comfortable and spacious small boat that features easy ocean access with a large swim step, dual swim stairs, cushioned seats, on-board restroom, freshwater shower, dry storage, flotation gear, and 50/50 shaded seating. You will depart from Lahaina Harbor, Slip 16. Makai adventures provides you with the top of the line Cressi brand snorkeling gear and fins ensuring the most comfortable snorkeling experience. They also have extension poles for gopro cameras if you need one!
Cruise across the 'Au'Au Channel to the island of Lana'i, and sit back and enjoy while their Captain points out sites along the way. Lana'i is home to remote coastlines with sea caves, miles of sea cliffs, blowholes, sea caves and arches, King Kamehameha The Great's favorite fishing grounds, ancient Hawaiian burial sites, and many of Hawaii's best coral reefs. You will stop at the Captain's choice of the best 2-3 snorkel sites based on the day's conditions making each trip unique. Above the water, keep an eye out for humpback whales and dolphins. Watch Lanai's resident pod of dolphins ride the bow wave and do acrobatic tricks. You may see Spinner dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, or the elusive spotted dolphins! Under the surface, swim with turtles, schools of fish, and colorful coral.
Before heading back to Lahaina and anchored in a remote cove, you will be served a deli "design your own" sandwich station with fresh cut fruits and veggies. Soft drinks and ice cold water, and you are welcome to bring own alcoholic drinks for after snorkeling. To keep plastic out of our oceans, they provide a 5-gallon jug of ice cold water for you to refill your reusable water bottles or use the provided paper cups.
They recommend wearing your swimsuit, and bringing a towel, sunscreen (no spray sunscreen), hat, sunglasses, camera, reusable water bottle and a light jacket or sweater. You can also bring a wetsuit top or sun protective clothing. If you need a speciality mask such as a prescription mask, rent one at a snorkel shops before your trip.
The minimum age for this tour is 3, and it is not suitable for anyone with back or neck injuries or problems, or for pregnant women.
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Cruise Ship Clients
NCL cruise ship passengers in Kahului are NOT able to do the Paragon Sailing or the Lanai Explorer with Landing tours because the tour length makes the arrival back to Lahaina too close to your cruise ship's departure. It IS possible to do the Makai Adventures Lanai tour on the second day in port (Monday) as the tour ends about 1:30pm and leaves ample time for the drive back to Kahaului. Transportation is not included, and is most economically done by renting a car. We can arrange a rental car with shuttle pick-up at the harbor; rates vary throughout the year but start around $40 per day in low season; see our rental car page for more information. Drive time is approx. 60 minutes to Lahaina. You might also consider a Molokini snorkel tour as those trips depart from Maalaea Harbor, which is just 15 minutes away from your cruise ship's dock.
Lahaina cruise ship passengers can do any of these tours as long as you are in port on the correct day of the week. This tour leaves from the same harbor where your ship's tender arrives, so no transportation is necessary.
A Lanai dolphin adventure is a must-do on my list of Maui activities. If you have time for two snorkel boat tours, go to Molokini and Lanai. If you only have time for one, go to Lanai!!! The reef there is just as good as Molokini (better in places) with lots of fish and turtles ... and there are a lot less people.
Lanai trips are definitely a good way to go for people staying in the West Maui area (Kapalua, Kahana, Honokowai, Kaanapali, and Lahaina). Lanai trips leave from Lahaina, so much less driving is involved than most of the Molokini boats.
While none of the Lanai trips GUARANTEE dolphin sightings, it is unusual to not encounter dolphins along the south coast of Lanai. Your chances of seeing dolphins is in the 75-80% range on any given day.
Lots of people ask if they can swim with the dolphins. The honest answer is "probably not." Snorkel tours have to be very cautious in approaching dolphins ... they are protected marine mammals. Once in a while a boat will stop to snorkel and the dolphins will approach out of curiosity. If this happens, enjoy the moment ... you are truly blessed. Don't plan on it happening. You will likely see plenty of activity just watching them from the boat ... the large pod of spinner dolphins at Lanai is very active. You will likely witness acrobatic behavior and dolphins will probably swim on both sides of the bow of the boat just a few feet away from you.
So now you know you want to go to Lanai. Which boat should you do?
The Lanai Explorer is our most popular tour .... it offers the adventure of rafting ... but more comfort than most rafts as there are real seats on board the vessel (you don't have to sit on the innertube sides of the raft unless you want to). The Lanai Explorer also offers quite a bit of shade and has a marine head on board when nature calls. We absolutely LOVE the Lanai Explorer with Landing tour. Grab your camera and hit the trails that go out to the point beyond Hulopo'e Beach ... see the colorful tidepools and sea arch, scrample down a wooden ladder to the hidden beach that looks out to Sweetheart Rock (the Hawaiian placename is Pu'u Pehe), and hike up to the overlook. You can even walk up to the Manele Bay Hotel ... the place Bill Gates rented out entirely when he got married here on Lanai. This tour is doable for the majority of our clients ... but not all. Keep in mind that there is a walk of about 5-7 minutes each way to and from the beach.
The non-landing version of the Lanai Explorer is a great choice for people who have been on-shore at Lanai before ... and want to spend more time out on the ocean around the island.
Finally ... the trip for the die-hard adventurer. Ocean Riders is an awesome tour ... if you are up to the challenge. When you leave the harbor at 7:00am be aware that it will be 7 or 8 hours before you will see another white porcelein seat with chrome handle on the side of it. This tour can be rough at times ... but in terms of the amount and variety of snorkeling, the overall distance the tour covers, and the value you get for your dollar ... this is the best itinerary in Hawaii for those of you die hards out there! Ocean Riders is also offering a Half-Day excursion to Lanai as well ... still hard core ... but a little less demanding than the full-day trip that completely circles the island.
One more Lanai ocean adventure worth mentioning ... for CERTIFIED scuba divers, Extended Horizons operates an excellent scuba diving trip to Lanai ... they typically visit the spectacular underwater grottos called "Cathedrals" as well as one other site. For more information about Lanai scuba diving see our Scuba Diving page.