A Guide to Maui: Kahalepalao

Kahalepalao (Club Lana’i / Summerhouse)

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Also Known As: “Club Lanai”

Location: Southeastern shoreline of the island of Lana’i, directly opposite of Ka’anapali, Maui. Only accessible by boat and 4WD vehicle.

Depth: 10-30 feet.


Good for seeing: Hawaiian green sea turtles, healthy tropical corals, parrot fish, octopus, convict tang, yellow tang, goat fish, slate pencil sea urchins

Best time of year to snorkel at Kahalepalaoa: Kahalepalaoa offers good snorkeling during all seasons of the year.

Reasons we might not snorkel here: The key in snorkeling at Kahaleapalaoa is making it to the shoreline before the afternoon tradewinds fill in. Mornings are the best time for snorkeling here.

History: The name Kahalepalaoa translates in Hawaiian as “House of the whale ivory”, specifically that of sperm whales which are rarely sighted in Hawaiian waters. This is one of the few place names in Hawaii which references whales in the title, and it’s believed to derive from an incident in which the teeth and bones of a sperm whale washed up on shore. More recently, during the 1990s, Kahaleapalaoa was the site of “Club Lanai”, a remote vacation getaway that catered to visitors taking a day trip from Maui. Having sat defunct and overgrown since its closing in 1996, the Kahaleapalaoa area will once again be the site of a resort, with construction having begun in 2013.

Trips Offered to Kahalepalaoa: While Kahaleapalaoa is not one of our regular snorkeling destinations, our Discover Lanai snorkeling trip will occasionally will end up at the turtle-laden reef on days when large south swells render Hulopo’e Bay inaccessible for snorkeling.