Also Known As: “Slaughterhouse”
Location: Three miles north of Kapalua next to Honolua Bay
Depth: 10-25 ft.
Good for seeing: Parrotfish, octopus, large schools of reef fish, Hawaiian green sea turtles, eagle rays, goat fish, and spinner dolphins
Best time of year to snorkel at Mokuleiʽa: Summer months offer consistently calm conditions at Mokuleiʽa and are the best time to visit.
Reasons we might not snorkel here: While Mokuleiʽa can occasionally offer calm conditions during the winter months, here is a video of what Mokuleiʽa can look like during a large winter swell:
On days such as these, we would instead opt to snorkel on the protected south shore of the island, most likely at another turtle-laden spot such as Olowalu.
History: To the ancient Hawaiians, the name “Mokuleiʽa” was chosen for this bountiful district which is translated as the “bay of abundance”. When the Honolua and Kapalua area was turned into a large ranch in the early 21st century, a slaughterhouse was placed towards the top of the cliff face that towers above the bay. Even though the slaughterhouse was torn down in the 1960s, the name stuck. Today, Mokuleiʽa is part of the greater Honolua-Mokuleiʽa Marine Life Conservation District, and is one of the best snorkeling spots on Maui.
Trips Offered to Mokulei’a: Our Kaʽanapali Snorkel Sail will occasionally use Mokuleiʽa as a second snorkel spot after snorkeling at Honolua Bay, particularly in the summer months. Despite being located right next door to Honolua, Mokuleiʽa offers a completely different snorkeling experience, and is also a great place for trying out SNUBA.