Looking for Sea Turtles in Maui? Here’s How to Find Them

22August 2017

Maui is a paradise, a home to many people and creatures on the land and in our the beautiful kai (sea).  The Maui waters are full of majestic sea creatures, from dolphins to sea turtles!

Snorkelers and divers on Maui’s north and south shores often spot kai honus (sea turtles) with their beautiful brown shells standing out amongst the cerulean blue water. You’ll want to pack your waterproof camera to capture the moment you lay eyes on one of these beautiful creatures!

You can see sea turtles on Maui from on the shore or below the waves. The largest populations of green sea turtles in the United States live in the Hawaiian Islands. They generally stay near coastlines, living in shallow bays. The turtles swim around habitats with plenty of seagrass, breathtaking coral reefs and salt marshes.

Here’s how to make sure you see the majestic sea turtles on Maui:

Snorkel or Kayak through Turtle Town 

Turtle town is a snorkel location along Maui’s southern coast. It lies between Nahuna Point and Black Sand Beach on the mokupuni (island). Turtle Town was created by underwater ka pele (lava) formations from eruptions of submarine volcanoes long ago. The eruptions shaped the ke kola (coral) reef at Turtle Town, which is the stomping grounds of the Hawaiian green sea turtle.

Hawaiian Ocean Sports offers kayak snorkel turtle and reef turtles for turtle-enthusiasts everywhere! These guided kayak and snorkel eco tours depart from Wailea Beach, Olowalu Beach, and Makena Landing daily.

Our expert tour guides can show you the way, taking you through the Maui waters and sharing stories about the island’s beautiful history and culture.

Note: Remember to give turtles their space in the water or on the kahakai(beach) when you see them, though! We love to respect the sea life that shares our island. But, don’t worry! Hawaiian green sea turtles have been known to be curious about humans in the water, swimming within 10 feet to take a look at the land-natives in the water.

See Sea Turtles in Maui in Kihei, Wailea and Paia

Other areas of the island to spot sea turtles include Keawakapu in Kihei and Ulua and Polo Beach in Wailea. The turtles love this area because of the small sea caves among the shallow reefs, which allow them to rest in the reefs between trips to the surface.

For you land-lovers out there, you don’t have to miss out on seeing sea turtles in Maui! You can view sea turtles at Hookipa Beach Park in Paia. Sea turtles here usually come to rest on the one (sand) right before sunset.

Fun Fact: Hawaiians wear jewelry depicting a sea turtle for good luck. The turtle is also a symbol of navigation to Hawaiians because of the creatures innate ability to travel to a birthing location mile and miles away, and find it’s way back home. Some islanders honor the kai honus (sea turtles) through hula dance, moving their hand and hips in a way that emulates a sea turtle digging into the sand to lay its eggs.

There are wonderful stories behind the island of Maui. We honor and value Hawaiian culture here at Hawaiian Ocean Sports, sharing our culture with guests during all of our surfing, kayaking, snorkeling and outrigger canoeing excursions. Contact us today at 808.633.2800 to learn more.

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