We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Snorkeling without taking a tour?

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
21 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Snorkeling without taking a tour?

Our family is headed to Maui in 3 weeks(!!!!!). We have 2 kids...an 8.5 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. My son is scared of a LOT of things...for example, he won't go on a carousel ride at the mall...won't go on carnival rides. We were thinking of doing a snorkeling tour (Concierge has recommended Molokini), but we're honestly concerned that our son won't enjoy it and won't even venture off the boat.

Someone told my husband that you can just walk up on beaches and snorkel. Will you see the same types of things doing it that way as you would on a paid tour?

Yakima, Washington
Level Contributor
296 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Snorkeling without taking a tour?

We did both. We rented gear for the whole week and took it everywhere we went. We snorkeled at local beaches like black rock and we also did a snorkel outing on a boat. I was just as happy to snorkel off local beaches because it was on my time. On our tour we went out very early and it was still very cool out. I declined the 2nd trip in the water. I personally don't think you need a trip out on a boat to see great spots and plenty of fish.

Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
25,063 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Snorkeling without taking a tour?

If you do go out on a snorkel tour, there is nothing to say you HAVE to jump in and snorkel. Maybe your husband and you could take turns staying on the boat with him. Or he may just surprise you and want to hop in.

Another option is to let him try snorkeling in LA. Okay, not snorkel looking for fish, but at least get a mask and snorkel and let him try it out in the pool, on close to shore in the ocean. A lot of anxiety about breathing can be dealt with some practice before getting to Maui.

Check out the links on the right hand side of this page, at the top. Fifth one down will tell you about places to snorkel. Make sure you rent the kids proper vests too.

The snorkel tour will also double as a whale watching trip. They will still be out there, and hopefully, you will get a good show from the boat.

Have a great trip, and don't forget to pack binoculars to enjoy those whales!

Northern California
Level Contributor
396 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Snorkeling without taking a tour?

JoAn's idea is good--snorkeling in a pool. As an adult, the first time snorkeling I found it hard to put my head in the water with the mask, even though I can swim. If he tolerates that, he can try from shore. If he doesn't, well he can wait till he's older. Lots else he can do.

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
3,803 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Snorkeling without taking a tour?

Try snorkeling from land first before you book. Ulua Beach in Wailea is an excellent beginners beach. Go early before the surf picks up. Its a great beach to play on as well. That way he can start out in shallow water. Getting off that boat into really deep water can be intimidating. But like someone said you don't have to snorkel just because you are on a boat. But just know you will pay full price for him.

Socal
Level Contributor
1,236 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Snorkeling without taking a tour?

Pride of Maui has a snorkeling trip to Molokini. Their boat has a water slide for the kids (okay, us adults too!) to play on if they don't want to snorkel. But take a morning cruise, as the winds do come up later in the day and the ocean can be choppy for the return to the harbor.

Sheldon

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
3,568 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Snorkeling without taking a tour?

I don't think Molokini would be a good idea for your son. The water's deep, and since it's more exposed to the open ocean, choppy and rough, and if he's tentative and/or not comfortable with a mask and snorkel... Not hard to imagine that he might panic. We were on a Trilogy tour there early this week, and when the captain asked if there were any first-time snorkelers, no one raised their hand.

But, as others have suggested, find some other way to get out on the water: a whale watch or a sunset cruise, maybe an outrigger canoe ride.

ON, Canada
Level Contributor
13,214 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Snorkeling without taking a tour?

We were on Maui in October on a family trip, including our 8 year old grandson and did what Joan mentions ... bought a snorkel and mask for him to play with in our pool last summer. If your son can do this at the pool at Honua Kia (I think that's where you are staying?) then he'll likely be more comfortable in the ocean.

It's important to have a mask that fits properly and Snorkel Bob's (in the plaza across the street from HK) fitted our grandson with the proper size one (the one I bought him wasn't a good fit as it was too large for his face, and therefore leaked). They also got a floatation vest and fins for him at SB's.

Our grandson is cautious about new experiences too, but he took to snorkelling really well ... I have to say, I was really surprised at how relaxed he was and how much he enjoyed it, considering that he had never snorkelled outside of a pool before. In addition to snorkelling in front of Honua Kai, and a bit further south at Kahekili beach, we went to Honolua Bay.

I also showed him this video before we left (thanks to a poster on the BI forum who shared it there) ... it's a fun video for anyone to watch, but I think it helped our GS to realize that snorkelling can be fun for kids too:

http://vimeo.com/51416741

Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
25,063 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Snorkeling without taking a tour?

Susan, I am glad you posted this video. I remember seeing it for the first time quite a while ago, and actually posted it once for another parent asking about their young one child snorkeling for the first time. It is truly a treat to watch that little guy in the water!

Also, do click on his other videos when you have some time. The dad is really good with that camera!

ON, Canada
Level Contributor
13,214 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Snorkeling without taking a tour?

Hi Joan, yes - worth sharing! Here's the OP's original post on the Island of Hawaii forum: tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g29217-i268-k678079… - it was so good, that I linked it in the "Preparing the grandkids for their first trip to Hawaii" thread that I posted here last fall before our trip, so a few here will be already be familiar with it...but Bill (from Ottawa) has done such a great job on his videos that they're all worth watching :)

Edited: 14 March 2014, 17:09
Kapaa, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Maui, Hana, Oahu
Level Contributor
47,009 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Snorkeling without taking a tour?

As you can already see, shore snorkeling is very popular on Maui. You will see the same critters as you would from a boat.

I'm assuming your son can swim and isn't afraid of the water? If you want to ease him into snorkeling you may want to contact this company. They will teach him how to snorkel and all about the creatures under the sea!! After a bit of education he may not be timid about it at all.

http://www.mauisnorkeltours.com