Can You Swim With Turtles In Maui?

One of the many attractions that brings travelers to Maui is the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles that reside there. These creatures are endangered wildlife, and are protected by the laws and locals of the island.

As such, many people, maybe yourself, want to see these majestic and awesome creatures for themselves, and may be looking for the best spots to swim with turtles in Maui.

Then you should know that there are many different turtles to be found on Maui. The most common is the green sea turtle, followed by the Hawksbill turtle.

You may also come across Olive ridley turtles, leatherbacks and even loggerhead turtles in deeper and more secluded waters on the island. But if you’re planning to gaze at these awesome creatures then you should know the do’s and don’ts of Maui’s turtles.  

Our guide has all of the answers you’re looking for. Below, we’ll tell you if you can swim with turtles in Maui, when is the best time to see the turtles, and where you can find turtles on Maui.

Snorkeler swimming with turtles.

Can you swim with turtles in Maui?

Yes, you can swim with turtles on Maui, and there are ample opportunities to do so, but you have to be aware of how important these animals are in Hawaii.

Hawaiian green sea turtles are federally protected, and it is therefore illegal to harm, harass or hurt them. Like any wildlife, you need to respect the turtles in their natural habitat.

Even if you believe that you are touching them gently, or that feeding them is “no big deal”, this is still considered a disturbance to the creatures, and is therefore illegal. You can even get a $10,000 fine as a penalty. 

If you want to go swimming with turtles you will have to respect them and be aware of the privilege it is to swim with such incredible creatures.

As a side note, make sure that you swim with reef-safe sunscreen as the chemicals in some sunscreens can be toxic to marine life. But, don’t worry, you can find this stuff in almost any convenience store on the island. 

What is the best time to see turtles in Maui?

The wonderful thing about the island is that you can see sea turtles pretty much anytime of day in Maui. They’re often found swimming just offshore, in popular natural feeding areas, or on the beach soaking up sunshine. 

That being said, most locals on Maui will tell you that the best time to see sea turtles is from about 11 am to 2pm. This timeframe will give you the best chance of spotting them, or seeing lots of them while snorkeling. 

If you don’t want to find them yourself, there are many companies and locals that will take you snorkeling, diving, or swimming with turtles for an amazing adventure in the sapphire waters of Maui. 

Where can I snorkel with turtles in Maui?

One of the most popular places to snorkel with turtles in Maui is called Turtle Town. The name is completely deserved.

Turtle Town is located along the south shore of Maui, and is where visitors gather to see a vast range of marine life. You’re guaranteed to spot some turtles! 

But Turtle Town is not the only hotspot for turtles. 

Turtle Town:

Turtle Town is located between Makena’s One’uli Black Sand Beach and Nahuna Point. It’s famous for its range of underwater caves and snorkeling sites. 

Turtle Town is a very large area, and is the name given to a long stretch of coastline in the district of Makena. 

If you really want to refine your search and find some turtles, then head on up to Maluaka Beach. This is considered the best snorkeling spot in Turtle Town. You can expect crystal clear water with bright, white sand and a high population of Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Slaughterhouse Beach:

You can also try Slaughterhouse Beach in Lahaina, which is much quieter and less crowded than other mainstream beaches near Kapalua, which offers some of the best sightings of sea turtles on the island. 

Located in West Maui, this beach is a must-see for turtle lovers.

Black Rock Beach: 

Black Rock Beach nearby in Kaanapali, is much more of a tourist destination than our other entrie, and therefore much busier. But there are lots of opportunities to see sea turtles. 

However, the turtles here are accustomed to humans, and may come a little too close for comfort, so remember to keep a distance of about 10 feet for you and the turtle’s safety. 

Chang’s Beach:

One of the best beaches on Maui is Chang’s Beach in Wailea-Makena. A place of stunning natural beauty, and lots of turtles and coral reefs to mesmerize. 

Even if you do not end up seeing turtles here—which you most likely will—the beach is a sight to be seen itself. But  this is a usual turtle spotting site, with lots of gentle giants swimming, exploring and enjoying the warm waters of Chang’s Beach. 

If you do not want to snorkel, you can also find green sea turtles basking and warming up on the beach of Ho’okipa Beach Park on the North Shore of Maui, or taking a leisurely nap at Makena Landing in South Maui.


Maui is a hotspot for swimming, snorkeling, and gazing at Hawaiian turtles. These gentle giants are incredible to behold, and will most likely become the highlight of your trip to Maui. It’s an experience you can’t forget!

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