Inspired by an ancient Maui tradition, the Sheraton Maui Cliff Dive is an unusual twist on dinner and a show. Organized by the hotel, this fabulous leap into the ocean has impressed visitors for decades.
The Sheraton Maui Cliff Diving ceremony is a must-see for visitors to Maui.
Read this guide to find out everything you need to know before your visit.
What Is The Sheraton Cliff Diving Ceremony?
The Cliff Diving ceremony is exactly what it sounds like: as day turns to evening, a brave young diver makes his way to the edge of the cliffs at Black Rock, and dives into the ocean before the eyes of watching tourists.
It all begins with the blowing of a conch, used to signal that the ceremony is about to start. A local diver then passes along the cliff, lighting torches as he goes. When he reaches the edge, the diver offers a flower lei to the ocean, before plunging into the water.
This ceremony has taken place since 1963, and it’s easy to see why so many people watch the ritual.
With hula dancing and live music, as well as torch lighting and cliff diving, it feels like a glimpse into a Hawaii from the ancient past.
Where Does The Sheraton Cliff Diving Ceremony Take Place?
The Sheraton Cliff Diving ceremony takes place at Black Rock beach, in Ka’anapali. Black Rock, otherwise known as Pu’u Keka’a, forms one end of the popular Ka’anapali beach.
Ka’anapali is part of West Maui, just north of Lahaina. A popular tourist area, there are plenty of resorts and accommodations.
The Cliff Diving ceremony is organized by the Sheraton Maui hotel, specifically at the Cliff Dive Bar and Grill.
When Does The Sheraton Cliff Diving Ceremony Start?
The ceremony starts just before sunset, typically between 5:30pm and 6:30pm.
It only lasts for around 10 to 20 minutes, so it is best to get there early.
Why Do They Do The Maui Cliff Diving Ceremony?
Cliff diving at the Sheraton Maui is inspired by the dive made by Chief Kahekili from the same location location in the late 1700s.
Cliff diving, or lele kawa as it’s known, was a popular sport for centuries in Hawaii. Chief Kahekili, who ruled from 1766 to 1793, was known for making leaps from heights of over 200 feet, in a display of incredible skill.
Having conquered cliffs across the island, Chief Kahekili turned his attention to the black rocks of Pu’u Keka’a.
There are two reasons why this dive was considered important.
- First, the location itself. Even seasoned daredevils can appreciate the 30-foot-high jump off point. But if the height doesn’t impress you, then the twisted black rocks of the lava-formed cliff will.
- The second reason is due to what Pu’u Keka’a represented. From this rock, spirits were said to leap, as they moved from the mortal world into the spiritual to join their ancestors. Black Rock is also known as ka leina a ka ‘uhane, or the place where a soul leaps into an eternity.
So, when Chief Kahekili leapt off Pu’u Keka’a and into the ocean, he showed more than just the strength of his mortal body. It was an incredible display of the strength of his spirit as well.
The dark tumbling lava rocks that form Pu’u Keka’a are an intimidating sight to see, stark against the white sands that form Ka’anapali beach. As the evening comes, the torches are lit, and the awe-inspiring dive takes place, it transforms into a place of real wonder.
The Best Places To See The Maui Cliff Diving
The very best place to view the Maui Cliff Diving Ceremony is from the Cliff Dive Bar and Grill at the Sheraton Hotel. With live music, Hula dancing, and a narrated history of the ceremony, it’s a truly immersive experience.
Add a Black Rock Mai Tai and the Kalua pork sandwich, and you have everything you need for an unforgettable night.
That said, there are plenty of other places to watch. From the beach itself you have a clear line of sight to the dive, and there’s plenty of space to get comfortable.
If you’re staying in the Sheraton Maui, you might be lucky enough to get a room with a view.
How Much Does It Cost To See The Sheraton Maui Cliff Diving?
The cliff diving ceremony is completely free to view. It can be seen easily from Black Rock beach, a public access beach which is popular with tourists.
For the best view in the house, you need to visit the Sheraton Maui Cliff Dive Bar and Grill. Although it is still free to view the cliff diving, guests will be expected to buy a drink at least.
Maui Cliff Diving: A Must-See?
The Sheraton Maui Cliff Diving ceremony is a unique and immersive celebration that gives visitors a glimpse into the history of Maui.
Either view it for free from the sands of Ka’anapali beach, or get the full experience from the Cliff Dive Bar at the Sheraton Maui.