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How to Experience the Magic of Molokini Crater

Boats stationed around Molokini Crater

The unmatched beauty of Molokini Crater is not to be missed during your trip to Maui. This crescent-shaped island is home to thousands of tropical fish, algae, and coral species. And, thanks to Hawaii’s crystal-clear water, Molokini offers some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the United States. Get ready to discover an underwater world! Before you grab your flippers, be sure to sign up for our complimentary Travel GuideIt has all the information you need to plan an epic Hawaiian vacation.

The Creation of Molokini Crater

Technically speaking, Molokini Crater was formed by the movement Maui Island as it passed over hot spots in the Earth’s tectonic plates. The volcanic eruptions that occurred, as a result, created the horseshoe-shaped crater around 230,000 years ago.

The Hawaiian creation myth is just as fiery. As the story goes, the fire goddess Pele fell in love with a gecko prince named Mo’o. However, Mo’o loved another, and the enraged goddess cut either Mo’o or the other woman in half. (Which of the unfortunate lovers fell victim to Pele’s fury differs depending on the source.) The severed head became Pu’u Ola’i (little beach), and the body became Molokini Crater.

Though this Island folklore story is a bit gory, the beauty of Molokini Crater proves that life can be born from ruin.

Explore the Island

Molokini is a designated Marine Life Conservation District and Bird Sanctuary. This means you can view the island’s wildlife in their natural habitat. There are several ways to witness the paradise that grew out of Goddess Pele’s destructive obsession:


Snorkeling is one of the best ways to view marine life unique to the area. Swells and currents don’t disturb the waters within the crater the way they do off the shores of Maui, and marine life has become used to human visitors. View a lively underwater scene that includes turtles, octopuses, and over 250 species of fish. You can even catch a boat to find the top spots for snorkeling around Molokini.

Scuba Diving

Snuba and scuba diving are more in-depth ways to observe the diverse array of underwater animals that call the crater home. Snuba is a combination of scuba diving and snorkeling. Instead of carrying an air tank on your back, you are connected to a boat by an air tube that allows you to swim 20 feet underwater. Snuba and scuba divers can expect to see dolphins, sharks, eels, and manta rays during their plunges. Use the Maui Information Center to find ideal diving locations.

Local Tip: Are you an advanced scuba diver? Stick to the backside of the island where the coral reef is the most dynamic!

Come Home to The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono

After your excursion to Molokini Crater, come back and relax at The Old Wailuku Inn. Our bed and breakfast is different from generic chain hotels. Here, comfortable guest rooms and complimentary amenities (like pool noodles, coolers, and beach towels) add a homey touch to your vacation. You can even unwind on our spacious lanai at the end of a long day.

Don’t forget to join us in the dining room each morning! We serve a delicious, homemade breakfast to help you fuel up for your next adventure.

Check our availability and book your Hawaiian vacation today! We look forward to hosting you.

The Old Wailuku Inn

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  • 808-244-5897
  • 2199 Kaho'okele Street Wailuku
    Maui, Hawaii 96793