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How to Make the Most of Your First Snorkeling Trip!

If you’ve never experienced the thrill of viewing breathtaking ocean life in its natural habitat, then you’re missing out on an underwater side to life! Read the rest of this article to learn everything you need to make your first snorkeling trip every bit as incredible as it should be!

Just What is Snorkeling?

If you don’t even know what snorkeling is, don’t feel bad! Snorkel is quite an odd word for what it actually is. A snorkel itself refers to the curved tube connecting your mouth to the air above a surface of water. Snorkeling represents the act of floating on the surface of the water, looking through a mask underwater and breathing through the use of a snorkel.

While snorkeling does sound fairly similar to scuba diving, snorkeling does not entail any diving. When you snorkel, you’ll float on the surface of the water the entire time, still providing plenty of vision for vibrant tropical fish and glorious coral reefs!

Another key difference between the two activities is that snorkeling doesn’t require an oxygen tank because the snorkel serves as a breathing apparatus. You also don’t need to maintain any specific fitness levels to snorkel, whereas scuba diving does have requirements. Snorkeling is accessible to anyone and easy to jump right in and get your feet wet!

What You’ll Need

Now you know what snorkeling is, but you probably noticed the mention of a mask and snorkel. In order to successfully snorkel, you do require the help of some equipment. If you’re booking a snorkeling or catamaran tour, the equipment will be provided for you. Whether you’re bringing it on your own or will have it provided to you, the following pieces of equipment are necessary:

  • A mask! This piece of equipment is crucial to making sure you’re comfortable and can actually see the aquatic life underwater. You should make sure your mask fits well with a good seal preventing any water from getting inside. It should also have a scratch-free window so your vision isn’t impaired by scuffs.
  • A snorkel! Definitely the most important piece of equipment for snorkeling, appropriately named the snorkel. This curved tube is what allows you to breathe underwater, with one end attaching to your mouth and the other extending above the water. Make sure you pick one that properly fits your mouth size!
  • Some flipping fins! While you might swim like a fish, if you really want to move around efficiently in the water, you need some fins! There are a few different styles, but try to pick some that are comfortable. Picking a full pocket flipper is the best bet for your first time around, being easy to put on and use.


The following pieces of equipment are not necessary to snorkel but, by using them, your experience will be much more enjoyable! Here’s what extras we recommend bringing:

  • Coral reef-friendly sunscreen! Just under a year ago, many sunscreens were banned from being sold and distributed within Hawaii. These sunscreens contained octinoxate and oxybenzone, which are deadly for coral reef. Not all sunscreens are banned, so no need to burn yourself in the sun! Just be sure to pick one without either of the chemicals mentioned above!
  • Snorkel vest! This one really depends on your skill level with swimming. If you’re more of a dog-paddler swimmer, a snorkel vest is great for letting you not have to worry about keeping yourself afloat. If you’re an experienced swimmer, keeping yourself afloat might be second nature, making the vest a little silly.
  • Underwater camera! While certainly not needed to snorkel, using an underwater camera is an excellent way of physically capturing your experience! It is certainly one thing to see aquatic life in person, but looking at a photograph of when you went snorkeling is a great way of taking you back to the moment! Afterall, snorkeling is definitely something you’ll want to remember.
  • Wetsuit! This final suggestion is really about your personal comfort. A wetsuit is a full-body suit made of specific material designed to keep out the moisture and cold of the water. Hawaiian waters are pretty warm already because of the tropical climate, but it can still get chilly, so wearing a wetsuit is a good way to keep yourself warm.

Snorkel in South Maui!

With your gear squared away, all that’s standing between you and the water is figuring out where you want to snorkel! There are hundreds of locations around the world where you can snorkel, with each location offering a slightly different selection of aquatic life to see.

Hawaii is probably one of the most popular snorkeling hot-spots in the world with ample access to several swimmable beaches. Factoring in the yearly sunshine and crystal-clear blue water, there’s no surprise people come to Hawaii to snorkel.

Hawaii is a collection of islands, meaning you can narrow down just where you want to snorkel. Hawaii’s most popular island for snorkeling is none other than Maui! Maui is larger than Oahu, making it the second largest island behind the Big Island.

Maui has many bodies of waters protected in bays, keeping harsh winds and waves out. This allows ocean life to remain undisturbed, letting you see it calmly swimming about in its natural habitat. This is what makes the island of Maui (and more specifically South Maui) so great for snorkeling! The ocean life is undisturbed and easy to spot!

Maui is also right next to a volcanic crater known as Molokini Crater. The volcanic crater is shaped like a crescent and sports some of the clearest water in the world inside. Molokini is home to sea turtles and tropical fish alike, making it a favorite of snorkelers worldwide.

If you’re planning on making your first snorkeling trip a reality, make South Maui your destination! Maui is a great snorkeling place for both first-timers and those with experience. The sun is warm, the water is inviting, and the sea life is absolutely beautiful! Take a look at your options for snorkeling in South Maui today!