Everyone raves about snorkeling tours, or snorkeling boat trips. But we had so much fun snorkeling the Big Island off the beach that we passed them up at first. We got to go on our own schedule. So we went earlier in the day when visibility was better and sunburn was less.
But, to see what we were missing, we tried snorkeling boat trips in Cozumel and Florida.
Unfortunately, we found exactly what we were expecting.
Our experience with snorkeling tours
- No matter what they say, their snorkel gear is rubbish. You’re better off bringing our own cheap set from your local discount or sporting goods store. See my list of snorkeling gear for beginners.
- No matter what they say, they won’t give you any help or instruction. Even if you get stung by jellyfish. Before you go, practice on your own in a pool. If you can, follow that up with some time off the beach in the ocean. Even after snorkeling a lot off of beaches, I personally found getting into the water off a boat intimidating. (My husband wasn’t bothered by it.)
- No matter what they say, they’re highly likely to take you to a place just off the beach. The only thing they’re selling you is knowing the beach location.
- No matter what they say, the best stuff will be too deep to see it well. If they take you to a place you can’t reach from the beach on your own, everything you’re looking at will be 10-30 feet underwater. You’ll wish you were scuba diving or could dive with a snorkel. (My husband can. I can’t, even though I’m a good swimmer. I float too well in salt water. Also my ears are too sensitive to dive with a snorkel.)
- No matter what they say, there are a lot of people on a boat. Or other boats will arrive. In a hoard of swimmers, it’s more like snorkeling in a crowded aquarium. It just doesn’t have the feel of wonder of snorkeling on your own from the beach.
In spite of all that, for Maui snorkeling I suggest you take a snorkeling tour. We did not have good luck snorkeling off the beaches of Maui. Based on our experiences and what I learned from other visitors while we were on Maui, you’ve got a better chance at a great time snorkeling in Maui if you take a snorkeling tour.
Resources for Snorkeling Tours