As we continue to discover South Maui, today we will talk about one of the best snorkeling spots on the islands, La Perouse Bay. The bay’s Hawaiian name is Keoneʻoʻio, later given the name La Perouse after a French explorer who surveyed the area. La Perouse is part of Maui’s Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve. It is located at the farthest end of the island, past Wailea and Makena. The snorkeling point is the farthest South you can go by car.
You don’t need a catamaran to enjoy Maui’s sea life. La Perouse arguably has better snorkeling than Molokini! The drive to La Perouse is amazing. Once you get past the Wailea and Makena area, you end up on a narrow road elevated above the rugged coastline and crashing waves on your right hand side and luxury oceanfront properties on your left. Drive safely and slowly because cars often pass from the opposite direction.
The Ahihi Kinau Natural Reserve Area consists of small coves and tidal pools. The area surrounding the bay was created by a volcanic eruption on Maui as far back as 1790. The volcano that erupted covered the area in a’a lava, creating the stunning black rock that you’ll see around the bay. La Perouse is also quite a dry area, especially in contrast with the lush green mountains above, which makes for a beautiful scenic view of the Hawaiian landscape.
It is recommended to go first thing in the morning before the wind picks up. When you arrive at the parking area, it’s not uncommon to find one of the area’s many knowledgeable natural area reserve volunteers present to answer any questions you may have about the reserve or Hawaiian wildlife. After your snorkel session, you can head to lunch at Tommy Bahamas in the Shops at Wailea, Da Kitchen in Kihei town, Kinaole Grill Food Truck in Kihei, or even get Ululani’s Shave Ice to cool down.
La Perouse Bay offers something for the entire family, whether you want to snorkel with turtles, explore tide pools, or soak up the warm sun with a book. You may want to bring chairs since the beach can be rocky. Parking is expected to be limited from Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 to Jan. 15, 2017 due to parking improvements. Book your Maui Vacation trip today to discover the South Maui Area and the famous La Perouse Bay.