Kauai Snorkeling Guide, Snorkel Beaches - Kauaiexplorer.com

Kauai Snorkeling Fun!

(or how to swim like a fish and walk like a duck)

Snorkeling is an activity enjoyed by people of all ages. Choosing the proper gear and the right location is key to having a safe underwater adventure. Read below for helpful snorkeling techniques and our recommendations for Kauai's best snorkeling beaches.

Snorkel Gear

Faces come in many shapes - and so do masks. Selecting proper fitting and quality snorkel gear will make all the difference in creating an epic snorkeling adventure.

  • A Proper Fit: visit one of Kauai's many dive or surf shops and buy/rent gear which fits properly
  • Getting A Good Seal: select a mask which seals to your face even without the strap. Vaseline can help minimize mustache leaks (rub around the seal where the mask contacts your mustache)
  • Glasses or Contacts: request a mask with corrective lenses
  • Keep Warm: if you chill easily a wetsuit top (wind shirt) can keep you cozy
  • Fight The Fog: soap keeps the fog factor down for maximum visibility. Wash the inside glass of your mask with soap and rinse thoroughly.
Choosing The Right Location

Where and when you snorkel will make a major difference. Preferably, you are looking for calm waters without waves that are protected by reefs. These tropical reefs and corals are where the colorful fish live, so that's where you'll want to go. An important thing to note is that just because a beach is great for snorkeling one day, doesn't mean it won't be treacherous the next. Always check for current ocean conditions before entering the water.

  • When in Doubt - Don't Go Out: Check for daily weather conditions and warnings
  • Bays, Reefs and Coves: Kauai offers many protected snorkeling areas for optimal snorkeling enjoyment. Reef areas offer the most abundant and diverse fish populations.
  • Timing is Everything: the water is generally calmer at low tide and in the morning (before the wind comes up)
  • Enter Safely: most reefs have sandy channels which allow for safe, easy entry into the water
Technique – Relax Like a Fish

Proper technique will make you a better snorkeler. If you're a beginner, you may want to seek instructions from a land based or boat based snorkeling tour. Often times, these companies will provide the snorkeling gear for you.

  • Float Naturally: you will quickly find that your body wants to float on the surface, start in shallow water and get used to floating while breathing through the snorkel.
  • Gentle Fin Motion: simply float and kick gently to move around, waving your arms in the water can startle the fish.
  • Clear Your Snorkel: if your snorkel fills with water, don't fret, a strong blast of air it. Practice  in shallow water.
  • Respect The Environment: visit the Marine Wildlife Section to learn how you can enjoy the ocean without disturbing the balance.

Learn about Hawaiian ocean wildlife »

Recommended Snorkeling Beaches

Ready for a fun day of snorkeling on one of Kauai's beautiful beaches? Get ready for tropical fish, green sea turtles, colorful color and other ocean wildlife.

  • Ke'e Beach - A popular beach (yes it's crowded), the end of the road offers a protected lagoon teaming with tropical fish.
  • Makua (Tunnels) - Tunnels beach offers more privacy than Ke'e with similar ocean wildlife.
  • Poipu Beach Park - Not so many fish, but great for learning, Poipu beach is protected and lifeguarded.
  • Lydgate Beach Park - Lydgate is protected which makes it another great beach for beginners.
Comments (102 comments)   View all comments   

christopher dodd | Sep 08, 2007 7:17PM

Poipu Beach is your best bet to see a Sea Turtle. Ke'e Beach (my favorite)is like being in a giant aquarium.

michele | Sep 18, 2007 10:27AM

Best snorkeling yet at Tunnels beach!

Lisa Pattison | Mar 12, 2008 1:59PM

We are coming the first 10 days of April. Are there some beaches that are better than others this time of year?

Kauai Explorer Staff | Mar 13, 2008 7:37PM

All beaches are beautiful, of course. For swimming, the South shore is generally going to have smaller surf, while the North and West shores can often have larger waves. J

tina marie | Mar 14, 2008 1:36PM

are we able to bring shells back with us to canada?

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