Overview of Makena Landing

Makena Landing

Hawaiian Islands


Makena Landing is a nice secluded park with plenty of trees for shade and chickens for amusement There are restrooms and a shower. This is an alternate site for attempting the Five Caves. All levels of divers will find something to enjoy in this area.

Directions: At the South End of Highway 31, bear right onto Wailea Iki. Continue to the T, turn left on Wailea Alanui. After 2.2 miles, turn right onto Makena Road. In .3 miles, you'll see the entry.


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03/22/2020 Pat Huggie (Avg: 3.92 Review) - This is a great site to dive. Just snorkel out 100 yards then go down. During whale season you can hear them communicate. Stay to the right you will see lots of turtles. There is a cave they sleep in and white tip sharks are there a lot. There is a nice swim through. The fish and coral are nice.

03/25/2019 Eric from Eagle (Avg: 3.00 Review) - Did this dive two times, once in the late morning and once early AM. Late morning dive was crazy. Tons of cars, people, snorkelers, etc. Very crowded location; lots of locals enjoy this beach, then combined with all the touristy snorkelers and kayakers it becomes a mess. When we dove there were two big cats anchored, each bringing in about 30 snorkelers, so private it was not. I think there was also a swell in south Maui so viz wasn't very good either. Saw turtles, puffer, and eels. Main value is when you are conservative with air and have enough time for the swim throughs around the tip. Recommend only doing when low/no surf because the best content is tight to the reef which is pretty shallow. Any surges can make it difficult to enjoy.

06/18/2018 Chris Larkby (Avg: 3.06 Review) - 20-39'06.8'N 156-26'30.8'W 20.651899, -156.441885 is our entry point. We got in at the rocky part where the visibility was good even from shore. Good thing we had booties. The lava rocks were irregular and had I been barefoot I would have jammed my toes and maybe twisted an ankle. No colorful soft coral. All hard coral. Almost all the hard coral and rocks were covered with algae or silt and had a brownish green tint. Saw green sea turtles and shoals of yellow tang. Schools of silver fish. A couple sergeant fish. Lots of black spiny sea urchins. Lots of Slate Pencil Sea Urchin (red sea urchins that did not have sharp spines). Lots of hard coral. An occasional puffer fish. Hard corals that Matthew says look like black Pork Bun from Chinese restaurants. Might have seen some Surgeon Fish, but maybe they were parrot fish. Surgeon fish eat seaweed off rocks, as do green sea turtles, so it was probably surgeon fish. Getting out of the water, we decided to swim up to the sandy beach area. Visibility was fine in the deeper water. Due to the turbidity caused by the surf, the visibility at the beach area went to zero as we exited. It was pretty cool seeing the large green sea turtles. At one point, we saw two that were grazing side by side. That was cool. My son says he liked the snorkel but he never went to Lizard Island/Dahab/Cozumel etc. in it's prime so he doesn't have the burden of high expectations.

10/03/2014 Jonathan Olcott (Avg: 3.92 Review) - Excellent diving. Saw lots of turtles and an eagle ray. Very comfortable park and facilities. Very shallow and close to shore so you feel safe. Easy to find.

02/22/2013 MH0007 (Avg: 4.18 Review) - Went here today -- great dive. Made 3 of the coves, cove 2 had 3 white tip reef sharks and cove 3 (Bubble Cove) blessed us with a monk seal. Plenty of Turtles too.

01/19/2013 Anonymous (Avg: 4.71 Review) - Great dive spot, the swim out is a bit far but well worth it, stay to the right along the shore and you will find a first cave that is where there are 5 sleeping white tip sharks and several turtles if you keep going to the right you will come to a second cave known as the bubble cave. To find both caves you will notice that the large rocks become more like gravel and that is where the opening of the cave is. You can enter the cave and surface and chat with your buddy, it's a shallow dive so no problem surfacing. It was filled with turtles, way cool dive. Easy parking and good facilities, one of our divers was ill so stayed on shore and there is a very nice beach and overlook area there as well for non divers.

01/09/2013 Beat J Korner (Avg: 4.02 Review) - Great dive site for scuba divers who want to see a lot of small to large stuff; from nudibranches to white tip sharks and turtles, all in one dive.

03/19/2011 Diverdude (Avg: 3.87 Review) - Makena Landing has good parking, lots of kayaks and snorkelers in the area. You surface swim to the right just at the first house and dive down. This is a great place to dive with lots of sea turtles to film and plenty of triggers, wrasse, puffers etc. We explored one of the caves but missed the first cave where there were 5 sleeping reef sharks. Take your time as there's so much to explore and every turn is an amazing view of coral, light and fish.

08/16/2010 Anonymous (Avg: 4.23 Review) -

06/28/2010 Chris Groll (Avg: 3.54 Review) - Dove here on 6/22/2010. My first dive on Maui was at this site per the recommendations of Ed Robinson Dive shop in Kihei. As previously stated it is a bit of a surface swim, not too bad though if you get out early enough before the trade winds kick up otherwise you will be bobbing around through the white caps. The reef is pretty nice with some very unique formations but the sea life at the time we dove there was sparse. Saw some of the typical reef fish but not turtles or white tips from this entry. Ventured into the 'sandy bottom cave' which was pretty neat. The following day we went just around the corner and entered at 5 Graves where we had a fantastic dive and found 3 more of the caves, a white tip and 3 large turtles. Check out my review on 5 Graves/Caves page.

05/27/2010 Briano52 (Avg: 3.58 Review) - Dove here 5/25/2010. Very easy shore entry. Short 75 yard swim to reef on north side of cove. Vis is fair due to surge, a little better out around the point. Interesting caves and topography close to shore all the way around the entire reef. Not very fishy but interesting nonetheless. Some caves where small sharks and turtles can be found. Saw a green frog fish! Great dive for those who want a short walk from the parking with a shower 50 feet from the beach entry/exit!

01/20/2010 Scott Mac (Avg: 3.91 Review) - Our group, the Marker Buoy Dive Club (www.markerbuoydiveclub.org ), has been coming to Maui for years and this is a great dive for two reasons; as a first to check out gear and to also see many things. The landing starts out as a sandy beach and we head West along the bottom 20-25fsw. The first cove has no cave but the second has two. As you head West and approach this second cove, curve tightly around the East side to find the easily distinguishable cave. Today we saw a white tip reef shark and a very large green sea turtle there. Continue west a short distance and the second cave is much more difficult to find. While it looks like a 20 fsw vertical wall in the surge, look closer and there is a cave with a large bubble of air inside at the ceiling. On the return we tallied what we saw on the reef; large trumpet fish, turtle, Raccoon butterfly fish, puffers, trigger fish, moorish idols, spotted moray eels, a frog fish and an octopus. After the dive we rinsed our gear in the nice showers and changed in the nice bathrooms.

05/16/2008 B Kuhn (Avg: 4.23 Review) - Makena Landing 30ft. Easy beach dive with washroom and showers. Best to dive early in the morning before the waves pick up. Visibility of 3075 ft. This is a popular site for Kayakers. Five stars.

12/28/2007 Anonymous (Avg: 4.39 Review) - If you want to see turtles this is the place! Turtles of all sizes were seen on this site. We did several dives here in late December 2007. Easy parking, very short walk, facilities and a very easy beach entry/exit make this a relaxing dive site. The turtles, fish and abundant swim-throughs, arches and caves make it an interesting site to return to multiple times. We also saw several 5-6 foot white tip reef sharks relaxing in the caves. Fish and invertebrate life includes: moorish idols, many varieties of butterfly fish and wrasses, crabs, brittle stars, nudibranchs and flatworms, trunkfish, eels and more. This is also a popular place for snorkelers. You'll get long bottom times here as you don't have to go beyond 35 feet to enjoy the spectacular variety of life. Enjoy!

10/30/2007 Bill Stohler (Avg: 3.49 Review) - The "landing" at Makena landing is a nice, white sandy beach. It's a very easy shallow gradient walk-in entry. The DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) patrols the beach often looking for divers without flags...so be forewarned! Diving along the right side of the bay from the landing, the Sand and Bubble caves are within a 10-minute swim. As mentioned in the 5 Graves review, I prefer to start and 5 Graves and make a one-way trip, exiting at the Landing, where showers and restrooms await! Very busy during peak tourist time....look out for kayaks overhead! This is also the launching spot for boats transiting (under access agreements) to Kaho`olawe, and there's a fair amount of traffic here.

05/03/2007 Travis (Avg: 2.84 Review) - We stopped by Makena Landing for our second beach of the day. Visibility was terrible. We were there about 1 pm and we had about 1 foot of viz. We bumped into each other and a few other divers (literally bumped into them) because we could not see. Our snorkel was very short. We did, however see a Honu (green sea turtle). Unfortunately, it was only from shore. We had two Honu sightings here. The second time, he came up right in front of us as we were taking off our fins. He was in 6 inches of water about 3 feet off the landing. I put my gear back on very quickly, but could not catch up to him to see him up close. Probably could not have seen much anyway, as the water was so thick. Not recommended for snorkeling, based on my experience today.

01/04/2007 EnjoysWater (Avg: 3.63 Review) - During my stay in Hawaii, I preferred 5 caves over Makena Landing. Being just around the corner, they are quite similar though. I think an experienced diver with decent air consumption could go from Makena Landing to 5 caves. Facilities are good: shower, restroom, sandy beach, large parking lot (by island standards) and a much easier shore entry than 5 caves. Just walk out from the sandy beach. Also, Maui Dreams Dive Co. does a scooter tour from here, rather than checking out the reef and caves (fun white tips). They go straight out to a house sized reef (60 fsw) that they claim has more life on it than you could imagine. I didn't have the extra 80 bucks, but it sounded fun. They also go to the St Anthony wreck on scooters. So, Makena is a solid spot, which has similar underwater features but a more friendly pre/post dive topside than 5 caves.

10/07/2006 Dan and Kelley Holtman (Avg: 3.92 Review) - Sept.22,25&27,2006. 31-34FSW/81*/5-60'vis. The first day our vis was the best. Many Honu (Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle) throughout the dive. The first cave yielded 2 sleeping White Tip Reef Sharks and another in the second cave. Our second day here our objective was to surface swim around the point to the right of the landing until we were in front of the 3rd house south of the graveyard where we would anchor the dive flag. (We figured this was where we had to turn around on our last dive.) The new territory was full of fingers of lava that appeared to be old lava tubes with the tops gone. The vis was down to 25-35' but surge not bad. Thanks to the divers who were exiting as we entered the ocean who reported seeing a frogfish near 5 graves. We found the 8" pale gray green Commerson's Frogfish sitting with his back to us on a ledge. It never moved as we studied it for the longest time. Dwarf, Whitemouth, Yellowmargin Moray and possible Green Moray? Anyone ever seen a Green Moray in Hawaii? More caves holding more Honu the farther around we went. Our 3rd dive here was the most amazing! We entered the ocean at 1213 but it was very overcast with dark clouds and onshore winds stirring up the vis (5-25'). In about 10FSW our friend VW alerted us to a Snowflake Moray out hunting. Shortly afterward we found several Dwarf and a Stout Moray hunting. They must have thought it was dusk since it was so dark. It was truly amazing to see these moray out swimming in the middle of the day. Never a bad day at Makena Landing!!! The cold showers and restrooms are still there.

08/23/2006 Jerry GoDiveMaui.Com (Avg: 4.34 Review) - This dive is most unique among Maui's accessible South shore dives due to number of lava caves and likelihood of a friendly white tip shark sighting. The Landing is inside a cove which offers some protection from early noon Maui trade winds. Like most of the reefs, we dive the coral growth which follows the contours of ancient Hawaiian lava flows. Here we also see turtles, eels, octopus, and a variety reef fish including butterfly fish, puffers, trigger fish, Moorish Idols, (Humuhumunukunukuapua'a) and the occasional frog fish. Facilities include parking lot, showers and toilets.

01/30/2006 Bud Jones (Avg: 3.58 Review) - Four seasons arranged a scooter dive. This dive was first met with a technical difficulty (the switch did not work). Vis on entry was not great but increased as we rounded the 5 graves. A white tip hangs out in the 1st cave. My wife dropped a weight which had to be recovered and exhausted our air. Without the equipment malfunction, the dive may have been better. Not much fish life during the dive except for the shark.

10/11/2005 Kendall Roberg (Avg: 4.95 Review) - I had so much fun diving this site. The reefs are huge, awesome rocks formations (arches, cliffs, and piles of boulders). There were tons of sea turtles, larger fish, reef fish, and corals. I went out much farther than the photo below suggest, and, if you are an experienced diver, I would recommend going far out as well. This site is easy to navigate as you just follow the reef out. Very fun, and ranks with Black Rock as my favorite Maui Site!

08/10/2005 Sean 'Stody' Stodelle (Avg: 3.01 Review) - Just dove this the other day. It is the main kayak launching area and the kayaks will tie up the beaches, so just go around them. Definitely need your float here. We went out and hit both the left and right side. Not much marine life this time due to the 'oli' moon phase. Once the dive boats showed up, the site was way too crowded with beginner divers so we called it early. Perhaps it would be better at another time, but I really wasn't all too impressed.

01/07/2005 John Strang (Avg: 3.96 Review) - We dove this site several times over Christmas in conjunction with 5 Caves/Graves. When the surf stops entries there, Makena will still be doable. We usually surface swim to the houses at the point, then go down near the rock that has a large piece of wire coral sitting over the sand. If you swim on the sand/rock boundary, you usually see it and sometimes we've seen small gobies on the wire coral. This year I found the shark cave, first right after the point, and in pretty shallow water! It is about 10-13 feet at the entrance and we saw 3 good sized white-tipped reef sharks snoozing. On the last dive there on Dec 30th, my brother-in-law spotted a large eagle ray at the edge of the reef, apparently spooking up an octopus as there was an ink smudge in the water. He had a broken (bent) tail and circled us for 5 minutes. Great diving area, especially for cold blooded Alaskan divers!

10/18/2004 Dan and Kelley Holtman (Avg: 3.81 Review) - Oct. 12,2004 35'FSW/81*F/30'-40'vis. Still stirred up after surf on the 10th. Finding the caves today was harder than last year with the lower vis. Could only see one 4.5' Whitetip Reef Shark in cave but could have been more? Finally got to see an octopus along with Undulated & Whitemouth Moray eels, Fantail Filefish, juv. Peacock Razorfish, Indigo Dartfish, Hawaiian Hogfish, adult Dragon Wrasse and at least 12 Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles (one with many tumor-like growths.) Surface swim around point with dive flag until you see the silver ladder on the rocks. Drop in here to find first cave. Nice coral and good cavern when there is little surge.

09/20/2004 Mark in Alaska (Avg: 3.66 Review) - Nice spot to dive; entry is very easy. Dive out to the right side and around the point. Two little caverns to go into and explore, but it depends on how good you are with your air consumption. White tip reef sharks like to hang out in the Caverns.

12/28/2003 Binyamin and Shulamit Koretz (Avg: 3.84 Review) - Dived twice in Feb 2003. Firstt time we came across huge old turtles just past the entry. Second time we had fun in the caves with a turtle and lots of fishes. Poor viz but easy to get an enjoyable 80 or 90 minute dive out of a 12-liter (80cu.ft.) tank. Something fun to do on the the days when you can't afford boat diving, but I wouldn't make a special trip to Hawaii for it.

10/26/2003 Kelley & Dan Holtman (Avg: 4.44 Review) - 10/17/03-0830-EZ entry from sandy beach. Snorkeled along right side of bay and anchored required dive flag in sand. Before decent, orient yourself to silver ladder on rocks as that is where the first cave is. A few fish in first cave. Followed coastline north to find 2nd cave. One White-tip Reef Shark resting there. Continued north to find 3rd cave called Bubble Cave. Large archways leading to lava shoreline. We had calm conditions so we went thru and watched large Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles feeding. Also saw Spanish Dancer's egg display. Enormous moray on return. Fresh water shower and restrooms available. Good entry for kayak divers.

05/21/2001 Al Mialkovsky (Avg: 3.70 Review) - Water is a bit murky this spring and the fault might lie in some construction work around the corner. This place makes a very nice one way dive if you start here and end up at 5 graves, or the other way around.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: MA1901


Entrance at Makena Landing 

The entrance is well marked.


 Map     Sat
GPS: MA1902


Parking at Makena Landing 

And the parking is ample. The boat landing entry is to the left.


 Map     Sat
GPS: MA1903


Entry at Makena Landing 

The boat landing is the white spot on the left edge of the picture.




Aerial at Makena Landing 
(click photo for details)

You may dive the immediate point area, or kick-out and explore the other side of the bay. As always, a dive flag is recommended since boats use this area as well.

Last Verification: September, 2000  


Diver Averages for  Makena Landing  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.64
Bottom Conditions:  3.86
Reef Conditions:  3.75
Animal Life:  3.96
Plant Life:  3.04
Facilities:  4.29
Solitude 3.04
Roads:  4.50
*Site Average:  3.85

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.86
Beginner Scuba:  4.36
Intermediate Scuba:  4.21
Advanced Scuba:  3.68
Night diving Scuba:  3.54

Number of reviews for this site: 28


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