Hawaii is stunning, with numerous gorgeous islands, countless pristine beaches, and a fascinating historical culture. While there are many activities to enjoy on the islands, we will look today at one in particular: the Pacific Whale Foundation Eco-Friendly Molokini and Turtle Town Tour, and review the activities, the hosts, the price, and even the food.
A Breakdown of the Tour
This was our experience on the Pacific Whale Foundation Molokini and Turtle Town Tour. There may be variations in activities or prices based on what time you go or the season, but our group went in June.
Everyone met at the Pacific Whale Foundation Ocean Store to check in and for a briefing before walking to the boat and boarding. We were delighted to hear that the boat could fit around 140 guests, but there were only around 50 on board, which meant we wouldn’t be elbow-to-elbow.
Breakfast was served to everyone, and they did an introduction speech along with a traditional Hawaiian blessing. It was a beautiful and memorable moment of silence and respect for the Hawaiian lands and culture before setting sail.
After some great snorkeling, everyone got back into the boat for a short jaunt over to Turtle Town, Lahaina for some more snorkeling at a beautiful coral reef. Turtles are a frequent sight, and we happened to see a pretty gigantic turtle come to the surface, say hello, and dive back into its cave home. We were reminded at several points during the tour that the animals get to set the pace for the interactions and it is our responsibility to maintain a safe and respectful distance, which was a valuable and necessary tip for those who may not be used to getting so close to wild animals.
After arriving at the harbor, everyone disembarked, and the crew waved everyone off.
The Pros & Cons of the Molokini & Turtle Town Tour
Overall, what were the best and worst parts of the tour?
Let’s start with the cons (because there simply aren’t many):
- The price. At a steep $197 per person, this excursion is a bit pricey. Though, to be fair, much of that cost goes towards the ecological projects and their non-profit endeavors.
- The cost of the extras was also a bit steep. Make sure to bring all your essentials, including reef-safe sunscreen, because the prices of the onboard purchases were a fair bit more than the stores.
- The nausea could be a bit much for the more seasick-prone of your group. While avoiding this is not necessarily possible, and not a criticism of PWF in particular, the rides to/from Molokini and Turtle Town felt particularly choppy at points.
- All of the guides were extremely friendly and knowledgeable. When we had a question that one of the guides in training didn’t have an answer to, he actually went and sought out the answer and found us again to let us know! Colorful cards were passed around with information about the local fish.
- All the equipment was provided, like snorkel masks and fins, with wetsuits available to rent at a reasonable fee. We appreciated that the snorkel masks came in a variety of prescription sizes for those who don’t have 20/20 vision.
- It was clear that the tour company did their best to make the excursion as safe and family-friendly as possible. Even the young ones stayed and remained engaged on the fairly lengthy excursion.
- The pacing was perfect. We never felt rushed or bored. Five hours is a perfect amount of time to feel like you’re getting your money’s worth without feeling like it’s a neverending activity.
- The food was great, and there was plenty for everyone who wanted seconds.
- The snorkeling conditions were A+! The water was crystal clear and there were so many fish! We were able to take amazing photos with our (INSERT BRAND LINK) phone cases, and they look amazing!
- The Pacific Whale Foundation is a non-profit organization and, as they said on the tour, they spend much of their time educating local youth through their “Keiki Programs”, where they take the children of Hawaii out for educational tours in addition to the amazing tours they do for tourists!
Final Verdict: Is the Eco-Friendly Molokini & Turtle Town Tour a Good Choice?
There are many options for day trips and boat tours on Maui, but we highly recommend this one above the rest. Why? Because the sustainability aspect is so, so important. We love Hawaii, and we want to see its resources protected. Sustainable tourism is a big part of making that happen.
Respect for the lands and the indigenous culture makes this a no-brainer.
We loved how thoughtful the tour guides were and how much they emphasized having fun while respecting the coral reefs and the animals. Plus, it was a great feeling to know that the proceeds of the tour went back into educating and supporting the local Hawaiian community and its youth.
See their website to learn more about the Pacific Whale Foundation and the work that they do.