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Eco-Friendly Molokini & Turtle Town Tour: (2024) Review

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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.

Snorkeling at Molokini with the kids!
Snorkeling at Molokini with the kids!

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.

Ocean Store
We ate our lovely, no-frills breakfast as we sailed to the first snorkeling stop in Molokini, with the hosts giving information about the area. Other tours were happening in the Molokini crater, but our boat managed to get a fantastic spot. We disembarked with our fins and goggles and spent around an hour viewing all the gorgeous fish and coral in the Molokini area. At both Molokini and Turtle Town, there were several tour guides in the water during the snorkeling to ensure everyone was safe and that nobody got too close to the coral or the wildlife.
snorkeling stop in Molokini

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 spending about an hour at Turtle Town, everyone boarded for lunch as we made our way back to the harbor. Lunch was chicken sandwiches, hotdogs, and plentiful sides. Coffee was available for the whole trip, and the hosts routinely walked around with water for the guests. Cookies were passed out prior to arrival back at the harbor. It was clear that extra precautions were taken to make sure the food situation was as sanitary and seamless as possible. There was an extra educational show for the children onboard.

After arriving at the harbor, everyone disembarked, and the crew waved everyone off.

Turtle Town

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.

The pros:

  • 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?

Without question: Yes!

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.

Turtle Town Tour a Good Choice

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.

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