If you absolutely must see turtles (Honu) then you absolutely must snorkel Anini Beach. It’s located between Kilauea and Princeville on Kauai’s north shore. Just after you pass Kilauea be ready to turn right and go down a curvy road.
You end up driving parallel to the ocean. Go slow, the road is narrow. Eventually you come to a flat area with homes to your left and right. Continue on until you reach Anini Beach Park. Park to the right near the bathrooms.
Anini Beach is behind a reef so the water is often calm. There is a current going from your right to your left so be aware of it. It’s not super strong but will carry you if you don’t pay attention.
Enter pretty much anywhere but the turtles are most often just to the right of the boat ramp out about a hundred yards out on some rocks. There isn’t a lot to see in the beginning as you head out but wait – as you come to the rocks there are lots of fish, eels, turtles and coral to see.
Check out this video playlist including an Anini Beach snorkel
Be careful of the current
The one thing to be aware of at Anini is the current. There is a pretty strong right to left current that will carry you. Also, wind can come up at Anini so pay attention before you go in the water. As for the current, it’s not that strong but if you go too far to your left you may have to go ashore and walk back to your stuff.
Also be careful when you enter and exit the water. Rogue waves can come in over the reef. We actually broke a toenail on a rock when a big wave came in right at shore.
I’ve often been asked about eels. First off – they are harmless to you. We see the big teeth and think they are aggressive. They aren’t. Sure – don’t try to touch them or harass them, but if you just watch, you will be fine. They move their jaws in order to breath.
How do you see them? It takes some patience but look for something darker than the surrounding rocks. Often they will stick their heads out of a hole and you can see them.
The turtles at Anini Beach hang out in groups so you can often see two, three, or four sleeping together or feeding. Please do not touch them and keep your distance. It’s illegal to touch a Honu. Enjoy them, take some video or pictures and marvel at these amazing sea creatures.
Here’s a link to weather conditions at Anini Beach.