Lawai – Not Easy In but a Great Snorkel

Lawai Beach is not as well known as Poipu but is as good or better in terms of coral and fish. Maybe the fact that it’s not as popular is why it’s in better shape.

See directions below. As you pass the Beach House, start looking for parking along the road to your right. There is a public lot across from the beach but it’s often full.

There isn’t much room to lay out on this beach. We use it mainly for snorkeling. Lay out your stuff on the rocks (the waves can get high and wash your things away). Now, here’s the tricky part. Look for where people are entering the water – it’s near the middle of the beach opposite the food cart.

There is a sandy shelf you can walk down, turn around, then slip in with your mask and snorkel on, and then put on your fins. It’s super shallow so watch out. 

Turn around and swim directly out to get into deeper water. There is an amazing variety and amount of fish here – all used to being fed. Swim straight out and a little to your left and notice coral formations. We’ve seen large Moray Eels in this area (but not often).

Keep swimming out and then turn left to see if any turtles are hanging out on the rocks in front of the Beach House. You can avoid the strong current if you swim out then cross parallel to the rocky outcrop.

The turtles are generally eating stuff off the rocks in front – but be VERY careful. The waves can be big here and also the water tends to get pretty shallow. But honestly, it’s worth it for the turtles.

Lately we’ve seen more turtles making their way across the bay out about a hundred yards. Hang out for a while and see if you spot them!

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  1. Lisa Yee-Litzenberg

    Lawa’i Beach was a great snorkeling beach. We saw the most fish and sea turtles at this beach. There is a small parking lot and bathroom and even has a small refreshment stand. The beach area itself is small, but the snorkeling is fantastic.

    Please be very careful here . My husband and I were caught in a dangerous rip current that ran parallel with the shore. Do not swim too far to the right. We were swept 1000 feet down to the next beach and had to scramble out on jagged rocks with pounding surf and got a bit beat up. It was very scary.

    There are no lifeguards here, and no warnings about the dangerous rip tides. We visited twice and the first time the waters were quite calm. The second time it was windy here, but we did not expect the dangerous rip current. It was like trying to swim against a very fast river which was nearly impossible.

    We talked to a lifeguard at the nearby Poipu beach, and he said that there are lots of drownings at Lawa’i Beach and that just the day before they had to perform a resuscitation.

    Consider bringing flotation assistance, always swim with a buddy that is a strong swimmer and don’t venture too far to the right.

  2. Tom Fuller

    Such good advice, Lisa. Don’t go out unless it’s calm, don’t go out very far and veer to the left.

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