Poipu Beach: One of the Best Snorkel Spots in the World

A Mooris Idol at Poipu Beach


Okay, I know that’s saying a lot. But there are several reasons Poipu Beach has this reputation – which I’ll get to below. I’ll also add more photos to the gallery so you can see the variety of sea life you’ll experience – but honestly, a Poipu Beach snorkel should be one of the highlights of your stay on Kauai.

Here’s a 2019 June snorkel at Poipu Beach

So, for starters, the best place to enter the water is where the two beaches meet. There’s the remnants of a tombolo right out from there. The sad news is that, depending on the tides and conditions, the lifeguards often close this place for swimming. 

Alternatively you can get in to your right past where the rocks are on the beach and swim over. But if you can get in at the center you can then follow the rocks of the tombolo out – you’ll see lots of fish (they are used to being fed so they are pretty friendly).

The Snorkel

As you get further out you might spot an octopus if you are really observant. We’ve seen them out there, but also on the shallow left side. Also look for moray and snowflake eels in the rocks. The snowflake eels generally seem to prefer the shallower sections near where you get in. The Moray’s like the rocks way to the right. Don’t go beyond the tombolo (the lifeguards say there are tiger sharks out there).

Turn to your right and go across the bay – being careful not to get so far out that you in the line of surfers. Rarely, but sometimes, spotted eagle rays will come into the bay where it’s a little sandy and a little rocky.

Continue to the right until you get nearer to the shore near the Honu Bar. We’ve seen lots of eels in this area – the problem is that sometimes the clarity of the water is not so good.

Continue to swim towards the beach – lots of fish and if you are lucky, Honu (sea turtles). Remember not to touch the turtles.

As you swim parallel to the beach you can find snowflake eels in the rocks all the way back to the entry point. 

On the left side is the very shallow portion but has great sea life. We hung out with an octopus here in super shallow water. You’ll see flounders (look carefully as they are not easy to spot – near where the two beaches meet) and you can get up close and personal with lots of fish and possibly turtles. Have fun with your snorkel of Poipu Beach!


Leave a Reply