Maui Caves

Maui caves are evidence of volcanic activity and the march of time. Centuries ago, when Mount Haleakala was erupting, the lava ran to the sea. Today, a fascinating network of stone arches, grottoes, and sea caves created by the lava flow set the backdrop for exploring both on land and under the water. Whether they're looking for a short hike or a full day of snorkeling, Maui visitors can explore these stone creations.

In the rural community of Hana on the eastern shore of Maui, travelers will find a place that's both interesting to explore and visitor-friendly. The Hana Lava Tube offers an array of activities both above and underground. On self-guided tours, visitors can step below the surface and visit the Hana Lava Tube. This natural wonder is safe to explore, with handrails along the well-marked trail, a comfortable temperature, and fresh air. As with the other caves in Maui, the photo opportunities here are fantastic. Above the cave, there's a beautiful park, complete with a picnic shelter and the Red Ti Botanical Garden Maze.

The Hana Lava Tube, which also goes by the name Kaeluku Caverns, isn't the only interesting formation forged by volcanic forces. With a name that means "glistening waters" in Hawaiian, Waianapanapa Caves State Park is a place of legends. Every spring, tiny indigenous shrimps turn the waters red; visitors will hear about King Kaakea, who murdered his wife, Popualaea, while she was in hiding. In any season, visitors will find some of Hawaii's most beautiful sea caves in Maui, as well as a black-sand beach, camping, hiking trails, and a natural stone arch. A dip in the cave pool is sure to be refreshing. Locals and savvy travelers bring underwater flashlights so they also can explore the lava tubes that run back to the ocean.

Many of the caves in Maui are found under the sea, and they can be seen on snorkeling, kayaking, diving, and boat tour adventures. When Mount Haleakala last erupted, in the 1790s, it sent a stream of lava out into the ocean. When the side vents of the volcano slipped into the sea, they cooled, creating this amazing network of caves. Visitors can secure the services of a local guide to gain access to some of the lesser-known Maui caves found off the coast. These dark, crystalline lava formations are mysterious. Deep in the tubes, as the light slips away, other senses sharpen, and the rumbling sound of water compressing the air will be something you'll never forget.

A lot of these watery Maui caves were inaccessible to travelers until the 1980s. But for more than twenty years now, there have been eco-tours available among the sea caves off the Kanaio Coast of eastern Maui, opening up these amazing sites. The list of activities includes snorkeling, whale watching, scuba diving, and raft tours. The rafts are more than ordinary yellow inner tubes—these motorized vehicles keep passenger comfort in mind. One of the most popular tours, the Kanaio/Molokini tour, gives passengers the chance to see the Kanajo Sea Caves, the inaccessible coast, Mount Haleakala, spinner dolphins, sea turtle habitats, and the Molokini Marine Preserve, a volcano that's rising above the waters. There's also time for snorkeling.

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