Auntie Snorkel. The Best Place To Rent Snorkel And Beach Gear On Maui

Best snorkel rental maui
Where is the best place to rent Snorkel sets, Stand Up Paddle Boards, Bicycles, GoPro, Wetsuits and so much more in Kihei, Maui

Like many of our vacation rental owner neighbors, we provide a whole suite of beach gear for our guests. We offer the popular Tommy Bahama backpack chairs, 2 deluxe Tommy Bahama beach umbrellas, 3 different size/types of coolers, boogie boards, sand toys and beach games, big, thirsty cotton beach towels, a ‘sand free’ beach blanket and tote, pool noodles, a big folding wagon to tote all this stuff to the beach easily and so much more.

But with limited space we can’t offer it all. The good news is that if we don’t have it Auntie Snorkel does!

There are at least half a dozen activity rental stores within walking distance of our vacation rental condo in Kihei, but we think that the locally owned Auntie Snorkel is the best! Here’s why!

Personalized service, local knowledge, great selection, awesome prices!


Renting Snorkel Sets

Let’s start with snorkel sets. Many of our guests bring their own sets and at one point we had several sets available in our condo, but over time we felt that the generic ‘one size fits all‘ concept of outfitting a snorkeler was not the safest way to go and we removed the sets. Getting a mask to fit properly is best left to the experts. Having a leaky mask means no-fun as you constantly clear the fog or remove the water. All the while missing that turtle that just swam by!

If you don’t want to take up luggage space with snorkel gear, then renting is the way to go.

Photo by Auntie Snorkel

Auntie Snorkel offers a plethora of mask sizes and styles to fit all needs. The owners and staff will custom fit each person with their own gear. There’s even a 2 For 1 discount coupon, which at the time of this posting has a full dry snorkel set with fins renting for just $7.95 a day!


Stand Up Paddle Boards

Since Auntie Snorkel is literally just steps to two of Maui’s best beaches, Kamaole I and II, you can rent your SUP and walk it across the street and be paddling with turtles in mere minutes. * BONUS * Auntie’s is just a 5 minute walk from our vacation rental condo too!

Photo by Auntie Snorkel

Stand up paddle boards or SUP for short are in hot demand so be sure to pre-book online (don’t forget to use the 50% off coupon!)

The very best time to head out to the Kamaole beaches is early in the morning when the water is smooth and glassy. You want to venture out before the wind kicks up and makes paddling difficult. You’ll see lots of other paddle boarders doing the same thing. It’s a very popular activity on Maui! And with good reason. Both ‘Kam’ beaches offer amazing reef views and you’re sure to see a turtle or two swimming right beside you! (Photo by Auntie Snorkel)


Beach Cruisers

One of the best ways to see South Maui (the towns of Kihei, Wailea and Makena area) is by beach cruiser! Since Maui’s weather is wonderful year round, any day is a good day for a bike ride. At less than $20 a day you can cruise all over South Maui and have a blast doing it. Make sure to read our ‘Discover South Maui By Bicycle | Find Your Next Adventure On A Bike‘ post to get the most out of your rental!


Boogie Boards and Skim Boards

While we do offer a variety of boogie boards in the condo, we don’t have skim boards. Not to worry, Auntie to the rescue! Go get your skim on with one of theirs. According to Auntie’s website “If you’re looking for skim boards you probably already know what these are about. If not, skimboarding is a sport where you run down a wet beach, throw a flat oval wooden disk across the wet beach hop on and glide!! Skim boarding is like “the skateboarding” of beaches.

Best snorkel rental maui

Check out professional Skimboarder, Austin Keen skimboarding at Maui’s Makena Beach (aka Big Beach). Skimboarders are regulars at this beach and even if you don’t rent one and give it a try, this is a great beach for watching the locals – they’ll show you how it’s done local style!


Maui Island Activities & Tours

You’ll find a whole host of Island activities available on Auntie’s website. But stop by the shop and talk to the ‘Fun Specialists’ to see all of what is offered. You’ll find;

  • Luaus
  • Zipline Activities
  • Boat Tours
  • Helicopter Tours
  • Rafting Trips
  • and much more!
Auntie Snorkel is Maui’s Local Family Owned & Operated Beach Rental and Activity Shop, est. in 1985.

You can trust Auntie’s!

According to their website, “Auntie Snorkel shop has been serving Maui’s fun seekers for over 33 years, established in 1985. We are the original South Maui Snorkel Shop. When I bought the shop ten years ago from Auntie we decided to keep the name. The name Auntie is a term of respect here in Hawaii. I am living my dream. I get to meet awesome people from all over the world and share with them my love and knowledge of this magical island I get to call home. We know all the spots. I have lived here since 2001. We are the true definition of a family owned and operated shop. I answer the phones and work the shop along with my family. When you shop with us you are supporting my ohana and for that I thank you!! Why go anywhere else? We are the friendliest, fastest, cheapest and our location is the most epic!”

Owner Mark Noble is a certified ‘Fun Specialist‘ as is his co-worker Scott Johnson! On our most recent trip to Maui we were in need of a life vest for a quick fishing/kayak outing. Since we own our own life vests here in California and forgot to bring them over, we headed to our favorite rental spot and Scott hooked us right up! Auntie’s treated us like Ohana!

Guaranteed Lowest Prices

Great savings on rental prices means more money for Mai Tais!


Hydrate!

Scott also introduced us to the most delicious new raw juices being sold in the shop. R.I.P.E Raw. Invigorating. Pure. Energy. After a day of salt water activities this cold pressed juice hit the spot! We tried Dream: a mix of Pineapple, Mint, Apple, Cucumber. It was delicious so go check out their line up of amazing juices and elixirs here! Talk about drinking a rainbow!

Photo by R.I.P.E

Just a little about R.I.P.E because is was so delish and we can’t help but share another wonderful, locally owned Maui business. “We are a small, cold-pressed juice business on the island of Maui, offering cleanses, monthly memberships, and one-time purchases. Our team truly believes in the power of juicing and the positive impacts that juice makes to your overall well-being. We offer fresh, made to order juices that are delivered right to your doorstep. Think of us as your modern day milkman, only we deliver fresh, organic, local, cold-pressed juice!”
For more info visit https://www.ripejuicemaui.com/



Everything that Auntie’s Offers
RentalsDiscounts On
Weekly Rentals
Look For
Coupons Online
Retail
SUP PaddleboardsFull Face Snorkel Masks
Boogie BoardsPremium Snorkel Sets
Premium Dry Snorkel Sets with Bag, Fins and DefogPremium Fins
Beach ChairsSnorkels & Accessories
UmbrellasWaterproof Phone Bags
Keiki (kid) Snorkel SetsReef Shoes
Rubber Fitted FinsRash Guards
Flotation Belts & Life VestsReef-safe Sunscreen
CoolersSunglasses & Croakies
BicyclesStickers
GoPRo Camera & AccessoriesFrisbees
Skim BoardsBeach toys - Waboba*
Surf BoardsDisposable Cameras
Football, Volleyballs, Bocce Ball sets, TennisSD cards & Phone Cables
WagonGoPro Accessories
Binoculars (great for whale season)Floating Stick for Camera
Wet suit Shirts & ShortiesPostcards
Maui ActivitiesLogo Gear
Molokini Snorkel TripsHats
LuausShirts
Helicopter ToursRacerback Tanks
Hana Land ToursStickers
Jet Skiing
Whale WatchingR.I.P.E Juice Maui
Dolphin ExcursionsFresh Pressed Daily
Horseback RidesLocal Maui Juices
Surf Lessons
& More...

Hours

Monday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Friday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm

Contact: 808.298.3021

Business Info:

Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Car Parking: Street
Bike Parking: Yes
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Good for Kids: Yes
By Appointment Only: No
Offers Military Discount: Yes 👍🏻

Auntie Snorkel is rated 5-Stars on both Yelp™ and TripAdvisor™


Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do, come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *
Auntie Snorkel. The Best Place To Rent Snorkel And Beach Gear On Maui. The best place to rent Snorkel sets, Stand Up Paddle Boards, Bicycles, GoPro, Wet suits and so much more in Kihei, Maui

Maui Coral Reefs – The Essential ‘Pono’ Guide

Maui Coral Reef Safe Suncreen
Maui Coral Reefs – The Essential ‘Pono’ Guide

Two of Maui’s top activities are snorkeling and diving, and more specifically, snorkeling and diving Maui’s coral reefs. Today I’d like to present you with our Maui Coral Reefs, The Essential ‘Pono‘ Guide so that you can make the most out of your snorkeling, diving and ocean activities that involve Maui’s amazing reef ecosystem. This is a topic I feel very strongly about so bear with me as this is a longer than normal post.

scuba snorkel school of reef fish

Let’s start with some facts about the coral reef system in Maui.

• 80% of U.S. reefs are found in Hawai‘i.
• 25% of Hawai’i’s marine species are endemic (found nowhere else on Earth).
• Hawai‘i has the highest rate of endemism* for any large-scale reef ecosystem in the world.
• The Kumulipo (Hawai‘ian creation chant) identifies the coral polyp as the first form of life.
• Hawai‘i hosts about 40 species of hard, reef building corals.
• Maui’s coral reefs support over 400 species of fish.

And the most important fact
In the past two decades, 25% of Maui’s surveyed corals have died, while 50% of Maui’s reefs are currently declining.

Pride of Maui’s images tell the story, it’s very disheartening.

coral-reef-kaneohe-bay

*Endemism is the ecological state of a species being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation, country

Knowing all of this, it’s clear that Maui’s coral reef system is something special indeed and it’s our responsibility to protect and care for it.

So what exactly is coral and the reef system? According to Maui Nui Marine Resource Council,

“Coral reefs are made up of millions of living, breathing animals known as coral polyps. Related to jellyfish and anemones, coral polyps have a single opening surrounded by tentacles that are use to capture food. There are two types of corals: hard corals and soft corals. Hard corals – known as reef building corals – excrete a hard, protective “cup” of calcium carbonate (limestone). This rigid skeleton forms the framework for coral reefs. Soft corals (for example seafans) do not build calcium carbonate skeletons and are not considered reef builders.”

But more than this, the reef ecosystem consists of not just the coral but the sea life that co-exists with it including fish, sea turtles, invertebrates and mammals.

 
And why are coral reef and the reef systems so important?

clown fish sea anemone“Coral reefs are considered one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. Dubbed the “rainforests” of the sea, reefs play a critical role in maintaining natural diversity and providing a home to thousands of species.
Corals also support healthy human communities, and are responsible for providing:
• Food
• Recreation
• Tourism (economics)
• Medicine
• Protection from large storm and wave events”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coral reefs are considered one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. Dubbed the “rainforests”

Embrace ‘Pono’

So let’s discuss what we can do as visitors to Maui when enjoying this amazing, fragile living organism. Here’s where the ‘pono’ comes in. In Hawai‘i, ‘pono’ is an overarching principle that essentially means to do what is right or proper.

While we know that three of the primary drivers behind Maui’s declining coral reefs are 1) Land-based pollutants, 2) Over-fishing and poor enforcement of fishing regulations and insufficient ‘resting’ (kapu) sites that protect marine life by providing time and space to recover from these stressors and 3) rising ocean temperatures, there are two lesser known extremely significant drivers, chemical sunscreens and recreational overuse. Hawai‘i’s tourism industry brings thousands of people into contact with its reefs. Uninformed and unsupervised divers and snorkelers who touch or accidentally trample living corals can have a cumulative and significant impact over time, especially when concentrated in small areas. Further, studies show that the use of chemical based sunscreen products are actually causing ‘coral bleaching’. To give you some insight, the film, ‘Reefs at Risk’, released earlier this year, raises awareness of the harm that certain chemicals, like Oxybenzone, do to Hawaiʻi’s reefs.

 
Let’s have a closer look at Sunscreen use.

As we mention in our ‘Maui Beaches’ guide;  Sunscreen is an absolute necessity in Maui. We’re close to the equator and the sun is intense. Sunburns are no fun so apply early and often.  Maui reefs are experiencing a tremendous amount of damage and coral bleaching due to the chemicals in sunscreen. Please do your part to preserve our beautiful reef systems for generations to come and avoid sunscreens containing the ingredients
• Oxybenzone
• Butylparaben
• Octinoxate
• 4-Methylbenzylidine Camphor

Generally speaking ‘Natural’ sunscreens are best. Look for brands that contain titanium or zinc oxide instead of chemical sun-block. You may have trouble finding natural sunscreens in the chain stores but we’ve found that Down To Earth natural market in Kahului and Hawaiian Moons in Kihei (just next door to our condo) both offer a wide selection of natural sunscreens. ABC stores are now carrying a small selection of reef safe sunscreens.

According to The Guardian, “hundreds of sunscreen products use oxybenzone, including those made by Coopertone and Banana Boat. Some manufacturers have started to produce sunscreens marketed as “reef friendly”, but scientists warn that, like the labels “healthy” and “natural” for food, there is little to no regulation over such claims and consumers should check ingredients.”

And in January of this year, Hawaii state senator Will Espero introduced a bill which would ban sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in Hawaii (except under medical prescription) to the state Congress. Espero argues that a ban is important to preserve the state’s tourism industry, because Hawaii relies heavily on tourists attracted by its coral reefs.

It’s no secret that the personal care product industry is pushing back and lobbying against legislature banning these products. The multi-billion dollar industry argues that significant other factors are causing reef die-off and their products have tested safe for reef. Regardless of which side of the argument you find yourself, it would seem prudent to err on the side of caution and discontinue using these chemicals when a more natural and more effective sunscreen is available.

Which Sunscreen then?

babo botanicals zinc spf 30On a very personal note, I’ve used sunscreen religiously on my trips to Maui over the last 25 plus years. I’ve used all the name brands containing a plethora of chemical ingredients, and without fail every year I would break out in a ‘sun rash’ if I exposed my skin too long while wearing chemical sunscreens.  Finally, about 4 years ago, I switched to a zinc based natural sunscreen. I bought one made specifically for babies as they have such tender skin, my reasoning was that it had to be better and more gentle than what I could (at the time) find in Maui.

The first year I used Babo Botanicals with an SPF 30 factor.  It was the first time ever that I didn’t end up with a rash and my skin was beautifully bronzed. I never burned despite the intense equatorial sun and I’ve been a convert ever since. I’ve put together a list on Amazon.com of the Zinc and Titanium dioxide based sunscreens that I have personally used with great results.  At the time I started using Babo, I had no idea about the dyeing coral. I’m glad I switched when I did.

Another brand that I’ve had great luck with is Stream2Sea – they make a tinted sunscreen with 30SPF that works wonderfully – especially if mixed with Maui Babe coconut oil browning lotion.

Finding these brands or similar Zinc/Titanium dioxide on Maui is not the challenge that it was even 4 years ago.  They can be easily found at Down To Earth Market  in Kahului, just a mile or so from the airport (we stop here upon arrival and stock up on select organic groceries) or head to Hawaiian Moons Natural Food store, just a 5 minute walk from our condo. Both carry several great brands in both lotions and convenient sprays (SPF lip balm too!)

 
 
What can you do?

Here are ways you can protect this amazing island and world asset while visiting Maui;

• Wear Reef-Safe sunscreen reef-safe-sunscreen
• Wear a sun protective rash guard.
• Be a responsible snorkeler, diver or watcher of ocean life.
• Don’t walk on the coral. Remember, if it’s SAND it’s ok to STAND. Walking on the reef can kill the coral animals that inhabit it.
• Prevent pollution by carrying your trash out when visiting Maui beaches. Even better, practice some island Aloha and pick up ANY trash you find on the beaches. Even the smallest piece of plastic. It all adds up.
• Don’t feed the fish. They have a very specific diet that helps them fit into their environment.
• Never harass fish, let them come to you.
• NEVER take or pick coral.
• Don’t drag kayaks or surfboards over the reef
• Leave only bubbles.

Here are a few easy to use resources on best practices while snorkeling or SCUBA diving.

 

Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s infographic makes it easy to follow ‘Pono’ reef etiquette. CORAL.ORG has produced two excellent guides for snorkeling and SCUBA.snorkeling best practices

 

 

diving best practices

 

 

On a more global scale, you can help prevent coral reef destruction by heading over to view the Coral Reef Alliance page on What You Can Do.

coral reef pencil urchin

Alternately, view Maui Nui Marine Resource Council ‘Get Involved’ guide. Mauireef.org’s simple statement says ‘Saving Maui’s reefs comes down to taking action on a personal level. Educating yourself, friends, and family about the issues that are threatening Maui’s reefs is a first major step. We also encourage you to research ways to minimize your ecological footprint. For example, switching to reef safe sunscreen and avoiding the use of harsh chemical cleaners can go a long ways towards improving reef health.’

 
 
 
 
 
 Live Sustainably

What does that mean? Well, it means reducing your carbon footprint in an effort to reverse the effects of global warming. Extra heat from warmer temperatures puts stress on the coral, which leads to bleaching. Bleaching is the loss of color from tissue, causing it to expose its skeleton. How can you reduce your footprint?
✓ Recycle to limit the amount of pollutants in our landfills
✓ Compost your biodegradable waste in your garden
✓ Plant a rain garden to absorb polluted runoff
✓ Avoid pesticides which can runoff and end up in our ocean
✓ Conserve water—careful water usage means that less runoff will end up in the ocean
✓ Buy sustainable seafood
✓ Become an advocate for reef conservation
✓ Be a pono (responsible) fisher, taking only what you need
✓ Avoid buying items that are made from coral or other marine life

These are but a few of the important steps we can take to preserve not only our coral reef systems but our Mother Earth as a whole.

two butterfly fish coral reef

 

Talk to us!

What steps have you taken to help ensure the coral reefs are around for future generations. Join the conversation in the comments section below and let us know what you’re doing or if you’ve found a great ‘Reef Safe’ sunscreen brand!

Maui Coral Reefs essential pono guide

Email/Contact Us
Google+
Google+
Facebook
Facebook
Instagram