Ulua Beach

Quarter-mile long pocket of sandy beach; great snorkeling.

Rating: ★★★★½

In a nutshell: Quarter-mile long pocket of sandy beach; great snorkeling.
Minuses: Parking sometimes fills up early.
Sound-bite: [Children playing]

Ulua Beach

Ulua Beach

Good swimming, boogie boarding and excellent beginner to intermediate snorkeling around the rocky outcrop on the north end of the beach. Ulua Beach is more crowded that its neighbor to the north, Mokapu Beach – here you know you’re in the Wailea Resort.

A very popular destination for scuba lessons.

A very popular destination for scuba lessons.

Like nearby Polo Beach, the name was changed when Wailea Resort began marketing. Ulua is the name of what is perhaps the most popular Hawaiian game fish, so it was definitely a winner for the brochures. The old Hawaiian name reported by those who remember this beach prior to WWII was “Kaula’uo.” During WWII US Marines renamed the beach to “Little Tarawa” (for the mission they were training) and that name stuck with many local folks.

Video credit: HawaiianObrien.com.

Ulua Beach fronts the Wailea Elua Village condos and is popular with dive instructors, as there is a good beginner level dive at the outer reef. Beach parking, shared with Mokapu Beach, can also fill up early. If the lot is full, you can park at the south lot for Keawakapu Beach and take a quarter-mile stroll across Mokapu Beach as all three of these beaches connect.

Video: Ocean Kayak POV

Key Info:
Location: End of Hale Ali’i Pl (access from Wailea Aluani Dr.) – See Google map below for exact location.
GPS Coordinates: 20.690527,-156.443671
Facilities: Bathrooms, showers, no lifeguards.
Get directions

View Mokapu & Ulua Beaches in a larger map

  1. Mitsuko R Herrera says:

    Most people choose the north side (right end), but we snorkeled the south end (group of rocks on left side) March 2019. We ended up going with the current, snorkelling all way to beach in front of Grand Wailea (50 mins), getting out and walking back, but you could stop and swim back. The rocks perpendicular to the beach are pretty barren, but watch for turtles playing near end where waves form. We saw 1 meduim honu (turtle). If you keep going, you will be treated to a colorful array of coral and fish, might see a few eels (we saw 2 small spotted, and 1 large white mouth moray), and several schools of wrasse and other fish. There’s a swim through about 10 feet down, but the opening is small so we didn’t try it. In whale season, between 5 feet to 10 feet below the water, you can heard whale song. Just take a deep breathe, swim down, then straight along to clear air (and bubble noise) from your snorkel, and you’ll hear them until you need to come up for air.

  2. Great spot to snorkel. Especially for younger- or not so strong swimmers. Coral is on the north end of the beach. But get here before 9 AM or you can’t get a parking spot

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