is one of the most popular and most visited beaches
and the North Shore beaches. But it’s not so much about the
beach as it is about the marine life nature preserve, and the amazing
Hanauma Bay snorkeling
experience! With over
Hawaiian fish species lurking about the shallow coral
reefs, it is
easy to see why this Oahu Beach holds its fame!
Check out the Oahu GO Card that gives discounts to multiple attractions, museums and tours around the island, including Hanauma Bay snorkeling...
Book your Hanauma Bay Snorkeling Adventure Half Day Tour that includes transportation from Waikiki hotels and normal snorkel gear for the day.
Part of what makes Hanauma Bay so
special, is that it lies
at the bottom of a volcanic crater.
Here's a view of the bay from the top...
Over a thousand years ago, a violent eruption blew out its
crater side, and created the crescent
moon shaped beach that exist
The lava rock tubes created a perfectly protected home for hundreds of Hawaiian fish species that live there today.
As a kid, I loved visiting this natural marine reserve to explore the reef’s protected pockets & tunnels, and vast display of colorful Hawaiian fish – it’s like jumping into a giant fish bowl...!
Back in the day, you could even feed the fish. But you can imagine how cloudy the waters became when each visitor had a bag of bread or part of their lunch in the ocean, trying to attract a feeding frenzy around them...not to mention that human food is not necessarily the best fish food.
As this Oahu beach started to
become more polluted and
state park officials stepped in and
made necessary changes to the
Marine Life Preserve at Hanauma Bay. The marine park now
much better with the provided care.
Today, you obviously are not allowed to feed the fish, and they also now control the amount of visitors allowed in park at one time. Only 3,000 visitors are allowed into this snorkeling heaven per day.
That might seem like a lot, but they used to easily get over 10,000 visitors each day. The marine park also takes a break on Tuesdays when nobody is allowed in - even the fish and the coral reefs need a break from their adoring fans.
To better protect the Hanauma Bay fish and coral reefs, they have also created a mandatory 9 minute education program before heading down to the beach. This constitutes watching a quick video on how to better protect what you are about to see.
There is a $7.50 per person park entrance fee for visitors 13 years of age and older. Free admission for children up to 12 years of age, active military, and Hawaii residents w/ proper ID. There is also a $1.00 parking fee, if you are driving to this Oahu beach.
Hanauma Bay is open daily, except for Tuesdays, Christmas & New Years Day.
Hours open : 6am – 7pm
Recorded message for current fees, hours & conditions – (808) 396-4229
Book your Hanauma Bay Snorkeling Adventure Half Day Tour, which includes transportation from Waikiki hotels and snorkel gear for the day.
Take advantage of the $1.00 beach shuttle ride when you
the parking lot located up top.
It is an easy 20 minute drive or 35 minute bus ride to from Waikiki.
From Waikiki, take the H-1 Kalanianaoli Highway south. The H-1 turns into Hwy 72, but still remains the Kalanianaoli Hwy along the coast. Follow this coastal freeway through the residences, past Hawaii Kai, and up a ridge until you reach Hanauma Bay Road, where you will turn into the parking grounds.
Take the 22 Oahu Bus from Kalakaua Ave in Waikiki straight to Hanauma Bay. Depending on traffic, it should only take about a half hour to get there.
If you continue on from the 72 Kalanianaoli Hwy after snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, there is a fun spouting blowhole that is just down the road. After driving around the single cliff side lane, you will see a small turnout with parking, right before you head on down to Sandy Beach Park.
The waves are
for the Halona Blowhole magic to
expect much if
the waves are small and calm. But when the seas are rough and
the waves are pounding into the rocky coast, you can bet that the
Halona Blowhole will be spouting ocean spays high in the air
you a magnificent show.
Go from the calm Hanauma Bay waters to the pounding shoreline waves of Sandy Beach Park. This Oahu Beach is an ocean playground for the locals to relax, bodysurf, and body board.
Located just 5 minutes away, as you continue driving on the H-1 around the bending lava rock cliffs, you will see a long strip of sandy beach.
The name actually comes from its reputation of sand getting into everything you bring to the beach, including you! When the surf is up, it is an impressive show to watch the locals pull off some death defying stunts in the surf.
You can feel the power of these waves as they crash in front of you on this beautiful Sandy Beach. Please be advised that this is not a swimming beach and the powerful shore breaks have been known to rip off unsuspecting tourist’s swimsuits and gear.
Heed the warning
signs and if you are intent on going
into the water, it would be wise to check in with the lifeguard if you
are not familiar with the riptide and rip current
If you are feeling adventurous and would like to see one of my favorite Oahu Beaches, and part of the beautiful Windward coast, then continue on the Kalanianaoli Hwy for another 10 minutes.
After you climb the Makapu’u mountainside and start your decent down towards the beach, pull over to the side of the road where you can capture some amazing views of Makapu’u Beach and the beginning of the pristine Windward Coast.
Climb a little higher from the Makapu'u Point Lookout, and the view become even more spectacular up top, on the summit of the Makapuu Lighthouse! It's a nice 1 mile hike up a paved path. You will want to start this Oahu hike early as it tends to warm up quickly on the southside of the island.
Looking to conquer the big hill? Climb the Koko Crater Trail and the hill just might conquer you!
The Koko Head Steps can be a lot of fun, but present a big challenge at the same time, as you’ll be climbing 1050 long steps up to the top!
The “steps” are actually old military railroad ties for a train that once ran supplies to the top ridge. Make it to the top of this Oahu hiking trail, and you will be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the surrounding area, including Hanauma Bay, the Koko Marina, and Sandy Beach.