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...
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 one side of the crater, creating the crescent
moon-shaped beach that exists today.
The lava rock tubes created a perfectly protected home for hundreds of tropical fish and beautiful marine life that live there today.
As a kid, I loved visiting this natural marine preserve to explore the reef’s protected caves & tunnels, and vast display of colorful Hawaiian fish – it’s like jumping into a giant fish bowl...!
Discover the Keyhole lagoon area located on the left hand side of the bay. You should notice it as you descend down the hillside towards the beach. It has a distinct key-head shaped sandy area in the ocean that is surrounded by an expansive reef wall to explore.
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 neglected, state park officials stepped in and made necessary changes to the Marine Life Preserve at Hanauma Bay. The marine park now looks 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, so it is well-advised to arrive early.
3,000 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 $12 per person park entrance fee for non-resident visitors or $7.50 for residents 13 years of age and older. Admission is free for children up to 12 years of age, active military, and Hawaiian residents w/ proper ID. There is also a $3.00 parking fee, if you are driving to this Oahu beach.
Hanauma Bay is open daily, except for Tuesdays, Christmas Day, and 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.
Set yourself up for a day of discovery and adventure along the southern tip of Oahu, hiking up to an amazing viewing platform with views of the Windward side, and snorkeling porous reefs of the most popular marine park in Hawaii.
These Oahu attractions are located within a few miles of each other, yet not many folks have achieved visiting both in the same day. This adventure includes transportation to and from your hotel.
Take advantage of the $1.00 beach shuttle ride when you
the parking lot located up top.
It is an easy 25 minute drive or 40 minute bus ride to and from Waikiki.
The Waikiki Trolley visits many Honolulu Attractions including Hanauma Bay. It is an easy, popular, and convenient way to get there. There are 4 different routes to explore including: Scenic Tour, Historic Tour, Shopping Tour, and the Island Tour. The Blue Line will get you to Hanauma Bay. Tickets start around $9 for a child day pass, and go up to $25 - $49 for an Adult 7 day pass.
From Waikiki, take the H-1 Kalanianaoli Highway South. The H-1 turns into Hwy 72, but still remains the Kalanianiaoli 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 lot.
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 the key for the Halona Blowhole magic to happen. Don’t 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 to give you a magnificent show.
Also discover the Eternity Beach that is located in this same area...
Go from the calm Hanauma Bay waters to the pounding shorebreaks of Sandy Beach Park. This Oahu Beach is an ocean playground for the locals to relax, body surf, 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
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
A thrill of a life time swimming with sharks or sea lions in a controlled environment at Sea Life Park! This Oahu adventure alone offers lots of exciting marine exhibits to explore, but not many theme parks offer opportunities to interact with the animals.
Spend 20 to 30 minutes in a 300,000 gallon tank with trained professionals that educate and lead you through the experience.
Price of admission includes transportation and a full-day pass to Sea Life Park. Reserve Limited Tickets Now!
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
the road where you can capture some amazing views of Makapu’u
and the beginning of the pristine Windward Coast.
Climb a little higher from the Makapu'u Point Lookout, and the view becomes even more spectacular at the top, and at 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 south side 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 it is quite challenging at the same time, as you’ll be climbing 1,050 long steps up to the top!
The “steps” are actually
old military railroad ties for a train that once ran supplies to
top ridge. Make it to the top of this Oahu hiking trail, and
will be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the surrounding
area, including Hanauma
Bay, the Koko Marina, and Sandy