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Snorkeling Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay is one of the most popular Oahu attractions and snorkeling activates on the island.  There is a nice expansive beach to relax on, but it's really all about the marine life nature preserve sanctuary and the amazing snorkeling experience that this special place provides!  With over 450 different Hawaiian fish species lurking about the shallow coral reefs, it is easy to see why this Oahu Beach is so famous!

Hanauma Bay in Oahu, Hawaii, is a beautiful marine reserve with clear waters, colorful coral reefs, and diverse marine life, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and swimming.

Take note to the new policies, procedures and fees that apply, including a reduction of daily visitors to 1400, an increase entrance and parking fees, and a new reservation requirement has gone into place for non-residence.  

Make Your Reservation Now

Hanauma Bay Beach on Oahu is a beautiful and sheltered marine sanctuary, famous for its clear waters, coral reef, and excellent snorkeling opportunities.

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 Hanauma Bay Drone Pic captures the stunning beauty of the bay from an aerial perspective, showcasing its turquoise waters and coral reef in a breathtaking image.

The lava rock tubes created a perfectly protected home for hundreds of tropical fish and beautiful marine life that live there today.

Snorkeling Around the Reef

The Hanauma Bay School of Fish is a mesmerizing underwater spectacle featuring a diverse congregation of marine life in the renowned Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Honolulu, Hawaii.

As a kid, I loved visiting and snorkeling this amazing natural marine preserve to explore the reefโ€™s protected caves & tunnels, and vast display of colorful Hawaiian fish โ€“ itโ€™s like jumping into a giant fish bowl...!

Hanauma Bay Snorkeling offers a vibrant underwater experience in a protected marine environment, allowing visitors to explore colorful coral reefs and diverse marine life in Oahu, Hawaii.

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, visitors would 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.

The Hanauma Bay fish comprise a vibrant array of marine life, showcasing colorful coral reefs and diverse species in the protected underwater environment of Hanauma Bay in Honolulu, Hawaii.Hanauma Bay Parrot Fish

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. 

Hanauma Bay Rentals offer snorkeling gear and equipment for visitors to explore the vibrant marine life in the iconic Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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 1400 visitors are allowed into this snorkeling haven per day, so it is well-advised to arrive early.

Hanauma Bay Snorkeling offers a vibrant underwater experience, allowing visitors to explore the diverse marine life and coral reefs in the clear turquoise waters of Hanauma Bay in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1400 might seem like a lot, but they used to easily get over 10,000 visitors each day.  The marine park also takes a break and closes to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays when nobody is allowed in.  Even the fish and the coral reefs need a break from their adoring fans.

The Hanauma Bay Orientation Video provides essential information about marine life conservation and safety guidelines for visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of Hanauma Bay in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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.  It highlights the importance to not walk on the reef, keeping your distance and not harassing the fish, and water safety.

This constitutes watching a quick 9 minute video on how to better protect what you are about to see.

The Hanauma Bay Trash Wreath is a creative environmental initiative featuring a wreath made from marine debris collected at Hanauma Bay, symbolizing the importance of ocean conservation.Hanauma Bay Trash Wreath

While this might look like beautiful artwork, it actually is a wreath creation from just a single month collection of trash and belongings left behind at this beach.  Make sure to do your part and leave with everything you bring in...

Hanauma Bay Beach Area

Hanauma Bay Beach Area is a stunning nature preserve located on the southeastern side of Oahu, Hawaii, known for its calm waters, vibrant marine life, and excellent snorkeling opportunities. ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ–๏ธHanauma Bay from the Beach Trail

Hanauma Bay has a nice sandy beach that stretches for almost a third of a mile or about 2000 feet long.  It's a playground haven for kids, but you must keep an eye on them if they enter the water. 

Hanauma Bay Beach is a stunning and unique marine ecosystem located on the southeastern side of Oahu, Hawaii, known for its calm, shallow waters, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant marine life, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and enjoying the beauty of nature. ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿ Hanauma Bay Beach

And while most visitors will set up camp right after they step onto the beach near the key Hole Lagoon.  We recommend walking down a bit to the right near the Triangle Lagoon area, where you can have enjoy a little more space away from the crowds.

Catch a Sunrise

The Hanauma Bay Sunrise is a breathtaking experience where you can witness the first light of the day illuminating the stunning Hanauma Bay Beach, creating a magical atmosphere and a perfect start to the day. ๐ŸŒ…Hanauma Bay Sunrise

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... below provides an ideal setting for snorkeling in Oahu.

Water Safety

Flying a drone at Hanauma Bay is not permitted due to regulations that aim to protect wildlife, visitor privacy, and maintain a peaceful environment. ๐Ÿšซ๐Ÿ›ธ

Water Safety - do not go into the water if you're not a good swimmer or attempt snorkeling Hanauma Bay far from shore into the outer reefs if you are a beginner.

And while there are 4 lifeguard stations at this beach, water rescues and drowning happen far too often due to unfamiliar waters and visitors not adhering to their water skill levels. Go with a buddy and check in with the life guard for more safety tips.

Admission and Park Hours

Hanauma Bay in Hawaii is a stunning and protected marine sanctuary known for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, making it a paradise for snorkelers and nature lovers. ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ๏ธ

There is a $25 per person park entrance fee for non-resident visitors.  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 (cash only), if you are driving to this Oahu beach.  Note that there are only 300 parking spots available, and the parking lot tends to fill up quickly and is first come first serve.

Consider making a reservation early up to 48 hours ahead of time (up to 10 people per booking) with new daily capacity limits of 1400 visitors per day.  Website reservations open up at 7 AM.

They do allow a minimal amount of walk-ins each day to accommodate those who do not have internet or computer access.

The Hanauma Bay sign provides important information about the park's hours, pricing, activities, and closures, ensuring visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience. ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿšซ๐Ÿ“‹

Hanauma Bay is open daily, except closed on Mondays & Tuesdays, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

Hours open :   6:45am โ€“ 4pm,

No entry past 2 PM and Victors must leave by 4 PM             

Recorded message for current fees, hours & conditions

Checkout the Hanauma Bay website for more information

Make Your Reservation Now

Lighthouse Hiking Tour & Diamond Head

The Makapu'u Hike offers breathtaking coastal views and leads to the stunning Hanauma Bay, creating a perfect combination of hiking and snorkeling in one adventure. ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿšถโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ 

Set yourself up for a half 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 lighthouse, and also to the top of Diamond Head. 

These Oahu attractions are both located on the south side of Oahu, yet not many folks have achieved climbing both in the same day.  This adventure includes transportation to and from your hotel.  Learn more and sign up...

Beach Facilities

The Hanauma Bay Center is the hub of information and services for visitors to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, providing details about the park's hours, pricing, activities, and serving as a starting point for exploring the pristine marine ecosystem. ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿ 
  • Restrooms
  • Beach Showers
  • Lifeguard on Duty
  • Parking lot - Up to $3.00 fee
  • Food Concession Stand
  • Picnic Tables
  • Mask, Snorkel & Fin Rentals
  • Locker Rentals
  • Education Center
  • Gift Shop
  • Beach Transportation Shuttle - Free
  • Handicap Facilities

Hanauma Bay Beach Tips

The Hanauma Bay parking lot is relatively small and fills up quickly, so it's important to arrive early to secure a spot or consider alternative parking options nearby. ๐Ÿ…ฟ๏ธ๐Ÿš—
  • Arrive early! I canโ€™t stress how important it is to arrive early at this marine life park. There is limited parking available which fills up very quickly, and make sure to give yourself an extra 15 minutes to just park.
    Once the parking lot fills up, you will be turned away. If this happens to you,  I would recommend trying again another day, or driving back down the hill and parking near the residences below, where you can take the local 22 Oahu Bus back up the hill.
    You will also want to arrive early for better visibility underwater.  The ocean is typically calmer in the morning, and the clarity of the water is much better for viewing the colorful Hawaiian fish.
  • Food and Drinks - I always recommend bringing food, water, and other drinks to the beach. There is a snack shack onsite up top, so bringing food is optional, but itโ€™s always good to have extra snacks of your choice just in case the snack shack offerings are not to your liking.  If you plan on bringing a cooler along with your beach gear, you might want to consider taking the beach shuttle from the parking lot down to the beach. There is no cost and it will save your arms and everything you might drop along the way.
Hanauma Bay is a stunning marine nature reserve in Hawaii, known for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, offering a perfect snorkeling experience. ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿ 
  • Sun Protection - Bring reef-safe sunscreen (without the use of oxybenzone & octinoxate chemicals).  Hawaii has passed legislation in May 2018, banning sunscreens containing oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octocrylene - toxic chemicals that kill coral and severely damage the reefs).  For more protection, bring a long sleeve surf shirt to wear in the water.  It is easy to get carried away and before you know it, you've spent hours snorkeling around the bay.  Unfortunately this means your backside will be more susceptible to the powerful Hawaiian sun, which can result in a severe sunburn.
  • Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays - Make sure not to plan a visit at the beginning of the week as they give the bay a couple days of rest.  Check out other great snorkeling spots on Oahu as an alternative.  And note that Wednesday morning tend to be one of the best days of the week to visit for better clarity and more fish in the bay.
The Hanauma Bay Snorkel Shop is a convenient and reliable rental shop where visitors can rent snorkeling gear and other equipment to fully enjoy their snorkeling experience at Hanauma Bay. ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿคฟ
  • Snorkeling Gear - Bring your own mask, snorkel and swimming fins if you can.  Although you can rent snorkeling equipment at the beach, itโ€™s inexpensive and more pleasurable to have your own gear.  You'll avoid problems if the shop runs out of rentals, and you will also have equipment that fits you better and are familiar with, so you can be sure to have the best time snorkeling!

Getting There

The Hanauma Bay Beach Shuttle is a convenient transportation service that provides visitors with a hassle-free way to reach Hanauma Bay, allowing them to enjoy the beach and snorkeling without the worry of parking or navigating traffic. ๐ŸšŒ๐Ÿ–๏ธ

Take advantage of the free beach shuttle ride when you arrive in the parking lot located up top.
It is an easy 25 minute drive or 45 minute bus ride to and from Waikiki.

Oahu Map

Waikiki Trolley

The Waikiki Trolley Tours offer a fun and convenient way to explore the popular attractions and sights of Waikiki, providing visitors with a hop-on-hop-off experience and informative commentary along the way. ๐Ÿš‹๐ŸŒด

The Waikiki Trolley visits many Honolulu Attractions including the Halona Blow hole near Hanauma Bay. It is an easy, popular, and convenient way to get to popular Oahu attractions.  

There are 4 different routes to explore including: Scenic Tour, Historic Tour, Shopping Tour, and the Island Tour. The Blue Line will take you past Diamond Head and out to the Halona Blowhole.  Tickets start around $15 for a child day pass, and go up to $45 - $75 for an Adult 7 day pass. 

Purchase your pass now

Driving Directions

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.

Oahu Bus

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.

In the Area

Halona Blowhole

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.  Donโ€™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...

Sandy Beach Park

Sandy Beach Park in Hawaii is a beautiful and popular beach known for its golden sand, powerful shorebreak, and stunning ocean views, making it a favorite spot for sunbathing and bodyboarding. ๐Ÿ–๏ธ๐ŸŒŠ

Go from the calm Hanauma Bay 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.

Makapuโ€™u Beach

Makapu'u Beach Park on Oahu is a picturesque coastal park offering breathtaking views of the ocean, sandy beaches, and opportunities for swimming, picnicking, and exploring tide pools. ๐Ÿ–๏ธ๐ŸŒŠ

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 Makapuโ€™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 Makapuโ€™u Beach and the beginning of the pristine Windward Coast.

Hiking Makapuu Lighthouse Trail

The Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail is a scenic hiking trail on Oahu, Hawaii, known for its panoramic views of the coastline, the iconic Makapu'u Lighthouse, and the chance to spot humpback whales during the winter months. ๐Ÿšถโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‹

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.

Koko Crater Trail

The Koko Crater Trail is a challenging and rewarding hike in Oahu, Hawaii, consisting of steep steps leading to the summit of Koko Crater, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area. ๐Ÿ”๏ธ๐Ÿšถโ€โ™€๏ธ

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 youโ€™ll be climbing 1,050 long steps up to the top!

The โ€œstepsโ€ 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.

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