We can describe Hanauma Bay as a true paradise to snorkel. Hanauma Bay is not accidentally declared one of the best beaches in the United States. It is located about 9 miles (15km) East of the world famous Waikiki beach and is an incredible natural pool formed in a volcanic crater.
Translated from Hawaiian, Hanauma bay means curved bay. However, a whole bunch of legends are brought about the way this place has received its name. For the locals it is part of their history. In the past Hanauma Bay has been an excellent place to fish. The archives show that in the 18th century the Hawaiian kings have often come here to have fun and sports.
In fact, the bay is a beach park and a nature preserve, which aims to protect the fragile and beautiful ecosystem in the area against unlawful influence. For this purpose, every guest at this fabulous place is obliged to watch a short educational film before heading down the steep road to the magnificent coastline. If you do not want to walk, there is a tram and for a sum of 50 cents, in one direction, will take you down to the beach.
The hiking trails along the ridge and along the coast offer breathtaking panoramic views. People can learn more about protecting this beautiful place, at the recent discoveries Marine Education Center.
When does Hanauma bay open?
The Hanauma Bay hours are specific. It is open every day except for Tuesdays, Christmas and New Year’s day. Public visits are forbidden during holidays. The Nature Preserve is closed for tourists every Tuesday with the idea of preserving the environment unharmed.
When to visit Hanauma bay in the Summer and in the Winter?
Summer days are considered to be between April through September. During that time Hanauma Bay is open from 6:00am until 7:00pm. The Nature Preserve is closed every Tuesday. Winter days are considered to be October through March. Then the nature preserve is open from 6:00a.m. until 6:00p.m. And again it is closed every Tuesday.
Note: Changes are possible at any time. For the latest information call the recorded information line at (808) 396-4229.
Admission Fees and Prices
Person above 13 years of age
Children under 13 years of age
Residents of Hawaii with valid ID
The admission fee is waived if you are a Hawaii Resident with acceptable proof of residency. Acceptable proof of residency is defined as:
- Current Hawaii Driver’s License
- Current Hawaii State ID w/ Hawaii Address on the front of the ID (Must be valid for one year or more)
- Current Hawaii School Student ID with current year or semester validation
Only 1 ID per person per day is permitted. There are no refunds.
If you want to snorkel at Hanauma Bay
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay is an amazing experience. And you do not have to be a professional diver to enjoy the underwater world. This is your chance to get to know a new and incredible world. It is suitable for all ages and provides both active movement and relaxation. However, there are some basic rules that you need to follow.
If you go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, there will be nearly 450 types of tropical fish in the warm waters that will make you company. Some of them are endemic to the Hawaii region. You can see the fish considered a symbol of Hawaii – humuhumunukunukuapua’a. You can encounter turtles, including the rarely seen Green Sea turtles. Hanauma Bay is a real tropical jewel composed of a white beach, lush vegetation, extraordinary marine wealth and coral reefs.
Masks, snorkels and diving fins
Make sure your mask is tight, but not too tight. Water pressure will also help the mask stay on your face. The strap of the mask should be around the widest part of the head, and the snorkel should rest in the front of your ear. Getting the first breaths out of the snorkel can take some time, like swimming with fins. Remember that by diving underwater, your snorkel will be filled with water and you must keep your mouth closed. Once you get on the water surface, you can blow out the snorkel water or simply remove it.
If you have never dove before with fins, you will be surprised at how little effort you can have and get to an enviable distance under the water. Your fins should fit snugly but not too much because it can damage your feet and cause cramps. They should not be big enough to get rid of your legs and sink. When walking with them, do not forget to raise your legs higher so you will not lose your balance.
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay is not a joke
If you can not swim, do not try to snorkel! It is not that you can’t put your feet in the water, but If you want to see more things you have to be sure in your swimming skills. Snorkeling is not a joke and if you go deeper, you should be aware of undercurrents and other hazards.
If this is your first time snorkeling, you can do a few lessons in shallow waters. You can learn under the guidance of a friend who is experienced, but if you do not have such, you can always sign up for a course.
- Do not go alone
Do not snorkel alone, no matter what a professional you think you are. Even the best divers drown. Leave the high self-esteem for some other time. It is mandatory to dive with a friend. So if you find yourself in a stream or there is some other trouble, your friend will be able to help you. Most accidents happen to divers who dive on their own. There is something else. You always have to choose the more experienced one of you as a leader. The leader must be listened – if he says “Get out of the water”, you go out, if he makes a stop sign, you stop. No mumbling, no pretensions!
- Forget about the fear
When snorkeling in deeper waters your heart can beat fast and you can get the feeling that you sweat. It can be scary. When you’re in deep waters do not let your fears to emerge. Even if you find yourself in an emergency – a current, waves or you get a cramp, try to remain calm, breathе and take it easy. If you remain calm, everything will be fine.
- Keep your energy
Plan so that you can return to shore without a problem. When you snorkel you forget about the world and you may go far away in search of new or underwater landscapes, or try to dive among a shoal of fish. There is a danger to hardly return to the place from which you started. It is important to have proper assessment of your physical endurance and to plan your dives so that you do not have to exhaust completely. If you get exhausted in the water, you will become too weak to deal with underwater currents or cramps.
- Get familiar with Hanauma Bay
Before snorkeling it’s a good idea to have preliminary information and plan. It will be much more interesting if you know what to look for. Also consider what kind of sea creatures you can see, what sights there are underwater – niches, caves and reefs. Ask locals or those who know the area in which you are diving, what possible dangers there are – currents, passing boats, jet skis or other. Ask yourself where are the convenient approaches for entry into the water.
Dealings with marine life
Have one thing in mind when you go to snorkel at Hanauma Bay. Most animals do not think you are a threat, but there are certain species that are poisonous, sting and bite. So it’s better if you just watch and do not touch anything. Dealing with some jellyfish from those who swim in the Pacific can be fatal if you try to touch them.
Beware of sea urchins
And at last but not least, if you do not have reef shoes, buy some. Meeting with sea creature like sea urchins or sharp corals is not particularly pleasant.
In conclusion, you will enjoy the most wonderful experience that Hanauma Bay has to offer – to swim with the fish and feel the beauty and freedom of the underwater world. Just know these 3 things:
- Follow the basic safety rules.
- Have a clear idea of the place where you are heading to.
- Be aware of your physical and swimming abilities.
Where to park?
Hanauma Bay is used to be visited by about 3 million tourists per year. Today their number is drastically reduced to nearly 1 million. About 3,000 people on average visit it each day. Some of them go by car. And if you travel by car as well, be aware that the parking is relatively small and fills early. And the bad news is that if there is no place to leave your vehicle you will not be able to enjoy the beach.
So if you want to go by car, the best time to do so is between 6AM and 7AM. After that time, the chance to find a free parking space for your car are minimal.
Map and Location
If you want to use a GPS navigation, the address you should enter is 7455 Kalanianaole Highway, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Tours and Activities in Oahu
Do not miss this adventure
The Hawaiian Islands are visited by about 8 million tourists from around the world, each year. And while some prefer the exotic comfort and luxury of Waikiki in the southern part of Oahu, others prefer a little paradise in the southeast of the island called Hanauma Bay. This place is for those who really want to enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling. In 2004 Hanauma Bay was named the best beach in America. This is one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkeling.