Tip: The first Central Maui Mission Station was built in this museum.

 Currently: Oahu Things to Do › Articles

Snorkel Oahu's Hot Spots

What does a humuhumunukunukuapua'a have to do with snorkeling, or anything else, for that matter? Well, it's a cute little fish that sort of resembles a pig and could come up on your snorkel screen. This little fish with a yard-long name is really quite famous having risen to popularity in
the words of a song about a little grass shack and as Hawaii's state fish, a designation that unexpectedly expired but looks to be reinstated. If you want to see one, try Hanauma Bay Nature Park, Oahu's most popular snorkeling spot.

Hanauma Bay is a sunken volcanic crater ringed with 2,000 feet of golden sand and open to the ocean on one side. Formerly a playground for Hawaiian royalty, the bay is now a State Underwater Park and Conservation District. A filigree of inner reefs protect the novice snorkeler from the open ocean and, in turn, protect thousands of fish and other sealife from their natural predators. The bay abounds with colorful schools of striped Manini, silvery needlefish, buttercup Yellow Tang, the large and quick Palani, the stunning Moorish Idols, opalescent Parrotfish and hopefully the humuhumu.

The park is open every day but Tuesday. Summer hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, the park is open until 10 p.m. During the winter, Hanauma Bay is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on the second Saturday of each month, it remains open until 10 p.m. Entrance fee is $5 with a $1 parking fee. There is no entrance fee for children under 13 nor for Hawaii residents with proof of residency.

There are many other snorkel spots on Oahu. Try Kailua Beach Park on Tuesdays when Hanauma is closed. Shark's Cove on the North Shore, between Haleiwa and Pupukea. is another good spot. (Contrary to the name, no sharks have been spotted there.) Malaekahana Beach Park, just north of La'ie town, and Kuilima Cove at Turtle Bay are also good choices.

Snorkeling is an inexpensive pastime that is easier to learn than surfing or scuba diving and can be done either by booking a cruise or finding a good spot on a beach. If you book a cruise, expect gear, lunch and other amenities to be provided.

Snorkel safety tips:
1. Never snorkel alone. Hang with a buddy.
2. Never turn your back to the ocean.
3. Whenever possible snorkel in the morning. Fish are significantly more active in the morning, and predictable afternoon winds make water clarity less than ideal.
4. Marine life tends to congregate around structures, so stick to reefs for the best opportunity to score a face-to-face encounter.
5. Don't feed the fish.
6. Even on the cloudiest of days, use waterproof sunscreen.
7. Take a small cooler with bottled water, snacks, and food. Most beaches don't have concession stands.
8. Snorkeling isn't so much about swimming as it is about floating. Stay relaxed, float, kick only when necessary. The more relaxed you are in the water, the more relaxed and friendly the fish will be.
9. Be respectful of the ocean. Avoid standing on coral, which is the foundation of Hawaii's reef environment, All sea creatures rely on the reef for homes, protection, and food. Broken coral takes many years to grow back.
11. Don't combine snorkeling with alcohol or drugs.

Shop for
Package type:
Departing from:
Depart:
 
Going to:
Return:
 
Adults:
Seniors:
Children:
Search for packages
More package search options from Expedia
Going to:
Arrive:  
Return:  
Adults:
Seniors:
Children:
Search for packages
More Package search options from Expedia
Departing from:
Depart:
 
Going to:
Return:
 
Adults:
Seniors:
Children:
Search for flights
More flight search options from Expedia
Search for hotels in:
Check-in: Check-out:
Rooms:
Adults:
Children:
  Adults:
Children:
  Adults:
Children:
Search for hotels
More hotel search options from Expedia
Pick-up location:
Pick-up:
Drop-off:
Car class:
Search for cars
More car search options from Expedia
Select a top destination:
Departing in:
Cruise length:
Search for cruises
More cruise search options from Expedia
Destination:
Start date:
End date:
Search for activities
More activity search options from Expedia
Current Specials - Oahu
  • Aqua Queen Kapiolani Hotel, adjacent to Waikiki Aquarium, Kapiolani Park, & Honolulu Zoo
  • Dolphin Encounter at Dolphin Quest Oahu from $225
  • From $1,135 - Island Hopping: Big Island & Oahu, 6 Nights w/Air, Hotel, Transfers & Daily Breakfast
  • Make a Play Date with a Dolphin at Dolphin Quest Hawaii or Oahu
  • Save up to 50% on your car rental with major USA car companies - Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • Enjoy a personal Family Swim at Dolphin Quest Hawaii
  • From $1365 - 9 Nights Island Hopping: Oahu, Kauai & Maui w/Air, Hotel & Breakfast. Spend 3 Nights in each island.
  • Vacation Memory of a Lifetime: Family Swim at Dolphin Quest Hawaii or Oahu
  • From $1,235 - 8 Nt. Oahu & Kauai Vacation w/Air, Hotel, Transfer & Taxes
  • From $1,179 - Oahu Hyatt Hotel 5-Night Vacation w/Airfare, Hyatt Hotel Stay, Breakfast & Taxes
More of our Current Specials on Oahu
Packages

Hawaiian Airlines: Special Offers
Hot Clicks - All Islands
  • Swim with dolphins without the crowds!
  • 50% OFF – 7-Day Maui & Kauai Condo Spring Sale
  • Royal Experience Package at Royal Kona Resort from $250/nt
  • $575+ Hawaii Vacations with Air & Car
  • Kaanapali Beach Hotel - special rates from just $174!