Snorkeling at the Ever Popular Hanauma Bay

By Brandi-Ann Uyemura

An Old Volcanic Crater

Photo courtesy of Crouchy69.

Photo courtesy of Crouchy69.

Every year, more than a million people get to swim with the fishes in a marine ecosystem located on the southeast coast of Oahu, 10 miles east of Waikiki. Hanauma (or curved bay) Bay is a former volcanic crater that became a protected marine life conservation area in 1967. Since then, it’s become an underwater park for snorkel enthusiasts, swimmers and anyone desiring to see more than 400 species of Hawaiian fishes including Hawaii’s state fish the humuhumunukunukuapua‘a, turtles and other marine life.


hanauma bay snorkeling hawaii

Photo courtesy of Bemep.

Hanauma Bay is open year-round, except for Tuesdays, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Plan to arrive as early as you can or wait until the crowd trickles out in the mid-afternoon. During summer, the state park opens at 6 am and closes at 7 pm. It closes at 6 pm in winter.

Hanauma Bay is CLOSED on Tuesdays.

Parking & Shuttles

hanauma bay snorkeling hawaii

Photo courtesy of daryl_mitchell.

Parking can fill up as early as 7:30 am and costs $1 a vehicle. If you want to avoid battling the limited 300-space and often packed parking lot, the park does offer a shuttle service. Reserve a standard (3 ½ hours total for $22) or extended shuttle (4 ¾ hours for $25), which includes round-trip transportation to and from your Waikiki hotel, as well as fins, masks and snorkel. You can also take a public bus to the crater or park your car on the main road.

Here are the shuttle tours offered by Hanauma Bay:
Hanauma Bay Shuttle Pricing

Walk or Ride the Tram

hanauma bay snorkeling hawaii

Photo courtesy of marlonius.

From the parking lot, it’s a short but steep 10-minute walk in to the beach. If you don’t want to walk, you can take a quick tram ride down for $1 and back up for $1.25.

Here is a list of associated fees:
hanauma bay fees


Photo courtesy of Tina Chen.

Photo courtesy of Tina Chen.

Hanauma Bay has lifeguards, restrooms, changing rooms and showers, as well as food concessions and snorkeling equipment rentals. All you really need is something to swim with, your entrance fee ($7.50 per person over the age of 12), and a small cooler if you want to pack a picnic lunch.

You can click here to visit the official Hanauma Bay website.

Savor the Beauty

hanauma bay snorkeling hawaii

Photo courtesy of member Tracy Ritter.

Once you’re there, relax and savor Hanauma Bay’s breathtaking natural beauty. It’s been Native Hawaiians’ favorite escape for thousands of years and a place of entertainment and fishing for their royalty. Hanauma Bay has also been featured on various films including Blue Hawaii and the John Wayne film, Donovan’s Reef.

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