hanauma bay snorkeling hawaii

Snorkeling at the Ever Popular Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay is a former volcanic crater that became a protected marine life conservation area in 1967.
Image of Hanauma Bay
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.

Hours

Image of hanauma bay snorkeling hawaii
Photo courtesy of Bemep.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve 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

Image of hanauma bay snorkeling hawaii Parking & Shuttles
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, you can take the city bus or book a private shuttle service. The shuttle service includes round-trip transportation to and from your Waikiki hotel as well as fins, masks, and snorkel.

Here is the private shuttle tour offered:

Walk or Ride the Tram

Image of hanauma bay snorkeling hawaii parking lot
Photo courtesy of marlonius

From the parking lot, it’s a short but steep 10-minute walk into 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.

Amenities

Image of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Photo courtesy of Tina Chen

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve 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

Image of Hanauma Bay’s natural beauty
Photo courtesy of Hawaii.com 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.

Book a Shuttle Tour to Hanauma Bay

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