Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve And Beach Park

Phone (808) 396-4229
4.5 stars from 17 reviews
Address 131 Hanauma Bay Rd, Honolulu, HI 96825
Amazing snorkeling. Not to be missed for Hawaii first timers and novice snorkelers.

Features
• Facilities: Bathrooms • Facilities: Equipment Rentals
• Facilities: Grassy Area • Facilities: Lifeguard
• Facilities: Showers • Type: Kid Friendly
• Type: Protected From Open Ocean • Sand Type: Regular
• Parking: Fees For Parking • Parking: Good / Plenty
• Good For: Scuba Diving • Good For: Snorkeling
• Good For: Swimming

Matt Anderson's Take
Glancing down from the overlook, it's easy to understand why Hanauma Bay is universally considered such a special place. The beautiful bay was actually a volcanic vent that opened up millions of years ago as O'ahu was being formed. It was used for fishing and camping by locals until it was destined a Nature Preserve in the 1960's.


However, over the years, the area became popular with tourists since it is a relatively safe area for swimming and snorkeling. As a result the reef has suffered from tourists tromping over it and causing irreparable damage.


When you arrive you'll pay $1 for parking and $7.50 to get in (free for kama'aina with valid Hawaii ID). Then you'll proceed to an educational center with displays and videos about what you're going to see. Next up, you'll walk into a theater where you'll watch a required video regarding your safety, the protection of the reef, and the kinds of sea life that you're likely to come into contact with.


We think everyone visiting Hawaii should see this video, even if you're not coming to Hanauma Bay. It's a good video for everyone visiting Hawaii to watch. After the video, you'll take a tram or walk down a path to the beach. It's a pretty steep grade, so you'll be out of breath on the way up.


Now the fun stuff! Hopefully you have a general idea on how to snorkel but if not read How To Snorkel first. Then comes the question of Should I Bring My Own Snorkel Gear To Hawaii? If you didn't bring your own you can rent some here at Hanauma Bay. You'll also want to wear plenty of sunscreen to Protect Yourself From Sunburn & Skin Cancer, but choose an eco-friendly brand whenever possible to avoid further damaging the coral reef and marine life here. A rash guard is a good idea as well and usually better than sunscreen as it doesn't wear off in the water (though you'll still need to sunscreen your exposed bits).


The snorkeling is very good at Hanauma Bay and probably has the best balance of safety to plentiful fish on O'ahu. You're likely to encounter Honu - The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, eels, yellow tangs, parrot fish, and perhaps the gorgeous Humuhumu-nukunuku-apua'a - Reef Triggerfish. That's a fun word to practice and impress your friends.


It is a very popular tourist destination and rightfully so because the bay is beautiful, and there is abundance of unique sea creatures. The beach is clean, and cycles people throughout the day – a lot of people make a half day of it, then off to see something else. You can grab a bite at a snack bar, and there are benches and tables to sit down at as well.


And now for some top tips for making the most of your visit to Hanauma Bay. First up, Vehicle Theft In Hawaii can be an issue in certain areas and this is one of those areas. Thieves love to target unsuspecting tourists who leave stuff in their car so don't leave anything in your car! Read Vehicle Theft In Hawaii for more on how to avoiding being a victim.


You'll also want to go early in the day for this. Parking fills up here and once it does you can expect a mile or so walk if you park down at the mall in Hawaii Kai. Besides, you don't want to snorkeling mid-day anyhow as you're more likely to get sunburned.


If you aren't driving and instead taking TheBus, you can catch the number 22 bus from Waikiki (see Waikiki Guide) which runs down Kuhio Avenue. Finally, note that Waikiki Guide is completely closed all day on every Tuesday to allow the reef to rest.


Enjoy Hanauma Bay, it's a beautiful part of Hawaii, but tread lightly, and imagine what it was like here long ago. Fun fact: Big Jim McLain starring John Wayne and Blue Hawaii starring Elvis Presley were filmed here. For more movie trivia, check out Popular Movies & TV Shows Filmed In Hawaii.
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Matt Anderson
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Matt A
Joined: Feb 2013
Reviews: 790
Likes Received: 106
This is truly an amazing and special place. It's a great place for novice snorkelers to see an amazing underwater world.
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Tom T
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 579
Likes Received: 33
I love to look at the old photos of Hanauma Bay and imagine what it would have been like to snorkel here in the 1800's. And snorkeling here today is amazing and an experience I highly recommend.
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Sue E
Joined: Oct 2016
Reviews: 27
Likes Received: 3
Beautiful, breathtaking coral reef. Excellent for snorkeling.
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Jim F
Joined: Nov 2016
Reviews: 4
Likes Received: 0
The absolute best place to snorkel! You are not supposed to stand on the reef, or touch and feed the fish and honu. But they swim right up next to you anyway. A lot of it is fairly shallow, and easy to swim in. As long as you don't go out too far and get in the surf, you will be swimming in fairly calm water. We never had a problem finding parking, but on a few drive-bys it was really crowded. So beat the crowds and go early.
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Laura B
Joined: Oct 2016
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 0
I loved my experience at Hanauma Bay! It was very easy to get to, and some of the most beautiful scenery that I saw on the entire island. I love to snorkel, and found a lot of different tropical fish here, one being the state fish of Hawaii, of course, the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a. I loved to explore the coral reefs as well. You can rent equipment there, or simply bring your own. On a cloudy day however, visibility in the water is not as good. I used my GoPro and got my best footage when the sun was shining.
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Kim--4309
Joined: Jul 2016
Reviews: 146
Likes Received: 2
This place is absolutely beautiful. It's a must see if you're on Oahu. And it's probably one of the prettiest beaches on the island... also one of the busiest. Tourists are everywhere (but where are they not). You could even just drive into the lot and check it out from above and be happy. If you want to experience the whole thing, you have to sit through a presentation telling you what you can/can't do. Please be respectful and listen to the rules. If you're into snorkeling, Haunama Bay is a must!
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lois h
Joined: Jul 2016
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 0
I visited Hanauma Bay 1982 when we were allowed to feed the fish with frozen peas. A wonderful experience the fish swimming around your legs. Coming back from New Zealand soon to live Hawaii once again, Aloha
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Karen E
Joined: May 2016
Reviews: 2
Likes Received: 0
Absolutely the best snorkeling that we've found on the island. Yes, there is a fee but it is so worth the $7.50! I felt safe while snorkeling and saw a whole range of underwater fish. I love it there and would highly recommend it to first-time visitors to the island!
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Sue K
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 196
Likes Received: 9
I have been to Hanauma Beach a couple of times. The first time I went I was blown away by it - I saw lots of amazing fish and found it incredibly beautiful. When I visited more recently (a few years after my first visit), I definitely noticed significant damage to the coral and also saw a lot less fish. If you don't mind the crowds, it is still a beautiful place to snorkel, but it has to be said that it is sadly not as pristine as it once was.
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chantel
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 426
Likes Received: 12
Hanauma bay what a beautiful day. Had a wonderful day here it's just beautiful from the water to the views this place is worth seeing. We loved snorkelling and being under the water was like watching the little mermaid loads of beautiful sea life. Great to walk around and learn about Hanauma bay well worth it and great photo opportunities!
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