Hands down, Hanauma Bay is one of the best snorkeling spots on Oahu. Hanauma Bay was formed within a volcanic cone and is home to a pristine marine ecosystem. When you are snorkeling, you will see all kinds of fish, and you might even see sea turtles.
Aside from the tropical fish, the crystal clear and calm water also help make this spot ideal for snorkeling. The water is also pretty shallow, with deeper spots a bit farther out for more experienced snorkelers.
Hanauma Bay was declared a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park in 1967. Despite attracting 3,000 visitors per day, Hanauma Bay remains a perfect place for snorkeling because of all of the conservation efforts and regulations that have been put into place.
What to expect at Hanauma Bay
When you come to Hanauma Bay, the first thing that you will do after you buy your $7.50 admission ticket (free for locals with state ID, active duty military, and children 12 years old and under) is watch a short video.
The video talks about snorkeling safety tips. The video also teaches you about the marine life, preservation, conservation, and safety rules for the park. All visitors are required by law to refrain from mistreating the marine animals and from touching or walking on the coral.
After you watch the video, you will have the option of purchasing a tram ride down to the beach or walking. It’s a steep walk down, so many people will benefit from paying for a ride. Tram rides cost $1.00 to go down and $1.25 to go up.
Once you get down to the beach, there are little stands where you can rent snorkel gear. There are also informational booths that show pictures of all of the different kinds of fish that you might see in Hanauma Bay.
Set your stuff down on the beach, put on some sunscreen, and you’ll be ready to head into the water! Make sure you stay within the boundaries and that you refrain from touching the fish and stepping on the coral.
Hanauma Bay is also a gorgeous beach. You could easily spend an entire day here. After you get out of the water, you could read, eat lunch, walk up and down the beach, and just enjoy Hanauma Bay’s natural beauty.
What to look for at Hanauma Bay
The last time I went to Hanauma Bay, I could not believe how many fish I saw! It seemed like everywhere I looked, there were more and more! Check out our guide to marine life at Hanauma Bay! Here are just a few different fish that I saw last time I went:
What to bring to Hanauma Bay
Bring beach towels, sunblock, water, a swimsuit, sunscreen, and the park entrance fee of $7.50. And bring an underwater camera so that you can take pictures of the marine life!
Life jackets, vests, and floaties are not available at Hanauma Bay, so remember to bring your own.
There is pretty much no shade on this beach, so bring an umbrella if you like the shade.
You are also allowed to bring a small personal cooler with snacks or non-alcoholic beverages. Large coolers are not allowed. You might also want to bring extra money for the snack bar and gift shop.
Tips for Visiting Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay opens at 6:00 am every day. This lot is known to fill up by 7:00 or 7:30 am! Only a certain amount of cars are allowed in the parking lot. If the lot is full, you will be asked to leave. There is no waiting area. But if you book your tour with us, you won’t have to worry about parking! We will get you in without a problem,
The bay is closed to the public every Tuesday, Christmas Day and New Years Day to allow the fish a day of feeding without interruption.
There is food for sale, and it’s good food! But it’s all the way at the top of the hill, near where you buy your entrance ticket. Although you are welcome to eat on the beach, there is no food for sale down at the beach. You can use the tram service as many times as you would like throughout the day, making it easier to get to the snack bar and bring down your food. Or, you can bring your own snacks.
Lockers are available on the beach for you to secure your valuables. Lockers are $8.00 for a small and $10 for a large. You can rent snorkel gear at the beach as well for $20. Prescription mask/snorkel sets, for nearsighted, are available for $15 at the bay (-200 to -800). Beach wheelchairs are available for free, just ask the volunteers at Hanauma Bay.
Hanauma Bay Safety Tips
Hanauma Bay provides lifeguards but also has an extensive list of safety tips for visitors to review before they enter the water. These include:
If in Doubt, Just Stay Out!
• Swim in areas near a lifeguard stand when possible
• Never swim alone
• Don’t dive into unknown water or into shallow breaking waves
• Ask a lifeguard about beach and surf conditions before swimming
• If you are unable to swim out of a strong current, signal for help
• Rely on your swimming ability rather than a flotation device
• Look for, read and obey all beach safety signs and symbols
Please, take very special care of children. They should always be supervised at the beach and in the ocean by their parents or adult guardians. Lifeguards are not substitute babysitters – their responsibility includes the entire beach.
Before you go, click here for a complete list of safety tips from Hanauma Bay, including a drowning prevention checklist for parents, information about currents, and high surf, sharp coral reef, and more.
Oahu Super Saver All Inclusive
Sometimes people come to Oahu and never step out of the action of Waikiki, even though in a matter of minutes you can go from a bustling city to a magnificent rain forest.
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Included in this package are a Private Jeep Circle Island Tour, one of the island’s best luaus, a tour of pearl harbor, and a dinner cruise. During your free day, you can purchase a number of add-ons, including a visit to Hanauma Bay.
Call us today to book your Oahu Super Saver All Inclusive vacation package. Let us know that you want to visit Hanauma Bat and we’ll make it happen!