Are you thinking about snorkeling at Hanauma Bay? If you are planning a trip to Oahu in Hawaii this needs to be on your to do list!
Hanauma Bay is gorgeous and is worth putting on your Hawaii itinerary! The water is warm and the these pictures do not have any filters! It really is that blue! Snorkeling in Oahu may be the highlight of your entire trip!
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What is Hanauma Bay?
Hanauma Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Ohau. It is a curved bay that was formed from a volcanic cone.
It is now a nature preserve park that has over 400 species of fish living within the coral reef just below the surface of the water. You will also see green sea turtles in this area.
Hanauma Bay has over 3000 visitors everyday which is about 1 million visitor’s every year.
Plan your Snorkeling Trip to Hanauma Bay
I know what you are thinking (if you are like me), Hanauma Bay is extremely popular and it will be crowded…..but I am here to tell you that I didn’t feel that way at all! Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay is gorgeous and worth checking out!
Directions to Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay by Car
If you are driving from Waikiki it will take between 20-40 minutes depending on traffic. It is 10.7 miles away from Waikiki.
We did not experience any problems with driving and thought it was a great option.
Hanauma Bay Shuttle
If you did not rent a car and still want to experience Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, there are many shuttle services from Waikiki. The price range for the transportation shuttle ranges from $17 -$25.
For that price you will receive round trip transportation as well as professional snorkeling gear to use. A separate $7.50 entrance fee is not included in that price.
Are Reservations for Hanauma Bay Shuttle Required?
The answer is YES! If you are planning to use this service call ahead and arrange your times. There are specific pick up times throughout the day.
What are the Shuttle Times for Hanauma Bay?
Pick up and return times are as follows:
7:15 am – 11:45 am
8:45 am -1:15 pm
10:15 am – 2:45 pm
Parking at Hanauma Bay
Parking at Hanauma Bay was pretty easy. One piece of advice we read was to get there early as the parking lot fills up fast. Taking it easy is part of why we go to Hawaii and we did not get there too early.
Finding a spot was not a problem! There were still quite a few available by the time we got there. We went at a very busy time of year and observed that even when we left there were spots available. But just be aware that there are only 300 available spots.
The parking fee is $1. Parking fee is refundable if you are in the lot for less than 15 minutes. Parking spots are very close to the entrance.
Admission and Introductory Video at Hanauma Bay
Admission Price for Hanauma Bay
Admission is $7.50 per person. Children 12 years and younger, Hawaii residents, and active US military (with ID) are free. The $7.50 does not include snorkel gear.
One thing you might want to consider is the Go Oahu Card, which will get you in to Hanauma Bay and many more Hawaii attractions.
Hours for Hanauma Bay
I’m so glad I took a picture of the sign! Hours of operation are 6:00 am – 7:00 pm daily in summer months. In the winter it closes at 6:00 pm. Tuesdays they are not opened.
Can I Rent Snorkel Gear at Hanauma Bay?
Taking the shuttle and getting the equipment together is about the same price as driving and having to rent equipment. Meaning it is about $20 to rent equipment. If you are nearsighted they do offer mask with prescription lenses. That might be worth it right there!
Life vest and floaties are not available to rent onsite but you can rent them from the shuttle provider.
Are Lockers Available at Hanauma Bay?
Yes, there are two sizes of lockers available to rent. For a smaller locker the price is $10. A larger locker is priced at $12.
A smaller locker will hold a cell phone, wallet, and keys. The larger locker will hold a backpack.
Once you pay your admission fee you are guided to an area to wait for a mandatory instructional video. This video tells the history of Hanauma Bay and the nature of the natural preserve.
I really enjoyed the video and learned many things. Most importantly, I learned that you can not step on the coral reef! The fish depend on the coral reef to survive and we do not want to damage it.
Hanauma Bay Educational Center
Hanauma Bay has an educational center where you can observe what types of animal life is present in the bay.
The main goal is to preserve the animal life and learn about all the ways to keep the environment safe.
It also has a 12 minute video that is interesting and informative.
Prepare For Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
What do I need to Bring to Hanauma Bay?
Here is your checklist!
Cellphone or Camera
Reef Safe Sunscreen
Money for entrance fee
Small cooler filled with snacks and non-alcoholic beverages
Pro Tip – I purchased snorkel gear at Sam’s Club before this trip and it was worth the money. We snorkeled at many locations. It saved us so much money and gave us the freedom to explore area’s that did not rent out equipment.
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
Getting To and From the Hanauma Bay Cove
I wanted to warn you it is a steep 10 minute walk down to the bay from the visitor center.
Fortunately, we made some friends as we watched the video and didn’t mind the walk as we were chatting. On the other side walking up the hill was intense. It was a really steep climb!
If you prefer not to walk a tram service is available to take you down for $1 and up for $1.25. I would consider this for the hike up!
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
One thing to be aware of is that the water is very shallow. The coral extends pretty far out but the depth of the cove remains fairly shallow even as you swim farther out.
The sea life is amazing. There are so many beautiful fish to see! You will even get to see the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, which is the state fish. Yellow fish, trumpet fish, and angel fish are also swimming throughout the cove.
There are lifeguards on duty but I imagine that would be a hard job as everyone is sticking there face in the water!
How Much Time Should I Spend at Hanauma Bay?
If you are taking the shuttle they will have a specific return time about 4 hours from the time they drop you off.
What I found is that snorkeling is hard work. Ultimately, we swam and swam and explored the reef and become tired.
If you take lots of breaks and relax on the beach you could spend all day here. I would probably allow about 3-4 hours to fully enjoy the area.
Is there anywhere to eat at Hanauma Bay?
Yes, a snack bar is located on the upper level across from the cashier. They have bacon cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chili with rice, pulled pork sandwiches, and french fries.
They also have some healthier options such as turkey wraps, teriyaki chicken, and garden salads. There are also lots of snack and drink options available. Meals are under $8.00.
I didn’t get a chance to try it out. So, I’m not sure what the quality of the food is! They make it sound really good!
Are You Ready to Go Snorkeling At Hanauma Bay?
Hopefully, all of your questions were answered and you feel ready to go and have some fun! Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay is really a must do in Oahu and I hope you have a great time! Be sure to check out my One Week In Oahu Hawaii Post.
Comment Below if you have any experiences snorkeling in Hawaii and what your favorite spots have been!
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