Picture yourself floating in crystal clear water above hundreds of colorful fish in a bay which lies at the bottom of a volcanic crater. This is Hanauma Bay State Park, a crescent moon shaped beach full of action both in and out of the water.
Hanauma Bay Snorkeling:
Located on the south-east coast of Oahu, Hanauma Bay has long been the premier spot for snorkeling. More than a thousand years ago, an eruption blew out one side of the volcanic crater. This explosion created the shape of the bay we see today.
There are three distinctive sections to swim at Hanauma Bay with each providing something a little bit different. Most visitors choose to swim in the closest area to shore. Here hundreds of species of fish congregate in the bay living in lava rock tubes. Hawaiian Sea Turtles often enjoy the warm water of the bay as well.
Hanauma Bay became a protected Marine Life Preserve to ensure it remained a sustainable tourist attraction. Only 3,000 visitors are allowed per day and it’s closed on Tuesday to allow the reef to recover. In the past people snorkeling were allowed to feed the fish and more than 10,000 people visited daily.
Before entering the Bay visitors must wait patiently and watch a short video about the history of the bay, what to expect in the water and how to care for the reef and sea-life.
Admission into the park is $7.50 for visitors 13 years of age and older. If you are under 13 you can enter for free or if you are a resident of Hawaii just bring your driver’s license, student card of proof of residency for free entrance.
What’s Near By:
Attractions nearby include the Koko Crater Stairs, which is a short but grueling hike to the top of Koko Crater. A short, scenic drive down the coast will lead you to Halona Blowhole, a great natural spectacle.
Take a look at my recommended 25 things to do in Oahu to learn more about many of the attractions nearby.
Where To Park:
They offer parking at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, however the parking lot fills quickly so its best to get there early as possible.
Best Times To Go:
The park is open from 6am until 6pm every day except for Tuesdays, Christmas and New Year’s Day.