Prepare for Hanauma Bay

Prepare for Hanauma Bay

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Yes, it’s crowded — 3,000 visitors a day — and, yes, it attracts tour buses and shuttles. But there is a reason why this former volcanic cone became Hawaiʻi’s first Marine Life Conservation District, now known as Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve: Its vibrant reefs have made it world-renowned for snorkeling.

In fact, this geologically distinctive curved bay 10 miles east of Waikiki was so popular — and abused — that in 1990, restoration efforts established ground rules for visitors that require  watching a video before entering the park. The law bans mistreatment of the marine animals and touching or walking on the live coral, which can easily be destroyed by contact. And since Hawaiʻi became the first state to ban reef-harming sunscreens, effective Jan. 1, 2021. Check out this page for more information on Reef Safe Sunscreen


Hanauma Bay is open 6am to 4pm ( beach closes at 3:30pm) Wednesday through Sunday except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Reservations must be made here before hand. You can drive on your own and pay the $3 cash to park, but arrive early, since there are only 300 parking spots and they fill up by 8am. Entry fee for nonresidents is $25 ages 13 and older; it’s free for ages 12 and younger and Hawaiʻi residents with ID. Gear rental is available for $20. A taxi costs about $40 one way from Waikiki; a ride on The Bus #1 line costs $3 one way and takes about 45-50 minutes.

Keep it simple with a guided snorkel tour that includes Waikiki pickup and dropoff, entry fee, gear with snorkeling demo, plus an hour in the water with a local expert and an hour to just soak up the views.


If you are heading back through Hawaiʻi Kai (as in heading back toward Waikiki), stop in Uncle Clay’s Shave Ice, for an all organic, tasty treat.

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