Of all the rich experiences available on O’ahu, one of the things I most want to return for is snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. While my group working with the O’ahu Visitors Bureau stopped to admire the beauty of this eroding volcanic crater, we didn’t actually have a chance to swim with the bustling sea life just below the bay’s cerulean surface.
If you’re dreaming of a Hawaii honeymoon or anniversary trip, I recommend adding Hanauma Bay to your bucket list.
Here’s everything you need to know before visiting:
- Like all reef systems, Hanauma Bay is home to a fragile ecosystem. Help protect the nature preserve by only wearing biodegradable sunscreen while in the water. Any other kind will damage the coral and wreak havoc on other plants and animals in this precious underwater world.
- Don’t plan your visit to Hanauma Bay on a Tuesday. The park is closed on this day every week to limit visitors, helping preserve the area.
- Driving to Hanauma Bay from the Waikiki area is easy peasy. About 20 minutes east of the city, there also is a shuttle to the park with three different departure times. The shuttle costs $25 and includes snorkel equipment.
- If you’re driving to Hanauma Bay, there are only 300 parking stalls. During peak season, these fill up early. Plan to arrive in the morning on these days to ensure you find a spot (Hanauma Bay opens at 6 a.m.).
- Don’t have your own snorkel gear and aren’t taking the shuttle from Waikiki? Snorkel gear is available to rent on-site.
- Park entrance fees are $7.50 per person.
- Bring your tennis shoes! You can hike along the volcanic crater’s ridges that form Hanauma Bay for even more spectacular views of the state park.
- Small coolers are allowed, so be sure to pack snacks and nonalcoholic beverages (alcohol is not permitted). There also is a small snack bar at the park, which serves burgers, sandwiches, French fries and other similar items.