Hanauma Bay Travel Guide
Hanauma Bay, Oahu
Hours: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Wednesday – Monday, closed Tuesdays
Price: $1 for parking (cash only); $7.50 for entry (children 12 and under get in FREE); $20-$40 for snorkel gear
Hanauma Bay, Oahu
About Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay is a spectacular white-sand beach surrounded by lush green cliffs; it really is a sight to behold. Formed from a series of volcanic eruptions, Hanauma Bay is now a marine life sanctuary. This historic bay was used by Hawaiian royalty for fishing and recreation. It was aptly named Hanauma, which means curved bay, in Hawaiian.
Following World War II, this spot’s beauty attracted visitors from around the world which led to years of overuse. In 1967 the spot was named a marine life conservation area and is currently a state park. Volunteers are on-hand to answer questions about the bay and its inhabitants which include of 450 types of marine life. Snorkel at Hanauma Bay on Shaka Guide’s East Oahu Shoreline Drive.
We recommend you arrive to Hanauma Bay early. This beach is one of Oahu’s most popular tourist attractions. In fact, about 3,000 people visit the park daily. If you get to Hanauma and the parking lot is full, you have a few options:
- You can wait and check back every 10-15 minutes to see if someone just left. The parking attendants require that you keep driving, so you’ll have to turn around down the road to check back.
- Come back another day, either early in the morning, or later in the afternoon when there are less people.
- Park at the nearby Koko Head Park and hike about a mile in. Shaka Guide provides directions to Koko Head Park in the tour highlights section of the app.
There’s a small, $1 fee to park in Hanauma’s lot. Even if you don’t plan to snorkel you can pay the parking fee and enjoy a gorgeous view of the bay from the parking area.
Hanauma Bay is special because of its sprawling reef which is home to over 450 types of sea life. On any given day you might see monk seals, sea turtles, or humuhumunukunukuapua’a — Hawaii’s state fish.
Tips For Your Visit
If you don’t have snorkel gear, you can rent on the beach. It’s $20 for the standard set that includes a mask, snorkel, and fins. You can also pay $10-$12 to rent a locker for the day if you’d like to secure your valuables during your visit.
Bring Snacks or Buy Before
Once you get to the beach (it’s about a 10-minute walk from the entrance) there’s no where to buy any concessions. You can pack snacks or lunch, or buy before you get down to the beach at the snack stand on premises. Just make sure you throw out your trash. Once you see the beauty of Hanauma you’ll understand why it’s important to respect its ecosystem.
You’ll Have to Watch a Video
Before you enter the park, you’ll have to watch a short, educational video about caring for the ecosystem that awaits you at Hanauma Bay. This is mandatory for all park visitors.
Pack Reef-Safe Sunscreen
Help preserve this natural wonder by wearing reef-safe sunscreen during your visit. It’s estimated that in 2015, about 14,000 tons of sunscreen ended up in the planet’s coral reefs. This causes irreversible damage through bleaching and contamination. If you don’t have reef-safe sunscreen, you can trade in your current block for a discount on one that’s reef-friendly at Hanauma.
The Bay is Closed on Tuesdays
Each week, the Bay is closed for one full day to allow the animals to feed, uninterrupted. Keep this in mind as you’re planning your trip. If you’re taking the Shaka Guide tour on a Tuesday, your download is available for life so you can always head back to Hanauma the next day!
Also check out: Volcanoes on Shaka Guide’s East Oahu Shoreline Drive