Hanauma Bay Travel Guide, Updated 2021
Hours: 6:45 a.m. – 4 p.m. (no entry after 2 p.m.) ; Wednesday – Sunday, closed Mondays and Tuesdays
Price: $3 for parking, cash only ($1 for Hawaii residents); $25 for entry (children 12 and under, active military and Hawaii residents get in for FREE); $20-$40 for snorkel gear - available at the beach level
*Please note, Hanauma Bay is limiting the number of daily visitors and reservations are now required to enter the bay, make a reservation here.Tickets are in extremely high demand, learn more about reservations below.*
Hanauma Bay, Oahu; Photo by Turnstange, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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. Stop at Hanauma Bay on Shaka Guide’s East Oahu Shoreline Drive.
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Reservations are now required to visit Hanauma Bay. You can make reservations here up to two days in advance, starting at 7:00 a.m. Only 1,000 visitors are allowed to enter the bay daily. Tickets are in extremely high demand - we recommend you try for tickets by 7:00 a.m. two days prior to your preferred visit date for a chance to get a reservation.
Parking remains first come, first serve, even if you have a reservation. We recommend you arrive to Hanauma Bay early, before your reservation, in case you can't find parking. 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.
- Park down the road and walk to the bay.
- 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, $3, cash-only fee to park in Hanauma’s lot ($1 for Hawaii residents).
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. Remember to be respectful to the marine life and always keep a safe distance. Many of these species are protected and getting too close will result in a fine.
Tips For Your Visit
If you don’t have snorkel gear, you can rent on the beach. It’s about $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 Short Educational 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 Mondays and Tuesdays
Each week, the Bay is closed for two full days to allow the animals to feed, uninterrupted. Keep this in mind as you’re planning your trip. If you’re taking the Shaka Guide East Oahu Shoreline Drive on a Monday or Tuesday and you can't make it to the bay, your download is available for life so you can always head back to Hanauma the next day!
Visit Hanauma Bay's website for more information.
Remember that the marine life who call Hawaii's ocean home should be respected. Don't get too close to fish (some species such as monk seals and sea turtles are protected and getting too close will result in a fine), do not step on the coral, wear reef safe sunscreen and pay close attention to the educational video. Learn more about being a responsible visitor to Hawaii and take the Pono Pledge here.
SHAKA GUIDE'S OAHU TOURS: Grand Circle Island Tour, East Oahu Shoreline Drive, Honolulu's Backyard Rainforest Tour, Legendary North Shore Loop, Heart of Waikiki Walking Tour, Historic Downtown Honolulu Walking Tour
This blog was originally posted on 10/26/2019, it has since been updated.