Guide to Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii

Hanauma Bay snorkeling guide on Oahu, Hawaii

Hanauma Bay is a beautiful state park on Oahu in Hawaii. It is a protected marine life conservation area with a sandy beach and a gorgeous bay to swim in. There are so many colourful fish in the bay, making it a super popular place to snorkel. Keep reading for my guide to visiting Hanauma Bay, Hawaii so you can make the most out of your time there!

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Getting to Hanauma Bay

By Bus: The #22 bus goes directly from Waikiki to Hanauma Bay. It takes about half an hour from Honolulu Zoo. There is a stop along the highway that has a Hanauma Bay sign, but don’t get off here. The #22 bus actually goes down the hill right into the park.

  • Tip: Check what time the bus will be leaving Hanauma Bay back to Waikiki, because it only leaves about once an hour.

By Car: Hanauma Bay is a 25-minute drive from the Honolulu Zoo. The cost for parking is $1, but there are only 300 parking spots.

By Shuttle: Hanauma Bay offers a snorkel tour/shuttle service from Waikiki. Find information about the tour on the Hanauma Bay website.

Hanauma Bay snorkeling guide on Oahu, Hawaii

Hours

Hanauma Bay is open six days a week and is closed every Tuesday. The park opens at 6 a.m., and closes at 6 p.m. in the winter and 7 p.m. in the summer.

Hanauma Bay limits the number of visitors daily to 3,000, so it’s best to get there early. We arrived about 8:40 a.m. on a Thursday in late May and it was already busy.

Hanauma Bay snorkeling guide on Oahu, Hawaii

Admission

As of August 2019, admission to Hanauma Bay State Park is $7.50 for adults/teens, and free for children 12 and under. For up-to-date prices, check the Hanauma Bay State Park website.

After paying admission, you will be directed to a theatre to watch a nine-minute video about Hanauma Bay. The purpose of the video is to educate visitors about the importance of the bay and how to act while you are there.

Hanauma Bay snorkeling guide on Oahu, Hawaii

What to Bring to Hanauma Bay

  • Beach towel, bathing suit, beach coverup, beach bag
  • Goggles, snorkel gear, water shoes and/or flippers, life jacket if needed
  • Reef-safe sunscreen, hat, water, snacks
  • Waterproof phone case or waterproof camera
  • Money for the admission fee, bus fare, snacks, snorkel rental, etc.

Hanauma Bay snorkeling guide on Oahu, Hawaii

Amenities at Hanauma Bay

  • There are small and large lockers available at the beach if you want to lock any of your things away.
  • Snorkel gear is available for rent. As of 2019, the cost to rent a standard snorkel set is $20.
  • The beach is down the hill from the ticket booth. If you don’t want to walk up or down the hill, there is a tram, which is $1 on the way down and $1.25 on the way up.
  • There is a snack bar, but it is near the ticket booth, not down at the beach.

Hanauma Bay snorkeling guide on Oahu, Hawaii

Final Notes About Hanauma Bay

  • Hanauma Bay looks sandy, but much of the bay is full of sharp rocks and coral. Stepping on coral is not permitted, but having water shoes would be very helpful to protect your feet.
  • Hanauma Bay is known for its strong currents, which can be dangerous. There are several safety tips on the Hanauma Bay State Park website. Even right near the shore, the waves were pushing me into the coral.

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Thanks for reading!

Check out previous posts about Hawaii:

How to Spend One Week on Oahu

Guide to Instagrammable Murals in Honolulu, Hawaii

Guide to Hiking Diamond Head Mountain on Oahu, Hawaii

xo,
Andrea

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32 Replies to “Guide to Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, Hawaii”

  1. I wish I’d gone snorkeling in Hawaii. I did at the hotel I was staying at, but not the same as a proper snorkeling trip. Great tips and seems like a lovely place to visit

    1. You’ll definitely have to go back! 🙂

  2. What kind of thing do they show on the video? Is it “don’t drop litter and respect the area”? That is a fab idea if it helps protect the ecology of the area!! Hanauma Bay does look gorgeous, so if it take a small fee to keep it that way, I totally approve.

    1. The video is basically talking about how diverse the area is with so many kinds of fish and telling people not stepping on the coral, along with tips about safety when in the water. I think they’re really trying to get people to think before getting out there about how important it is to act appropriately and care for the area. I totally agree, if it means they’re really caring for the sea life in the bay and protecting species, then I’m fine with paying a fee.

  3. I’m going to Hawaii in February and I can’t wait to snorkel for the first time! I’m pinning this for my trip planning 🙂

    1. Oh yay! You will have so much fun!! 🙂

  4. It looks like an amazing place to go snorkelling! I love that it is closed on Sundays and that there are opening times. At least the wildlife can have some peace and time off tourists haha! Great guide and tips!

    1. Thank you! I think it’s pretty cool they give the wildflife some peace from the tourists too haha. I’m sure that’s very important, especially with such a popular place! They are open on Sundays, but they’re closed every Tuesday 🙂

  5. Great post! Will definitely add to my Hawaii must do list

    1. I’m glad it could be helpful!

  6. I’ve yet to go to Waikiki but this snorkeling spot sounds so fun!! I think this should be my next Island.

    1. Definitely! Snorkeling is a great Hawaiian experience 🙂

  7. I’m planning a one year guide to North and South America + Hawaii. It’s going to be something very detailed, my itinerary is already 2miles long. This post helped me so much with some of my question marks about Hawaii. Thx xoxo

    1. Wow, that sounds quite extensive! Glad I could help!

  8. I would looove to go back to Oahu! well, Hawaii in general since it’s so beautiful there! My hubby would love to snorkel here!

    1. Hawaii is so gorgeous! It was my first time there, and now I’d love to visit more of the islands!

  9. I really need to get back to Hawaii to explore. I had five days there for a conference and only got to see a few things.

    1. What a fun place for a conference! You’ll definitely have to go back to see more on your own time!

  10. Oh I miss my Hawaii trip so much! The sunny skies and doing nothing all day except for snorkelling, kayaking and eating poke 🙂

    1. Right?? Island life is the best! 😉 This was my first more relaxed holiday, and I could get used to it!

  11. I love snorkelling! And can’t believe I still haven’t been to Hawaii, one day!!

    1. For sure!! I agree, snorkeling is so fun!

  12. This beach is beautiful! I could use some sunshine and sand in my life right now 🙂 I really like that they show you a video before you go in the water. It’s a great way to educate visitors on how best to interact with the sealife!

    1. I am in desperate need of some sunshine too, with the arrival of winter! Totally agree, the video is a great idea!

  13. Hawaii is still on my never ending bucket list! You make me want to go even more! Thank you for all these great tips!

    1. Thank you for reading! I already want to go back!

  14. Hanauma Bay looks so gorgeous and it is definitely on the list for the next Hawaii trip. Did you see any good animals in the water or was it murky?

    1. The water was really clear! I saw some fish, but my husband went a little further out and he saw tons of super colourful fish.

  15. This looks so lovely! I also loved how you included so many helpful tips on what to bring and how to get there etc 🙂 awesome post

  16. I wanna go to Oahu so bad and now you just gave me another reason as to why I should just book the next fly and go! Hanauma Bay looks gorgeous <3

    1. Get on that plane, girl! 😉 Oahu is so beautiful!

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