In my list of Oahu’s best free and low cost activities, I mentioned snorkeling with one of the most popular spots being Hanauma Bay.
Hanauma Bay is a marine preserve. To keep this special place protected, access is limited. Before dipping a toe into the bay, visitors must be educated on the importance of protecting the marine life and reefs.
The City and County of Honolulu has quite a bit of useful information to help you plan your visit to Hanauma Bay.
If you’re going, here’s what you need to know:
- Familiarize yourself with safety tips. There are lifeguards at this bay.
- The preserve is open every day except Tuesdays. The park opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. in the summer and 6 p.m. in the winter. It is very common for the parking lot to fill by mid-morning, so arrive as early as possible. (Pssst! We’re not sure if this trick will always work, but if you arrive at the gate before 7am, you might be able to get in for free. Parking may be free as well. You’ll beat the mid-morning rush, plus get to snorkel in clearer conditions before the sand gets churned up by more people.)
- If you do not have a rental car, you can get to Hanauma Bay by taking TheBus. Additionally there are private companies who provide a shuttle service to and from Hanauma Bay. If you don’t have snorkel gear, there are shuttle companies who will supply snorkel gear as well.
- If you are driving, parking is limited. To see a map of the area click here.
- You must pay an entrance fee of $1.00 per car as you enter the parking lot plus $7.50 per person above the age of 13. See this link to verify current fees.
- Snorkel gear and lockers are available for rent. See the photo below for possible rental rates.
- To hear the most up to date information about Hanauma Bay, call 808.848.5555.
- About eight to ten days after a full moon, it’s possible that box jellyfish will be in and around the bay, so it’s best to plan to avoid that time.
- If you’d like to plan your visit around the tide levels, see this link for tide predictions.
As mentioned previously, you can rent snorkel gear and a locker at Hanauma Bay. The below photo shows pricing as of December 2014. As you can see, you an spend quite a bit on gear rental. It is convenient, but it you plan to snorkel more during your Oahu vacation, you might want to consider buying your own gear and/or comparison shopping at other snorkel gear rental companies. Please note that Hanauma Bay does not rent floatation devices.
Have you snorkeled at Hanauma Bay? How was your experience?