Tips for visiting Oahu’s Hanauma Bay

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Isn’t Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve stunning? There’s no wonder why it’s been a filming site featured in dozens of movies.

Hanauma Bay is Oahu’s most popular place to snorkeling due to it’s beauty, coral reefs and protected bay. Here’s a little video overview of Hanauma Bay with video clips from our time snorkeling there.

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.

If you’d like to visit Hanauma Bay, here’s what you need to know:

  • Check out the official page for Hanauma Bay noting all the buttons for additional information.
  • Be sure and familiarize yourself with safety tips. There are lifeguards at this bay.
  • The preserve is open Wednesday through Sunday, which means it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • The park opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m.
  • You must pay an entrance fee of $3 per car to park. You can view the bay from the parking lot level.
  • 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. Note: with the initial reopening of Hanauma Bay in December 2020, no commercial vehicles, taxis or bus services are allowed. Check this page for updates on any of these policy changes.
  • If you want to go to the beach level, the entrance fee is $12 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. The gift shop, education center, food concession, snorkel and locker rental facilities will remain closed within Hanauma Bay. Snorkel equipment should be brought by visitors to the bay.
  • This fish identification card gives you an sneak peek of the types of tropical fish you might see while snorkeling in Hanauma Bay.
  • 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. See this link for the prediction calendar.
  • You might consider planning your trip around the tide. With low tide, there’s less swimmable depth/area to view the reef fish. See this link for tide predictions.

Hanauma Bay was closed from March 2020 until early December 2020 due to COVID-19. When the bay reopened, the hours and number of daily visitors has been restricted. See this link for all the newly implemented measures.

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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. As previously mentioned, with the reopening of Hanauma Bay, snorkel gear and lockers are not open due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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Have you snorkeled at Hanauma Bay? How was your experience?

5 comments
  1. This looks amazing and will definitely be one of my stops on the island.

    FYI, I think you accidentally posted the number for the bus. The Hanauma Bay number is (808) 396-4229.

  2. I have appreciated all the information about Hawaii compiled by you, so I will offer a cost-saving tip for snorkeling at Hanauma Bay (and elsewhere). Snorkel Bob’s (700 Kapahulu Ave., 8 am – 5 pm every day) offers a budget special of mask, fins, net bag, and No-Fog for 7 days for only $9. When you go to get fitted, they try to upsell you on more expensive equipment, but it is not a hardsell and even if you chose the most expensive package it would be far less than what you would pay for a week of snorkel equipment rental at Hanauma Bay.

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