Tips for visiting Oahu’s Hanauma Bay

Isn’t Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve stunning? There’s no wonder why it’s been the setting for scenes in movies. Hanauma Bay is Oahu’s most popular place to snorkel due to its coral reefs and protected bay.

For a quick overview, check out our fun, little video overview of Hanauma Bay with scenes from our time snorkeling there.

As Hanauma Bay is a marine preserve, it is protected to help keep this place special. First off, access is limited to keep it from being overcrowded. Another layer of protection is that 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:

  • A reservation system was implemented April 2021. See our article about this new system.
  • Check out this page for Hanauma Bay to book reservations and read about their policies. To visit the beach and/or snorkel the fee is $25 per person above the age of 13.
  • Be sure and familiarize yourself with safety tips. There are lifeguards at this bay.
  • Hanauma Bay is open Wednesday through Sunday, which means it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • The bay opens at 6:45 a.m. The last entry is allowed at 1:30 p.m. All visitors must exit by 4 p.m.
  • Non-residents of the state of Hawaii must pay an entrance fee of $3 per car to park. You can view the bay from overlooks without a reservation.
  • If you do not have a rental car, you can get to Hanauma Bay by taking TheBus. Check this page for updates on any of these policy changes.
  • This fish identification card gives you a 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.
  • Please wear sunscreen that does not damage the coral. Do not use sunscreens that have oxybenzone and octinoxate as they are banned from Hawaii. Look for a sunscreen that is deemed “reef safe.” Ideally, it’s best to use a mineral-based sunscreen.
  • If you have questions about visiting Hanauma Bay, call 808-768-6861

If you are unable to secure a reservation, another option is to book a guided-tour that usually includes transportation to Hanauma Bay, entrance fees, snorkel equipment, a guide and more. Here are some options that we are aware of:



With new COVID prevention methods, lockers, snorkel gear and wet suit rental may not be available. To be on the safe side, it may be best to bring your own gear or rent it outside of the park.

Rental fees from a December 2015 visit.

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

  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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