Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
4.5
Bodies of WaterNature & Wildlife Areas
Wednesday
6:45 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
6:45 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
6:45 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
6:45 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
6:45 AM - 4:00 PM
About
This protected marine life conservation area, named after its unique curved bay, is a popular snorkeling spot in Hawaii. Formed within a volcanic cone on the eastern side of Oahu, this marine sanctuary is home to vibrant marine life and well-preserved corals. There is a limited number of visitors allowed in the bay daily, so make a reservation in advance to secure your spot. It's also closed on certain days so remember to check before you go. You can rent snorkeling equipment here—all you have to do is remember to pack some reef-safe sunscreen. Some tours of the North Shore also stop by the bay for a quick photo opportunity.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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  • Vcals
    Holbrook, New York880 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing experience
    This place is amazing. They really go out of their way to emphasize the need to protect the sea and plant life here. The snorkeling is a must do as you will not be disappointed with the amazing sea life in the water. It’s best to reserve ahead of time to avoid the long waits and best to arrive early so that there is no hassle. Definitely must experience this place during your stay in Oahu.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 23 July 2023
  • whiskeysix
    Honolulu, Hawaii586 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great Family Beach
    We finally got a reservation here for an afternoon last weekend. Arrival: if you have a reservation you will be waived through to the parking lot. Park and head toward the ticketing area. Everyone in your party needs to be present and present IDs. After you check in, you will gather in an area with restrooms and someone will take you to watch what I call the reef brief, a short video. Then you will be released to walk down or take a shuttle down. It’s a very easy walk down. Not so much the way back… The tide was unusually high and we were knocked about quite a bit while snorkeling. Nevertheless we were still able to see fish roaming about. Even the though the water was cloudy we still enjoyed our time there. We will return when the tide is low and try again as I feel we didn’t get the experience most people have! Gorgeous place, and lots of volunteers around to answer questions.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 19 September 2023
  • Mona A
    5 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    fun moments
    Exploring Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Honolulu was a mesmerizing journey into the city’s natural beauty and underwater wonders. The bay’s pristine waters and vibrant coral reefs provided an unforgettable snorkeling experience. Swimming alongside colorful fish and encountering the diverse marine life was a true adventure. The bay’s educational programs and dedicated staff ensured that visitors had a deeper understanding of the marine ecosystem. The surrounding cliffs and lush greenery added to the bay’s natural charm, making it a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts, snorkelers, and anyone seeking to explore the underwater treasures of Honolulu.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 21 September 2023
  • ccrconinc
    Concord, California665 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nothing fishy about it !
    Breath taking views in the morning so come early and have your group together ready to go it’s a beautiful place to be but prepared for a long day You can come and get in line for tickets or make a reservation but do it ! We love it here and the kids really enjoy the water and lots of fishes ( get there early ) Thanks for all the workers they do a fantastic job ! Mahalo !
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 28 September 2023
  • Rick s
    11 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Hanauma bay snorkeling
    Hanauma bay snorkel: 1. Book early: booking opens 48 h ahead. Be ready to go to website and book exactly at that time. There are like 400 total spots around 30-40 every 10-15 min and they go fast. $25 2. Come early. For my 7:10 booking I was there 6:30 3. Earlier you come less the rush and more the fish 4. Parking for 300 spots opens 6:45 and line forms around 6:30 am and they go fast 5. $3 cash for parking 6. Leave extra time to adjust to their “rules” and system 7. So first you park, then you show your ID and confirmation email to check in. Then you hear verbal instructions for 10 min, then watch video 10 min then take tram down to beach. All good is upstairs. All rentals and showed are downstairs 8. Most people need 60-90 minutes then you are exhausted. You can take a break and relax on beach and go again or call it a day. 9. The water is pretty clear though not the clearest I’ve seen; I’m part it depends on the tides. It’s not perfectly calm but decent. 10. There are plenty of fish but not as great as some of the so called “best” snorkeling places. 11. You don’t really need tour companies unless you don’t want the hassle of booking yourself and driving and parking.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 8 October 2023
  • LJ A
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Outdoor recreation
    A wonderful day of swimming, snorkeling and watching nature. Monk seal came on beach and the biologist was very good at explaining the monk seal’s place in the local ecosystem. Adults and children were enthralled by the explanations.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 14 October 2023
  • Thomas
    Chicago, Illinois21 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful place, but depressing to see the destruction
    Came here 21 year ago and it's sad to see the difference. Still a pretty good spot to see wildlife but it's clear that tourists have been stomping all over the reef. Park should consider kicking people out if they stand on the reef or obviously don't have the swimming ability. This morning, I witnessed a woman barrel through coral, breaking chunks off while aggressively kicking it to try to stand. If you can't swim, don't. The park should also check to see if the visitors actually speak English before showing the video. Half the room didn't, wasn't paying attention, and promptly began destroying the reef within minutes of getting in the water. Unbelievable. Also they were fishing... Seriously? The welcome video should also clearly call out what a reef looks like (maybe they think it's rock?) The video is too cute, maybe show some sliced up legs and feet from standing on reef? In my opinion, the price of admission should be raised to fund more strict enforcement to protect the reef.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 21 December 2023
  • TravelingSoccerLoon
    Saint Paul, Minnesota5,385 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great Snorkeling Experience but Advanced Planning is Required
    I found the snorkeling at Hanauma Bay to be excellent with hundreds of fish seen. However, the coral has suffered over the years from all the visitors to the bay and needs to be better protected and it does remain worrisome whether this will remain a good snorkeling spot in the future. In an attempt to limit the number of visitors, there is a rather complicated reservation system in place. You must go to the Honolulu Parks and Recreation website and reserve an entry time between 6:45am and 1:30pm. These spots become available only 2 days in advance at 7am local time and they are usually gone within 5 minutes. I would suggest practicing on the site in advance until you are comfortable with how the process works. The Nature Preserve is also closed every Mon and Tuesday. $25 entry but you can stay as long as you want after entering until closing at 4pm. Parking ($3) can be challenging, and you are not guaranteed a spot even if you have a reservation. For this reason, reservations early in the day are best. There are lockers for rent to keep your cellphone, wallet and other valuables. You can also rent snorkeling equipment, but I like bringing my own gear including an inflatable snorkel vest being not a good swimmer. If this your first trip to Oahu, I think this is a must do experience, but it does require advanced planning.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 1 January 2024
  • Tween mom of two
    Windermere, Florida32 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Have your internet ready 2 days prior
    This is an experience you won't want to miss. Yet, after a few failed attempts, I finally was able to get a reservation. The key is having the reservation site loaded ahead of time and refresh right at the time. It may take a few days to finally get one!
    Visited December 2023
    Written 9 January 2024
  • tutana
    Tempe, Arizona293 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nice bay with a beautiful view
    This is a nice place for families to go. The water is a bit murky and not a lot of fish and no good coral unless you go out beyond the buoys. I don't recommend that unless you are a great swimmer with good fins. The current coming back in was dicey. Make sure you make your reservation at 7am 2 days before you go. The slots fill up fast. We've been here at least 4 times.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 12 January 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles17,204 reviews
Excellent
10,776
Very good
4,026
Average
1,647
Poor
468
Terrible
287

Patty T
2 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Friends
The water was muggy and you couldn't really see any fishes. It gets crowded fast. If you get there before 7am (inside the park/down the ramp), you will get in for free. If you get there at 7:01am you will have to pay the entrance fee and watch their video...the older lady in charge is no joke and she will make you pay...get there before 7am!
Written 8 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

live2travelnottowork
Clifton, VA44 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021 • Solo
The snorkeling was amazing, so many fish and the coral is thriving after the park was closed for several months during 2020. Make sure you bring snacks and water with you! They have a vending machine with drinks but the snack shack is closed due to Covid and the little gift shop does not sell food. They are running the tram again so while you may have to walk up and down steps from the main gate (if you arrive before the parking lot is open), you do not have to walk up and down the path from the bay.

Hanauma Bay is operating at a limited capacity and only allowing 30 people into the park every 15-30 minutes starting at 8am. I arrived just after 6am on a Wednesday at the gate and was already 10th in line. Arrivals slowed down after I got in line until just after 7am when more and more people started arriving. It’s important to note that you cannot park at Hanauma Bay itself until AFTER 8am, if you arrive before then, there is a park across the way that lots of people would park at then walk up to the Hanauma Bay entrance from. The people who work there are very nice unless you don’t follow the rules. Don’t use the closed entrance as a drop off point and make sure your face mask is on and covering both your mouth and nose when you walk up to the line.
Written 18 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Terry W
North Richland Hills, TX177 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
We read other reviews about getting there early due to parking. We were in line before they opened the gates at 6 AM on a Saturday. Little did we know, we didn't have to pay for parking or entry fee or watch the informative video since we were there before they opened at 7 AM. Another benefit of arriving early is the crowd hasn't arrived yet. We left around 9:30 AM and it was just starting to fill up. We saw several species of fish, including a black starfish. Snorkeling gear is available for rent there for no more than you would pay in town, but they don't open until 7 AM. They do not have flotation devices. The park is beautiful, including the landscaping and the welcome area before you head down the mountain to the beach. There is a shuttle that will take you up and down if you choose, for $1.25 each way. A truly amazing place. Be sure to have your reef safe sunscreen to protect the reef.
Written 15 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Murugs Lingaswamy
149 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
Great Snorkeling. Water is shallow in most parts and deeper in some areas. So it is fun for entire family. We were able to see lots of Variety of fish. Stunning colors. Only catch is the beach closes at 5pm. So be there around noon atleast so that you can spend some time. You park and attend a brief video of what to do and what not to do, then you can take a trolley service down (if you want for $.150 each way) or walk down the .25 mile paved road.

Snorkeling rentals available down there. If you plan to snorkel few times in Hawaii, buy it for $30 or so rather than renting it for $15 everytime.

Excellent experience overall for all family members. Entrance fee is $7.50/person and totally worth it. As long as they are not scared of water/waves, this might be a nice place to do snorkeling.
Written 1 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kyma38
San Jose, CA18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021 • Solo
So many colorful fish! Great snorkeling, from what I can tell. I think there's a lot of variety and colorful fish, I even saw a turtle! It's also a great beach area for the folks that prefer to stay on land. Do check the Hanauma Bay website for latest entrance processes, as things can change quickly due to covid. When I went, you get a time slot for entrance and can leave and come back at your allotted time. I recommend getting there right when they open the parking lot (7:45am for me) to ensure you can maximize your day at Hanauma Bay!

They no longer sell food or drinks (covid) but have a gift shop, restrooms, shower, water fountain, and info booth.
Written 31 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

poha
Oahu, HI27 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2020 • Couples
A visit to Hanaumu Bay is currently a long and frustrating experience. We arrived at 7:10 AM and were about the 20th car in line for the 8 AM opening. We have been told that they let in 60 cars when in fact they let in about 10 and then put up the closed sign. We thought they would open it again but instead the cars in line - including us were waived on and forced to drive away ! There were also long lines of people waiting who walked up the hill. I have heard that some walkers wait 2 to 3 hours to get in. All of this causes traffic nightmares in this area and until a reservation system is implemented you are likely to waste a beautiful day in Hawaii.
Written 26 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jill H
Auburn, MI146 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
The key to getting tickets is have several people on computers together and just be ready to click reserve exactly at 7am HST (or whatever that is in your time zone). We had 4 of us trying to get tickets and succeeded. I wondered if it was worth the hassle, but it truly is! The beauty is stunning and swimming with turtles, fish and other sea life is priceless. One thing to note is that there is no bus running here right now, so you need to drive yourself or taxi. Just make sure you have a return ride figured out before you are ready to leave as there are no taxis/ubers allowed into the park without a specific request. So we lined up our return with our driver prior to getting out at the bay. Saved us a lot of hassle!
Written 27 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Erica B
Asheville, NC2 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
It was beautiful! We got there at 1130a, walked right into the orientation and in the water by noon. I've snorkeled a lot and saw fish here I've never seen before. I could have spent all day searching the reef.
The park needs to implement a fine for touching the reef and have staff to inforce it. The video everyone must watch goes over why not to touch but not enough. In 10 minutes I saw/told 8 people to not touch. Two guys where crawling around on all 4s grabbing and jumping off the reef... It made me very sad.
My boyfriend visited this bay as a kid 20 years ago, says he had never seen soo much color and life.... now it's all grey rock..

Please visit this bay. It's great. Do NOT touch the reef. It's very important.
Written 6 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kanicon
Los Angeles, CA800 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022 • Friends
Requires reservations to enter and the earliest time we could get in there was 10 am. Orderly lines, Quick video and then entry into the bay. Enjoyed sunbathing, snorkeling there and we even got to catch a monk seal taking a quick nap on the sand
Written 23 January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ann R
35 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Family
Hanauma Bay is a unique and beautiful snorkeling spot and state park. It is under conservation, so the state lets in 1000 or so people per day. Currently, tickets become available at 7 am two days before a visit. They sell out in 2 minutes. I tried for 3 days in a row unsuccessfully. So I brought my son and arrived at 6:15 am to line up for admission. It was worth the effort! The snorkeling is not the best I’ve ever done in terms of numbers of fish. However, the unique environment, the fish with apparently no fear for close up pictures, and the overall gorgeous landscape is a “must see” on Oahu.
Written 24 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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