Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Bodies of Water • Nature & Wildlife Areas
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A perfect snorkeling spot.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
17,067 reviews
Excellent
10,709
Very good
4,005
Average
1,630
Poor
453
Terrible
270

Katie N
Oxford, UK7 contributions
Jan 2022
Difficult to book as slots open only two days before, check the parks and recs website to book in advance and get up at 7am to get a good spot. The gift shop was expensive but had some time things and money goes towards the reserve so also worth it. The Beach wasn't too crowded, we snorkled on the right side of the shore which was less busy and saw lots of fish. If you want to also see similar fish and can't get into this place you can snorkel up near the top of Wikikki beach near the beach cafe for just as many fish. So the main benefit of this place was the views from the beach which were amaxing
Written January 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kanicon
Los Angeles, CA719 contributions
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 January 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Rachel L
Edmonton, Canada1 contribution
Jul 2022 • Friends
Lots of other reviews will go into the details of the bay itself/how pretty it is/what to see. Here are some tips for actually getting into the park:

Ticketing is available online through the parks website, and reservations open at 7 am two days prior. You must, absolutely must, be on at 7 am because they sell out within minutes. The website is not the easiest to use to be honest. It was a stressful experience so definitely try to move fast!

The first step is to select your time, which is available in 10 minute intervals. After you click on your desired time, you will have to pass a captcha picture to prove you’re not a robot. Once you’ve selected the right squares, the “close” button will remain grey and it will look like nothing’s happening. Hit the close button to be taken to the next page.

The next page is where you enter your name/contact information and then select how many tickets you want. On this page, your tickets are NOT reserved and can be sold out from under you. It may be hard to reserve for a large group at once. When I was trying, the screen initially said 5 tickets left. By the time I’d filled out my information and clicked submit, I got a pop up stating only two tickets left. By the time I switched my number from 5 to 2 in the drop down, there were no tickets left. So… if you’re a large group, I’d recommend everyone jumping on at the right time and breaking it down into smaller groups to maximize your chances of getting through. If you need to, book times relatively close together and meet up inside the park.

If it’s been a few minutes since 7 am and you didn’t get all the tickets you need, keep trying. Once you reach the page where you put in your credit card, your tickets are held for a few minutes while you do that. Because of this, there is the possibility of some tickets getting released back out if someone decides not to go through at that point.

Upon arrival, the check in process is a bit disorganized. It takes a long time to get into the parking lot (25 minutes for us, we had an entrance time of 8 am), and we were stressing because we thought we’d miss the entrance time. However, they aren’t that strict at the gate and lots of times were jumbled together, which was a relief.

Once you’re in and you’ve watched the video, you get a stamp and have unlimited in/out privileges throughout the day. Enjoy your time at the park :)
Written July 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ann R
15 contributions
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 July 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mahavir
Mountain View, CA4 contributions
Mar 2022
You do not even need to snorkel to see the reefs and colorful fishes. Its a flat area and you can walk with water waist deep water in the bay.

Make sure you carry change for parking ($3) and make reservations ($25/person) to visit. Do carry a beach umbrella. They have trams to take you to the beach from parking level so feel free to grab all your picnic stuff to have a fun time. I would recommend arriving here as early as possible - they close the beach by 3 pm.
They have a snack bar as well as gear rentals by the beach. The rentals are not overpriced so its a great place to get your gear. They have snorkel gear and life jackets. For other items call ahead and confirm.

I would recommend spending the entire day here (only if you have an umbrella as it can get bright sunny and hot). Try to arrive by 8 am and latest by 9.30 am to get the parking. If the parking lot is full you will have to park outside and walk to the entrance which can be like 0.3 miles downhill and uphill.
Written March 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

visitor_to_hawaii
New York City, NY6 contributions
Mar 2022
This was fantastic many years ago. Issue now is the reservation system. Even though I logged in at 7am on the dot, for two tickets, it was impossible to reserve any spots. Within minutes the spots were all gone. The system is not able to handle the web traffic, hung up and you would have to wait for a dismiss button or see internal failure messages pop up. This is the most archaic system I have ever seen and after about an hour figured it just was not worth the time or frustration. WASTE OF TIME!

Instead, we booked a turtle cruise with snorkeling and lunch. Probably pay $150 more than spending at Hanauma (ticket price, Uber and food) but hassle free including a couple of drinks included. They have just created a poor system causing an inconvenience to visitors.

In addition, it is 30 tickets per 10 minutes. Here is the thing that just rings in my ears as scam. I could not get any paid tickets for $25 but could get local resident tickets at $0 with no issue. So out of the 30 tickets per slot, a very small number is given out and can almost bet the site is checking on the IP address.
Written March 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jill H
Auburn, MI151 contributions
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 June 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

mbvacationer
Honolulu, HI33 contributions
Jun 2022
I will start by saying that I live on Oahu and Hanauma Bay is my favorite place on the island that I always take guests when they are in town. I go at least once a month or so. However, this last experience was quite disappointing due to the extreme unprofessionalism and downright rude attitude of the staff there.

The person at the front was extremely disorganized. Our reservation time was for 11:00am and we arrived in line at about 10:45am. For some reason, they were allowing everyone in who had a reserved time for 1:20pm or earlier, which made no sense. He kept asking if our reservation was for 1:20pm...um no it's for 11am which is the current time? Literally everyone was so confused and it was chaotic. He was also rudely yelling at people who were doing exactly as he said. It was obvious that this person has no business organizing an entry like this. I was embarrassed that all of our visitors were having this experience and getting rudely screamed at like we were kindergartners.

Then, once we finally made it down to the beach, it was a fine day. However, upon leaving we arrived back at the top of the hill at 3:20pm. My guest was simply trying to take a picture from the top before we left and we were all rudely yelled at again by a different staff member to "Move along people we are closing at 4!". It was said in a very rude tone and loudly. Umm...correct. You close at 4:00pm and the current time is 3:20pm and we are less than 2 minutes from the car. Calm down.

Needless to say, this is why Hawaii residents do not go there. It is absolutely stunning, but they have made it such a stressful experience that it simply isn't fun or worth going to anymore. They really need to take a hard look at who is training their staff and add a little bit of Aloha to their attitudes. It's unfortunate because it is such a special/beautiful place, but I won't be back for a while and will take my guests somewhere that I will not be completely embarrassed by the rudeness of the employees for literally no reason.
Written June 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

AT
1 contribution
Dec 2021 • Couples
Very disappointing and sadly do not recommend, particularly with the cost and hassle of visiting. I visited in 2nd week of December 2021. I last visited they bay in 2005, when it was still alive and was excited to see it again, however now it is mostly dead. You pay so much for admission, then they make you wait and watch a video that’s only shown every ~25 mins to teach you about the life there used to be (but they act like it’s still there). I arrived to the parking lot around 1pm, wasn’t let onto the beach until 1:45pm. Then renting snorkel gear is a waste and expensive bc nothing to see. I mean there are a couple fish but the reef is certifiably dead. Watch any reef documentary and it 100% looks like a dead reef. No turtles. At least the water is pretty and the beach is only 80% as crowded as Waikiki. Also got rushed out of the water at 3pm by the lifeguards bc they close by 4.
Written December 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

WD
1 contribution
Jun 2021
Best Way and Best Time to get the entrance tickets to Hanauma Bay!!!

Forget the on line reservation or drive-in with your car to get the entrance tickets, that 's waste of your time and lots of frustration.

Best way to get the entrance tickets is to walk in, make sure all of your party is present, they don't give extra tickets for person who is not with the group. Just park your car(free parkig) at the very near by KoKo Head Districk park, which is within the same park system with Hanauma Bay. Park your car by the baseball field and take the road on your right, less than 10 min. walk will take you to the front gate of the bay.

Best time for walkins is 7:00 to 7:30 am, that way you will get the entrance time with about 30 min. of wait time. I was there at 7:00 and got in the first show a 7:10 am. Later arrivals the wait time gets longer, average about an hour wait.

This is your best bet to get the entrance tickets, with a little morning walk!!! it's all good.
Written June 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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

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