Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
4.5
Bodies of WaterNature & Wildlife Areas
6:45 AM - 4:00 PM
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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  • Richard
    Florida66 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fun time snorkeling
    This bay is pretty spectacular. Reef everywhere making it a perfect place for snorkeling. We saw many different species of fish. Unfortunately no green sea turtles or monk seals but still was an awesome experience. The check-in/orientation process was a little unorganized. Took about an hour between the different lines we had to wait in, a 10 minute speech, a 5 minute video, and then the tram ride down to the beach. They have a snack bar back at the top of the hill which makes no sense. Why wouldn’t you have it at the beach where everyone is. Non Hawaii residents cost $25 per person which seemed high since residents are free. Many reviews say parking is tough but we had no problem. Arrived at 9:00 and was still plenty of spaces. Visited with my wife and teenage kids. Everyone had fun.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 25, 2023
  • d1domino
    Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania81 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Definitely Do Not Miss
    We tried several times to score tickets, until finally getting them for a noon entrance. We arrived at 1115 and all same day ticket’s were gone so the parking was only for those with reservations, which was a benefit. However, we did need to prove we had reservations, so have your confirmation email or account open to show them. We wasted a few minutes of our and others time because we didn’t know we would need this. After paying for parking, we found several close spots, a win. We were able to get in line for the video right away, and head down to the bay just after. No lines no waiting. The tram did fill up, so we walked down. The bay was definitely worth the entrance fee. It was beautiful. The close water was cloudy, mostly from everyone’s sunscreen, but once past it became very clear. At 3 pm they cleared the ocean. Plan on walking up or waiting in queue for the tram. They have concessions and rentals , but we brought our food and equipment. The facilities were adequate and clean. There are showers outside and changing area inside the bathrooms. If you can get tickets, you should go. You need to be fast as they go on sale two days beforehand and ca n sell out in minutes or even seconds. Once you have them they do give you 10 minutes to enter payment details.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 2, 2023
  • eve w
    8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great variety of beautiful fish
    It was difficult to get a booking (online at 7am) but we thought it was worth it. We saw heaps of different types of fish (no turtles unfortunately). It was particularly good when the sun came out in the middle of the day to illuminate the water even more. The tide was just high enough so we could swim over some of the coral without touching it. Not sure how it compares to other snorkeling places in Hawaii but it was the highlight of our trip.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 4, 2023
  • Elaine A
    14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Hawaii at Its Prettiest
    Used to be a volcano but when the top blew, it let in some of the Pacific, which makes for a beautiful place to swim and snorkel. Lots of coral to see fish around but wear swim shoes if possible as the coral can cut your feet. Try not to touch it at all if possible. Make reservations as they only allow so many people a day. Snorkel gear on sight to rent.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 5, 2023
  • wxggg
    Georgia4 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    beautiful views, some sea life seen thru murky waters
    tickets are hard to come by but you're able to show up and get on a wait list. we were given a time of 12:40 but were able to get in by 10:30, waiting about 1.5 hours. there's a nice shaded grassy area to wait, or you can walk around the grounds. snorkeling was ok, it's pretty crowded and the diversity of sea life is lacking, likely due to people. make sure you bring the right kind of sunscreen. there's a gift shop there that offers a discount on sunscreen if you need to buy the right kind. we were there for about 2.5 hours. people there are mostly helpful.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 12, 2023
  • 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
    Traveled with friends
    Written July 23, 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
    Traveled with family
    Written September 19, 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
    Traveled solo
    Written September 21, 2023
  • ccrconinc
    Concord, California658 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
    Traveled with family
    Written September 28, 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
    Traveled solo
    Written October 8, 2023
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 wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles17,197 reviews
Excellent
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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 January 8, 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 January 18, 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 March 15, 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 January 1, 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 January 31, 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 December 26, 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 June 27, 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 February 6, 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 January 23, 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 July 24, 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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