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“Can be great or average...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Book In Advance
$92*
and up
Oahu Grand Circle Island Tour
Ranked #6 of 312 things to do in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: A perfect snorkeling spot.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
291 reviews
169 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 224 helpful votes
“Can be great or average...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2011

It really depends when you go. I have been when it was awesome, crystal clear, tons of fish, a few turtles. The last time I went, there were few fish, no turtles, and it was murky. I would recommend going either way, if it is less than great only spend an hour snorkeling instead of four.

Visited February 2010
Helpful?
1 Thank MissMandaMay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
65 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“depending on when you visit, this can be either great or average”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2011

If you like snorkelling, then you will love Hanauma Bay on a good day. Here are my tips after visiting it 4 times and only having 1 truly outstanding experience.

Know the tide times. Go in high tide when it is deeper. This is the best tip I can give. I've been there in low tide and its nowhere near as good. The best experience i had was at high tide when we saw a huge amount of fish and even saw a sea turtle in 2 metre deep water. At low tide, its not even half as good.

When i have been there at low tide it has been pretty average. The reef can be shallow, there won't be that many fish to see and its almost not worth going.

Take minimal property with you and hire a locker to keep it safe. Apparently there are thieves about and you don't want to be worrying about your stuff while you snorkel.

You can get the Beach Bus from Waikiki or get a taxi or mini bus if you have a few of you. It isn't too far from Waikiki but getting home might not be that easy if you haven't arranged a pick up. If going back by bus, know the timetable as they are not that regular.

It can get quite busy but i have never found it too crowded.

Definitely worth a visit if you time it right and get a nice sunny day. I didn't believe there were turtles out there after my first 3 visits but I can attest to their existence after my 4th visit (which was at high tide). They are magnificent creatures and easy to follow around for a while.

I think there is also one day per week when it is closed so check before you go. Its not very expensive and you can have a great day there.

Just around the corner is Sandy Beach, a famous shorebreak in bodyboarding and bodysurfing circles. I love visiting there as well just to watch the crazy blokes that take on the shorey. Its one bus stop away, about 4 minutes by car but a long walk.

Visited April 2010
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4 Thank sincas3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
81 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 280 helpful votes
“a must when your in oahu, nice easy and great snorkel site”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2010

The first time we went to Hawaii, we went on a tour that picked us up from our hotel, transported us to the bay and included snorkel gear. This time after doing research, I decided we would catch the bus there and see how we go. Because we bought our snorkel gear from maui so we brought that along.

We went to the bus stop to catch the next bus. We went past a shop that was selling mats for 0.99 which was cheaper than what ABC store had at 2.49 I think. It was a good investment because our future trips to other snorkelling places meant we could use the mat J. After 20 or so different buses and eventually our bus came – reading the reviews before they do mention that the bus gets packed so I was hoping because it was the 8:30 bus or something that we should be alright but nope, bus packed out doh so pretty much standing all the way to hanauma bay. The bus was about a 20 minute ride from where we were – Aston Waikiki Beach Circle

When we arrived, we took a couple of photos and walked to the entrance. Paid $7.50 per person for entry. After that they make you watch a documentary about the bay then once finished, you can either take the mini-open bus/shuttle down for a fee or walk down. We walked down and there was a decent amount of people there already. So we rented out some fins and also a life-jacket and the line wasn’t long. Woooahhh hold up, did you just say life-jacket!? Can’t you swim!? ---- yes I can swim but the life jacket really helps you out because it helps you float better and especially when your in the water and you want to fix up your mask, you can just float while doing this if you were in deep water.

We didn’t go out too deep but we kept around the corels and we saw a lot of fishes. Did a 1st round of snorkelling then we had a break. We could see the bay really filling up now so as others suggest, the earlier the better! So went back to a 2nd round of snorkelling and then decided to pack up. As I was returning the fins & life jacket, woah the queue was pretty long for rentals. We took the mini-open bus/shuttle back to the top.

So by the time we finished, it was about 12ish just in time to catch the next bus. We got out of the place, then take some photos then waited for the next bus which we timed to come and it came within 5 minutes. The bus was empty J

And that’s our adventure for a Sunday morning snorkel at Hanauma Bay

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5 Thank Sydney_Aussie21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
127 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Disappointing if you want to see tropical fish”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2010

Went to Hanauma Bay November 2010, previously been about 10 years prior. You now pay a fee of $7.50 per person, and $1 for parking. You are required to watch a video about the preservation of the park and rules before entering the Bay. We did not see many fish, as most of the coral is dead after years of people touching it. There were a only a few fish. We did still see several people walking on the coral, which is prohibited, and also saw two rescues where people went beyond the markers and into dangerous currents. I don't think they paid much attention to the video. The beach is beautiful, but there are much better ones.

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2 Thank TiffaniVictoria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Hanauma Bay = Paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2010

If you're not sure about the existence of Paradise... go to Hanauma Bay! It's just breath taking. It's the perfect spot for pictures, snorkeling, site seeing, to relax, be close to nature... This was our favorite place of our entire vakay.

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1 Thank brasaboston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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