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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  • Richard
    Florida41 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
    Travelled with family
    Written 25 June 2023
  • d1domino
    Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania73 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
    Travelled with family
    Written 2 July 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
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 4 July 2023
  • Elaine A
    6 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
    Travelled with family
    Written 5 July 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
    Travelled with family
    Written 12 July 2023
  • Vcals
    Holbrook, New York756 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, Hawaii363 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, California579 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
    7 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
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 bubbles17,194 reviews
Excellent
10,770
Very good
4,027
Average
1,647
Poor
465
Terrible
285

Imagining_Dragons
Baltimore, MD29 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
If you do one thing outside Waikiki when in Oahu, try to visit Hanauma Bay. Don’t stress with trying to get tickets online. Get up super early and either drive there or take an Uber. As long as you are among first 300 people you will get in. We arrived at 630am, parked on the overlook across and waited for park to open which is 645am. We got tickets to enter at 730am, which was great as the bay gets more crowded later in the day. We saw so many different fish and some new coral growth and few sea urchins. It was absolutely amazing, although somewhat sad as most of corals have died from people stepping on them.
If you choose to buy tickets online and decide to drive beware that even if you have entry tickets the parking lot might be full and you might not be able to enter.
Written 5 April 2024
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.

Christina R
Portland, OR55 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Got up early two days prior to get entry tickets for a Thursday at 11:00am. Tickets sell out fast so demand is very high. Still had to arrive 15 minutes in advance of our reservation. We waited in line and then in another line and then another 10 minutes for a talk from a volunteer who told us about the place. Very nice. But then we were corralled to a theatre to watch a video. Then finally a 5 minute walk to the beach we were finally got to enjoy it. Check in and all the things took 45 minutes.

Price per adult (12 years and under are $0) is $25. We reserved our snorkel gear in advance but that didn’t really seem to matter. There was no line. $10 fee for a tiny locker enough for a wallet, phone but not much else. Water was on the murky side and shallow. Sometimes it was difficult navigating the coral reefs and not bumping into them or someone else. Stunning view and setting. Clean facility and bathrooms. A good, safe experience for the novice snorkeler but there are probably better options out there without the extra fees and hassle.
Written 29 March 2024
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.

travelbunny004
Seattle, WA70 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
This beach is pretty epic! We had the perfect 82 degree, sunny, wind-free day and did get to see a variety of fish while snorkeling, including some impressive larger ones that you don't typically see. However, we did not see a TON of fish and the water was bit on the murky side while the snorkel area is quite shallow. Snorkeling is WAAYY better on other islands (our favorite being on the BIG Island). The coral does not look very healthy here (bleached out), and it did not help that may people were still walking/climbing on them, even with lifeguards constantly asking them to stay off. It kind of bummed me out to see the destruction despite a gorgeous beach and facility. The reservation system is pain and took me several attempts to snag one. And even after we finally secured a reservation, the parking lot was full but lucked out and was let in for a final spot after a wait period. The whole process is a bit stressful but yes, you will be rewarded with a gorgeous beach day, but keep your snorkeling expectations in check.
Written 22 March 2024
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.

Hrothmir
Smyrna, GA203 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
Hanauma bay now requires a timed tickets to enter. At the time of writing, it was closed on Mondays as well as Tuesdays. Prepare/plan well in advance.

Even with timed tickets, one still has to line up to get in. After one gets in, one listens to a live lecture/presentation and then one goes into a movie theater for another lecture/presentation. There is value in educating folks about protecting vs. damaging the reef; but I was a little surprised that my feet did not actually touch beach until over 45 minutes after my timed ticket time (the time I approached the entrance).

It's a great and easy area to snorkel. There are sandy areas where you can easily enter the bay. And then you can snorkel in relatively shallow water along the edges of rocks (or coral that looks more like gray rock than stereotypical colorful coral formations) with a good variety of interesting fish.

There is a booth to rent snorkel equipment and one can also rent lockers. The fee for flippers/fins was $9 at the time I was there (Feb 2024). When you rent equipment they ask for something like a drivers license to serve as a deposit. One option is to give them your car keys instead. If you're worried about someone taking your stuff while you are snorkeling but you don't want/need to rent a locker, using your car keys as the deposit can be a good way to keep those keys safe (and dry) while your snorkel.

It sounds like Hanauma at one time had far too many daily visitors; and increasing price can be a good way to control demand in many situations. $25 spent per person on snorkeling (plus a $3 parking fee) is much better value than many other experience. But I could imagine a family might balk at a fee for an activity that is free (and good) at other spots in Oahu like Shark's Cove.
Written 13 March 2024
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.

Brian F
Toronto, Canada22 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
You need to reserve a timeslot, or get up early and take your chances at getting some tickets they hold for walk-ins. And early is better. There were a lot more people let in than I expected, and by about 10am, you were bumping in to other snorkelers in the water. There are lots of fish, and we saw more than 50 different species ( No turtles though).

There is also no law prohibiting idiots, so they will be there too. To explain; they ask you to listen and watch a video before they let you down to the beach, which asks you not to touch, or stand on the coral. Well...every other snorkeler thinks it's ok to perch on the coral when they get tired. Was just annoying, but if you can see past it, the snorkeling is great.

The only reason this wasn't a 5 out of 5, was the female security person at the front gate. I won't go into the details of our exchange, but she should be fired. So for anyone going early...park in the lot just before the entrance, but dare not arrive at the entrance early, or suffer the condescending wrath of a very cranky individual.
Written 13 March 2024
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.

Colin B
Brisbane, Australia4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Amazing. A really beautiful place to snorkel and experience marine life how it's meant to be and not in captivity. Calm, crystal clear waters, suitable for kids too. Even if you just stand in knee hight you will experience an amazing array of fish.
All snorkelling equipment is available to hire, including life jackets at a reasonable price.
There is car parking, but we got an Uber, so I'm unsure of the price.
Written 9 March 2024
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.

TinkToo
Edmonton, Canada214 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
We tried for two days to get reservations right at 7:00 am when tickets dropped but could never get the website to load unfortunately. Demand is high! There are walk in tickets available for every time slot, not many though. We arrived at Hanauma Bay at 6:30 am and waited in our car, outside the park on the road, to enter at 6:45 am. You will see all the white tour vans sitting out on the road waiting as well. There is someone sitting on a bench with a blue umbrella, that person hands out walk in tickets (you still need to pay at the window when your reservation time arrives). Six of us were able to get walk in tickets for 8:00 am thankfully. Love the snorkeling and saw many different types of fish. Staff are all very helpful. The tram up and down the hill is very handy. Food is expensive, but choices are limited. Highly recommend for a great beach day!
Written 27 February 2024
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.

umestagramm2
Lake Forest, CA37 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
We loved everything about Hanauma Bay, even that there was a fee to get in. The view and scenery are worth the small fee and we do recommend that if you goto Hawaii....you need to go and view this spectacle of nature!
Written 18 February 2024
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.

Cristobal E
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
It is not worth paying 25 dollars to see fewer fish than on any other beach where you can snorkel. In fact, there were less fishes than in other places, and always the same. Dont go after 12.00, because at 15.00 they kick you out of the place. And if you go anyway, before making the reservation check if its going to be sunny, otherwise you will freeze. (I made a reservation, and when I got there, it was possible to get in without it, so I recommend no doing the reservation, because you dont get refund if its a cold day). But remember, much better to go to other places like Tutle bay, Haleiwa, Mokuleia, pupukea, and so many others.
Written 16 February 2024
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.

Roving584030
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Amazing
Great snorkeling
Number one stop on island!
Two things on Oahu to do is Haina bay and Shark cage diving. Both 5 stars
Written 10 February 2024
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 (with Photos)

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