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
10,708
Very good
4,005
Average
1,630
Poor
453
Terrible
270

David S
2 contributions
Nov 2022 • Couples
I enjoyed the day in Hanuama bay but the reef is in poor condition and to be honest the snorkelling in shark cove on the other side of the island is better and it’s free.
Written 20 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kingsmom
California47 contributions
Nov 2022
We had a wonderful afternoon at Hanauma Bay. I had a brief snafu with the tickets due to the time change but managed to get us a reservation at 11:30 on a Thursday. We left our condo in Waikiki fairly early and arrived by 10:00am. The parking lot was not full and we were able to find a spot. They also let us into the preserve early which was a bonus. We rented snorkel gear in Waikiki from Snorkel Bob's so we simply checked in, watched the quick video and then made our way to the beach. The fish were plentiful and the entire experience was positive. If you are a seasoned snorkeler, this may not impress you but for our family of novices, it was perfect. The bathrooms and showers were clean and I did utilize the locker rental for my purse. We then left and continued eastward using the Gypsy Guide app and learned a lot about the island.
Written 16 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

john19502013
Ottawa, Canada101 contributions
Oct 2022
Great place to snorkel and see the fish. Fills up very very fast everyday so getting in is difficult the sooner you arrive the better your chances however well worth the inconvenience.
Written 16 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sightseer779040
191 contributions
Oct 2022
We found this preserve as we were looking for a great snorkeling place on our drive around the island. You do have to make your reservation in advance. It opens up 2 days in advance at 7am Hawaii time. Set an alarm because I was online right at 7am and by 7:04 when I was finished with the reservation, most of the time slots had already filled up. This is because they only allow 30 people in every 10 minutes. The earliest slot was 7am and the latest slot is about 1pm because they close the beach around 3pm. When you reserve, you have to pay per person ($25/each). Also note that parking is not included and is $3 CASH ONLY. I wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t read it in reviews like this one so be sure to bring cash. We reserved a 7:30 time slot. We showed our reservation and were let in. We saw many feral cats on our way in. One of the workers told us that the one that hangs around a lot they named “Beachmaster.” Once we were let in, we were led to the admissions booth where they actually checked us in and crossed our name off the list. We were then shown to a waiting area, where an employee briefed us about the seals and wildlife we may encounter and the safety involved. Around in this waiting area are some informative exhibits, a small gift shop, and a snack shack. She was very informative and gave us some interesting facts about the area. We were then shown to a small theater where we watched an orientation video about the history of the preserve and why it’s important to respect the area to help preserve the coral reef in the future. It also stressed not to touch anything while you are snorkeling, and also went over some safety measures regarding swimming in the ocean. That whole process took about 15-20 minutes. Once we were through that, you could either walk down the large hill (very do-able) or you could ride on their tram down the hill to the bottom where the bay is located. At the bottom, this is where the tram will pick you up to go back up the large hill, there are some outdoor showers, restrooms, an information stand about the fish in the reef, and the rental shack. If you are not an avid or strong swimmer, I would recommend either bringing or renting a life vest. The waves were pretty strong as you are trying to swim out far enough to see the coral reefs, so it was a lot easier to snorkel with the vest, it was $10. You do gave to give your ID as a deposit to make sure you return it. They also have other things for rent such as flippers and snorkeling equipment. The bay is a decent size so there is plenty of space for everyone to spread out. There is an area with some grass that is further back from the ocean, and then there is plenty of sand beach space to hang out in as well. When were got down there at around 7:50am ish, there were plenty of people already there, but it didn’t feel crowded. The day we were there, it was very windy, and elsewhere on the island there were rip current warnings, so in the bay it was quite choppy. Therefore it was a little difficult to swim out and you got tossed around a little bit by the ocean so be sure to stay with your buddy. You do have to swim a decent ways out before you can see the reef. A lot of the reef is unfortunately dead, but that is why this bay is now a preserve. However we were still able to see some live coral which was awesome! We saw a lot of fish of all kinds. Big, little, medium, colorful, black and white, all patterns and shapes. We saw lots of urchins hidden in the coral as well. We even saw a large school of fish which was cool! If you’ve never seen anything like this before, it is awesome. If you are used to snorkeling in the Caribbean, it will be just a bit of a let down. Once you are there you are welcome to spend as much time as you would like. You can also just wade in the ocean as well, since the reef is further out than where you can stand anymore. Many people were enjoying their time here. We enjoyed ourselves as it was a cool experience to see the different reef fish. For us, this was a one and done adventure. Next time I think we will try a catamaran excursion instead.
Written 12 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

GRZ
Chicago, IL8,822 contributions
Oct 2022
OK portion of this is on me, I thought that we are just going to a beautiful beach... and I was OK with waiting to be let into the grounds/parking without a prior reservation (we got super lucky and were the 1st ones in the line for the 10AM or 11AM "nonregistered batch") and with $3 parking... but then to pay another $25 USD per person (credit card accepted with extra fee...) and watch the mandatory videos and listen to the instructions speech... it was just a bizarre experience I wasn't ready for... and we almost left at the time when we were told that everyone needs to go through this process... I have nothing against anyone working here but respect but it's just a strange mix that spoiled the experience... there are many coral reefs in many places and people are always asked to be respectful and not to do certain things, so are the rip currents and waves... it didn't feel like a beach, it felt like a produce and that left a bad taste for me...

Once we got to the beach... barely any shade and the water didn't have great visibility that day... where I am OK with the ladder it's just nature doing its thing I couldn't figure out what we were paying the $25 USD per person...

The pictures from the top were nice but that's really all we enjoyed - the whole placed felt "forced", not what going to a beach is for me...
Written 11 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cheryl R
Cincinnati, United States4 contributions
Nov 2022
I don't think I have ever seen so many reef fish (number and variety). Also saw turtles and a reef shark (a small one). This place is beautiful and a great way to enjoy snorkeling while helping preserve the marine life. I would highly recommend it. Just be aware that unless you can find a discount, it is $25 per adult for admission (not the $7.50 mentioned on their website), but this price it well worth it. Would definitely return.
Written 8 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Travel Booze Food Happinesses
Toronto, Canada916 contributions
Nov 2022 • Family
So excited to visit this iconic location and with all the great reviews but what a complete let down. I do t give many 1 stars but this was a simple one to give.

Where to start
- having to race to book in at 7am to buy your ticket. Crazy
- having to arrive at 7am just to get a car park - crazy

At the location
- watching a compulsory video - crazy as when in the water the stupid tourists there ignore everything ask not to do
- there is very limited sea life. Compared to the Big Island it was pitiful at Hanauma Bay. Seriously the reef is dead because I guess (see point above) to many tourist ignoring rules

Avoid yourself the stress of buying a ticket and parking. Don’t go

Hint: the Big Island a place called Two Steps. Free and 1000’s more fish to see and 100’s less people
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Written 6 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

vodka_1121
Vancouver, Canada433 contributions
Oct 2022
All reservations are booked within 5 minutes of the queue opened online. Please book way ahead and at the very first minute the queue is opened for booking. I've been here before but my BF haven't so we actually miss the chance to snorkel. Very unfortunate.
Written 25 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dan_Kopp
15 contributions
Oct 2022 • Family
My family and I very much enjoyed snorkeling at Hanauma Bay on October 21. It was the best snorkeling that we experienced on Oahu and definitely lived up to the hype. We will do it again when we return to Oahu.
Written 24 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jessicalynn1022
6 contributions
Oct 2022
Highly recommend this as a must on your Oahu vacation!! Everything about this location was wonderful and absolutely beautiful!
Written 21 October 2022
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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