Hanauma Bay Snorkeling

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So I have been in Hawaii for almost three weeks now and I FINALLY went snorkeling at the bay that is a 10 min drive from my house. It also happens to be the bay where I will be working everyday. What have I been doing with my time?! Oh yeah… Being lazy and reading 5 mystery novels. Well better late than never I suppose.

Anyway, we bought snorkels and masks and flippers at Wal-Mart and spent probably 45 minutes of our late afternoon swimming.


The fish at the bay swim all around you. It’s crazy! They are everywhere! We saw like schools of fish and random lonely fish and rainbow fish and fish the size of dinner plates. I’m not gonna lie the fish scared me a little at first. But they were so beautiful and it was so fun to watch them eat off he reef.

The prettiest fish I saw was so gorgeous! It had an electric blue spine and it was mostly light green and had little splotches of pink and purple. AH! I cannot describe how beautiful it was!!! I wanted to take it home. I am determined to buy an underwater camera.


But by far the coolest thing we saw was a SEA TURTLE!!!! It was so cool. We literally just followed it around for a while and watched it eat off the reef. It was so cute. It kinda looked like it was flying through the water.

Oh, it was such a fantastic trip! I discovered, with the flippers, if I swam with my feet together I could go faster. Made me feel like a majestic mermaid. I probably looked like a fish out of water, flopping around, but I felt like a mermaid.

What you need to know:

Hanauma Bay is technically a nature preserve, so you have to pay to park and to get in. It’s a whopping $7.50 per person. Then, once inside there is a mini museum-type exhibit that you can peruse while you wait for your theater time.

Yes you heard me right. After you buy a ticket, you have to sit through a 15 minute theater presentation teaching you not to step on the coral and respect the fish and all that jazz. It’s pretty tortuous. And perhaps a little interesting…

I think the most frustrating thing is that it takes so long to get into the park and actually down to the beach. And if you come during a high traffic time of the day there will be a line to get a ticket. And they will close the parking lot if there are too many people there. So you might drive all the way from your hotel, only to be turned away due to a closed parking lot.

Also they are closed on Tuesdays, always.

However, if you get there before 7am you don’t have to pay for parking or admittance and you’ll get in no matter what. Plus there aren’t many people there yet so sand hasn’t been kicked up, blocking your view of the pretty fish.

If you don’t want to swim that early, go in anyway, hang out on the beach for a bit and watch the sunrise and then on your way out get a hand stamp from the security guard. That stamp will allow you to come back in for free for the rest of the day and you don’t even have to wait in line.

It’s a 1/4 mile walk down to the beach which isn’t bad, it’s the walk up after you’ve been swimming all day that’s hard. But there is a tram (where I work!) that can take you to and from and for $2 you can ride it all day.


There is snorkel rental down by the beach but they close before the beach does. So make sure to turn in your stuff or they might leave with your ID or credit card.

There is an overly priced concession stand at the top of the hill outside the park, but with your hand stamp, you can get back in.

Also, be warned that there is no smoking on the beach no matter what. You will get kicked out.

Verdict: Do it!

This is probably one of the best places to snorkel, you can’t miss it! And if you follow my tips, you won’t even have to pay to get in!