OAHU SEA ADVENTURESHanauma Bay Snorkeling
Hanauma Bay is the most well known snorkel destination in Hawaii. This remnant of an ancient volcanic crater is partially open to the ocean creating a very well protected interior that is almost always calm. This has to be one of the best beginner and children snorkeling locations in the world.
Hanauma Bay is a Nature Preserve, and because of its proximity to a major population center and its popularity with tourists, it has suffered some from over use. Recently the City and County of Honolulu has gone to great lengths to find a balance between sufficient access and over use. Today only about 3,000 visitors are allowed each day, and it is closed on Tuesday. Before entering the preserve everyone must watch a short video in the Marine Education Center where you will learn how to leave a minimum impact in this living museum and ecosystem.
There is a $5 per person entrance fee for non-residents of Hawaii and those over 13 years of age. It will almost always be crowded, and you could have difficulty finding parking. So, if you don’t want to be disappointed, arrive early. This is the best time for snorkeling anyway – when the water tends to be calmer and there are less clouds. For snorkeling, the sunnier the better.
If you are unsure of your water skills or snorkeling for the first time, there could be no better or beautiful location. When confident, get out away from the beach a bit where the water is usually a lot clearer. There is a vast safe area in close to the beach, and you would have to work very hard to drift out to the mouth of the bay where there are dangerous currents that should be avoided at all costs. With so many people and lifeguards this is a very safe beach, just don’t get too adventurous.
If you are an experienced snorkeler, or feel like you would like to do more snorkeling after learning here, there are many places in Hawaii where the snorkeling is actually better – with even clearer water and some space to yourself. But here at Hamauma Bay, it is very safe, there is much to see, the fish are plentiful and tame, and there are some interesting reef formations. Plus, you will learn about tropical reefs, how fragile they are, and their importance in the ecosystem of tropical islands