The beautiful Hanauma Bay is a snorkelers paradise with warm, deep blue water, soft sand, coral and of course plenty of fish…
The bay is a stunning natural pool that was formed inside a volcanic crater about 32,000 years ago. Today, those explosions are no where to be seen and the waters are calm and so inviting. The ‘Hana’ in Hanauma means bay and ‘uma’ means the curve of a canoe. Perfect name for this gem. Before this area became a very popular tourist attraction it was used by locals for fishing and recreation. Now? You better get there early for a parking spot in the fairly small parking lot or take public transportation.
You can easily spend a whole day here exploring the reef and feasting your eyes on the huge variety of colorful fish, eel (we saw a snake eel), octopus, turtles and if you’re lucky you might even get to see a whale or two out on the horizon.
There’s so much to see…
I’d recommend going during high tide. We stayed for a while so we got to experience a fairly low tide which gives you very little space to make it over some of the reef formations.
This guy was settling in for a nap.
Hanauma Bay has a bit of a reputation of being crowded. We went early (9am) on a weekday and had no trouble at all. We brought our own snorkel gear (highly recommend) but you can rent it there. There’s a small entrance fee and you’re required to watch a short film before being allowed to go down into the bay. The film explains the history and shows every visitor how to treat the coral and the fish there. (Yet… many still carelessly step all over the coral.) There’s a food stand there, which is fine, but I recommend bringing your own snacks and drinks too. After you’re done you must stop at Leonard’s on Kapahulu for a Malasada. Not just one… several. You wont regret it! If the line is long, don’t pass, wait… patiently. It’s worth it.
A few things…
– wear reef safe sunscreen
– always go with a partner
– if you’re a good swimmer go out past the ‘wall’. There’s way more to be seen out there.