Since my sister, brother-in-law and niece live on Oahu, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the island numerous times (and with free lodging)! I’ve been to Hanauma Bay a few times and didn’t realize until now that I had never blogged about it before. But this time was extra special to me because it was where I got engaged! I’ll tell you the story but you can also scroll past it to the ‘tips’ section if you like (I won’t be offended).
Ben and I went to Hanauma Bay one Wednesday morning (October 9, 2019 to be exact!). We followed our typical beach routine – looked for a prime spot, laid out the blanket, got settled, and applied sunscreen. After I set up my GoPro, we swam into the ocean. We saw a few fish here and there, but nothing I hadn’t seen before. Until he taps me, and points to a random spot. I point my GoPro in that direction but I don’t see what he’s trying to get me to look at. Then he pulls out a ring underwater and I nearly drowned. We come up for air, he asks, and I say, ‘Yes!’. Although, my biggest concern at the moment was one of us dropping the ring into the ocean. But it worked out! And that’s the story!
Now for the Tips to visiting Hanauma Bay:
- Go early. And I mean EARLY. You should aim to get there by 7 am. Seriously. The parking lot, while only $1 to park, fills up very quickly and it’s not that big. Once it fills up, you won’t be allowed in. This time, we ended up getting there at around 8 am and there were only about eight parking spots left
- Another benefit of going early is because the tides are low at that time. Around 10 am to 11 am, the tides start swelling so you can’t see as clearly and it can also be dangerous, especially if you’re a beginner snorkeler, or not a great swimmer. Even if the tides aren’t high, it can still be dangerous so just be careful and always try to go with a buddy!
- Entrance fee (as of October 2019) is $7.50 for adults but it’s free for Kama’aina (locals)
- You must watch a 15-minute safety video before you enter. If you plan on returning within a year, you can add your email address to a list so that you don’t have to watch it again the next time
- After you watch the video, you can start snorkeling. But not before you walk down a long pathway to the beach. It’ll be a hike back up, especially since you’ll likely be tired already from all of the snorkeling. Or you can opt to pay a few dollars for the tram
- Down by the beach, you can rent lockers and snorkeling gear (or of course, you can bring your own)
- They’re closed every Tuesday
- Don’t touch the wildlife. I forget if you either pay a huge fine or go to jail but neither of those options sound great
- Don’t stand on the reef! You are literally killing it whenever you do so. Not going to lie though, I have done it a few times but only because I had shitty gear that filled up with water and I felt like I was about to drown. Sorry, Hanauma Bay!
So we got a parking spot, saw a lot of fish, and I got a ring! I would say it was a pretty successful snorkeling trip!