Snorkeling Hanauma Bay

8:35 PM

This beautiful state park is a popular spot for snorkeling as it showcases Hawaii’s underwater ecosystem perfectly. The bay is protected for marine conservation.
Whenever people come to visit, I always take them here. This area is great for people of all ages and beginner snorkelers. The lifeguards are attentive and the information available to you is so helpful. Even if you decide not to snorkel, the reef just under the surface gives you something to look at while you rest on the sand.

After purchasing tickets, first-time visitors are required to watch a short video in the theater upon entry. This video highlights the importance of maintaining the beautiful reef and it’s inhabitants, as well as giving safety tips. While this video is informative, it is short and definitely answers some questions you may have.

The walk down the hill to the beach is not too bad and gives a great view of the water. After a long day of snorkeling, many people opt to spend the extra few dollars to catch the tram back up the hill.

They have rentals for snorkeling gear and life vests. The staff working at the various snack and rental stands are super helpful and can give you plenty of information about the fish and corals you see under the water.

In the Water

The reef covers the majority of the area underwater and it stays relatively shallow until you are out quite a ways from the beach. The average adult will be able to stand in most spots. Many portions of the reef are quite tall and provide a natural barrier from the deeper sea. 

Standing on the reef is not recommended as you could easily injure yourself on the sharp corals, but you could also damage the living coral and the critters living in it. There are plenty of sandy areas to stand in between the rocky parts.

Floating along the surface will give you a wide area to view and allow you to spot anything that might catch your eye. When you do see something of interest you can always slow down to get a closer look, just be sure to give a respectful amount of space to the animals.


When I was a child I remember when you could buy fish food from the stands and have a grand old time sprinkling it in the water while fish gathered around you. Since then, it has been realized that feeding the fish that way was harmful to the ecosystem. These wild animals need to know how to hunt on their own while having a healthy fear of humans. Though you cannot attract the fish to you with food anymore, I find that it is so much more amazing to watch them up close while they nibble at rocks and chase each other around.

Alecia <3

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