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Hawaii > Hawaii State Parks > Hanauma Bay State Underwater Park
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Hanauma Bay State Underwater Park

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Hanauma Bay State Underwater Park
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General Information

Description - This site incorporates state, county and city parks to protect beach, cliff and reef areas. Hanauma Bay itself is a designated marine life conservation district. The park is very popular, consequently, features on land and in water are highly impacted from use. Nearly 1,000,000 visitors come to the site annually.

Attractions - Hanauma Bay is well known for it's fascinating volcanic features and sheltered swimming area. From the park overlook the beach and reef of the bay are visible. There are a few short trails within the park that provide access to interesting rock formations and ocean overlooks. Caution should be used when hiking on slippery surfaces near the water. (Lava rock is sharp and slippery and the wave action here has swept individuals to there death.) The bay contains a colorful and lively reef with many native and exotic fish, which makes it good for beginner SCUBA divers, intermediate and novice snorkelers. The beach here is long, narrow and lined with palm trees.

Facilities at this state park include showers, phones, picnic areas, restrooms and hiking trails. Lifeguards are on duty, except when the park is closed on Tuesdays. There is a $3.00 (U.S.) entrance fee if you are a nonresident; free entrance - if you can show valid local identification. There is a $1.00 U.S. per car parking fee.

Recreation - This state park provides access to hiking, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. The site is so popular that many nonnative fish know they can obtain food here and frequent the reef area. Anyone visiting the site is asked to be sensitive to the fragile land and seascape.

Climate - The climate is pleasantly mild on O'ahu throughout the year. Temperatures vary annually between 60 and 90 degrees F. Summer temperatures range from 68 to 82 degrees F with the water usually near 80 degrees. Winter temperatures vary from 61 to 80 degrees F with the water temperature close to 77 degrees. More rainfall occurs during the winter than other seasons of the year and most of it falls on the northeastern or windward portion of the island.

Location - Hanauma Bay lies on the southern shore of Oahu, a short distance from Honolulu. It can be accessed via Kalaniana'ole Highway east of Hawai'i Kai. The best way to get to Hanauma Bay is to take a bus. Parking can be a problem.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: brad (kailua, hi)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: What a beautifull place. we had however a rough ending to the day in the sun and surf. My daughter was stung or bitten by a mysterious insect long skinny bug with long legs...brown color fell off the leaf onto her leg by the restrooms and outdoor showers it has been nearly three weeks now and she still has a significant mark and bruising from that thing. watchout for the centipedes. I thought it was a bee that got her at first but apperently it was a centipede after she seen a picture of the thing and she said that was the thing dad she is not really sure of the thing but heads up for the wildlife ok?

Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I should say right up front that it's been almost 10 years since i've been to haunama bay... I'm 25 years old and i was afforded the opportunity to live on oahu for an entire school year when i was 15. The one place that sticks out in my mind is Haunama Bay. From the view when you walk down the path to the beach, to the beautiful marine life in the bay, every detail is worth whatever it takes to see this wonderful place for yourself. I now live back on the mainland, and not a single day goes by that doesn't find me thinking about the beauty of this place, God's very own splendor inhabits this land!!!

Filed By: Steve H. (Seattle, WA)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Beautiful bay and you cannot avoid the wonderful tropical fish everywhere. If you swim 20 feet offshore, you will be passed by numerous convict tangs, picasso triggerfish, pufferfish and lots more. Swim out to the reef and you will encounter large groups of large unique fish. This rates among one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. I would advise you to bring your own gear and camera as their gear rentals run out frequently and their cameras are overpriced. As far as Aloha spirit, the only times I have ever seen people treated poorly is when they act as if they are owed special consideration as a tourist. This might be true in the tourist traps, but when you leave and hit the local's areas, you will experience the rumoured dislike of mainlanders. Never happened to me, but I know some that have experienced this. Be polite and you will have fun.

Filed By: Willa (Renton, WA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: My husband and I are senior citizens. He's 71 and I'm nearing 70. We returned Wednesday from a week's stay in Waikiki, accompanied by two of our friends, also senior citizens. Over the past 20 years, we've made about 30 trips to Hawaii of varying lengths with family members and friends. We have always loved Hawaii and have stayed on Oahu, Molokai, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii. I'm having a knee replacement in two weeks and won't be allowed to fly for 3 months, so chose Hawaii for my last little hurrah before being grounded. Now, I'd like to tell you why it will probably be our last visit to Hawaii. I'm getting around with a great deal of difficulty and must use a cane to navigate as I'm walking "bone on bone". We love to snorkel and have snorkeled pretty much around the world--Caribbean, Mexico, Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji. Hawaii has always been a favorite with the warm water and abundance of fish. We saved Monday for Hanauma Bay and called one of the companies that advertises in one of the kiosk publications. (We've done this many times in the past without difficulty.) As we approached Hanauma Bay, he pulled into a turn-off and said we would need to walk in from there or take a taxi. First surprise, but we were willing to do so. He called two or three taxi firms who said there wasn't enough business on Mondays to be bothered. He then called his supervisor and received permission to let the 3 of us (the other wife doesn't snorkel) off inside the park. As we were alighting from his van, a park official approached and told our driver he was in violation of the law and didn't have the right licenses, etc. and told him he'd pull the license. and under no condition, could we get off there--no exceptions. So, the driver turned around and let us off near the entrance out by the highway and we walked back to a long flight of stairs to enter the park. Three men came running to intercept us at the foot of the stairs and were yelling at us to get out. Somehow, they managed also to recall the driver and bring him back to pick us up. I can't remember all the things they said to us, but they weren't calling us nice people, for sure. One man berated us for using an ad in the book. I was willing to try once more to walk in from the city bus stop, but a lady ranger told the driver that we were "banned" from the park for the day as punishment for our crime. Of course, the park is closed on Tuesdays and we flew home Wednesday. Our friend had never been there and we felt especially badly for him. I believe we are as ecologically-minded as anyone and can appreciate the fact that Hanauma Bay has been over-used, but we certainly didn't set out intentionally to commit a crime. One of the men insisted that there were plenty of taxis available but that the driver just wouldn't call one he didn't have a "deal" with. As he'd quoted a buck a head, I don't think the commission would have been worth it. None of us has prison records and have never been so verbally attacked and made to feel like serious criminals. It sure spoiled our day, at the least, and made a pretty sorry ending to our vacation. We took in a couple of relatively pricey shows and spent time (and money) daily in the International Market. Most days, sales persons outnumbered customers. For a place that seems to be hurting for tourism, it seems like Hawaii has forgotten how to treat their paying guests. I, for one, will be sure to let all my traveling friends know about my experience and will post it on the travel web sites. As senior citizens, we have more disposable income to spend than we had in our younger days and we've been chased out to spend it elsewhere. We don't need to pay to be treated so shabbily. I mourn the loss of aloha. Mahalo for taking time to read this.

Filed By: DARRELL (san diego, ca)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: after hearing all about hanamua bay and it's snorkling from my friends before leaving san diego,i just had to go there on our recent visit and check it out for myself. the first impression you get after arriving and seeing the bay for the first time is that it's beautiful,...we spent most of the day snorkling.the amount of fish one encounters here is mind boggling. every member of our hawaiian party just couldn't stop talking about the good time and all the fishes they saw here. we are all coming back next year with our own gear. sure the parking and the movie before you head down to the beach is a little on the annoying side but bear with it, the rewards in the end are well worth the trouble.

Filed By: Tess
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: Hanauma Bay..I used to love to go there, but lately, after they incorporated that whole " education about the reef" thing..the whole experience has been soured. The staff are unprofessional, they were shouting across the lines about how they were ogling women in bikinis! They were clueless and processed visitors like cattle. And their "access roster" with the names of people who had viewed the video, was missing our family's name..even though we'd seen that video a few months back. We were told to wait in line, to see the video again, which wouldn't have been bad except for all the bees from the concession stand buzzing around. In nutshell, the bay is nice. The staff was rude and crass, the area was infested with bees and wasps. Drive down the road and go to one of those other beaches..people can drown at Hanauma Bay just as easily as at any other beach...so find another nice beach and play there..Hanauma is definitely not worth it!

View more Trip Reports.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Beach Activities Sheltered swimming area
ICON Snorkeling Good for beginner SCUBA divers, intermediate and novice snorkelers.
ICON Swimming & Waterplay Sheltered swimming area

More Information

Contact Information:
Oahu District, Hawaii State Parks, P.O. Box 621, 1151 Punchbowl Street, 131 , Honolulu, HI, 96809, Phone: 808-587-0300

Additional Information:
Hawaii Beaches -
Hawaii State Parks - Hawai'i's State Park System is comprised of 52 state parks encompassing nearly 25,000 acres on the 5 major islands.
O'ahu - O'ahu lies in the middle of the Hawaiian archipelago as the third largest island within the chain. Much of the eastern portion of the island is state forest reserve land and open for public use.
O'ahu State Parks - O'ahu's state parks protect a variety of natural and historic features that support many different activities. This island maintains more state-run facilities than any of the neighboring islands.


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