There is a reason that everyone raves about this place when it come to snorkeling, it is FANTASTIC!
Hanauam Bay is a natural preserve and because of this you have to jump through some hoops when it comes to visiting. First off, get there early, the parking lot isn’t huge and once it fills up, they close it. We got there at 9:30am and they were only letting in 25 more cars. The park is right off of H-1 so there really isn’t anywhere else to park nearby. Parking is only $1 for the day, not bad at all.
There is also a charge to get into the bay, $7.50 for each adult (kids are free). However, if you are a resident (which we are, getting those Hawaiian driver’s license’s are totally worth it!) it’s free. After that you get to line up, yet again to watch a short video about the history of the bay and the conservation efforts being made to keep it safe.
It’s a pretty steep walk down to the beach itself…
But they have a little tram you can ride down (and up) that is $2 for a round trip.
The walk down is fine, the walk up is no joke!
The view is pretty nice as you walk down the hill…
I didn’t take a ton of pictures while we were on the beach, we put all of our valuables in a locker so we didn’t have to guard our stuff. There are bathrooms, lockers, snorkel rentals and lifeguards on the beach, but no snacks or drink sales.
The snorkeling was outstanding, all of the rock in the picture is reef and the fish were everywhere. We saw a moray eel within minutes of getting in the water (the only one we saw all day) and huge naso tangs, goat fish, spotted puffers, and humahuma triggers.
Once the tide started to come in it got really choppy and difficult to swim. I went out one last time before we left and was getting tossed around. Plus the visibility was getting worse and it was no fun to be out there.
The view on the ride home isn’t half bad either…
See that? That is a TRAIL going up the side of that mountain! Insane!