Popular snorkel beach Hanauma bay on island of Oahu, Hawaii, USA.

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Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Top choice in Oʻahu

From an overlook you can peer into the translucent waters and see the outline of the 7000-year-old coral reef that stretches across the width of the bay. You’re bound to see schools of glittering silver fish, the bright-blue flash of parrotfish and perhaps sea turtles so used to snorkelers they’re ready to go eyeball-to-mask with you. Feeding the fish is strictly prohibited, to preserve the delicate ecological balance of the bay.

All built park facilities are wheelchair accessible. Beach wheelchairs for visitors with mobility issues are available free of charge from the information kiosk between 8am and 4pm on a first-come, first-served basis.

Despite its protected status as a marine-life conservation district, this beloved bay is still a threatened ecosystem, constantly in danger of being loved to death.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Oʻahu attractions

1. Marine Educational Center

0.17 MILES

Past the park's ticket windows is an excellent educational center run by the University of Hawaiʻi. Interactive, family-friendly displays teach visitors…

2. Lanaʻi Lookout

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Less than a mile east of Hanauma Bay, roadside Lanaʻi Lookout offers a panorama on clear days of several Hawaiian islands: Lanaʻi to the right, Maui in…

3. Spitting Cave

1.09 MILES

This impressive, little-known viewpoint is at the end of Lumahai St in Portlock, makai (toward the sea) from the traffic lights at the Koko Marina Center…

4. Fishing Shrine

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As you drive east, keep your eyes toward the ocean. At the highest point you'll spot a volcanic-rock obelisk, dedicated to fishers who have drowned, swept…

5. Koko Crater Botanical Garden

1.45 MILES

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6. Halona Cove

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7. Halona Blowhole

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Here, ocean waves surge through a submerged tunnel in the rock and spout up through a hole in the ledge. The spout is preceded by a gushing sound – the…

8. Sandy Beach Park


Here the ocean usually heaves and thrashes like a furious beast. This is one of Oʻahu’s most challenging beaches, with a punishing shore break, a powerful…