Home Blog Snorkeling in Oahu Hanauma Bay – The Best Aquarium in Hawaii

Snorkeling in Oahu Hanauma Bay – The Best Aquarium in Hawaii

Hanauma Bay Preserved Park

A trip to Hawaii won’t be completed without snorkeling in Oahu Hanauma Bay as it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spots in Hawaii! Obviously, no one would want to miss this experience, and there are good reasons for this! So without further ado, let’s see why this fascinating Bay attracts so many visitors from around the world every year!


Hanauma is a Nature Preserve in the shape of a ring that is located on the famous volcano island named O’ahu in Hawai Kai. As I’ve mentioned above, this is by far one of the most famous destinations in Hawaii, which is not surprising as it welcomes around three thousand tourists every single day!

What to Expect in Hanauma Bay?


After eating a good breakfast, you will be picked up by a Viator’s van from one of the selected Waikiki hotels. You have the option to choose three departure times in the morning, which are from 7:00 AM, 8:30 AM, and 10:00 AM. It gives you the possibility to prepare yourself without rushing around. Also, if by mistake you miss the van, you can always catch the next trip. The same applies when you come back, you can choose your own schedule!

Getting There

First, when you arrive, you will be invited to watch an informative video about Hanauma Bay’s background to get to know this type of environment better and also to ensure that snorkelers respect and continue to preserve the Bay. Some people may find the movie a bit boring, but this is something you can not escape from as it is a part of Hanauma Park rules. However, the movie is only 15 minutes duration for those who are impatient to go snorkeling:)

Entering the Water

When the movie is over, the only thing left for you to do is to walk down to the bay or (shuttle – $ 1.25 per person) from the center to the beach and enjoy your snorkeling adventure. There is a snorkel rental store on the beach, but you won’t need it as Viator company provide you the complete snorkel equipment, which includes a silicone mask, a snorkel, and a pair of fins.

What is the Snorkeling Tour Duration?

The snorkeling tour lasts 5 hours, giving you ample time to watch the movie, snorkel, and rest. I am not going to tell you that few hours are enough to enjoy because once you get there, you won’t want to leave the place!

Best Time to Snorkel in Hanauma Bay

The best time to arrive in Hanauma Bay is around 7:30 in the morning when the sun hits the water. Also, in the morning the water is less agitated, and the place is still empty, making the snorkeling experience more pleasant.

Facilities Available at Hanauma Bay

You will find some handy services in Hanauma Bay, such as a snorkeling gear rental store, bathrooms, tables for picnics, showers,  lifeguards, some educations stands about ecologist education, and a great snack bar on the hill!

Sorts of Fishes to See in Hanauma Bay

There are about 400 types of fishes and plenty of green sea turtles to explore. According to what many reviewers say on Viator, fishes are not afraid of people when they get approached because the place is always filled with snorkelers almost every day and therefore, are already used to them. You won’t see all the fish species, but you will surely meet many of them. Make sure you take your GoPro with you! So let’s take a look at what you will see the most in Hanauma Bay.

Type of corals:

Rice – Cauliflower

Sorts of Fishes:

Snapper – Bluestripe- Orangespine – Ringtail – Blue-lined – Bird – Saddle – Lavender – Sailfin – Convict – Blackspot – Bullethead- Palenose -Barred – Manybar – Goatfish – Pale Rock-Boring – Mullet – Sharpnose – Boxfish – Spotted – Ornate – Raccoon – Threadfin – Filefish – Redlip – Spectacled -Sergeant – Sea Urchin – Sea turtles

Sea Turtle in Hanauma Bay

What if You Book a Hotel That is Not on Aviator List?

To be part of the snorkeling trip, you don’t necessarily need to book a hotel from Viator list. You can choose a hotel that suits you the best, just make sure to contact Viator operator so that they can find another alternative to pick you up!

Who is the Hanauma Bay Snorkeling Tour For?

This snorkeling trip is for anyone who wants to enjoy the most beautiful underwater world in Hawaii. Children, like adults, can safely swim in Hanauma Bay. It is a friendly snorkeling spot for everyone as the water is shallow and quite calm behind the reef. Know that the out reef is a bit more agitated, thus more suitable for experienced snorkelers.

Book Your Oahu Snorkeling Tour Now!

Why Should You Go On This Trip?

There are few good reasons for this, below you will find the Top 4 ones!

  1. You will discover the most beautiful aquarium in Hawaii.
  2. You don’t have to do the queue to rent your snorkel gear as Viator provides you high-quality snorkel equipment.
  3. You don’t need to rent a car and struggle to find parking as there is a van at your service to pick you up and drop you off!
  4. You can choose the hours you want to go.

Corals in Hanauma BAy

What’s Included

  • Local taxes
  • complete snorkel set
  • Transport service back and forth from the hotel

What’s Excluded

  • Beverages and Food
  • $7.50 for the entrance to Hanauma Bay

If you want your own snorkel kit, you will have to rent it.

Hanauma Bay Entrance Tariff Without Using Viator Service

  • Entry fee of the Park: $7.50
  • Rent snorkel gear: $20.00
  • Small Locker: $8.00
  • Large Locker: $10.00
  • Parking fee: $1.00
  • Shuttle service to go down: $1.00
  • Shuttle service to go back up: $1.25
  • Under 12 year old: Free

Opening Time

Hanauma Bay is open all year round from 6 Am to 7 Pm in the summer. In the winter it closes at 6 Pm.
New Year, Christmas, and Tuesday the Park is closed!


  • Drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration
  • Take some cash with you for the snacks and the entree
  • Always wear long sleeve t-shirt while snorkeling to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Bring hats and towels
  • Use only bio sunscreen to preserve the sea!
  • A cooler will be of great use to keep your beverages and food fresh.


  • Beautiful Bay
  • Wide variety of tropical fishes and corals to explore
  • Fantastic customer service
  • Excellently organized trip
  • Pleasant drivers
  • Inexpensive
  • Calm and safe for children and adults


  • The place gets busy in the afternoon
  • Not enough Shady spots

In Conclusion

A snorkel tour in Hanauma Bay is something that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime because it is without a doubt the most spectacular place for snorkeling. So take advantage of this opportunity and book this trip! You’ll be so happy you did!

Book Your Trip Now!

Have you already been snorkeling in Hanauma Bay? If so, share your experience in the comment below.


  1. I was actually thinking of considering the snorkelling during my school holidays as I really like snorkelling.
    Hence, as I was going to hawaii for holidays, I have not planned my itinerary yet. After reading your article, I really think it is a good place to snorkel and to visit.

    Really useful article and will definitely bookmark your page!

    • Hi Furnglow,

      Snorkeling is a fun activity to do, especially at Hanauma Bay! The tour is only half day, so you don’t need to make a big change to your itinerary:)
      Thank you for bookmarking my website and for the comment. I wish you an excellent day!

  2. I just visited your website while surfing the internet and I found your article describing every thing about Hanauma Bay.After reading all the details I am very much excited to visit the place and enjoy a good time with my family.I am planning to visit Hanauma Bay this year during vacations period of my children.

    • Hi Amit,

      Thank you for visiting my website, I hope you are having a good time:)
      I am glad this article has inspired you to visit Hanauma Bay. It is definitely a great place for families and children!
      Please when you’ll come back, it would be sweet of you if you could share your experience. Readers and I would really appreciate it! 
      Thank again for the comment and wish you an unforgettable trip to Hawaii!

  3. Hanauma Bay seems like a really fun place to go to if you are a fan of the beach. I was quite impressed by the range of facilities that are available. It will definitely be great for families.

    I was just wondering how much the rooms in the nearby hotels would cost on average. Also, would there be any professional lifeguards on site? Parents might be worried for the safety of their kids.

    Great review!

    • Hi Farhan,

      Yes, I was also impressed by the variety of facilities this place offer. And it looks clean as well!
      Yes, there are lifeguards on the beach, but you always need to keep an eye on the children anyway.
      I don’t know the price of the rooms of the hotels there; there won’t be a problem to find out.

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a great day!

  4. Hi Daniella, Hanauma Bay sounds like a great place to experience the Aloha spirit. The pictures are stunning and I particularly liked your tips with the pros and cons to make the best out of it, specially on keeping hydrated and being responsible with nature using a bio sunscreen. Definitely in the to-do list for a visit to Hawaii. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Joses,

      Well, Hawaii is a dream destination, so you can only expect the best there! Yes, it is crucial to hydrate because the weather is quite hot in Hawaii, especially at sea! Dehydration can be dangerous and can ruin your trip. So take your precaution!
      Thank you for the comment and wish you a fantastic day:)

  5. Thanks. I’ve never been snorkeling but seeing this adventure and whats included has changed my mind. I can’t wait to visit the places on your site. It has given some insight on what to expect from the type of attire that could make my trip more enjoyable. I love aquariums. This just may be my next trip with the family.

    • Hi Penny,

      I am glad that my article has convinced you to go snorkeling:) One thing is for sure is that you will enjoy the place very much, especially if you love aquariums!
      Thank you for the comment and wish you a fantastic day!

  6. I have not yet been to Hawaii but I definitely plan on going one day. I have a bucket list of places I want to go and I’ve been to a lot of destinations already but still have a lot more to go, including Hawaii. I will definitely put Hanauma Bay on my list of things to do when I go to Hawaii. It sounds awesome!

    • Hi Trisha,

      Me either, I’ve never been there, but I am planning to go on this particular trip with Aviator soon. I am very excited about it and can’t wait to get in Hanauma Bay. My children will love this place!

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a wonderful day!

  7. Hi Daniella,

    I just came across your website while searching for things to do in Oahu. My wife and I will be visiting in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait to get there! I snorkel everywhere I go and I’m definitely going to snorkel in Hanauma Bay. I saved your website to my favorites.



    • Hi Jack,

      That’s great! It is a good time to visit Oahu  I am sure your wife and you will enjoy snorkeling there:)

      Thank you for bookmarking my website and for the comment. I wish you a great sojourn in Hanauma Bay! 

  8. Oh wow this place looks amazing, i really haven’t even done snorkelling before, but I’m a good swimmer and i love fish so really i should get round to it! Then doing it in a place like Hanauma Bay just sounds even better, i mean those beautiful beaches and clear waters just look like bliss!

    When i read there is also over 400 different types of fish in this area, then that just also made me more excited to go and check this place out in my life, also one of my favourite martial artists comes from Hawaii – Max Holloway! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this!

    • Hi Marley,

      Yes, effectively, Hanauma Bay is absolutely amazing. It is already a good thing that you are a good swimmer:) The only thing left for you to do is to put a snorkel gear on and enjoy the underwater world! You know, 400 sorts of fishes are real bliss!
      I’ve heard of Max Holloway. He is a  Featherweight fighter. Am I right?
      Thank you for the comment and wish you a great day!

  9. Oh, how fun! I keep coming back to your site because, for one I love the ocean, and I love any activities in the water. I like that the snorkeling tour is 5 hours long. Sometimes they don’t have these trips long enough! This gives so much time to enjoy the marine life, the water, and just swimming and lounging at Hanauma Bay. I can totally see myself at that beach right now. Sweet!

    • Hi Matt, 

      How nice to see you again my website, it’s always great to speak with you:)

      Yes, this tour lasts 5 hours. It gives plenty of time to enjoy swimming and snorkeling with beautiful schools of tropical fishes. As you’ve mentioned it, lying in the sun and having a nice picnic at the water’s edge is also a great way to enjoy the trip! 
      Yes, me too and I suppose that we are not the only ones who dream to be at Hanauma Bay!
      Thank you for the comment and wish you a fantastic day!

  10. Hi Daniella, I’ve always wanted to snorkel and also visit Hawaii, so this may be the best of both worlds. I love how you called it an aquarium.

    What makes me nervous though, which is why I have not snorkeled yet, is that my ears are very sensitive to pressures of both air and water. I was wondering if you know anything about that or have some tips regarding how to minimize the effects.

    Should I chew gum underwater? lol It doesn’t help me much on the plane either.. Anyway, thanks for the great article.


    • Hi Andy,

      I agree with you, Hawaii is such beautiful place to visit and snorkeling there is an experience not to miss out!
      Well, the effect on a plane is not the same as in the water:) As long as you don’t dive under the water, you won’t have any pressure problem with your ears. Just keep your face on the surface of the water, and your ears will be fine! 
      I hope it helped and, please, feel free to contact me if you need more to know info:). I am always happy to help!

  11. Hi there! What a beautiful place to snorkel, truly looks to be natures aquarium! Your pictures are beautiful and make me want to visit for sure! We went to Maui a few months ago and also did lots of snorkeling. I can see how a trip like this would be nice on a tour. How great that you don’t have to worry about transportation and snorkel gear. Thank you very much for listing what you would still need to bring, like cash. I think that is what most people overlook. Thank you for your fun and informative post on snorkeling in gorgeous Hanauma Bay! Aloha!

    • Hi Kris,

      Indeed it is a real aquarium, no wonder. It’s Hawaii!
      Maui is also a fantastic place for snorkeling! I will be soon writing an article about this island as well!
      Yes, that is what is wonderful about this trip is that you don’t have to worry about your snorkel gear and the transportation as Aviator company take care of these such important details! It is extremely convenient:) Especially on Oahu as the parking is always full and it ‘s hard to find a place there! 
      I hope these tips will help because cash is what we usually forget:) Well at least, me!
      Thank you for this kind comment and wish you a fantastic day!



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