Any tourist who visits Honolulu will be directed to this popular snorkel spot. I’ve gone here several times and never get tired of it. There’s plenty of creatures to ogle, it’s a hop skip away from where I lived (and where most tourists stay as well), and it’s one of the safest places to do some snorkeling.
If you go, BE EARLY. The park opens at 6am. Okay, maybe you don’t have to be THAT early, but there’s several great reasons to get there at least around 8am. 1) The parking lot fills up quickly. 2) There’s more tourists later in the day so the beach and bay gets crowded. 3) Most of the wildlife search for food in the morning which means you can see more of them! I ran into (not literally) a moray eel, which was pretty awesome. And there were tons of the state fish: humuhumunukunukuapua’a.
Here’s a video of the moray eel that I encountered:
If you rent snorkel gear beforehand, you can start as soon as the park opens. There’s a place on site that rents gear for $9, but it opens later. Can’t remember exactly when, but around 9 am. I usually rent below, but I got there right at opening to avoid crowds. These pictures come were from my recent visit and it was the earliest that I’ve gone. It turned out to be my best visit to Hanauma and I got a lot of great shots! 🙂
Other things to know:
1) The park is closed on Tuesdays.
2) This is a nature reserve. You are required to watch a video regarding safety for both you and the wildlife before you go. (Sign the list so that you don’t have to watch the video again if you visit within a year.)
3) Follow all the rules. Not only is it respectful but it’s for the good of the wildlife and you. There will also be less reason for locals to call you a “stupid haole”. 🙂