Staring out at the circular-shaped shore of Hanauma Bay on the southeast tip of East Honolulu, you can imagine how this beautiful cove was once a volcanic crater. Today, this crater, likely flooded by wave erosion, is home to an important nature preserve and the island’s most popular snorkeling destination.
Preservation is emphasized at Hanauma Bay after it went through a major restoration to re-establish its delicate eco-system. Learn about protecting the bay at the recently opened Marine Education Center where you can watch a short theatre presentation and view exhibits. Then swim out into Hanauma Bay’s clear blue waters and explore the lively reefs full of colorful fish. Rent or bring your own masks, snorkels and fins. And be sure to pack a lunch or stop by the snack bar after a morning of exploration.
Again, be aware that great care and responsibility should be shown in the waters and on the beaches. This is the first Marine Life Conservation District in Hawaii so it’s important for visitors to preserve the fragile marine ecosystem of the bay by not littering and by not touching the sea animals or coral. The preserve is open daily except Tuesdays. Also note that the parking lot fills quickly so try to arrive early or you’ll have to find parking off site.