The Ultimate Guide to Hanauma Bay

This attraction is on the far east side of Honolulu (yes, it is still considered in the city limits, crazy right?). It has some of the most crystal clear blue-green water anyone has ever seen and is so easy to get a picture of whether you stand above it (like pictured) or go near the shore. It’s other name is the “toilet bowl” because it’s that shape (I know what you’re thinking, not because of sewage!). The waters are full of coral and wildlife. This is definitely the place to bring an underwater camera! If you’re lucky you could see sea turtles, a sign of longevity and wisdom to the Hawaiian people, and other animals in Hanauma Bay.

Getting There

To be honest, I suggest just getting in a car and driving there yourself. The only bus that stops there is the 22 no matter what direction you’re coming from and it only comes about every hour and a half. By the time the next bus comes there is a long line of tourists waiting for it and the bus becomes jam-packed full of people fast. If you don’t have a car, Uber, Lyft, or a taxi is a better option. For drivers, they take $1 at the booth and will give it back if you’re in and out within 15 minutes. If not, you lose that dollar.

Getting down to the beach from the cliff side is a bit of a walk by itself down a long and a bit of a steep hill. There is a tram service to and from the sand for $1 down and $1.25 up. If you don’t want to spend any more money walking down and up again might be worth it.

Hours and Admission

Hanauma Bay at sunset, wrong side of the island to see the sunset but the bay is just as beautiful as always!

It’s open every day of the week except Tuesdays. It’s open from 6am to 7pm. To take pictures from the top deck it’s completely free. To get to the sand it’s $7.50 unless you’re military or kama’aina, then it’s free with the right identification. If you’re moving here it’s definitely worth that discount!


Once You’re There

Enjoying the sun at Hanauma Bay.

Before going into the water everyone is required to watch a video explaining the bay is full of coral and how not to damage it. Then you can rent snorkel equipment (or buy your own at Walmart or an ABC store in town if you want to go snorkeling in more than one area). They even have prescription ones for if you’re near or far-sighted. When you’re in the water, be sure to avoid the coral. It can rip through skin like a hot knife through butter.

I suggest you bring your own food. The food and drinks at the snack bar are so pricey it’s painful just to look at. Small coolers are allowed. Don’t buy anything in the gift shop. You can get a lot of the same things at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet on Sundays and Wednesdays for a 1/3 the cost then this gift shop. Even in Waikiki ABC stores will cost less than the stuff at this gift shop.

Have you ever been to Hanauma Bay?

About Leanne

Leanne got the inspiration to travel the world at 12-years-old when her family moved from Washington State to Florida. Although she still had to attend 7th grade she used her time to gain inspiration from travel bloggers. Now, 7 years later, here she is! Today she's living in Honolulu, Hawaii and preparing herself both physically and mentally to travel the world. Come join her here on Countries To Go!

2 comments on “The Ultimate Guide to Hanauma Bay

    • If you call a 5-6 hour around Oahu in one day a “road trip” then yes! It’s so much easier than taking a bus over there and much cheaper than taking a cab too.

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