Hanauma Bay nature preserve is a marine harbor located along the southeast coast of the of north shore region in Oahu Island in the Hawaii Kai neighborhood of East city and county of Honolulu, in the Hawaiian Islands.
Hanauma bay also known as the curved bay was initially a volcanic crater but later on, became a protected marine life conservation area in 1967.
Hanauma beach is one of the major attraction on the Island and due to which the bay has to suffer from overtourism. At a time, this popular tourist destination accommodated over three million visitors per year. Hanauma bay has all the facilities a person wants such as lifeguards,changing rooms, snorkeling equipment etc.
The tourists are required by law to refrain from mistreating marine animals or touching or walking.
Due to the lack of fresh water in the vicinity, the area was not inhabited.
Hanauma Bay was bought from the Bernice Pauahi Bishop estate by the City of Honolulu, and it was subsequently opened for public use. It was initially a popular fishing and picnic spot for residents willing to travel out to Hanauma bay.
In the 1930s the road along Hanauma Bay’s corner of Oahu was covered and a few other amenities were provided that made it much easier to visit the beach and reef. After the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, barbed wire was placed at the beach, and a bunker was constructed for use by sentries. The Hanauma Bay area was reopened after the time of war. It became, even more, better for visitors after blasting in the reef for a transoceanic cable that provided room for swimming. Hawaii-themed films and television shows, including Blue Hawaii, Paradise, Hawaiian Style, and Tora! Tora! Tora! Hawaii Five-O, and Magnum, P.I., were shot at the bay.
Let us explore Hanauma bay and discuss some amazing facts about the bay:-
10 Most Amazing Facts about Hanauma Bay:-
1) The Toilet Bowl
Along the left side is the Toilet Bowl, a natural spa tub gently rises and falls with the tide. Waves force seawater into the pool through a hole in the lava rock. But why is it known as the toilet bowl? As the water is sucked back out through the same hole, creating the flushing action that is quite similar to the toilet bowls. However, water in the Toilet Bowl can rise and fall with greater intensity during inclement weather conditions. As the tides of the toilet bowl might cause serious injuries it is now closed.
Getting to the place is not easy as well. Access to the Toilet Bowl Swimming Hole is only via a trail at the initial point of Hanauma Bay Beach Park. The trail can be treacherous and is sometimes closed by lifeguards to be cautious of accidents. And keep in mind wearing an appropriate pair of shoes as the trail can get very slippery.
2) Best Snorkeling Beach in Hawaii kai
Hanauma bay is considered the best beach in Hawaii kai for snorkeling. The main reason why snorkeling at the bay is famous among tourists is that you don’t need to be a good swimmer to do snorkeling at the beach because the water is pretty calm.
You can get your own gear, but you can also rent snorkel gear or the Snorkeling gear at the bay itself. Before going Snorkeling the tourists are given necessary lessons.
Hanauma Bay snorkeling will be the best experience of your life.
3) How Does the Bay Get Its Name
The word Hana means “bay” in the Hawaiian language whereas, the Hawaiian word Uma has many meanings, one of them being “curved.” That is why it is known as the Hanauma bay or the “curved bay”.
4) Hanauma Bay’s Formation
Hanauma Bay which is a part of the Koʻolau Volcano, is a natural pool formed by a series of volcanic eruptions on the Island of Oahu. It is the remnants of a volcanic cone.
Those volcanic vents which formed the Hanauma Crater were opened upon the sea floor. The cones or rings of ash that were built due to the explosion later solidified into tuff.
Later in 1967, it was declared a protected marine life conservation district and an underwater park.
5) Marine life in Hanauma Bay
When you visit the Hanauma bay state park, you will definitely get to know about the marine life in Hanauma bay. Still, according to the marine education center that opened up in 2002 first-time visitors need to see a 9-10 minute long video before entering the park so that they can get knowledge about the marine life in Hanauma bay.
It is the best place to explore the beauty underwater. You will find several varieties of marine animals.
Let us see what all marine animals we have in the bay:-
i) Butterfly Fish
The butterfly fish stick to shallower water under 18 meters, so you will definitely encounter them. These fishes feed on They feed on the polyps in the coral reef.
Hawaii’s state fish or reef triggerfish sticks to the bay’s coral reefs.
The triggerfish keeps on moving, so you have great chances to see numerous of them, and they slow down at night.
iii) Surgeon Fish
Surgeon fish resides in the shallow waters of the coral reef. They are herbivores, so they feed on algae.
iv) Sea Turtles
The green sea turtles are friendly to snorkelers, so they will like to swim with you. As they are pretty calm, you would like to enjoy with them, but the state law finds it illegal to touch them.
v) Moray Eels
Moray eels are not calm and friendly as the green turtle but are exactly the opposite. They attack humans, and their attack might cause you serious injuries.
As they live in rocky areas so, be safe around these areas.
There are many more animals that you would love to know about. But be careful as many of them may attack you, but with some safety, you may enjoy the marine life of the bay without getting any injuries.
Parrotfish are very active during the day and live in shallow water.
vii) Box Jelly Fish
Box jellyfish are pretty common on the bay, but If you encounter a jellyfish stung, you may feel burning sensations, redness in the affected areas, and swelling of lymph nodes. Long red welt lines may appear where the tentacles touched your skin.
If you are stung, the lifeguard on duty can help with first aid. However, the best remedy is prevention. If you see jellyfish while snorkeling, get far away from that area. Also, stay far away from any dead jellyfish on the beach. Their tentacles continue to sting long after they are dead.
Tips to keep in mind when you are around the marine animals
i) When you are around the green turtle, do not touch it as the state law finds it illegal.
ii) If you ever got stung by any venomous animals at the beach, contact the lifeguard on duty who will provide you the first aid.
iii) Do wear your water shoes or flippers while snorkeling.
6) What all you can do on the Hanauma Bay
As stated above, the state park is the best-known place in Oahu so you will have the best experience.
Swimming at the beach would be a one-time experience but a lifetime memory. Swimming among tropical fish and sea life and experiencing the gorgeous underwater beauty feels unrealistic.
Sitting on the beach, enjoying the stunning views of the beach along with your family, having your picnic lunch with your kids at the beach is just the best thing you can do on Hanauma bay, or you can have a quick tram ride.
One of the main things about Hanauma bay state park is that your trip will be an educational one as you gain a lot of knowledge at the beach not only through the marine education center but also while enjoying the beach, you encounter many animals or things that you have never seen in your life.
There are many beautiful places in the surrounding area which you can visit, such as the windward side, the beautiful hotels, the diamond head, beaches, snack bar, gift shop, and many recreational areas nearby you would like to visit.
7) Hanauma Bay and the Hawaiian royalty
The bay initially was a great place for fishing, so many residents used to get the fishing tools and enjoyed it here.
It was once used as a recreational place by the Hawaiian royalty as they liked fishing here and getting entertained with the stunning views of the now state park.
8) Why is Hanauma Bay important to Hawaii
As Hanauma Bay is the first Marine Life Conservation District, it is important to Hawaii. Also, the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is an important Hawaiian cultural site.
A 1952 archaeological study discovered evidence of ancient campfires and tools in a shelter cave behind the beach also, the Hawaiian royalty used to live here, so this makes it important for Hawaii to preserve the bay.
9) Ticket Prices, Timings Of Hanauma Bay
- Per person, the park entrance fee is $25.00 for nonresident adults ( prices are subject to change so visit the site.
- The entrance fee for kids of age 12 and under is free.
- Entrance fees for Active Oahu military and local residents with valid identification are also FREE.
The snack bar located at the upper-level area of the park is also open.
Tram service between the upper level and the lower level is now FREE & included.
Beach wheelchairs are available for free.
Hanauma Bay entrance opens at 6:45 am and Closes at 4 pm daily. Entry is not allowed after 2 pm.
Hanauma bay is closed every Monday and Tuesday so the sea animals can rest.
The park is also closed on Christmas and New Year’s day.
10) Important tips to keep in Mind
- Each person should bring his/her own mask, towels, and swimsuits.
- In recent years the coral reefs have been dying off at an alarming rate, and scientists have found that one of the main causes of this decline is sunscreen chemicals that contain Oxybenzone and octinoxate. In response to this problem, Hawaii has recently passed a law banning sunscreens that contain harmful chemicals to the coral reef. If you’re planning on visiting Hawaii in the the future, pack a reef-safe sunscreen.
- As Hanauma Bay nature preserve experiences around 3,000 visitors daily, the parking lot fills about daily as there are only 300 of them, so you need to arrive early. And If you’re worried about parking, you should book a private shuttle service, or you can have a city bus.
- You should bring your own snorkeling gear and fins to save money.
- Visitors are allowed to bring a small cooler with snacks or non-alcoholic beverages. Large coolers are not permitted.
- Some people might want to experience snorkeling at night or fish feeding, but these activities are restricted, so none is allowed to do either of them. Hanauma bay is worth visiting, so you should definitely have a visit to the beautiful bay once in your lifetime. For further details or reservations, you can look at the website.
The list includes the best you can explore at Hanauma Bay but it does not mean that you only have these sights to have a look on. There are many more stunning views at Hanauma Bay. Except the beaches, the marine life etc. you can explore many sights near and at Hanauma Beach itself. And you will surely never regret visiting the place.