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Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

More than 400 fish species and green sea turtles live in this marine ecosystem at one of the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii.

Put on a mask, snorkel and fins, and jump into the crystal clear waters of Hanauma Bay to watch a colorful school of butterfly fish glide beneath you. Dive down to say aloha to the graceful green sea turtles and stop to examine the intricate formations of the living coral as you explore Oahu’s accessible marine ecosystem. You will not only have the chance to encounter creatures up-close, but can also learn about their biology and habitat in the Marine Education Center.

The perfect curve of Hanauma Bay is part of an eroded volcanic crater into which the ocean has eventually forced its way. The calm, nutrient-rich waters make it the perfect place for an abundance of marine life to flourish, and few places in the world can boast such a diversity of species so close to shore.

The preserve’s function is to protect this unique ecosystem, and when you enter Hanauma Bay, you first come to the Marine Education Center. The structure resembles the natural shape of a volcanic cave. As well as colorful murals depicting the marine life of the bay, you’ll see exhibits explaining the geography of the bay and the formation of coral reefs. There are also a number of interactive stations where you can try your hand at fish identification. A short film in the theater further explains the biodiversity of the area.

Pick up a laminated fish identification chart from the reception and walk to the beach or, for a small charge, ride the tram. After this, it’s all about floating and swimming in the water and seeing how many fish you can spot and name.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is located 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Waikiki, just off Kalanianaole Highway. It’s closed on Tuesdays. If you don’t have your own snorkeling gear, visit the rental shop near the Marine Education Center. You are permitted to bring your own food and drinks, and can also purchase refreshements from the snack bar.


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Best Lodging Options Near Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

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Hawaii Kai
Hawaii Kai

Hawaii Kai

277 Lunalilo Home Rd, Honolulu, HI
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Hawaii Kai, this vacation home is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Koko Head and 1.8 mi (2.9 km) from Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Hanauma Bay Beach and Hanauma Bay are also within 2 mi (3 km).

    Kaiwiki Place
    Kaiwiki Place

    Kaiwiki Place

    6307 Kaiwiki Pl Honolulu, Honolulu, HI
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Hawaii Kai, this vacation home is 1.7 mi (2.7 km) from Kawaikui Beach Park and 2.8 mi (4.5 km) from Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Koko Head and Hanauma Bay Beach are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      Serene 3br W/ Lanai & Private Yard, Walk To Beach 3 Bedroom Home
      Serene 3br W/ Lanai & Private Yard, Walk To Beach 3 Bedroom Home

      Serene 3br W/ Lanai & Private Yard, Walk To Beach 3 Bedroom Home

      6307 Kaiwiki Pl, Honolulu, HI
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Hawaii Kai, this golf vacation home is 1.7 mi (2.7 km) from Kawaikui Beach Park and 2.8 mi (4.5 km) from Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Koko Head and Hanauma Bay Beach are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        Hawaii Kai 4br W/ Wraparound Lanai & Ocean Views 4 Bedroom Home
        Hawaii Kai 4br W/ Wraparound Lanai & Ocean Views 4 Bedroom Home

        Hawaii Kai 4br W/ Wraparound Lanai & Ocean Views 4 Bedroom Home

        826 Kaahue Street, Honolulu, HI
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Hawaii Kai, this golf villa is within 3 mi (5 km) of Koko Head, Hanauma Bay Beach, and Hanauma Bay. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve and Sea Life Park are also within 6 mi (10 km).

          Luxurious Paradise on Marina
          Luxurious Paradise on Marina

          Luxurious Paradise on Marina

          274 Hakalau Pl, Honolulu, HI
             
            0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Hawaii Kai, this villa is 2 mi (3.1 km) from Kawaikui Beach Park and 3 mi (4.9 km) from Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Koko Head and Hanauma Bay Beach are also within 3 mi (5 km).