Hanauma Bay is a nature reserve and marine life conservation area. Tens of thousands of years ago it was a volcano, but as you can see by its shape there was a massive eruption that took out the side which was facing the ocean. Gradually ocean levels rose creating this crescent shape bay area there is today. You learn about this place’s origins and the story of the wildlife when you first walk in because its mandatory, literally right after paying your entrance fee the only way down is through the theater room where you watch a 5 minute educational video just discussing some basic cautions when swimming in the water with all the fishes and coral. It’s free entrance for locals (ID), kids under 12, state university students (bring ID), and military. Otherwise its $5 per person, and if you bring your own snorkel gear that’s all your day will cost.
The sea life here is insane. You’ll find Nemo and Dori everywhere here and sometimes turtles glide in for a visit. In the coral there are so many pockets filled with sea urchins so if your not wearing fins on your feet, try to avoid the urge to touch down for a rest. Best tip I can give in those scenarios is just to point your fin down like a ballerina on point, that way its better for only a thin strip of rubber instead of a whole foot touching this live ecosystem.
Great thing about this beach is the location. It only 5 minute drive away from Koko Head so you could combine the two in one day! (I wrote a post on Koko Head)
One thing I’ll say as a possible downside. This is a really popular tourist spot. Think along the lines of Waikiki beach, but not in front of the Hotels, closer to the zoo. Because of that the beach area will be busy with a variety of people; families, retirees, couples, some locals, etc. Because of this high volume of traffic, the beach does close down for one day of the week for “maintenance” on Tuesdays. If your a person with any physical problems that requires assistants going up and down the walk path from the beach there is a little trolley that provides lifts. So if your not so much into the tourist spot, but more quiet local spots in this same Hawaii Kai area. There’s a bluff area, where the rock formation is seriously cool. Not much of a swimming area but more of jumps spot. It’s a chill spot to hang around. Goes by China Walls or Spitting Caves and its in a pretty quiet neighbor hood area. The signs are pretty non-descriptive until you arrive to the path entrance. If your a go-pro type of person this area will definitely interest you more than Hanauma Bay. Than again.. you can do both in one day! It’s a beautiful spot for sunsets as well. p.s: Didn’t know I could move my photos about like this…. I’m going to keep playing with my post format!