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Hanauma Bay Snorkeling

If you’ve had a chance to keep up with my Hawaii Bucket List, then you’ll know that snorkeling is now my favorite pastime activity here on the island! I cannot get over how amazing it is to see fish, turtles, and other marine life up-close and personal in their natural habitat.

Connor and I visited Hanauma Bay the first weekend in Oahu, but spent all of our time on the beach marveling at the clear blue water and watching snorkelers. I kept wondering what they were seeing. What kind of fish were they swimming with? What experiences were they having? It didn’t take long before I wanted to be right out there with them!

So this past weekend, that’s exactly what we did! We spent the morning buying nice snorkel gear for me since, you know, this will probably be a very regular activity. By afternoon, we were ready to swim with the fish!

Hanauma Bay is a nature preserve just east of Honolulu. The reef is nestled in a small cove, which makes a perfect environment for the most beautiful fish. To gain access to the Bay, you will need to pay for parking ($1.00) and tourists will need to pay an admission fee. These prices come directly from the Hanauma Bay website:

Park Entry Fee – $7.50
Locals with State ID – FREE
Active Military – FREE
12 yrs and under – FREE
Snorkel Set – $20.00
Parking lot fee – $1.00
Small Locker – $8.00
Large Locker – $10.00
Tram ride (down) – $1.00
Tram ride (up) – $1.25

You don’t have to snorkel while at Hanauma Bay, but I guarantee you’ll be missing out if you don’t. However, if snorkeling really isn’t your thing, the Bay is a beautiful place to spend a sunny afternoon!

But seriously, if you are at Hanauma Bay on the island of Oahu, you need to try snorkeling! Because these are just some of the amazing creatures you will see!

My favorite part of the entire day was swimming next to this school of manini, or Convict Tang. Every once in a while, they would stop to feed on the reef, but spent most of their time riding the tide. And so did we 🙂

If you’ve never heard the name of the Hawaiian state fish, just ask Connor… he’ll proudly pronounce it for you! Or, think back to 2007, and us High School Musical fans will also know how to pronounce it because of a song from the second movie.


Fun right?? It’s even more fun to watch these Lagoon Triggerfish swim around. They are just so gorgeous! Technically these guys are not the actual state fish of Hawaii, but do share the same famous name. If you want to see the Hawaii state fish, look for a Reef Triggerfish — they look similar, but are black and yellow, rather than blue.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the happiest fish around… the Uhu Pālukaluka or, as it’s appropriately named, the Parrotfish. Just look at his face, it looks like he’s smiling all. the. time! This was a little guy compared to some of the other Parrotfish we saw, which were probably 2 feet long!

Just hanging out with the school of Tang (not really pictured…)! I’m debuting my new snorkel, mask, and fins, all of which not only match (a huge deal for the perfectionist in me), but are also pink! Woot woot!

Another Parrotfish, this time of the purple variety. He looks like he belongs in a children’s book.

The Tang didn’t even seem to mind that we were sharing the waters with them for a few hours. We were being respectful and keeping our distance, and they would still swim right up next to us. It was the coolest experience.

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1 Comment
  • Mick
    May 26, 2017

    I am so jealous!
    What a wonderful post.

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