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Can you swim and snorkel in Hanauma Bay?

Ask the Big Kahuna

“Answering the most common visitor questions”


I was stationed in Oahu back in the early 80’s and I haven’t been back since. I am planning a return trip next year and I wanted to visit Hanauma Bay (where I met my wife)! I know that the Hanauma Bay has been a nature preserve since 1990 and I was wondering if you are still allowed to swim and snorkel there.

Tom Miller,
Salt Lake City, UT


Aloha Tom –

Oh yes, my returning friend. Great things have been done to restore Hanauma Bay. The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve has reduced the number of visitors, established an education program, and instituted supportive restrictions, all in the efforts to make the bay a pristine marine ecosystem. This improvement has created some amazing snokeling opportunities. In fact, not only can you snorkel and swim, but also you can get insights from volunteers in kiosks to help you identify what you saw in the water!

The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is still a great place to swim and you might even enjoy the experience more this time around with the deeper insights offered. Be sure to visit the education center to get an in-depth look at the bay.

Happy Snorkeling, Tom!

Big Kahuna