A scenic bay near the Honolulu metropolis, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve reflects an “Old Hawaii” ambience with pristine natural surroundings and sugar-sand beaches. Tucked into a protected area in the lush hills of Koko Head, it’s a world away from the bustling tourist districts.
Arrive early in the morning to enjoy a tranquil sunrise before the bay comes alive with activity. Snorkelling is a favourite pastime, with at least 400 fish species known to inhabit the waters. Keep an eye out for giant green sea turtles, known as Hawaiian Honus, which are considered good luck and protectors of keiki (children).
You can rent snorkel gear on the beach or sign up for surf lessons. Check out the stalls offering catamaran tours, luaus and excursions to remote island spots. Local vendors also sell food, gifts and beach gear.
If arriving by car, take the Kalanianaole Highway from Honolulu, then follow signs to Hanauma Bay Road. It’s about a 10-minute walk to the beach on a dedicated paved path. Alternatively, a shuttle bus provides rides to and from the beach.