Hanauma Bay Hawaii
To hike it or snorkel it? That is the question.
You’ve got two options here: an easy paved path around the crater or, for the more adventurous, a journey down crater in search of the rock bridge. The trail is relatively quiet compared to the popular snorkeling spot down below and the real reward is the epic view of the nature preserve's rock bridge in between swells.
If your third-floor walk-up or stairwell at work is physically demanding, stay away from the climb up Koko Head Crater. It’s 1,050 railroad ties – once used for an incline tram by the military during World War II – create a stairway not to Heaven but to east Honolulu and Hanauma Bay. For the sure-footed, a bridge spanning a gully will challenge even the most adventurous.
Read up on the best way to find the hidden Rock Bridge and venture onto a makeshift trail toward the horizon. Beware, the sun can be relentless so make sure you have enough water and sunscreen to make it down the correct cliffside. If you should happen upon this narrow rock ledge over the ocean, don’t tempt fate. Take your photos from afar and journey onward.
Trade in your hiking shoes for a pair of flip flops and a beach towel and head to Hanauma Bay, one of the world’s most popular snorkeling spots. You probably can’t spell it, but you’ll most definitely find the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa (the state fish of Hawaii) swimming about just a few feet from the crescent moon-shaped beach that lies at the bottom of a volcanic crater. Bring an underwater camera to capture the vibrant colors of this underwater paradise. The shallow coral reef is home to hundreds of tropical fish species, rays and turtles.
- Address: 100 Hanauma Bay Road, Honolulu
- Phone: (808) 396-4229
- Web Address: gohawaii.com
- Distance/Drive: 10.7 miles or 22 minutes
- Brief directions from THE MODERN HONOLULU: Drive along I-H-1 E and HI-72 for 10.4 miles. Turn right onto Hanauma Bay Road. The preserve will be on your right in 0.3 miles.