In Hawaiian, Hanauma, is comprised of two words “Hana” meaning Bay and “Uma” meaning curved hence the name curved Bay.
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve was said to be formed over 32,000 years ago by a series of large volcanic eruptions on a Oahu. The volcano tuff ring was located very close to the water’s edge and after years of wave erosion finally broke through to form what we now call Hanauma Bay.
Records show as far back as 1880 the royal family used Hanauma Bay for their private use, entertaining and fishing.
Hanauma Bay was purchased from an estate owner by the city and county of Honolulu and shortly open to the public.
The beauty of Hanauma Bay caught the eye of Hollywood and many films and TV shows were filmed there like Blue Hawaii starring Elvis Presley, Bora Bora Bora, Magnum PI and many episodes of the original Hawaii Five-0.
In the late sixties it was turned into a marine protected area, allowing all fish and the reef to be protected. Shortly thereafter Volunteers started coming out to help inform guests of the fragile reef and the many varieties of fish that can be seen there.
By the mid 1980’s Hanauma Bay was becoming so popular that close at 10,000 visitors a day would come to the beaches. These guests would unwittingly cause problems with the bay and the fragile ecosystem. By the early nineties it was becoming evident that something needed to be done so they started to restrict the number of people that could come into the bay.
In 1997 the city of Honolulu started to charge an entrance fee into the Bay which still remains today at a cost of $7.50 which is used to help maintain the bay.
There are over 350 different species are known to inhabit the bay like Trigger fish, Surgeon fish, Butterfly fish, Tang, Wrasse, Parrot fish and the famous Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle.
There are several ways to get to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve:
- You can drive your own vehicle (parking is $1.00) but you have to arrive early to avoid being told that the 300 space parking lot is full.
- You can take the bus from Waikiki (#22) and the cost is $2.50 one way, takes a little longer but its a way cheaper than a Taxi ride. ($45 one way)
- Reserve the Round Trip Shuttle Vans that leave Waikiki starting at 7:15 am – There is the 3½ hour Standard tour or the 4¾ hour Extended tour, Plus your snorkel gear is included.
Either way that you get there use plenty of Sun Screen and have fun.