As one of the most popular snorkeling destinations worldwide, Hanauma Bay is a must-visit for any vacationer in Hawaii. Its crystal clear waters, abundant marine life, and the stunning backdrop of the bay’s sun-kissed rim ensure a truly memorable experience.
But first, you need to know how to get there. If you’re staying in Waikiki, the hub of Honolulu’s beach resort area, and you plan on driving, you’re in for a scenic journey. This guide will provide you with a detailed, step-by-step account of the route from the bustling streets of Waikiki to the tranquil, nature-preserved bay of Hanauma.
So, let’s dive right in.
- Starting Point: Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii
- Destination: Hanauma Bay, Hawaii
- Distance: Approximately 11 miles
- Estimated Drive Time: 30-45 minutes depending on traffic
- Start your journey on Kalakaua Avenue: Begin in the heart of Waikiki, heading southeast on Kalakaua Avenue.
- Connect to the H-1 East: After about a mile, use the left 2 lanes to take a slight left turn onto McCully St. You’ll pass Ala Wai Community Park on your left. Continue straight, crossing the Ala Wai Canal, until you reach the intersection with Kapiolani Blvd.
- Head to the H-1: Turn left onto Kapiolani Blvd and continue until you reach the entrance to the H-1 East, Hawaii’s main highway, which will be on your right.
- Take the H-1 East: Merge onto the H-1 East, which will take you out of the city center and along the southern coast of the island.
- Exit onto HI-72 S: After approximately 7 miles on the H-1 East, take exit 15A for HI-72 S/Kalanianaole Hwy toward Koko Head/Hawaii Kai.
- Follow HI-72 S: Stay on HI-72 S/Kalanianaole Hwy. The route takes you through the suburban Hawaii Kai area and then becomes a scenic drive along the coast.
- Arrive at Hanauma Bay: After about 4 miles on the HI-72 S, look for the signs for Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. The entrance will be on your right.
Before you drive there
Remember, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve can get very busy, and the parking lot often fills up quickly, so it’s a good idea to arrive early, especially if you plan to visit on a weekend or during peak vacation periods. Also, be sure to check the latest traffic updates before setting off.
Please note that the preserve is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan your visit accordingly. Always respect the speed limits and drive safely, especially on the coastal roads where conditions can vary.
Your drive from Waikiki to Hanauma Bay isn’t just a trip from point A to point B, but a journey through some beautiful areas of Oahu. Enjoy the ride, and look forward to an unforgettable snorkeling experience at your destination.