The sandy beach of Hanauma Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu. Given the wealth of beautiful beaches in Hawaii, what makes this one so special?
Well, firstly it is a bit of a stunner. The crescent of golden sand looks out onto the near circular bay formed from two sunken volcanic craters. When the bay formed it would have been completely enclosed with the Pacific waves eventually breaking through around 35, 000 years ago.
Hanauma Bay is very well protected from the currents and powerful waves you would expect in Hawaii. In addition there are a wealth of coral reefs sitting just off the beach making this one of Hawaii’s favorite snorkeling locations. The array of sealife that can be seen in the calm waters off the beach here is incredible. There are green sea turtles and around 400 species of fish including parrotfish, tang, butterfly fish and Hawaii’s national fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a.
Given all this it is no surprise that Hanauma Bay is a Nature Preserve and a Marine Life Conservation District. This is a far cry from the 1950s when a channel was blasted in the coral reef to make way for a telephone cable. Today the bay is protected in a number of ways and from its own popularity; feeding of the fish is prohibited as is touching the coral.To further help protect Hanauma Bay visitors are charged for entry and the beach is closed on Tuesdays.
There are plenty of facilities at Hanauma Bay, but very little in the way of development which makes it a very different world to nearby Honolulu. There is a lifeguard service and as mentioned the water is pretty safe and sheltered. However, statistically Hanauma is one of the most dangerous beaches on the island but this is largely due to the high number of visitors.
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