It Just Got More Expensive to Snorkel at This Gorgeous Hawaiian Spot

Out-of-state travelers now have to pay twice as much to access one of Oahu’s most popular snorkeling spots.

Officials in Hawaii last week increased the entrance fee to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve from $12 to $25, marking the second time in a year entry prices have gone up. Pre-pandemic, entry to Hanauma Bay cost $7.50.

“We saw how dramatically Hanauma Bay healed during the pandemic when access to the public was closed,” local city council chairman Tommy Waters told the Associated Press. “We want to preserve the healing by minimizing human impacts, while at the same time ensuring that there are sufficient resources to maintain the bay and its facilities.”

Hanauma Bay, a turquoise blue oasis on the southeast coast of Oahu, reopened in December after being closed for nine months due to the pandemic. Some scientists welcomed the closure, telling Honolulu Civil Beat at the time that they saw it as an opportunity to assess human damage to a wildly popular natural paradise that’s home to coral reefs, more than 400 species of fish, and green sea turtles.

Related: 7 Destinations in Hawaii Where the Locals Love to Go

During the closure, researchers found the water in the bay became clearer sans tourists and that fish swam closer to the coast. As tourism roars back in Hawaii, officials are aiming to better manage traffic at the nature preserve. Capacity at Hanauma Bay is now capped and online reservations are required. The bay is also closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan your vacations accordingly.

Reservations to visit Hanauma Bay can be made two days in advance beginning at 7 a.m. local time. Act quickly, though, as officials say it’s not uncommon for tickets to sell out within five minutes.

Entry to Hanauma Bay remains free for Hawaii residents, children under 12, and active duty military. Parking is an additional $1 for Hawaii residents and $3 for out-of-state visitors.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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