After Hanauma Bay finally reopened on December 2, 2020, after 8 long months of being closed due to COVID-19, it was normal to see people walking along Kalanianaole Highway and cars parked on the side of the road as only walk-ins were being allowed into the ocean sanctuary.
However, beginning this Saturday, January 9, 2021, only vehicular entry will be allowed into Hanauma Bay from Kalanianaole Highway, and walk-in entry will no longer be permitted. This also means that tourists who utilized TheBus to get to the Bay will no longer be able to walk in despite the fact that the Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations. The Hanauma Bay website suggests that a taxi costs $40 (versus $2.50 to ride TheBus).
According to Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation Director-Designate Laura H. Thielen, this is a response to safety concerns. “We have heard the concerns from the neighboring community and visitors to the nature preserve regarding some of the problems with visitors parking in the residential areas, walking along the busy Kalanianaole Highway, and gathering near the Hanauma Bay entrance,” she said, adding, “We hope these adjustments to the pilot reopening help to alleviate these concerns as we pursue an online reservation system and improve our management of this magnificent natural resource. Certainly, we can make further adjustments to these procedures if additional issues arise.”
Upon reaching the preserve entrance off of Kalanianaole Highway, visitors will be directed into the bay parking area and provided tickets to determine which order they entered the nature preserve, with a pre-determined educational video show times. Visitors have the option of remaining in the parking lot and upper area of the preserve while they await their show time, or they may choose to leave the nature preserve after receiving their entry ticket. If they leave temporarily, they must return with their ticket 15 minutes before their designated show time to ensure their entry into the theatre and beach.
The daily limit of 720 people remains in effect, and no commercial activity is currently allowed within the nature preserve. The Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation is currently working with the Honolulu Department of Information Technology on developing an online reservation system. Its implementation is expected in this first quarter of 2021.
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is open to the public from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, with last entry into the preserve at 2 p.m. All face mask, physical distancing, and gathering restrictions remain in effect.
For those who need an auxiliary aid/service, other accommodations due to a disability, or an interpreter for a language other than English in reference to this announcement, please call DPR at (808) 768-3003 on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email firstname.lastname@example.org