Hanauma Bay & Exploring Waikiki

Today we had to wake up early to get picked up for our excursion to Hanauma Bay…like 5:30 early. Luckily we had a good breakfast that we picked up last night at the grocery store.

Chicken Katsu & KonaRed Coffee

We were picked up at 7 am by Snorkelfest. There was one other couple with us and it was their first time snorkeling so the driver went through the basics of snorkeling in the van. The drive was about 20 minutes and the driver would point out famous places along the way like Keanu Reeves’ house and Diamond Head. Snorkelfest is basically just transportation to Hanauma Bay, the  rest of your time there is self guided. I would recommend it though because unless you have a car you will have to rely on a bus or hope that an uber driver will pick you up from there after snorkeling. It was $60 for the 2 of us so I think well worth it. The views on the drive were pretty cool.

Once we got to Hanauma Bay we had to walk to check in and pay about $13 for entrance into the park. After we were checked in they showed us a short video about the bay and rules, then we were free to check it out. We purchased a locker to put our valuables in and then we got in the water.

The water was warm and shallow. At first it was really calm but since it was so shallow in spots it was hard to snorkel without brushing up against rocks and coral, so we decided to go further out. Our guide had explained earlier that going out far would be cool you just had to be careful of the currents. The current was really strong and I just felt like I was fighting. We haven’t snorkeled in a few years so I also didn’t feel as confident and I worried if I was feeling this tired and out of control in the beginning how would we make it back? So I panicked a little and wore myself out. It felt like a rip current because I had to swim to the side to move at all. No one else was really attempting to get out further so we decided to go back.

We got back to shore and took a small snack break and then we decided to go on the left side of the bay which if you look at a map of the bay this was called “Backdoor Lagoon”. We saw seals resting on rocks here and the water was more calm. We were able to go through the channel here and reach the deeper water. The snorkeling was much better here, lots of coral and fish. Hanauma Bay was beautiful but compared to other places we have snorkeled we didn’t see a lot.


Once we were done snorkeling we walked around the beach a bit. It was beautiful and sand was sparkling! It was crazy. We took a lot of pictures here and on our walk back up to the parking lot.

On our drive back our driver gave us a lot of advice about where to eat. He mentioned Chinatown, Zippy’s, Rainbow Drive In, Tiki Bar, and Growler USA. Now we were hungry and ready to get cleaned up to eat!

When we got back to the hotel one of Don’s sandals broke, so on our walk to find food we stopped at Foot Locker and The Croc Store…he found shoes at both. We walked about 20 minutes to Rainbow Drive In but it was really busy so we kept walking to Zippy’s. Zippy’s is a fast food chain in Hawaii and you can get a lot of local dishes. They are also a bakery. I had chicken katsu which was so much better than what I had gotten from the grocery store and Don had Loco Moco. Loco Moco is a beef patty on top of rice with an egg and gravy. It was pretty freaken delicious.

On our walk back we stopped at Growler USA and the Cubs game was on so we watched it and had a few beers. This place was pretty cool and they had a ton of local beers. The Cubs were losing so we left before the end.

We wanted to check out Tiki Bar since our driver also mentioned that place for drinks so we stopped there and it was on our way. I had a margarita because it was happy hour and good priced. Don had a beer then we both had salads. Don got the Caesar salad which was the weirdest Caesar salad either of us had ever seen. I had a mozzarella salad. It was an ok place but it mostly just felt like a place to go for a good view. Here we learned the Cubs came back in the bottom of the 9th to win off of a Bote grand slam! We should have stayed to watch!

On our walk back to the hotel we sat by the beach and watched the surfers. We saw a lady on the beach carrying a bag with a cat in it. The cat looked pretty chill. Next the cat was out on the sand on a leash walking around. Then Don was like “the cat is in the water!” The woman was letting her cat swim in the water it was crazy! The cat looked like he liked it. The swimming didn’t last long and she dried the cat off and started walking away from the beach towards us. She sat down next to us to get her cat packed up again! We talked to her briefly.

Pretty cool day in Waikiki. Tomorrow we leave for Maui.


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