Snorkelling in Oahu

Apr 3rd, 2007, 05:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 12
Snorkelling in Oahu

Hi there,

Wanted to see if anyone had recommendations on good snorkelling spots in Oahu - not too crowded, easy to to swim and lots of things to see...Any recommended beaches or snorkelling spots that are must-sees or must-avoid?

Your help appreciated!

Also - does anyone know if ABC stores sells snorkelling gear? How much do those go for? Not sure if we should buy before we go or just pick up a set when we reach Hawaii.
bostongurl is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 07:02 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 28
The best spot is Hanauma Bay -- its on the tourist circuit but if you get there early in the morning, its less crowded. You're going to be up early anyway!! There is a fee to get in. You can rent snorkeling gear at Hanauma Bay. Not sure if they allow visitors to hike along the dge of the bay but its kind of cool.

My favorite beaches are on the North Shore. You can 'beach hop' starting at Waimean Bay. Just keep following the road along the coast, Nov-Mar is surf season -- waves are amazing, if you time it right, you can catch some world class competions. The rest of the year is great too -- its not as crowded as Waikiki. Not much swimming except at Waimea Bay. During the summer there is a little cove on the North Shore where the honu (green turtle) feed on seaweed. If you go into one of the surf shops, they can give you the exact spot. You just cant touch the turtles

Lanikai Beach is great -- soft sand, not too crowded.
Waikiki Beach -- great for people watching especially during the summer. This was one of my favorite things to do while growing up in Hawaii!! Swimming is ok.

Also Google 'Top 10 Beaches on Oahu, Hawaii'

Make sure you pick up a "This week Oahu" at the airport -- you can find them in the baggage pick up area. It lists whats going on on the island, coupons for all kinds of stuff.

LuvFlowers is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 07:16 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 589
If you are staying in Waikiki try the Kapiolani Beach Park between the Acquarium and the "Natatorium".

Why buy when there are so many great shops that rent high-quality snorkel gear? Snorkel Bob's is my favorite - there are two each on Waikiki and Kauai, three on Maui, and one more on the Big Island. The shops have great advice on weather conditions and the best local spots.
bobludlow is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Yes, you can buy snorkel gear at ABC - I saw it there when visiting in December. I snorkeled both at the classic Hanauma Bay (beautiful, amazing, but crowded and a definite time investment) as well as in the coean at the south part of Waikiki, a block from my hotel. While snorkeling at Hanauma was no doubt superior in terms of what you can see, snorkeling in Waikiki was quite good too (some terrific fish) and ultra convenient: a 5 minute walk vs. an hour of driving, orientation, lockers, etc.

And that's why I bought snorkel stuff instead of renting: so I could go more than once. If you are sure you're only going once, it probably is better to rent the gear, though.

Andrew is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Huh? Most people rent snorkel gear for the length of their stay - dropping them off either the night before they leave or the morning of. Unless "bostongurl" has a pressing need to go snorkeling in the lagoon next to Boston Common I think she is much better off renting than buying gear. The better shops even offer masks with prescription lenses if needed.
bobludlow is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 6
Another option is Costco for snorkel gear. We bought ours last year and it was very reasonable and worked well. They have it again this year.
disnygrl21 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 10:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,759
bobludlow, I paid about $15 for my cheap snorkel gear. Are you saying I could have saved money by renting it instead for my entire trip?

Andrew is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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If you buy gear there, you will have to schlep it home, and mask/snorkel/fins is bulky and not easy to pack. Look at Snorkel Bob's on the web, rentals for $22/week.

Snorkeling on the North shore is good only when the water is CALM. Shark's Cove is probably second best to Hanauma, but the entry can be tricky, rather rocky. Some people like the lagoons at Ko'Olina, but the one time we went there it was cloudy.
gigib is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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$15 got you "cheap snorkeling gear". But for just a little more money you could probably rent better gear for several days: a snorkel with a purge valve, a mask with a better-quality silicone skirt and maybe Rx lenses, etc. If bostongurl lives in Boston she might not have much need for snorkel gear when she gets home.

I also recommend renting or buying your gear from a specialty shop that offers good advice. Nothing is less fun than trying to snorkel with a leaking mask, and no single mask fits every face size correctly. Get some experienced help unless you know how to fit a mask yourself. Ask for some quick instruction in how to put on the mask, enter the water, clear the snorkel and mask if either fills with water, what not to touch while out there, where to go, etc etc etc. ABC Stores are a great place to pick up suntan lotion and some bottled water, but I'd look elsewhere for snorkel gear unless you grew up on the beach.
bobludlow is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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The lagoons at Ko'Olina are man made - I wouldnt recommend snorkeling there.
LuvFlowers is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 17,226
I travel with my snorkel gear. I'd much rather use mine than rental gear. And, I bought it at a dive shop, spent a little more for quality and have more than gotten my money out of it.
starrsville is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 02:15 PM
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If you have a car, try the Pupukea Beach area on North Shore. It has some reefy (is that a word?) areas that are great for snorkeling, and it wasn't very crowded when I was there on a weekday. This was summertime; I don't know if it's even an option in the winter when surf is up.
Jolie is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 636
Buying vs Renting snorkel gear: A quality good fitting face mask is a must! The cheapest good stuff you can buy is about $80 for a mask. It must fit right or you will be spending more time above the water clearing your mask than below looking at the fish! Therefore renting the mask is a definite option if you don't want to invest in a good mask. The actual snorkel is another question. Expensive, cheap...there doesn't seem to be much difference. Buying one anywhere including Costco is a good option if you worry about other people's germs on the mouth piece. I would rent fins too. The cheap discount store fins are usually stiff plastic. The rentals are quality soft rubber type. My husband prefers the stiff ones so that one is your call. But of all the gear to transport, fins take up the most space. That being said, we have our own full sets of snorkel gear and we take them with us whenever we plan to snorkel.

Another piece of advice. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to where an inflatable snorkel life vest. I do and I get many comments from fellow snorkelers that they wish they had thought of that. I just feel safer and therefore enjoy my time in the water more. I am not a novice. I have snorkeled many times and I also am a certified diver. I still where the vest!

Enjoy. Of all the places I have snorkeled, Hawaii is my favorite.
sdtravels is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 04:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 12
We'll only be in Hawaii for a few days, but it's actually a stopover on our way to Guam for a week - so I figured buying it and having it readily available would be more convenient in both destinations, rather than having to go to a rental place all the time...
I saw snorkel gear at Costco and for the reasons some of you have posted - have been hesitant to purchase - not sure if I'll be cleaning my mask out all the time instead of looking at fish! =)
bostongurl is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 589
In that case buying probably does make more sense for you. Costco's quality is usually very good - but you have to make sure that the mask fits your face. Here's how to check: push your hair out of the way and place the mask firmly over your face WITHOUT using the strap. Just let the strap dangle. Now inhale through the nose so that you feel suction from the mask. Stop inhaling and HOLD YOUR BREATH. If the mask stays firmly on your face without you needing to continue inhaling, you have an air-tight seal and the mask fits. If it breaks loose then the mask doesn't fit. It is as simple as that.

If the Costco gear doesn't fit, you should be able to find a decent scuba shop nearby unless you live in the boonies.
bobludlow is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 288
Aloha, If you have a car then come out to the Kailua side of the island. Go inside Lanikai all the way to the end (Last beach) and swim out to the Moke's (Twin Islands)beautiful snorkling!!! Haunauma Bay can be packed (tourist hot spot)but it does have great snorkling too! If it's to crowded just stay on the raod until you get to Kailua.
Mahalo & have a great time!
escrowmanager is offline  

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