If you can swim, you can snorkel. And you don’t need any formal training, either.
Snorkeling is a favorite pastime for both visitors and residents and can be done anywhere there's enough water to stick your face in. You can pick up a mask and snorkel at a corner ABC store for around $35, including fins, and get going on your own or pay up to $175 for a luxurious snorkel cruise including lunch and drinks. Each spot will have its great days depending on the weather and time of year, so consult with the purveyor of your gear for tips on where the best viewing is that day. Keep in mind that the North Shore should be attempted only when the waves are calm, namely in the summertime.
Make sure you put plenty of sunscreen on your back (or better yet, wear a T-shirt) because once you start gazing below, your head may not come back up for hours.
Equipment and Tours
Hanauma Bay Rental Stand. You can rent masks, fins, and snorkels here. The stand also has small lockers available right at the park that are large enough for your valuables. Bring ID or car keys as deposit for rental. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, 7455 Kalanianaole Hwy., Hawaii Kai, Hawaii, 96825. 808/396--3483. Rentals from $9, lockers from $8.
Hanauma Bay Snorkeling Excursions. If you're going to Hanauma Bay, you have three options: take a chance with limited parking spaces at the park, take TheBus, or contact Hanauma Bay Snorkeling Excursions. They provide transportation to and from Waikiki hotels, equipment, and instruction on how to use the equipment for a reasonable price that does not include the $7.50 park entrance fee. 808/306–3393; www.hanaumabaysnorkel.com. From $25.
Snorkel Bob's. This place has all the stuff you'll need—and more—to make your water adventures more enjoyable. Bob makes his own gear and is active in protecting reef fish species. Feel free to ask the staff about good snorkeling spots, as the best ones can vary with weather and the seasons. You can either rent or buy gear (and reserve it in advance online). 700 Kapahulu Ave., Kapahulu, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96816. 808/735–7944; 800/262–7725; www.snorkelbob.com. Rentals from $38 per wk.