The Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation has moved back the opening time for the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve by an hour, to 6:45 a.m.
The city has also increased showings of the safety and conservation video that all members of the public are required to view before being allowed access to the bay’s popular snorkeling beach, according to a Parks and Recreation news release.
Laura H. Thielen, the department’s director-designate, attributed the change to the success of the preserve’s recently instituted, daily in-person reservation system, and a response to a demonstrated greater demand for entry in the mornings since the bay reopened to visitors Dec. 2. after an eight-month coronavirus shutdown.
“With our pilot ticketing system providing smoother entry into Hanauma Bay, we found that most beach-goers were arriving earlier in the day with attendance decreasing in the afternoon,” Thielen said in the news release. “These new adjustments aim to meet that demand as we continue to look at ways to improve the experience for visitors and kamaaina.”
Upon entry into the bay, first-come, first-serve visitors will continue to be provided a reserved video ticket and be allowed to park in the preserve’s lot and wait for their showtime in the upper area of the nature preserve, or to leave and return in time for their designated showtime.
One additional showing of the educational video will be provided each hour, increasing the number of show times per hour to five.
“This aims to cut down on lines, especially in the morning,” said DPR spokesman Nathan Serota.
No more than 120 people are admitted per hour, and before they can access the beach they must wait to enter the theater in groups of up to 30 at a time and watch the 15-minute video.
Hanauma Bay has a total daily quota of 720 people.
Final daily entry Wednesdays through Sundays is at 2 p.m. and the preserve closes at 4:30 p.m; Hanauma Bay is closed to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays.
All other pilot program opening procedures remain in place, DPR said, including mandatory wearing of masks in accordance with local regulations.
The department said it is working with the Honolulu Department of Information Technology on developing an online reservation system.