An eagerly anticipated online reservation system for timed admission to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is up and running, the office of Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and the city Department of Parks and Recreation and Design and Construction announced Monday, the day the system launched.
Members of the public were quick on the uptake: By 5 p.m. today, 117 reservations had been made online, 64 for Wednesday, the first day for which slots are available, and 53 for Thursday, Brandi Higa, spokeswoman for the mayor’s office, said in an email.
Reservations can be made up to 48 hours ahead for a visit, which starts with the required viewing of an educational film in the reserve’s theater prior to entry .
Time slots are available in 10-minute increments, beginning from 7 a.m. until 1:40 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays. The bay is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Reservations for any given day will remain open until the spaces are filled or until midnight the day before, so reservations for Wednesday will close after 11:59 p.m. the preceding Tuesday.
“If there are extra time slots available, we will use the slots for any in-person walk-ins (the next day),” Higa said.
The reserve gates open at 6:45 a.m., the beach closes at 3:15 p.m. and everyone must be out of the park by 4 p.m.
Walk-in or drive-in access without an online reservation will continue to be allowed to accommodate those without internet access, the city announced.
The city announcement said commercial activity is still not allowed within Hanauma Bay, except for authorized city concessionaires.
Open now are the bay snack bar, gift shop and snorkel rental concessions, the latter also offering rental of wet suits and swim flotation vests.
However, while wet suits and swim vests may provide warmth and a slight flotation and confidence boost to nonexpert ocean swimmers, the Hanauma Bay educational video clearly states: “If you can’t swim, don’t go in.”
Here’s how to reserve your visit to Hanauma Bay online:
>> Go to pros.hnl.info/hanauma-bay.
>> On the website, select the Hanauma Bay picture in the center of the page to be directed to available video showtimes. Once you select your time slot, you will be prompted to provide your information, including your email.
>> Once the reservation is complete, a reply will be sent to your provided email to serve as your reservation confirmation. A printed or digital email copy may be used as proof of reservation at the entrance to the bay.
>> Reservations can be made for groups of up to 10 people at a time, including no more than five children.
>> For now, reservations are free, with entry and parking fees collected inside the nature preserve, but in the future, the system will incorporate a payment portal to collect admission and parking fees, currently $12 per person for nonlocal visitors 13 years or older, and $3 per nonresident vehicle. Entry remains free for local residents with valid photo identification and all children 12 years and younger; resident parking is $1 per vehicle.
The reservation system is incorporated into DPR’s Parks and Recreation Online System (PROS), developed in collaboration with the Honolulu Department of Information Technology (DIT) and accessible at pros.hnl.info.
For the latest information on visiting the reserve, and the coral reef research and conservation work being conducted by volunteers and scientists with city, state and federal agencies, email Friends of Hanauma Bay at email@example.com to request their March/April newsletter.