Snorkeling Kaiona Beach Oahu: Snorkeling’s Unsung Hero of Hawaii

It is always a pleasure for us getting guest post from other fanatic snorkelers – Let’s go snorkeling today with Ken and explore the Kaiona Beach Park on Ohau. Ken has snorkeled almost every nook and corner of Oahu and also runs an own site: Enjoy his photos and videos!

kaiona beach

Every once in a while you happen upon a gem of a snorkeling spot that just not that many people know about.

When I first got to Hawaii back in 2014, a friend of mine told me of a place that they called “Honu Heaven” because of the many turtles that feed there and frequent the shallow waters.

Kaiona Beach Park is part of the southeast tip of Island of Oahu and it’s very close to Waimanalo Beach. Heading from the west of Oahu and Honolulu, you’d have to travel past Hanauma Bay, Sandy’s Beach (where President Obama hangs out when he’s on vacation in Hawaii), Makapu’u Lighthouse and Waimanalo Beach Park. Very close to Kaiona Beach is Sea Life Park and the back drop for the old, 1980s television hit, Magnum P.I.

Also, for a magic touch, the Kaohikaipu Island State Seabird Sanctuary and Rabbit Island sit awesomely as part of the view.

All of the stuff around it, though, isn’t what makes Kaiona Beach Park so special. It’s the lack of a certain thing that makes Kaiona a gem. And that “thing” is tourists. This is very much a local’s beach and they like their beaches and land to be respected so if you’re heading to Kaiona then be sure to do so with respect.

The beach is very clean and relaxed. I was actually there on a Saturday one day and had the entire beach to myself for a few hours. It was pretty majestic.

The surf is low. The water is clear and shallow. The fish and turtles are plentiful. So bring your snorkel gear and expect to have a great time in the waters.

kaiona beach turtle

Fish and Marine Life at Kaiona Beach Park

I’ve seen so many Hawaiian Green Sea turtles at Kaiona that I can’t even remember. They’re plentiful there. Mostly because of the easy feeding of sea vegetation off the coral and rocks and partly because of the relaxed atmosphere and uncrowded waters.

Sea Turtle Video

I have videos (remember, I’m a snorkel fanatic not a photography buff…but I do my best) of three sea turtles in one video, one of which I didn’t even see until later that my girlfriend was trying to point out to me. And here’s an awesome little video of a box crab burying itself in the sand.

Box Crap Video


Among the Reef Fish at Kaiona, you can expect to see just about anything: (I’ve use the Hawaiian name and English name of the fish where I could remember them.)

  • Uhu or Parrot fish
  • Lau Hau or Butterfly fish
  • Kala or Unicorn fish
  • Fan tail file fish
  • Kihikihi or Moorish Idol
  • Moray Eels
  • Surgeon fish
  • …and the Humuhumu-nukunuku-apuaa (LOL!) or the Reef triggerfish

I consider myself an expert on snorkeling locations on Oahu having researched and visited most of the best spots on the Island and some spots that I don’t even tell people about. I have to say that one of my favorite places to snorkel and just enjoy a quiet day at the beach is Kaiona Beach Park. If you’re on Oahu then do yourself a favor and make your way over there for a great day of snorkeling.

Additional Tips:

There is no concession at Kaiona Beach Park and limited parking.
There are bathrooms and showers at Kaiona Beach Park.
There is also a fenced in barbecue area.

Anett Szaszi

Anett fell in love with the ocean immediately when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea back in 2010. Discovering megacities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. She has a big interest in exploring the world’s last hidden underwater paradises and marine conservation. She hopes to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!

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