We went on the 9AM Hanauma Bay Snorkeling Adventure on February 7, 2013 as part of our cruise to Hawaii. My husband and I had never been snorkeling before, so we chose Viator because we could walk into the water from the beach. Information we read about Hanauma Bay indicated it was a good location for beginners and we liked that it is a nature preserve. Stephanie was our driver. She met us at the Ala Moana Hotel and after picking up the other passengers, pointed out many landmarks on the way to HOP's Office: the harbour that was the opening scene in Gilligan's Island; the building Jack Lord jumped from in the original Hawaii Five-O; the beaches in Waikiki; Diamond Head; Koko Crater; and the homes of celebrities Bruce Willis and Tom Selleck. This was a nice surprise as all we expected was transportation and the snorkeling equipment rental, not a tour! At the office we were fitted for snorkeling masks and taken in a passenger van to Hanauma Bay. We had to pay the $7 entrance fee and watch a 15 minute video about the area before walking down the hill to the beach. The water was cold! However, we saw fish almost immediately. I have to admit, I had trouble breathing through the snorkel tube even though I believed I was a mouth-breather! After many attempts, I gave up and wore the mask and fins only. I held my breath and went swam underwater. It felt like swimming in an aquarium, there were so many colours and varieties of fish, it was amazing! Viator is the way to go as transportation to and from Waikiki and snorkel gear is included. The equipment rental on the beach is more expensive and you have to wait in line to get it. HOP's staff are polite and friendly - you won't regret choosing them - we didn't!
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