Imagine yourself snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of Two Step, located in Honaunau Bay on the stunning Big Island of Hawaii. In this incredible underwater video shot by Tam Smith using the GoPro Hero 9, you’ll be transported to a world of vibrant marine life and breathtaking coral reefs. As you dive beneath the surface, you’ll be greeted by schools of fish swimming gracefully around you, while the sunlight filters through the water, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. The accompanying music sets the perfect mood, adding an extra layer of enchantment to this captivating underwater adventure. So sit back, relax, and let the beauty of Two Step Snorkeling transport you to the wonders of the Hawaiian ocean.

As you watch this immersive video, be sure to show your support by following Tam Smith on Instagram and TikTok, and subscribing to her YouTube channel. With a passion for exploration and a talent for capturing the essence of Hawaii through her lens, Tam Smith brings us a remarkable visual experience. If you’re longing for a taste of paradise or simply seeking inspiration for your next adventure, this underwater video is sure to leave you in awe. So join Tam Smith on her journey through the tranquil waters of Two Step in Honaunau Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii, and let your imagination take flight as you explore the depths of the ocean.


Honaunau Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii is a snorkeler’s paradise. With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and abundance of marine life, it offers an unforgettable underwater experience. Known as Two Step, this popular Snorkeling spot gets its name from the unique lava rock formations that create two natural steps leading into the ocean. In this article, we will explore the beauty of Honaunau Bay, discuss snorkeling gear and safety, highlight the marine life and underwater attractions, provide tips for a successful snorkeling trip, recommend the necessary equipment, and discuss guided snorkeling tours. Additionally, we will touch upon other activities available in the area and provide transportation options to help you plan your visit.

Location: Honaunau Bay

Honaunau Bay, also known as Two Step, is located on the western coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Situated just south of the Kealakekua Bay, it is easily accessible and attracts snorkelers from all over the world. Its proximity to the island makes it an ideal destination for both locals and tourists alike.

Proximity to the Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands and offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Honaunau Bay’s location on the island makes it easily accessible to travelers staying in nearby hotels and resorts. Whether you are staying in Kailua-Kona or further south in the Captain Cook area, Honaunau Bay is just a short drive away, making it a convenient destination for snorkeling.

About Honaunau Bay

Honaunau Bay is known for its pristine waters, calm conditions, and stunning marine life. The bay is protected by a natural fringing reef, which helps to create a calm and clear environment for snorkelers. The sandy bottom and shallow areas make it an ideal location for beginners, as well as experienced snorkelers looking to explore the underwater world. With its rich biodiversity and unique rock formations, Honaunau Bay offers a truly memorable snorkeling experience.

The Two Step Snorkeling Experience

The Meaning Behind the Name

One of the unique features of Honaunau Bay is the two-step entry into the water. The lava rock formations create two natural steps, hence the name “Two Step.” These steps make it easy for snorkelers to enter and exit the water, even with fins or flippers on. The shallow first step allows snorkelers to adjust their gear and get used to the water temperature before fully immersing themselves in the bay.

Snorkeling Gear and Safety

Before heading out to Honaunau Bay, it is important to ensure you have the right gear and understand basic safety guidelines. Snorkeling gear typically consists of a mask, snorkel, and fins or flippers. When choosing a mask, make sure it fits securely on your face and provides a clear view. A snorkel with a reliable valve system will make it easier to breathe while swimming. Fins or flippers help you navigate through the water effortlessly.

Safety should always be a top priority when snorkeling. Remember to swim with a buddy, especially if you are a beginner. Stay within your comfort zone and avoid exploring areas that are beyond your skill level. It is also crucial to be aware of your surroundings, including any potential hazards such as rocks or sharp coral. Always respect the marine life and refrain from touching or disturbing any creatures you encounter.

Entry and Exit Points

As mentioned earlier, Honaunau Bay gets its name from the two-step entry into the water. The first step is a shallow area where snorkelers can comfortably put on their gear and adjust to the water. Once ready, snorkelers can take the second step to fully immerse themselves in the bay. The steps are made of lava rocks, so proper footwear is recommended to prevent any injuries.

When exiting the water, simply reverse the process by taking the first step back onto the lava rocks. Be cautious of your footing and take your time to safely remove your gear before stepping onto dry land.

Marine Life at Honaunau Bay

Honaunau Bay is home to a diverse range of marine life, making it a paradise for snorkelers and nature enthusiasts. The clear waters provide excellent visibility, allowing you to observe the vibrant coral reefs and colorful fish species. Keep an eye out for the state fish of Hawaii, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a, as well as triggerfish, tangs, and butterflyfish. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a sea turtle gliding gracefully through the water. The bay is teeming with life, providing endless opportunities for observation and exploration.

Two Step Snorkeling (Honaunau Bay) The  Big Island of Hawaii - Underwater Video w/Music #goprohero9

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Exploring the Underwater World

Clear Waters and Vibrant Coral Reefs

One of the highlights of snorkeling at Honaunau Bay is the incredible clarity of the water. The absence of pollution and the protection provided by the fringing reef create optimal conditions for snorkelers to enjoy a clear and unobstructed view of the underwater world. The vibrant coral reefs are a sight to behold, with an array of colors and intricate formations. As you swim through the water, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a different realm, surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Species of Fish and Marine Creatures

The marine life at Honaunau Bay is abundant and diverse. Snorkelers can expect to encounter a variety of fish species, each with their own unique characteristics and behaviors. From the graceful movements of tropical fish to the comical expressions of humuhumunukunukuapua’a, every moment spent in the water is filled with fascination. Keep an eye out for eels, octopuses, and even reef sharks, as they may make an appearance during your snorkeling adventure.

Unique Rock Formations and Caves

In addition to the vibrant coral reefs and marine life, Honaunau Bay also boasts unique rock formations and caves. These natural features add a touch of adventure to your snorkeling experience. Swim through narrow passages and explore hidden nooks and crannies, uncovering the secrets of the underwater world. Be sure to bring an underwater camera or GoPro to capture these memorable moments.

Opportunities for Underwater Photography

With its clear waters and diverse marine life, Honaunau Bay presents endless opportunities for underwater photography. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or simply want to capture the beauty of your snorkeling adventure, be sure to bring a waterproof camera or a GoPro. From vibrant coral formations to close-up shots of tropical fish, you’ll have plenty of subjects to photograph and cherish as memories for years to come.

Tips for a Successful Snorkeling Trip

Choosing the Right Time

To make the most of your snorkeling trip to Honaunau Bay, it is essential to choose the right time to visit. The weather and ocean conditions can significantly affect your experience. Generally, the early morning hours provide the calmest and clearest conditions for snorkeling. Try to avoid peak hours when the bay may become crowded. Additionally, check the weather forecast and avoid snorkeling during periods of high winds or rough surf.

Underwater Visibility Conditions

One of the advantages of snorkeling at Honaunau Bay is the exceptional visibility. However, visibility can vary depending on the time of day and weather conditions. For the best visibility, aim to snorkel on a sunny day with calm seas. Avoid snorkeling after heavy rainfall, as it may affect water clarity. It’s always a good idea to check the conditions before heading out to the bay.

Protecting the Coral Reef Ecosystem

When snorkeling at Honaunau Bay, it is important to be mindful of the delicate coral reef ecosystem. Coral reefs are vital habitats for many marine organisms and play a crucial role in the overall health of the ocean. Avoid touching or stepping on the coral, as it can cause irreparable damage. Additionally, refrain from feeding or chasing marine life, as this can disrupt their natural behaviors. By practicing responsible snorkeling, you can help preserve the beauty of Honaunau Bay for future generations to enjoy.

Ensuring Personal Safety

While snorkeling is a fun and enjoyable activity, it is essential to prioritize your personal safety. Before entering the water, assess your swimming abilities and choose areas that match your skill level. If you are a beginner, stick to the shallower areas closer to the shore. Always snorkel with a buddy and maintain good communication while in the water. Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and applying sunscreen. Lastly, familiarize yourself with any safety guidelines specific to Honaunau Bay.

Recommended Snorkeling Equipment

Snorkel and Mask

A high-quality snorkel and mask are essential for a successful snorkeling trip. Look for a mask that provides a comfortable fit and a clear view of the underwater world. Opt for a snorkel with a reliable valve system, allowing for easy breathing and preventing water leakage. The right combination of snorkel and mask will enhance your snorkeling experience and allow you to fully enjoy the beauty of Honaunau Bay.

Fins or Flippers

Fins or flippers not only help you move through the water with ease but also provide propulsion. The right pair of fins will improve your swimming efficiency and reduce fatigue, allowing you to explore Honaunau Bay for longer periods. Look for fins that fit securely and comfortably on your feet. Consider opting for fins specifically designed for snorkeling, as they are designed for ease of use and maximum comfort.

Rash Guard or Wetsuit

Depending on the water temperature and your personal preference, you may want to consider wearing a rash guard or wetsuit. These garments provide an extra layer of insulation and protection, keeping you warm and preventing sunburn. Choose a rash guard or wetsuit that fits well and provides unrestricted movement.

Sunscreen and Hat

Protecting your skin from the sun is crucial when spending extended periods in the water. Apply a waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF before entering Honaunau Bay. Choose a reef-friendly sunscreen to minimize any potential harm to the coral reef ecosystem. Additionally, wearing a hat will provide shade and protect your face and scalp from direct sunlight.

Underwater Camera or GoPro

To capture the beauty of Honaunau Bay and document your snorkeling adventure, consider bringing an underwater camera or a GoPro. These devices are designed to withstand water exposure and provide high-quality images and videos. Whether you’re looking to capture stunning underwater landscapes or candid shots of marine life, having a camera or GoPro will allow you to relive your snorkeling experiences for years to come.

Guided Snorkeling Tours

Benefits of a Guided Tour

If you’re new to snorkeling or simply want a hassle-free experience, consider joining a guided snorkeling tour. These tours offer several benefits, including equipment rental, knowledgeable guides, and unique insights into the underwater world of Honaunau Bay. By joining a guided tour, you can relax and let the experts take care of the logistics while you focus on enjoying the beauty of the bay.

Local Guides and Their Expertise

Local guides provide valuable knowledge and expertise that can enhance your snorkeling experience. They are familiar with the best snorkeling spots, can identify different fish species, and can provide insights into the history and ecology of Honaunau Bay. Their expertise ensures a safe and educational snorkeling adventure, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of the underwater world.

Group or Private Tours

When choosing a guided snorkeling tour, you can opt for either a group or private tour. Group tours are a great option for those looking to socialize and meet other snorkelers. They offer a fun and interactive experience, allowing you to share the excitement with like-minded individuals. Private tours, on the other hand, provide a more personalized experience. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply prefer a more intimate setting, a private tour allows you to customize your snorkeling adventure to suit your preferences.

Other Activities at Honaunau Bay

Picnicking and Beach Relaxation

In addition to snorkeling, Honaunau Bay offers opportunities for picnicking and beach relaxation. After your snorkeling adventure, find a shady spot on the beach, spread out a blanket, and enjoy a picnic with stunning views of the bay. The calm and serene atmosphere creates a perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Exploring the Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is a must. Located adjacent to Honaunau Bay, this cultural and historical site provides a glimpse into ancient Hawaiian customs and traditions. Take a self-guided tour and explore the park’s sacred grounds, royal fish ponds, and ancient temple structures. Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the area, complementing your snorkeling adventure with a deeper understanding of Hawaii’s past.

Hiking and Nature Trails

If you’re interested in exploring the natural beauty of the area, Honaunau Bay offers hiking and nature trails. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a scenic trail that leads you through lush vegetation, lava fields, and breathtaking viewpoints. These trails provide a different perspective of the island and offer an opportunity to appreciate the diverse landscapes of the Big Island.

Getting to Honaunau Bay

Transportation Options

To reach Honaunau Bay, you have several transportation options depending on your preferences and circumstances. If you’re staying in nearby hotels or resorts, check if they offer shuttle services to the bay. Alternatively, renting a car provides flexibility and allows you to explore the island at your own pace. Taxis and rideshare services are also available, but may be more expensive. Consider planning your transportation in advance to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey to Honaunau Bay.

Parking and Public Facilities

Honaunau Bay offers parking facilities for visitors, although it can get crowded during peak hours. Arrive early to secure a parking spot and avoid any inconvenience. Public facilities such as restrooms and showers are available, allowing you to freshen up after your snorkeling adventure. Remember to leave the bay clean and dispose of any trash responsibly, contributing to the preservation of its natural beauty.


Honaunau Bay, also known as Two Step, offers a snorkeling experience like no other. With its clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant marine life, it is a must-visit destination for snorkelers of all skill levels. From the unique rock formations to the colorful fish species, every moment spent in the bay is filled with wonder and excitement. By following the recommended tips and guidelines, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable snorkeling trip to Honaunau Bay. So grab your snorkel gear, head to the bay, and embark on a snorkeling adventure you’ll never forget.