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Visiting Mermaid Cove – A Surreal Experience

Visiting Mermaid Cove – A Surreal Experience

Why the Mermaid Cave Oahu Is Still Worth Seeking

If one of your childhood dreams were to be a mermaid or be lucky enough to witness such a fabled creature plunge gracefully into the beautiful cerulean waters, then by no means should you miss exploring the Mermaid Cave while you are visiting Hawaii in 2021 or beyond. Sometimes referred to as Mermaid Cove, this natural wonder is shrouded in mystery and favored for its breathtaking experience.

Mermaid Cave Oahu Tour

That’s why this hidden destination has made the bucket lists of many excursionists and holidaymakers. A lot of locals and tourists have already visited the Mermaid Cove to experience the wonders it offers and to revel in its “underwater” glory. Having said that, it is still considered to be an off-the-map place (with no specific Oahu tours going to the cave), keeping human contact and unnatural developments at the minimum.

girl taking in the breathtaking views of the green water and sunlight

Facts About the Mermaid Cave Oahu

This cavernous area is filled with holes of varying sizes, half-submerged along the west shores of Oahu island, and looks out into the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean. The calming and enchanting ambiance is magically transporting, making it a favorite destination among adventurers with an imagination. Despite some of the potential pains and perils that affect new visitors to the infamous cave, nobody can resist getting bewitched by the crystal clear water rushing towards the shell-spattered shore and sun rays streaming through the cave’s crevices that paint a golden hue on the dim cavern.

Well-known as it may seem due to its legendary status, many locals are not quite sure how to find this elusive spot or how it earned its fabled name as the “Mermaid Cave”. While there are rumors of half-fish-half-human entities frequenting the sea cave when the moon is high, there is no concrete evidence to prove that it is more than just a typical tourist destination. You need to pay attention to any sign along the way. In fact, its lack of history makes the Mermaid Cave Hawaii more mysterious –a place that offers many secrets (even in 2021). Are you ready to find out what it has in store for you?

guy hanging out inside Mermaid cove

How to get to the cave

Fans of the Mermaid Cove Oahu are relatively sworn to secrecy, which is why locating it would be as hard as the Little Mermaid’s quest to earn her legs. In addition, Oahu is known to be the third largest island in Hawaii, earning the nickname of the “Gathering Place”. But don’t worry, this guide will always keep you sane throughout the journey, with a few tips to make your stay last a lifetime.

As soon as you arrive on Oahu island, head towards the west side and locate the great Kalaniana’ole Beach Park in the small town of Nanakuli. Some people refer to it as the Nanakuli Beach Park, so just use this if you have a hard time pronouncing the local name. The 40-acre park would be hard to navigate without a map or sign, but just stick by every tourist that’s going to the cave or please ask for directions. This is a great time to go shopping. Find a store where you can shop for the essential gear that every new spelunker should carry with them. You can also shop at the Nakatani Shopping Center which is next to Depot Beach Park.

Mermaid Cove is located only 5 – 7 minutes from the parking lot. Head to the rocky side of the beach and look for a large gaping hole to the left. It should appear natural and not man-made (you’ll know once you’ve found it).

The next thing to do is to start navigating towards the Mermaid Cave tunnels (which is not a walk in the park). In reality, you need to survive a short trek across jagged lava terrain to reach the ethereal sea cave. Another option, which is highly inadvisable during high tide, is to snorkel around the beach to the cave. You will run the risk of getting shoved by the waves towards the sharp edges of the cliff, which will get that adrenaline pumping similar to shark cage diving. However, the adventure will be a memorable one, especially if you are the daredevil type. Despite the possibility of cuts and the scorching heat of the sun burning whatever exposed part of your skin, this Oahu oasis will take your breath (and temporarily, pain) away.

beautiful look inside the cave

Be Wise and Wary Before Wandering Off

When exploring an off-the-beaten-path location, it is always recommended for tourists to come extra prepared. You may whine about the amount of sunscreen you have to slather on your face or the first aid kit that will weigh you down, but going the extra mile will guarantee that you won’t miss a step in your adventure. So always bring protection, first aid, proper equipment, or at least some friends, if you think you’ll be partaking in slightly risky activities during this journey. And please don’t lose your phone. You may want to consider updating your status on Facebook so friends and family know where you’ve gone (but this is probably an excessive safety measure since you will most likely encounter other travelers as you search for the cove).

Make your mermaid dreams come true with these top travel tips from explorers who have witnessed the wonder of Hawaii’s Mermaid Cove:

Mrmaid Cave Oahu

Let the Low Tide Lure You

Remember how the legends of mermaids go? They usually involve men being dragged into the depths of the ocean. As spooky as it may seem, it is worth mentioning that plaques can be found on the rocky exterior of the Mermaid Cove location in memory of people who met their demise around this fabled cave dwelling.

Since the Mermaid Cave Oahu does not have a proper “entrance”, you need to jump down from the two holes of the cave into the secret shoreline. During high tide, the sea level is as high as the holes of the cavern. Swimming during this time would be too risky, since there’s a possibility that you could get sucked into the narrow cave opening towards the open sea. When the tide is low, especially during the summer months (May to October), you can live and love on the rocks like the Little Mermaid while singing your heart out. The grotto provides great acoustics amplify your voice. This is your time to shine and take live video or pictures to post online.

relaxing in the blue and green water

Save the (Mermaid) Tears for Last

According to Chinese Mythology, mermaid tears turn into pearls. However, your tears would never turn into anything of value no matter how much you cry over the bruises and scrapes you acquire during the trek to the magical Mermaid Cove. Keep your feet protected at all times by wearing aqua shoes or footwear with thick outsoles. Forget fashion and wear comfortable clothes instead. Never leave your sunscreen at home as the sun can be unforgiving during the summer season. Shade is quite lacking at the Nanakuli Beach Park, so it is better to bring that bulky umbrella if you do not want to nurse sunburns throughout your Hawaiian vacation. Remember, there is no tour to provide you with survival gear, so you may need to go shopping in advance. You can shop at a store at the Nakatani Shopping Center just north of the cove on Highway 93.


Minimize the Mermaid Daydreams

It is easy to lose track of time, and even common sense, when one is daydreaming through life (or in a heated search for this majestic cove). While Ariel’s daydreaming did lead the mermaid to her Prince Charming, being reckless in a dangerous setting may eventually cause physical injury or even death. Remember that underneath the crystal clear waters are more jagged rocks and oceanic trenches. Never venture too far from the cave, even during low tide. Take caution when jumping into the cave holes and navigating the jagged dead corals.

Learn and Earn Respect

Just as Sebastian and Moana love to tell moviegoers, the sea functions as the wonderful home to countless species and an important factor in the planet’s ecological balance. As tourists, we simply bask in the beauty of Mother Nature’s masterpieces. Respecting it should be our prime responsibility.

Please dispose of trash properly and refrain from hoarding shells in the area during your stay as a new visitor and amateur spelunker. Vandalism is strictly prohibited. Take pictures or video if you want something to reminisce on, and impress your friends and family by posting them online to Facebook!

Mythical or not, the rumored presence of mermaids at Mermaid Cave Oahu will surely get every dreamer talking for centuries. While nothing mysterious is brewing at the leeward coast of the island, the mystical sea cave will forever be regarded as a truly great spot where the imagination soars and a love for life swims in your heart. It’s time to find out what this natural wonder as in store for you!

Mermaid Cave Oahu Hawaii

Want to see what else Hawaii has to offer? Check out our list of the best Hawaii tours on the island


  • Elizabeth L

    Aloha! I’m Elizabeth L. At LiveYourAloha, I am responsible for writing about sightseeing tours and Hawaiian culture. For the last 12 years, I’ve been working as a tour guide in Hawaii. It’s been a great way to see the world and learn about new cultures. I love nature and the outdoors, and have even climbed two of the world’s highest peaks! Making connections and showing my visitors the incredible beauty of these beautiful islands is a passion of mine. When I’m not out giving tours, you’ll likely find me on an invigorating hike or enjoying local cuisine on the beach.