Mermaid Cove

Mermaid Cove

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 fabled creature plunge gracefully into cerulean waters, then by no means should you miss exploring the Mermaid cave while you are visiting Hawaii. Whether shrouded in mystery or simply favored for its breathtaking yet somewhat dangerous cave formation, this hidden destination has earned a spot on the bucket list of explorers. A lot of locals and tourists have already visited the sea cave and reveled in its “underwater” glory, however, it is still considered to be an off-the-map treasure (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

The cavernous setting with holes of varying sizes is half-submerged along the west shores of Oahu and looks out into the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean. The calming and enchanting ambiance is magically transportive, making it a favorite destination among adventurers with an imagination. Despite the pains and perils that plague visitors of the infamous cave, nobody could resist from getting bewitched by the crystal clear water rushing towards the shell-spattered shore and sun rays streaming through the cave’s crevices, painting a golden hue on the dim cavern.

Well-known as it may seem, locals are not quite sure how this elusive spot earned the moniker “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. In fact, its lack of history makes the Mermaid Cave Hawaii more mysterious –a place that is ripe with secrets.

guy hanging out inside Mermaid cove

How to get to the cave

Fans of the Mermaid Cave 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 “Gathering Place”. But don’t worry, this guide will keep you sane throughout the journey, with a few tips to make the adventure last a lifetime.

As soon as you arrive on Oahu, head towards the west side and locate the Kalaniana’ole Beach Park. 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, but just stick with tourists going to the cave or ask for directions.

The cave 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.

Navigating towards the Mermaid Cave tunnels 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, the Oahuan 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 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.

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

Mrmaid Cave Oahu

Let the Low Tide Lure You

Remember how legends about mermaids go? It usually involved 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 cave location in memory of people who met their demise at the mermaid’s 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 frolic on the rocks like the Little Mermaid and sing your heart out. Mind you, the grotto provides great acoustics amplify your voice.

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 cavern. 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.


Minimize the Mermaid Daydreams

It is easy to lose track of time, and even common sense, when one is daydreaming through life. While Ariel’s daydreaming did lead the mermaid to her prince charming, being reckless in a dangerous setting would eventually cause physical injury, or worse, 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 through dead corals.

Learn and Earn Respect

Just as Sebastian and Moana have been trying 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.

Dispose of trash properly and refrain from hoarding shells in the area. Vandalism is strictly prohibited. If you want something to reminisce on, take pictures.

Mythical or not, the rumored presence of mermaids at Mermaid Cave Oahu will surely get people 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 spot where imagination soars –or rather, swims.

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

Mermaid Cave Oahu Tour