Mermaid Caves, or “Tunnels”, are fairly easily accessible and exploring them is an incredible and unique adventure. The underground beach and beauty make this a must-do on Oahu.
First, check out this video to get a good idea of what you’re in for!
Where Are the Caves?
You can find Mermaid Caves on the west side of Oahu. Most tourist destinations are near Waikiki and the North Shore so getting to the caves is definitely off the beaten path for most. Are you the adventurous type who wants to do something unique?
From Honolulu head west on the H-1 W until you get all the way to the other side of the island. You’ll head past Kapolei until you get to Nanakuli on the leeward side.
These caves are one good reason to go to the west side of the island. The leeward side is not my favorite since the tall mountains on the windward side block it from getting much rain so during the summer instead of green you see yellow everywhere. Beside that, there are some incredible beaches and the mountains are very green and pretty during the winter. There are also some dangerous places, so be careful!
Finding the Caves
Enter Zablan Beach into Google Maps. As you travel up Farrington Highway you’ll turn onto Laumania Ave. On the right you’ll see a parking lot next to the park–park here but be warned: this is a pretty “local” spot and I have heard of car vandalism. It hasn’t happened to me and I’ve been here a few times so I guess my best advice is to be friendly and respectful of the people here.
When facing the ocean at Zablan Beach, head out left toward the lava rocks, there’s a sort of path toward the caves but the rocks can still be jagged and sharp. Definitely wear good shoes because these rocks are no joke! If you keep left and walk for just a few minutes on the lava rocks then you’ll see some openings to Mermaid Caves!
Exploring the Caves
The Main Hole
There are multiple holes that open to the caves but the main one is furthest from the ocean and is about four feet wide and maybe a 6-8 foot drop with a small, underground beach beneath. If you’re not somewhat fit and athletic you will need help descending to the cave, I’ve even seen people bring a ladder. The “beach” is made up of large, broken pieces of coral so don’t expect to find fine sand!
Go During Low Tide
Definitely plan to go during low-tide or these will be inaccessible and the waves violent. During low tide the water is shallow but the waves and tide are still incredibly powerful. Use the cave ceiling to hold on to for stability when the waves approach.
The fact that you’re in an underground cave is awesome and the colors of the cave and water are beautiful. The further you go out toward the ocean the bigger the waves and the stronger the tide. Be careful as there are sharp boulders under the water and the tide will push you around. There are multiple holes in the rock ceiling where you can exit but some are a bit of a climb. EXERCISE CAUTION–don’t get stuck too far out.
Once you’ve finished frolicking and searching for mermaids, go relax on the beach! Zablan Beach is a very chill beach with great sand. If the time is right you can boogie board on the small shore break. The west side is also great for extremely clear water that is great for snorkeling.
I love exploring places like Mermaid Caves! Check out another similar adventure Halona Blowhole, Beach, and Lava Cave!
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