Starting on May 12, tourists will need to book their visit online to enter the park
Last Monday, The State of Hawai’i’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announced that reservations will be required to visit the iconic Diamond Head State Monument, known as Lē’ahi to natives. The new system will become effective on May 12, 2022.
According to the information shared on the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ website, the system will start taking reservations on April 28 and can be made up to 14 days in advance.
The measure only applies to tourists, local citizens with a Hawai’i State Driver’s License or ID, will not have to book or pay to visit the park. However, they must consider parking availability.
The main reason to implement a reservation system and charge an entry fee is very similar to the one that made Venice implement a similar system: too many travelers crowding the space at the same time. The entrance fee for non-Hawaiian residents is $5, children under 3 years old do not pay.
In the press release, John De Fries, Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA) president and CEO, stated: “This new reservation system will be instrumental in managing visitor capacity within Lēʻahi and protecting its natural environment and cultural sites, improving the experience for everyone and allowing us to be better stewards of this special place.”
De Fries also insisted on the importance of sharing this new requirement: “We are urging visitors to plan ahead when booking their trips and become familiarized with the new process.”
Now that Hawaii has ended all covid restrictions, more travelers will be visiting this beautiful destination. It’s just important that they stay up to date with local rules— such as the reservation requirement to visit the Diamond Head— to make the most out of their visit.
What You Must Know Before Visiting The Diamond Head
Exploring the iconic volcanic formation—created by an eruption around 300,000 years ago— represents one of the most popular and exotic activities to do in Hawaii. The Diamond Head Monument extends to 475 acres and offers tourists stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu. The place also hosts rich history and cultural local traditions.
It is evident why thousands of tourists want to visit this crater while in Hawaii. According to data shared on US Today, in 2019, before the pandemic, about 6,000 people visited the park in just one day! The new restriction wants to control and reduce the impact of visitors to this natural monument.
Besides making an online reservation prior to arrival, travelers should know the basic information and main recommendations:
- The park is open every day from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm, and entry gates close at 6:00 pm.
- It is not open on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.
- Hawaiian residents do not pay an entry fee.
- Tourists must make a reservation and pay $5, they only accept credit cards.
- Residents do not pay for parking, tourists do. Non-residents must pay $10 per vehicle. Commercial vehicles must make reservations, and rates change depending on passengers’ seats per vehicle.
- No pets are allowed, except service animals.
- The park offers access to those with disabilities on the crater floor.
- The hiking trail is considered easy but it is steep and uneven, it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours round-trip.
- Audio tours are available, a great option for those who want to learn more about military history, geography, plant and animal life, and more.
- Wear good walking or hiking shoes, sunscreen, a hat, and bring water to stay hydrated.
The Diamond Head is definitely a great activity to include while visiting Hawaii. However, travelers must stay informed and learn about all the options also available on these gorgeous islands, and remember that there are many off-the-beaten-path things to do at this destination such as visiting taking a hike at the Wai’anapanapa State Park or exploring The Mermaid Caves in Oahu.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com