top of page

China Walls

Guide Author: Brittany S.

Dive Site:

Dive Type: Shore or Boat Dive/Reef/Caves  (South Shore)

Difficultly: Advanced

Average Depth: 30 feet (55 feet max depth)

Ideal Wave Conditions: Less than 2 foot waves (entry and exit is dangerous with medium+ waves)


GPS Address: Hanapepe Place (end of cul-de-sac), Honolulu, Hawaii 96825 (Google Maps)

Amenities: None

Parking: Ample street parking one road over from entrance (on Hanapepe Loop) Area is safe but occasionally nails have been found under tires.

Family-Friendly: There is no beach. The area is composed of rocky cliff faces, but there are plenty of places to lay out a towel on the rocks and watch the sunset.


  • This dive requires some athleticism for the entry and exit. Not recommended for those with limited mobility or injuries.

  • This site entry involves a 2-5 feet giant stride entry depending on tide and entry location. Waves frequently batter the cliffs, and the visibility near entry/exit can drop significantly. The exit requires using natural foot and hand holds, plus swells, to lift yourself out of the water.  You should wear a full wetsuit since it’s easy to cut yourself on the rocks on the exit.

  • There are strong currents in the area and you should plan your dive accordingly! Swim into the current on the way out and ride it back. If it’s too strong to swim against, abandon the dive. 

  • Exit and entry is too dangerous for night diving. 

  • Frequent fishing spot, watch for hooks and active fishing lines in the water.

  • If entering a cave or nook, assume there is a shark, turtle, or seal inside, and do not disturb!

Dive Site Maps:

(Base map courtesy of Google Maps) 


Dive Guide:

Entry Type: The entry to this spot is based on the ocean conditions and the diver’s discretion, but there are two common spots most people enter. The first spot is the same as the exit, and is the area directly in front of the park entrance. There are typically swimmers in the water entering from the same location. This entry is similar to doing a giant stride off a boat, however, visibility is often low and there is not much to see for the first 10 minutes of the dive. You can always practice entering and exiting without your gear on first, and swim around to get a feel for the area and the current.

Alternate Entry: The alternate entry is a 5 minute walk south towards a rock outcropping. The outcropping requires a giant stride drop of about 5 feet, but visibility is generally better and it puts the diver in the vicinity of cool geographic features and mini canyons. This option allows for more dive time, but plan to swim for an additional 75 meters on the way back to make it to the exit.


Exit: The exit is the lowest point of the cliff directly across from where you entered the park. The exit requires timing the swells to give you a boost up the rock edge, and then using hand and foothold to lift yourself out of the water. Some people exit gracefully, most take a few tries, some come away with cuts and bruises.


Alternative Exit: There is an alternate exit that is step-like approximately 50 meters north of the normal exit, but then you have to carry your gear further back to your car.

Summary: This is an out-and-back dive, swimming generally in a south turning south-east direction, against the current, and following the cliff wall. Sometimes the wall is not as sheer and more gradual, and in this case you can opt to explore the surrounding rock features and coral. Return the way you came noting key geographic features so you know where to exit.  

Stone Arch: There is a stone arch that you can swim through and then follow a mini canyon around. The arch is located in the first 10 minutes of the dive, but is easy to miss even in good visibility.

Caves: There are three medium/large caves, and numerous small nooks where sharks and turtles rest inside. The largest cave goes back 30 feet (not exact), and none of them have air pockets for emergency assents. Most divers make it to the first cave, those with good air consumption usually make it to the second (and largest cave), with the third cave being out of reach for most without DPVs. 

Spitting Caves: This dive can done as a drift dive starting from Spitting Caves and ending at China Walls. Due to the entrance, it is not recommend for shore diving, and is best done by boat.

Be On the Lookout (BOLO): Whale songs in the winter are a daily occurrence here, although divers won’t see any whales, their calls are audible. Sea turtles and whitetip sharks frequent in the area, and sleep in many of the caves and nooks found in the area. The occasional monk seal and Diablo Fish seem to enjoy the area as well.

bottom of page