Information for Visiting Researchers and Students

General Visitor Information

If you are interested in planning a tour, please refer to the Community Education page.

All visitors to HIMB must have an HIMB sponsor. Please obtain approval from a sponsor before proceeding with housing arrangements.

For dorm reservations and questions, contact housing managers at (primary form of communication)

Applying for research and dormitory space at HIMB

  1. Contact housing managers with the dates and duration of your desired visit to insure housing availability.
  2. Fill out Application for HIMB Housing, Application for Research Facilities, and Visitor Waiver/Release Forms (all are available online on our “Visitor Information” page).
  3. Your sponsor must submit a Visitor Report Form, stating the dates of your visit, to the HIMB office at least three days prior to your arrival.
  4. Address all questions regarding research facilities to your sponsor.
  5. A collecting permit is required to collect aquatic life or use fishing gear which is otherwise prohibited.Please contact your sponsor for more information.
  6. When coordinating your visit, please take the time difference into account: we can be up to six (6) hours behind US East Coast time (EST).

Planning for your arrival

  • There is no shuttle service or public transportation from the Honolulu Airport to Coconut Island’s pier on Lilipuna Road. Arrange with your sponsor for transportation, rent a car (see Parking on Coconut Island), or plan on using a taxi (the airport is approximately 45 minutes away). Driving directions to HIMB are available online.
  • A gate access code is required to enter the parking lot at HIMB. Contact your sponsor or housing managers for gate access code.
  • If you are arriving during business hours, make arrangements with your sponsor to have him/her meet you and show you to your dorm, as well as orient you to the lab and island. If you arrive after hours, the student residents will show you to your dorm and provide a brief orientation to living on Coconut Island.
  • Groups of more than 20 people will be required to use the Honu Kai ferry during their initial arrival and final departure. There is a fee for this service (see Large Groups in Resources Available). Advanced notice is required (please call the office at (808) 236-7401 to schedule).
  • Trucks are available to assist you in transporting your luggage to your dorm. Your sponsor is responsible for making arrangements to use the resident truck if your arrival is during business hours. If your arrival falls on a weeknight or weekend, please verify your arrival time with housing managers to insure truck availability.

There are no food stores on Coconut Island! Make sure to stop in Kane‘ohe for provisions before coming to the Island.

General Disclaimer: Life on Coconut Island

The Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology is a world-renowned research institute situated on Coconut Island in Kane‘ohe Bay. Staying on the island is a fantastic opportunity for studying marine processes in the water with coral reefs just outside your door. This ideal location for research is both a blessing and an inconvenience:

When you arrive in Hawai‘i to study at HIMB, you not only have to navigate from the airport to Kane‘ohe, but also get through a gate and down a steep hill, park in a small parking lot, walk along a long pier, which juts out into the water, and wait for a boat. There is no public transportation to Lilipuna Pier, the gate requires a code, and the parking lot is often full to capacity during business hours. In order to cross the channel to Coconut Island, you have to adhere to a boat schedule. The boat stops running at 10pm.

These steps are second nature to the staff and researchers who work on the island, but can be daunting to the uninitiated. Although Coconut Island is small, it will seem larger if you have to carry your luggage to your dorm (remember to arrange for assistance!). The roads are mostly unpaved dirt (or mud, depending on weather conditions) and there are no stores (outside of a lone vending machine), so you have to carry in all your food.

This disclaimer was not written to dissuade you from staying on Coconut Island, but rather to make you an informed visitor. The rewards that come from living on Coconut Island are plentiful. The scenery is beautiful and you cannot beat the convenience for coral reef research.

Contact Us

For more information about living and working on Coconut Island, please contact us at:

  • The Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology
  • P.O. Box 1346
  • Kane‘ohe, Hawai‘i 96744
  • tel: (808) 236-7401
  • fax: (808) 236-7443


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