Travel Story «Hawaii - Oahu - the gathering place»
09 March 2008
Last Update 30 March 2008
Aloha, Welcome to Hawai'i. A very different world. A world of tropical weather, inspiring sunsets, Waikiki beach style men's shirts, spectacular Windward coast and above all: Honolulu, a world class metropolis with endless shopping & dining, the perfect definition of the Melting Pot. Hawaii has something to please everyone and yet we were happy to be part of the tourism crowd visiting the most isolated land mass on our planet.
Oahu, the gathering place
Oahu is the place where most visitors arrive and most of them stay in one of those big tasteless here-you-can-spend-it-all resorts. We weren't impressed, we decided to go budget and stayed for the first 4 nights in the Seaside Hawaiian Hostel. The perfect start for any Hawaiian trip since this hostel was right in the middle of it all: Waikiki beach, shopping & dining, public transit, Hanauma bay, Diamond Head and of course, Honolulu. For the first few days we kinda had to get used to it, being in such a remote place, coming directly from Cabo in Mexico, in the end it was a long journey to get to Oahu. One of the first things we did in Oahu was climb the Diamond Head trail, a must if you like spectacular views of Waikiki and Honolulu. We also went to Hanauma bay, which is a 20 minute bus ride from Waikiki (Kuhio ave, bus 22) to get up close and personal with some of Hawaii's most famous underwater world. The beach access to limited to number of visitors and Hanauma Bay for us will be remembered forever as the place where we swam with green sea turtles. Pearl Harbor was a sight we also visited and of course if you've seen the movie, then this place will be a familiar sight. It was surprising also to see the amount of Japanese visitors coming to this memorial. At the Royal Hawaiian hotel, Nicki and I were happy spectators and the resorts' Lua'u, an evening full of Hawaiian dance and entertainment. After a few days in bustling Waikiki and Honolulu area we took our rental car and drove across to the other side of the Island, Oahu's distances are rather small so don't worry about distances and time unless you are driving in Honolulu, you will guaranteed end up in traffic grid locks: a gentle reminder that yes, this is an American metropolis and Honolulu is no different. Our first stop when driving upcountry (through Pila Highway was the Lookout, 180 degrees views over the rim of the island. We continued our journey driving to Kailua Bay, home to some very nice white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, excellent for water based activities with the exception of snorkelling and diving. Heading upcountry again we stopped by the Valley of the Temples; where the Byodo-in temple is a Japanese temple in a perfect setting commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants coming to Hawai'i and opened in 1968. The adventure continued along the Windward Coast, dotted with surf beaches and great picture oportunities. One of the hightlights of our stay in Oahu was a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Centre, off Kamehameha highway. This place/park showcases traditional ways of living; from dancing to cooking, music, games and rituals, from the most famous spots in the Pacific: Aotearoa (New Zealand), Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa, Marquesas islands, Fiji and of course Hawai'i. The final day of our Oahu stay was filled with nature and pineapple. We continued our trip going north to see the Dole plantation and stopped along the Waimea valley and saw the Waimea falls. We spent our last day in the Equus hotel in Honolulu. Our Hawaii experience continued in the island of Maui.