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Archive for the ‘The Island of Oahu’ Category

During our wedding trip of 2008, we decided to spend the second week of our trip on the Island of Oahu. We stayed at the Waikiki Beach Hotel.  The room was very comfortable and had a great view, even though it was only a partial ocean view. One of the best things about it was the free breakfast. You can eat beside the pool, or take the food with you in the cooler they provide. Most mornings we filled up the cooler and went back to the room to eat on the balcony. It was a partial ocean view only because there was a building just to the left of this photo, and our building to the right. It was still quite impressive though…

Waikiki BeachThe hotel is located on the Diamond Head end of Waikiki Beach, so it is a bit of a walk to the International Marketplace. But as with most of the Waikiki hotels the Hilo Hattie and Ala Moana buses stop out front.

We took the elevator to the top floor to check out the view a couple times. It was definitely worth it:
Honolulu Panoramic

On our first full day on Oahu, we went to check out Hanauma Bay for some great snorkeling. The shuttle bus drops you off at the parking area at the top of the hill and you can walk down to the beach. The view on the way down is very good:

Hanauma BayBefore you can go in the water, you have to watch a short video about ocean habitat and preservation of the reef. As with most of Oahu, it was quite busy there. But there are lots of fish to see and I would certainly recommend it if you are on Oahu.

As we were walking back up the hill we noticed a massive school of fish from the road. We had not swam over to this side, so it was tempting to go back and check it out. But the bus was leaving soon so we carried on our way. I wasn’t sure if I would feel comfortable swimming with so many fish anyhow…

School of fish at Hanauma Bay

We wanted to do the circle island tour, but did not want to pay the tour bus rates and be on their set schedules. The hotel does not have much parking for rental cars, so we just rented one for the day. It ended up being one of our favorite days on Oahu. Of course having the Oahu Revealed guidebook helped us out as well. Although I don’t think it is as helpful as their other guidebooks. But their website is great for the links, reviews, and aerial views of resorts.

We started out towards the airport in a clockwise direction. We knew wanted to stop at the Waimea Valley Gardens, so that was our first destination. They have a paved trail with many tropical flowers and trees. At the end of the trail is a freshwater pond and waterfall:

Waimea Valley Audubon Center

From there it was back to the town of Haleiwa for lunch at Haleiwa Joe’s. They had good food and a great view. Definitely worth checking out.
Haleiwa Joe's

We were hoping to see some huge waves along the North Shore, but since we were there in late April, the ocean had calmed down.

Our next stop was Turtle Bay. If I was going to stay on Oahu again, this is the place I would like to stay at. It was still fairly busy, but still much less crowded than Honolulu. The water was quite clear, and the snorkeling was good. It was one of our favorite spots on Oahu.

Turtle Bay, Oahu

By this time, we did not have time to stop at the Polynesian Culture Center. I had been there on a previous trip to Oahu, and my mother went a few days later on this trip. She said it was still very good, and much more interactive than our first trip. They teach you a great deal about each of the Polynesian Islands, while putting on a very good show. Definitely worth checking out.

We did make a quick stop at Pounder’s Beach. The waves were quite big here, although there were a few crazy surfers enjoying them. We preferred to enjoy them from shore, and got some good photos.

Pounder's Beach, Oahu

We could have spent more time exploring around the east coast of the island, but decided to head back to the hotel.

One day while sitting at the Starbucks down the street, we noticed a bunch of small geckos running around. We got a lot of photos of them, but this was one of my favorites:
Waikiki wildlife

There were a lot of great sunsets during our week on Oahu as well. And lots of sailboats, and kayakers to include in the photos:

Waikiki SunsetThis is one of my favorite sunset photos we took:
Waikiki Beach Sunset

We found that the only time Waikiki Beach was not completely packed was at night, or early in the morning. It was a big difference for us after our quiet week on the island of Maui. The beaches there were busy, but certainly not as busy as Waikiki or Hanauma Beach. But we did get some good night photos at Waikiki:

Waikiki Beach at night

Our two favorite restaurants on Oahu were right across the street from the Waikiki Beach Hotel at the Marriott. Sansei Seafood and Sushi and The Kuhio Beach Grill. You can check out my post on Sansei here. The Kuhio Beach Grill had a nightly buffet, and each night was different. It might have been one of the only restaurants we ate dinner at if we had found it sooner. The food was amazing. You can’t get much better than a fresh seafood and crab-leg buffet.

We went to Perry’s Smorg a few nights before we found the buffet at the Marriott. There was no comparison at all between the two. I would not recommend Perry’s to anyone. The food was not good, and it was quite dark there.

Overall, we preferred all of the other Hawaiian islands quite a bit more than Oahu. Part of the reason might be that we didn’t have our own car, other than the one day, so we were more restricted to what we could do and where we could go. But it didn’t seem like a good idea to have a rental car the whole time with not much room for parking at the hotel, and the extra fees that comes with it.

We actually decided to take a day trip to Kauai, just to get away Honolulu, which I have described in another post here. It ended up being one of the best parts of our two week trip, and we are looking forward to going back to Kauai. We might go back to Oahu sometime, but only for a few days in order to check out Turtle Bay, Hanauma Bay, the Polynesian Culture Center, and of course Pearl Harbor (which we never got around to doing this trip).  We would not be spending another whole week though, and definitely not staying at Waikiki Beach.

Everything was just too busy there. Honolulu is a big city, and staying at Waikiki Beach is like being in most other large cities on the mainland – with large buildings, and people everywhere. It seemed hotter than the other islands as well – perhaps because of all the buildings and concrete. Of course the beach is great, but it was just too crowded for us. Even being in the ocean there felt more like a swimming pool – with people everywhere. It was certainly not the same type of Hawaiian experience as we found on the other islands.

How much you like Oahu will depend on what you are looking for I suppose. If you have never been to Hawaii before, and want to see some of the great tourist attractions, then Oahu is a good place to go for that. And if you like the city scene, with more of a night-life, then Waikiki is probably a great place to stay. But we did not find it relaxing at all compared to the laid back islands of Maui and Kauai.

Although you cannot get photos like this on the other islands…
Waikiki Beach, Honolulu

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