Things to do in O'ahu - Hawai'i

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Aloha! Hawaii has been on our bucket list for a while, so what better time to visit than now!? All we knew about Hawaii was basically from movies and that it is far far away, so a lot of research took place before we decided on which islands to visit. There are 8 major islands in Hawaii, 7 of which
you can explore.

After a lot of “pros and cons” lists we decided that on our first trip to Hawaii we shall visit Oahu, the most popular of them and Kauai, the Garden Island as they call it. I will write about Oahu in this article and promise to return with another one about Kauai too.
As I mentioned earlier, Oahu, known as The Gathering Place, is the most popular of the Hawaiian islands, and yes that makes it a bit touristy but surprisingly almost never crowded. This island offers a little bit of everything and is a perfect destination for everyone. It has the perfect blue beaches where you can just soak in the sun with no care in the world, the incredible rugged landscapes where you can take hikes if you feel a bit adventurous, the great night life in Waikiki, the posh and extravagant shopping and the amazing food! In our opinion, for first timers in Hawaii, this is the place to go.

The weather in Hawaii is very tricky and easily changeable. It rains often, but usually at night, so this should not affect your vacation at all. The coastline is mostly sunny, but if you go inland, towards the mountains, the clouds are very low, however this gives it an incredibly mystical vibe.

To best experience the island I suggest you rent a car. There are several companies you can choose from and the renting process is extremely simple, way easier than in Europe for example. There are hundreds of things you can do on the island, but here are some you cannot miss:

Waikiki beach

When we got to the island the first thing we did was go to the Waikiki beach as it was close to where we were staying. All the travel guides we read were not saying a single good thing about this beach, however they all ended with: you cannot go to Oahu without at least seeing the Waikiki beach.

Now I will say the same thing, the beach is not much, it’s very touristy, maybe the only crowded place in Oahu as well, but you cannot at least see it once.

When we got to the Waikiki area, Chris’s first question was: “Are we in New York?”. Skyscrapers and expensive promenades were not how we imagined Hawaii, where are all the tiki bars? However, this is the only part of the island that looks like this, just drive a bit in a different direction and you will get the true Hawaiian vibe.

Ho’omolania Botanical Gardens

This botanical garden is like no other you have seen before. The garden is so huge that you can drive through it in order to explore its every tiny corner. We spent a few good hours here admiring all its beauty.

The Pillbox hike

I mentioned earlier that Oahu has it all, from great hikes to perfect beaches, but honestly it would be a shame to go to Hawaii and just lay on the beach as the island is best seen from above.
We started our trip with one of the easiest hikes. This one takes you around the coastline and in just about 15 minutes you will get to the top from where you can see the beautiful Lanikai beach and the Mokulua twin islands.

Explore the diverse beaches

Each beach we visited in Hawaii was like no other on the island, just drive around and check them out. Lanikai beach was by far my favorite one! The water was warm and a blue so perfect that we never wanted to get out.

Crouching Lion Hike

This hike was a bit more strenuous, but the view from the top was absolutely amazing! The trail is not necessarily marked, so the basic rule is that you always go up. Hiking shoes are recommended, and I have to admit that throughout the Hawaii trip we kind of neglected our flip-flops. We have apparently outgrown the times were we walked barefoot through the jungle or climbed hills in flip-flops.

Kualoa Ranch

I'm sure you know this place, you just might not be aware of it! This is one of the most famous places in Hawaii as it was featured in several movies. 

Kakaako Neighbourhood

This is a cute little area full of great quality graffiti walls. It is not necessarily a must, but it’s nice to see if you get to that area.

Words of wisdom in Hawaiian:

Aloha = With love (used for both hello and goodbye)

Mahalo = Thank you

Hang loose = They signal this with the thumb and pinky held up, a reminder to chill and live the Hawaiian style, happy and relaxed

O'ahu was nothing like we imagined it, but it was absolutely amazing! The diversity on this island could satisfy even the most pretentious of you. I mean, what’s there not to like...perfect beaches, scenic landscapes and de-li-cious food!

Hawaii will always hold a special place in our hearts and we plan to return there one day, but until then…there are so many places left to explore!

Mahalo for reading and Live Aloha!

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