I have spend over 2 weeks on Oahu in February 2018 and here are My top Oahu, Hawaii “bucket list” destinations.
also known as the Las Vegas of Hawaii. There are no legal casinos on the islands of Hawaii but you can definitely feel the spending vibe. All major brands are located on the main Kalakaua Ave (King David Kalakaua was the last King of Hawaii. The last monarch was Queen Liliʻuokalani). You can find Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Tiffany, Tesla and many other luxury brands in Waikiki. There are loads of restaurants with the most popular and best rated Marukame Udon, which serves delicious Udon from $4. Lines are usually very long and you can easily spend 1h waiting in the queue. Unless you prefer to have your udon at 11 am, like me, then you can wait less than 10 mins. For a popular breakfast treat, Acai Bowl, you can either go to Tropical Tribe on Ala Moana, that serves the biggest Brazilian Acai Bowls
or sit by the ocean in Barefoot Beach Cafe.
I tried both, but you definitely get much much more of Acai in Tropical Tribe for $13. Go surfing, paddle boarding or floating on a pineapple, whatever works for you. Waikiki has it all, ABC stores (that sells everything from food through water sport equipment to clothing and souvenirs), shopping, beaches, Diamond Head, water-sports and lots of dining options. Don’t forget to watch fireworks by the pool in Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Sunrise in Waikiki
Sunset in Waikiki
2. Kualoa Ranch
Number 1 on my to do list was an item I actually haven’t completed. It is Kualoa Ranch, where Jurassic Park and 50 First Dates (my favorite movie) was filmed. I wanted to do a Movie Tour and ATV Tour but I waited too long with booking and the last 3 days were rainy. I would definitely go next time and book upfront as those tours sell out quickly.
3. Stairway to heaven
Stairway to heaven was also very high on my bucket list but I haven’t researched enough before I went there on my own. Here is my post on “How not to climb stairway to heaven“. As for tips I would definitely encourage to have hiking gear, a companion and lots of water and food (if you are going to go to the stairs from the legal side, which takes much longer and is much more dangerous than the the illegal way to the stairs.). In the post I also give you 2 contacts for a guided haiku trips.
4. Hoomaluchia Botanical Garden
I loved this spot so much I went there twice, it is amazingly beautiful and the mountains you can see on my picture above are the exact peaks you will go on the back side of stairway to heaven. When I went to the gardens there were no guards so we spent probably 1 hour taking photos and just enjoying the view. Do expect that it can rain as it rains everyday, but for a short period of time, like 5 mins or so.
5. Beautiful Beaches
6. Diamond Head Crater trail
There are many many hikes in Hawaii, many illegal, but this is not one of them, this one is very easy, takes 1h to go up, cost $1 as a pedestrian or $5 for parking. Views are amazing.
I went to Moanalua Falls when it rained and I had to hike through muddy pools. It was well worth it and I would do it again. The waterfall was amazing, you can check it out on my Hawaii movie here.
8. Tour around the island
I bought my tour on Groupon (https://www.groupon.com/deals/hawaii-turtle-tours-2) and saved a lot from the $120 price-tag. I only paid $40. The tour-guide told many stories about Hawaii and although the stops weren’t long enough to enjoy it you could always go back other day. That is why I always tend to book tours at the beginning of my trip so I know where I can revisit and spend more time.
I had it on my to do list, for a long time but somehow I thought it was goign to be scary. It wasn’t at all, I recommend this company I went with, also purchased on Groupon (https://www.groupon.com/deals/waikiki-water-sports) They charge $35 for the photos, but you can easily take a selfie stick as there is no wind. I guess the ballon protects you from it. I regret not taking mine, as I was sure I will lose it in the ocean.
I missed it but I would definitely hop on a catamaran next time. Here some good discounts. As for Waikiki snorkeling, the best point I found with colorful fish was on the right side of the molo that you can see on your left side looking from the beach by the 2 pools. This is my mask but I can’t say I recommend it. It has adjustable straps to prevent the water of getting inside your mask. I could swim for 10 min and then the water would somehow get to my mask anyway.
So that was my top 10 this to do on Oahu. Tell me what are your favorite destinations in Hawaii. What have I missed? I am happy to return and see more of this beautiful island.
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