What to do in Oahu
When Hawaii are the islands closest to you, a vacation there may not sound like a big deal. But I’m European, and for us the Hawaii are this amazing and exotic destination you need a ton of money to afford. So, when I got the chance to go, I was really, really, reaaaaally excited.
Oahu is the island of Hawaii where the capital Honolulu is. I was staying in Waikiki, an area close to Honolulu where all the beaches and resorts are. As you may imagine, it’s extremely touristy but never crowded to the point of becoming uncomfortable or irritating (at least in February).
While there, I tried a whole bunch of fun activities: find the perfect one for you and plan your itinerary! 🙂
Ukulele lessons, Lei making, Hula and more
Ready to get out of your comfort zone and experience the traditional Hawaiian culture? The Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki offers free one-hour classes every day! Choose from ukulele lessons, lei making, hula dancing, massaging techniques, Hawaiian quilting, lauhala weaving and much more.
I tried the ukulele and the lei-making classes. After two hours I was able to play a very easy traditional Hawaiian song and I had a nice lei of flowers around my neck to bring home with me. 🙂
Hiking the Diamond Head Crater
The Diamond Head is a pretty short hike (less than 2 hours round trip) only a bus ride away from the centre of Waikiki. It gets a bit steep at the top, but overall it’s accessible to everyone. I’ve seen people with strollers and high heels, so yes, you can do it too. The view from the top is absolutely wonderful: the coastline and the bluest of the oceans appear all of a sudden in front of your eyes and you can’t do anything but stare at it in amazement.
Better to avoid the hottest hours of the day, as the sun burns.
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay is a protected reserve with countless species of marine wildlife. To preserve it, all the activities taking place in the bay are regulated. Before being escorted down, everyone needs to attend a short safety training, since the ocean is always unpredictable.
Snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean is a must-do activity for everyone: the colors and the weird shapes of fish and reef are simply a sight to see.
Booking a tour from your hotel or online is probably the easiest option.
Polynesian Cultural Center
If the culture and history of the Polynesian Islands fascinate you, the Polynesian Cultural Center is the place to visit. It’s pricey ($114 USD for the cheapest option) but you get a full day of exploring the different villages, a buffet dinner with traditional Hawaiian food + luau and a spectacular live show in the evening. Overall, it’s worth every penny.
The place is divided into six smaller villages, one for each Pacific culture (Aotearoa, Fiji, Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga and Tahiti). Each of them organizes performances, displays traditional activities and offers you the possibility to try some of them as well.
At the beginning of the day there’s a parade on the river with a brief presentation of each culture.
After 6 pm you’re invited to the luau. While you’re busy stuffing your face with as much food as you possibly can (and there’s a lot of food, like a loooot), some luau dancers will entertain you and the other guests with dances and performances. And if you’re particularly unlucky, you may even get called on stage for a couple of minutes.
Finally, there’s the “Ha: Breath of Life” show, that narrates the history of how the Polynesian islands came to life. Simply unbelievable.
Waikiki beach and North Shore beach
If there’s one thing Hawaii doesn’t lack is beaches. Choose Waikiki for some casual and relaxing beach time and the North Shore for more real surfing. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Looking for more activities? There’s a lot to do on the island! Visit the Pearl Harbor Center, the Aquarium, pay your respects to King Kamehameha’s statue, catch a hula performance at the beach. Go shopping in Waikiki, eat delicious Japanese food, grab a cocktail on the waterfront, take a tour of the island, try a giant pineapple ice-cream at the Dole farms. The fun is potentially never-ending!
Hawaiian seems a wonderful language, unfortunately it’s hard to hear it. English is of course the most spoken language, followed by Japanese because of the many tourists. Still, if you want to impress your Hawaiian hosts, try to remember a few words, like Mahalo which means Thank you.
That’s it for today. Next time I’m in Hawaii, I’d really love to explore the other islands, so if you have recommendations share them in the comments 🙂
For more destinations, take a look here.