Oahu: An Escape For The Adventurous Soul
Aloha from Oahu and Shaka baby, also known as the hang loose sign, was originally called shaka but they say the tourists turned it into the now “hang loose sign” either way, you will see it often on the Islands of Hawaii... it just simply means relax and enjoy yourself. Out of the Hawaiian Islands, we have been to the Big Island and Kauai, but on this trip we decided to see Oahu and Maui.
Our first stop was Oahu, Honolulu, where we decided to stay in Waikiki to get the city life while still getting the island vibe all in one. Honestly, it just depends what your expectations are but if you haven’t been to Hawaii before... I might not recommend staying in Waikiki! It's super busy and fast-paced, which doesn't really allow you to experience that famous laid-back island feeling. Not to say it's not beautiful, because of course it is and I'm pretty sure all of Hawaii has magic fairy dust sprinkled all over it, but it reminds me of the time my husband and I first visited Hawaii for our honeymoon twelve years ago... yikes! It felt like pure magic, being in Hawaii gives you a unique feeling that is different than other tropical places, a feeling that for me is hard to describe but I know everyone who has visited some part of Hawaii has felt it.
We chose to stay at the Royal Kuhio in downtown Waikiki, a thirty story high-rise building. Our condo was on the 25th floor, which made for some incredibly breathtaking views. It cost us $100 per night for our tiny one bedroom condo, which did have a full kitchen but was a bit outdated. However, if you want something nicer than you’re going to pay around $500 a night, which is for a (just as tiny) hotel room... how often are you in your room anyways? Did I mention a gallon of milk is $9? Which goes to show you just how expensive things can be in this tropical paradise. There are some amazing things to do in Oahu! Hikes are a must, whether it’s a waterfall hike through the muddy jungle or a paved steep road leading to amazing views, you can't go wrong!
Our favorite hike was of course the world-famous Haiku Stairs, also known as the "Stairway to Heaven." The Haiku Stairs were built-in 1942 for the Navy to transmit radio signals to the ships in the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, just before our visit a Tsunami had hit the coast, damaging some of the stairs and making the hike a bit more dangerous... they even had guards posted at the entrance! In saying that, is the hike even worth it? It absolutely is! If you can get past the guard (either sneak past or sweet talk your way passed him) then I highly recommend you make the treacherous hike up the 4,000 stairs, and reaching elevations as high as 2,800 feet in the air. It's the most freeing and exhilarating hike that I’ve ever done in my life. Even if you don't get to make it all the way to the top, the views are breathtaking from the moment you begin the hike.
My best advice would be to make sure you're prepared, so practice taking easier hikes beforehand and make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks because it can take anywhere from 4-5 hours round-trip. It’s worth every minute, the views are unreal and just the fact that you know it's dangerous and illegal make it that much more thrilling. They say the fine cost 2,500 dollars so make sure you don't get caught! Other great hikes include, Manoa Falls (super muddy, wear water shoes and bring lots of bug spray), Diamond Head, and Koko Head Stairs; which are all great hikes and also offer incredible views of Waikiki! Driving the western coast is a must... the views are seriously insane and we literally stopped every five minutes to get out and snap some pictures.
I would say renting a car is a must, you can easily see the whole island this way and the roads are incredible. The beaches of Hawaii are amazing, I think everyone knows that before they even visit. There's too many beaches to name them all, we went to at least 8 different beaches and we didn't even scratch the surface. While in Oahu, you can also go zip-lining, take a helicopter tour, or ride ATV’s through Kualoa Ranch (where Jurassic Park was filmed). Overall, Oahu is filled with an incredible amount of adventure; whether you're hiking in the jungle or enjoying your first Luau, you can’t go wrong with Oahu. Mahalo!
- Halona Beach Cove | Where you can climb down into the cove and go swimming or just chill on a small secluded beach. You can also go swimming in the Halona blowholes, with extreme caution of course, the waves get pretty high and it’s usually very windy.
- Makapu’u Lookout | Not to be missed and bares a striking resemblance to Big Sur in California. Here you can hike up to the Makapu’u Lighthouse, a very easy hike offering amazing views of the sea.
- Hanauma Bay | One of the most famous places to snorkel in Oahu. Formed within a volcanic cove and offering a pristine marine ecosystem, makes it understandable how they receive around 3000 visitors daily.
- A Luau | We went to Germaines Luau in Oahu, where the food is good and the entertainment is even better. It's hard to complain when Islander girls are dancing around in coconut bras and hunky Polynesian dancers are spitting fire out of their mouths!
- Lanikai Beach | One of the most beautiful beaches in Oahu, highly recommended by travelers and locals!
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About The Author
Diana Catuna has a slight obsession with traveling and exploring this beautiful world. Originally from Romania, Diana and her family moved to Arizona when she was just seven-years-old. In May of 2015, she and her husband of twelve years; Adrian, sold their house and belongings to travel around the world. Since then traveling has been a big part of their lives, they hope to inspire others to also travel and venture outside their comfort zone. You can follow along on Diana's adventures by visiting her website and Instagram.