After spending a few days on the Big Island, we continued our travel through Hawai’i. Our next stop: the island of Oahu, for the last 4 days of our trip. If you’re looking for some info on what’s the best time to visit Hawai’i and how to get there, check out our previous post on Hawaii.
Travel, and especially travel to the US, is not possible from many places in the world at the time of writing this post. But, the day when we can travel again will come. Until then, we can dream about travel, revisit and research our top destinations, and start planning the next holiday.
If Hawai’i is on your bucket list, as it was on ours (…it still sort of is…), you might find this article useful. For inspiration on prices and travel dates, check out our Travel Deals page – we post many cheap flight deals every day.
But enough about logistics, what is there to do and see on the island of Oahu? And how to choose if you’re short on time and/or do not have a car. Additionally, we’ll include a few of the activities we wanted to do but weren’t able to. Hopefully, this will help you plan your trip and make the most of your stay on Oahu!
With time being quite tight, we had to plan well what we wanted to see on Oahu. Our must-visit list: Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbour, North Shore, and snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. And to think that our plan almost worked.
Our hotel was only 5-10 minutes away from Waikiki Beach. So we got to enjoy Waikiki beach almost every day. Either by relaxing and sunbathing or by taking a quick walk on the beach after breakfast or dinner. Waikiki beach is one of Hawaii’s most famous beaches. And that’s for good reason: you’ll be greeted by white sand, a wide beach, clear blue water, and an amazing lush green backdrop offered by the Diamond Head crater. There is really no bad time to enjoy Waikiki beach, though you might want to avoid the midday sun. With the area being so popular, you will find here most of the hotels and apartment rentals.
If you are the kind of traveler that is looking for a more secluded beach day, you should head to Waikiki early in the morning. You can check out one of these beaches: Waimanalo Beach, Mokuleia Beach, or Hale’iwa Beach.
What makes a holiday great for us: good weather, nice surrounding nature (beaches/forests/mountains), delicious food, as well as cultural experiences (museums and local events). That being said, we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to visit Pearl Harbor and learn about its history.
The visitor area, called the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, showcases warships and submarines and airplanes that were involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor that led to the US involvement in World War II. This is definitely a site for a full day visit, and it’s a good idea to book your tickets online before you arrive because some of the tours, especially the USS Arizona Memorial, sell out very quickly.
We took the chance to visit the warship USS Missouri (famous for hosting the signing ceremony for Japan’s surrender at the end of WWII), as well as the USS Bowfin submarine and the Aviation Museum. Unfortunately the USS Arizona, the most popular attraction, was already sold out.
While most people come to Hawaii for a beach holiday in paradise, it’s important to also remember the history of the places we visit and the sacrifices made by the soldiers who lost their lives defending this beautiful island.
Day tour around the island
If you’re short on time and/or don’t own a car, a day tour around the island is a good way to see many of the top sights. Prices for such tours range anywhere between $60 and $250. We went for the “Oahu Circle Island and Snorkeling Tour”, a full-day tour with quite a few stops along the way. The day started with a stop at Diamond Head and Halona Blowhole Looked. Next, we had a short stop at Eternity Beach and Waimanalo Beach. For lunch, we stopped for a delicious bite at Kahuku Farms. We ended a great day of exploring with snorkeling at Hale’iwa Ali beach park.
Hanauma Bay is a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park. It is one of the many great places to snorkel on the island of Oahu. And it’s only a 30 minutes drive away from Waikiki beach. The park receives on average 3000 visitors per day. What makes it so popular is its proximity to Waikiki beach and its accessibility to all snorkel experience levels.
Here are a few things you should know before visiting. There is a $7.5/€6.5 entrance fee and the park is closed on Tuesdays, Christmas Day, and New Years Day. If you don’t have a car, they offer a shuttle to the park from different locations in Honolulu (costs $25). Unfortunately, we found out about the park being closed too late, so we did not get to snorkel here on our trip.
One thing we learned from our trip to the US was that we should always plan the most awaited destination for the start of the trip. We were looking forward to the whole trip! And we didn’t hold back on activities in any of the stops on our trip. Having a too strict trip planned can leave you feeling overwhelmed and under time pressure.
We hope you like our post. Enjoy day-dreaming about your next holiday! I know we will!
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