I landed on the island of Oahu and went direct to the hostel in Honolulu! I confess that I was a bit scared to stay in a hostel in the U.S.. Travellers reviews and some rumors were telling me that it could be a NOT so good, but interesting experience. Well, it ended up just fine: bedbugs were not a big deal, it was clean, perfect located and had enough loud parties.
First day… I just walked around. The atmosphere is very relaxed, everyone seem being on holidays wearing their tropical shirts and flowers around theirs necks. Hawaiians are very friendly and if it wasn’t for the modern constructions, nice cars and crowds of asian tourists I could easily forget the country I was!
Waikiki is one of the most popular beaches in the world. Small and long-lasting wave break makes it perfect for surf lessons and paddling. There are parties, bars and holiday feeling everywhere you go and it goes on every night and everyday… you just have to pick a spot!
Do not miss:
- Diamond Head (Leahi): a volcanic tuff that is an American Monument and serves as a platform for antennas use by the government. It´s walking distance from Waikiki plus a 1.1 km hike that leads to the edge of the crater’s rim. Although not difficult, the hike is not a casual one: the unpaved trail ascends 74 steps, goes through a tunnel, up another steep 99 steps and a small lighted tunnel to a narrow spiral 43 steps inside a coastal artillery observation platform built in 1908. The best pictures can be taken from the summit, both Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean can be seen in detail.
- Makapuu Beach: on the east side of the island and 35 minutes by bus from Waikiki. The beach sits below the Makapuu Lighthouse and between cliffs and jagged lava rocks. It’s popular for locals bodyboarders and sunbathing. It was there that I’ve regretted to underestimate Hawaiian waves… I though I’d drown… the current was too strong that I couldn’t stay up on my feet!! It was definitely not an excuse being rescued by the good-looking lifeguards!
A friend of mine drove me to the North Shore Beaches, not so close from Waikiki, but possible to get there by bus and spend the day at one of the beaches, which is a lot more chilled with no so many tourists and a lot more surfers. We spent the night there to enjoy the Luau on the beach.
- Kawela Bay/ Turtle Bay: Protected from large waves and surf, is one of the island’s best places to snorkel, with big chance to see a honu (Hawaiian green sea turtle).
- Sunset Beach: is considered the longest stretch of rideable surf spots in the world. This is also a venue for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (November – December).
- Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline): The powerful waves and massive tubes make it one of the most dangerous surf spots in the world and one of the venues for the Triple Crown of Surfing. Perfect to seat on the sand and spot surfers and try to take the best shot!
- Waimea Bay: a legendary beach that produces monstrous winter waves and is one of the first places surfers in the 50’s began to ride big waves. In the summer, the swells subside for great swimming and snorkeling.
Back to Waikiki and ready to spend the day on the Southeast tip of Oahu, we drove to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, a marine sanctuary that lies between two dormant volcanic craters on the southeast tip of Oahu. The water is clear, shallow and hold tropical fishes and impressive marine life. By far, one of the best places to snorkel.
Time to leave this gorgeous island! New feelings were about to rise… next stop wasn’t only my last place, but also a place that I already knew… with people I already know… from 10 years ago!