O'ahu is where most of Hawaii's people live.
Yellow is O'ahu's color and its flower is the 'ilima - hence the color of this
web page. It has a huge variety of hotels, restaurants and major attractions. It offers much in the way
of culture, entertainment and the arts. O'ahu has the bustling city of Honolulu
and the "world's best known beach," Waikiki, but it also features
wonderful. un-crowded beaches and natural areas, and small towns where their's a
slower and more rural way of life.
There are no roadside
billboards in Hawaii. In 1926, a group of women finally won the fight to ban
outdoor advertising and a law was passed to that effect.
O’ahu, known as "the Heart of
Hawaii," is the third largest island. It was formed when two mountain ranges
created from eroded volcanoes split the island. Oahu offers rainforests, valleys
and canyons, waterfalls, coral reefs, gold-sand beaches and mountains nearly a
mile high. The Nuuanu Pali lookout offers a spectacular view of
windward O’ahu. It's just off the Pali Highway, which crosses the mountains
between Honolulu and the windward side. It’s a view you must see when visiting.
Puu Ualakaa Park, with its
spectacular views of the Honolulu area, means "Rolling Sweet Potato" in
Hawaiian. It was named for the way that the potatoes were harvested on the steep
hillside by simply rolling them down the hill.
Mountain ranges divide O’ahu into
three separate environments. The leeward side of the island is dry, with modest
vegetation and sporadic rainfall. The windward side is a little more lush and
tropical, with waterfalls and excellent beaches. In between is a fertile central
largest city in the state and the 11th largest in the United States, lies in the
southern part of the island. Honolulu means "sheltered bay," and it is the
political, cultural and economic center of the Hawaiian chain. 80% of the
state's population live here. Honolulu is a long, narrow city bordered by
mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. Its main beach,
Waikiki (View DVD), is the best known stretch of sand in the world. Here your
clients can shop, eat, sun and practice just about every other activity
imaginable. Most of O'ahu's
hotels are here, too. Waikiki is currently undergoing
both renovation and beautification in order to enhance its already legendary
beauty, culture and history.
Diamond Head, the
island's most recognizable landmark, and Punchbowl, a military
cemetery, are craters that were formed during a later period of volcanic
activity, about 150,000 years ago.
Diamond Head Crater (called Mt.
Leahi by the Hawaiians) was so named for the sparkling calcite crystals found
there, which British sailors at first thought to be diamonds. Honolulu (especially the Waikiki
area) is bustling, but the rest of O’ahu is surprisingly rural.
East of Honolulu
Hanauma Bay, a protected bay that's great for novice
A few miles west of Waikiki is Pearl Harbor.
A rental car is a must if you want to
rest of the island.
Shore is old Hawai'i at its best, with world-class surfing sites. O’ahu's windward side has some of the best beaches in the world.
O’ahu offers the
and quaint, quiet
towns. The middle valley is home to pineapple plantations.
O’ahu offers a great variety of resort accommodation areas.
Waikiki obviously offers a vast selection of all types, sizes, styles and price
ranges, including some of the largest, most venerable and most opulent on the
islands. The rest of Honolulu (Ala Moana, Honolulu Harbor, Downtown, Northern
Honolulu, Nuuanu, Tantalus, etc.) offers many fine lodging options, too.
Kahala, 10 minutes to the east of Honolulu, along with
Ko'olina to the west
and the North Shore (Haleiwa, Waimea, Turtle Bay, Laie) also have lodging. These
two latter options are ideal for those who want to get away from it all, yet
want to take advantage of O’ahu's more developed areas.
Windward O’ahu offers some lodging choices at Kailua, Kaneohe, Waimanalo,
Kahuku, and other spots.
Browse Hawaiian Joe's library of O'ahu Tours & Activities...
Can you imaging Hawaii without
thinking of that great curved beach, with
in the background?
Waikiki's two-mile-long by half-mile-wide crescent of sand attracts about five
million visitors per year. Yes, it gets busy, but that's part of the fun.
Waikiki is actually a string of beaches, running from Diamond Head to the Ala
Wai Canal, each with a slightly different personality. Along its length are
hotels, shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Waikiki's bay has a sandy floor and
gentle waves. It's great for swimming, body- and board-surfing, canoeing,
sailing and fishing. Diving and snorkeling can be done here, too, in addition to
places nearby. Waikiki is really noted for the great sunbathing and people
watching. Visitors can also take a guided historical tour of Waikiki.
According to Hawaiian lore, four
sixteenth century Tahitian priests gave their mana, or healing powers, to four
stones and then vanished. These stones are just south of the Moana Surfrider.
Some of the fabled white sands of
Waikiki Beach were actually imported from
Moloka’i, 40 miles across the waters.
Other sand came from as far away as Manhattan Beach, Ca. (Waikiki was originally
Iolani Palace is the only royal
palace in the U.S. fully restored to its glory days. This remarkable edifice was
built by King David Kalakaua. The four-story Italian renaissance palace was the
first electrified building in Honolulu - it had electricity even before the
White House did. The highly polished Douglas fir floors require visitors to wear
denim "booties" to prevent scratches. The royals lived here for 11 years, until
Queen Liliuokalani was deposed and the monarchy fell. She composed the haunting
song "Aloha Oe" while under house arrest in the palace.
A 42-acre lagoon park, the
features the lifestyles, traditions, songs, dance,
customs, costumes and authentic villages of seven Polynesian islands - it's a
great introduction to South Sea cultures. New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa,
Hawai’i, Tahiti and the Marquesas are represented here.
Traveling by foot or by canoe on a
man-made lagoon, your clients can experience village life on each of the islands
through interactive demonstrations. With a variety of stage shows that celebrate
the music, dance, history and culture of Polynesia, a festive all-you-can-eat
luau and even an IMAX show, the entertainment is comprehensive and spectacular.
On the eastern route from Honolulu
to the Polynesian Cultural Center is
Hanauma Bay. This underwater park, nestled
in an old crater, offers some of the best snorkeling in all of Hawaii.
The Mormon Temple in Laie on the
northern side of O’ahu has been there since 1864. It occupies 6,000 acres;
visitors are welcome to tour its beautifully landscaped grounds.
Aloha Tower Marketplace
This waterfront complex offers
restaurants, entertainment and boutiques clustered around what was once the
tallest structure on O’ahu. The 184-foot Aloha Tower was built in 1926 to
welcome the transpacific ocean liners that docked here and it was visible 16
miles out to sea. While it's dwarfed now by the many high-rise buildings nearby,
it serves as the centerpiece of many shops and restaurants in the historic port
area of Honolulu.
U.S.S. Arizona Memorial
Launches take visitors to the hull
of the U.S.S. Arizona, sunk during the
attack on Pearl Harbor. A 184-foot white structure sits atop the wreckage that
still holds the remains of the 1,177 sailors who perished onboard. A solemn and
moving experience, it's one of the island's biggest tourist attractions.
Visitors should get there early and expect waits. A visitor's center, museum and
the U.S.S Bowfin, a rare World War II
submarine, are also nearby.
An allied attraction is the
U.S.S. Missouri, the battleship upon which the Japanese surrender of
World War II was signed. It's somehow fitting that these great warships, which
saw the beginning and the end of America's WWII involvement in the Pacific, now
rest peacefully together at the place where it all began.
28 miles from Honolulu, the
laid-back little beach town of Haleiwa (hah-lee
ee-vah) serves as the meeting point of those visiting the North Shore area.
People come here to eat shave ice at Matsumoto's (a North Shore tradition). Your
clients can also explore Waimea Valley Audubon Center, a
1,800-acre botanical garden and center of culture and tradition. Here, too, is
the island's largest heiau.
Hawaii's version of the snow cone, has been served at Matsumoto's General Store
in the North Shore town of Haleiwa for more than 40 years. Locals get their
shave ice here with a scoop of ice cream and sweet black azuki beans in the
Shore's biggest claim to fame, however, is the winter surf,
when the waves can tower over three stories high. Expert surfers congregate here
for the big-wave action at this, the most famous surfing area in the world.