We just got back from an amazing trip to Oahu, Hawaii so I thought I’d share an Oahu travel guide for this beautiful little island. Most of the things we did and places we did were planned, however, we also accidentally stumbled across some pretty cool places of our own as well. Although our trip was only 6 days, we were able to explore the entire island (except some of the West side). So, I’m gonna break up the Oahu travel guide across 3 posts so that it doesn’t get too long. If you’re headed to Oahu, I hope this is good resource for you and let me know if you check out any of these places as well!
Oahu Travel Guide
First of all, Oahu is BEAUTIFUL!! It’s almost always sunny and warm (25’C for the entirety of our trip), super lush with amazing plants and the most beautiful beaches all around! If you love nature, this is the place for you: plants and greenery to admire, mountains to climb and beautiful beaches to swim in. All on one little island!
Up first on the Oahu Travel Guide is the iconic Hanauma Bay. Hanauma Bay is a 20 minute drive from Waikiki and it is the perfect place to go snorkeling. We rented out snorkeling gear from Quality Surfboards in Waikiki the night before. They charge $8 USD per rental, versus Hanauma Bay which charges $25 USD! We arrived at Hanauma Bay around 6:30 am which meant we didn’t need to pay the entrance fee, which is around$10 USD each as well as the parking fee of $1 USD! Lots of savings if you plan ahead and arrive before 7 am. When you arrive early, you will also be treated to the most beautiful sunrise!
As to the snorkeling experience itself. Well, it was quite a fail. Gursheel can’t swim and I’m a beginner swimmer and neither of us had ever snorkeled before. Once Gursheel saw the water, he didn’t even attempt to snorkel. I tried numerous times and the furthest I got was a couple of breaths underwater before I panicked. So, no snorkeling experience for us. I did spend an hour or so swimming near the shore and the water was so perfect and the views were stunning! Gursheel is signing up for swimming lessons and I’m going to learn how to snorkel so we don’t pass up this type of opportunity in the future!
Koko Head Stairs
We did quite of few hikes in Oahu, and the Koko Head Stairs were the most challenging. They are located across from Hanauma Bay and we went right after swimming in the Hanauma Bay. It was hot and there was barely and shade and the entire hike was steps! It felt like nature’s stairmaster! However the views are incredible and you can even see Hanauma Bay! Make sure to wear sunscreen and bring a water bottle! A good pair of shoes is a must!
Lanai Lookout is a viewpoint you’ll come across as you drive from Hanauma Bay towards the South side of the island. I was surprised by how beautiful it was and it is definitely one of my favorite places on the island! The rock formation is incredible!
Halona Blowhole Lookout and Cockroach Cove
As you continue to drive down the road, you’ll come across another viewpoint. I had thought the Halona Blowhole was something you can easily access, however, it is a risk going there. The water is a bit treacherous, so we just enjoyed the view from the viewpoint along will all the other tourists. On the right side of the viewpoint, there is a path going down to Cockroach Cove, which was a beautiful little area, perfect to dip your toes and enjoy the views.
Sandy Beach lives up to it’s name, in that it’s all sand, and no shade. We found a little area near some trees on the grass and enjoyed a nice picnic lunch.
So, apparently there is a hiking trail called Makapuu, however, we were unable to locate it and just found the viewpoint instead. Even if we did find the hike, I doubt we would have been able to do it, after that Koko Head hike. The views here were beautiful!
Okay, if you are looking for the best beach on the island, hands down Waimanalo Beach was our favorite. In fact, Gursheel actually swam around for a while here! There are lifeguards, the water is calm, it’s not very crowded, and there are plenty of trees to provide shade as you observe from the sand. We spent a good amount of time at this beach and wanted to come back!
Kakaako Street Murals
Since we were ahead of schedule based off the itinerary I had made us, we decided to check out the Kakaako Street murals. This little area was absolutely amazing. There are murals everywhere and so many cool shops. There is also this amazing organic and natural grocery store called Down to Earth Organic & Natural that was entirely vegan! Kakaako is the most hipster place on the island in my opinion! We even came back another day! Definitely worth a visit! So many cool shops and street art!
To end the day off, we drove to Tantalus lookout. Another place I highly recommend. The drive up is a bit crazy in that it’s steep and quite windy. However, when you get to the top, you get incredible views of Diamond Head, Waikiki, Pearl Harbour as well as the airport. I think we took pictures on our phones here so I don’t have any to share. Worth a visit!
Okay, that’s all for part 1! I’ll be sharing even more cool places we visited on the island so be sure to head back to the blog for that! Hope you enjoyed this Oahu travel guide and if you’re planning a trip, be sure to check out the Kam Travels section on the blog for even more travel guides! Check out part 2 of the Oahu Travel Guide here!