HONOLULU AND WAIKIKI BEACH
Oahu is just the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands in area, but it contains 80 percent of the state’s population and Hawaii visitors spend nearly as much time on Oahu as the other islands combined. Honolulu, the state capital and largest city is located on Oahu’s south shore. With a population of 380,000, Honolulu is the only city in Hawaii with a population over 50,000. The Honolulu metro area has about the same population as the Dayton, Ohio metro area. But while the Dayton metro area has three interstate highways, Honolulu has four.
Just behind tourism, the US Military is the second largest component of Hawaii’s economy. There are seven active installations representing all five military branches in Hawaii... and all are on Oahu. The naval base is on Pearl Harbor, just west of Honolulu, the site of the 1941 Japanese attack that brought the United States into World War II. The USS Arizona Memorial on Pearl Harbor commemorates the incident.
Waikiki, a Honolulu neighborhood about three miles east of downtown is the center of Hawaii’s tourism industry. Famous Waikiki Beach is lined with towering resort hotels as well as smaller historic hotels. The beach itself is rather short and narrow, with half of it reserved for surfers, so the sand of Waikiki Beach is always quite crowded. The beach remains shallow for a great distance from the shore, so it is able to comfortably accommodate more swimmers, surfers and boogie-boarders than sunbathers. The beach is ideal for beginning surfers and of course, surfing lessons are available. For those who don’t wish to try their hand at surfing, an outrigger canoe ride is a great way to experience the sensation of surfing. The long, stable outrigger canoes are modeled after ancient Hawaiian canoes. Eight to ten riders and their guide paddle offshore and catch two or three waves... which carry the canoes for a surprisingly long distance. There is no shortage of shopping opportunities in Waikiki. Upscale shops cater the to the wealthy tourists, but allow the rest of us to browse. Moderately priced clothing, jewelry and souvenirs are available in the bustling International Market Place or any one of Waikiki’s 49 ABC Stores.
Families will enjoy the Waikiki Aquarium, part of the University of Hawaii. Founded in 1904, this small aquarium is the third oldest public aquarium in the United States. Located next to a living reef on the scenic Waikiki shoreline, their exhibits and programs focus on Hawaiian aquatic life. Visitors will see sea lions, lots of colorful fish, a particularly active octopus, and of course, Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Just steps from the aquarium is the Honolulu Zoo, where you’ll find the only elephants, rhinos and giraffes for over 2000 miles in any direction.
Hawaii’s most recognizable landmark, Diamond Head, is an extinct volcanic cone. The crest of the jagged crater rim towers 762 feet above the sea. Kaimana Diamond Head Shuttle Service will pick you up at your hotel and take you inside the crater. From there, you can take a brisk 45 minute hike to the top of the rim. Your efforts are rewarded with postcard views of Honolulu and Waikiki below.
Of course, there are plenty of luaus on Oahu. But in order to present a peaceful sunset luau near the shore, it is necessary to leave the city. Germaine's Luau is one of Hawaii’s most popular luaus and they provide transportation from the front door of your Honolulu hotel. Your bus guide cousin provides family entertainment and great cultural information to and from the luau site on Barbers Point, about an hour west of Honolulu. Germaine’s Luau has a traditional imu presentation where the pig is removed from the underground oven. The generous buffet includes kalua pig, lomilomi salmon, poi (of course) and also chicken long rice... unusual looking colorless cellophane noodles with chunks of chicken. Germaine’s Luau goes to great extent to present a feeling of family and belonging... both to Hawaii and each other... and successfully so. The dancing, music and narration are terrific. After a great evening of food, entertainment and mai tais, you’ll sing "bus songs" on the way back to your hotel from Germaine’s Luau.
|WAIKIKI BEACH||WAIKIKI||WAIKIKI AQUARIUM||WAIKIKI AQUARIUM||WAIKIKI AQUARIUM|
|WAIKIKI AQUARIUM||HONOLULU ZOO||NENE- HAWAII STATE BIRD -HONOLULU ZOO||HONOLULU ZOO||GALAPAGOS TORTOISES - HONOLULU ZOO|
|HONOLULU ZOO||HONOLULU ZOO||HONOLULU ZOO||GHARIAL - HONOLULU ZOO||HONOLULU ZOO|
|RAINBOW EUCALYPTUS - HONOLULU ZOO||INTERIOR OF DIAMOND HEAD CRATER||DIAMOND HEAD LIGHTHOUSE||VIEW FROM DIAMOND HEAD||WAIKIKI BEACH|
|DUKE KAHANAMOKU STATUE - WAIKIKI||SURFER DUDE||OUTRIGGER CANOE - WAIKIKI||DIAMOND HEAD FROM WAIKIKI||DIAMOND HEAD FROM WAIKIKI|
|GERMAINE'S LUAU - BARBERS POINT||GERMAINE'S LUAU||GERMAINE'S LUAU - DINNER||GERMAINE'S LUAU SUNSET||GERMAINE'S LUAU SUNSET|
|GERMAINE'S LUAU - BARBERS POINT LIGHTHOUSE|