I have to admit I was not a big fan of Oahu and Waikiki Beach, but before you stop reading: I changed my mind :-). Yes, it’s the most famous beach in Hawaii, but I prefer to experience the less touristy side of the islands. We still had planned 2 nights in Oahu, as I was invited to stay at the historic and beautiful Royal Hawaiian Hotel. We stayed at the Oceanfront tower which gives you a special access to a concierge level for breakfast, snacks & drinks throughout the day. The views from our room were spectacular on the white sandy beach and turquoise water of Waikiki. There are plenty of upscale and authentic restaurants and shops in walking distance from the hotel. For people who want to go to the beach and still have nightlife it’s ideal.
I was looking forward to exploring “a more remote” side of the island. After much research I found a hike in the rainforest that would lead to several different waterfalls. Just what I was looking for 🙂 The trail head was a bit tricky to find as it starts in a residential area and you have to be a bit creative with finding parking. You need to look for the yellow “Ka’au Crater” sign behind the mailboxes. Once you get on the trail it’s magical – you hike along a stream, birds chirping and thick lush green wherever you look. There’s no marked trail, so you just have to stay close to the stream. There’s also some rope climbing on a few steep sides of the trail which was fun.
It got very humid during the hike and when we arrived at the first waterfall it started pouring (reminded me of Florida storms). It only rained for 10-15 minutes, and then the sun came back out. We didn’t mind the rain as we were wet in the waterfall anyways. It got only tricky as we hiked back up as it was all muddy from the rain. True adventure! J It was an experience I didn’t think I would have on the island of Oahu – as you wouldn’t think that you’re on the same island as Waikiki Beach. This definitely changed my mind about the island of Oahu – you can have restaurants & nightlife – but there are still beautiful remote parts of the island.
After our (dirty) hike we wanted to jump in the ocean, so we drove to Lanikai Beach. This reminded me of the Caribbean – soft sand, crystal clear water… paradise!
The next day we had to get some last minute surfing in before heading back on the plane. We had so much fun and regretted not spending more time to surf. The break in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is ideal and home to many surf schools. Thanks to its small but long-lasting wave break it’s perfect for beginners (like me). Now I can’t wait to get back to Waikiki just to go surfing here!
Now that I’ve been to all 4 major islands (Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Big Island), I still can’t decide which one is my favorite. There’s still so much more to explore on each of the islands – so I just have to plan another trip soon! A hui kaua