Secreted behind the Oahu Cemetery (down a little from the Royal Mausoleum) and along a nature trail through the cool woods, you'll discover a shallow cave sheltering petroglyphs from the 1700's depicting a woman giving birth and a dog (pic#2). Further on you'll spy a small waterfall called Kapena Falls, which is about 15-18 feet high.
Once you follow this trail to the end, a natural pool appears. When we visited, dozens of young people were using a long chain fastened to a tree branch to swoop over the water and drop. Our guide said locals have been using this location for years.
Indian Banyon trees, Cook Pine (or Hawaiian Christmas Tree), African Tulip Tree and others shaded the pathway, while boulders of all sizes lined the narrow stream. It was a pleasant nature walk only about 10 minutes one way.
Pali Highway is considered the most beautiful road on Oahu and it will lead you to the Nuuanu Pali lookout from which you can get one of the most beautiful views on the island. The road that leads to the lookout is going through a rich forest that gives you a feeling of a 5-minute drive through a green tunnel with occasional sun rays that break through the leaves of the giant trees.
Not always has it been just a nice lookout, Nuuanu Pali is one of the most important historical points of Oahu. In 1795 King Kamehameha I and his men won a battle against the army of Oahu Island after which the islands of Hawaii were united. Kamehameha I brought the enemy to this very place and sent them to their death, falling down the steep “pali” which literally translates to “cliff” from Hawaiian. There are plenty of signs and pictures on the site that show the story of the battle.
The views from the lookout are really astonishing. On your left you’ll see endless green mountains, the mighty ocean and the China Man’s hat will be just in front of you, and on your right you’ll see the most scenic road, H-3 road, with two of its bridges (viaducts) that run through the jungle-like nature. This road is considered, by many, a real engineering achievement and, even if you’re not on your way to Nuuanu lookout, take this highway just to appreciate the beauty of it.
Nuuanu Pali is a real magnet for tourists, but it shouldn’t be avoided. To me it was the most beautiful lookout I’ve ever been to.
There are two things to remember, it is ALWAYS very windy and may be a bit chilly, so bring something with long sleeves, just in case. And, for some reason this place is full of bees, so if you’re allergic remember to carry your atropine with you.
I'm a little bit of a history buff and wanted to visit the Royal Palace in Honolulu. While I was researching it, I found that there are quite a few historic sites in the blocks that adjoin the Palace grounds. Our historic walking tour (and it wasn't really much walking) consisted of:
We parked near the Palace and started walking from there. The library is next to the palace grounds. Across the street is the New England Mission, which is next to the Judiciary with the famous statue of King Kamehameha.
The Northern part of Oahu offers many amazing hiking trails; Kahana Valley has several trails that are suitable for every kind on an hiker, from a beginner to a very experienced one.
Nakoa trail was a great combination of amazing views, lots of water in its endless streams, many interesting plants, trees (the smell of wild Guava will follow you everywhere), birds, and even animals (if a tiny scared mongoose counts). If you choose this trail you can pick some maps at the orientation center, they are very helpful. The trail is marked by red ribbons that are placed on trees or rocks along the streams.
At times the paths are very narrow, muddy, and slippery and you should watch for cannon ball trees. Huge, coconut sized fruit may fall on your head without a warning!
Kahana Valley is a hunting area and there are warning signs that remind you to be careful and remain on the marked trails.
There are two options for a hiking trail. First is rather short 1,5-2 miles path in the forest area. Once you reach the old bunkers you’ll have two choices, to either go left and finish your hike or to go right and walk another 1,5 miles to the pool area crossing many streams. This part of the hike is more difficult because of mosquito attacks and totally wet shoes. Water can be above your knee level and some streams are pretty strong. When you reach the pool you’ll have to cross it holding a long rope walking on a very slippery rock.
We took the long trail, which was 6 miles long and took us about 4,5 hours. It was a great, full of memories hike. Bear in mind that after such a hike you’ll be covered with mud! It took me almost an hour to clean my sneakers.
This is the next stop if you’re driving from Waikiki visiting Hanauma Bay followed by the Blow Hole.
The parking lot is very tiny and it is easy to miss, but anyway nobody drives fast on this scenic road, so you’ll have the time to pull off.
It’s a very easy hike, considering the paved trail that takes you all the way up a hill with breathtaking views on the Ka’iwi shoreline, Rabbit Island, and Turtle Island. If weather permits you’ll see Molokai island in the horizon.
The way up is augmented with smell of mesquite trees. It’s a very strong and pleasant smell of burned wood that fills the air. If you hike in the winter, November thru March, there’s a great lookout point for migrating whales. If you’re lucky you can actually see them. If you look down from that point you’ll see a very idyllic picture of a red-headed lighthouse by the ocean. And when you reach the top of the hill you can see a very big part of the “brown side” of the island.
It’s a nice and refreshing hike along the ocean where cool breeze never ends and views are spectacular.
Atlantis Submarine tours dive off Waikiki Beach leaving from the Hilton Hawaiian pier. The total time including transit on boat to submarine, tour and dive then back to pier is approximately 2 hours. The dive in submarine is about 50 minutes reaching depths of 120 feet. A great way to see the beautiful fish that feed and live off the reefs in Hawaii. Each seat on submarine has its own window to the sea. Tours are given in English or Japanese. The opportunity is certainly unique and very worthwile. Our dive saw turtles, sharks and thousands of brilliantly colored reef fish. Don't miss this.
Haunama Bay is real gem on the Island of Oahu. Facing the Leeward side of the Island its gorgeous crescent shape bay is a perfect spot for beginners to advanced snorkelers to enjoy its semi protected reef. The park opens at daily at 6:00 am. The bay is so popular with locals and visitors that it often fills to capacity by 9:00. The park rents snokel equipment for $5.00 $11.00. Beginners will find the :dry snorkel" easier than the wet. Be sure to bring reef shoes as much of the bay is quite rocky. The fish are brilliant colors and very friendly. You may even get lucky enough to see a turtle or two. Do not touch or step on the coral as doing so will kill the animal. Fish can been seen in even the shallowest water. Many locals are regular visitors to the bay. This is one place which should not be missed when visiting Oahu.
Take time to walk the Manoa cliff Trail, it is beautiful. It climbs up gently through a bamboo forest and you can hear them knocking in the breeze. Look out for wild ginger as you walk, the trail follows the mountain side with great views and when you get as high as it goes make sure you stand on the bench over looking the valley and imagine taking off....
There are so many sculptures around the island- from The Duke in Waikiki beach, the King of Surf; to the King Kamehameha sculpture downtown. There are also the Hawaiian girl, the dolphins, the gecko, among others. Local artists are commissioned to do sculptures to depict the local tradition and culture of the islands.
The Atlantis submarine in Honolulu disappointed me and my mother. We picked up the pamphlet and we could see the colorful fishes on it. We expected to see them in the tour, but we saw mostly, lifeless bottom of the ocean, sunk boats and airplanes that crashed in the ocean. When you're 100 feets under the sea, the colors are washed out. If the submarine was free, I wouldn't complain, but it costs more than 84$ per person. Juste a waste of money. If all you want is to get the experience of being in a submarine, then I advice you to take the submarine. If you want to see the marine life, you better do snorkeling in Hanauma Bay , for a fraction of the price (5$ per person)!
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