Tag Archives: honolulu

It’s Cold and Snowing and All I Want To Do is Get Away to Oahu

By Lakshmi:

In the New Jersey area, we have just emerged from a hurricane and are now looking at a snow storm.  As huge flakes of snow stick to the grass and I sit here feeling really cold, all I want to do is get away to one of our favorite places, Oahu.  There is something absolutely magical about this island in Hawaii.  Each time we go there, we feel a massive surge of excitement and walk around with humongous smiles plastered on our faces and contentment in our hearts.  Take a look at these pictures and you’ll know why all I want to do is go back.

Waikiki at Dusk
A lit up beach scene
Waikiki by day
People are integral to the fun at Waikiki
Inviting surfboards
A view from the top
Waves lashing at Sandy Hook Beach
Isn’t Hanauma Bay spectacular?
This place is blessed, beaches, mountains and amazing weather.
It’s unfair for the sky to be like this someplace every day.

Biking from Waikiki Beach to Hanauma Bay: A Real Hawaiian Adventure

By: Siddhi 

Irrationality is a lovely little devil that never seems to leave my blood.  The first time I climbed on a tandem bike, I rode over 40 miles on a rackety cycle whose tires kept squeaking signs of impending death.  Somehow, my sister and I covered over 40 miles of rather hilly terraine across all of the island of Manhattan with no directions, water, or food in our stomachs. Even after being chased by a shady figure for miles of abandoned side streets somewhere in Harlem, all we could do was grin that we had pulled off another “typical” adventure, at least the way we saw it in our family dictionary. Fast-forward about ten months and my sister and I found ourselves on a tandem bike yet again. But instead of the Hudson and New York City skyline for scenery, we had the highways of Honolulu. Our ride was only about half the distance as our Great Apple journey. So the adventure? We were riding up a gear-crippling mountain on a bus-only lane.

This was take two of our bike ride from Waikiki Beach in Honolulu to Hanauma Bay, a significant natural park and preserve that devotes itself relentlessly to the protection of one of the most precious coral reefs and underwater wildlife hubs on the island of Oahu. On our first attempt earlier in the week, I was riding solo. After an incredibly scenic ascent, I realized that Hanauma Bay was closed on Tuesdays, and so I met my family ten miles down at the base of the highway and we rode back to Waikiki, promising that we’d do the ride again. On our second try, my sister and I decided to relive our city tandem experience and power up to Hanauma together. And just like our ride in New York, the decision proved to be an indelible bonding experience.

After a trail of breathtaking, close up views of the Diamondhead Lighthouse which we could only see in a silhouetted form when we actually climbed the crater to layers of cozy mountain houses that more than tickled our temptations to burn those return tickets and permanently call this paradise home, the backdrop of our ride changed rather abruptly when we hit H1-72. Cars, mopeds, motorcycles, and monster 18 wheel pineapple trucks sped so close to the designated “bike route” that every moment on the highway was a hairline encounter with serious danger.   Then, somehow, the bike route signs vanished (and I know I didn’t miss anything because I did the ride twice) and the markings outlining the cycle lane had merged into a “BUS ONLY” lane. It was exhilarating beyond belief, and we had some very close incidents with trucks. The risks aside, I don’t think there was any way for us to get a better gauge of the street of Oahu. Every mile of progress became an increasing admiration for the Hawaiian willingness to embrace and live life instead of waiting to live it, something so characteristic of where I’m from in the east coast.

Our thighs and calves were pumping with lactic acid buildup as we finally unmounted the bike and wheeled it over to a marked “Scenic Point” overlook, which gave us a stunning view of not the typical Honolulu shoreline postcard, but a snapshot consisting of many stratas of hilly urban life. A sign ahead signaled that Hanauma Bay was just a couple minutes away. The closeness of our destination was enough to make our final few pedals some of our most enthusiastic.

Cycling from Waikiki Beach to Hanauma Bay seems easy if you look at it from a purely distance based scale. The round trip ride is about 23 miles. But couple that distance with an almost entirely uphill endeavor one way and cycles that most definitely aren’t designed for mountain biking (which is what you’ll get at most local rental shops unless you’re going to a specialist), and the adventure is one heck of a workout. By the end, we wanted nothing more than to run into the cool waters of Hanauma and laze, and that’s exactly what we did.

If you find yourself in Honolulu and want to explore Oahu while getting a good workout, consider the pedals and ride from Waikiki to Haunauma. In all my years of adventuring it’s one of the most serious travel highlights.

How to hike up to the summit of Diamond Head crater – Just don’t do it wearing flip-flops!

Diamond Head Crater
Source: Wikipedia

By Lakshmi:

Who? Anyone who is traveling to Oahu, loves to hike, has a sense of adventure and wants to be rewarded with some spectacular views.

What? Trail to the summit of Le’ahi also commonly known as Diamond Head Crater.  The hike is .8 miles in length each way and walking to the summit and back will take about 2 hours.  I would term the trail to be of moderate intensity.

How? The Diamond Head Summit Trail is located within Diamond Head State Monument in Oahu.  The entrance is between Makapu’u Avenue and 18th Avenue.  Entrance fees are $5 per car or $1 per walk in visitor.  Guided tours are also available daily through many local companies.

Why?  On our trip to Oahu, we spent a significant amount of time each day on Waikiki beach.  Wherever we were on the beach, Diamond Head was always a permanent fixture in our view.  So, one day, after relaxing at the beach, my husband and I decided to walk over to see how far Diamond Head was.  Since we had no hiking plans, we just took off in our flip flops from the beach and arrived at the base of the Diamond Head Summit Trail.

Having walked the distance, we looked at each other enquiringly to see if the other would somehow agree to simply hike the summit right there and then.  Without saying a word, we had paid our entrance fee and were on our way up the trail in the worst footwear for hiking!

The initial portion of the hike did not seem like a big deal, since the surfaces were paved.  Soon this changed, as the walk seemed steeper, the surface we were treading on getting more uneven, leading up through some steep stairs and a long lit tunnel.

But, somehow we made it to the top and the jewel of a view we were rewarded with was priceless.  It was an absolutely magnificent 360 degree panorama of one of the most beautiful places on earth.   We paused there for some time, just soaking in everything.

The descent was precarious, and walking in our flip-flops made us feel like we were both stupid and brave.

If you’d like to learn more about Diamond Head Crater and hiking the trail, click here:

Hiking Diamond Head