Many of us remember Hawaii because of the Elvis Presley's movies or the "Hawaii Five-0" TV series. Others dream about it due to its famous beaches and giant waves. The younger ones will think of it most likely because of surfing. The truth is that its islands are paradisiacal. This trip was to Oahu, more precisely Waikiki. Its island beaches are breathtaking but mostly impossible to swim. Except for a small strip in Waikiki, the rest of the coast is perfect for surfboarding or surfing. In this case, the best area are the beaches on the North Shore and its mega waves. With some luck, you can see the sea turtles relaxing on a desert beach along the coast.
I grew up watching Elvis Presley movies. I certainly dreamed of visiting Honolulu. By the way, Hawaii topped my list of places I wanted to visit. When we got off at the airport, I was expecting someone would put one of those necklaces (lei) around my neck, something like Fantasy Island... It was a bit frustrating, I must confess. I went downstairs, down the street, and saw the collars in the little shops waiting for my dollars. All right, soon you realize that you are in a paradise, even without a necklace...
Wandering around the island is fascinating! Anywhere you stop will surprise you. You may come across huge turtles on the sands of the beaches. Apart from the beaches, the town itself is cute! The lampposts are festooned with flowers. You will also find surfers statues and surfboards decorating the surroundings and the boardwalk. It is all very flowery and cheerful. Anywhere you go, you will remember you are in Hawaii. The beach in front of the Park Shore Hotel, where we stayed in Waikiki, is quiet and good for swimming, especially for small children. The hotel is next to the Zoo, which is a nice place to spend some time with the little ones. Therefore, if you are thinking of going with a child, that area is a good option. Some well-stylized free buses take you to the malls... So Hawaiian! It is possible to visit many beaches or go to the malls very easily. However, for better mobility and to go to the North Shore beaches, we advise renting a car.
The sunset in Hawaii is magical... In Honolulu, people go to the beach and worship that moment. Some Hawaiians dance the Hula at the beach as if they were thanking such moment. It is a very special feeling! Every afternoon we would run to the beach to feel this energy. Everybody sitting on the sand, contemplating this blessing of God. The sun sets everywhere, but there it feels at home. It is so wild! It is so different!
One cannot say that has visited Hawaii unless he or she has experienced a traditional Hawaiian luau. There are many tour operators, which offer several luau options, choose one and go. We went to Paradise Cove. It is a Hawaiian extravaganza. Finally, Hawaiians put on us the long-awaited necklace around our neck as soon as we arrived. There, you can dine on kalua pig cooked in an imu (earth oven). Then settle down under the stars while you listen to live music and watch skilled performances of the Hula. It is much more beautiful than you can imagine. Until then, I thought belly dancing was the most sensual dance of all, but after seeing Hula in person, I was amazed! How much sensuality, lightness and beauty! Lovely! We watched shows of Polynesians dancing frenetic Tahitian dance and the thrilling Samoan fire-knife dance. We witnessed some Hawaiian rituals, And had fun among many games and activities offered such as throwing spears, sailing on those Hawaiian Canoes (Wa'a, Va'a, Outrigger or simply Polynesian Canoe) which are the canoes traditionally used in the region of the Polynesian triangle, and of course, and workshops of Lei making. We were fortunate to watch another breathtaking sunset and had a full moon in the luau. Very good!
There are many attractions in Oahu Island. A must do is the Dolphins and Whale Watching Cruises. Besides the excitement of seeing these mammals out in the open sea, the trip offers fun activities such as Lei making, Hula and Ukulele lessons! Many companies offer these cruises, which can include lunch, or not. Prices vary a lot. Usually a child up to 11 per paid adult is free of charge. If the whales do not show up, they offer you another free ride so you can see them. Unfortunately, we did not see them. We stayed in Hawaii a total of ten days, but we decided to do this tour at the end of the trip, so we could not go back. So get organized to go in the early days if you really want to see the whales. Nevertheless, the ride alone is worth it. While on the cruise, we had delicious drinks and enjoyed that amazing scenery.
Another great attraction are the giant waves on the North Shore. A surfers' paradise! On the way, you will find many food trucks with a variety of delicious Hawaiian cuisine. If you are lucky, which is not difficult there, you will also see the big green sea turtle. Hawaiians call it "honu" and it is a symbol of good luck and longevity.
Because I love diving. I left my wife and kids behind. They don´t dive and get seasick on the boat. On that day, they went to the zoo. They loved it! The zoo has a good structure and many interactive activities for children. If you have more time on the island and you have a child, I recommend it. Otherwise, it is nothing special. The diving is very spectacular! The water is crystal clear, the sea is marvelous and swimming along turtles is priceless.
Situated about 10 miles from the most popular beach on the island, Waikiki, we find Hanauma Bay. For me, a dream beach! The most beautiful! The one that best describes the image of Hawaii's beauty! To visit it, we need to pay a ticket of $ 7.00 per person and every visitor must attend the film presentation of the place. It takes about 10 minutes and shows information about the formation of the bay and the marine life. They inform you the park rules: do not harm marine animals and do not touch or walk on the coral. The bay was formed from a maritime eruption of the Koolau volcano, as well as most of the landmarks of eastern Oahu. You can rent snorkeling gear, but if you are going to spend more days on the island, I advise you to buy a kit and always carry it inside the car. You will save money and be able to dive in other places. You do not have to be a great diver to dive in Hanauma Bay. There are beautiful fish in the shallow areas of the sea. There are people of all ages having fun there. But pay attention! The parking lot, although large, limits the entrance number of vehicles and it really closes. The number of visitors is also limited. On our first attempt, we were unable to get in and came back later. It is difficult to express feelings about this great place.
Another must-see is the Pearl Harbor complex. An American national park located exactly in the area where the attacks by the Japanese took place. The USS Arizona, burned for two days after the attack and remains sunk in Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona Memorial is not just a tribute to those who died in the attack, but a national memorial honoring the place where World War II began for the United States of America. On its wrecks was built this memorial, which can, and should, be visited. There is no admission fee for the park or parking. It is well visited by Japanese and North Americans and the excitement of the people who visit it is remarkable.
Another nice tour, but not a must see, is in the Dole Plantation, a plantation of pineapple prepared for tourists. You hop on a little train and take a tour to learn about the various types of pineapples that exist and grow in the world, including Brazilian varieties. It is quite funny to see the excitement of the tourists, mostly Japanese, when they see the plantations, mainly of bananas so common in our backyards. At the end of the tour, there is pineapple ice cream as a courtesy and you can visit a souvenir shop.
Finally, Hawaii offers a multitude of possibilities for tours. All involving wonderful scenery with its beaches of intense blue, surrounded by green nature. A blue hue much different from the blue hue of the Caribbean, but as transparent and as beautiful! A water with an intense blue deeper than the one found Greece, but just as unforgettable as that one we found in Skiathos. The ??Hawaiian sea is unique! It is remarkable!
TIP: The beach in front of the Park Shore Hotel in Waikiki is good for swimming, especially for small kids. Besides, it's next to the Zoo, which is a great place for kids and parents alike to visit.Aloha!
HIGHLIGHTS: flying with small children.
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