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  • tiffanypriscilla15

Hawaiian Islands-Oahu

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

My first solo trip EVER. The Hawaiian Islands. So good, I did it twice. Yes you read that right. I did a solo trip to Hawaii twice. Few reasons why. One, I didn't get to see all the islands my first time around. As you will not either if you are just going for a week and a half as I did. Two, Hawaii is now considered my spiritual home and I plan on going back more this year. So let's take off to my first stop, the island of Oahu.

Oahu is considered the main island of Hawaii. This island is home to it's capital Honolulu and you will fly through here to get to most of the other islands. I highly recommend this island if it will be your first time to Hawaii. It is very Americanized and similar to the mainland states so it helps with adaptation. However, I will say this island is not my favorite. It is very touristy and I do not feel as connected to the Hawaiian culture as I do on the other islands. It's very developed and commercialized. However, this is not to say Oahu does not have it's own share of beauty and adventure to offer.

A few hotspots to see in Oahu.

-I highly recommend Kualoa Ranch. This valley is home to many movie filming sites such as King Kong and Jurassic Park. Also, some parts of Jumanji were filmed here. Fun story that the local guide told us -The Rock was actually filming when a small tour of children started to sing "Your Welcome" from the movie Moana. The Rock heard this and ran down to sing with them along with Kevin Hart. How lucky were those kids! The valley is also gorgeous in it of itself and you can do everything from e-bike riding (which is what I did) to horseback riding. You will never see a place where animals roam so freely and happily. Also, the cows walk with you when you are looking at the Kong site, too cute. You do have to make reservations in advanced for these tours though so be sure to do so. The cafeteria there sells some ono grindz (delicious food in Hawaiian).

- Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden- pictured below. Please note you have to drive to each stop, you cant walk between the designated garden exhibits. Worth it though.

- The Byoda-In Temple- pictured below. The energy frequency here is INSANE. The om bell basically resets your soul in my opinion.

-Haleiwa Valley- pictured below. The waterfall is very well worth swimming in. However, you are required to wear a life jacket due to the depth of the water and they will not let you in without one. Bring cash as the lockers and souvenir stands at the waterfall only accept cash. The trails around the valley are gorgeous and you can walk on over to the beach across the street for a cool down. They also have local natives teaching Hawaiian arts and crafts along the way to the waterfall. I myself made a flower crown from local flowers and leaves.

- Koko Crater botanical garden beach - pictured below. Please note: you have to climb down rocks to get to this beach. The waves are very strong and rough here so I do not recommend for swimming. Rather walk around as the scenery is beautiful.

- Manoa Falls- pictured below. We. need. to. talk. about. this *claps hands after each word*. This felt like freaking pandora. You honestly go into another world on this hike. There are multiple trails here that take awhile but the main one to the waterfall is short. I would say 30 minutes in and out depending on your speed and pictures. It can get slippery and muddy so watch your step. The other trails are not for the faint of heart and are steep with a lot of switchbacks and climbing over tree roots at one point. These trails are also very slippery and muddy. They also take a few hours or more so plan accordingly if you want to take a detour to do those. The waterfall here at Manoa really should not be waded in. They strongly warn against swimming due to a bacteria called Leptospirosis. Some people decided against the warning but a local native told me that bacteria is like the flu, mixed with COVID, mixed with pneumonia, mixed with bronchitis. At least that's how he felt when he caught it. So unless you want to play games with your maker, I recommend this waterfall for viewing only. I recommend heading there early so you can pick up a a drink inside of pineapple. I think they had some in coconuts too! The trucks are towards the exit after you hike and before you leave :)

Other tips for attractions on Oahu:

-The Polynesian Cultural Center. A local told me it's basically like Disney. Overpriced, crowded, and you do not get much for it. I have also been told that some of the cultural exhibits are not 100% accurate. I chose not to go because there were other things that I felt connected me more to the islands. I am not one for commercialism. However, I do say give it a try if you have the time because I have read mixed reviews. Always try things out for yourself. It is up there in price though.

-Pearl Harbor- I didn't go to see it as I had other things I wanted to see. However, one of the military personnel told me the memorial is beautiful and you learn a lot of history. If you are into history then really make time for this. You won't be disappointed.

-Waikki Beach and area- The beach is dirty to me. I recommend you walk a little further down to Ala Moana beach instead. The Waikki town area is for play and fun. A lot of drinking and partying. They do have good places to eat around there. A local sushi spot called Doraku was my personal fav but keep in mind places here close EARLY. Most restaurant's were closed or at capacity by 8 or 9 at night. Make reservations if you can. Of course the bars and clubs stay open later. This is not my favorite area due to noise and tourism but I recommend at least doing it once.

-If you are into sound healing, there is a really cool local named Kaori that runs Sound Healing Hawaii. It is donation based and she does sound healing on ala moana beach every New and Full Moon. Make sure to bring your own blanket as you lay down for the ceremony and an additional blanket if you get cold easily. This was such a transformative experience. Listening to crystal healing sounds along with the waves under the stars. You lay right there on the shoreline! No worries, the tide doesn't reach you.

-Go to the local Honolulu Swap Meet for souvenirs. You will be supporting over 400 local artisans instead of the chain ABC stores. They have great prices and food trucks. I spent a good few hours there hanging out with new found friends because its massive! You do have to pay a small fee for parking but its worth it. It is also right next door to Pearl Harbor so you can always hit both in the same day.

-Luau's. Yes you should absolutely do one if you go to Hawaii. I did the Chiefs Luau. It was good but I heard the Island of Kauai actually has better ones that are less commercialized. I didn't get to go to one while I was on Kauai, but if you do, let me know how you like it. Please note luau's can be expensive. Chief's Luau was a couple hundred. However, if you do your research and ask the locals, I'm sure they will guide you to one that's best for your budget.

Where to stay and car rental:

- I highly recommend Ala Moana Honolulu by Mantra hotel. The rooms are nice, the hotel is located to a lot of nearby attractions, and the hotel is just beautiful. They have a restaurant upstairs called The Signature. Its expensive but has some of the best views of the sunset. indoors. I head there for happy hour whenever I'm in town because the food and drinks are that good.

-There are plenty of air bnb and vacation rentals. I recommend either buying food that you could cook if you have access to a kitchenette or at the very least food that you can by with a microwave or fridge. Eating out in Hawaii is very expensive and I would say that took a good chunk of my trip budget.

-For car rentals. Yes you will need a car on each Hawaiian Island. Many locations are far from the main cities and uber/lyfts are not easily accessible unless you are going from the airport to your hotel. You would want to drive though because you can wander on your own time and stop off at some scenic spots along highways. They are marked and guide you where to pull off to see lush views or relaxing ocean water.

I recommend the Turo app. The Turo app is basically like an air bnb but for cars. You can have them drop off the car to your hotel or airport. Please note, airport drop off may cost more as Hawaii is starting to enforce ticketing locals who leave there cars for a certain amount of time in airport parking lots. Turo is still worth it though as you are supporting a local rather than a chain. Plus you don't have to wait hours on end in the rental car line.

-Please please please. If you are going to get a hotel, go to a Hawaiian OWNED hotel. Do not stay at the Marriot's, Hilton's, etc. A local told me that whatever profits the chains make, they actually do not give back to the Hawaiian Islands but rather take back with them to the mainland. Stereotypical commercialism.

Other tips for Hawaii in general:

-Buy a tumblr, Tervis, whatever, large one to bring water with you wherever you go. Water bottles are expensive and locals actually pride themselves on recycling and sustainability. So please do not add to the global plastic crisis. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill up along the way of your adventures.

-For the love of god bring mosquito repellent literally everywhere you go. They sneak up on you and you can get bit in some areas you wouldn't think there would be mosquitos. Especially on hikes you need it. Manoa falls was the worst of the mosquito locations.

-Hawaii experiences Tradewinds so a rainstorm can come by at any point. It is usually short but if you do not like getting wet or hiking in the rain, I recommend you bring a poncho with you just in case.

-Reef safe sunscreen, You will need this for beaches and hikes.

That's all folks! If you would like to read more about the Hawaiian Islands, please check out my other blogs on each one. If you would like to see a blog about my solo trip itinerary for both Hawaii Trips, let me know! Buen Viaje!




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