If you don’t know Hawaii well, it might surprise you to learn that Waikiki – one of the best-known names of the entire island group – is nothing but a startling beach and an impressively lively district of the capital, Honolulu. In truth, Waikiki couldn’t be much more touristified. The beautiful beach is now the heart of a host of resort style destinations, pricey hotels and general tourist tat. Hardly the idolized image of a desert island that Hawaii inspires in some then, but it has plenty of redeeming features.
Waikiki Beach is actually a series of half a dozen beaches, which between them are utterly inundated with surfers taking their first waves, the perfect spot for beginners. A few of the beaches are also ideal for snorkeling, with offshore reefs and even manmade lagoons providing the entertainment. If you have a bit of money to blow, the underwater submarine tours are great, too, while those with a little less cash lying around might prefer the late night on-beach movie screenings or tucking into an incredible Luau, a Hawaiian feast that features anything from spit roasted pig to sizeable salmon.
Head inland and you’ll get a slightly more authentic taste of Hawaii. Exploring the mammoth Diamond Head Crater is an essential local experience, offering a truly stunning view of the island. The slightly disturbing sight of the sunken ships of Pearl Harbor is not too far away, while a cleverly set up Historic Trail gives an insight into the happier side of Hawaiian history.
Of course, many come to Hawaii to party, and you’ll find no shortage of chances to do that, either. The clubs here have a laid back take on life, with relaxed dress codes and a focus on doing things late rather than early. There’s little point in rocking up much before midnight. Search hard enough, and you’ll find pool parties and a heavy penchant for rum form the heart of the scene.
It might not be tropical paradise in the traditional sense, then, but the developed nature of Waikiki makes it an incredible exciting place to be.
Even the exotic name of this particular Hawaiian island, Oahu, conjures up images of grass hula skirts, beachside bars, surfing, cocktails and coconuts. You could happily drift away for weeks…
Kane'ohe is a town on the Windward (eastern) side of O'ahu. In the Hawaiian language, Kane'ohe means "bamboo man". Kane'ohe was traditionally an agricultural area, due to the large amounts …