Table of Contents
- The history of Honolulu
- What to do in Honolulu
- Sunbathe on the beach
- Experiencing the underwater world
- Trekking and hiking in Honolulu
- Try some adrenaline
Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and has one of the richest tourist sectors in the US, contributing more than $10 billion to the economy. It’s a cultural and historic center with a very diverse population. This tourist destination is favored by many US citizens because it’s accessible year-round, thanks to its tropical weather. Even though the Hawaiian islands are big and have countless tourist attractions, here I’ll focus on the best places to visit in Honolulu.
The history of Honolulu
Any American visiting Honolulu should visit one of the most charged historical spots in the country: Pearl Harbor. Visiting the site is mostly free, however, the tours have a limited number of participants and around 1000 tickets are distributed daily on a first- come first- serve rule.
Part of the battleship that sunk during the attack is still visible and this memorial also serves as an underwater graveyard for over 1000 soldiers who lost their lives in 1941. In the vicinity you’ll also find the Aviation Museum, and the Submarine Museum.
If you want to be on the eccentric side of history, the Ionali Palace that was built in the 19th century and housed many monarchs, is open for tours.
What to do in Honolulu
This historic landmark was built in 1900, making it one of the oldest Chinese towns in the US, and after many setbacks such as fires and the bubonic plague it ended up being one of the most prosperous and lively locations in Honolulu. Inside Chinatown tourists can enjoy the Oahu market, abundant in Chinese produce, seafood and exotic fruits. The epicenter of Hawaiian art culture is located here, featuring exhibits, galleries and art parties, as well as the Hawaii Theater.
If you enjoy Chinese art after strolling through the open air galleries, you can get a Chinese style tattoo in the tattoo parlors here that specialize in it. If you love Chinese food, there’s no better place to indulge yourself. You can even visit the noodle factory.
Sunbathe on the beach
Honolulu’s coastline is vast, but there are a few beaches that get imprinted onto every tourist’s memory. The most famous one is Waikiki, where you can lay on the finest sands in the area This particular beach used to be the place to relax for 19th century royalty, so there’s no surprise that the streets in the vicinity are full of luxury designer stores and exquisite resorts.
The above beach is great for surfing, but if you want calmer waters and a more relaxed atmosphere, you can travel 15 miles away to the Lanikai Beach. Even though it’s popular location, it’s less crowded because it focuses on being a natural retreat and there aren’t stores or restaurants around. Very close to this is the Kailua Beach where tourists can enjoy windsurfing, and they have bars and restaurants available.
Experiencing the underwater world
Any person who’s interested in experiencing the underwater world can do it in various ways in Honolulu. One of the unique experiences here is taking a tour in a submarine. Children and adults alike will be taught about ocean life while experiencing it first hand in safety 100 ft under the water. The floor of the submarine is made of glass so you will get to enjoy ocean activity and observe sunken ships and planes.
If you want to get more in touch with the ocean with the help of faster moving vehicles, you can opt for a scooter adventure. This vehicle doesn’t need much knowledge to be operated and you will be provided with all the equipment necessary for your two-hour adventure. What makes it great is that you don’t need to be able to swim to dive in with the fish.
For those times when you prefer to swim, however, you can go for the traditional scuba diving and snorkeling. One of the best places to do so is in the Turtle Canyon. You are guaranteed to see a turtle, and if you don’t, the team will let you come another day and try again for free.
If you are daring and want to experience something more thrilling you can try diving in with big Galapagos sharks. Unlucky for them, you’ll find yourself in the safety of a cage that is completely safe.
Trekking and hiking in Honolulu
Honolulu is not just about beaches. There are plenty of spots where you can take long journeys on food, observe the wildlife, and enjoy a picnic in nature. One of these places is the Koko Crater. The 2-mile path starts from the city outskirts and climbs to the Koʻolau Mountains, from where you can admire a splendid panorama of Hanauma Bay. A similar trail is Diamond Head which will give you a great view of Waikiki.
Even if these two trails are the most popular ones, there are some that tourists don’t often frequent and will give you a more peaceful experience. The Manoa Falls, Puu Pia, Kuliouou Ridge Trail, and Wa’ahila Ridge Trail are all beautiful trails that run through lush vegetation, but they’re not the easiest.
Don’t forget to bring plenty of water, and adequate clothing and shoes.
Try some adrenaline
You cannot get bored in Honolulu. If you find you have minutes to spare try to join a water activity. There are plenty to choose from, such as surfing, parasailing, jet skyiing, or sailing. You can even try to spot whales or swim with the dolphins, feed them and support the conservation effort of these splendid creatures.
If you have the spirit of an adventurer you can try skydiving, or less extreme, zip lining over the Kaawa Valley, which will be exciting especially for the fans of Jurassic Park, because this is where the movie was filmed. For the days when you don’t want to walk too far away from the water, you can try jumping off the tall cliff in Waimea Bay. It’s only 33 ft high so it won’t give you heart palpitation that you can’t handle.
No matter what activities you choose for Honolulu, I am pretty sure you will not get a minute of boredom.
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