The bustling capital of Honolulu
27.12.2018 - 29.12.2018
We spent a mere 2½ days on Oahu, the most populated island of Hawaii. The decision was made because the island is supposed to be the most crowded and touristic. We would have probably skipped the island all together, if not for the fact that most international flights go in and out of Honolulu.
We got up early on our first day in Honolulu, to go to Pearl Harbor and see the Arizona Memorial, for which tickets are free but limited. When we arrived there, we learnt that we would have had to stand in line at 6am (the ticket office opens at 7am) to have a chance for a ticket. Instead, we went to see the USS Missouri, a giant battleship with a fascinating history. The Missouri was the last battleship of any navy in the world in active service (nowadays aircraft carriers have taken over). More significantly, on this very ship World War II was ended on September 2nd 1945 with the Japanese signing the surrender to the Allied Forces in Tokyo Bay.
In the afternoon we went to the Diamond Head crater in the East of Honolulu to hike the short but steep trail to the summit. From there, we had a great view over Waikiki Bay and the Eastern Shore of Oahu.
The next day, the weather was not on our side and we had to ditch our plan of exploring some beaches, as this is not much fun in pouring rain. We found that a nearby shopping center was offering free classes in various Hawaiian culture activities. So we spent the day learning to dance Hula, to give each other Lomilomi massages and to make Lei, the Polynesian flower necklaces. In four weeks in Hawaii no one has offered us a Lei, so at last we got one from each other.
In the evening, we enjoyed the free firework display at Waikiki Beach, which was the closest we have gotten to a beach on Oahu, since the next day the weather only bettered when we had to leave for the airport.
We spent a total of 29 nights in Hawaii and visited all four major islands. We were uncertain how to best split our time before coming here, but in retrospect we feel that we have done it exactly right. We spent 10 nights in Kaua’i, which we felt was the most interesting island with the most things to do. 9 nights we spent on the Big Island, which has great beaches for boogie boarding and the most active volcano. In Maui, we spent 7 nights. Maui has the calmest beaches, making it the best place to swim. The volcanic landscape of Haleakala is something we haven’t seen on the other islands and whale watching in winter is another good reason to come here. However, Maui is noticeably more touristic than the Big Island and Kaua’i and especially West Maui is very crowded. It’s a great place if you primarily look to spend time at the beach, but we felt that there are few other activities (unless you have a large wallet). We did not spend enough time in Oahu to make a fair judgment, but it seems there is little there you couldn’t see on the other islands and you will share your experiences with vastly more people.
On the 29th of December, we left Hawaii towards French Polynesia. We feel very lucky to be able to visit both of these beautiful places on the same trip.