The capital of Hawaii, a surfers’ paradise, a historical site, and the birthplace of President Barack Obama, Honolulu is firmly imprinted in the public imagination for various reasons! Located on the island of Oahu, it attracts millions of tourists each year who – according to govisithawaii.com – stay for 9.19 days on average.
With a mix of cultural tourism, adrenaline pumping watersports and luxury shopping, Honolulu offers a wholesome vacation experience, whether you’re on a solo trip, with your significant other or you’ve arrived with family in tow.
The Waikiki neighborhood with its namesake beach is as much a popular spot to ride a wave as it is to marvel at the panoramic views of the island from the 350-acre volcanic crater Diamond Head. Indulge in snorkeling and swimming after which you can relax on the honey-colored sands, sip on cocktails at a restaurant on Kalakaua Avenue along the beach, and if you have the energy for it, soak in the opulence of a Chanel, Louis Vitton, Yves Saint Laurent or Moncler store on Luxury Row.
Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona
While the lines at the USS Arizona Memorial in downtown Honolulu are long (it is, after all, one of the country’s most-visited WWII memorial sites), the experience is emotional and memorable. The memorial is built over the remains of the USS Arizona, the battleship and final resting place of the 1,102 sailors who lost their lives in the Pearl Harbor attacks. A boat ride operated by the US Navy ferries you to the memorial, after which you begin your tour of the historic site. The ship’s oil still leaks out a few drops at a time, and you have the opportunity to toss flowers in memory of fallen soldiers.
Gushing 150 feet downwards, Manoa Falls is your reward for hiking through Manoa Valley, a verdant rainforest valley. This trail can be pretty tricky thanks to a gravelly surface at the beginning and muddy terrain as your proceed, as well as the occasional encroaching tree root. The lush greenery and diverse flora of wildflowers, bamboo plants and eucalyptus trees may remind you of scenes from blockbuster movie Jurassic Park, which was shot here.
Waikiki’s urban areas can be explored by foot or bike. For an affordable and extremely reliable commute, take TheBus, the local bus service connecting all major towns on the island. With many bike and moped rentals available, you shouldn’t have a problem visiting every nook and corner, provided you’re fine with driving relatively long distances.