The Hawaiian island of Oahu is amazing and there are so many things to do. Call me crazy but, 2 out of the 8 days I was there, I stayed up all day because I wanted to do everything! These are the things I loved doing the most during my trip.
I went to the Starlight Luau at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel. It was on a rooftop and as soon as you enter, you can take a picture with two of the performers. A complimentary drink was passed out before being seated at a table. There was a buffet style dinner of different Hawaiian foods. The show was great and the dances were from Hawaii, Polynesia and the Pacific. I really loved the finale of the Fire Knife Dance.
I liked that there was a lot of audience participation including a conch shell blowing challenge, fashion show, and dance lessons. I was even pulled on stage to learn a dance!
It seemed like the only thing this Luau missed was serving a whole pig for dinner like the bigger ones on the island do.
Manoa Trail & Falls
Manoa Trail and Falls is one of the top things to do in Oahu. The trail is surrounded by a rainforest so it’s easy to see why scenes for Jurassic Park and Lost were filmed there. The hike is said to be for beginners but is rocky and can become muddy/slippery. Closed toed shoes, mosquito repellent, and a hiking stick are highly recommended. I chose to take a group tour there but the local bus or car work well too. I met for the tour in the afternoon and it was about a 20 minute drive from Kalakaua Avenue. My guide studied botany for years so it was cool to learn a lot about each of the trees and flowers along the trail. At the end of the trail, we hit the falls. Depending on the recent rainfall, the size of the falls can change. Since there was heavy rain the day before, we saw a very nice one. There are signs around the falls that say not to go in because of bacteria but some people still do.
Hiking Diamond Head, an extinct volcano, is another top thing to do while in Oahu. I did it at sunrise and it was unreal!!! The views from the top definitely make the journey to get there worth it. You can get there by car, a tour or the local bus. I took the bus (literally called the bus) for about 20 minutes and then walked into the park. I wish I would have thought about bringing a flashlight because it was pitch black and the phone flashlight wasn’t cutting it. Compared to Manoa Trails, this hike is definitely more intense. There are a lot of rocks, potholes, and stairs along the way. Again, closed toed shoes are highly recommended. It isn’t too difficult though and you’ll forget about all of that once you see the views.
Hanauma Bay is a nature preserve that is formed in a volcanic cone. It is absolutely breathtaking! I decided to go here at the last minute and every tour was booked. I managed to find a great one with Ike’s Hanauma Bay Tour. It was $25 for 1/2 the day, he picked me up from my hotel and provided snorkeling gear. I only had to pay a $7.50 entrance fee for the preserve. Each person is required to watch a 10 minute video upon entrance about how to take care of the water and the corals. Let’s just say that I didn’t need to watch the full video. After swimming over the corals for 2 minutes, I realized I couldn’t touch the bottom and freaked out. I stayed near the shore the rest of the time 🤣.