The Hawaiian Islands are probably my favorite places to visit; you really can’t go wrong planning a vacation to any of them. Just do it! This year we decided to visit Oahu and spend 4 days in Waikiki and 4 days on the North Shore of Oahu. We have been to Kauai twice, Maui and the Big Island each once. I had heard misgivings from other travelers about Oahu, but really wanted to experience it for myself.
Having visited all four of the major / most visited Hawaiian Islands I feel somewhat confident sharing my opinion on traveling there.
I expect I will turn this into a few posts, there is just so much to share.
As a tourist planning a vacation, what would I want to know when planning my trip? Oahu – Waikiki / Honolulu area is very different from Oahu – North Shore.
I am extremely glad we planned to stay in both areas. In some ways it was like visiting two islands though we stayed on Oahu the whole trip.
Waikiki is unlike the rest of Hawaii. Busy, one way streets, a real freeway with traffic, lots of high end shops, tall condominiums and hotels, posh resorts, homeless walking the streets, and pristine white sand beaches full of sunbathers, surfers and swimmers.
North Shore – Feels more like Kauai. Smaller beachfront resorts, beautiful homes on lush grounds, local homes and farms with Farm-stands selling produce. Shops and restaurants that are more quaint and comfortable, chickens roaming the roadside, lush green everywhere, and some beautiful beaches to snorkel, sunbath, or to take in a rainbow or the sunset.
Our preference is to stay in an AirBnB or VRBO while vacationing. The islands have many luxurious resorts to enjoy, but I like picking out my actual room/ vacation home, rather then being surprised by how actually out of date a locations rooms might be. An individual who is renting you there vacation home is dependent on visitors reviews. I like the quality assurance that reviews offer me as a vacationer. The other bonus is the much larger space a condo or home provides as opposed to a studio sized hotel room. Whether I cook one day or many days at our rental, the extra amenities are a plus to us. I have also found the price to be quit competitive to package prices from airlines and sometimes have gotten Oceanfront condos for less than I could have gotten a Garden view room in a local hotel. As a consumer you have to do your part and read reviews, look at lots of pictures, and finally decide where to stay.
For this years trip I tried Airbnb and found perfect locations in both Waikiki and Turtle Bay on the North Shore.
The Waikiki location offered us a 26th floor view of the mountains and Diamond Head. It was a one bedroom condo with an extra bed in the livingroom as well as a futon bed/couch so son #2 and #3 coming with us could be comfortable. The kitchen, though small allowed us to keep eating costs down. We splurged on one special dinner and enjoyed some local food at a Farmer’s Market, but other meals we enjoyed from our breezy balcony or the beach.
Our Turtle Bay AirBnb location was more than I could have hoped for in an accomodation. The owner really knew how to create a restful home with everything you could need. Half mile or so to Turtle Bay resort, and situated on the golf course, it was a one bedroom condo with a large sofa bed for the boys to share. The kitchen was wonderfully loaded with tools and the garden view patio with table for breakfast and dinner was very Hawaiian feeling with ginger and Plumeria blooming nearby. Our daily must was the local Farm-stand for fresh fruits and lumpia made by the vendors.
I’ll stop here for today, but I’ll plan two more tour posts on Oahu. Best Beaches and Food and Excursions that are a must. In the mean time check out Hawaiian Ahi Poke with Pineapple and my post on the Big Island of Hawaii.