Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii must be one of the more popular, well-known beaches in all the world. Not necessarily the most beautiful, but with all ranges of restaurants and top quality shopping, combined with ease of access from Japan, makes it a top destination for tourists around the world.
The area is experiencing what appeared to be a continued building boom, with over ten top quality high-rise condominiums under construction. Prices starting around a million dollars is very common. The vast majority of these new condo owners will not be from the US. Numerous signs and restaurants have Japanese, Korean and Chinese translations. How ironic it is that the Japanese are now such a big part of the vibrant Honolulu economy.
For our thirty-day home, we chose not to stay along the busy Waikiki Beach, opting instead for a condominium facing the mountains a couple blocks from the beach. When facing the ocean to the west, balconies are exposed in the hot sun much of the afternoon and are therefore not very useable. We did not anticipate the strong winds, however, which made our east facing balcony unpleasant many days. We did get rainbows more often than not and one comes to expect them each afternoon.
For the slightly more adventuresome, a hike to the top of Diamond Head is well worth the view. The trail is paved much of the way with a crowded but rewarding view at the top.
If snorkeling is on your to-do list, go to Snorkel Bob’s and get fitted with goggles that match your eyeglass prescription and you will be on your way to great snorkeling in no time. Thirty years ago when we first rented from Snorkel Bob, we asked, “Are you Snorkel Bob?” He replied, “Who wants to know?”
Hanauma Bay is a short drive from Waikiki and should not be missed as a snorkeling destination.
The protective lagoon was created by the wall of an old volcanic crater collapsing, creating a haven for the many colorful Hawaiian fish. The beauty of the fish is astounding for someone from the Desert Southwest. You can actually hear the fish gnawing on coral.
A day trip should certainly be made to the famous surfing beaches on the north of Oahu. It is much more rural and clearly has a surfer mentality. Food out of trailers severed on old wooden picnic tables is the norm. We stopped in at one of the many fruit stands to try the unusual lychee as well as locally grown guava, mangoes and pineapples. Waves were only a few feet high during our April visit, but in the winter the waves can easily reach 20 or more feet.
Aloha and mahalo ………