Kōena's Trip around O'hau
Tropical Islands - Aloha - Hula
#1 Destination W a i k ī k ī
This area is the most visited place on the Islands, it's also the closest to the main international airport called - Daniel K. Inouye Itnl. Airport.
A perfect start to get to see first interesting places like the Diamond Head, O'hau Zoo, the popular Waikiki beach and to enjoy healthy tropical cocktails, Im a big fan of these beautifully decorated Pineapple and Coconut drinks (alcohol free) which you can get easily at the beach on street side stands or on farmers markets at the shopping malls. This city offers plenty of good restaurant and shopping options BUT if you want to make this visit worth every $ and understand why it is such a magical place, I recommend to rent a car and drive around the Island and even stay in different Air BnB accommodations. Staying only in fancy and well organized hotels won't give you the true hawaiian adventure. If you need good recommendations, I would love to give you all my - top secrets - to stay!
#2 Waimea Valley
What my dreams are made of!
#3 Polynesian Cultural Center
Unexpectedly Impressive and Authentic!
I always thought the cultural center is a tourism place who just wants to get the money and shows some cheap hawaiian culture BUT that is so not true!
For someone who really wants to learn about ALL Polynesian places in the pacific ocean - is in the right place! Bring time or even better - get the tickets for at least 2 days to fully enjoy every course and show. Yes, they offer mini courses so you can cook, dance and learn with them. I started at the Samoan Island area and the extra friendly staff guides you immediately when you have any questions. It is such a huge place, i kind of didn't know where to start first but the staff is fully trained in reading big lost eyes like mine and jumped right at me to assist and recommend the first show that started soon so I won't miss it. I felt so welcomed all the time!
On the photo below you can see cooking Samoan men, In their culture the men is cooking every meal - not the woman due to to smoke at the fireplace the woman start to produce tears and Samoan man would never want to see their woman cry so the man cooks! isn't that inspiring.
I've learned how to cook Fa'alifu Fa'i, peeled bananas cooked in coconut milk. Tastes like potatoes - sooo deliicious. Very funny guys who explain their culture on an authentic level.
On the photo below you can see a Hawaiian language school. (I could have sit there all day and learn this language which is by the way similar to the samoan language ;-) A teacher is on your side and trains you the basic alphabet, you can also learn ukulele and so many other things!
At the entrance you'll receive a flyer with all upcoming classes the day or you can download the app, polynesian cultural center.
All classes are 20-30 min long and you walk from house to house. I really wished I would have booked at least 2 days, unfortunately I couldn't see all events and attend all classes or do the canoe drive but I will come back for sure.
And close to the exit 30 min before general closing a staff member saw probably my sadness, i just stood there and recognized that Ive missed the canoe drive so he came to me and said, "If you turn around - right behind you, you see a gift shop and if you walk by there is a hidden entrance to the cinema and they show the last film for today, a short 15 min movie about Hawai'i, you know what - let me escort you there". I thought, WOW! what a kind staff member! Ive walked inside a rock-like building which was impressive because Ive never saw a building like that before and then a black door was opened to let me into the cinema. I saw 10 other people sitting already in the seats, 2 min. later the film began and it was a 3D like short film about the hawaiian islands, the impressive music on top made me feel so happy - This was the cherry on top of the ice cream that day :-)
Easter Island - Moai Statues
#4 North Shore Whale Watching
Morning til Night
The high season watching whales is from mid December- mid May, I visited the Island O'hau early March 2023. Nobody can predict when a wale can be seen nor where but the North Shore is in general known for having a good chance to see some! I saw everyday all different kind of whales, orcas, humpback whale, short - finned whales and probably other animals too, i just couldn't define some animals from the far waterfront. Whale watching is so addictive, I had to stop myself at some point, I believe you can see all day here and there a whale, you just need to bring time and patience watching for them.
#5 Honu Parking North Shore
Keep the respectful distance - 30 Feet
BONUS Must See Place
Ahupua'a O Kahana State Park
Mahalo for your time and see you on my next blog, Aloha, Kōena