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How to spend 5 days on Oahu

Having visited Kauai and Maui before, I had high expectations for Oahu. Maui and Kauai had impress me with their luxurious and untouched beauty. Obviously, when I first arrived on the island of Oahu, I was kind of disapointed. Oahu being by far the most populated island of the hawaiien archipelago and home to the capital of Hawaï, Honolulu, I should have expected the highways, the big buildings and the crowds of tourist. A little skeptic, I started exploring the island looking for what I once saw on the other islands. Little did I know, it wouldn’t take me long to fall in love with Oahu’s charm.

Oahu is pretty big and their is plenty to see on the island. 5 days is quite short to fully enjoy Oahu so I decided to make the most of it!

Day 1

On my first real day on the island, I was still jet lag from my flight and woke up really early so I decided to use it as an advantage and went to see the sunrise on top of Diamond head. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that had had this idea. Diamond head is the typical hike that tourist do on Oahu since it is really close to Waikiki, it’s paved and it’s pretty short. I must admit that the views from the summit were pretty amazing but again, you’ll have to make your way threw the tourist to see someting. Afterwards, we headed towards Hanauma bay wich is known to be the best snorkeling spot on the island. I would recomend that you go to Hanauma bay in the morning as it gets pretty crowded around noon. The snorkeling was great and during winter, this would be your best bet for a calm place to swim and snorkel.

Finally, we headed back to Waikiki to enjoy the beach. Waikiki is one of the best place on the island to learn how to surf since the waves are pretty small. At the end of the day, I felt like I did the tourist must dos and I was now ready to explore the wild side of the island.

Day 2

On my second day, I took the bus to the east shore (windward Side). Taking the bus on Oahu is cheap (2,50 USD),simple and it will bring you pretty much anywhere. I spent my day in the Kailua area. I first headed to Lanikai beach wich is a really popular beach on the island. It’s famous for its white sand and for the amazing views of the Mokes (two small islands off the shore) from the beach. The lanikai pilbox hike is also a great way to enjoy the views of lanikai and it’s pretty easy.

Other things to do in Kailua area (South-East shore): ho‘omaluhia botanical garden $$, windsurfing

Day 3

On my third day, I had plan to do the Ka’au crater hike in the Palolo Valley. Like all my day on the island so far, the sky was cloudy and it was pouring rain in the valley. I decided to do another hike instead, considering it would have been to dangerous to hike Ka’au crater by myself with this temperature. When it rains, trails get really muddy and slippery specially in the Palolo valley wich is the weatest spot on the island. I finally chose a trail randomly in the Manoa valley without knowing what to expect and it was amazing. The first trail I took was the Manoa cliff trail which connected later with the Panoa flats trail, Aihualama trail and the Manoa fall trail. As expected, the trail was really muddy but considering that the path was wide and not that steep it was pretty safe. The trail made its way threw a bamboo forest  and offered spectacular views of the valley. I could even see waterfalls deep in the jungle and I had all of these amazing views to myself. Now that felt more like Hawaï. By connecting to other trails in the Manoa valley, I finally found my way to the famous Manoa fall, which is easily accessible for tourists by a small path. At this point, I had to share the great views with the crowd but it was nothing compare to what I had seen in the jungle. In the afternoon, I headed back to the city to enjoy a little bit of sun at Ala Moana beach (great beach in the city to escape the crowds of Waikiki ).

Other things to do in the Honolulu/ Manoa area : Wa‘ahila ridge trail, Pearl harbor $$

Day 4 On my fourth day on Oahu, I finally got to do the hike I dreamed about. Crouching lion is a rock formation on the windward side of Oahu. Also known as Pu’u manamana hike, the trail makes iTs way all the way up the ridge. It is pretty dangerous and many have died hiking the trail. I personnaly didn’t get to the ridge and only did the mini crouching lion hike.The mini hike is still pretty dificult since it is super steep and slippery but the views of Kahana bay up there are out of this world! Afterwards, you’ll definitely want to hit Uncle Bobo’s smoked bbq for some delicious homemade food and lay down at one of the beaches in the area.

Other things to do on the windward side : horse back riding in kaualao ranch $$, kayaking to chinamans hat $ Day 5

On my last day on the island, my awesome couchsurfing host drove me to the North shore to see the big waves. We decided to drive up the island pretty early, wich was a great idea since we practically had the beach to ourselves. We first stop at Haleiwa bowls to grab some acai bowl and we then headed to Three table beach for some peace and quiet. We also visited the famous Banzai pipeline and Haleiwa beach park wich are both beaches that host surf competitions during winter. We drove back to the city and spent the rest of the day shopping for some souvenir in Chinatown.

Other things to do on the north shore : Dole pineapple plantation $$, Skydiving $$$, humpback whales watching tours $$$, surfing

Oahu is definitely not what I expected but I’m pretty happy it turned out this way. The island is unic and like every other Hawaiian island, you’ll never want to leave.


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