Waikiki in Photos

Honolulu, HI, USA

There’s a certain kind of peace that one feels when basking in the Waikiki sun. You go there, banana daiquiri on one hand, and a trusty old camera on the other. You capture the moment and say to yourself, “ahh...this is paradise.”

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Serenity in Waikiki

There’s a certain kind of peace that one feels when basking in the Waikiki sun. You go there, banana daiquiri on one hand, and a trusty old camera on the other. You capture the moment and say to yourself, “ahh...this is paradise.”

Hawaiian Architecture

Locals tell me that the architecture here hasn’t changed much since the 80s. And, I say it’s a good thing.

Sunset At Waikiki Beach

This was taken as I was walking to the beach in Waikiki, Hawaii to view the amazing sunset :)

Beginners Snorkeling Waikiki

Despite the crowds of tourists upon Waikiki Beach trying to get an enviable tan their co-workers will resent, there is some great snorkelling opportunities that you don’t necessarily have to pay for. When the ocean is devoid of any waves I urge you to go out as far as you feel comfortable without getting in the way of the novice surfers and their coaches. When I first snorkelled Waikiki I found a wide variety of fish from the puffer to coiled sea snakes and most surprisingly old sea turtles that have seen the likes of Elvis and maybe even the Pearl Harbour attack. If you want to venture out into deeper waters the Outrigger on the Beach hotel features catamaran sails out to coral where sea turtles are cleaned by large tornado-like schools of fish. A bit more further out certified divers can even explore a sunken boat and various locations surrounding Oahu have sunken Japanese submarines.

Homemade Mango, Coconut and Poi Ice Cream Pie

I couldn’t believe this homemade mango, coconut and poi (yes, poi!) ice cream pie. So ono! Check out this and my other favorite places to eat in Honolulu in my Local Girl’s Guide to Oahu.

Iced Delight

Shaved ice and gelatine with various color flavorants quenches the thirst quickly and can be found in little shops all over the island. A staple amongst locals.

Learning to Surf and Paddleboard

Hawaii offers visitors plenty of opportunity to learn the difference between a long board, a short board, and a paddleboard. Offshore from Waikiki is the Canoes surf break, whose waves can be gentle for beginners. Perhaps even more valuable is the beach’s rich surfing heritage, which learners can absorb by simply spending time here. Waikiki was once the retreat of 19th-century Hawaiian monarchs, who would unwind by the waves. It’s also the home of former Olympian and “father of modern surfing” Duke Kahanamoku, whose sculpted likeness on the beach is always adorned with leis. Here you can learn technique, but also etiquette: Newcomers to the shore should show aloha by respecting the local surf culture and sharing the waves.

A Day on Historic Waikiki Beach

The name Oahu means “gathering place,” and this convivial spirit thrives at Waikiki Beach. Here, Hawaiian monarchs once gathered for pleasure, and the area’s magnetism now draws international travelers. As befits a gathering place, there’s no shortage of diversion, with more than 100 hotels and resorts to keep visitors sheltered and occupied. On Kalakaua Avenue, luxury brands like Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, and Chanel attract an upscale set, while surf shops such as RipCurl and Quiksilver outfit sportsmen and women. Beach bars line the waterfront and offer stools for travelers—to gather and people-watch with a bright cocktail in hand.

Inhale Intoxicating Beach Bar Air

Where there are beaches, there are beach bars, allowing travelers to soothe their souls by indulging in liquid refreshment. To the wafting sounds of slack-key guitar and hula celebration, order a Coco Freeze beneath the enormous banyan tree at the Moana Surfrider hotel on Waikiki Beach. Listen to live music at sunset on the outdoor lanai (patio) of the Four Seasons Hualalai, on the Big Island; make sure to try their Beach Tree Smash, with its hints of pear and lime. But a trip doesn’t have to be upscale to merit an intoxicating evening: Nearly all surf shacks and seaside bars will craft rum-heavy mai tais and other tropical adult treats.

Creepy Island Critters

Most little critters do not bother me too much, but there are several that can give me a fright - mostly due to their size. This centipede was nearly dead, but at five inches long, surprised me quite a bit! On land, several spiders will bite, but are not real dangerous. The brown cane spider will scare people by its sheer size and then it will run away. Centipedes pack a little bit bigger punch and can be found in orange, red, and blue. I have had several on my lanai (porch) along with cockroaches and several spiders. They are always a good reminder to keep screen doors closed to prevent finding them indoors! It is also important to be vigilant in the water in Hawaii. There are several shark attacks each year. Portuguese Man o War and Box Jellyfish warnings are occasionally posted on beaches. For the most part, dangerous animals are a small threat and the idyllic islands are fairly safe as well!

At Night this Flower Blossoms

The night blooming cereus flower bloom on the hillsides in Honolulu once a year. And, when one pops out, the entire hillside will fill with their white blossoms. The flower develops overnight and is wilting already in the morning making them quite elusive, but many put out noticeable buds a day or two in advance as if to indicate that their show is about to start. If you visit Hawaii at the right time, you will find the cereus in the rainforests and along rock walls. They blossom from long cactus stalks which seem to grow like weeds. And, you will have to make a morning dash to find them before their flowers start to wilt.

Papaya Picking

Papaya is all over the Hawaiian Islands. Unfortunately, finding some that is ripe and not on private property can be a bit difficult. Priced under $1 per pound at most fruit markets, it’s probably easier to purchase the golden fruit when it’s firm but slightly soft to the touch. Some people love limes in their papaya, some eat it plain. I love my papaya cold in halves with some vanilla yogurt. Another treat to look for is green papaya salad. It is a nice alternative to try at the start of a meal out.

Lilikoi, Hawaii's Passion Fruit

One fruit that you will undoubtably come across in Hawaii is lilikoi, a yellow Hawaiian passion fruit. The fruit grows in abundance, and is pretty easy to find in parks and forests all over the Islands. Low hanging lilikoi will be picked quickly, though! Lilikoi is used to flavor fruit juices, cocktails, beer, desserts, salads, and shave ice. The fruit is also used in soaps, lip balm, and lotions. When you visit Hawaii, you will see just how many items lilikoi can be added to! If you try it fresh, depending on the variety and ripeness, the seeds may be hard or crunchy although they are not harmful to swallow. Some people prefer to scoop the seeds out and skip straight to the flesh. You can also bite right into one without even needing a knife!

Sea Legs for Sailing

Sailors can find their place at sea in Hawaii by renting their own sail boat for a day or allowing someone else to do the work and joining one of the many charters that explore the sea each day. During whale season (January to March and October to November) sailors may be treated to a show. Whales particularly enjoy the waters between Oahu and Molokai.

Oahu’s Daytime and Nighttime Playgrounds

Oahu is best known among visitors for the iconic and historic Waikiki Beach. Here, the looming crater rim of Leahi (Diamond Head) shadows a wide stretch of sand—once a playground for Hawaiian royalty and today a mecca for sun worshippers, surfers, and stand-up paddlers. Beyond the hotels and beaches of Waikiki, though, are Oahu’s countless other attractions, including hiking trails in the Waianae and Koolau Mountain Ranges, tropical farm and Pearl Harbor tours, the seriously gnarly surf breaks of the North Shore, and the glittering cityscape of South Oahu. The beachfront avenues of Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues are special favorites for nightlife-loving visitors, with restaurants catering to every palate and bars serving wickedly delicious island cocktails.

Things to see and do during an 8-hour layover in Honolulu

Things to see and do during an 8-hour layover in Honolulu: Walk the Waikiki Strip, have an umbrella drink at Duke’s Waikiki Bar & Restaurant, check out the “Pink Palace” aka the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and visit the real Hawaiian Iolani Royal Palace. Great shopping and lots of tourist activities at the Ala Moana Center, or visit Pearl Harbor but allow a lot of time for travel and security, likewise at the Punchbowl Cemetery. Hike to the top of Diamond Head for an amazing view, or visit the Honolulu Zoo and the large park on the other side of Waikiki.

Head for the hills on O'ahu

While traveling, renting a vehicle isn’t usually worth the hassle — especially for short stays. But if getting on the road deepens your overall sense of a place, the rewards generally outweigh any inconvenience. Such is true in O’ahu, where a quick trip beyond downtown Honolulu can take you to a whole other world — from the North Shore and its renowned surf beaches, swimming holes and off-the-beaten-path burger joints, to places such as Waimanalo Bay (on the island’s southeast corner), where bodysurfing in heady waves is the sport of choice for locals. If you rent a vehicle in HI, make it a Jeep. With year-round sunshine and seasonal temps, you’ll instantly feel like you’re on the drive of a lifetime with the top down, wind kissing your hair and tunes cranked. Tip from experience: just make sure you know how to get the top on quickly, for that afternoon when it suddenly pours cats and dogs.

Surfs up!

After dinner one night, we spotted the Waikiki Surf Lockers (yes, in the dark). Came back the next day to (rightfully) see the vibrant colors in the Hawaiian daylight. Er, next time we’ll actually remember to actually surf!

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