Volume 3 No.2 Summer 2007 800.688.2254 

Index | New Hotels and Condos | Contest | The Excitement of Oahu | Hawaii FAQs

The Excitement of Oahu

Each of the Hawaiian Islands are unique, and offer vastly different experiences.  The islands vary in weather, geography, and activities, which can make a vacation on Kauai very different from a vacation on Maui.  The island with the best balance of nightlife, activities, and natural beauty is the island of Oahu. This diversity is what makes Oahu our spotlight island this quarter. 

The Geography

Two now-extinct volcanoes created the island of Oahu.  Wai’anae is to the west and came above water about 2.2 million years ago.  A million years later Ko’olau rose above the surf.  This younger volcano is shorter than it’s older sibling, but larger, at an impressive 30 miles across. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that this is only half of the original mountain.  The other half has long been erased by erosion.

The most settled area is the state’s capitol city of Honolulu.  This city is home to the ultra-popular resort area of Waikiki.  Other areas of the island such as the North Shore have options for accommodations, although these are much more limited.

Where to Stay

There are close to 100 hotels and resorts on Oahu, almost all of which are in Waikiki.  This is, without a doubt, tourist central.  At any given time, 44% of all visitors in the entire state of Hawaii are staying in Waikiki.  One of the best beaches in the state happens to be perfectly situated in the middle of the city.  Shopping and dining options know no bounds.  Waikiki is truly the hub of the island, and quite possibly the hub of the entire state.

If one of the 60,000 hotel rooms located within this square mile of real estate isn’t your idea of fun, you do have other options.  Incredibly upscale options include the Ihilani Resort and Spa in Ko’Olina, and the Kahala Hotel that lies east of Diamond Head.  On Oahu's North Shore you will find the 4-star Turtle Bay Resort, along with a more economical condominium option--the Kuilima Estates at Turtle Bay.

The Weather

Pacific trade winds come from the northeast, and as a result create vastly different climates in separate areas of the island.  When these winds encounter Oahu's mountains, the airflow rises, cools and condenses into clouds and rain.  This area of the island, known as the windward side, gets the most rain.  Waikiki, being on the southern (leeward) side of the island, gets minimal rain (only about 20 inches each year).  Waikiki also has an incredibly moderate climate with an average temperature of 84 degrees (the temperature in Waikiki hasn't been above 95 degrees since the weather service started keeping track).

Beaches

While Oahu is known for its nightlife, it also has some of the best beaches in the state.  Waikiki beach is great for swimming and surfing, but if snorkeling is your game you may want to spend some time at Hanauma Bay.  Check out this link for detailed information on some of the best beaches on Oahu.

Be Careful with the Sun

Hawaii has some of the most direct sun on the planet.  In fact, Oahu receives more direct sunlight than anywhere on the mainland.  Even those who are not usually susceptible to sun burns can get burned within half an hour if not protected. Use suntan lotion whenever you’re going to be outside for an extended amount of time.  It’s also smart to plan outdoor activities for the mid-to-late afternoon or early morning when the sun is least intense. Also, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and make sure you bring enough if you plan to take extended day trips or hike through Oahu's jungles.  Always bring more water than you think you’ll need.

Activities

With bustling Waikiki and its beautiful beaches to the south, it's sometimes easy to forget the plethora of tour and activity options available on Oahu. With everything from dolphin excursions to water parks to kayaking trips, Oahu has you covered.

ATV Off Roading
Kualoa Ranch - 4,000 acres located on the North East side of Oahu in Ka'awa offers a wide variety of outdoor ATV and Horseback activities, educational programs and scenic tours. Choose from all day or half day packages or select what you'd like! Priced in packages and as individual add ons.

Bikes  
Bike Hawaii offers daily bike adventures on Oahu! Great for the casual rider as well as the advanced cyclist who yearns for island-style roads and trails. Bike Hawaii will take you on a guided journey into the past as well as the present. Tour leaders are certified Hawaii Tour Guides, trained in First-Aid, CPR and Effective Cycling. Air-conditioned van will shuttle you to and from the best routes on the island.

Dinner Cruises
Most Oahu dinner cruises will include drinks with your dinner as well as pick-up from your Honolulu or Waikiki hotel. All dinner cruises will include entertainment and dancing and the dinners will vary from basic to seven course "French Style" dinners with premium bar and limousine pick-up and after cruise entertainment at a Honolulu nightclub.

*A variation of the dinner cruise is what is fondly referred to in Hawaii as the "booze cruise". This usually includes just "pupus" (appetizers) and an open bar plus entertainment. These "booze cruises" are very popular and are a fun way to begin an evening in Honolulu.

Diving and Scuba
Diving on Oahu can include beach dives, boat dives, multiple dive sites and dive locations, scuba certification, night dives and PADI courses.

Some of the scuba dives available are dives to shipwrecks, a Corsair Fighter plane wreck, cave dives and dives to lava tubes and beautiful coral reefs. Many of the dives on Oahu are off the coast of Waikiki and the South Shore but some of the more adventurous scuba diving is off the coast of the North Shore.

Transportation to the various dive spots is generally included. PADI dive professionals can tailor your dives to your preferences whether they are shore dives, boat dives, guided beach dives, night dives or PADI certification.

Dolphin Excursions
Oahu is the place for your dolphin eco-adventures and eco tours. Oahu activities are known throughout the islands but a very little known fact is that Oahu is the best and most consistent place to view the dolphins. The Wai'anae coast off leeward Oahu is arguably the very best spot to view dolphins in Hawaii. Hundreds of spinner dolphins are located just moments from the harbor and trained professionals are there to introduce you to the dolphin environment.

A remarkable 95% of the time these "dolphin watches" depart they are successful in finding the dolphins but what is even more remarkable is that 80% of those times you are able to experience swimming and snorkeling with the dolphins. These dolphin eco adventures are the best kept secret on Oahu.

Fishing
Head out in search of the legendary blue marlin or to troll the schools of ahi or aku that swim the channel between Oahu and Kauai.

While Oahu is well - known for the "Don Ho" show, the Arizona Memorial and other world-class attractions, it is also known as a fantastic spot for sport fishing. Fishing boats traverse the waters off Waikiki often 25 miles out to sea in search of an exciting Oahu sport fishing adventure.

Golf
There are more golf courses, golf packages, golf resorts and golfing events of all kind on Oahu than on any other Hawaiian island. Golfing is a way of life on Oahu and one of the municipal golf courses, Ala Wai, is considered by many to be the busiest golf course in the world.

Oahu has long been a favorite vacation destination throughout the world. The islands' lush vegetation, beautiful scenery and world-class beaches make it a natural destination choice for travelers. Vacationers can find fine dining, spectacular attractions and first-class accommodations. It is because of these alluring attractions and more that the golfing world and championship golf have beat a path to Oahu's door.

Helicopter Tours
Most people tend to think about Oahu as simply Honolulu and Waikiki but it is much more. Like the other Hawaiian Islands, much of Oahu can only be seen from the vantage point of the air above. Not only are helicopter flights offered, but there are also seaplanes and glider rides as well. The seaplane flights leave from the ocean near the airport area and circle the island highlighting the major points of interest.

Hiking
The island of Oahu is the second oldest of the major Hawaiian Islands and as such, its volcanoes, have been extinct for millions of years. The huge amount of rainfall in portions of Oahu gives the island many carved and chiseled features along with beautiful forests, valleys and gorgeous foliage. This provides the perfect environment of hiking trails for hiking trips, nature tours and eco tours of all varieties.

Horseback Riding
Horseback riding may not be one of the first Oahu activities that comes to mind when thinking about Hawaii adventures but riding stables and horses in general are a portion of the Oahu culture that dates back to the days of the original Hawaii paniolos or cowboys.

Kayaking
Although the beaches off Waikiki and Honolulu are the most frequented by visitors, some of the most exotic water scapes can be found on Oahu's eastern and northern windward coasts.

Kayaking off the coast of Kailua which is about a half an hours drive through the "Pali" tunnel from Waikiki is particularly beautiful especially for eco tour enthusiasts.

Guided Land Tours
Oahu is the perfect size island for bus tours and van tours. It is just the right size to circle the island in one day and many varied tours are offered.

Oahu tours and activities may include eco tours, garden tours, hiking tours, sightseeing tours, nature tours, bird watching tours and various treks. Many of the companies such as the Polynesian Adventure Tours also include tours to the famous Polynesian Cultural Center as well.

Luaus and Shows
Oahu is the home of three of the most famous Hawaiian luaus; the "Polynesian Cultural Center" luau, Germaine's Luau and Paradise Cove Luau.

The Hawaiian luaus and feasts on Oahu are heavily steeped in Hawaiian history, Polynesian history, hula dancing and all facets of Hawaiian culture.

Luaus on Oahu are all similar to the extent that they all include a full compliment of Hawaiian foods such as lomi lomi salmon, chicken long rice, kalua pork (prepared underground in a pit or "imu") haupia and of course poi. Some of Oahu's Hawaiian luaus include various options that allow for special seating and upgraded food choices.

Parasail and Jet Ski
If you’re looking for fun things to do regarding ocean activities on the island of Oahu, don't forget about parasailing and jet skis. As you may be aware, parasailing is a sport which makes use of a parachute being pulled by a speed boat. The parachutist is floated via a 400' to 800' pull rope and rises to heights of 400' to 500' above the ocean surface. Everything is controlled by the boat driver and the passenger is virtually along for the ride.

Pearl Harbor
Oahu is also the sight of some of the most popular and dynamic attractions in Hawaii. Certainly leading the pack would be the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor along with the historic battleship Missouri.

Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center is located on Oahu's north shore, 1 hour from Honolulu. Gates open at 12:00pm. Highlighting the Center's facilities are the 7 Polynesian Islands cultural presentations, the IMAX Theater, the exciting Canoe Show and the spectacular 90 minute show "Horizons".

Sailing
If you're planning on sailing while on Oahu you'll want to check out all of the sailing vessels available from Honolulu.

Oahu sailing charters will likely include Mai Tai's and other beverages as a part of your Oahu sailing adventure. If you plan to get out in the stiff Hawaiian trade winds for an invigorating sail the best time to go would generally be mid-afternoon.

Snorkeling
Great Oahu snorkeling spots can be found off the coast of Waikiki and Honolulu but many excellent snorkel areas can be found off the coast of Waianae, Kailua, and Haleiwa as well. Hanauma Bay is also one of the great snorkeling spots on Oahu and has easy access from the shore. If you're planning on snorkeling while on Oahu you'll want to check out all of the snorkeling companies available from Honolulu.

Submarines
Your underwater adventure will begin as you're picked-up at your Waikiki hotel; you will then be delivered to the harbor where you board the special Atlantis shuttle boat which takes you out to the actual submarine itself which is already poised over its dive site in the channel. After transferring to the submarine your descent will begin. As the submarine makes its initial submersion into the blue Pacific your breath will be taken away as you get your first glimpse of the underwater world.

Surfing and Water sports
Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing. Surfing fans and observers flock to Oahu's famous surfing beaches every year for the best waves in the world.

During Hawaii's warm winter season, November - March, storms in the North Pacific create big waves on the north and western shores
Oahu's North Shore is the home of the world's largest professional surfing competitions.

Whale Watching
Each winter, Honolulu, Waikiki and Oahu in general are the focus point for whale watching boats, whale watching cruises and the return to Oahu of the majestic humpback whale. The whale watching season is usually under way by the 15th of December and usually lasts through Easter. The very best months are February and March when sightings are almost guaranteed. Oahu whale watching is a particular delight for visitors coming to Hawaii to escape the winter chill and these humpback whales can often be seen from the shoreline of Waikiki or Honolulu.

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