A lush tropical paradise with spectacular resorts, O’ahu offers some of Hawai’i’s best shopping, dining and attractions.
Known as “The Gathering Place” where ancient Hawaiian Kings once met, O’ahu remains a hub for island activities that mixes a lush tropical paradise, spectacular resorts and some of Hawai’i’s best shopping, dining and attractions.
This rich mix of Eastern and Western cultures firmly rooted in the values and traditions of the native Hawaiian people makes discovery and experiencing O’ahu a pleasure for mind, body and spirit.
Let’s begin with stops at two famously picturesque retreats along the Waikiki shoreline; the authentically charming Royal Hawaiian followed by the opulence and grandeur of the Moana Surfrider.
At the Royal Hawaiian, we’ll experience the “Royal Lu’au” to get a taste of traditional Hawaiian fare and learn the history of the island, and we’ll spend a palm-shaded afternoon with international superstar (and local hero), Jake Shimabukuro to hear his one-of-a-kind ukulele virtuosity.
We’ll gather at the legendary Mai Tai bar to sample and celebrate the original Shirley Temple, and get a Hawaiian stand-up paddling lesson where legendary Hawaiian waterman Duke Kahanamoku and the original Hawaiian Beach Boys invented modern surfing.
At the Moana Surfrider, we’ll relax, dine and indulge in the sublime luxury that can only be experienced at the hotel known as “The First Lady of Waikiki.” With its stately Banyan Court, spectacular cuisine, unparalleled serve, and serenely appointed Moana Lani Spa, The Moana is a vacationer’s dream and the perfect destination for a best-in-class Hawaiian getaway.
We’ll go below the waves with Atlantis Submarines, and get up close and personal with a pair of extremely rare Wolphins of Sea Life Park, and soak up Pacific island culture among the extensive collections at the world famous Bishop Museum.
Of course, we’ll spend a little time in the sun on the North Shore, cooling off with Matsumoto’s famous Shave Ice in magical Haleiwa Town.
To sample island dining, we will indulge in some seriously delicious cuisine at Waikiki’s own d.k Steak House and learn about freediving and spearfishing over a traditional lunch with island legend Kimi Werner.
So come along, grab your sunscreen, turn off your cell phone, and slip on your flip-flops. Our “Day in O’ahu” is about to begin!
By: Greg Root
Atlantis Submarines’ Underwater Adventure
If you prefer to explore the vast and stunning underwater world while in Hawai’i, a submarine tour is a dream come true. Atlantis Submarines offers environmentally friendly tours of discovery and adventure for an incredible underwater journey. With locations in Waikiki, Kona and Lāhainā, each of the tour locations feature distinct characteristics enabling guests to explore their unique underwater habitats.
You can witness up-close, without getting wet, how sunken ships, remnants of hurricane swept airplanes, pyramid structures, and other objects have combined with Mother Nature to become artificial reefs and attract thousands of fish. These artificial reefs, which Atlantis created in collaboration with the State of Hawai’i, have shaped more undersea “homes for fish” and contributed to the growth of marine life in the area.
A submarine tour is an ideal way to gain first-hand insight into the value and importance of reefs and to observe how mankind can contribute to the development of reefs and associated ecosystems. In the comfort and security of Atlantis’ technologically advanced, and thoroughly eco-friendly and pollutant-free passenger submarines, remarkable reefs can be viewed on this unique underwater tour through areas pulsating with marine life.
Atlantis Submarine Adventures
By: Kelly Taggart
Sea Life Park Hawai’i
Just north of Hanauma Bay, Sea Life Park Hawai’i is a beautifully designed aquatic facility that offers alluring lagoons, pools, and theaters. This unique venue presents an opportunity for visitors to interact with exotic sea life and animals while visiting the beautiful O’ahu Island.
Visitors can explore all that the park has to offer through shows, personal aquatic encounters, and interesting exhibits. Both children and adults can take part in thrilling water activities and exhilarating experiences with marine life including playing with the funny sea lions, swimming with dolphins, learning to understand and appreciate the majestic sea turtles or visiting the Seabird Sanctuary. Dolphins, penguins, and sea lions show off their many talents in the open–air aquatic Hawai’i Ocean Theatre as trainers explain about Sea Life Park Hawai’i’s conservation.
The Hawaiian Shark Tank, a 300,000–gallon aquarium, offers a glimpse into the breathtaking world of Hawai’i’s sharks. Guided by dazzling interactive technology, this popular attraction is home to a dozen native Hawaiian sharks including, scalloped hammerhead sharks, blacktip sharks and whitetip sharks.
From swimming with dolphins and sea lions, a bucket-list line item for many, to feeding sea turtles or diving with stingrays, this one–of–a–kind experience promises to be entertaining, educational, and completely interactive.
Don’t forget to visit the gift shop for plushy versions to take back home – Great reminders of a wondrous sea life adventure!
Sea Life Park Hawai’i
41-202 Kalanianaole Highway #7
Waimanalo, Hawai’i 96795
By: Kelly Taggart
The Perfect Kona Brew – Honolulu Coffee
Looking for the ultimate Kona coffee experience while visiting the Hawaiian Islands? Consider stopping by Honolulu Coffee and savoring a cup of some of the best specialty brew around. Every steaming cup is served up by expertly trained baristas using locally grown Kona coffee beans that have been roasted in small batches in the artisan style of the great old-world coffee roasters.
Grown on the shady, nutrient-rich, and rain-soaked slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano on the big island of Hawai’I, Kona coffee cherries are handpicked, wet-processed, and sun-dried, which result in a seriously smooth cup of coffee.
Founded in 1991, Honolulu Coffee started with one small kiosk in downtown Honolulu, and has since enjoyed continual growth with several locations in Hawai’i, Guam and Japan. Look for Kona Coffee in select local Whole Foods and in duty free shops in Waikiki, Honolulu and Maui.
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Upper Level
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96814
By: Kelly Taggart
Photos: Allen Carrasco and Courtesy Honolulu Coffee
Shave Ice Matsumoto Style
On O’ahu’s beautiful North Shore, a quaint little store sells T-shirts, souvenirs, and snacks. Owners Stanley and Noriko Matsumoto are second-generation proprietors of the namesake family business known for their signature shave ice or “snow cone”. On a warm, sunny day the store produces upwards of 1,000 of the tasty treats for locals and tourists alike.
Tempting flavors such as cotton candy, papaya, lilikoi (passion fruit), mango, pineapple and watermelon are sure to cool and delight. Banana, Coconut and Strawberry Cream versions tantalize for an extra rich treat, and for those in need of less sugary sweetness, sugar-free Banana, Strawberry and Vanilla flavors are big hits.
There are also fun combinations and specials. The Green Tea Special, a local favorite, features shave Ice with Green Tea syrup, drizzled with condensed milk and then topped with a scoop of ice cream and sweet, chewy azuki beans. Yum!
Matsumoto Shave Ice
66-087 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, Hawai’i 96712
By: Kelly Taggart
Photos: Allen Carrasco