Oahu, Vegas Meets Mexico

When we finally landed in Honolulu, I was one hot mess.  We’d been travelling for two days and I’d only had about three hours of sleep.  We had paid extra to have a lei greeting, because I felt that was something we needed to experience while in Hawaii.  Ours were given to us by a representative of the shuttle company who was taking us to our hotel.  It was nice to see the family members greeting their loved ones who had returned home with leis.

My first impression as we were driving through Waikiki to our hotel was that Waikiki is kind of like Vegas meets Mexico, but without the casinos.  Waikiki is super busy!  There are people everywhere walking the streets, lots of tall buildings, and all the high end shopping you could hope for, like the Vegas strip atmosphere, but it’s right next to a beach and there are palm trees everywhere, so it has the tropical vibe of Mexico.

We got to our hotel, checked in, ventured out to an ABC store to find some food and then crashed.

Originally, we had planned on hiking Diamond Head our first morning in Honolulu, but we had to scrap that because of the flight delay.  It’s on the list for next time!  Fortunately, we hadn’t booked any activities for our first day so we weren’t out any money and didn’t lose any reservations.

We did go to Pearl Harbour and saw the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine, and the USS Missouri.  We went on our own.  Our hotel offered a shuttle service there.  I liked this better than doing an organized tour because we were able to wander around on our own for as long or as little as we wanted.  We did the audio tours for the Arizona and Bowfin, which I highly suggest.  They give you headsets and you walk around and punch in the numbers to hear the commentary for what you’re seeing.

I felt like I got some education.  The Bowfin was pretty cool because you actually got to go inside the submarine.  It was a lot bigger inside than I expected.  Still, I don’t think I would like to be in the navy and have to stay in one for extended periods of time.

You can reserve time slots online for the boat that takes you out to the USS Arizona Memorial now.  This is something they just started doing recently, I think.  I’d recommend it if you’re going.  Apparently the lines used to get very long.

The other activity we did was shark diving… well I stayed on the boat.  I was so close to getting up the nerve to actually get in the cage, but I felt a little sea sick.  Michael got in the water with the sharks.  I still had a pretty good view from the boat.

The visibility is really good because the water is so clear and they don’t have to chum the water.  The sharks are conditioned to come near the boat when they hear its engine because of all the crab fishing boats that have been in the area for years.  The sharks that we saw were Galapagos sharks.

Other than that, we rented chairs and an umbrella on the beach one afternoon and hung out at the pool the other afternoon.  I went for my first swim in the Pacific!  There was a beautiful view of Diamond Head from the beach.

We ate at Moose McGillicuddy’s because Adam from Man Vs. Food went there.  He did some sort of 12 egg omelette challenge.  We did not.  We also ate at Arancino’s which was a little Italian place on a tiny side street by our hotel and it was fantastic!

I discovered the Mocha Coconut Frappacino from Starbucks.  Love!  And had my first shave ice.

We stayed in an ocean view room at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach.  It was a nice hotel and I would recommend it.  It was in a good location and the staff were friendly and helpful.  Plus it was right on the beach.

Overall, Oahu seemed to be a busier island.  Because Honolulu is there, most of the population of Hawaii lives on this island.  There are still so many more activities and places to explore.  I feel like we barely even scratched the surface!  Lots left to do for our next visit!

5 thoughts on “Oahu, Vegas Meets Mexico

  1. discoverhawaii says:

    Aloha Karen, great post! Your photo of the leis and the Outrigger book is exceptional, nice use of natural lighting.

    Waikiki is a very busy place. But, there are many quiet escapes just a half hour away from Waikiki. Next time you visit, I recommend visiting the Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe, it’s so peaceful and beautiful!


  2. discoverhawaii says:

    Waikiki is a very busy place indeed. But you can escape the bustle of Oahu’s city life, there are many places on Oahu that are quiet and peaceful, away from the city. Next time you’re on Oahu, be sure to check out the Byodo-In Temple, you’ll love it! Plus, it’s a great place for photo opportunities, you’ll have so many beautiful pictures to post on your blog 🙂

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