Activities in Oahu Honolulu The Gathering Place, HI

Waimea Valley

Waimea Beach Park, Oahu, HI

Waimea Valley is a lush green park with deep historical roots that are very important to Hawaiian culture and religion. For visitors, the valley is a place of solace where they can escape the busier tourist trappings of Oahu... (view more)

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Description : ABOUT Photo Safari Hawaii… view more

YAH Says : Photo Safari Hawaii Please… view more

Photo Safari Hawaii

Please visit our Editor's article on Photo Safari Hawaii on the Alternaive Oahu Travel Guide homepage.

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Description : ABOUT Maita'i Catamaran Waikiki… view more

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Maita'i Catamaran Waikiki Beach Honolulu

You see them all of the time gliding to and from the shores of Waikiki Beach. The catamarans are everywhere. They dot the horizon tempting you to hit the closest activities desk to find out how you can become a part of the silhouettes out there on the south shore sea. There are a few to choose from and while they all offer fantastic 90-minute (or longer) excursions we stand by one in particular - the one with the name that just beckons you to hop on board to soak (and sip) up the scenery while the warm winds flutter your eyelashes - the Maita'i Catamaran.

Launching just sandy steps below the Sheraton Waikiki infinity pool you'll find eager guests of all ages waiting for the day's various sailings while the slippered wrangler checks names off of her clipboard in preparation for boarding. Before you do the staff photographer snaps a memory for you and your party which will be developed during your journey. You then get your toes wet when wading into the shorebreak to climb the steps to your bench seat on the Maita'i. Once all are settled and the boat slips into the sea the board-short adorned and blond stubbled captain goes over the itinerary while cracking a few jokes in between. The synopsis of the rules? Have fun.

If you've opted for the popular Sun Set Mai Tai sailing (our favorite) you'll find it doesn't take long before drinks are served and everyone of-age on board has an aptly named cocktail in hand. Be sure not to throw back too many of the "included with the price of admission" beverages too soon because you don't want to skew the scene as the turquoise waters of Waikiki turn to an impossible deep blue once the reef is a distant memory. In one moment you're on the bustling shore of the world's most famous beach and in the next your gently bobbing up and down with new friends on the sea with the slapping of swell against the hull and island tunes jamming in the background to serve as the soundtrack.

After a few more Mai Tai's are doled out (the bartender is generous) guests begin to mingle more and the music is turned up a notch inciting a sing-a-long of Sweet Caroline between bouts of reggae, hip hop, and 80's tunes. That is until the catamaran's trajectory figuratively stops the music and induces an onslaught of "oohs" and "aahs" as it makes its way to an incomparable panorama of Diamond Head Crater's exterior. The dolphin's eye view of its girth with the sunset to the south accentuating its beveled edges almost brings a tear to the eye. Bring your camera.

The impending prospect of having to return to shore weighs heavy for a moment but as the sun sets and the breeze cools (bring a sweater) the 90-minutes to two-hour journey feels just perfect as you glide towards the sands together. Along the way you wave to passengers on other passing vessels, conclude conversations maintained with couples from across the world, make evening plans amongst your party, and sip one last Mai Tai. Once ashore you are handed your souvenir photo ($15 if you desire to purchase one), exchange smiles and peasantries with the crew, and are on your way up the steps of the seawall. The perfect way to conclude your day, and start your evening in Waikiki.

Maita'i Catamaran Waikiki Beach Honolulu

Join the captain, crew, and guests on board the Maita'i Catamaran

Review by Marcus Maraih, Oahu Editorial Contributor of YAHglobal - Follow Marcus Maraih on Google

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Description : ABOUT Laniakea Beach -… view more

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Laniakea Beach - Turtle Beach Oahu

Next to the Waikiki Aquarium, Laniakea Beach on Oahu's North Shore is your best guarantee for sea turtle spotting. However at Laniakea, the Honu is in its natural environment and almost inexplicably can be found daily sunning themselves on the golden white sands of this small strip of beach found between Haleiwa and Waimea Bay. While theories abound as to why the honu prefer this beach to any other on Oahu, much of the reason can be found in the form of the deep green seaweed - a favorite food of theirs - that collects on the tide washed shoreline. Sun, snacks, and relaxation. Laniakea Beach is the Turtle Bay Resort for sea turtles.

Laniakea Beach, Oahu, Sea Turtle

This is Brutus, the oldest local that sloths ashore daily at Laniakea Beach

Due to a few too many visitors in the past seeking a "hands-on" experience, a local Sea Turtle Protection organization has been established on site where volunteers take turns at 4 hour shifts, placing a red rope in a radius around each beached turtle to ensure that onlookers stay just that. Unfortunately on the rare occasion when volunteers miss duty (extreme weather conditions, etc...), a few visitors devoid of common sense continue to overstep the boundaries between man and nature and ruin it for the rest of us, so please do stay vigilant (with words) if you should see such a behavior and alert Malama Na Honu next door to the beach. The organization is always on the look out for volunteers so if you have the time and you fit the bill please do contact Malama Na Honu to see if there is a way you too can contribute to protecting the honu. Otherwise, from a respectful distance please feel free to snap photos and pose questions to the volunteers to learn more about Laniakea's favorite residents and to inquire if there is any way that you can aid in this well worthy project to protect one of Hawaii's most endearing natives.

Laniakea Beach Sea Turtles

YAHglobal minding the red rope border, keeping the locals safe from touchy tourists

Laniakea Beach Sea Turtles

Crowds form when more than one sea turtle comes ashore to interact with one another

Write-up & Photos by Marcus Maraih - Editor. Follow Marcus on Google

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Description : ABOUT Dole Plantation Oahu… view more

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Dole Plantation Oahu

It's like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, but with Pineapples. While this may be one of those "typical" Oahu attractions, it's popular for a good reason. The train is fun for the kids and the maze is a blast for all in the ohana and the pineapple flavored soft serve ice cream is a great way to top it off with a refreshment afterwards. You also learn a thing or two about the islands most recognized export (next to aloha spirit) and can pick up some great treats at the gift shop. Incorporate Dole Plantation into the early part of your day and head to the nearby North Shore when you get the urge to escape the touristy vibe.

Dole Plantation Frozen Yogurt

Do not leave the Dole Plantation Oahu without sampling the Dole Frozen Yogurt!

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Description : ABOUT Kailua Beach Oahu… view more

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Kailua Beach Oahu

Without question, Kailua Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Oahu, renowned for relaxing, swimming, windsurfing and it's picture perfect scenery. Kailua Beach is popular but not the madhouse that Waikiki Beach is. 

Pretty much every beach activity you can think of is at your beckon call in Kailua Beach, from bikes, to boards to kayaks, you will never run out of things to do. If you do, then nothing is better than plopping down in the shade of beach rooted tree and fall asleep until sunset (you'll want to wake up in time to see that!).

Do not forget your camera (although there may be a few available at the concession or nearby store) as you could dedicate a whole album to Kailua Beach Oahu alone.

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Description : ABOUT Byodo-In Temple The Byodo-In… view more

YAH Says : Byodo-In Temple Review pending.… view more

Byodo-In Temple

Review pending. YAHglobal recently visited the Byodo-In Temple. Check back soon for updates!

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7. Ewa Train

Address : 91-1001 Renton Rd, Ewa Beach, HI

Phone : (808) 681 5461

Description : ABOUT Ewa Train The… view more

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Ewa Train

Read our editor's review of the Ewa Train on All Aboard an Historic Tour of Oahu's Railway

Ewa Train

Ewa Train

Ewa Train

Ewa Train

Ewa Train Crossing

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Description : ABOUT Tropical Farms Macadamia… view more

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Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm

Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm is an unassuming and almost hidden attraction off of Kamehameha Highway and is spotted as one drives north from Waikiki along the Windward side of Oahu through Kaneohe approaching Kualoa Beach Park. In fact, it's rarely a destination point but more of a "find" when one is going to and from the aforementioned park, Kualoa Ranch, or the North Shore. Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm starts as a pit stop but soon becomes an endearing experience for those that happen upon its sign and rustic driveway.

Inside you will find a fantastic gift shop where you can browse merchandise related to the plantation as well as local works of art, jewelry, and other island creations. A macadamia nut sampling table tempts the palate and leaves you defenseless against purchasing at least one bag of the many varieties within. Macadamia flavored coffee is offered at no cost (but please tip) in small styrofoam cups and refills are encouraged. For those in need of a more refreshing beverage, the Coconut Hut outside machete chops open a fresh coconut in front of your eyes which is then stuck with a straw and presented to you for your sipping pleasure. Other items can be purchased from the hut and we recommend getting a personalized painted coconut which will be addressed and mailed directly to your mainland home (you can't cross borders with agricultural goods). It is a very pleasing "surprise" to be sitting in melancholy back at home pining to be back in Hawaii when a knock at your door has FedEx or UPS with a coconut made in your honor waiting for your release signature.

The actual Macadamia Nut Farm Oahu tour is fascinating for those with a penchant for such things and at the very least is a great way to learn more about the process that results in one of the best tasting nuts on the planet.

Be sure to make Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm a part of your windward drive or tour bus itinerary the next time you visit Oahu.

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Description : ABOUT Waimea Valley Oahu… view more

YAH Says : Waimea Valley Oahu Waimea… view more

Waimea Valley Oahu

Waimea Valley Oahu is a lush green park with deep historical roots that are very important to Hawaiian culture and religion. For visitors, the valley is a place of solace where they can escape the busier tourist trappings of Oahu and simply enjoy a walk through the expansive botanical gardens, exploring vegetation both rare and unique to the islands. For most, the highlight of the experience is the waterfall found at the peak of the hike where a pool below reflects tales of healing waters used by ancient Hawaiians. When the falls are calm, visitors are allowed to swim in the pool and at times there are professional cliff jumpers on site, plunging into the cool surface below to the delight of onlookers.

While most of natural Oahu is open to exploration at no expense, there is a $15 admission fee for Waimea Valley due to the historical significance and the need to allocate funds towards preserving this important piece of Hawaiian culture. While the cost is certainly justified, many visitors will want to check ahead of time if the falls are open for swimming since this is a main attraction for many. A few disappointed faces can be seen on those trekking back from Waimea Valley when the conditions don't allow for a dip. For those that can't get enough of green scenery and history to boot, Waimea Valley will not disappoint.

Side note: One of the most interesting attractions at Waimea Valley Oahu are the ancient tiki grounds - the heiau - found at the park entrance where the "Hale o Lono" - House of Lono - built between 1470 A.D. and 1700 A.D., stands as a shrine to one of ancient Hawaii's four main gods. You can view and photograph this attraction without paying the entry fee and is thus worth the hike up to the valley in itself.

Waimea Valley Oahu - Hale o Lono

Article & Photos by Marcus Maraih - Editor. Follow Marcus on Google

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Description : ABOUT USS Arizona Memorial Honolulu… view more

YAH Says : USS Arizona Memorial Honolulu… view more

USS Arizona Memorial Honolulu HI

Review pending. YAHglobal recently visited the USS Arizona Memorial. Check back soon for updates!

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