After 3 days in a very cold San Francisco we were more than ready for some Hawaiian sunshine. And we weren’t disappointed! The climate in Hawaii has to be one of the nicest in the world, warm but with a continual light breeze. During our 7 days here we did not have to put even a pashmina around our shoulders! During the day the weather was perfect and at night it was cooler but still pleasant and sultry.
I had visited O’ahu once before about 30 years ago and I was interested in seeing how it had changed. Unfortunately it has got busier, especially Honolulu. There is so much traffic that crossing a road takes ages (jay-walking is taken very seriously in Hawaii so even if you can see that the road is clear for 2 miles either way, no one is allowed to cross until they get the green light!). There are also many more hotels along the front of Waikiki Beach. It looks a little like New York on the Beach! But having said all that, it is still one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The sand is soft and white, the water is warm and you can sit and watch the surfers until the sun goes down. We found the hire of sun loungers hugely expensive ( approx $60 a day!) so came up with the ingenious idea of buying 2 beach chairs at $20 each from the omnipresent ABC stores (they stock absolutely everything!) and when we left we gave them to other holidaymakers!
Although Honolulu is very commercialised, the rest of the island is fairly unspoilt. We did a “Round Island Tour” and it was great. Our rather scary guide, Laney, was very informative and helpful nd we went to Diamond Head (beautiful views), a Dole pineapple plantation (you could buy ANYTHING pineapple orientated) and passed numerous beautiful deserted beaches. We stopped for lunch at a roadside shack that sold farmed prawn dishes, they even did a veggie noodle dish for me as I am a veggie.
Pearl Harbour is a definite must-do! There is so much to see here and you can get the boat out to the Arizona Monument which is a memorial situated above the sunken Arizona boat. It is very moving.
Food is plentiful in Hawaii. Especially sea-food. As in all parts of America there are restaurants to suit everyone’s needs. As they have huge amounts of Japanese tourists there are also a lot of sushi restaurants. (By the way, watch out for selfie-sticks! Every Japanese tourist seems to have one and walking past them as they take a photo can be quite hazardous!)
Watch out also for the service charge in restaurants. A lot of places expect a 15% service charge and even demand it, no matter what the service has actually been like. (We saw a couple of waiters arguing with tourists because they didn’t thinkthey had left enough tip!)
The sunsets are brilliant in Honolulu and a good place to watch these is either one of the beach side hotel bars or at “The Top of the Tower” a bar/restaurant with a revolving restaurant. We also saw a stunning sunset on a “Sunset Cruise” where we also enjoyed a buffet meal and champagne.
So yes, Honolulu is commercialised but it is also beautiful and exciting. A few days there with a few days at one of the less commercialised beaches would be paradise!