Travel Guide – Honolulu (Hawaii), USA
Author: Alison Delaney | Last Updated: 21 Apr 2018
Honolulu is positioned on the south of the island of Oahu, and it is the capital of the USA’s most distant state of Hawaii in the centre of the Pacific Ocean. With a population of almost 400 thousand, Honolulu is the largest city on the islands that together make up the youngest state of the USA.
Tropical weather and a relaxed vacation lifestyle make the city one of the best places to wind down and really make your holiday worthwhile. Simple public transport solutions make getting around the city effortless and other options like Uber and Lyft also make affordably getting from place to place quick an easy. Those who are looking to head off road though and really see the best that the city and it’s surrounding forests have to offer.
There are loads of interesting places to go and things to do on the island of Oahu, read on to discover 5 attractions you should include in your travel itinerary when visiting Honolulu.
Hanauma Bay can be found to the east of the city close to an area known as Hawaii Kai, this is a must-see area if you have an interest in snorkelling. The bay itself has recessed into a crater and also is a marine sanctuary as well as a protected nature reserve with a wonderful stretch of golden sandy beach. Before you can get into the water and begin snorkelling though, you have to watch a short video to learn about the preservation of local marine life, then you’ll be allowed to take the short walk to the beach and snorkel while surrounded by cool clear water.
It is open from 6 am until 6 pm every day except Tuesday and parking will cost you $1 while snorkelling costs $7.50, rental of masks and snorkels costs an additional $12.50.
Honolulu Zoo / Aquarium
Honolulu Zoo is located to the east of Waikiki and covers an area of 42 acres with over 900 species of animals, many of them native to tropical countries. In addition to the diversity of the animals, the gardens of the zoo contain several plants and flowers native to Hawaii.
Waikiki Aquarium located nearby is small but an educational attraction to discover for yourself the marine like living in the surrounding seas.
You can easily visit both attractions on the same day, they both open at 9 am and close at 4.30pm. The zoo costs $14 and the aquarium $12.
Iolani Palace / Downtown Honolulu
Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu was designed and constructed for by King Kalakaua in 1879 in an effort to increase the prestige and recognition of Hawaii throughout the world. Originally it was titled Hale Alii but the name was later changed to its present one by King Kamehameha V.
You can take a tour of the first and second floors with or without a guide to view the elegance of the Grand Hall, the Blue Room and the Throne Room. On the second floor, you will see the King’s private suites as well as Queen Kapiolani’s suite. The viewing areas of the palace are beautifully restored to give you an insight into the royal history of Hawaii; while you are downtown you might want to visit the State Capitol.
The palace is open from 9 am until 4 pm every day except Sunday, the entry fee is $14.75, while a guided tour will cost $21.75.
The hike to Manoa Falls is an easy route through the lush green tropical forest that surrounds Honolulu. This easy trail should only take 20 or 30 minutes giving you a chance to stretch your legs a little and see some of Hawaii’s beautiful flora and fauna. There are warning signs advising of the dangers of falling rocks at the waterfall but many people choose to take a refreshing swim despite the risk.
The falls and the trail have been used in multiple films and are one of the countless picturesque locations on the island. There is a $5 fee for parking but you can park down the street and walk in avoiding this charge.
Waikiki is a famous area of Honolulu’s south shore and is the tourist strip full of high rise hotels and resort complexes close to the beach. It is a great area for a relaxing walk along the beach, go shopping at the fancy malls or dine at one of the many restaurants. Next to Waikiki you will find the Ala Moana Shopping Center, Honolulu’s premier and largest shopping mall, it is full of designer outlet stores and restaurants.
There are so many great places to relax and eat here, and some that have even been featured in movies. One place, in particular, you might want to try is getting breakfast at Eggs ‘n’ Things, a famous local restaurant.
There are lots of things to do in Honolulu with attractions and activities for all, ranging from snorkelling or walking along the beach to learning about the local wildlife at the zoo. Something for everyone includes shopaholics and those that like a gentle hike.
Adventurers will feel right at home here too. Honolulu boasts some of the US’s best off-roading tracks and more hidden waterfalls and nature parks than you can imagine. Just renting a car and spending a few hours on the city’s outskirts in the mountains and by the sea will have you finding more than a dozen places to swim and hike.
Enjoy the sun, the palm trees and the refreshing ocean breeze during your stay in Honolulu, it is one of the worlds most popular beach spots after all. Sticking around for the sunset each evening those is really the cherry on top of your stay in Hawaii.
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