3 Days in Honolulu- Top Picks in Paradise

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and is known for several locations that have made it a true testament to its name and world renowned destination. Honolulu is known for several key attractions including the Diamond Head monument, Hanaumua Bay, Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbour that draw in millions of visitors every year. Come to relax at Waikiki Beach and experience a unique Japanese inviting atmosphere that contrasts with Miami’s latin flare and learn about its unique military history and the role it played in World War 2. Honolulu is also a great place to take up surfing and other marine activities and take in nature’s bounty at various tropical trees and forests.It is a very friendly and cute city, with relaxing activities for the whole family and adults alike. With a focus on nature, green environments and healthy living, it is no wonder that Honolulu is consistency ranked as one of the livable cities in the United States.

Brief History:

In 1850 King Kamehameha the Second declared the then remote fishing village of Honolulu the capital city of the independent Kingdom of Hawaii. In 1893 an anti monarchy group mostly headed by US citizens overthrew the government and shortly following Hawaii was annexed by the United States. In the period following World War 2 starting in 1959, tourism came to Honolulu and millions flocked to one of the few destinations in the United States with a tropical beach and mild climate that catered to many summer activities. During World War 2, Honolulu was known to be a strategic staging location for the United States and its allies, also while playing key roles during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Following the wars, it is still a key military holding ground for the US Military and its operations.

Top Attractions:

1.The Diamond Head Hike

This easy hike to the monument of Diamond Hike is only 1.3km from the parking lot and rises 171m above sea level, taking you through many stairs ascending to the top. Diamond Hike offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the city of Honolulu as it takes you to the edge of a 300,000 year crater.It is a great place to see the entirely of Honolulu from high up it’s trails and is a great place for getting a panoramic view of the city.

2.Hanauma Bay

Taking a taxi from Waikiki to Hanauma Bay is about 40 minutes, but it is around an hour by bus from the city center in Waikiki. A marine embayment and located on the southeast coast of the Island of O’ahu, many fragile marine organisms exist at Hanauma Bay,including many tropical fish, turtles, eels and other marine life. Snorkeling is a popular activity to do at the bay and the beach offers exciting opportunities to explore the fragile marine ecosystem in Honolulu.Currently because of the pandemic, the bay is closed to the public but keep advised on the website for any changes.

3. Waikiki Beach

A popular beach located several minutes walk from Waikiki’s top hotels, it is the perfect place to play along the sand and float on the beach for relaxation. It is also a prime location to learn how to surf as its calm waters offer the perfect spot to test your balance before heading to more vigorous terrain, such as in San Diego.Along the beach there are also many small shops and convenience stores selling a combination of seafood and snacks.

4. Pearl Harbour Monument

The USS Arizona Memorial is a top attraction at the Pearl Harbour monument and is a testament to to the over 1000 sailors who lost their lives during the bombing of Pearl Harbour. While admission is free, donations are heavily encouraged.Millions of visitors come to the Peal Harbour Monument to learn about the moment where America entered World War 2 in 1941 and the moment the Japanese launched the attack on Pearl Harbour in Honolulu.Come to see the memorial, the battleship and learn about the different aspects America played in the wars.

Where to Stay:

The Various Hotels along Waikiki Beach

Along Waikiki there are many hotels such as the Pacific Beach Hotel(now renamed the Alohilani Hotel)where I stayed that offer exciting accommodating stays.Brand name hotels such such Hilton or Marriot will give you nice stays, but choosing an authentic Hawaiian hotel will make your stay more enjoyable. I remember fondly the cute water bottle that the hotel provided for visitors to stay hydrated. I enjoyed walking along Waikiki’s different districts where the fashion, food, and restaurants were all closely marked together so that people would be able to reach destinations more easily.

Hidden Secrets

1.Salmon Boxes at the Convenience Store

Being from Vancouver, I have high expectations of salon sashimi and take out sushi boxes, but the salmon boxes at the convenience store in Honolulu reminded me of the small bento boxes in Japan. The taste of the fresh chopped salmon sashimi still brings me back to great memories and I can still recall the taste of the chopped sashimi pieces.

2. Spa Massage

Be sure to check at the Hawaiian spa massage at one of the hotels in Waikiki and relax with natural ingredients with a western and eastern fusion. This can help you get relaxed and be ready for a true beach vacation, allowing you to reach your muscles while you relax against the ocean waves.

3. Hawaiian Lau

It is very exciting to attend a Hawaiian Lau, where you can see different performances from Hawaiian culture while eating a buffet with views of the surrounding beaches beside you. The dance performances illustrated a comprehensive performance of Honolulu’s culture, with fire dancers and performers acting out various scenes. Afterwards, there were activities to make traditional Hawaiian headbands in craft centers. There are also photo opportunities with the Hawaiian dancers and performers.

4. Shopping& Dining

The shopping malls in the region of Waikiki were all closed fairly late around 11pm because of the warmer weather and it is more convenient if you have been exploring the city all day. Honolulu has many open-air dining restaurants that focus on local ingredients for their selections located near the beach. Many of the bars and restaurants also try to incorporate the local atmosphere into the design of their facilities, so be enchanted by Bayan trees lining the exterior of places. Honolulu has a small town and relaxed city feel that makes you feel welcome and the atmosphere is also very exciting to meet new people.

Chelsea Reviews 4/5

Honolulu is quite a small city compared to other warm destination getaways such as Miami, Cancun or Bangkok, but it offers a distinctive fusion of Japanese and American cross-culture as a result of it’s military history and involvement during World War 2. Come here to check out Waikiki Beach, the savoury sashimi boxes, and shopping until late hours in Honolulu’s shopping district, which becomes animated with lights during Christmas and leave with a sense of the influx of global cultures in the United States. I would definitely come back again after the pandemic and explore all the wonderful changes that Honolulu has undergone since to maintain it's history and incorporate modernity and culture into it's hotels, restaurants and attractions!

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