Are you sick of reading about Hawaii yet? I sure hope not, as I still have to tell you all about our brush with Pele on the Big Island and the crazy dancer-like spa treatment I had inside a pool INSIDE A LAVA TUBE. But first, let’s mix it up a bit and hop on over to Oahu, shall we?
Because after nearly a week on Hawaii, we did just that: We caught a flight to Honolulu. I had only ever been to the Big Island, and while SVV had spent a lot of time traveling among the Big Island, Maui and Kauai, he had also never been to Oahu. So we aimed to remedy that on this trip and add another Hawaiian isle to our list of travels.
To be honest, I wasn’t that jazzed about seeing Honolulu. Just another big city—I thought. Or not. I’m often wrong about a lot of things (Hear that, SVV? Yes, occasionally I can be wrong.), as was the case here. Because the city, it was beautiful. It was lovely from sea level, but it was also lovely from above. It had a great energy, was not lacking for things to do, and everywhere we drove, there were spectacular vistas that beckoned for us to pull over and photograph.
We only spent four nights on Oahu—two on the North Shore, two in the city—and so the final morning before our red eye flight that night, we got up early and headed to Diamond Head to tackle one of Honolulu’s most popular hikes. Conveniently, the state park was located just about a mile from our hotel in Waikiki.
We had only arrived in the parking lot when I realized why people told us to go early (as in before 9am, which is when we got there). It’s not because it’s hot—I found the temperature on the Big Island and Oahu absolutely perfect and lacking in the Southern humidity to which I’m accustomed when in warm locales—but rather to avoid the crowds. Even at the relatively early hour at which we went, we were constantly moving off the path to let other people pass us as they headed back in the opposite direction that we were walking.
The trail is just about a mile from the parking lot to the observation deck up top. We were told to give ourselves two to three hours, but realistically you just need an hour round trip if you’re in reasonably good shape. The top is so crowded, you probably won’t want to stick around after you’ve had time to snap a few pictures.
The hike itself wasn’t bad—if you manage to block out the one hundred-something stairs you must climb up near the top. But the effort is worth it for the panorama.
We got back to our car just after 10am, with plenty of time remaining for a leisurely drive along the Windward Side. Leaving this tropical perfection to return to cold, blustery San Francisco was downright painful.
Have you hiked Diamond Head? What did you think? What was your overall impression of Honolulu?