There’s more than one reason why Honolulu is the most populous and remote city in the world. The surrounding landscapes and beaches are among the most beautiful and life is a cheer in the city that bares the name ‘calm port’. There’s plenty of unique stories to discover within reach from Honolulu. Jump in a car and watch the stunning landscape outside the city unfold in front of your eyes.
The Haiku Stairs
One of the most beautiful trails on Hawaii is the Haiku Stairs. Locals call it the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ for its immense climb and equally breathe taking views. The steps lead to an abandoned radio tower used by the US military in World War II. The construction in 1941 was a highly classified project and the tower was able to send messages across the pacific, deep into Tokyo harbour.
Although it’s nowadays forbidden to enter the Haiku stairs, many still make the hike. We wouldn’t recommend you to do anything illegal so in order to get permit to access you can offer the foundation Friends of Haiku Stairs a helping hand to restore and maintain the trail.
Koko Crater Botanical Garden
Dry and shielded from wind, this crater is the sweet spot for an impressive cactus collection. It grows rare and endangered dry land plants, spread out over 60 acres of the 200-acre crater. Stroll around the over 3 km long route and find yourself in a fata morgana.
The garden is divided according to the vegetation of the four different regions it represents: the Americas, Africa, and Madagascar and of course Hawaii. While you’re here, don’t forget to have look around at the nearby Koko Crater Horse Stables.
Popular among the rich and famous, the beach of ‘Heavenly Waters’ should be at your standard. It has the perfect white sand and its two small islands just off the coast give your holiday pictures the backdrop of a postcard. Watching the full moon rise from this beach may well become one of your most romantic memories.
On another note, please be sure to leave the car at a paid parking lot, the residential area is known for its continuous parking control. If you like to swim or sail to one of the two islands, set foot on the larger one as the small one is a protected bird’s paradise.
Although it’s hard to get tired of Oahu’s beaches, we also recommend a deep dive in history. The plantation village is an outdoor museum that tells stories about the sugar planting around the 1900s. Life on the plantation brought the different cultures living on Hawaii together in a mix of Chinese, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, Japanese, Korean, and Filipino.
The museum shows restored houses of the various ethnic groups, community buildings, infirmary, community bathhouse, and manager’s office. They are decorated with hundreds of artifacts including clothing, furniture artwork, and art placed in their original settings.
Any account of the Second World War mentions Pearl Harbor as a turning point in history. It was the bombardment of the harbour that left thousands of young soldiers dead, and prompted the US to declare war against Japan and its allies. Today it is an area of commemoration and education.
Start at the visitor center where you get a good overview of the history and all the different spots of interest in the area. Many Honolulu tour operators can lead you around, but you are also able to visit a number yourself.