Tuesday, February 22, 2011

O'ahu Do's and Don'ts

1. Stay in a vacation rental.
2. Go to the Polynesian Cultural Center.
3. Skip the plate lunch but buy from a shrimp truck.

Good lunch!

We did the Circle Island tour, which provided a great overview of O’ahu, but our guide, though very knowledgeable, was quite boring. This is a tour that you certainly can do on your own. In fact, I would advise you to do so. Just get a rental and follow the driving directions on Alternative Hawaii. The advantages of DIY are plenty – you can linger at the places that catch your fancy and skip the ones that don’t, and you can opt to buy lunch from one of the shrimp trucks instead of going to a traditional restaurant, like we did (it was part of the tour package). Luckily, Crouching Tiger, our lunch stop, offered butter garlic shrimp, which was a shrimp truck specialty. That’s what I ordered and I was happy I did. It was flavorful and the shrimps were perfectly cooked. I would take this over the traditional plate lunch, any day.

Waimea Valley Audubon Center

If you decide to circle the island, whether with a tour group or on your own, make sure to do the hike to the waterfalls in Waimea Valley Audubon Center. The waterfall isn’t something to rave about at only 45 feet but the hike itself was easy and fun.

Schedule a morning or afternoon of snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. Very accessible from Waikiki.

Sunset Beach at the North Shore. Only if you’re a surfer or a confident swimmer.

I would have loved to try out the maze but we only had 20 minutes and I had to try the Dole Whip, a soft-serve pineapple-flavored frozen dessert (alas, nothing great).

We went to a macadamia nut factory where the Kona coffee was great. So was the unflavored roasted macadamia nut.

Our Circle Island stops

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