Waikiki Travel Guide

Waikiki sunset

 

What was once hailed as an exclusive playground of the Hawaiian royalty and their cronies has now unfolded into a paradise open for everyone to revel in its beauty. From dramatic landscapes, to ever-changing lava show, to gorgeous beaches, to scintillating nightclubs, to quiet parks, Waikiki throbs with sights to behold and things to do– all that will fulfill your Hawaii fantasy. Once you set your foot on its beaches, take the lava tour, start your longboarding escapade, or tread from one end of the island to another, you will see that even a month in Waikiki is never enough with all that it has to offer.

Best Time to Visit

Unlike other tourist destinations, Waikiki’s prime season is not during summer – it is when North America and Europe are at its worst temperatures. As one of the most famous retreats for westerners during the winter season, Waikiki is jam packed from December to mid-April. Summer, from June to August, is another good time to travel to Waikiki. It is one of the city’s peak seasons, but summer tolls are comparably cheaper to wintertime rates.

However, if you want to get away from the throngs of fellow tourists (and get cheap hotel and airfare rates at the same time), you should schedule your Waikiki vacation during Spring (April to June) or Autumn (September to mid-December).

Getting Around Waikiki

One of the greatest things about Waikiki is its small size, which allows you to traverse through most of its attractions by foot. For you to do that, you just need to be familiar with the district’s three main streets: Ala Wai Boulevard, Kuhio Avenue and Kalakaua Avenue. However, if walking proves to be too taxing for you, you can go ahead and rent a scooter or a moped, which gives you the chance to roam the streets at a safe rate of 35 MPH. Prices range so make sure to look around. Remember that two persons riding a moped is illegal, so if you are with your family and friends, they need to rent their own scooters too. A friendly reminder: always keep right!

Another option is riding the Hawaiian trolley, considered as one of the best methods to get around the city comfortably. Trolley tours can give you a bird’s eye view of the city’s top destinations, such as the Hilo Hattie and Chinatown. A one-day pass (available online at waikikitrolley.com) costs USD 15 for children and USD 32 for adults.

Things to Do

This former Hawaiian royalty dwelling has undergone a beautiful renaissance. Waikiki has evolved into a vibrant center of activity, a destination that evokes the spirit of Aloha to the rest of the world, which we know of today.Whatever you endeavor to do in Waikiki, it presents a wealth of choices for you. Here are some.

1) Water-Based Activities

Waikiki

Photo credit: www.surftravel.com.au

Begin your day by taking a hike along Waikiki’s beautiful beaches and catching a glimpse of the awe-inspiring sunrise. Spend the rest of your day soaking up in the sun, kayaking, snorkeling, parasailing, or canoeing; you’ll see you’ll never have a shortage of things to do on Waikiki waters. Of course, don’t forget to feed your passion for surfing. Who knows, you may get a chance to have a lesson from one of the real Waikiki Beach Boys, instructors who descend from a long line of watermen personally taught by Duke Kahanamoku.

2) Land-Based Activities

Just because Waikiki is an island doesn’t mean you should just focus on its beaches. Enjoy the rest of your getaway by exploring Waikiki by foot, biking, or even renting a moped. Learn how to play a ukulele or dance the hula. Take your feet to the Royal Hawaiian Center, Luxury Row, Waikiki Beach Walk, or the International Marketplace and embark on a shopping spree.

If you’re with children or with the entire family, take them to Kapiolani Park and have a picnic there, and visit the Honolulu Zoo just across the street. Then explore Waikiki’s prime attractions. As if those weren’t enough, venture beyond to Pearl Harbor the North Shore.

3) Unwind in Waikiki’s Spas

After a long day of roaming around Waikiki and basking in the sun, you deserve to relax and unwind. Find a hotel or a resort that has a spa, which offers a soothing Lomi-lomi massage and other rejuvenation treatments, unique to Waikiki. If you can find it right where you are staying, you’re in for a nice treat!

Waikiki Celebrations

Every month of the year is considered a great time to visit Waikiki because of its nice year-round weather. But if you are looking for a better reason for your trip schedule, then these Hawaiian festivities should help you make a good decision:

1) Waikiki Spam Jam Festival

Do you love Spam? Well, you will have a blast should you decide to visit the city during the Waikiki Spam Jam Festival. Held annually every April, this event showcases entertaining activities, as well as a parade of crafts by Hawaiian’s best artists.

2) Waikiki Fourth of July Celebration

Have a great Fourth of July with your family and friends by visiting Waikiki during the American Independence Day. The festivity’s highlights include the Giant Fireworks Display at the Ala Moana Beach Park and live entertainment events in other parts of the district. Shoppers will also have a fun time during Waikiki’s fourth of July, since this usually brings about discounts and sales at the nearby Ala Moana Mall.

3) Annual Ukulele Festival

Apart from its stunning beaches, one of the things that are inherently Hawaiian is the Ukulele. Experience Hawaii’s symbolic instruments by attending the Annual Ukulele Festival, held every July at the Kapiolani Park. Here you can learn lessons, listen to professional performers, maybe even get a Ukulele of your own!

4) Waikiki Ho’olaule’a

Celebrated every September, the Waikiki Ho’olaule’a is a festivity that features sumptuous food, leis, Hawaiian crafts, and numerous forms of entertainment. This annual festivity also features a colorful parade that marches through Kalakaua Avenue.

5) Authentic Hawaiian Music and Hula

Held nightly every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, the Authentic Hawaiian Music and Hula event features excellent performances by the country’s best hula halaus or dance troupes. The celebration, which takes place from 6pm to 7pm at the Kuhio beach, is well known for its torch lighting ceremony and the ritual blowing of the conch shell.


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Marv Perez