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Sandwich Islands

Oʻahu

Story by Pavel Macek September 8th, 2014

Before moving to San Francisco it never occurred to us that we can visit Hawaii. It’s one of those places that feels too far away, too out of reach. However, it’s “only” 5 hour flight from SF so to our great delight we could do it. After initial excitement we realised there are several amazing islands and we have to choose one. After not being able to do so, we chose two. Oahu – small and most heavily populated and the Big Island – largest and scarcely populated. It’s only a short hop between the islands, which made it all the easier.

Fun fact – Hawaii was formerly known to Europeans and Americans as the “Sandwich Islands“, a name chosen by James Cook in honor of the then First Lord of the Admiralty John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Hence the title of the story.

We’ve spent 4 days on Oahu all together. Without even realising it, we ended up renting Airbnb apartment next to Waikiki beach, probably most know beach on Oahu. The apartment was tiny, if we had one more suitcase we would not fit, but the view from the 40th floor was worth it.

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Waikiki beach wasn’t at all crowded as we feared. A walk during sunset was terrific, we even saw fireworks that Hilton Hotel prepares every Friday directly on the beach right after sunset.

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After unsuccessful attempt to park at Diamond Head (large crater preserve right next to Honolulu), we decided to go to Makapuu Point State Wayside instead. It was a good choice, less crowded with equally beautiful views.

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For anyone fond of snorkeling over coral reef, Hanauna beach with protected corals is ideal. Just 20 minutes outside of Honolulu with limited capacity so you don’t have to worry about the beach being too crowded. Watch out for the tides though, it’s a sandy beach so the water can get quite muddy.

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Walking through Honolulu downtown on Sunday evening surprisingly felt a bit like walking through ghost town.
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North of Oahu was much less populated and presented us with miles and miles of sandy beaches with barely anyone there. If you ever find yourself near Waialua bay, stop by at Waialua Bakery. Also, food trucks in Pūpūkea might be ideal spot for lunch.

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From Sunset beach to Laie point.

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Buddhist “The Byodo-In Temple” inside a beautiful valley called correspondingly “The Valley of the Temples”.
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Our last stop on Oahu – Lanikai beach. A bit difficult to access and find, however, sunset at this beach made it worth the trouble.

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Hawaii, United States