I’m a morning person. I enjoy rising early and walking on the beach before all the bodies are packed blanket to blanket in the hot sun. If I can find a cup of coffee to accompany my exploration, all the better. This is my reflection time. My meditation.
Our first morning on Waikiki, I was greeted with this pink-tinged sky over my water view.
We had only a “partial” ocean view from our room and the sunrise was actually behind us so I wanted to get down to the beach to see more.
We checked out of the Outrigger Waikiki well before the noon deadline in hopes that we could check in early at the Marriott but we had no luck in that regard. We stored our bags at the hotel and headed to the bus stop to go to Diamond Head. While we waited for the bus, a taxi came by and offered us the same rate as bus fare so, needless to say, we hopped in. I noticed the meter wasn’t running for our ride, however, so I can’t guarantee the rates.
Diamond Head is a state monument with a 560 feet climb on a .8 mile trail from the bottom of the crater to the summit. Go early to beat the crowds and the heat.
Before our climb, we found a stand near the entrance selling shave ice, the iconic Hawaiian treat that everyone must experience while on the islands. We decided a cold sugar energy jolt was just what we needed before we hiked the trail to the summit.
This is a strenuous climb according to signs posted to warn those with heart or respiratory conditions not to attempt it. It’s deceptive, however, because the trail begins on the crater floor where it’s flat and paved.
The ascent includes dirt paths, switchbacks, stairs, and tunnels.
But the views were spectacular!
We worked up an appetite and we were ready for lunch after our hike. We’d planned to have a plate lunch of authentic Hawaiian food at a well-known local restaurant. Our taxi driver suggested we try Haili’s instead, a less well-known local place that he claimed served much better food at lower prices. He finally convinced us and we’re glad he did. This family-owned and operated restaurant deserves rave reviews. Mahalo (thank you) to our driver and Haili’s.
We walked a little over a mile back to the Marriott and after an additional wait, we finally checked into our rooms. The view was definitely worth the wait.
As much as I enjoyed the early morning on Waikiki, it was nothing compared to sunset. Watching the sun sink into the Pacific is an unforgettable experience and one of the highlights of Waikiki for me.
An extra special addition was the free hula show offered on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights at Kuhio Park on Waikiki Beach. With authentic live musicians and dancers, this show is a must see. Beginning at 6 or 6:30 pm depending on sunset, the show lasts just an hour so get there early with a blanket to sit on and your camera.
Here’s a bit of video from the show to whet your appetite.
Check back next week for another highlight: Pearl Harbor.
Based on events in November 2015.