The weather is almost always perfect in Honlulu. Hurricanes
do not hit often. Hurricane season runs from June
to November so check the news before traveling to
see if an infrequent storm is forthcoming. November
to March gets the most rain. April, May, September
and October have gorgeous weather and a fewer tourists
than the summer months.
The average high temperature year-round is always
in the 80s. Average lows stay in the 60s and 70s.
December is the month with the most rainfall, averaging
close to four inches for the month. During June, July,
August and September less than one inch of rain falls.
After arrival youll have several options on
offer to get around town. The BUS (call 808 296-1818
for recorded information) will take you around the
whole island for $1. A visitor's pass, available at
ABC stores, costs $10 for four days of unlimited travel.
All the major car rental companies have airport locations.
The Waikiki Trolley runs around Waikiki and downtown
Honolulu, stopping every 40 minutes at 12 key places:
Hilton Hawaiian Village; Iolani Palace; Wo Fat's in
Chinatown; the State Capitol; King Kamehameha's Statue;
the Mission House Museum; Aloha Tower; Honolulu Academy
of Arts; Hawaii Maritime Museum; Ward Center; Fisherman's
Wharf; and Restaurant Row. A one-day pass lets you
hop off and on as much as you like. Its priced
at $17 for adults, $5 for children under 12. The best
bargain is the five-day pass costing $30 for adults
and $10 for under 12s.
There is a lot to see and do on the city streets without
spending a dime. Museums are reasonable; most costing
in the $5 to $8 range for adult admission. Budget
about $15 a day for sightseeing and sodas when you
take a break. Many moderately priced and inexpensive
restaurants call Honolulu home so you can easily eat
well for fewer than $15 at dinnertime. Lodging comes
in all price ranges -- from functional hostels with
dorm style accommodations to luxury hotels --- the
best way to avoid disappointment and stay within your
budget is to book well in advance. Expect to pay around
$130 for a business class hotel in a good location.
The rest of the island of Oahu is accessible via The
BUS. On the North Shore youll find a designated
historic site, Haleiwa, an old sugar plantation town.
On the southeast shore youll see Diamond Head
Lookout, where the view is spectacular and Ka Iwi,
a popular body-boarding beach. Waikiki is a popular
destination for visitors to the island. If you are
traveling with kids you may want to check out Sea
Life Park; its an amusement park, not an aquarium.
Even without kids you may enjoy the Dole Pineapple
Plantation, on Kamehameha Hwy. Call 808/621-8408 for
Hiking Diamond Head
by Lottie Tagupa
Yes, you have seen it in the movies, on TV and on
postcards. It is the dormant volcano known to ancient
Hawaiians as Leahi, and more recently to locals as
Kaimana Hila. Today it is the icon of all things Hawaii
and it dominates the skyline of south shore Oahu.
It also happens to be where one of the most popular
hiking trails in Hawaii is located.
The trail is scenic, adventurous and best of all
free. This trail is popular, often crowded and paved
for family hikers. The gates are open from 6 a.m.
to 6 p.m., and the best time to avoid the crowds and
heat is in the early morning or late afternoon. Midday
is nice too, especially, if you pack along a lunch
to enjoy at the summit, or even under the trees at
the trailhead. Bring your camera, a bottle of water,
sun block and a small flashlight to keep you on track
through those old World War bunkers.
To get to the trailhead from Waikiki you can drive
along Kalakaua Avenue to Monserrat Avenue. This street
begins at the zoo entrance and continues past the
Waikiki Shell parking lot. The Waikiki Shell will
be on your right. Drive past the Waikiki Shell, continue
about two miles past Kapiolani Community College until
you find the Diamond Head entrance sign on your right,
which is just before the 18th Avenue intersection.
Turn right at the sign and proceed up the road through
the tunnel and into the parking lot ahead. Remember
to lock your car and DO NOT LEAVE ANY VALUABLES in
it. Also, remember that any cars remaining in the
parking lot after 7 p.m. will be towed away.
If driving is not your deal, then feel free to catch
the bus. From Kuhio Avenue, board the #58 or #22 Hawaii
Kai-Sea Life Park to the crater entrance at Diamond
Head Road and 18th Avenue. To return, stand on Diamond
Head Road and wait for the #58 Waikiki-Ala Moana or
#22 Waikiki Beach and Hotels bus. Buses run about
every 30 minutes. Once there, you will find the trailhead
to the left of the restrooms that are located at the
far side of the parking lot.
It is .7 miles, or about an hour, to the summit and
about a half-hour for the return. The trail climbs
the inside slope of the volcano steadily for about
.6 miles, then steeply upward through a series of
stairs and tunnels. The first staircase has 79 stairs
and the last has 99. About halfway through the first
set, I was glad that I had been a regular in a step
class at my local gym. The second set continued from
a long straight staircase tunnel into a spiral onward
and upward into an old, dark World War II bunker.
Then, just when you think you can't take it anymore,
the stairs end, and the magnificent vistas become
visible all around you. You feel like you're on the
top of the island. From the summit, you are able to
enjoy the view not only of the entire south shore
of Oahu, but as you turn around there are wonderful
mauka or mountain vistas as well. In the distance,
there are views of Maui and Molokai, too.
Take the time to sit, relax and enjoy this view from
such a world-famous volcano, one where Hawaiians of
old worshiped the beauty and bounty of the islands,
where sailors were said to have found diamonds and
where the U.S. troops sat entrenched in their bunkers
to defend the freedom of the United States. Not bad
for a short, free hike!
Sightseeing Oahu the Trolley
Honolulu is Hawaii's largest city, and with a population
of more than 800,000, Oahu is certainly a bustling
urban area complete with incredible traffic congestion.
Therefore a rental car is not recommended while visiting
this island. However, getting around the island is
not a problem. One of the best ways for those who
are interested in a simplified method of getting to
all the hot spots on Oahu is by the Waikiki Trolley.
The vehicles are new, open-air cable car style trolleys
that operate along three lines along the south shore
of Oahu. The three lines are designed by activity:
shopping; sightseeing; and dining and ocean coast.
The Red line or Sightseeing line operates between
8:30 a.m. and 6:50 p.m. every 20 minutes on a circuit
that begins at the main depot at Royal Hawaiian Shopping
Center and makes stops at the Honolulu Academy of
Arts, the State Capitol Building, Chinatown, Aloha
Tower, Dole Cannery, Bishop Museum, Kamehameha Statue,
Foster Botanical Garden, Hawaii Maritime Center, Honolulu
Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium. This line is especially
well designed for the average person to get around
the downtown and harbor areas of Honolulu. There you
can visit the Iolani Palace, the Hawaii State Library,
eat in Chinatown and enjoy the shops at the Aloha
Tower or see a movie at Dole Cannery. A good time
to take this trolley is on Fridays when you can enjoy
a lunchtime concert at Tamarind Park in the heart
of downtown Honolulu.
The Yellow or Shopping and Dining line operates between
8:30 a.m. and 11:35 p.m. every 10-20 minutes beginning
at the main depot at Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center
and makes stops at Niketown, All Star Café,
Hard Rock Café, Hilton Hawaiian Village, where
you can shop and dine at Bali by the Sea, Benihana
of Tokyo or Kobe Steak House, Ward Centre where you
will find many fine wonderful shops and restaurants
such as Borders Books, A Pacific Café Oahu,
Scoozies, Kua Aina Sandwiches and more. There is also
a stop at Ward Warehouse where you can find the Old
Spaghetti House, Stuart Andersons and many smaller
and unique boutiques. Ward Warehouse is across the
street from Sports Authority and Kewalo Basin where
many dinner cruise and deep sea fishing boats are
The Blue or Ocean Coast Line operates between 8:30
a.m. and 7:12 p.m. once every 60 minutes from the
main depot at Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and continues
eastward along Waikiki making stops at Honolulu Zoo,
Waikiki Aquarium, Kahala Mall which is wonderful suburban
shopping mall, third largest in Hawaii where you will
find California Pizza Kitchen, Tower Records, many
movie theaters, Barnes and Noble Booksellers enclosed
in a two level enclosed and air conditioned shopping
mall. The line continues along Kalanianaole Highway
to Koko Marina Shopping Center, Hanauma Bay, Sea Life
Park, and the Blow Hole. This is a great way to access
the eastern side of Oahu without the long, slow ride
on the city bus.
As of July 12, 1999, fares for the one-day or four-day
passes include unlimited travel on the yellow line.
One-day passes for either the red line or the blue
line are $18 per person, $8 for children age 11 years
and under. A one-day pass for all lines is $30 and
$10 for children 11 and under. A four-day pass on
the red and blue line is $30 and $10 for children
11 and under. An all line 4-day pass is $42 and $12
for children 11 and under.