Hiking is one of those activities that always seem to be fun and easy in the beginning before you start doing it (e.g. cooking, running, etc.). Hiking is just walking so it should be easy right? Not quite. Once you are in the middle of a hike, while still fun, it doesn’t feel as comfortable anymore. But once you finish, it always feels good; there is a sense of accomplishment. The best part of hiking for me is that it allows you to explore a place in ways you couldn’t do it otherwise. Hiking often takes you to a high peak where you can discover the true beauty of a beach, a city, etc.
Last July 2015 my family and I adventured to Hawaii. We visited two islands, Oahu and Maui. We decided to visit Oahu since it is the island where the largest and most populous city of Hawaii is, Honolulu. The beaches in Honolulu while very busy, they are beautiful and have calm waters to allow anyone to swim in its clear water. We loved it there.
Our trip started in Austin, TX where we took a direct flight to Los Angeles. Our layover in Los Angeles was a few hours, and it allowed us to get some food, coffee and just be ready for our next flight to Oahu. We didn’t experience any delays, cancellation or anything like that. Our flights to Los Angeles and Oahu went very smooth.
Arriving to Oahu
Once we arrived at the island of Oahu, we decided to take a cab and head to the hotel. It was a bit surprising to see how big and busy Honolulu is, at first it looked nothing like I had imagined. During our ride from the airport to the hotel, it rained twice and the sun was always out, so it gave us a nice little introduction to this tropical climate.
We decided to stay in Honolulu during our time on the island of Oahu, right at the center of everything. The area is very busy, but it also offers all the convenience of being in a populated area. We chose this area to make sure we had everything we needed since this was our first trip to Hawaii.
We stayed at Westin’s Moana Surfrider in Waikiki beach. This hotel was built on 1901 and introduced the world to Hawaiian hospitality. Often referred to as the “First Lady of Waikiki,” this oceanfront Oahu hotel is a legendary landmark. The hotel is beautiful, inside and out. It offers a section with rooms that conserve the classic look and feel of the hotel’s history, and more modern suites are also available.
The hotel is in a great area, right on the Waikiki beach. Across the street, you have a multitude of stores and restaurants to get anything you might need. However, I do recommend venturing out of the Waikiki area to find better-priced restaurants with more varied food. By the way, while you can walk to the Diamond Head crater from this hotel, it is still a very long walk and the area is so busy and so convenient, that it might disappoint you if you are looking for more adventure or the real Hawaii.
Diamond Head crater
This is probably the most famous hiking spot in Honolulu. It is a massive crater, and it is just a short distance from Waikiki beach. This crater is visible from most places in Honolulu, and you can view it from most if not all hotels in Waikiki, which makes this a very attractive place for tourists.
Although the crater is a great sight to behold, Diamond Head is also a great spot for hiking. There is a three-quarter mile hiking trail which takes you up to the crater’s rim. The hike is not what I will call difficult, but it is also not a casual or easy hike. We took our kids ranging ages from 8 – 16 and they were all able to complete it. I did have to carry our 8-year-old for about 20 minutes going up as he got very tired and managed to convince me to carry him.
It takes about two hours to go all the way up and back. It did take us about 4 hours since we walked from and to the hotel in Waikiki. Yes, we were tired. The hike to the top is worth every drop of sweat, once at the top, you are rewarded with a fabulous view of the beautiful beaches of Honolulu and the vast Pacific Ocean.
What to bring
While Diamond Head isn’t a difficult hike, there a couple of things you should know before going there. The ground is dry, a bit uneven in some areas and dusty. There are a few places with some steep steps in the hike, keep that in mind.
I recommend to bring the following to make your hike a lot more enjoyable:
- Comfortable shoes. I recommend sneakers, do not wear sandals.
- Hat and if possible, light long sleeve shirts. Diamond Head is a crater; it is very dry and hot up there. There are almost no places during the entire hike to hide from the Sun.
- Plenty of water.
- Plenty of sunscreen.
- Bring cash. There is a small fee to get access to the crate ($1 per person/$5 per car).
What’s your favorite place to hike?