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The island of Oahu is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world with an amazing mix of natural and cultural wonders with modern arts, entertainment, and awesome food. Because of this popularity and it’s isolation from the USA mainland it is also one of the most expensive places to visit. I’ve created this blog post to help those travelers who are looking for cheap hotels on Oahu. In this blog post, you will find the ten cheapest places to stay on Oahu, Hawaii.

There are hundreds of hotels and resorts on Oahu. However, I’ve uncovered the best and cheapest hotels on Oahu, Hawaii that offer some real savings, plus easy access to all the magic the Aloha State has to discover, leaving you more cash for adventures, tours, and restaurants. Obviously, everyone’s definition of the ‘best’ will vary, so I picked these accommodations to help you do Oahu on a budget whether you are a couple, family or solo backpacker. I’ve put the hostels and hotels into different categories to ensure you have the perfect stay in Oahu.

I’ve created this chart so you can compare the hotels and hostels and below you will find a detailed description about each one and I’ll also tell you below which ones I think are the top picks considering location and value for money.

CHEAPEST ACCOMMODATION ON OAHU  LOCATION RATINGS RATE/NIGHT
Polynesian Hostel Beach Club Waikiki, Honolulu 7.9 $60 (Shared dorm $35)
Hostelling International Honolulu Manoa, Honolulu 8.0 $66 (Shared dorm $25)
Waikiki Beachside Hostel Waikiki, Honolulu 7.3    $85 (Shared dorm $35)
Backpackers Vacation Inn & Plantation Village Pupukea, HI 8.8 $75 (Shared dorm $30)
Kuhio Banyan Hotel Waikiki, Honolulu 7.5 $99
Royal Grove Waikiki Waikiki, Honolulu 7.5 $100
Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki Waikiki, Honolulu 7.2 $123
Coconut Waikiki Hotel Waikiki, Honolulu 8.4 $127
Holiday Inn Express Waikiki Waikiki, Honolulu 8.1 $134
Kalani Hawaii Private Lodging Pupukea, HI 9.3 $88

  THE CHEAPEST PLACES TO STAY ON OAHU, HAWAII

Polynesian Hostel Beach Club (Budget/Location)

It is definitely the cheapest hostel in Honolulu, Hawaii. Surprisingly, you get quite a lot of value for your money here! The location is great because it is just a short walk to the beach, bars, and restaurants. This means you can walk to the beach, rent a surfboard and be out in the waves in just a few minutes. It’s a perfect place to meet other travelers especially backpackers around the world. If you are a little nervous about the safety of staying in a hostel, put your fears to rest. Polynesian hostel around-the-clock security so that you and your belongings will always feel safe which makes a big difference to your trip. The rooms are quite nice and the beds comfy, but what really makes this place so wonderful is its central location and the fact you make many new friends every night at the nearby bars. Definitely one of the coolest hostels in Honolulu! Dorms are just $35 or private rooms for $60.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Polynesian Hostel Beach Club.

Hostelling International Honolulu (Budget)

 If you’re traveling with a light wallet, you’ll get a dorm room for $25 and a private room for about $60 at Hostelling International Honolulu. You know what you are going to get if you stay here: Professional staff, clean beds, and all dorms have small lockers for valuables. But it is advised that you bring your own padlock. It’s away from the Waikiki crowd so it’s quiet. But still in a good location, since it’s pretty close to public transport, shops, and restaurants. You can borrow snorkel equipment and beach towels for free, which is an extra bonus. It’s very basic but for $25 a night you get a good base for your Oahu adventures.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Hostelling International Honolulu.

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget/Best Location)

 Undoubtedly the best hostel in Waikiki, the Waikiki Beachside Hostel is an affordable option if you want to base yourself for a week of adventures. The location is really great. I personally like Waikiki Beachside Hostel better than the other hostels nearby because it is closer to a lot of restaurants, nightlife, shopping, beaches, public transport, and all major activities and attractions. You can go to Waikiki Beachside Kitchen for brunch- one of the cheapest restaurant nearby. Overall, it is the top hostel in Waikiki in my opinion and for $35 dorm room I’m pretty sure you’ll get the best time here!

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Waikiki Beachside Hostel.

Backpackers Vacation Inn & Plantation Village (Budget/North Shore)

 Finding a place that is cheap is quite difficult on the famous North Shore because it doesn’t have many options like in Waikiki.  Backpackers Vacation Inn & Plantation is definitely the cheapest place to stay on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. What appeals to me is its value for money. It offers basic accommodation but the ambiance is awesome. The location is great, easy access to the beach, and there’s free use of snorkeling gear. I suggest staying for a few nights at a hostel in Waikiki and then basing up here at this hostel to explore the North Shore! Be warned this hostel gets booked out far in advance during peak season as it really is the only cheap accommodation option on the North Shore.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Backpackers Vacation Inn & Plantation Village.

Kuhio Banyan Hotel (With Kitchenette)

Perhaps you don’t fancy staying in a hostel this time – maybe you want a little more privacy and more room for yourself but still keeping within your budget. Kuhio Banyan Hotel is one of the budget hotels in Waikiki. This hotel is not luxurious but it has everything you need for a very good price in the middle of everything in Waikiki. What’s amazing is that this budget room actually has a kitchenette so you can save more money on doing a little home cooking. 

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Kuhio Banyan Hotel.

Royal Grove Waikiki (With Kitchenette)

Royal Grove Waikiki is a budget-friendly and vintage hotel in Waikiki for just $100 a night. The location is superb- just in the heart of dining, beaches, shopping, and attractions. The rooms are quite old-school but in a charming Hawaii style. The rooms come with a kitchenette and seating area so they are really spacious and practical. The sweetest part of the stay was the Monday night Hawaiian music and the mini hula dance show was so much Aloha! Totally one of the top hotels in Honolulu!

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Royal Grove Waikiki.

Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki – Best Budget Hotel in Waikiki

 If you’re looking for one of the best budget hotels in Honolulu then this is it. Set just a few blocks from Waikiki Beach, Aqua Aloha Surf has got a fun surf style and a laid-back ambiance. Budget, chill, and fun! Yep, you get a lot for your money here- there’s an outdoor swimming pool, a gym and you get a free breakfast on top of that. It’s very modern and a hotel you will be excited to return to after a day of adventures. I’m not sure how the owners have kept the price of this one so low. Rooms have a microwave and fridge so you can do a bit of eating-in as well to save money as well as the free breakfast so lots of savings to be made here. Definitely, a budget hotel compared to most upmarket hotels in Waikiki.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki.

Coconut Waikiki Hotel – Family Pick

Coconut Waikiki Hotel is a family-friendly hotel in Honolulu. The location of this hotel is something that really appeals to me. It is right in the heart of the action, and just a few minutes from one of the world’s most famous white-sand beaches.  A little more expensive than other budget offerings in Waikiki, but this clean, modern hotel has a lot to offer for the price. Most rooms have kitchenettes, so you can save even more money by making a few of your own meals. Even if you’re in a room without a kitchenette, you can grill up a quick dinner in the hotel’s communal BBQ area. The rooms are very modern with seating areas, flat-screen televisions and a bit more of a luxury feel than some of the older hotels on this list. If you want to stay somewhere a little more luxurious but still stay within budget, then this is one of the best budget hotels in Honolulu.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Coconut Waikiki Hotel.

Holiday Inn Express Waikiki – Location/Facilities

 This 44-story hotel offers perfect panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and near beaches, restaurants, shopping centers, and other attractions.  With a mini-golf course, epic pool and games center you really get an experience at the Holiday Inn. It’s way, way cheaper compared to all other regular hotels in Honolulu. The rooms are actually super nice so if you are a couple or a small family this would be my number one pick on this list. 

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Holiday Inn Express Waikiki.

Kalani Hawaii Private Lodging 

Set on the North Shore, Kalani Hawaii Private Lodging offers a country house in Pupukea. It is the kind of place where you just get it all. It is a perfect place to hang out, relax and use as a base to explore the North Shore. It’s a perfect place for those traveling with families, groups or solo. This lodging is only a five-minute walk to Sunset Beach, a well-known surfing competition beach. The rooms are very homely with all of the extras, kitchens, bathrooms and chill areas. Very good value for money! Your stay at Kalani isn’t necessarily cheap but for around $80 dorm-bed that’s the best rate you can get on the North Shore.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Kalani Hawaii Private Lodging.

 
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Nusa Penida is the largest of the three Nusa Islands just located 30 minutes away from Bali. The breathtaking and stunning landscape is getting popular around the world which is why tourism is significantly growing here. On my first visit here, I went on a day trip but I would not recommend that simply because there is too much to see and do and you will hardly be able to enjoy the best attractions in Nusa Penida. Most people just visit Nusa Penida on a day trip and miss the coolest parts of the island. I spent a few days on Penida on my second visit and I was able to visit all the popular spots on the island. That’s exactly why I created this blog post so you can spend less time searching for accommodations and you can have more time exploring insane places instead!

Most properties on Nusa Penida are located on the west, east and a few in the southeast. There are lots of accommodations to choose from whether you are looking for budget youth hostels to luxury bungalows or hotels. However, you need to make sure you have the right place to make the most out of your visit to Nusa Penida. For example, there are some shocking hotels that offer good service yet not too close enough to reach the most visited places in Nusa Penida. I really recommend you do move around a few different areas to really maximize your trip to Nusa Penida. In this blog post, I will share recommendations of places that I know are in a great location, luxury, unique, or budget-friendly.

Here is a handy checklist for you!

    • If you want to relax, swim, snorkel or watch the best sunset on Nusa Penida, Crystal Bay is your place! It is highly recommended.
    • If you want to spend a night in a secluded area yet you can still see some good and famous attractions such as the Thousand Islands Viewpoint and Diamond Beach, settle near Atuh Beach.
  • If you want a place close to good restaurants and bars to chill, beautiful temples, or just merely want to have a comfortable stay, the north of Nusa Penida is your choice.

AREA: West (Crystal Bay)

Located west coast, Crystal Bay is the most famous and highly recommended on Nusa Penida. Due to its beautiful white sand and crystal clear waters, this beach is known for being one of the best snorkeling spots on Nusa Penida. It’s also famous for its stunning palm trees line up on the road which leads to a dead end on the beachfront where tourists grab a cold beer while watching the best sunset views on Nusa islands. Definitely a winner! If you’re interested to stay for a couple of days, below is the list of top places to stay and selected cheap hostels that should fit your budget.

The Tinsi-Value: The Tinsi is perfectly located less than ten minutes away from Crystal Bay. Personally, the highlight is the kindness of the people who run this property. They make sure you are taken care of. Absolutely legends! Good value for money as it’s walking distance to Crystal bay which is quite popular for nice sunsets and clear waters.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of The Tinsi.

Ruji Ananta Cottage: It’s a walking distance to Crystal Bay where you can go snorkel anytime. It’s got a pool surrounded by a lush jungle. Good value for money considering that it is close to the beach. For sure, your stay here will be all about relaxing and finding your inner peace.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Ruji Ananta Cottage.

Penida Bay Village- Value: Set literally just moments away from Crystal Beach, this village in Nusa Penida is a great value for money if being near a beach is your thing. It’s pretty amazing and the property itself is surrounded by lush tropical gardens. The onsite restaurant serves great Indonesian food which combined with the room rates.  But yeah… that garden really is a chill place to hang out. 

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Penida Bay Village.

AREA: Northwest (Toya Pakeh)

The Northern part of Nusa Penida has plenty of delicious restaurants and this lovely spot has a splendid beach view and access to the water. Many dive operators based in this area. There are various types of accommodation depending on your budget. Visitors to the island often do not book ahead and instead turn up and take their chances, with tourism demands exceeding supply this can be a problem especially in the high season. Here are my top picks to help you decide which accommodation to stay in the North.

The Banana House- Value: This tiny clean property is located near the main road that goes through the island. Although it is quite a bit away from the harbor, it’s location is still good enough to reach the famous sights in the eastern region. I especially like the staff here as they are very keen to help you with booking activities or renting scooters and even give advice on where to go and what to do on Nusa Penida. This property is a good value for money.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of The Banana House.

Nuansa Penida Hostel- Budget: This boutique hostel in Nusa Penida is ideal for digital nomads who are working remotely. I can guarantee that as a backpacker like me, you deserve a little bit of fancy hostel like Nuansa Penida. This adult-only property has got some awesome amenities like a pool with comfy bean bags and sun beds, colorful parasols, and hammocks. It’s a great deal for 13USD a night. Plus it isn’t too far from Crystal Bay and other major attractions either, so if you fancy exploring that’s pretty easy to do using this hostel as a base.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Nuansa Penida Hostel.

Sawit Garden Cottages- Budget: Sawit Garden Cottages is an affordable option if you want to stay at a place with a great pool and chill vibe. I think this property is ideal for budget travelers not to mention it is also rated best for its location on Nusa Penida. A few nights to chill out, you can’t go wrong here. The recommended restaurant Warung Pande down the road on the left was amazing.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Sawit Garden Cottages.

Ampel Hill Homestay: This sure is one beautiful Balinese cabin in the west of Nusa Penida. The location offers a perfect view of Mt. Agung and you can watch the best sunrise and sunset. I highly recommend this place with its short distance to a few nice restaurants, dive shops, and even Kelingking is not too far off. Plus this place is run by a warm and welcoming family you’ll make you feel right at home. A few nights here are enough to recharge your batteries and start fresh. Sound good to you? Then go!

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Ampel Hill Homestay.

Wahyu Masari Homestay- Budget: This accommodation offers outstanding value and ideal for budget travelers. For 20 bucks a night, you will enjoy a hot tub, super comfy bed, and hospitable hosts. I didn’t really expect that you can get such a great service for an affordable price. It’s not too far to the best attractions in Nusa Penida so the location is quite good. Definitely worth staying here!

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Wahyu Masari Homestay.

AREA: Southeast (Atuh Beach)

Atuh Beach is a secluded beach on the south-eastern coast of Nusa Penida, surrounded by unreal green hills and off-shore rock formations. Right on top of the cliff, you will see the view of Diamond Beach. The long stretch of white sand and clear blue sea means that Diamond Beach is a perfect spot to relax, swim and take photos for your social media posts. If you are up for a bit of adrenaline rush, climb down the steps to the beautiful white sand beach. As for accommodations, they are quite spread out and can’t be too close to anything but worth it. I will recommend three accommodations to stay near Atuh Beach but each one is different based on location, price, and value.

Atuh Forest Cottage- Value: Atuh Forest Cottage offers jungle and ocean views. The location is out from the main hub of the island but still great as it’s close to Atuh Beach which is rated as one of the best beaches in Nusa Penida. A relatively cool and simple place to rest up. In terms of hospitality, this property does a pretty good job.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Atuh Forest Cottage.

You and We House- Mid-Budget: This guesthouse is a remote private accommodation with only a few bungalows overlooking a lovely pool and stunning sea views. The room is very clean and excellent value for money. I think this place is perfect if you’re traveling in style but on a budget. Personally, the chill vibe at You and We House is something that really attracts me.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of You and We House.

Rumah Pohon Tree House- Unique/Location: The Rumah Treehouse is one one of the most insta- worthy places to stay on Nusa Penida. The Ruma treehouse’s room is pretty basic which is why it’s only great for one night stay. I stayed here and took a few photos. Due to its popularity, many people visit this place during the day so it’s quite inconvenient but at night you will mostly get it to yourself and you really can’t beat the sunrise view. Watching the sunrise over the bay at Atuh King Five was out of this world!

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Rumah Pohon Tree House.

Ogix Cliff Paradise- Tranquility: Looking for quiet accommodation with a dreamy ocean view, Ogix Cliff Paradise is the right place. To be honest, I am not a massive fan of staying away from the real crowd but for a night to chill out, you can’t fault this place. So if you’re looking for a place like Ogix, with the best restaurant in Nusa Penida just upstairs and not too far to Atuh Beach – this place is a great fit for you.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Ogix Cliff Paradise.

AREA: Northeast (Ped-Buyuk)

One of the two urbanized areas in Nusa Penida is in the north. Most of the accommodations can be found in this area and this is where most tourists stay. Accommodation rates are slightly higher than in Bali but with a bit of bargaining, you can find a comfortable guesthouse from 15USD to 20USD per night if you are on a budget. I have narrowed it down to a few of my personal favorite places to stay that caters for luxury travelers to budget backpackers.

Kompyang Cottage- Unique: These cottages surround a tranquil pool is actually rather stylish and luxurious. I really loved how Balinese in style it is. Perfect for instagram photos, this cute cottage is a dream! Just imagine yourself waking up and heading directly to the swimming pool for a quick, refreshing swim followed by some delicious floating breakfast.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Komyang Cottage.

Kuri Garden Cottage:  Kuri Garden Cottage offers an in-house restaurant that serves delicious Balinese food for a good price. There are plenty of restaurants nearby which you can visit by scooters. The pool is perfect with comfy sun beds. Who needs air conditioning when you can just jump straight into the pool to cool off! The area has got a lovely community feels which I prefer the most with lots of temples and entertainment.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Kuri Garden Cottage.

La Roja Budget- Value: I like the relaxing ambiance at La Roja, but some guests may feel that the bungalows are a tad too tightly packed, but that seems to be the case with many guesthouses in Nusa Penida. Nevertheless, it’s a perfect place to meet new friends and just enjoy a lazy pool-style ambiance, even though it is tiny. To be honest, I like their vegan breakfast and the flamingo floater is another real treat.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of La Roja Budget.

Singabu Bungalows-Mid-budget: Singabu Bungalows was built to match its surroundings. It’s a great accommodation with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, not forgetting the tiny but lavish pool surrounded by its own beautiful garden. Singabu’s got the best bar in town too! I can’t promise luxury at all, but the outdoor shower and a hot tub are quite a treat. The attractions, however, are a little further away but that is not a big deal.

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of Singabu Bungalows.

The Packer Box: Perhaps you’re after a bit of privacy, or the possibility of arranged activities, The Packer Box is ideal for solo travelers looking for some quiet time. It is not a social hostel at all but is a great place to recoup and have a wonderful good night’s sleep.  With its private capsules and hospitable staff, I couldn’t fault this place!

Click here to check the best current rates and availability of The Packer Box.

I hope this guide helps you decide to stay more days on Nusa Penida to be able to explore more on what the island has to offer.

AREA: West (Toya Pakeh) Price per night Booking.com Rating
The Banana House- Value $20 9.8
Nuansa Penida Hostel $13 9.5
Sawit Garden Cottages $40 9.7
Ampel Hill Homestay $20 9.7
Wahyu Masari Homestay $22 9.6
     
AREA: Crystal Bay Price per night Booking.com Rating
The Tinsi $43 9.6
Ruji Ananta Cottage $51 9.4
Penida Bay Village $51 9.0
     
AREA: Southeast (Atuh Beach) Price per night Booking.com Rating
Atuh Forest Cottage- Value $45 9.7
You and We House- Mid-Budget $32 9.5
Rumah Pohon Tree House- Unique $38 9.3-Location
Ogix Cliff Paradise- Tranquility $74 9.4
     
AREA: Northeast (Ped-Buyuk) Price per night Booking.com rating
Komyang Cottage- Unique $68 9.7
Kuri Garden Cottage $49 9.8
La Roja Budget- Value $38 9.4
Singabu Bungalows-Mid-budget $47 9.0
The Packer Box $19 9.0
 

The post WHERE TO STAY ON NUSA PENIDA: EAST & WEST REGION appeared first on Journey Era.

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Unfortunately, I have become an analyst. I’m analyzing everything with such depth that I’m beginning to analyze the analysis and I’m questioning the question. It’s an important mindset to be able to delve into a situation of your own or even of another and unpack it, pull it apart and figure out how it works, why it came about, the motivations, the consequences and what it all means. However, like all things in life, everything has a beneficial limit. There is always a ceiling, which when passed begins to become detrimental. Too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily a ‘better’ thing.

Everything is relative and nothing is truly comparable, which is what often makes it so hard to genuinely relate and draw accurate comparisons from one life to another. It’s hard because I want to think things through and make sure I’m making decisions based on reason not based on emotion or short term desires. However, it can be crippling to any action at all and that stagnation is the enemy of growth, any growth at all.

Rather than trying to figure out the best way to spend my next year, the greatest project to have the most impact or the most meaningful way to live my life, I’ve just got to do it. What is it? It doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you are out there going after it. It will always evolve and if your intentions are in the right place and your motivation is strong, you will guide yourself to the place you wanted to end up without even knowing it.

We can always do better but that doesn’t mean the good we are doing now isn’t enough. That’s a hard sentence for me to swallow even as I write it. I’m not sure if I believe it, but I’m trying to. Otherwise, you’ll never create anything unless it’s perfect. I guess that is the evil of comparison. It kills dreams, ideas, and projects before they even begin. Imagine how many amazing concepts would be out in the world if people had given them the chance they deserved.

So now I’m going to try and ask myself only two questions rather than crippling myself with deathly-deep, life-defining, character-crunching, hard-hitting interrogations. Any future life-decisions, travel plans, destinations or lifestyle choices will be met with just the two following questions:

Are you challenging yourself?

Are you helping somebody else?

If I cannot truthfully and wholeheartedly answer yes to one of those questions. I will need to come up with something better for my valuable time and resources on this earth. Yes, hiking summits in Switzerland may not be changing the world but it will be challenging. Doing cleanups around the world may not be eradicating single-use plastic but it will be helping somebody else. That’s all. I’ll try not to unpack it and analyze it any further. I’m going to work hard on consistently answering yes to those questions and let my drive, motivation, and intention lead me where they will.

If you would like to comment below, I’d love to hear how you deal with over-analysis and if you also ever feel that you critique and analyze everything too much. Look forward to connecting in the comments!

The post THE WEEKLY #153: ANSWER THESE TWO QUESTIONS appeared first on Journey Era.

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There are so many awesome things to do on Siargao Island but one of the most popular activities is to get off the island and go island hopping from Siargao. There are three beautiful islands only a short long-tail boat trip away from General Luna, which is the tourist part of Siargao. Guyam Island, Daku Island, and Naked Island are the three stops along the tour, which includes pick-up, drop-off, and a seafood lunch.

To book your Siargao Island hopping experience in advance you can Click Here to view the rates & availability for your trip.

Wondering about the best spot to stay on Siargao? I wrote this guide that breaks down the island into the best regions with my personal hotel/hostel/resort recommendations: WHERE TO STAY ON SIARGAO ISLAND

What to pack for the Philippines?: After four trips to the Philippines, there are some items you NEED to pack. You can Click Here to view my recommended Philippines Packing List.

Siargao Island Hopping Rates

There are two different types of tours you can do, which will make a big difference in the price. The price for a day of private island hopping on Siargao ranges from 1,300 pesos per person or $26 USD all the way up to $35 per person if you are booking in advance online with a tour company through Viator. This generally includes gourmet seafood, banquet style lunch, and a visit to Guyam, Daku and Naked Island. We managed to do the island-hopping in reverse of the usual order to avoid the crowds and stay on Naked Island until sunset. We were the only boat at both Guyam and Naked Island.

The alternative is to book an entire boat from a local at the wharf, which ranges from 1,500 to 2,000 pesos, which is about $30-40. You can then pile in 5-10 guests depending on the size of the boat. This will not include lunch and may not include entry fees. That depends on how you organize it with the boatman. You can buy fresh fish and seafood from the dock in the morning, take it to Daku and have the local shop barbecue it for you. Or you can just buy a local lunch for $1-2 before you leave. Ask at Solaria or any of the guesthouses you may be staying at if they know a boatman. You won’t need to ask more than two people before you find a guy.

If you are on a budget the second option is a little less luxurious but far cheaper. If you want a relaxing island experience where everything is taken care of for what is still quite a cheap price of about $20-$30 you can book a regular Siargao Island Hopping tour.

** We also added in a stop by leaving extra early to Corregidor Island. It will make your day a lot longer and involves a short little hike but was something we wanted to see. I suggest it for adventurers but not people like for a chill island hopping day if you plan to hit the other three islands as well. Visiting Corregidor Island and one other island might be a better choice.

  Island Hopping Siargao Corregidor Island

Corregidor Island is a 45-minute boat ride from the harbor. It isn’t part of the usual island hopping schedule and would be something you organize as an additional location. I wouldn’t try and add it to the regular schedule as it can be quite a long day but I will show you what it’s like here in case you want to combine it with the tour and remove Naked Island for example.

When we arrived there were no other tourist boats around. We quickly made our way into the middle of the island and began our short trek through the village an up towards the summit of the island. Making our way through the muddy fields in the pouring rain was not how we had envisaged our island hopping to go but the fun is in the adventure.

Finally, we made it to the top of the hill after enduring knee-deep mud through the fields. The scenery atop Corregidor is pretty epic. Coconut palms stick out of long grass, which covers rolling hills. A few cute little coves hide underneath cliffside drop-offs.

Guyam Island

When you think of a private tropical paradise, Guyam Island is the type of spot that comes to mind. It takes about 20 seconds to walk from one side of the island to the other, weaving through the 100 coconut palms that are about the only things on the small patch of sand. One local man in a hut keeps watch about who comes and goes and will happily climb and grab you a coconut for 50 pesos. The water around the island is crystal clear. However, a big reef surrounds the entire island.

We hung out on the beach here for over an hour. Our longtail boat was the only sign of humans in sight. Guyam island is a spot where you really feel like you are stranded on a remote island.

  Daku Island

Daku Island is going to be the middle island and your lunch stop of the day. If you opted for the budget tour with a private boat at the set price of 1500 pesos you will be on your own here. Hopefully, you brought some good snacks or your own seafood, which the locals will cook up for you.

If you are on a tour like we were, Daku Island is a pretty good chill spot. You will have one of the little bungalow huts included in your fee and after an hour or so of chilling in the sun and exploring the palms, a seafood feast will arrive. Squid, grilled chicken, adobo, mango, pineapple, salad, and drinks. There’s nothing more satisfying than a seafood feast while looking out over the blue water in the Philippines. Trust me on that.

If you head around the coast on Daku you will venture into the palm forest, which is always a good time. We never say no to climbing a palm and heading off for a walk. Around the coastal side of Daku, we also bumped into a few cute kids and hung out with the locals for a while.

By this stage of the day you are full of great food, your tan is coming along strong and you are 100% relaxed. It’s time for the last stop on the island hopping itinerary.

Naked Island

The final stop of your Island Hopping Siargao experience is Naked Island. No, it’s not a nudist island it just doesn’t have anything other than sand on it making it a naked island. A bit of grass is growing on the island nowadays thanks to birds dropping seed but for the most part, this sandy patch in the middle of the ocean is bare. The sandbar is so small I swam around the whole thing before hanging out with the crew in the shallows for a couple of hours. There isn’t anything to see on this island at all. It’s 100 meters of sand, but that is the beauty of it. Have a beer, kick back in the sand or refresh yourself in the water. It’s also a good spot for sunset if you can manage to stay out that long.

  WHERE I STAYED ON SIARGAO ISLAND

Siargao is pretty straightforward when it comes to picking a region to stay. 90% of people choose to stay somewhere near General Luna. All of the bars, restaurants, tours, ports, and hotels are near General Luna and Cloud 9 surf break. There are a couple of other regions you could stay in like Pacifico but unless you are purposely looking for isolation, General Luna is your spot. So what are my suggestions for where to stay in General Luna?

First, I’ll tell you where I stayed. Because I stayed for over a month, I managed to find an Airbnb. It was 4 blocks back from the beach, had wi-fi, A/C, a private bathroom, patio and inside was just two bunk beds. It was super basic and I stayed here with two mates and my sister. It was 900 USD for the entire month, which we split four ways so it was just $225 each.  There’s a photo below of our sweet Airbnb pad on Siargao Island.

Save money in Siargao by staying at an Airbnb! Get a FREE $40 Airbnb Coupon by using my code when you book! 

  WHERE I SUGGEST TO STAY ON SIARGAO

Budget Hostel in General Luna: The White House:  The best budget option for dorm style/hostel accommodation on Siargao Island is called 

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The Diamond Head Crater Hike is one of the most popular walking trails on the island and although it is paved the whole way it is still a steep challenge and a hike with amazing views of Waikiki and the southern coastline of Oahu, Hawaii.

Where is Diamond Head Crater Hiking Trail

Diamond Head Crater is just next to Waikiki and the hiking trail begins inside the crater. You can’t hike up onto the crater rim from the outside, this is prohibited. It’s only 5-10 minutes from Waikiki by car. I’ve added a map to the bottom of this post to help you find it. To enter the trail costs only a couple of dollars.

If you are staying in Waikiki, you should definitely make the effort to get out to Diamond Head Crater because it gives you an epic view of the region you are staying in and is one of the most popular attractions on Oahu.

  How To Get to The Diamond Head Crater Trail

You will enter on Diamond Head Road and there are a few parking spots outside the tunnel. These are the only free parking spots and then you need to walk through the tunnel. Otherwise, you drive through the tunnel into the crater and pay for parking. It’s only a few dollars for parking but thought you might like to know that tip. You can walk to the trailhead from Waikiki and it will take you about 20-50 minutes depending on which end of Waikiki you are staying at. What you can do is put your hotel name into google maps and then select the walk option and see how long it predicts for you to reach the trailhead. Keep in mind the hike is pretty steep so you may want to save your energy for the hike rather than doing a 30-minute walk just to get into the Diamond Head Crater. 

  Diamond Head Crater Opening Times

Diamond Head Crater hike is open daily from 6 am to 6 pm, every day of the year including holidays. Last entrance to hike the trail is at 4:30 pm. The gates are locked at 6:00 pm daily and all visitors must be out of the park by this time. This means you can’t really do sunrise or sunset but if you get there at 5:50 am and start jogging up you will get some great golden hour lighting, which several people usually do each morning. You will avoid the crowds this way too!

Diamond Head Crater Hiking Tour

The entrance fee is just $2 but if you prefer to join a guided tour to show you the way, explain the history and share stories with you, I can recommend this top-rated tour

Book your tour: Guided Hiking Tour (Morning)

  Diamond Head Crater History

Diamond Head Crater is also known as Leahi in Hawaiian, which means ‘brow of the tuna’. It was named Diamond Head in the 19th century by the British sailors who believed they had discovered diamonds on the slopes of the crater. They weren’t diamonds, they were just calcite crystals worth absolutely nothing. 

Today, the crater is used as a military looking and is a National Natural Landmark as of 1968. 

My Experience Hiking The Diamond Head Crater Trail

My legs hang over the edge of a pillbox, once used as a coastal defense lookout, the wind is whipping hair over my eyes, but nothing can break my hypnotic gaze out over Waikiki. Perched 560 feet above sea level, I find myself in awe of the tourist mecca bustling with the action below me.  The Diamond Head trail took us only 25 minutes to ascend and is the perfect way to begin your stay on Oahu, Hawaii.

More than 200,00 years ago Koʻolau Volcano erupted, forming Diamond Head Crater on the southern shore of Oahu. The Crater was home to Fort Ruger in 1909, the first military base in the Territory of Hawaii. Today, the dormant volcano has the most popular hiking trail on Oahu, originally built in 1908 as part of the Oahu coastal defense system.

Diamond Head trail is the most popular hike on Oahu and the best thing to do in Honolulu if you have no transport but want to go hiking. It is located within walking distance from most Hotels in Waikiki, making it the first choice for most tourists. The historic hike is also simple enough for most ages and people with minimal hiking experience to enjoy.

A one-dollar admission fee is all we had to pay once inside the crater at the beginning of the trail. To park a car inside the crater at the admission gate cost five-dollars no matter how many occupants in the car. Drinks, shave ice and other food is available at a food truck and toilets and drinking fountains can be found at the beginning of the trail but not along the hike nor at the summit.

The first section of the trail warmed up our legs with a relatively mild incline. Thick foliage lined the winding cement trail and we soon found our walking pace. I suggest sunscreen and water for this hike as most of the trail is exposed to the searing sun. It was amazing to look up at the former military pillboxes and imagine the feeling of watching out over the horizon waiting for intruding vessels and aircraft.

We left behind the cement path and began winding our way up the mountain on the exposed rock. Each time we turned a corner we could look back down at the path we had just walked up, which was good motivation for us.  Along the way we saw glimpses of the east coast and it would prove to be an appetizer for the spectacle waiting for us at the summit.

A short pit stop along the way to enjoy a viewing platform was a good chance to catch our breath and appreciate the history of the hike. A winch that used to transport materials up to the pillboxes from the bottom of the crater sat on the edge of the cliff face and once again I was imagining a different time-period and a different set of circumstances in which the platform and trail were once being used.

We continued on our journey up the trail and were soon greeted by an intimidating flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs was a musty old tunnel that had me feeling like we were in a war, staying out of enemy sight. At the end of the tunnel to our dismay was another enormous flight of stairs.

We pushed through and reached what we thought was the summit. To our pleasant surprise, it was another a winding staircase, similar to what you would find inside a lighthouse. Clambering up the stairs we caught a glimpse of sunlight and realized we had made it to the top. We crept out of the pillbox and caught our first glimpse of the ocean and the 360-degree views of paradise.

This is really a great way to start your vacation or stay on Oahu as it gives you a view of the entire city, helping you get your bearings and better understand what your temporary home actually looks like. This is why I think it is the first thing you should do in Honolulu.

At the summit we found multiple pillbox lookouts, several had small fences saying do not climb. Many other people were out on these off-limits pillboxes so we climbed over the fence and edged our way out to our own private pillbox.

Sitting down with my friends, the city at my feet, my eyes unable to escape the lure of the ocean’s glimmer, I was left me with a feeling of absolute freedom. I felt on top of the world, overlooking a travel mecca or in my case a paradise that I am lucky enough to call home.

Diamond Head Crater Hike Map

As you can see on the map below the big green section is the Diamond Head Crater. There is only one entrance to the hike which starts right in the center of that green area where the red pin is on the map below. You will enter on Diamond Head Road and there are a few parking spots outside the tunnel. These are the only free parking spots and then you need to walk through the tunnel. Otherwise, you drive through the tunnel into the crater and pay for parking. It’s only a few dollars for parking but thought you might like to know that tip. You can walk to the trailhead from Waikiki and it will take you about 20-50 minutes depending on which end of Waikiki you are staying at. What you can do is put your hotel name into google maps and then select the walk option and see how long it predicts for you to reach the trailhead. Keep in mind the hike is pretty steep so you may want to save your energy for the hike rather than doing a 30-minute walk just to get into the Diamond Head Crater. 

 

  Where to stay on Oahu

Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. 

Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.

Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.

Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.

MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS

I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY

A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?

Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018

The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII

My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII

The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST

The post DIAMOND HEAD CRATER HIKE IN HONOLULU ON OAHU, HAWAII appeared first on Journey Era.

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The 6 best beaches to see or swim with a sea turtle on Oahu, Hawaii.

You have landed on Oahu, now it’s time to meet the locals. I’m not talking about the friendly guy in the Aloha shirt who parked the car at your hotel. It’s time to meet the sea turtles you have dreamt of swimming with ever since you booked your flights! Don’t worry I have you covered.

Before I let you know about all of my favorite spots for swimming with Sea Turtles on Oahu I want you to know that these peaceful guys are protected. You need to respect their space and environment by doing the following:

  WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SWIMMING WITH SEA TURTLES ON OAHU

Stay 5 yards from the sea turtles at all times. If you are too close currents can sometimes sweep you into the turtle even if you don’t mean to, so give them extra space in case of the unexpected. Touching a turtle is illegal. So stay at least 5 yards away, which gives you room in case the waves push you towards the turtle.

Don’t touch sea turtles. It is illegal and invasive. Consider yourself lucky enough that these creatures allow us to swim and snorkel with them, don’t push your luck by invading their space.

Don’t chase sea turtles. There is no need to scare a turtle if it isn’t trying to hang out with you. Most of the time if you are chill and relaxed around a turtle it will hang around you for a long time. If you begin to try and get too close and intimate they often swim away. The calmer you and your group are, the longer you will get to spend floating nearby as the turtle does its thing. As soon as you start chasing it, your potential to hang out with a turtle is probably over. I’ve often just floated nearby a turtle for 20-minutes and they will slowly come closer or just go about their feeding. I’ve also seen tourists swim straight towards them with a GoPro and off the turtle quickly goes after getting scared.

WHERE TO SWIM WITH SEA TURTLES ON OAHU

Turtles generally head away from the shore when there is a big swell. The calmer the day, the more likely you are to have a turtle encounter. I have personally swum with turtles at all of these beaches multiple times. So here they are:

ELECTRIC BEACH

This is the pick of the bunch. It is a solid drive to the western side of the island but if you have a car this is your spot. After the 30 minute drive from Waikiki, you will be treated with clear water and an abundance of wildlife. This beach attracts all kinds of marine life due to the slightly warmer water due to the electric plant nearby. Have your eyes open from the first moment you submerge. I have seen Hawaiian Sea Turtles in waist deep water here but also out in the depths of the ocean. Large schools of Angel Fish are also my other favorite at “Electrics.” Unless your goggles fog up it is impossible not to see an amazing array of wildlife here. If you are a good swimmer and spot Spinner Dolphins out a little further, you can try and swim with the pod. I have done this here before with a tour boat and also after swimming from the shore. It is an amazing feeling to swim with a pod of Spinner Dolphins, especially if you don’t have to pay for a tour to do it.

Want to know more about Electric Beach Click Here

  WAIKIKI BEACH

You are probably thinking: “Yeah right, like there would be turtles swimming so close to all those people?” You better believe it. I have seen turtles from many of the rock piers and also swam with one right in front of the Hilton 20 yards from the shore. It might not be the best snorkel spot on the island but if you are feeling lucky, put your snorkel on and swim out just past the pack of tourists and you just might be bump into a Hawaiian Sea Turtle.

  MAKUA BEACH

Even further than Electric Beach, almost as far west as you can go is a beach most tourists have no idea exists. It will take almost an hour from Waikiki but this beach is worth every minute. The water at this beach is as clear as it gets. I don’t even have a way to describe the clarity of the water except for writing 100% clear. Hawaiian Sea Turtles and schools of fish are very common within 100 yards of the shore. The backdrop of Makua Valley and the mountains are breathtaking if you take your eyes off the sea life and look back towards the beach. This is a hotspot for dolphins, especially in the morning. It’s another great spot to try and swim out and hang with a pod of frolicking Spinner Dolphins.

You should definitely camp here if you ever get the chance, CLICK HERE to find out how!

  COCKROACH COVE

Next to the popular Halona Blowhole is a small picturesque cove that is a cool spot to hang out for half a day of swimming and rock jumping. The water is often a little wavy here but on some flat days it is quite still. From the lookout you can often spot the Hawaiian Sea Turtles, which are usually very close to the shore.

  HALEIWA

North Shore has no shortage of Hawaiian Sea Turtles, but Haleiwa beach definitely has a solid population. There they can often be found in the channel and the little coves along the coastline. Water clarity here is pretty good too. This beach is close to Old Haleiwa Town, which is convenient for a post beach session smoothie or acai bowl at Haleiwa Bowls our favorite spot on the North Shore.

LANIAKEA BEACH

If all else fails this is the backup, as it’s full of tourists. There are often turtles resting on the sand which is amazing to see them out of the water. Often the beach is patrolled by a volunteer to make sure everyone is giving the turtles space. I have swum with turtles on many occasions at this beach and not many people get in the water here, so it is still a really cool experience. Most of the tourists are getting out of the car or bus to check out the Hawaiian Sea Turtles on the sand and then head off. In my experience, if there are turtles on the sand, their friends are probably swimming in the small bay.

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  Where to stay on Oahu

Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. 

Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.

Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.

Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.

MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS

I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY

A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?

Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018

The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII

My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII

The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST

The post WHERE TO SWIM WITH TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII appeared first on Journey Era.

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Makua Beach is one of the most spectacular beaches on Oahu with camping activities, amazing snorkeling, turtles, dolphins and often big waves!

  Makua Beach

On the far west side of Oahu, Makua Beach lies at the foot of majestic mountains, hiding behind a wall of trees. Crystal clear waters wash upon a long stretch of beach with a backdrop of Makua Valley and cliffs that seem to encapsulate the secluded beach.

The beauty of Makua Beach extends beyond its postcard features with overnight camping a common activity on its sands. The rules are commonly changing because campers often leave trash or disrespect the region. When local authorities get tired of these disrespectful visitors they simply keep the gates locked. If Makua Beach is open for camping respect the region and keep in mind if you don’t do the right thing others after you will never be able to enjoy the same privileges. Pack everything out and act responsibly.

Makua Beach camping can be great fun with lots of little camp spots nestled amongst the bushes. On a weekend there is often lots of small fires and groups hanging out and enjoying the atmosphere and the stars. The sunset and sunrise are both epic at Makua but the sunset, in particular, is outstanding as the coastline faces west where the sun sets.

IN THE WATER AT MAKUA BEACH -DOLPHINS, TURTLES, WAVES

The water clarity at Makua Beach is phenomenal. There have been instances where I could see 40-50ft deep all the way down to the sea floor to spot a small shell. Granted that is way too far for me to dive and collect it but you can imagine with this sort of clarity it feels as if you are swimming in transparent water.

It’s quite common to swim with dolphins at Makua Beach but they often are out quite deep and unless you are a good swimmer you may just hear them while you are underwater. It is also only allowed for them to approach you so it is prohibited to swim after or chase them.

In addition to dolphins, Humpback Whales often cruise off the coast, from November to April.

This is also a great beach to spot some Hawaiian Sea Turtles at Makua Beach. I also wrote a guide about all the best places for swimming with Sea Turtles on Oahu.

The four tide pools are perfect for relaxing in a natural bath and a small beach cave that fills up with water, lifting people up and down with the flow of waves.

Makua Beach often has strong swells great for bodyboarding and playing in the waves. Be sure to check the conditions before you go for a swim as it can be quite a dangerous beach on the wrong day.

MAKUA VALLEY CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

It’s important to respect every site on Oahu in Hawaii but even more so at Makua Beach and Makua Valley. This region holds important cultural significance for the Hawaiian Community. It’s more than just a beautiful beach so keep that in mind with how you behave, how you clean up and the level of respect you show to others and the community.

There is a strong cultural significance of Makua Valley for the Hawaiian community, as they believe it is where man was first created. Makua Valley runs from the beach to the mountains and is believed to be where spirits enter the afterworld.

Makua means “parent” in Hawaiian and was aptly named due to the beliefs surrounding the area.
Malama-Aina (take care of the land), please remember to take your trash and leave this beautiful location in a better state than when you arrived.

WHERE IS MAKUA BEACH

Makua Beach is in the very west side of Oahu and takes about 1.5 hours to reach from Honolulu. I’ve pinned the location on the map below. It’s pretty much the second last beach before the road runs out with Yokohama being the very last beach.

Where to stay on Oahu

Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. 

Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.

Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.

Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.

MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS

I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY

A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?

Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018

The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII

My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII

The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST

The post MAKUA BEACH ON OAHU, HAWAII appeared first on Journey Era.

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Lanikai Beach Park on Oahu is a half-mile stretch of beautiful sand and palm trees, which looks out over the crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. Two islands called “Na Mokulua” less than a mile off-shore create a beautiful paradise atmosphere on what is one of my favorite beaches on Oahu.

LANIKAI BEACH PARK – WHAT TO EXPECT

Lanikai Beach, which means “heavenly sea”, is often ranked in the world’s top beaches and even has some nice snorkeling spots close to shore. The neighborhood behind the beach is an upper-class sector of Oahu, with too many homes we all wish we could retire in. Imagine a two-minute walk to one of the best beaches in the world in a small island neighborhood. I guess we can all dream.

Lanikai Beach can get busy but it is always a fun time as there aren’t big waves and the water is warm of course, so you have a perfect spot for kids, families and a relaxing day out. There aren’t really many cafe’s and restaurants on the beach but a couple of spots for food just a short walk back from the beach but I do suggest packing a lunch or bringing your food as there isn’t much on offer when you are the beach, which is great because it keeps it natural.

LANIKAI BEACH PARKING

There is no public parking at Lanikai Beach Park and on the weekends you cannot even park in the neighborhood. This is to help the flow of traffic and make sure that the residents have somewhere to park. This may seem unfair but when you see the number of visitors to the beach on a weekend, this rule will make sense. Fear not, you can still visit the beach on a weekend, just be prepared to walk in from the Kailua area, which is only a short 10-minute stroll and has a parking lot.

Weekdays are less crowded and you can park in the neighborhood, so if you are on Oahu for vacation, try and visit this beach before the weekend crowds overrun the beach. There is also no public toilets or change rooms, although once again you can access these amenities 10 minutes down the coast at Kailua Beach Park.

  LANIKAI BEACH PILLBOX HIKE

Above the beach, is the very popular Lanikai Pillboxes hike, which is a short 30-minute trek from bottom to top and is known to be an amazing spot for sunrise. If you wake early enough the sun rises between the middle of the Na Mokulua islands during different times of the year.

Only a few blocks back from Lanikai Beach is the beginning of the Lanikai Pillbox Hike (also known as Kaiwa Ridge), known for being one of the easier trails on the island of Oahu. There is no better way to start your day than with a short sunrise hike overlooking the ocean and amazing scenery.

The sun rises over the Mokuluas, lighting up the ocean and beachside suburb of Lanikai with intense colors. Sitting on a pillbox, a piece of military history, 600 feet above all of this magic is a great way to take a moment to slow down on your holiday and appreciate where you are or to take a deep breath and be thankful you get to call Oahu home. Every time I do this hike, as the sun creeps over the horizon, I have a sense of renewed gratitude sweep through my body.

  KAYAKING AT LANIKAI BEACH PARK

If you are feeling adventurous there are many kayak shops in Kailua that will rent you a kayak for the day so you can paddle out the Na Mokulua Islands (only the left island is accessible) for the day to explore. We did a day trip with Aloha Canoe Adventures and enjoyed a great time exploring the Queen’s Bath and seeing the protected Shearwater birds out on the island.

Where to stay on Oahu

Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. 

Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.

Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.

Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.

MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS

I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY

A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?

Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018

The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII

My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII

The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST

The post LANIKAI BEACH PARK ON OAHU, HAWAII appeared first on Journey Era.

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Everything you need to know before you book your Kualoa Ranch Zipline experience is in this blog post. I had an awesome experience there and will share photos, video and all the details about what to expect, what to bring and how to get there below!

KUALOA RANCH ZIPLINE ON OAHU

The Kualoa Ranch Zipline on Oahu is an amazing Treetop Canopy Zipline Tour, which begins at the top of the amazing Ka’a’awa Valley with 7 exciting tandem sections, 2 suspension bridges and 3 mini-hiking nature trails about 5 minutes in length. 

Each zip line is has a culturally significant name coming from a different aspect of the valley with zip lengths ranging from 200 feet up to a quarter mile. Along the way, you learn about Hawaiian traditions and get to experience, Ka’a’awa Valley first-hand by zipping through the native flora and fauna and crossing natural streams. I really enjoyed this aspect of the tour as it was more than just a zip line activity, it was a learning experience.

It is recommended to book 2-3 advance as it does sell out and Kualoa Ranch is one of the most long-standing and popular tourist attractions on the island of Oahu. If you click on the following link you can choose your package. You can combine zip-lining with a movie tour, a visit to the secret island or with the ATV tour. There are lots of options but I suggest combining two as it is a 45-minute drive to Kualoa Ranch so it is a good idea to make a full-day adventure out of it before you return to Waikiki if that is where you are staying.

Click the following link to see the different combinations of tours and the booking availability for your dates.

Check tours and availability: Kualoa Ranch activity schedule and booking page

Klook.com

MY KUALOA RANCH EXPERIENCE

The sky was dark and the roads were empty as we were headed out on a 1.5 hour moped adventure along the East Coast towards Kualoa Ranch. We were booked in for the 8:30 am Zipline adventure at the historic ranch in Kaaawa Valley.

Riding a moped in the dark through imposing mountains was an eerie experience, especially when accompanied by the crashing of the waves threatening from below. The sky on the east side of Oahu is blanketed with millions of stars on a clear night. We stopped at Makapu’u Lookout for a short rest and to take the opportunity for a quick stargaze.

As we continued on our way through Kaneohe, the sun crept over the horizon and the sky was painted a vibrant orange  The sunrise exploded across the sky as we pulled into the parking lot of the ranch, exhibiting a striking red which blanketed the sky and made sure our day was off to an amazing start, despite having numb butts from driving on the mopeds for so long.

Kualoa Ranch is a busy hub of tourism activity and it definitely has an authentic farm smell. They run tours through the Kaaawa Valley on horses, quad bikes and buses. Kaaawa Valley is also a movie hotspot, having been used as the set for Jurassic Park but it has also been featured in many other films such as Jumanji, Karate Kid, Pearl Harbor, Fifty First Dates and Hunger Games.

 

Our safari-style tour bus picked us up and we rumbled up towards Kaaawa Valley while the driver pointed out historic agricultural and military sites along the way beginning the 2.5-hour tour.

A quick run-down of the safety gear, a short stroll up to a hill and before we knew it we were standing on the platform for zip line number one. You fly down the line in pairs on separate wires. The instructor asked who would volunteer to go first. Jessie volunteered, which meant that she volunteered me too.

“Hold on and don’t swing your arms.”

Those were the last words I heard before we leaped away from the platform and off we went, zipping above dinosaur territory. A pretty cool feeling, especially in amongst such mind-blowing scenery.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT KUALOA RANCH ZIPLINE

For those who have bungee jumped or been sky diving, it won’t blow your socks off. It is a short scenic float through amazing surroundings, slow enough to allow you to take in where you are, send a snapchat, or facetime with your family back home! This is why it is a great activity for a family or a group of friends it is a fun day for the thrill-seeker and the non-adventurer of the group.

The shortest line is 200 feet and the longest line is a quarter of a mile. On the longest line, we did a ”coconut”, which is essentially tucking into a ball and going as fast as possible. The walk between each zip line is very short although two mini-suspension bridges kept us on our toes.

Each zip line has a culturally significant name and before our take-off the instructors tell a local story, teach a tradition or give a short lesson about native plants.

Our instructors were really relaxed and took the time to get to know all the members of our group. Despite the chilled environment they knew what they were doing and were serious with the equipment at the appropriate times making us feel pretty safe throughout the day.

There were a couple of cameras along the course but the quality of the photos wasn’t amazing. We took our GoPro and people even used their iPhone on the zip line, which I advise doing as you will get some cool close-up video and photos without having to pay extra.

  KAAAWA VALLEY

This region of Oahu is still worth seeing even if you don’t want to pay for the tour or spend the whole day at Kualoa Ranch. Mountains looming on all sides, fog brushing their peaks,  you are surrounded by lush green as far as the eyes can see. It actually feels like you are standing in Jurassic Park, looking around the corner for a dinosaur.

  HOW TO GET TO KUALOA RANCH ON OAHU, HAWAII

If you aren’t trying to be a crazy moped duo like us, Kualoa Ranch offers a roundtrip shuttle service from Waikiki for $15 which is a decent deal. We began our drive back and our early morning began to get the best of us. Nothing a little nap on the sand at Waimanalo Beach didn’t fix!

I’ve pinned the location of Kualoa Ranch on the map below so you can see exactly where it is along the coast.

 

Where to stay on Oahu

Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. 

Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.

Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.

Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.

MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS

I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY

A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?

Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018

The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII

My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII

The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST

The post KUALOA RANCH ZIPLINE ON OAHU, HAWAII appeared first on Journey Era.

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The west side of Oahu is a beautiful stretch of island paradise. Beaches, caves, hikes are spread throughout the west coast. After living on the island for two years I compiled a list of the Best West Oahu Beaches.

  Best beaches on the west side of Oahu Makaha Beach

Makaha Beach is a great spot for surfing when the swell is up and many tournaments are during the year. Often giant SUP’s will be out catching waves here with more than 10 people on board. If you want a chill vibe with small crowds, Makaha Beach is one of the best beaches on the west side of Oahu.

Keawaula (Yokohama)

The most western of all the west Oahu beaches is Keawaula Beach or Yokohama Beach. Another prime spot for bodyboarding and surfing this beach is paradise. The huge mountain backdrop makes the shore even more epic and cements it as the most atmospheric beach on the west side of Oahu.

 

‘Message in a bottle’. ? @poolhou.se . . . #messageinabottle #yokohamabeach

A photo posted by ZwimZuit (@zwimzuit) on Dec 20, 2016 at 2:49pm PST

Maili Beach

This 40-acre beach park is located next to the Farrington Highway. Maili is one of the best west oahu beaches to enjoy a picnic in the park before a refreshing swim.

 

It was so beautiful watching the sunset. #oahu #sunset #exploreoahu #mailibeach #hawaii #hawaiistagram

A photo posted by wbradorr (@wbradorr) on Jan 7, 2017 at 6:00pm PST

Nanakuli Beach

This beach is a bit of an adventurers playground. The rocky coastline is great for fishing, exploring and even a bit of cliff-jumping. The beach itself is a typical Oahu beach with beautiful sand and a small shore-break to play in.

 

A photo posted by 寿るい KotobukiRui (@rui0426) on Jan 7, 2017 at 2:53am PST

Kahe Beach (Electric Beach)

Electric Beach is next to the water pipe from the Electric Plant. It is totally safe but it just means the water is a bit warmer, which attracts fish and marine life. Therefore it is a prime location to swim with turtles, fish and a variety of fish species. For more info about this beach check out my article on snorkeling at Electric Beach

 

That’s me in the middle with @emery_ac & @littlemissmerk !!! Thanks for the picture @nestornotabilis #snorkeling #seaturtle #electricbeach #ifreakingloveturtles

A photo posted by MaryAnne (@missmaryanne253) on Jan 20, 2017 at 9:43am PST

Pokai Bay

Pokay Bay is the most protected of the west Oahu beaches because of it’s breakwater. Even when other leeward beaches get big swells Pokai Bay remains calm all year round. A great beach for SUP or Kayaking.

Ewa Beach

Ewa means ‘crooked’ or ‘ill fitting’ in Hawaiian. The myth goes that gods Kane and Kanaloa threw a stone determining the boundaries. However the stone was lost and later found at Pili o Kahe.

Hukilau Beach

When the surf is calm this is a great little sandy beach for swimming and relaxing but during the winter the current can get quite strong.

 Papaoneone Beach

Also commonly known as ‘Turtle Beach’, named after the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. The white sand contrasts beautifull against the azure, warm water. In the winter this beach has a strong shore-break and can become quite dangerous.

You might also like this list of the best North Shore Oahu Beaches Ko olina Beach Resort

Although Ko olina is a resort, the beaches must remain public. This means you can enjoy the resort life without having to pay. It isn’t great if you are looking for seclusion but it is picturesque and has all of the amenities you might expect from a classy resort.

 

#hawaii #koolina

A photo posted by Dave Hanna (@davethemuss) on Jan 31, 2017 at 8:21pm PST

Makua Beach

Makua Beach is almost the last west Oahu beach if not for Yokohama Beach. At Makua Beach you might bump into some Hawaiian Sea Turtles, dolphins, schools of fish. This beach is also a great spot for bodyboarding or playing in the waves. Although, you should be careful because the waves can get monstrous at certain times of the year. For camping and full-day adventures this is my top pick for a beach on the west coast of Oahu.

 

#leewardside #makuabeach #ilovehawaii

A photo posted by Beth OToole (@kailuabeth) on Dec 30, 2016 at 6:26pm PST

Where to stay on Oahu

Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. 

Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.

Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.

Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.

MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS

I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY

A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?

Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018

The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII

My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII

The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST

The post TOP 11 WEST OAHU BEACHES, HAWAII appeared first on Journey Era.

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