Diamond Head, Oahu is a massive crater formed by the explosion of a shield volcano. You can walk up it: a decent hike of 0.8 miles involving quite a few stairs near the end.
I don’t recommend walking from Waikiki to the entrance of Diamond Head, it takes 40 minutes or more and isn’t that exciting. Take TheBus, which has a stop right in front of the park entrance for Diamond Head. Here’s the view of the crater from the top:
You can see a great panorama of Oahu’s beaches and towns, including great views of Honolulu and (pictured here) Waikiki Beach:
Tips for hiking Diamond Head:
- Go very early to avoid the crowds of tourists. I believe the park is open at 6 or 7am? If you have jet lag from points east, this would be a perfect first-day activity.
- Bring a hat sunscreen, and water. It’s a short hike, but a decent amount of vertical and quite hot.
- Take a bus or car to get there. As mentioned above, it’s a long and somewhat boring walk from Waikiki.
Next I headed to downtown Honolulu. It’s a small city, but with quite a lot to see – most people could easily spend a day there. I took TheBus and got off at Punchbowl Street, where I walked through the town admin buildings to the former Hawaiian King’s palace:
I opted not to take the tour, because it was pretty expensive ($12 or so?), but then again, everything in Hawaii seems ridiculously expensive to me.
If you want a nice overview of the city from up high, go to the (free) Aloha Tower in the shopping complex of the same name. You can ride up to the 10th floor and see great sights:
For a great cup of 100% Kona coffee (I had an iced latte), try out Island Vintage Coffee in that same shopping center. They have a cool promo video that explains what Kona coffee is all about.
My last stop in Honolulu was a church I wandered by, St. Andrew’s Episcopal. They have a very impressive stained glass window.
That’s all for today, May 19th. Tomorrow: a bit about my surfing adventure in Waikiki (few pics as I was on the water!), and hula dancing!