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The Ultimate Waikiki Guide: What to Do in this Hawaiian Paradise

a group of clouds in the sky at sunset

Imagine clear blue skies with the salty breeze and sound of the waves crashing. That is exactly how everyone describes Waikiki. More than its magnificent views, great shopping, is a tradition of aloha. Aloha is a Hawaiian term for being friendly, approachable and hospitable.

If it is your first time to visit Waikiki, you will fall in love with everything when you arrive. From the places you have to see, activities you want to do, and food you have to taste. Since you want to make the most out of your trip, it is important to plan ahead.  Researching and organizing your travel itinerary even before booking your flight is a must.

Here are some of the activities you might want to do in Waikiki:

Relax on the beach

Hawaii is one of the best places for a tropical vacation. Everyone is in love with the islands—whether you are looking for an adventure or you just want to relax.

Waikiki is one of the go-to places for a fun day at the beach. You can spend the day under the sun, taking an occasional dip in the water. If your body needs some relaxation, you can have your own space on Waikiki beach sand. You can just sit down for a meal or a cocktail at one of the beach front restaurants. Or you can also grab a quick to go snack. Either way, you can’t go wrong with starting off your vacation doing absolutely nothing.

Go to a Luau

Your Hawaiian visit is definitely incomplete without experiencing ‘luau’. It is a traditional Hawaiian feast that features the diverse culture of Hawaii and Polynesian islands. They celebrate it through music, food and good company with hula dancers and other entertainers. Historically, it is a mark of the beginning of a new era. In fact, it gave more equality between men and women, allowing them to eat together.

The word luau is the name of a taro leaf, which is a staple at the meal. The luau replaced a different feast in 1819. Today the luau is typically serve to celebrate special events.

Some Luaus, like the Diamond Head Luau, organized specifically for families or private events. While some luaus are more open to the public, they accept walk-in guests.

The food served in Luau includes:

  • Poi: A pounded taro plant root.
  • Poke: The term literally means “to slice cross-wise into pieces”. It’s a raw fish serve with a variety of condiments. This includes, shoyu (soy sauce), green onions, kukui nut (candlenut), limu (seaweed). However, the dish isn’t exclusively just fish, there are other variations as well.
  • Kalua Pig: Pork prepared in an imu or underground oven and shredded.
  • Grilled Chicken: If you prefer chicken over the pork
  • Laulau: Meat wrapped in luau (taro) leaves and steamed. Traditionally, they prepared it in an imu.
  • Lomilomi Salmon: A side dish made from salmon, tomatoes, onion and crushed ice.
  • Haupia: Coconut pudding.

We do offer a great luau, with good food, amazing views and entertainment! See our Luau.

Water sports and snorkeling

Your visit to Waikiki is absolutely not complete without getting in touch with your wild side. From parasailing, to shark diving in cages and more. If that’s not for you, then snorkeling is a must!

Waikiki is also one of the best surf beaches on the island, which is great for beginners and intermediate surfers. Waikiki’s history of surfing goes back to the early 1900’s. The Duke, and other groups of Hawaiians started surfing clubs in Waikiki with friendly competitions held between the groups. The sport really took off when photographers in the 50’s came out to Hawaii to capture some beautiful images.

If you want to really get your heart going, you can dive with sharks with one of the guides. Or try out parasailing. But if you want to go snorkeling, boat tours are available.  We can take you to natural and man-made reefs with plenty of underwater activities.

Join guided land tours

When you say Hawaii, people always imagine its beaches and blue water. But the rest of the island is just beautiful. Hawaii also offers vibrant green mountains, famous movie locations and more.

If you want to stay in Waikiki but you want to see Diamond Head, you have to take a trike. Companies such as Aloha Trikke offer tours around Waikiki on 3-wheel electric vehicles. Provided with guides, these will take you to break taking sights and with additional history lessons included.

Visit the Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is conveniently in Waikiki. It is a home to various species of Hawaii. In fact, the zoo has a total size of 2,392 miles.

Visiting this place is  a great way to learn about the endemic and indigenous species of the islands. The zoo also offers insects and animals from around the world. What’s more good about this zoo is that they have public and private tours available for purchase.

Hike the Diamond Head trail

To see Waikiki, Honolulu and the island from a different view point, take a hike up Diamond Head crater. The Diamond Head Trail is one of the most rewarding, short hikes on the island. Boasting amazing 360-degree views from the top, on a clear day you can see the westward side of the island. The hike itself can take about 40-60 minutes. It definitely depends on your pace. Just a safety reminder: please bring plenty of water as it can get hot.

According to Hawaiian legends, they called this extinct volcano, Le’Ahi. It’s because of its Ahi-Tuna like appearance. In 1908, the US army built a trail as a part of the Fort Ruger military base.

Watch the sunset

Another must do, and an easy one to check off your list. Hawaiian sunsets are some of the best in the world. You might be thinking it’s just a sunset,. Maybe you’ve seen a thousand sunset in your life. But wait until you witness one on the island. There’s just something magical about the colors of the sky and the ocean. This will surely give you peace and joy that you will treasure for the rest of your life.