If you need an escapade and you start planning a trip to Hawaii but you want to make sure you choose the right island, or you have been multiple times and you are now looking for something new, keep reading.
After visiting Oahu for a week, I was delighted to find a versatile offering of activities and options that make Oahu an interesting island for a traveller who is looking for more than beaches.
Here are a few reasons to choose Oahu on your next trip.
1. Eat the local produce at farmers’ markets
The farm-to-table movement has also made its way to the island of Oahu. Although in Hawaii it’s a bit more challenging to be self-sustainable due to its geographical location, this isn’t stopping its farmers from growing more local produce so people can enjoy organic and fresh options when shopping for their veggies and fruits.
When visiting Oahu, the Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market in Diamond Head is open every Saturday from 7:30 to 11 am, and it’s the best place to mix with the locals, get some very affordable and fresh food, meet the farmers, and check out the products they’re growing. Here you’ll find lots of pineapple, fresh juices, and macadamia nuts. My favourite was the Hawaiian Crown spot, a farm run by powerhouse women from the same family that produces the sweetest pineapple and most delicious açaí bowl.
2. Enjoy the arts and culture
The city of Honolulu can provide an interesting cultural offering for travellers who are seeking more than beaches during their vacation time. As the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu is more exposed to cultural initiatives happening in other cities and more open to actively create its own.
You have, for example, POW! WOW! the mural festival that started six years ago in the neighbourhood of Kakaako, which has revitalized the area with more businesses opening and attracting more tourists, not only during the festival but throughout the year, to observe the murals that local and international artists have created. POW! WOW! has also expanded to other cities but it’s still one of Hawaii’s most significant contribution to the creative scene.
Another interesting initiative taking place is the very first Honolulu Biennial to be celebrated in March 2017. The intention of this festival is to bring to the public sphere the work of local and international contemporary artists for the general population to have access to. This event is organized with the intention of introducing the citizens of Honolulu to excellent and accessible contemporary art, which is currently lacking in the city outside of a few galleries.
3. Shop local makers and trendy boutiques
Oahu creatives are on the rise and it’s interesting to see how young and bold brands are taking the traditional designs and elements of the Hawaiian culture to create modern products that are disrupting the industry. Roberta Oaks, for example, took the traditional Aloha wear and transformed it into dashing designs charming the hearts of young and adults. With her, the designers behind Issa de Mar are also thinking of stylish, versatile, and dynamic women interested in high-functioning sports, like surfing, which is common in Hawaii, to create their collections.
And then you have stores like Tin Can Mailman that’s a little hole in the wall with an entire collection of vintage Hawaiian memorabilia that brings back the nostalgia of the past. Forget about the cheesy airport souvenirs and visit these designers and boutique stores that are setting the trend and reinventing what Hawaiian style is like.
4. Seek adventure and adrenaline
Don’t think I have forgotten about this point. If you want to experience something that might put you out of your comfort zone and elevate the adrenaline levels in your system, there are plenty of options in Oahu for you. From taking surfing lessons or catching the big waves to swimming with wild dolphins or wild sharks, you can have all kinds of unconventional experiences in Oahu that you will never forget.
For a unique experience with wild dolphins in Oahu, I went with Wild Side Specialty Tours; they’re excellent guides and teachers. You learn much more about this species and the experience is a lot richer. And if you want to try swimming with wild reef sharks, contact Island View Hawaii. I didn’t try this, but one of my colleagues did and said it was one of the most exhilarating experiences she has ever had. You can also try biking, aerial tours, paddle boarding, snorkeling, paragliding, skydiving, and more!
5. Get a break from the northern weather
During certain seasons, the weather in some cities around the country can bring your energy levels down after a continuous lack of sun, and sometimes a break and a change of pace is completely necessary to recharge before getting back to work. Hawaii is a great option to escape to, and one short direct flight to Honolulu (from Vancouver) can take you to paradise.
If you want something easy, relaxing, fun, versatile, sunny, and warm, give Oahu a go. The morning mist with the low clouds covering the mountains and welcoming the day produce a certain light that I had never seen before and it’s favourable for rainbows, so that magic proper of the Hawaiian land can be felt very intensely here.