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The Best of Oahu West Shore

WEST SHORE

Taking distances from what is considered strictly touristic and get to know the naked heart of a place is something that I’ve never missed to do on a trip. So I got into the car and I hit the West Shore of Oahu. This part of the island didn’t exactly match with the exotic and beautiful pictures of the Hawaiian Islands I had in mind until then. It was the other side of the coin that nobody talks about. The leeward of Oahu is local, untamed and poor. The currents here are pretty strong and the waves pretty wild. Almost all the coastline had the same feature but two beaches: Waianae Beach and  Nanakuli Beach – in my opinion, the best of the West Shore.

WAIANAE BEACH

The West Shore of Oahu is the least touristic part of the Island but it shouldn’t stop you from paying a visit, at least to this beach. Waianae Beach is the perfect spot for those who are seeking to relax on a beautiful Hawaiian beach, away from the crowd of the East and North Shore. Also, the total absence of waves makes this place a favorite destination for paddle board lovers. Don’t you have a board with you? Check out  West Oahu Sup for rentals and get ready to have a great time!

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NANAKULI BEACH (MERMAID COVE)

Since the first moment I booked my ticket to Honolulu, the Mermaid Cove was on the top of my list as a must-see place on Oahu. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet any mythical sea creature but I saw the inside of the cave and it was absolutely dreamy. In order to get there, you need to cross jagged lava rock then try to figure out which one is the right ‘hole’ and finally descend through it and then below into a breathtaking underwater cave. Just be careful, the water level in the cave changes with the tides so it can also fill suddenly with any large swell. When you’re ready to get out, you’ll need to be able to lift your own bodyweight to get out through the hole. Some people require help and pulled up by friends, just one more reason to seek adventures and do your exploring with friends. Strictly for the adventurous seeking to experience a hidden treasure in Hawaii!

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Pictures from LookintoHawaii.com

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ELECTRIC BEACH

Our tour on the West coast of Oahu ends with Electric Beach. I didn’t get the chance to go there but, based on people opinion, this is a good place to get in touch with some incredible marine life. It gets the name from its closeness to the Hawaiian Electric Plant. The water running out into the ocean is several degrees warmer than usual and it attracts a variety of sea life – dolphins and sea turtles included. There are several boats organizing excursions on this side of the island but if you are seeking a less expansive option just put your head under water and if you hear the squealing noises of dolphins you can swim out further and hopefully swim with a pod of Spinner Dolphins.


Find out more about Oahu – The Best of Oahu South Shore

Check also traditional Hawaiian food and where to eat it on Oahu

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The Best of Oahu East Shore

EAST SHORE

BYDODO-IN VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES

I had never been to a Buddhist temple before then and it was a really particular experience for me.  I was totally amazed by the beauty of this place but what really impressed me was the sense of calm and peace that held me as I walked in through that bridge to the temple. This place can’t miss on your Oahu bucket list!

LANIKAI BEACH

Just miles of endless turquoise and calm water brushing up against a fine sand beach while gentle winds offer a cool relief from the hot Hawaiian sun. The word “Lani Kai” means “Heavenly Ocean”.  It’s such a fitting name for a place like this!

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Ph: Elena Locatelli

LANIKAI PILLBOX HIKE

Even if the almost vertical climb through the thick brushes got me a little intimidated at the beginning, the sunset from up there was quite rewarding!

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view of the Mokulua Islands from the second pillbox on the Lanikai Hike Trail

WAIMANALO BEACH

It was just a glimpse at the beginning. One step forward and I was breathless.  I must be dreaming – I thought. I remember I stood there like mesmerized for a while. And then, a shudder passed through me. Suddenly I took off my clothes and I run into the ocean. I remember looking down into the crystal-clear water and seeing cute little fishes swimming in between my feet. Turning around I took a look at the white-sand beach and at the green mantle of trees covering the mountain and then I remember taking a deep breath and letting myself fall back into the water. It was true, I really was in Hawaii.

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Find out more about Oahu – The best of Oahu South Shore

Find out more about Oahu – The Best of Oahu North Shore

Check out also traditional Hawaiian food and where to eat it on Oahu

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The Best of Oahu South Shore

SOUTH SHORE

MAKAPU’U LOOKOUT

My trip around Oahu started right here. It was just the first stop and I got already amazed. The view was stunning. I spent something like 20 minutes staring at that white-sand beach and at the blue ocean. I even pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming but there I was – in Hawaii!

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View of Makapu’u Beach and Rabbit Island from the MAkapu’u Lookout.

KOKO CRATER HIKE

Oahu is not just gorgeous shorelines. The island presents a rich and varied landscape that includes majestic mountain ranges and challenging hikes. One of the most famous is the Koko Crater trail – an old railroad built during World War 2 and used to haul cargo and supplies up to the top.

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Ph: Ryne Hanso

Watching the army’s guys going up and down so easily made me think it was going to be a smooth one. How naive I was! At each step, the staircase got steeper and steeper – not to mention the part of it that acts as a bridge with a 40 ft drop below. Not exactly the best thing for who has a fear of heights. I want to be honest – I almost gave up. Then turning around I saw how much I had already accomplished and I remember thinking ‘damn, I can’t screw it up now’ and, actually, I didn’t. Even if more dead than alive, I got to the top and sure this view paid me back.

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View of Port Lock Peninsula from the summit of Koko Crater Trail

HALONA BEACH COVE

It is a small pocket of sand surrounded by a volcanic rock shoreline, created thousands of years ago by volcanic eruptions. Today, there are no more active volcanos on the island so no fears. If you look at this picture, this place seems like saying ‘Come on! Get into the water’.  If I was you though, I wouldn’t listen to it. It sure is a beautiful beach but not the safest place where to chill. Currents here are pretty strong so watch out if you’re willing to take a shot for a few stroke or some snorkeling.

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Shot from the hill that overlooks the beach
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Shot from the beach – Ph: MYK Salonga

ALAN DAVIS BEACH

This spot of Oahu is really famous for its trampoline. Even if it has been removed by now, the rocks where the wooden plank was wedged are still in a perfect position for whoever is willing to take a (safe) jump into the blue water.

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Ph: Jake Butler

This beach is perfect also for those willing to take a swim and relax. Hidden in the dark-coal rocks there are little tidepools where you can hang out like if you were on your own private beach!

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Find out more about Oahu – The best of Oahu East shore 

Find out more about Oahu – The best of Oahu North Shore

Check out also traditional Hawaiian food and where to eat it