It’s hard for us to believe that as of tomorrow night, we’ll have been here two full weeks. You’ll remember our first two nights were spent at the Moana Surfrider, and the remainder of February has been in a vacation rental. Since both are located in the central part of Waikiki, I thought I’d take you on a little tour of the part of town with which we’ve become familiar. If we had to equate it to neighborhoods back home, we’d call it the Times Square / 5th Ave area as it’s centered on both tourists and shopping.
First though, some general background info: in its early history, Waikiki, which means “spouting water”, used to be wetlands. Today, it is a roughly 1.5 mile long strip of land along the south shore of Oahu, with the Ala Wai Canal running along the mauka (toward the mountains) side and the Pacific Ocean on the makai (toward the ocean) side.
Across the Ala Wai, which was built to drain the early wetlands, is a golf course. I don’t play, but I can imagine how lovely it is there. The walk along the canal is also a popular spot for those out for a stroll or a jog.
Turning around and heading toward the beach is where most of the action is, though. The main drag here is Kalakaua Avenue, lined with restaurants and beautiful plazas and shops ranging from mid to high end.
The International Market Place is currently undergoing a renovation, but you can still see how much it has changed from its earlier days here in Waikiki.
From the canal side, crossing Kalakaua will lead you to the beach, the primary attraction here in Waikiki. There are actually several distinct beaches all along Waikiki, but the main beach in central Waikiki is simply referred to as “Waikiki Beach”. It is mainly tourists who gather here, soaking up the sun and swimming. More adventurous folks can sign up for surfing and paddle boarding lessons as well.
Sure, palm trees abound here, but the Banyan trees dotting Kalakaua are true showstoppers.
In addition to the obvious natural beauty, there is a mix of modern and older architecture that is also visually interesting.
Smaller side streets often have little alleyways, which can be lined with open-air shops, markets and sometimes, motorcycle or other two-wheeled rental agents.
Central Waikiki is a wonderfully unique place, offering up a great mix of shopping, dining and beach going all at once. While we’ve enjoyed our stay here and will miss the quick walking access to just about anything you’d need, we are looking forward to our next rental starting on Wednesday, in the quieter, more residential Ewa (pronounced ‘Evah’) side of Waikiki, to the west.
Me ke aloha pumehana,