Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Greatest interest among all Authentic types, but those with Venturer leanings can find things to do
Did You Know … ?
- The Iolani Palace is the only official residence of royalty in the U.S.
- First efforts to lure tourists began in 1892, interrupted by Hawaii’s bubonic plague in 1899-1900.
- Waikiki (spouting waters) was the playground of Hawaiian royalty in the 19th century.
- Pearl Harbor is the only naval base in the U.S. that is a National Historical Landmark.
- Iolani Palace installed electricity (1887) before the White House did (1891).
In rankings data, Honolulu always has high scores on the four criteria that contribute most to a satisfying vacation: 1) beautiful scenery, 2) lots to do, 3) good weather and 4) friendly people.
The scenery is spectacular. Choices of things to do seem endless. The weather is always warm and pleasant. And the aloha spirit permeates even this big city to ensure visitors feel welcome. Mark Twain wrote, “Hawaii… is the loveliest fleet of islands anchored in any ocean.” Honolulu and Oahu retain much of that charm today.
Honolulu is a busy, active city of around a million people with the amenities of other cities its size, but it takes only 20 minutes to drive into rural areas that seem a world away.
Don’t assume Honolulu is just like a Caribbean capital. It offers more choices of things to do, prices are more reasonable and Americans don’t need a passport.
Most visitors, as they step off the plane into a pleasant breeze, are met by a friendly greeter who places a lei over their necks. Those who stay in Waikiki have only a 20-minute journey to their hotel, an advantage that few major cities can offer. Honolulu receives strong ratings from all personality types because all can find things they like to do.
Venturous types take to the water or sky, or find places to hike. Those who enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle play golf or sit on the beach and wade in Waikiki’s warm and calm waters.
There are many choices in museums. Pearl Harbor alone has four: the USS Arizona, the Battleship Missouri, the USS Bowfin Submarine and an aviation museum. The city offers an array of sightseeing opportunities, unique art galleries, great shopping and varied dining and entertainment.
There is no need for a rental car downtown, in Waikiki or nearby areas because there are multiple choices for public transportation. But a rental car is a good idea for spending a few days seeing beautiful scenery and rural Hawaii just 30 to 40 minutes from Honolulu hotels.
Things to do for Venturers
- In the summer months, when waves are calmer, surf on the North Shore at one of the three big surf spots. Only world class surfers go in the water between November and February when waves reach 20 feet at Waimea Bay, 30 feet at Sunset Beach and break over shallow reefs at the Banzai Pipeline. Alternatively, go scuba diving. Equipment rentals are available.
- Hike to the top of Diamond Head, a 763-foot extinct volcano, in early morning. At the peak the dramatic panoramic view includes half the island of Oahu.
- Even more involving are kayaking tours, shark excursions (you stay in the boat) or renting an ATV to explore places on your own.
- Sign up for a glider ride at Dillingham Airfield on the North Shore and see Oahu from a bird’s-eye perspective. Flights can be easy or aerobatic, your choice, and you can even get a flight lesson. First-timers should consider limiting time aloft to no longer than 30 minutes.
- Sticking to your Honolulu base, rent a car and explore the island with no destination in mind. You’ll be surprised at the island’s diversity of topography, lifestyles and scenic views. Carry a camera and pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of many beautiful public parks.
- Honolulu’s several ethnic districts offer interesting contrasts. Chinatown wakes up in early morning to the smells of traditional Chinese meals including Chinese dumplings and ribbons of fresh noodles. Shops offer jade, leis, medicinal herbs, incense and more. In the evening, restaurants vary from traditional Chinese to exotic. It’s a good place to pub hop, too.
Things to do for Centrics
- Go to Haunama Bay, a short drive from Waikiki, to snorkel in clear waters among tropical fish that will give you a nudge to get food.
- For great shopping, go to the huge open-air Ala Moana Center with its more than 260 stores and outdoor koi ponds, and take a leisurely walk along Kalakaua Avenue which also has many fine restaurants and entertainment.
- Ride horseback at the Kualoa Ranch and see a part of Hawaii you probably didn’t expect.
- Helicopter tours offer a good way to see much of the island from the air, and you’ll hear an interesting presentation from the experienced pilot. The flights are available in several places.
- Pay respects to the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor where 1,777 crewmen lost their lives. The public area is built atop its sunken hull. Don’t be surprised when you see many Japanese visitors, as well. Also, while in Pearl Harbor, experience the cramped claustrophobic quarters in which sailors had to live and work together for months, by visiting the USS Bowfin, one of 288 submarines built in World War II.
- Spend time at the Bishop Museum, the largest museum in the state and the premier natural history and culture center. It houses Hawaiian artifacts, royal family heirlooms of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, an extensive art collection, official documents and historic photos.
Things to do for Authentics
- Visit the King’s Village, a collection of busy, eclectic shops. But, as you do, walk with a feeling of reverence. It was once the site of King Kalakaua’s summer residence, where he lived and ruled from 1874 to 1891.
- In Iolani Palace, tour the beautifully restored state apartments, the State Dining Room, the Throne Room and the rooms that were the private living quarters from 1882 to 1893 of King Kalakaua and later Queen Liliuokalani.
- Throw a fresh lei on the 17-foot bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku in Waikiki and have your picture taken with him. It is the most photographed attraction in Hawaii. The Duke popularized modern surfing, won two Olympic gold free-style swimming medals (1912 and 1920) and became a motion picture star.
- Take an escorted historical walking tour of the Mission Houses Museum. The museum includes the three original frame homes that were built in New England and shipped to Hawaii to house missionaries. Nearby is the island’s original schoolhouse and a printing house where the first Hawaiian alphabet book and hymnals were produced.
- See the “Mighty Mo” (the USS Missouri), which is anchored as an interactive museum in Pearl Harbor’s battleship row. Gen. Douglas MacArthur accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese on its decks on Sept. 2, 1945.
- Enjoy lunch or dinner at Hawaii’s oldest hotel, the still-elegant Moana Hotel (Moana Surfrider), built in 1901 in the Hawaiian Renaissance style.
For more information, consult the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau at www.gohawaii.com and click on the Oahu button.