Leeward Oahu

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Explore Oahu with Honolulu Honu Divers

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There are so many beautiful sights to take in on your Hawaiian vacation; mountain ranges, palm trees, white beaches, blue seas, and colorful flowers around every bend.  Some of the most beautiful sights, however, are a bit more tucked away – hidden under the surface of the beautiful waves of the Pacific Ocean around Oahu.

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If you’re looking for a truly unique, once in a lifetime activity to make your vacation memorable, Honolulu Honu Divers can show you a side of Oahu you otherwise wouldn’t see; the underside!

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Hector established Honolulu Honu Divers based on his absolute passion and love for the underwater world.  He has truly set himself apart from the other dive companies on the island by following a strict 1:1 or 2:1 dive ratio meaning that the only time you will ever dive with someone other than just him is if you book with a dive buddy you know!

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Whether you want to explore the different dive spots around the island by boat or stick to a shore dive, the personalized one on one experience of Honolulu Honu Divers can’t be beat.  Call today and let Hector “show you the time of your life.”

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Pearlridge’s “BUTTERFLIES!” Display is Now Open

Pearlridge’s “BUTTERFLIES!” display is now open and it’s an experience that will make your heart flutter: the chance to get up close and personal with hundreds of rare butterflies as they flit freely, feeding and playing. This spring Pearlridge Center’s popular butterfly exhibit, “BUTTERFLIES!” returns with its enchanting Butterfly Conservatory and new educational classes by local experts.

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Photo Credit: Pearlridge Center

 

 

For the first time, guests experiencing “BUTTERFLIES!” can also participate in classes by local experts Darlene Loo-McDowell, Dancetta Feary and William Haines. Shoppers will also learn how to propagate their own butterfly gardens and have the opportunity to purchase the plants needed. All classes are free with $3 purchase of butterfly house tour.

“BUTTERFLIES” is open to the public Saturday, March 7 through Saturday, April 4, from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $3 per person. One keiki under the age of eight is free with each paying adult.

“Since it first started three years ago our butterfly exhibit has really taken flight and is an activity families and even adults look forward to visiting,” said Kelly Kauinana, marketing director for Pearlridge Center.

“This year we’re taking the experience one step further by providing our shoppers with the tools and tips to grow their own butterfly garden at home. As scientists continue to see the Monarch’s decline, ‘BUTTERFLIES!’ is a great opportunity to educate the next generation on this majestic creature. It is our hope that these classes will build a foundation that can help the Monarch Butterfly population flourish.”

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Photo Credit: Pearlridge Center

 

Exhibits and workshops included in this year’s “BUTTERFLIES!” exhibit are:

Butterfly Conservatory:

Pearlridge Center’s Downtown Center Court will come to life with the addition of the 18’ by 18’ Butterfly Conservatory, home to hundreds of live butterflies. Here, keiki will witness the butterfly’s life cycle firsthand as it transitions from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

According to the Butterfly Society of Hawaii, there are 17 species of butterflies in Hawaii. The exhibit features five found locally, including the Monarch Butterfly – which is growing increasingly rare — the white monarch, citrus swallowtail, painted lady, and Kamehameha Butterfly. All butterflies in the exhibit are raised by farmers on Oahu and Maui.

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Photo Credit: Pearlridge Center

 

Gardening for Butterflies: Sundays, March 8 & March 22 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Grow your love for butterflies at a special session with seasoned butterfly gardener Darlene Loo-McDowell. Loo- McDowell will share information on the proper plants to help feed caterpillars and butterflies, as well as information on their care. Class sizes are limited and RSVPs are recommended. To RSVP call (808) 554-3307. All classes are free with $3 purchase of butterfly house tour.

Loo-McDowell has worked with Pearlridge Center’s Conservatory for the past three years and many of the butterflies in the Conservatory come from her garden.

Butterflies, Bobo Birds, and a Special Butterfly Observatory Tour: Saturday, March 28, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Join Dancetta Feary to learn all about local Monarch Butterflies, their predators, and what we can do to help grow the population. This presentation is complete with a special tour in the Butterfly Conservatory where Feary will share how to feed butterflies as well as some fun butterfly facts.

Feary, has long been one of the islands’ foremost protectors of the Monarch Butterfly and has been involved in breeding the White Monarch, one of the world’s rarest butterflies. Class sizes are limited and RSVPs are recommended. To RSVP call (808) 554-3307. All classes are free with $3 purchase of butterfly house tour.

Photo Credit: Pearlridge Center

Photo Credit: Pearlridge Center

Experience the Kamehameha Butterfly Up-Close: Saturdays, March 14 & March 21, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Join William Haines from the University of Hawaii and see our state butterfly, the Kamehameha Butterfly up close. Through the Pulelehua Project, Haines has been working to locate and research the Kamehameha Butterfly, in a quest to help one of the islands’ only indigenous butterflies.

Haines has contributed to developing maps and information on where to plant the Mamaki plant, the host plant for the Kamehameha butterfly to help increase the population of this regal species. His exciting presentation includes a discussion of the best hiking locations and elevations to find the Kamehameha Butterfly. Class sizes are limited and RSVPs are recommended. To RSVP call (808) 554-3307. All classes are free with $3 purchase of butterfly house tour.

Butterfly Field Trips:

Students will encounter butterflies in the Conservatory and explore and observe the stages of its life cycle through a collaborative activity. This field trip meets NSTA National Science Education Standards (c.2.1) Life Science / Life Cycle. Educators may request an in-class assessment activity at the completion of the field trip.

Field trips are available March 9 – April 2, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., with the exception of March 26, Prince Kuhio Day. The cost is $4 per student, which includes admission to the Butterfly Conservatory and one-hour curriculum. Butterfly classroom kits and lunch options are an additional charge. For questions or to schedule your visit please call (808) 554-3307 or visit www.adoptabutterfly.com.

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11 Family Friendly Spring Break Activities

Mid March means Spring Break on Oahu, a time that can be both exciting and overwhelming!  The kids are home from school and ready to be entertained –  luckily, there are plenty of family friendly events going on around the island to keep your keiki busy.

We’ve compiled a list of 11 family friendly Spring Break activities, from historical to hands on.

HISTORICAL
Take your kids for some fun extra credit.  Show them they can have fun while learning about the wonderful island of Oahu.

1. National Memories Exhibit Opening
Opens March 14th

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Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is the first stop of the “National Memories” 2015 United States tour. The exhibit, which first went on display in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in 2010, has toured Mainland China and Taiwan. Through the use of imagery and more than 100 historic photos taken by the 164th US Signal Photo Company in the China Burma India Theater, “National Memories” brings to life the camaraderie that existed between Chinese and U.S. soldiers as their countries joined forces during World War II. The Museum’s permanent “Flying Tigers Exhibit” featuring a WWII-era P-40 aircraft, will anchor the photographic display.

2. 125 Years Through the Eyes of the Bishop Museum
March 11th- March 16th
125For 125 years, Bishop Museum has chronicled life in the Hawaiian Islands. Over that time we’ve seen tremendous changes to Hawai‘i, our people, our cultures, our environment, and our place in a global society.  The emphasis of the exhibit will be the common lived experience of life in the Islands. Rather than create a linear chronological sequence through the period, the exhibit will examine change thematically, with more than a dozen large graphic panels exploring topics like Communication, Work Life, and Transportation.

3.  Kapolei Prince Kuhio Ho’olaule’a
March 14th

Part of the Prince Kuhio Festival which honors the life of Prince Kuhio, “The Citizen Prince,” this is a free, all day event that includes hula, local entertainment, traditional food prep lessons, local vendors, crafts, and traditional Hawaiian games.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Looking for something different to do outside with the little ones besides plopping them on the beach?  Look no further!

4. North Shore Keiki Surf School Camp
Call for details

North Shore Keiki Surf School specializes in teaching children how to surf and they’ll be holding a Spring Break camp!  Take some time for yourself and rest assured your children are in great hands as they spend the day in the beautiful waters of the North Shore.

5. Keawe Adventures
Call to book
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Whether you want to visit Pearl Harbor, explore the North Shore, go fishing, hiking, or snorkeling, Keawe Adventures has a tour for you! Let them help you build your dream Hawaii Vacation or Staycation this spring break with one of their premier private guided tours on Oahu. 

6. Hawaii Duck Tours
Call to book

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Explore Oahu in a way you never have before with an amphibious tour from Hawaii Duck Tours!  If you book any time in March or April, mention Seek Spot, and like them on Facebook, you get a free Rubber Ducky Scrub – sure to be a hit with your kids.

7. Gunstock Ranch Horse Day Camp
March 17th

This day camp is geared for the beginner rider ages 7-13 years old. It is the perfect introduction to learning about horses. This day will be filled with horse fun, education, and adventure. Students will be oriented and taught safety around horses. They will also learn how to properly mount and dismount, learn basic commands of making a horse do what they want, and go on a trail ride. Students will also learn through hands-on experience basic care for horses, how to saddle, and ride in the Western style.

8. Pipeline Womens Pro
Holding Period: March 16th-24th
pipelineWatch the best female surfers duke it out at one of the most famous surf breaks in the world – Banzai Pipeline.  Make sure you check the website before showing up to see if the event is on!

9. Learn To Play Hockey with Jami Yoder
March 14th

Okay, so this one isn’t exactly outside, but if your kids need a break from the hot sun, let them learn to play hockey with Team USA’s Jami Yoder!

HANDS ON
Let your kids’ creative side flourish with these hands on activities.

10. Explorers Club: Astrophotography
March 19th & 20th
All day STEM programs for 3rd through 8th graders. Students explore topics in science, technology, engineering and math.  This session will focus on learning about celestial objects and using technology to enhance images of the cosmos.

11. Paint The Night Away
March 20th

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Fun for the whole family!  On March 20th, you and your keiki can create a beautiful Mermaid painting at Haleiwa Joe’s 3rd Friday Art & Music Event.

12. Honolulu Music, Arts, & Food Festival
March 13th-15th

Explore the “5 festivals in 1” and enjoy more than 17 bands, arts & crafts vendors, local artists,  food from some of Honolulu’s best restaurants, petting zoos, games, pony rides, bully dog show, wine and drinks for the parents, and so much more!

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Michelle Wie to Play in LOTTE Championship

When asked to think of famous Hawaiian athletes, I think it’s safe to say we all immediately conjure up images of surfers in our head.  But did you know that Hawaii has produced a long list of top athletes in all the major sports?  It’s not just water sports we excel in!

In the world of baseball, 1986 was a big year for Honolulu born Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez, two pitchers that played for the World Series winning New York Mets.  Sid was the first Hawaiian to play in an All Star game.

Years later, history was made again when Brian Ching, a North Shore native, became the first Hawaiian to be drafted by the MLS.  Continuing this trend, B.J. Penn, hailing from Kailua, was the first winner of the World Jui-Jitsu Championships that wasn’t from Brazil.

In terms of wahine, Michelle Wie from Honolulu was both the youngest player to ever play in an LPGA event and the youngest (and fourth ever female) to play in a PGA event.

Michelle Wie won the 2014 LPGA LOTTE Championship.  Photo courtesy of Ko Olina.

Michelle Wie won the 2014 LPGA LOTTE Championship. Photo courtesy of Ko Olina.

 

Michelle Wie to play in LOTTE Championship!

You can see  Michelle play in the 2015 LPGA LOTTE Championship at Ko Olina on April 12-18th.  Michelle won the event last year, no doubt fueled by the support of her home island.

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The Best Activities on Oahu!

Experience everything that Oahu has to offer in and around the beautiful Pacific Ocean.  SeekSpot.com has found the best activities for you to enjoy.
You can explore the ocean with Under The Sea, on their new glass bottom boat. View the exotic marine life in a one of a kind way.
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You can find dolphins off the coast of Leeward Oahu with Iruka Hawaii
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and  you can swim with spinner dolphins and see them up close with Ko Olina Ocean Adventures.
Ko`Olina Ocean Adventures
Or you could enjoy a sunset sail with Hawaii Nautical
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or dinner cruise with Ocean Joy Cruises
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Discover the Beautiful Waianae Coast with West Oahu SUP.

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On the Windward side 
You will find TwoGood Kayaks,
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where you can rent a kayak and explore the pristine ocean of Kailua. 

Sammy’s Aloha Watersports offers clients the chance to explore the ocean and learn a new sport with personalized quality instruction.

Sammy's Aloha Watersports

You can get your adrenaline pumping by Paragliding over the ocean with Aloha Paragliding.
Aloha Paragliding
Or go on an adventure with Holokai Kayak Adventure Tours,
Holokai Kayak Adventure Tours
and see parts of the island you have never seen before.
On the South shore 
Sail past the surfers in search of treasure off the shores of Waikiki all the while defending the ship against passing boats with water cannons with Hawaii Pirate Ship Adventures. Hawaii Pirate Ship Adventures Or, glide through the pacific at speeds up to 40mph with all 1,420 horse power on the Honolulu Screamer Honolulu Screamer Fly across the open sea, and get your adrenaline pumping with Xtreme Jet Ski X-treme Jet Ski or experience the ultimate airborne ride of a lifetime with Xtreme Parasail. X-treme Parasail Dedicated to teaching you to Surf, Stand Up Paddle and Double-Hull Canoe away from the crowds and with Aloha. Spend a day with Hawaiian Surf Adventures. Hawaiian Surf Adventures Enjoy spectacular cruising amongst these majestic high islands in the mid-Pacific with Honolulu Sailing Honolulu Sailing Enjoy Stand-Up Paddling, Fly-Fishing, Light-Tackle Fishing, Diving and Snorkeling  with Keawe Adventures. Keawe Adventures View the clear blue waters of Hawaii from the deck of a stand-up paddle board with Tropical Blends Tropical Blends Take in beautiful views and beautiful experiences, aboard a sailing boa with Tradewind Charters Tradewind Charters or come explore the beautiful underwater habitats surrounding Oahu with Pearl Harbor Divers. Pearl Harbor Divers
On the North Shore 
Observe Galapagos and Sandbar sharks in their natural environment with Hawaii Shark Encounters. Hawaii Shark Encounters

Rent surfboards, bodyboards, stand up boards, and snorkeling equipment from North Shore Surf Shop.

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Enjoy a beautiful sunset sail with North Shore Catamaran. north shore catamaran Have the fishing experience of a lifetime with North Shore Sport Fishing. north shore sport fishing
Or learn to surf with North Shore Surf Girls. north shore surf girls

Chase down pelagic fish from Ahi, Mahi Mahi, and Ono, and hunt after the elusive giant-Ulua with Deep Blue.Deep Blue

There is so much to do for all ages on Oahu. Visit www.seekspot.com for more awesome activity ideas.
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Big Boards, Big Fun!

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February is the month well known for Buffalo’s Big Board Surfing Classic in Makaha. This year marks the 38th annual event, which will be held on February 15, 16, 17, 22 & 23, 2014. This is an iconic event filled with legendary Hawaiians. Buffalo Keaulana, waterman, spear fisherman, Makaha lifeguard and steersman of Hokulea’s maiden voyage of cultural rediscovery to Tahiti in 1976, explains why he started the Big Board Surfing Classic:

“I wanted something for the old-timers to enjoy,” he said, something to bring out those who don’t usually surf in contests, something that doesn’t rely so heavily on judgement calls, something that uses big boards (10 feet and over), and something fun.
 
In addition to the big boards, other classic forms of wave riding are  included, such as tandem, canoe,bodysurfing, paipo, Beachboy style (stand-up-paddling) and the traditional Alaia board. It’s truly the water Olympics of all that is surf as far as the talent level goes, however this is no contest. It’s more like a celebration where every water man and water woman puts on their best show.

Make a day of it on the West Side and be sure to plan your trip with our map. Also make sure to check out our coupons for that region in order to enjoy all that the Leeward coast has to offer at discounted prices.

 

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Hikes on Leeward (West Side) Oahu…

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Kaena Point… If you are looking for a challenging hike on the west side then head all the way up to Kaena Point. This northwest tip of Oahu is a wild and rugged terrain! Kaena Point is a Natural Area Reserve. There are no roads in, no cars, nothing but some clearly marked trails and the raw beauty of the island. Here you will see tall cliffs, sand dunes, tidepools, lots of seabirds (such as the Laysan Albatross which nests here), and many native plants (like the pohinahina with its purple flowers and the rare ohai with its beautiful orange-red blossoms). As you hike please be careful of bird nesting areas and if you see piles of neatly stacked rocks, be respectful since they are actually small shrines erected by native Hawaiians who consider this area sacred!

This is a rocky coastline with some of the biggest waves on Oahu, dangerous rip currents, and no lifeguards, so do not attempt to swim in these waters! While no permit is required, this is not a place for overnight camping, so allow yourself time to get in and out before dark. The 5 ½  mile round trip is strenuous and will take at least 3-4 hours. Go early in the morning and you might be treated to the sight of a school of dolphins that frequent this area!

Remember to take plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and bring a hat since Kaena Point is very hot and dry! Also, be sure you wear hiking shoes to protect your feet from the sharp rocks of the coastline.  You can park at the Kaena Point State Park, where the pavement, and Highway 93, ends.

 

Kuilioloa Heiau at Kaneilio Point… Pokai Bay is separated from Lualualei Beach by a coconut tree lined peninsula which juts out into the sea, and at the end of this peninsula you will find the ruins of a sacred heiau (Hawaiian temple). It is an easy hike of a half mile out and back so only takes about thirty minutes but, if you are out and about enjoying the beaches and gorgeous coastline of West Oahu, this is a beautiful and interesting little hike. The multi-tiered Kuilioloa Heiau  is situated with panoramic views both north and south! The peninsula is easily accessed by turning off Farrington Highway onto Lualualei Road which leads to the parking lot. Park and lock your car (please don’t ever  leave any valuables in your car as an easy target for thieves!). Follow the tree lined path to the point, explore the ruins, and enjoy the views. After your walk you can take a swim in the calm waters of Pokai Bay!

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Best Beaches….West Oahu, Leeward Side

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Farrington Highway takes you out to the sunny, dry west side of Oahu. Here you will find small communities going about their day to day, quite apart from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu. There are miles of beaches here, which are quiet and less crowded!

Ko`olina Lagoons…Meaning “delightful” this beach area was developed as part of the Ko`olina Resort. However, these four man-made lagoons are open to the public. The waters are always calm and protected so it is a great place for families with small children, offering excellent swimming as well as snorkeling,  and scuba.

Nanakuli Beach Park….this beach, named after the town of Nanakuli, is a favorite of local families. It is popular for fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming. Be aware, however, of high surf and strong currents during winter and spring months.

Ma`ili Beach Park…bordering the highway, this long, narrow park is named for all the `ili`ili, or small, round, waterworn pebbles found here. Like many along the Leeward coast, this beach can be subject to strong currents and high surf, but it is very popular with surfers. Two good surf spots are found here…Green Lanterns and Tumbleland

Poka`i Beach Park…a little farther up the coast is the town of Wai`anae and between the small boat harbor and Kane`ilio Point lies Poka`i Bay. This protected bay is lined by a sandy beach and is another popular place for families with children. There are parking and restrooms here also.

Makaha Beach Park…famous for its surf, with waves that can reach up to 25 ft during winter months, this beach is the site each year of a Big Board contest held in honor of lifeguard and surfing legend “Buffalo” Keaulana. Needless to say, when the surf is up conditions can be dangerous, with strong rip currents, but when the ocean is calm, during summer months, this mile-long, half-moon beach is safe for swimming and is also a popular spot for scuba divers. Parking and restrooms are available.

Keawa`ula Beach…this is the last beach before Kaena Point and is more popularly known as Yokohama Beach. It is not protected by a reef offshore so is subject to high surf and strong currents, but it is a popular surf spot. Be advised that there are no lifeguards here, and that no vehicles are allowed to continue past Keawa`ula.

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A New Year of Adventure with Under the Sea Hawaii!

Those of us at Under The Sea Hawaii  “can hardly sit still” and are so excited for the launch in January 2014 of absolutely unique ocean education eco-adventures aboard our new, state of the art, futuristic-looking glass bottom hydrofoil!  This boat literally provides a window into a world rarely seen by others: like the bustling undersea sunrise and sunset activities which signal the change of day and night shifts in all reef cities; or the usually unobserved underwater behaviors of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles.   We are busily installing a hydrophone to listen in on whale songs and other sea chatter, and fitting the microscope with a video camera and screen system so everyone can see the tiny plankton we collect.  Even though our staff meetings are full of good food and laughter we also use them to transform our professional ohana’s diverse talents, knowledge, and experience in science and Hawaiian culture into entertaining and educational programs that present guests with options to customize their own ocean experience.  And while making sure guests have fun is our goal, our mission is to provide environmentally responsible educational experiences intertwined with the cultural stories and practices that give the islands and its people significance and meaning. Come join us soon on an adventure you will never forget!

Thank You to Barbara Whitman Howell, of Under the Sea Hawaii, for contributing this guest blog.
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A Day on Leeward Oahu, Sample Itinerary

Driving up the Leeward Coast of Oahu is an easy and relaxing way to spend a day. Start with an early morning visit to Pearl Harbor for a boat ride out to view the USS Arizona Memorial, or stop at the Pacific Aviation Museum. From there head to the Waianae Coast and take a scenic drive all the way up to Yokohama Bay. If the ocean is calm, take a walk along the beach, and if the waves are rolling in as they often are in winter months, you are sure to get some awesome photos of the impressive surf here! Now head back down to legendary Makaha Beach, home to big wave surfing since the days of ancient Hawaii, and then down to Waianae Boat Harbor for a fantastic snorkeling adventure with Under the Sea! This is an opportunity of a lifetme to see a very “unspoiled and natural” side of Oahu with tons of ocean life in pristine settings! Once you have enjoyed your underwater adventure, continue down the coast, stopping at beaches along the way such as Pokai Bay. At Pokai Bay you can take a short walk out to a point there which has the remains of an ancient heiau (Hawaiian temple). Further down the coast, at the southwestern end you will find the only large resorts on this side of the island. The lagoons at Ko‘olina, which are open to the public, are a great place to stop for a sunset view. There are many excellent restaurants in the directory to choose from for dinner before heading back to your vacation accomodations for the evening.

For more information on restaurants, activities, shopping, etc on Leeward Oahu, CLICK HERE

*See itineraries in other regions for more ideas!

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