From Pearl Harbor, to Hanauma Bay, to Diamond Head – Welcome to O‘ahu, Hawaii

Oh Hawaii, now that I’ve seen you, I understand your lure.  It’s been only a couple of weeks since I’ve been back from visiting my friend Nicole, who just moved back to Hawaii, and I still find it hard to believe all the beauty I saw everywhere I looked. If you follow me on social media (Facebook/Instagram), you know what I mean.  For those of you who don’t, I hope the following videos and images inspire you to start. Be ready to be taken on a visual tour of O‘ahu, Hawaii – from Pearl Harbor, to Hanauma Bay, to Diamond Head.  These were my top three tourist destinations on my first trip there.

Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head - O‘ahu, Hawaii -

Visual Tour of O‘ahu, Hawaii

Pearl Harbor

USS Bowfin - Pearl Harbor -

Whether you’re a history buff or not, you can’t land on O‘ahu without making a trip to Pearl Harbor.  It’s an amazing site to see. Not only for the historical impact the site has for our country, but for the beauty that surrounds this battlefield.  My only suggestion is to get there early.  We arrived by 9am and were met with a parking lot full sign.  Regardless, we found a nearby spot, and made a bee line for tickets to the main attraction, the USS Arizona.  This is the other reason you want to get there early.  I was at the ticket counter a little after 9am and the next ticket time they had was for 10:30am.

USS Arizona anchor -

The wait for a brief history and ride out to the memorial however was easy thanks to the other museums and relics on site. Plus most of the items mentioned are free, so a little wait time is par for the course.  From pictures to video, you’ll definitely leave feeling some of what went on that fateful day.

Pearl Harbor Oscilloscope -

War Talk after Pearl Harbor -

Pearl Harbor Guns -

Regulus 1 - Pearl Harbor -

Then when it’s your turn to head out to the USS Arizona, you’ll feel the awe of the memorial.

Ferry to and from USS Arizona -

Entrance to USS Arizona Memorial -

Inside USS Arizona Memorial -

Flag view from inside USS Arizona -

Remnants of USS Arizona -

USS Arizona Remnants -

Water opening at USS Arizona -

Truly a heart warming and informative journey, especially when you see all the fallen names listed on the wall.  It’s also impressive to know that even those that didn’t die that day, choose to be buried with their fallen soldiers on their passing.

USS Arizona Memorial Wall -

Definitely a must stop.  Just make sure you lather on the sunscreen, wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring your camera and some money for snacks, souvenirs, and added extras, to make your time here more enjoyable.

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Hanauma Bay

View of Hanauma Bay Reefs -

If you love to snorkel, Hanauma Bay is the place to be.  It’s a gorgeous cove tucked on the other side of Koko Head (Koko Crater Trail, which I didn’t climb, but I hear has over 1000 steps to reach the top). Again if you’re driving, make sure you arrive early.  We arrived at 9am and again were greeted with a parking lot full sign.  No worries though, my friend parked us across the street at the entrance to Koko Head and we only had to hike a short distance to get back to the Hanauma Bay entrance.  It’s only $7.50 to get in and locals get in free with their ID.  Here we again got a ticket time for entrance and had to wait about 30 minutes before we were allowed in to see the movie sharing the history of Hanauma Bay, the fish we may see, and how to ensure we didn’t damage any of the reefs.  After we were allowed to enter we had the option to either hike down or take a trolley for $1.25 per person.  We opted to hike down so we could get more amazing pics.

Reefs at Hanauma Bay -

Hanauma Bay with Koko Head backdrop -

Beach at Hanauma Bay -

Hillside view of Hanauma Bay -

Feet in Hanauma Bay sand -

It was heaven.  So many beautiful fish to see, and the views are just breathtaking.  Just make sure you bring your sunblock, towel, snorkel gear (or you can rent some on site), water shoes, and snacks.  Yes, they allow snacks and drinks in a small cooler. Of course they also have snacks and souvenirs for sale, so bring a little extra mula for that. And if your phone can go a couple of feet underwater, make sure you bring a waterproof case to keep it dry as you capture it all.  I had a case, but my phone shut off as soon as it was held under too long, thus no pretty fish pics, just this one.

Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay -

Diamond Head

Entrance to Diamond Head -

If you like to walk and are a novice hiker, then Diamond Head is just up your ally.   Thanks to it’s built in switchbacks, it’s an easier hike than having to do a steep, vertical climb like the one at Koko Head.  It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but there are a few stopping points, and the breeze is everything.

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View of Home from Diamond Head -

View of People Hiking Switchbacks at Diamond Head -

Me With Diamond Head Views -

Just make sure you have on at least athletic shoes, breathable clothing, and carry plenty of water, along with a camera to take it all in.

Stairs to top of Diamon Head -

Steep Stairs of Diamon Head -

Simply beautiful.

Waikiki view from Diamon Head -

Diamond Head Lighthouse -

View of homes from Diamond Head -

View from Diamon Head -

Steps to get off Diamond Head -

But this is only the tip of the iceberg on all the beauty I saw.  Stay tuned to learn about more awesome sites shared by friend, and local tour guide Nicole, and see whether they’re something you’d like to hit up on your trip to O‘ahu.

Friend Hiking Diamon Head -

Have you ever visited O‘ahu,?  What were your must stops?

Rocio Chavez
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  1. Your pics are awesome! Yes, I’ve been and there is so much to see and do. I wish I had gone to the bay for snorkeling. Maui or any of the other surrounding islands is a must stop. I loved the helicopter tour over the active volcano on the big island. If I get to go back one day I would be so fortunate. Glad you enjoyed your visit! Can’t wait to see more pics!

    • Thank you so much, and yes, we’re planning to fly to the other islands next time to do more exploring. I especially like the idea of touring the active volcano. Stay tuned, more pics and info to come soon ?

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