Wakiki, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
I had the pleasure of spending my first night in Waikīkī which is a neighborhood of Honolulu, on the south shore of the island of Oʻahu, Hawaii. I spent my time there on the beach and in the Wakiki-HI youth hostel. Wakiki means “spouting fresh water” in Hawaiian, named as such for the streams and springs the fed the wetlands that once sat in this area (now pretty much paved over by the concrete jungle that is Honolulu. The area known as Wakiki extends from the Ala Wai Canal (which was dug to drain the former wetlands) on the west and north, to Diamond Head on the east. The area is known for the magnificent views of the Diamond Head tuff cone. Wakiki Beach is known for its humidity, warmth, and cloud-free climate as well as its surf break. The area is very commercialized, planted with high-rise hotels and condos. The beach is small, half of which is reserved for surfing. While the beach is sandy, the water is shallow, and quite rocky underwater. The area was originally a retreat for Hawaiian royalty in the 1800s who also enjoyed surfing these beaches. In the 1880′s a few hotels opened up and in 1893 the Greek-American George lycurgus leased the guest house of Allen Herbert calling it the “Sans Souci” making one of the first beach resorts. Present day Wakiki hosts popular hotels today like the Halekulani Hotel, the Hyatt Regency, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, the Sheraton, and some earlier historic hotels like the Royal Hawaiian and the Moana Surfrider. There are many surfer and hula competitions, festivals, and events that annually take place on Wakiki. Because they destroyed wetlands to build Wakiki, erosional problems have plagued the beach for years, whereas jetties, groins, and beach replenish projects have been abundant. Sand has even been imported in from California in the 20′s and 30′s to fix the beach. Also found here are Kapiʻolani Park, Fort de Russy Military Reservation, Kahanamoku Lagoon, Kūhiō Beach Park, and Ali Wai Harbor. Also, the infamous free movies on the beach called “Sunset on the Beach” are held here displaying on a 30′ screen on the beach. Beautiful place … Rating: 4 stars out of 5.