Given Honolulu's idyllic Hawaiian atmosphere, you'd be surprised at how large and cosmopolitan the city is. Stay in the downtown area, and you'll be a stone's throw from major cultural attractions such as the Aloha Tower and the Hawaii State Art Museum. It's also close to Chinatown and the city harbour, where you'll find the best seafood restaurants in Honolulu. Head to Waikiki, the part of Honolulu most visitors think of, for white-sand beaches popular with surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers. For a more tranquil trip, you could stay in Manoa-Makiki, nestled just below the magnificent Koolau Mountains. Far from being simply residential, the area is home to Queen Emma Summer Palace, a relic of Hawaii's monarchy, among several fascinating museums. Across Hanauma Bay, in Eastern Honolulu, are several superb secluded beaches with ideal diving and snorkelling conditions.
Many travellers come to Hawaii for its unique atmosphere. In Honolulu, you'll get an amazing cultural experience alongside miles of pristine sand beaches. Surfing, diving, and swimming are all very popular in Waikiki. If you're wondering what to do in Honolulu at night, head out for a Blue Hawaiian cocktail in the bars, and for a true island experience, attend a luau, a traditional Hawaiian party with plenty of delicious food, music, and dance performances. For adventures outside the city, visit the nearby Diamond Head State Park, easily accessible by car. Hike up to the 300,000-year-old crater for unforgettable vistas across the island. For more recent local history, join a Pearl Harbor tour and learn about this famous site.
As you'd imagine, Honolulu's climate is pretty much perfect. Temperatures are quite steady throughout the year, averaging in the mid-20s and rising to about 27°C in August and falling to around 23°C in January. Late winter to early spring tends to see the most rainfall, although even then, it's almost always beautifully warm. Late spring to early summer is the perfect time to avoid the largest crowds at Waikiki and still enjoy the sunshine. Food-wise, Honolulu is a real delight, no matter how adventurous you are. Try poi paste, often served with fish, or laulau, which is pork wrapped in taro leaves. The multicultural city also has heavy Korean and Japanese influences, and you'll find your fair share of typical American fast food outlets, too. Similar to the sashimi you'd find in sushi restaurants back home is poke, fish served in chunky and satisfying cubes rather than thin slices.
|Language||English, Hawaiian (traditional but rarely spoken language)|
|Time-Zones||Hawaiian-Aleutian Time (GMT-10)|
Rent a car in Honolulu, and you'll open up the whole island of Oahu. It's a fantastic way to see more on your trip. The major points of interest are easy to get to, particularly if you remember that mauka means 'toward the mountain', while makai means 'toward the sea'. These terms are often used rather than 'north' and 'south'. You'll usually need to be over 21 to rent a car, and sometimes 25, depending on the rental company. Be sure to keep your passport, proof of insurance, driving licence, and warning triangles in the car. The blood-alcohol limit is 0.08%, although avoiding alcohol completely when driving is always a good idea. You'll drive on the right-hand side of the road. Speed limits tend to be lower than in continental USA due to the island's smallish size and generally slow way of life, which you'll soon come to appreciate on your holiday!