Oahu, Hawaii Trip Journal – Day 4 – Honolulu

categories: USA Travel

Diamond HeadLiz was scheduled for a beach dive today which is the next step on the way to her scuba certification. Most of the rest of us headed to Diamond Head to hike to the top. The guidebook we have been using (Frommer’s Honolulu & Oahu Day by Day) said:

The climb up Diamond Head is steep, but anyone reasonably fit can do it.

We watched several people come to the realization that they were not reasonably fit. One middle aged man was getting an earful from his wife as he gasped for air “the first thing that you are going to do when you get back is find a personal trainer…”. The trail starts as a paved path, proceeds to a series of switch backs up the side of this caldera and then gets to stairs, a tunnel, more stairs and a spiral staircase and then more stairs. It was a good workout but the views really were worth the climb. Frommer’s suggested bringing a flashlight for the tunnels but we did not find that we really needed one.

Diamond Head trail Diamond Head trail

Lunch was a Puka Dog from the shop of the same name across the street from the hotel. Tom Merritt had recommended Puka dogs to me, based on a recommendation by Anthony Bordain. They really were a treat. You get your choice or polish of veggie dog, a choice of garlic lemon secret sauce, a tropical relish (Mango, Papaya, Coconut, etc), and an optional Hawaiian mustard. I tried hot chili pepper sauce, sweet onion relish, lilikoi mustard on a polish dog. I found it interesting that each of us tasted one and only one flavor combination before deciding that our choice was perfect.

Puka dog Puka dog

After lunch five of us headed for a different hike to Manoa Falls. Reviews we had seen said that this was a beginner to intermediate hike. But this is a hike where you need to be sure footed as you make your way up the trail that is tangled with roots and rocks. You will want to leave grandma back at the bar by the pool. In the rainy season it is also muddy. But the landscape is lush and tropical with vines, bamboo, and flowers. The larger cousins of your local houseplants like pothos or philodendrons also grew everywhere in a “when houseplants rule the world” sort of look.

Minoa Falls

The falls themselves were more of a trickle than a torrent but we loved this hike. It was worth the loss of body fluids (blood to mosquitoes and sweat). Avoid the same error we made heading to the falls and be aware that there are two Minoa Roads that come off of Oahu Road. Skip E. Minoa Road and turn on Minoa Road.

Dinner was at the famous Duke’s in Waikiki. Duke’s has two different menus. The beach bar menu is reasonably priced sandwiches, etc with a view of the beach and the sunset. We sat just inside the bar at the sit down restaurant. This restaurant features a good all you can eat salad bar which is included in most meals or is a meal option itself at $13. We had the salad bar and then split some entrees. The food was good. A trio of older Hawaiian women sang traditional songs. There was some confusion when I dropped my room key during dinner and was accused of throwing it at the band.

view from Duke's beach bar Duke's

I am continuously impressed with the hospitality of the Hawaiians. On the way back from dinner we walked through the international market and as I walked on alone I was approached by a beautiful blonde in hot pants who wanted to know if I wanted some company… how thoughtful.

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

2 Responses to “Oahu, Hawaii Trip Journal – Day 4 – Honolulu”

Darrell Hickman


I see that you are having a great time in Oahu. I really enjoyed that you turned down “company”. I forgot the name of the shopping center in the middle of Waikiki, but they are always having demonstrations shows and sometimes hula and ukelele lessions. You should make sure you head there.



I enjoyed reading about your five days traveling around Oahu. It’s such a beautiful island with so much to do, thanks for sharing some of the best parts. Hope you are able to venture out to some great sites on the neighbor islands too. Looking forward to hear more about your travels.

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