The West Side of Oahu
The west side of Oahu is a beautiful place. Rounded mountains in lovely earthen hues gracefully slope towards the deep blue Pacific. Once the H1 Freeway ends not far past Kapolei, Route 93 winds its’ way north along the coast through the towns of Waianae, Makaha and Nanakuli. Eventually, the road ends at Kaena Point, and is accessible only by foot. In recent years, the resort district of Ko Olina located on Oahu’s west side has become a popular destination for visitors. We have been asked many times if we have Packages for this part of Oahu, and the answer is no. We will use this blog post to explain why we think Waikiki-based Packages are the best way to experience Oahu vs staying in the Ko Olina area.
Oahu is the most populous Hawaiian island, and has four quadrants. The South Shore (where Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor, Chinatown, Diamond Head and much, much more are located), the famed-North Shore (home of the giant winter swells and quaint surfing towns), the Windward (east) side of the island (detailed in my “Driving Oahu” post) and the Leeward (west) side (home of the Ko Olina area). While Waikiki may have more people and more buildings, this is because it is the jumping-off point for almost everything of interest in Oahu. Most tours, activities and attractions only offer pick-up in Waikiki. For example, if you wanted to take a Pearl Harbor tour, more than likely you would not be able to get picked up in Ko Olina. Therefore, you would have an approximate hour-long drive each way, depending on traffic. When Island Tours depart in the morning, they head east, not west. One of the reasons for this is because on the west side, the road ends at Kaena Point, blocking off the North Shore. If you want to visit the North Shore from Ko Olina, you essentially backtrack. Also, the south and eastern areas of Oahu are unparalleled in beauty. The west side’s isolation means there is much less for a visitor to do, so the resorts are larger and more insular. I am not saying that the actual resorts aren’t very nice, because they are. My family has enjoyed staycations at various ones in the past, but in the end, we always reach the same conclusion. The scenery just isn’t as pretty. To us, it is a very nice, tropical resort area. I know some of you are reading this and scratching your head thinking, “so what’s the problem then?”. The problem, or question is, what sets Hawaii apart from other tropical destinations, such as the Caribbean and Mexico? Number one answer: Hawaii’s stunning, jaw dropping natural beauty. Hawaii is not just a pretty, tropical beach. Majestic mountains jutting into the wild Pacific, beaches of many different sand colors, volcanoes, graceful groves of coconut palms twisting up to the sky, waterfalls spilling over cliffs and so much more! Add to that Hawaii’s rich culture and significance in history, plus her safety (compared to other island destinations) and good medical infrastructure. All these things combined make Hawaii such a special place. The absolute best way to enjoy all Oahu offers is from Waikiki! That is why all the hotels and resorts we use in our Oahu-based All Inclusive Hawaii Packages are in Waikiki. Our All-Inclusive Packages allow you to pick which activities and tours interest you most, and most of them take you out of Waikiki during the day, so you can experience other areas of Oahu. In the evenings, most dinners are in Waikiki, which you can comfortably walk to. Afterwards, you can do some world-class shopping – from street markets to designer boutiques, and everything in between, stroll along famous Kalakaua Avenue and take in the street performers and artists, people watch, or take a moonlit walk on Waikiki Beach, where live Hawaiian music can be faintly heard over the sound of waves gently lapping the shore. There is just so much to enjoy!
The west side of Oahu is worth seeing, and our Package Luau is held on the west side, as well as the Dolphin Sail Adventure. I recommend selecting these two activities so you can see this side of the island. It is also worth a drive out there on an open day. Pokai Bay is a beautiful place for a swim, and the towns of Nanakuli, Waianae and Makaha are interesting to drive through as you make your way to the end of the road. However, after nearly 40 years of business, we firmly believe that staying in the Ko Olina area is a sterilized version of Oahu, and our Waikiki-based Packages will offer you the best value and experience!