Discovering Aloha Spirit on Oahu

Honolulu, HI, United States; Wahiawa, HI, United States; Kahuku, HI, United States; Kaneohe, HI, United States; Kailua, HI, United States; Waimanalo, HI, United States
Distance: 197 km (Map)

Aloha! My name is Katherine and I’ll be your guide on this tour of Oahu, or the “gathering place” as the name literally means, as presented by Insight Guides. The tour covers a large part of the island, and should take around a half day to complete, not including any time spent at stops on the way. For this tour, you will need a car to drive from point to point, parking up at each. You will need plenty of sunscreen, water, and a good pair of walking shoes as there are some optional hikes included on the route. It is also recommended that you buy advance tickets for point four, the USS Arizona and Pearl Harbor. 

Discovering Aloha Spirit on Oahu - Cya On The Road

Feel free to pause whenever and start again at the same spot later. You can follow the route on your phone or simply listen as I guide you from one sight to the next. I’ll be giving you clear directions and the audio will automatically start playing when you get close to the next sight on the tour. Don’t worry if you need to skip a sight as the tour will pick up at the next location. One more thing before we get started — always be aware of your surroundings and be sure to obey all traffic signals.

When the British spied the sparkling sands of Oahu way back in the early 1800s, they mistook the volcanic calcite crystals for diamonds. But there was no mistake about the strategic value of the islands, and the struggle for control of the Pacific archipelago continued into the next two centuries, with near cataclysmic effects on the native peoples, wildlife, and landscape, whether by war, immigration, development or disease.

By 1900, American colonists had established a US territory in Hawaii, a fact noted to ruthless effect by the Japanese military during World War II, who bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, a "date that would live in infamy." Nonetheless, the attack strengthened the bond between Hawaii and the US, leading to statehood in 1959. Perhaps it was only then that the true wealth of the islands — its people, culture and environment — was finally realized and embraced. As home to the capital, Honolulu, and about two-thirds of the state’s population, Oahu gets the lion’s share of tourists and it’s become well-practiced at welcoming them with the flower lei.

On this tour, you’ll hear stories of revolution, industry, historical and natural preservation; make sweaty hikes to glorious vistas, come face-to-face with the island’s lush flora and fauna, and ride waves onto the most beautiful beaches in the world. Through all of it, the Aloha Spirit embraces you with kindness, affection, and joy.

Our tour begins in downtown Honolulu at the 18-foot gilded bronze statue of King Kamehameha I, who first united the islands in 1810. From there, we’ll follow the sun west across the island, turn north to the tip of the island, before returning east along the coast until once more reaching the capital once again.

Ready to begin? Then let’s get started!

Photo: Shutterstock

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Follow the steps to access all 17 places on the itinerary, plus features like audio guides, navigation, hotels nearby and more.

1. Tap this direct link - Discovering Aloha Spirit on Oahu on your phone and begin your explorations whenever you are ready!
2. Or, get the Cya On The Road app from the app store iconApp Store or google play iconGoogle Play and search manually in the app.

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