I'm so there: Oahu, USA

By YP Cadet Harry Ginns

Welcome to Hawaii, where the beaches are beautiful and the food is fabulous

By YP Cadet Harry Ginns |

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Sunrise over Hanauma Bay on Oahu, Hawaii

Food, culture, weather and beaches are just some of the things Hawaii has to offer.

Oahu, one of the eight main islands making up Hawaii, has a population of 953,000. It is a small paradise and a perfect destination for a well-earned holiday. 

Before you go

Oahu is well-known for its pristine beaches and is a hotspot for surfers from all around the world. Obviously, bring your swimming gear and you may want to pack a snorkel so you can check out the island's diverse sea life.

  • Tips, tips and more tips: Money is an essential in Hawaii. Everything is really expensive and everyone expects big tips so save up before you go and make sure you have enough. 
  • Lots and lots of sunscreen: With the constant sunny weather in Hawaii, it's not hard to get burned so remember to apply a large amount of sunscreen every time you go out. 
  • Pack a camera: With the most ethereal sunsets and amazing rainbows, Oahu's scenery is picturesque. Forgetting your camera will cause a lifetime of regret.
  • Know the dangers: Make sure you know about the dangers of some of the beaches, and buy a guidebook to find out about great areas to visit around Oahu and guide you through the pitfalls.

Must Try

The legendary garlic shrimp is a popular native Hawaiian dish and a definite must-try for seafood lovers. 

Garlic shrimps will be served in almost every restaurant you go to in Oahu, but they're especially delicious when bought from one of the many shrimp trucks around the North Shore.

Outrigging is a fun thing to do in Oahu. The boat sport originated in Hawaii, before gaining popularity in other countries. Rent equipment from water sports shops, join a team and take part in races.

And it goes without saying that you should learn to surf in one of the sport's world capitals.

Where to go

Home to well-known TV show Hawaii Five-0 and the historic Pearl Harbour, state capital Honolulu is a great place to get a taste of Hawaii city life. An efficient public transport system includes open-top buses that can get you around Honolulu and its Waikiki neighbourhood easily.

Waikiki is a popular place to stay when visiting Honolulu. The tourist hotspot has quality hotels not far from the white sands and clear waters of the island's famous beaches.

Photo: Andrew Ginns

Pearl Harbour is an important experience to better understand Hawaii's history. However, be warned: Honolulu and Waikiki are full of tourist traps and you will spend your money there fast. And be sure to take care of your belongings as you travel around.

If you are looking for something less touristy, you can ask your folks to hire a car from near Honolulu airport and drive up to the North Shore of Oahu. Make sure to stick to the road up the east side of the island because the scenery here is one of a kind. There are many viewing points to stop and take pictures at places like Hanauma and Kaneohe Bay.

Once at North Shore, there are endless things to do. Turtle Bay is an ideal place to snorkel with sea turtles and Waimea Bay Beach is a very popular place for surfers.

However, it's not the best place for inexperienced swimmers due to many dangers, including rip currents, a strong backwash and crushing waves.

In the summer, the waters are calmer and the waves smaller. This is a better time to go for those who seek warmer waters and easier swimming.

Top selfie spot

Hanauma Bay, the top selfie spot
Photo: Andrew Ginns

Hanauma BayBig cliffs, crystal-clear water and a massive coral reef - the foundation for an epic selfie. Hanauma Bay has all these features, and there will almost always be a rainbow in the background for a real cherry on the top. Hawaii isn't nicknamed the "Rainbow State" for nothing!