Honolulu Travel Guide
If you're already in Waikiki or your are just headed to Honolulu this weekend, then we have a suggestion for you that’s a little different than Hawaii’s usual surf, sand, and sun. On Saturday the city’s main drag, Kalakaua Avenue, turns into a street scene dedicated to one of the island’s favorite foods—SPAM.
It’s time for the eleventh annual Waikiki Spam Jam, and at this point you can kind of assume that they’ve really got things figured out. Basically it’s a street festival for one and all, and plenty of the area’s best restaurants stop by to serve up spam and other canned meat delicacies. There’s a pair of stages with free entertainment and music, and of course there’s plenty of arts and crafts so that you can bring home a souvenir.
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There’s a new fun activity to try on your next trip to Hawaii, and you won’t even need to leave the airport. It’s do-it-yourself baggage tagging, and it’s a brand new option thanks to Hawaiian Airlines. We’re sure you now want to visit the Aloha State now more than ever—right?
Seriously though we kind of love the idea, and imagine that it should be a pretty slick process for those checking their bags back to the mainland, other countries, or just over to one of the neighboring islands. Passengers at Honolulu International Airport will be able to weigh and tag their own bags, and Hawaiian Airlines is quick to point out that they’re the first carrier in the US to go all in with this process at one of their hubs.
The first season of ABC’s retro travel drama Pan Am is long over (as of a few days ago), but you might just be able to get your Pan Am fix out in Hawaii. Take a break from all the swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing and schedule a little time to visit the Pacific Aviation Museum on the island of Oahu. Located within Pearl Harbor on Ford Island, the museum has everything and anything when it comes to historic military and civilian air travel as it applies to the region.
It’s probably worth a visit any day of the week, but what we’re most interested in is the new Pan Am exhibit called “Come Fly With Me.” The exhibit has been up and running since late last year, and the opening coincides with the 75th anniversary of Pan Am’s first flights to and from the islands. There’s plenty of memorabilia on hand—remember, look but don’t touch—from both the airline’s propeller days and the jet age. Museum officials are hoping that the exhibit will continue to evolve as more and more donations are acquired, and the museum is able to gobble up additional Pan Am goodies.
Honolulu International Airport is already in the middle of a decade filled with construction equipment, as the airport does its best to spiffy things up for the future. Adding to all the renovation fun is Hawaiian Airlines, as they’re looking to speed up and improve the check-in process for most of their flights that originate in Honolulu. The airline is planning to spend $6 million to add all the new bells and whistles, so we just hope it makes inter-island-hopping smoother.
Say goodbye to long ticket counter lines and aloha to brand new circular check-in kiosks. Ticket counters will be pulled out and replaced with six new circular areas—they’re calling them islandsget it? Two will be found in Lobby 3 and four will be added to Lobby 2, all in the airport’s Terminal 2. Agents will still be on hand to help out those who need it—like us when the stupid computer freezes—but it will mostly be up to passengers to get the necessary paperwork for interisland, mainland, and international flights.
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Although it still has maintained its island vibe and aloha spirit, the airport where most visitors begin their trip to paradise has definitely been showing its age. One of the first steps in an over $2 billion renovation is opening up next month, as a brand new international arrivals corridor will open to meet jet-lagged guests arriving after long flights from across the globe. That means fewer chances to ride the Wiki-Wiki in and around the airport.
Whenever we're stressed and have to go to our happy place, we picture the beaches of Hawaii. But now, probably thanks to how hard the recession has hit tourism to the islands, everyone has a chance to actually go there, thanks to Travelzoo's $499-for-five-Hawaiian-nights package.
The deal includes round-trip airfare to Honolulu, where you'll be greeted with a lovely-smelling lei and thus the right to brag that you got "lei'd" in Hawaii, like tourists do for days after their arrival. Your accommodations will be at the Castle Ocean Resort Hotel Waikiki. And if you want to upgrade to an ocean-view pad, the hotel gives you the option for $25 and up per person.
No matter what donut is your donutwe know many people who can't go without ordering a Boston Creme or strawberry frostedwhen you're in Hawaii, you've got to get down with the local flavor. In Honolulu, the donut of choice is Portuguese confection called the Malasada, first cooked up at Leonard's Bakery after it opened in 1952.
While they are very similar to the Polish pączki in that they are sweet, filled donuts traditionally consumed on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent, a true Malasada however is not supposed to have any filling. It is a solid ball of fried dough, coated in granulated sugar and fed to the drooling patrons who flock to Leonard's. Because of the popularity of the Malasada in Hawaii, Leonard's has also begun serving Pao Doce (Portuguese sweet breads) and Malasada puffs.
A scene from Noriben, playing at this year's Hawaii International Film Festival.
Though the time for Tribeca, Cannes, and Toronto has come and gone, the film festival circuit hasn't screeched to a halt. There's Sundance to look forward to, of course, but a welcome alternative to similar large-scale hype galas are festivals held far away from Los Angeles, New York, and other metropoles.
Hawaii may not be Hollywood, but there's still creativity abound on the big island. And while it may not attract as much attention as, say, Berlin, the Hawaii International Film Festival has earned a well-respected reputation among cinema's inner circle, with people like Roger Ebert praising its East-meets-West sensibility.
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If you somehow get tired of all the natural beauty that Hawaii has to offer, there’s soon going to be a new fake paradise for visitors to check out. A company called KanDoo is almost finished creating their own artificial island about 200 yards off Waikiki Beach.
KanDoo Island is really just a humongous catamaran that will serve as a water sports entertainment paradise for visitors and locals alike. The 98-ton boat will offer snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing lessons, and even jet ski trips off its “shoreline.” After a long day on and in the water, come back to the catamaran for some evening entertainment. There will be live music, nightclubs, and probably a fair share of Mai Tais. The company’s CEO wants KanDoo to be a 24/7 destination, but we’re a little skeptical that people will be swarming the place throughout the night.
West Coast web media princess, and Jaunted Embed, Shira Lazar rushed off to Hawaii for a couple days at the bequest of So Much More Hawaii. We will be bringing you her travel videos between June 1st and 5th, in hopes of creating a glorious on-the-fly travel guide using as much point oh social webbing as we can. Enjoy.
We were put up in Honolulu for two nights staying at The Royal Hawaiian, the 3rd oldest hotel in the city. How would we describe the area? Lets just say that when you step out of the hotel and feel like you may be in Beverly Hills with Coach and Gucci stores scattering the streets.
What we found amazing though is that the moment you enter any of the hotels or beaches, you immediately remember that you are indeed in Hawaii and feel isolated from it all. Through our on-land search and with the help of our super twitter community, we discovered some more authentic and local spots you should check out:
The Momentum B-cycle project will have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly passes available and will also work via credit card deposit. After buying a daily pass for $4 or a weekly pass for $10, your first half-hour will be free, the next 30 minutes will cost $2 and the next another $5. Keep the bike for 48 hours, and you'll buy it for $900.
While no locations have been secured just yet, a project spokesman says many Waikiki-area businesses are interested in hosting bike stations. Potential locations include the Aloha Tower, Ala Moana Shopping Center, the Honolulu Zoo and Sans Souci Beach.
· Shuttle Bikes May Start Next Spring [Honolulu Advertiser]
· Hawaii's Newest Tourist Attraction: Commuter Rail? [Jaunted]
· Bike Sharing Travel: Options around the World [Jaunted]
On Oahu, a short drive from Waikiki Beach will transport you to what often seems like a different world. With the famous Diamond Head crater closed for some fixing up during our visit, we were forced elsewhere to satisfy our hiking needs. We were looking for something short and sweet--with a good payoff at the end.
The trailhead to Manoa Falls is just 15 minutes from Honolulu, and it fit the bill perfectly. During our visit, there were plenty of spots to park, although we did have to surrender five bucks to someone manning the lot.