As an area not far from the airport and Aloha Tower, Kaka‘ako is oftentimes one of the first places visitors see when arriving in the islands. The drab industrial warehouses and banal buildings weren’t necessarily the best for first impressions. In fact, many would call this the grungier side of O‘ahu.
But thanks to a beautification effort by the community, the Kaka‘ako district has steadily become a living gallery of urban art. The once blank concrete canvases of grays and beiges are now covered with colors that best fit the island’s persona.
But it’s more than just color; the artwork is impressive. I took a drive through Kaka‘ako recently and couldn’t believe how much the area had transformed. A unique interpretation of the sun setting over the city caught my eye. I pulled over to take a picture. Just across the street, monkeys surfed along the wall and an abstract mural of colorful shapes danced to the rhythm of each passing car. It reminded me of San Francisco – where seeing urban murals is a must for tourists. (more…)
May 6th, 2013
It’s a happy ending after all for Maui, as the magic of Honolua Bay will be saved – forever. Lawmakers set aside millions of dollars to preserve the pristine bay known for big-wave surfing, snorkeling and diving.
Not too long ago, the story had been different. Commercial development threatened the sanctity surrounding the bay, particularly Lipoa Point. As one of the few areas of West Maui that has not been developed, the community saw a need to protect it. The Save Honolua Coalition rallied up a militia of supporters, getting thousands of signatures for a petition and submitting testimonies to lawmakers over the past year or so.
Their efforts proved to be fruitful. Local legislators listened to voiced concerns and in the end, decided on preserving Honolua with $20-million of state funding. The 280-acres of coastal lands frequented by surfers and beach-goers will now be protected for the public’s benefit.
There’s no doubt that Honolua has become a world-famous landmark – known for perfectly-peeling rights, crystal-clear waters and coral beds full of life. But beyond its beauty, Honolua is also a culturally and spiritually significant site for ancient Hawaiians – who believed strongly in the value of mālama ‘āina (to take care of the land). Thus, the decision to preserve Honolua forever will fulfill those desires and allow it to be enjoyed and appreciated for years to come.
HONOLUA BAY / Kapalua, Maui (Map)
Posted by Alyssa S. Navares Follow me on Twitter @Uamalie87
May 5th, 2013
When visiting Hawai‘i, you’ll find some of the most breathtakingly-beautiful beaches in the world. But just because they’re beautiful doesn’t mean they’re safe. Kaua‘i, in particular, has had an alarmingly high number of drownings, which is why it’s best to head to lifeguarded beaches.
Here’s a list of Kaua‘i beaches with lifeguards on duty during the day. You should always check with them before jumping in, to make that sure it’s safe.
Hanalei Bay & Pine Trees (Hanalei Bay)
About two miles of white sand beach best define this North Shore spot. It is located between Hanalei River and Waipa River and great for swimming and surfing. (more…)
May 5th, 2013
Can you hear the Caribbean beats yet?
It’s that time of year when Latin America meets the islands for Cinco de Mayo. Hawai‘i celebrates with a huge street festival in Downtown Chinatown, complete with bright, bold colors, African drums and horchatas. The festival encompasses the Hispanic vibe in more ways than one.
With Hawai‘i’s apparent diversity, it’s no wonder Cinco de Mayo’s such a big deal in the islands. The festivities bring awareness to the more than 120,000 Hispanics that make up O‘ahu’s population alone, according to the event’s website. They come from 22 nations and get to show off their dance moves and cooking skills for this festival.
My mouth’s already watering for the spread of ethnic eats – from tamales to pasteles to chicken mole and green rice. Most people go straight to the lunch-wagon eateries; otherwise, the local Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban restaurants in Downtown offer seasonal specialties. Make sure to save room for dessert, though, because the French crepes and cheesecakes are definitely worth the extra calories. (more…)
May 4th, 2013
There’s more to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel than its rosy-pink facade. The world-class luxury resort in Waikīkī has become an icon of Hawai‘i’s glory days and a destination of choice for the rich and famous.
Guests back-then voyaged for days by sea, bringing more than luggage. They stayed for a considerable period of time, making sure to bring their servants and, of course, their lavish Rolls Royces. You might have seen former President Franklin D. Roosevelt or legendary Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku roaming the beachfront property. Most notably, child actress Shirley Temple would strum her ukulele down Waikīkī Beach.
Known as the “Pink Palace of the Pacific,” the six-story hotel boasts a Spanish-Moorish style of architecture. Grand arches welcome guests to all its glory and grandeur. As for the choice of pink? That happened to be a popular American obsession from the 1920s era. (more…)
May 4th, 2013
Finally, something has been done to address the traffic nightmare in Waikīkī (or at least part of the nightmare). But more importantly, it will keep the swarms of pedestrians safe when strolling through this congested part of O‘ahu.
The city didn’t put in just any crosswalk at Kalākaua Avenue and Royal Hawaiian Avenue; they established a Barnes crosswalk, which allows pedestrians to cross in all directions (mauka, makai, Ewa and Diamond Head) once traffic comes to a stop.
The other day, I gave the new crosswalk a little test of my own, or “did the Barnes Dance,” as it has been commonly referenced. I’m sure I share the same sentiment as other pedestrians when I admit to actually feeling safe while crossing. (more…)
May 3rd, 2013
There are things about Hawai‘i that you can’t help but daydream about. Those certain features that set this beautiful island paradise a part from anywhere else in the world. And best of all, they’re completely free.
1- Rainbows - Hawai‘i no doubt lives up to its nickname, the “Rainbow State.” On any given day, there’ll a beautiful spectrum of colors stretched across the Hawaiian skies. In fact, there may be two – if you’re lucky, that is. And whether you make it to the end of the rainbow or not, just know that the pot of gold lies in the simple blessing of seeing one at all. (more…)
May 3rd, 2013
After years of disrepair and neglect, the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial will crumble into the sea no more. The city and state announced their plans to replace the 86-year-old complex with a new public beach (to be called Memorial Beach). The site’s famous archway will remain intact but be moved inland, according to a news release.
The debate on what to do with the decaying Natatorium has been going on for years, so it’s a welcomed relief to hear that some action will finally be taken. Since the structure’s closure in 1979, the Natatorium has received no regular maintenance whatsoever. It not only became an eyesore of the pristine Waikīkī shoreline but a disgrace to the World War I veterans it was meant to honor.
To do nothing at all would have not been an option. And to build beach volleyball courts – as Gov. Neil Abercrombie had once mentioned – would have been a waste of taxpayers’ money. I’m glad the city and state were able to find a happy medium out of all this. Preserving at least a portion of this structure is better than nothing at all. (more…)
May 2nd, 2013
Have you met the First Lady of Waikīkī?
A veil of classiness drapes over her sleek white facade, like the gentle morning rays over a quiet Waikīkī. Although she’s more than 110 years old, there’s still a youthfulness about her that continues to play a significant role in Hawai‘i’s history to date. As the very first hotel in Waikīkī, the Moana Hotel opened up the isle gates for visitors from near and far – marking the beginning of tourism in the state.
Amidst the bungalows and beach houses of Downtown Honolulu, the Moana Hotel became a welcomed addition to the then-neglected Honolulu area. It boasted 75 guest rooms, a billiard room, saloon, main parlor, library and the first electric-powered elevator for Hawai‘i that’s still used today. The very first guests paid only $1.50 per night for their rooms.
While you probably won’t find rates like that nowadays, you’ll still find the Moana Hotel standing strong – as one of Waikīkī’s premier hotels today. It is one of three buildings that make up the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa. In addition to having almost 800 rooms, the Moana has a freshwater swimming pool, three restaurants and beach bar. (more…)
May 2nd, 2013
When you think of Hawai‘i, swaying palms and ocean breezes come to mind. The thought of your toes buried deep in the sand sends an instant wave of warmth throughout your body. But how about giving even deeper meaning to your Hawai‘i vacation?
There’s a nonprofit that hopes to do just that for visitors. Yet another opportunity of voluntourism, Travel2Change aims to turn trips to the islands into ones that make a meaningful impact on the community through volunteer efforts. Travel2Change connects travelers and locals who want to lend a hand in the community, by cleaning up public parks or preserving native plants, for instance. (more…)
May 1st, 2013