Located on Oahu, Manoa is a residential valley neighborhood. It is approximately 3 miles inland from downtown, close to Waikiki and Ala Moana. While it may not be on the list for tourists, it is a worthwhile spot to check out offering a look into one of Oahu’s older communities.

I learned that in 1825, Manoa was the site of the first sugarcane and coffee plantations in Hawaii. The word “Manoa” is a Hawaiian term translating to “thick, solid or vast” perhaps a reference to the valley itself. The valley receives a high amount of rain, keeping it lush and green so don’t be surprised if you see a rainbow.

The Manoa area is home to the University of Hawaii’s main campus and some of Hawaii’s most historic homes. One such building has been converted into a charming brunch spot called the Waioli Tea Room. Manoa Marketplace is the central shopping area and features a farmer’s market several days a week. It is a great opportunity to mix with residents and support the local flower and produce farmers.

Close by is Manoa Falls, an easy 3 mile round trip hike. The waterfall features a vertical drop of about 150 feet into a small pool. Please note that the water is not safe for drinking. The trail is well worn and travels through an amazing bamboo forest and features some unusual native plants. Another area to stretch your legs is Lyon Arboretum. This 200-acre botanical garden features beautiful trails and views of Manoa Valley. The Arboretum is open to the public on weekdays from 9 – 4 PM and admission is free. I encourage you to make the trip to Manoa Valley and see for yourself why it is one of Oahu’s most charming communities.

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