Exploring Manoa Valley

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Exploring Manoa Valley is a must-do when visiting 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 while Exploring Manoa Valley that in 1825, the area 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 Kitchen and Bake Shop open since 1922!. 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 when Exploring Manoa Valley. 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.