The Road Less Traveled on Oahu

One hour and forty five minutes west of Honolulu, up the leeward coast of Oahu is the Waianae coast. Waianae is not a tourist destination like The North Shore or Waikiki, no pink hotels or expensive surf shops down this end of the Island.

Thanks to shows like Dog the Bounty Hunter Waianae gets a bad rap for drugs and violence, people perceive it to be violent. There are some homeless and some drug users and there are good parts of town and streets you should avoid for sure. I found it the same in Honolulu except with ugly traffic and mob like crowds.

Partly because of bad press and more local residential areas tourists avoid the Waianae coast. This helps it remain a stark contrast to Waikiki and The North Shore (for the better in my opinion). We have visited this part of the Island for 20 years; Robs family has been coming here for almost 40! We have never been victimized or been witness to any violence on any of our visits.

Waianae coast
We found this guy having a nap on the beach in a quite cove in Makaha.

We stay in Makaha and the beaches here are populated with way fewer people, sometimes no people.

The loudest noise is coming from the birds, the doves cooing is one of my favorite sounds.There are rolling green mountains, so much green all around. To me, life here is the true Hawaii.

Hibiscus and bougainvillea grow wild here and there are still more local businesses and restaurants than commercial chain ones. There are giant sea turtles swimming in every cove and mongoose can be seen skittering from one hiding spot to another in the wild green space along Kili drive in Makaha. Peacocks live free, performing for mates with all of the glamour of a Vegas show. Seeing these gorgeous birds with their stunning iridescent trains fanned out is a regular occurrence where we stay at the Makaha Towers.

We have been so lucky to experience aloha spirit. Hawaiian people are so generous and gracious; we have made true friendships. Waianae locals are a supportive family, a welcoming community.

Waianae coast
A Makaha Valley Towers resident peacock

As I write this post I am sitting on a skinny lanai listening to doves coo and looking at cerulean blue ocean to my right and giant green mountains to my left. No honking cars or mobs of tourists, no concrete jungle; only acres of green palms, plumeria trees and bushes loaded with the most beautiful flowers. Its so peaceful.

Waianae Coast mountain
This is the view from my condo lanai to the left

In the past Rob and I traveled here to escape our crazy busy jobs and get some perspective on our lives. On more than a few visits clarity was found and decisions were made to chart a new course; to quit a job, apply for a new one, to buy a property, to try to have a baby. This place has been a much  needed escape and a beacon of inspiration for me, it is my favorite place on Earth.

Towers Beach Waianae Coast
This is my view to the right. One mile from the world class surf at Makaha Beach

The highway along the Waianae coast is the road less traveled by tourists which has helped us to really experience local culture. Different from Waikiki; culture that is real and genuine not staged for a luau show. We gained the perspective we have on how we like to travel. We almost always choose the road less traveled in whatever destination we pick to visit. I sometimes think our love for the Waianae coast helped us consider Colombia as the beginning for our adventure.

This time we didn’t travel here to escape and refocus, this time we came to prepare to say goodbye. Mom wanted to spend time with Makai in her favorite place and introduce him to all of her Hawaiian friends before we leave for Colombia. This trip is is to celebrate our departure and help ease the pain of saying the inevitable goodbye for our travel life. There is no better place for me to try and reconcile feelings of excitement and fear of saying goodbye to all the people we love so much.

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  1. says

    Abi and I lived just outside of Honolulu, in Hawaii Kai, for 1 year and we were married in Honolulu as well. This was years (and years) ago. We left Hawaii and didn’t return for probably 20+ years and when we did we went to Maui and the Big Island. Honolulu is just another city – in my opinion – the true Hawaiian experience is beyond the city limits and it certainly sounds as if you found it. So glad you had this time to spend with family. Safe travels ~
    Patti recently posted..Something Beyond Words ~My Profile

    • Tracey says

      We spent a day in Waikiki and have been in to Honolulu 4 separate times this trip. Waikiki beach was packed with tourists, there are so many high end shops not a Hawaiian thing about them. Going in to Honolulu always makes me appreciate the leeward coast more:) The trip has been great Patti, so many great experiences (lots of learning to). It was good to test out a lot of the travel gear we have for Colombia. We learned what we really use and wear so we’ve added a few things to our packs and taken a few things out.

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