Best Circle Tour of Oahu 1
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Best Circle Tour of Oahu

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Greetings, Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, and welcome to a perfect circle tour of Oahu. Oahu gets a bad rap in comparison with some of the other Hawaiian islands.

Everyone talks about how Kauai is so gorgeous and unspoiled, and Maui has amazing beaches, and the Big Island is so…large. But when’s Oahu’s turn?

In fact, Oahu has tons of lovely natural features and delicious food. Some people just never leave Honolulu and they don’t get a chance to see this island’s amazing beauty. But you’re not going to be like those sad, benighted people, are you? Of course, not! And this circle tour will show you how to get the most out of Oahu.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Circle tour of Oahu

#1 TOP PICK

Best Circle Tour of Oahu 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
OAHU CIRCLE TOUR
✔️ Experience Hawaiian nature
✔️ Expert local guide

#2 PICK

Best Circle Tour of Oahu 3

NORTH SHORE TOUR
✔️ See filming locations
✔️ Fun beach activities

#3 PICK

Best Circle Tour of Oahu 4

ALL OTHER HONOLULU TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

That’s why I suggest booking this fantastic guided excursion around Oahu. It will take you to all the most amazing places in Oahu, which is especially important if, like me, you don’t know how to drive.

Go ahead and book this incredible tour right here.

Then get ready to join me on a very special circle tour of Oahu

best circle tour of Oahu

Best circle tour of Oahu

Morning: See Oahu’s Natural Beauty

The tour leaves fairly early in the morning–my pickup time was around seven in the morning–and will take all of the morning and afternoon, so it’s great value for the amount you are paying. You will feel like an expert on Oahu by the time you are done.

However, I think it makes sense to divide my description the tour into two parts. The first is more focused on the natural loveliness of Oahu, and the second part is more about yummy eats!

Check rates and availability right here!

Your guide will give you more information and fascinating facts than you could possibly jam into your long-term memory even if you had the world’s stickiest jam. And I would not for the world dream of spoiling the circle tour of Oahu’s secrets for you.

However, I do want to give you a hint about what to expect with…

Approximately Top 5: circle tour of Oahu

oahu driving tour
1) Halona Beach Cove

“A beach? In Hawaii?” you might be thinking. Oh how riveting! How exciting! Why don’t I recommend eating a pineapple or something?

I mean, we will be eating lots of pineapple on this circle tour of Oahu later, but for now, let’s enjoy the beach! Halona Beach Cove is a most special beach because of its blowhole.

best circle tour of Oahu

The water just shoots out of these rocks periodically, and then all the tourists standing around try to take a photo when there’s maximum blow so that it will look the best on their Instagram accounts. It’s tons of fun.

best circle tour of Oahu

Our guide, whom I shall call Nani, gave us some poi donuts to enjoy with our views of the blowhole. Poi is the purple starch that’s often served with luau dinners, and some people don’t like the taste.

However, Nani said that the flavor is best in desserts or other sweet treats, and I have to agree with her. Eat all the poi donuts that you can when you’re in Hawaii.

best circle tour of Oahu

One final point you can see at this beauty stop is this famous beach above. Do you recognize it from a movie? Are you a fan of old movies? Then perhaps you will recognize it from the classic flick From Here to Eternity.

Even if you don’t like old movies, I’m sure you’ve seen the clip in From Here to Eternity where Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr make out on the beach. That’s this beach!

But don’t take your sweetie and try to recreate the kiss on this beach. It’s hella windy and you’ll definitely get kicked off the circle tour of Oahu

best circle tour of Oahu
2) Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

OK, this stunning lookout is where you’ll get to learn about one of the most important people in all Hawaiian history: King Kamehameha. (We’ll be learning a lot about him in many of my Hawaiian itineraries.)

Kamehameha is often called the unifier of the Hawaiian islands, but Nani said it would be more accurate to call him the conqueror of the islands. He was from the Big Island of Hawaii and conquered Maui before coming to Oahu. The King of Oahu attempted to put up a resistance, but he was defeated here.

Kamehameha in fact forced the opposing forces over this very cliff. Would you like to be forced over this cliff?

best circle tour of Oahu

I absolutely would not. PS. After Kamehameha conquered Oahu, he went on to Kauai, where the king very sensibly surrendered to Kamehameha without a fight.

I guess you could say the king of Kauai was a little…chicken.

best circle tour of Oahu

Get it? But seriously, there are so many chickens in Oahu. You absolutely cannot escape them.

best circle tour of Oahu
3) Valley of the Temples

Here we come to the most unexpected stop on the circle tour of Oahu, at least for me. That’s the lovely and strange Valley of the Temples. The Valley of the Temples is actually a cemetery, but we’re not stopping here to pay our respects to the deceased. We’re here to visit the Byodo-In temple, which is located inside the cemetery.

As a side note, I was confused that the ads for the cemetery keep underlining the “amazing views”. Can dead people appreciate amazing views? Is that a big selling point for them?

This temple is the replica of a Japanese temple, and it was created to honor the arrival of Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. We’re going to experience one of the best results of Japanese immigration to Hawaii later this itinerary when we stop at an amazing sushi restaurant for dinner.

best circle tour of Oahu

The grounds themselves are quite lovely, especially if you like cute temple cats. There’s a sacred bell that you can ring three times for good luck. (There’s always a bit of a line to ring the sacred bell, as one would expect, but it moves quickly.)

best circle tour of Oahu

Head inside the temple to see the beautiful Amida Buddha. Just be aware that you’ll have to take your shoes off to go inside the temple. (This is why I make to to always wear slip-off shoes when I am visiting temples.)

best circle tour of Oahu
4) Tropical Farms Macadamia Nuts

The last stop on the circle tour of Oahu before we head out to lunch is the Tropical Farms Macadamia Nuts. Here, you’ll be able to snack on as many locally grown macadamia nuts as your heart desires.

These nuts come in all sorts of different flavors from caramel to spicy. (The caramel were the most popular flavor with my tour group. Many of us bought some to snack on at home, but there was no pressure to buy.)

You can also get a free cup of coffee infused with macadamia nuts, which gives the coffee a buttery and nutty flavor. Local artists and jewelry designers have their goods around the area, ready to sell to the tourists. Regular readers of this blog will guess that I bought some earrings, made with local shells, because earrings are my passion.

Even if you don’t want to buy anything, you’ll enjoy looking at the walking trees on the property. Nani said these trees weren’t indigenous to Hawaii. They got their name because they look like they have legs. I guess the macadamia nut coffee gives them enough energy to walk.

best circle tour of Oahu

Best circle tour of Oahu

Afternoon: Dining Extravaganza

Our first portion of this circle tour of Oahu has been dedicated to seeing the gorgeous natural beauty of Oahu like its beaches, blowholes, death cliffs, and terrifying Man-Trees with legs. Now let’s slow down and let our bellies feast as well as our eyes.

We’re going to stop at the town Haleiwa for lunch, where we’ll be able to try the most famous dessert in Hawaii and do a little shopping. Nani gave us plenty of advice about some good places to stop for lunch, but the food, unlike the poi donut, isn’t included with the price of the tour.

I think that makes sense because people have different tastes, so it’s good that we were able to choose our own lunch spots.

However, I am more than happy to recommend to you…

Three Fascinating Facts: Haleiwa

best circle tour of Oahu
1) What was that about lunch?

Nani told us that one of the most famous shaved ice places in Hawaii is in Haleiwa, but their lines are crazy long, so it’s better to get the shaved ice before doing anything else. Honestly, the shaved ice is so much food that you almost don’t need to get anything else for lunch. (But we will absolutely get something else for lunch.)

Matsumoto Shave Ice is a family-run operation, and their treats are worth waiting on line for. You can get a variety of syrups, but I opted for the rainbow, which is made with strawberry, lemon, and pineapple syrups, and for some reason the pineapple is blue.

You can choose from a variety of toppings, and I suggest getting the creamy, sweet condensed milk and the chewy mochi. Some people also get vanilla ice cream on top, but I honestly think that’s gilding the lily a bit.

best circle tour of Oahu
2) Let me repeat: what was that about lunch?

OK, fine. You want actual food. Haleiwa is full of food trucks, and if you like fresh seafood and spicy snacks, I suggest heading over to the Camaron food truck. At first, I thought Camaron was a mispelling of the name Cameron, but it’s actually the Spanish word for shrimp.

Nani told us that the spicy garlic shrimp were the best, and I loved them, but they are actually spicy. So if you are not a heat fiend like I am, I suggest just getting the regular garlic shrimp.

However, if you love spicy food, dig into the spicy version. There’s just the right amount of rice to soak up all that lovely sauce as well.

best circle tour of Oahu
3) Is lunch the last stop?

At least when I took the tour, the last stop was the famous Dole Pineapple Plantation. This stop claims to be Hawaii’s complete pineapple experience, but it really is mostly a massive store dedicated to selling all things pineapple.

If you’ve ever wanted to buy a stuffed animal shaped like a pineapple or pineapple earrings, this is the place for you. (I bought the pineapple earrings.)

However, the most exciting thing to experience at the Dole Pineapple Plantation is the famous Dole Whip soft-serve ice cream. I mean, what says a relaxing Hawaiian vacation more than pineapple ice cream? I assume that anyone can make pineapple ice cream, but for authentic Dole Whip, you need to either come here to go to one of the Disney theme parks.

There’s always quite a bit of a line to get to the Dole Whip, so again, I suggest getting your Dole Whip first thing and then spending the rest of your time shopping or exploring the pineapple plants outside. (Do get the fresh pineapple topping too.)

Those are all the secrets of the tour I can share with you for now.

You’ll have to book the tour for yourself to see them all for yourself!

Check rates and availability right here!

(PS. There will be a lot more free-range chickens.)

best circle tour of oahu

Best circle tour of Oahu

Evening: Dinner at Hihimanu Sushi

After your tour is over, you should have a little time to relax at your hotel before it’s time for dinner. I promised you an amazing Japanese dinner, and I intend to deliver! That’s why we’re going to Hihimanu Sushi, which has the best omakase dinner in Honolulu.

Omakase means chef’s choice, and in this case, the executive chef is from Japan and prepared all the sushi, with the help of his staff, right in front of us. You don’t order the pieces you want, instead the chef prepares what is fresh that day. So this is definitely the place for someone with an adventurous palate who wants to try new things.

I got some extra insight into the menu because I was seated next to the chef’s mechanic and his wife, who were there as the chef’s guests. We started with a creamy chawanmushi, Japanese savory egg custard, topped with roe.

best circle tour of oahu

This omakase menu has 18 different courses, followed by a light dessert. I wish that I had written down every course, but since I was seated next to the friends of the owner, I was so busy chatting that I forgot to do so.

I liked this course because you could experience the fish raw and fried on the same plate.

best circle tour of oahu

One thing I learned about the wife of the mechanic is that she has a crush on Aaron Rodgers, so I guess she and Shailene Woodley have something in common.

best circle tour of oahu

This was one of my favorite courses, the famous firefly squid. It’s only in season very briefly in the spring, so if you go another time, something else will be on the menu.

best circle tour of oahu

Of course, it’s not an omakase without some high-quality tuna. In Japan, people will pay an insane amount of money at fish auctions for the best tuna. I say it’s worth it because a fine tuna is almost as good as a steak in my eyes.

best circle tour of oahu

Some people don’t like uni because they think it has a metallic taste, but this restaurant really had the best, freshest uni I have ever eaten. Not a lick of metal in sight.

best circle tour of oahu

Japanese oysters are always a special treat, but this was the first time I had ever tried one with raw quail egg yolk on top. (Raw egg on raw oyster sounds vile, but it was exquisite.)

best circle tour of oahu

One thing you should not do with any of these pieces of sushi is add soy sauce or wasabi. As you can see from my photo, they all come perfectly seasoned.

best circle tour of oahu

I was also impressed with the flow of the tasting menu because there was a good contrast between lighter fish followed by more fragrant fishies.

best circle tour of oahu

Just look at how beautiful this plate is! It seems a real shame to eat it! But eat it, I did.

best circle tour of oahu

We haven’t had enough uni yet, so let’s add some caviar to it.

best circle tour of oahu

Do we need shaved truffle on our roe? Why yes, we do.

best circle tour of oahu
best circle tour of oahu
best circle tour of oahu
best circle tour of oahu
best circle tour of oahu
best circle tour of oahu

Most sushi places don’t offer lobster, but this isn’t most sushi places.

best circle tour of oahu
best circle tour of oahu

That’s all the courses! I hope I’ve made you as excited to visit Hihimanu Sushi as I was!

best circle tour of Oahu

Best circle tour of Oahu

Where to Stay?

There are so many hotels to choose from for your circle tour of Oahu, but you’ll surely want to choose a place in Honolulu. I recommend the Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach. It’s one of the most affordable places to stay that I found in Honolulu, but it still has an excellent location and great amenities.

They have a coffee machine in the room, which wasn’t the case in every hotel I tried in Hawaii, wifi, and they’re right within walking distance of the beach.

If you want a great deal on this hotel, click here.

And if you’re looking for other hotel options in Honolulu, check out these fantastic prices on many other hotels in Honolulu.

You can explore the best deals on many Honolulu hotels here.

This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay as the base for your circle tour of Oahu. With hundreds of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

best circle tour of oahu

That’s A Perfect circle tour of Oahu

If you thought this article was funny, check out my hilarious travel guide Get Lost.

What would you do in Oahu? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Honolulu now? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: Circle tour of Oahu

#1 TOP PICK

Best Circle Tour of Oahu 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
OAHU CIRCLE TOUR
✔️ Experience Hawaiian nature
✔️ Expert local guide

#2 PICK

Best Circle Tour of Oahu 3

NORTH SHORE TOUR
✔️ See filming locations
✔️ Fun beach activities

#3 PICK

Best Circle Tour of Oahu 4

ALL OTHER HONOLULU TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours on Oahu.

You can also add 24 hours in Honolulu. Why not add a Big Island Kona things to do tour? You can then try what to do in Kona HI. There’s what to see on Kauai. You can experience a snorkel tour in Maui. Add on the best things to do in Lahaina HI. Check out what to do in Wailea Maui. Explore the best tours in Oahu Hawaii. Look at the best Pearl Harbor tours in Honolulu. Finally, try the best things to do at Hilo Hawaii.

Best Circle Tour of Oahu 8

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