Hidden Oahu (part 2)

The alarm woke us at 6:00a.m, it was so hard to roll over in bed to turn it off.  Now why would we want to wake up so early on what would normally be a relaxing vacation? What was the plan? To discover more of the hidden Oahu! Today we needed to get an early to have enough time to see everything we had planned. This time we will explore the Southwest coast of the island, south of Waikiki to the Waimanalo Mountain Range.

But first a quick breakfast at our new and now favorite restaurant before heading out for the day. It’s roughly 5 minutes from our Ko ‘Olina condo to the town of Kapolei where we went to eat. The Cafe is easy to find and has a constant line out the door. We know this is going to go well without a doubt. Sitting down at our table we took a look at the menu and now for the hard part, choosing just one dish for breakfast. It would have been easier to train a child to behave in a candy store then to order  just the one. So, what did we end up doing? Well, all 4 of us picked something different then shared! That way we get to taste different dishes.

Menu from My Cafe in Kapolei, Oahu Hawaii

Take a look at My Cafe’s menu. See anything that looks good?

Eggs Benedict Hawaiian style

One of Hawaii’s most popular breakfast, Eggs Benedict. Yan ordered this and described the taste as savory, buttery and just delicious.

Breakfast sandwich with lots of bacon and cheese

Breakfast sandwich Panini style, This had lots of bacon and cheese. Mmmmmmmm, good!

A plate of Lilikoi cream pancakes

This is mine, all I wanted was Lilikoi (passion fruit) pancakes and they were Ono! (“the best” in Hawaiian)

A tray of 3 different pancakes, one is lilikoi cream, then haupia or coconut cream, and macadamia nut cream

Just take a look at these pancakes. Bet you want to try it don’t you! Starting from the left is Lilikoi pancakes, the middle is Haupia or Coconut over the sweetest, moist chocolate pancakes, and last is Macadamia Nut cream. This is definitely their signature dish for breakfast.


Diamond Head Lighthouse

After a top 10 breakfast we were off to find more hidden Oahu. We mapped out our day and decided to take the southern route past Waikiki, through Waimanalo, then Kaneohe. Hopping into the Mustang we were off to hike down the cliffs of Diamond Head Volcano. Why would we hike down rather than up the volcano? Well, first of all it’s a favorite surfing beach for the locals and it was a good day for surfing. Second of all is this:

On the beach below Diamond Head Lighthouse in Honolulu, Oahu

A spectacle view of Diamond Head lighthouse. It’s a beauty, don’t you think?

Surfer walking on beach with surfboard under his arm

Surfer coming in from a ride. Must have had a good day he “Shocka Bro’d” me as he walked by. Seemed pretty happy!

What makes this beach so special is that there is never a crowd here. Well except if the waves are breaking the ocean could be packed but the beach itself, nope. The walk down the hill can get a little steep if you are not in shape. People love to look out at the view here so allow a little time to find a parking spot.

Kahala Lava Rock Pool

Now for one of my favorite places to take a dip in the water. It’s out in Kahala (the ritzy part of Oahu) where once there was a squared lava rock pool in the ocean. As small waves would gently climb over the wall into the pool it would smoothly lift you up off the rock seat then softly bring you back down. It was like a spa treatment that would relax you all day.

Tropical view of a small bay in Kahala with coconut tree's and azure water.

The pool was just below the rock wall at the end of the bay. The tide was high so we couldn’t tell if it was still there or not. No one was on the beach to ask. It was once my favorite place to hang out years ago.


Spitting Cave

Just a short stop here then we were on a mission to find the “Spitting Caves” in Hawaii Kai. It was a little hard to find but if you have GPS type it in and it will get you there. You will park in a residential neighborhood but don’t let that worry you, the state has a trail that leads down to the cave. Why did we decide to go here? Because no one really knows about it! Besides that its sounds very cool to have a blow-hole that spits the water out sideways also known as a “reverse blowhole”.

The Spitting Cave near Hawaii Kai, Oahu

With layers of volcanic rock this hole was created by the sea. When a wave comes rushing in the water tumbles, turns around and comes spitting out of the cave. You can see the action at the bottom of this photo.

This was a popular location to shoot the popular TV show Lost. Now its a place people come to hang out along with a few (not so bright) cliff jumpers. Yes, there have been plenty of people hurt here. Once you jump in the water can either pull you under, drag you out to sea or even pulled into the cave. It does not have to be high surf to trap you inside. It’s an exciting place to watch nature but as a warning DO NOT GO SWIMMING HERE!

Here is a video so you can see the force of nature at work:



Oahu’s own Sandy Beach

Although this was a great stop and I could have stayed here drinking Mai Tai’s watching the show for hours it was time to move up the coast. Although this next stop is not Hidden Oahu it was one we had to see this day. Sandy Beach is world renown for body surfing and we just happened to pass by on a larger than life day! Take a look at this!

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And look at these waves:

Kaiwi Shoreline Trail

Now for the a pleasant surprise just a few miles from Sandy Beach is the Kaiwi Shoreline Trail. Also known as the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, it’s a fairly easy hike. Recently built-in 2015 this trail is quickly becoming a favorite walk by both locals and tourists. Why do you want to take this trail? Well, for one thing its good exercise but for us the view of the Waimanolo Mountains made the trek totally worth it. Plus during the winter months its a top vantage point to spot playful Humpback whales. To be honest, the lighthouse was not that impressive and the small trail down to it was fenced off due to falling rock.

View of Sandy Beach from the Kaiwi Shoreline Trail on Oahu

First view walking up the hill to the lighthouse. This is facing Sandy Beach. There were many families taking the trail down below to the beach. Looked like a nice walk.


A view of Rabbit Island on Oahu, Hawaii

One of the views from the top is of Rabbit Island. Too bad it was so stormy. And, I mean stormy, we got drenched with the mini typhoon that hit us! WOW!

A view of the Waimanalo Mountain Range on Oahu, Hawaii

Now this is a view. The Waimanalo Mountains is one of the best on the island. Below you can almost see Oahu’s own aquarium Sea Life Park. If traveling with kids it’s a good stop.

The Makapu'u lighthouse on the island of Oahu, Hawaii

And of course the lighthouse. Its small and maybe if we could have walked down to it we might have liked it more. Maybe one day they will fix the trail so you can get to it.

If you don’t mind a little hike there are tidal pools about halfway up the hill. There was only a handful of people down there but for the adventurous it would be the highlight of the trip. They say sea turtles like to swim there too.

Haleiwa Joe’s

It was starting to get late and we were ready for a good dinner. Plus it was my son’s birthday so we wanted to make it special. We had heard of Haleiwa Joe’s Seafood Grill  (pronounced hall-ay-eva) in Kaneohe (pronounced Khan-eay-oh-ee) was the place for special occasions. Not having a reservation it was a gamble to get in. The hostess was helpful and guaranteed we could get a seat within 45 minutes. So what did we do in that time? Mai Tai’s were calling our names from the bar!

Haleiwa Joe's Seafood Restaurant entry

Located in a residential neighborhood it was surprising the restaurant had a lot of atmosphere from the moment you turned into the driveway.

We can see why its such a popular restaurant, its unique, has good food and can’t complain about the service.

Just look at the food here. We are not very good with food photo’s but hopefully you will get the jest of how good it was.

Dinner isn’t complete without a little entertainment. This little green gecko kept up entertained the whole time we were there. He was on the wall next to our table. Maybe some wouldn’t care too much for this but we loved our little Hokulani (Divine Star).

Gecko on the wall

Isn’t he cute?

That was our day of finding a little more of hidden Oahu. There is still more to come!


  1. The Roaming Renegades.com

    The breakfast looks amazing and eggs Benedict is one of my favourites! Would love to visit spitting caves to see where they filmed on of my favourite shows!

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      I know, until we did a little research we didn’t even realize they filmed “Lost” at the spitting caves! Huge perk, we loved that show!
      If you ever make it to Hawaii you will be in 7th heaven, eggs Benedict is the most popular breakfast on the islands.

  2. Sure the landscape is gorgeous, and it’s always good find the hidden gems that are relatively undiscovered by the masses, but man, those pancakes are what does it for me! Especially the coconut ones, could eat that for breakfast any day! Pretty cool about the reverse blowhole too, only ever seen ‘standard’ ones on our travels!

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      LOL! Those pancakes are the reason we would get up early in the morning and we would be dreaming about them all day long too! Heather, you have got to get to Hawaii and try them for yourself! I found a recipe on line (it was hard to find) for the Lilikoi and they turned out great, maybe you can find one for the Haupia.

  3. bavariansojourn

    When my husband lived in Japan he won a prize trip to Hawaii and I didn’t get to go. Your photos make it look stunning though and I might just go for the pancakes alone…

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      I know, those pancakes are calling out to all of us! 🙂 That’s actually very cool that your husband won a trip to Hawaii. How many of us try to win a contest and never do? Hoping you can find your way over to the islands sometime even if it is just for the pancakes!

  4. Oh wow you dug up “more” awesome places on Oahu for us? Awesome. I wanna go everywhere – those pictures of the lighthouse, cave and Sandy beach are spectacular. You are in paradise.

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      Yes, I did and there is even more coming! We were blown away by the great surf at Sandy Beach, really lucked out that day! Thanks for your encouraging words Jo!

  5. Love all the great itinerary and restaurant tips. I was there when I was 16 and would like to go back as an adult.

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      Oh Lara you should go back, you would see Hawaii in a whole different way now. Hope you can make it there sometime!

  6. Did you get to go inside the Diamond Head Lighthouse. I’ve been trying to go inside a lighthouse for years now!

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      We would have liked to but there was a sign out that said its closed to tourists. Would love to see the inside sometime though even if its just for the view! Maybe you will find a way inside sometime!

  7. Those pancakes are just too much!!! Even the passionfruit one which I love. so many special places here that are hidden and I missed a couple of them. Never mind, on the list for next time, especially the lava rock pools.

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      Those pancakes are a big hit! For good reason, they are the best one’s I’ve ever had! Next time you go to Hawaii let me know and I can give you detailed instructions on how to get to the pool. Its hard to find on your own. I have another one you will love too Kerri coming up in my next blog post.

  8. These beaches look incredible but honestly the food looks just as good! Food and beaches are two of my favorite things ever. I’ve never been to Hawaii but it’s high on my list!

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      LOL, the food always makes or breaks a good vacation but a good beach makes it perfect! Hope you make it over there and try Hawaii’s best soon!

  9. That panini would have kept me going for days! The lighthouse looks great and the color of the water is just divine. Definitely worth the 6am wake up call!

    • twotravelfanatics@gmail.com

      That panini was enough to keep you going for a week! That’s one thing about Hawaii, the water is beautiful with every color blue imaginable!

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