Grand Circle Island Bus Tour: Oahu Grand Circle Island Tour with Dole Plantation – Trusted Tours and Attractions – eTicket Center- At $63.67 for an adult, it is a bargain, when you consider the cost of renting a car and purchasing gas.
I am not really a group tour person. I like to shoot off on my own and discover new things, and we had intended on taking the tour and then renting a car one day, but we never did rent a car on Oahu. The public transportation is excellent and most of the outlying things we wanted to see included free shuttles to get to them. And, mom’s penpal of sixty years (and her husband) took us on their own tour one day. Our driver was an excellent guide who made the tour interesting and personal. He was from Wisconsin and told us that living in Hawaii wasn’t any more expensive than living in Wisconsin (what with heating oil, winter clothing and winterizing a car) and it was a heck of a lot warmer.
We saw the Dole Plantation, where mom could get her fix for a pineapple soft serve, Halona Blowhole, Sandy Beach (with an awesome kite display), and Windward Oahu (I think that is the west coast). I enjoyed Byodo-In Temple and mom liked feeding their gold fish. There was north shore beaches and Waimea Bay and Kona Coffee farm. It was 120 miles of gorgeous scenery with enough stops, and time at them to be enjoyable. It departs around 8:15 am and returns around 5:45. It’s a really good tour and they pick you up at most of the hotels.
I believe we stopped in Haleiwa and, unless I am mixing it up with another town, it was a charming little town with artisans. I still remember the ceramic fish with bamboo chimes that I fell in love with and wished I had gotten. I go more for quality and hand crafting now-a-days and would rather have spent a bit more on it than on purchasing t-shirts and such.
GERMAINES LUAU: Aloha Top Ten > Activity Details > Germaines Luau
ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, THE BEST LUAU ON THE ISLANDS, at least that we found, and we hit at least four of them. We were picked up near our hotel, included in the price of the ticket, and taken twenty-seven miles from Waikiki to a private beach. “Cousin K” (enough to make the trip worthwhile right there) entertained us on the bus and got everyone in the mood to party. Although, if I never have to hear, “Just hang loose, ust have fun, sipping on a drink and lying in the sun, Don’t try to fight it, it ain’t no use. When you’re in Hawaii, you should just hang loose.” I will be eternally grateful.
Mom is a reserved lady and I wasn’t getting up on the stage doing the hula, but I have to admit it, we had a blast. I’m sure the three free drinks you are given doesn’t hurt the mood, even though it had busloads of tourists, it still felt like a party with people you know. My only complaint was, as I remember, I wish it was right on the waters edge. We were in the sand though and they had tables, in front, where you sat in the sand at a low table and then regular style picnic banquet tables for those who needed to sit on a bench.
But, the biggest treat was the all you can eat traditional Hawaiian Buffet. It was the BEST FOOD in HAWAII. And, that was considering I was not over my Bacterial Bronchitis, and on nasty medication and barely ate more than one bit of anything. However, it was still the best of them all. The menus is on the link above. Well worth the $66.13 per adult, when you consider there was several hours of entertainment. And they definitely had the best entertainment, including the most awesome fire dancers.
I have admitted now to being a lame tourist, but you can be as reserved as you want and still have fun or you can go dance on the stage. Other luau’s do not come close.
Atlantis submarine: Atlantis Adventures
This was one mom wanted to do, even though she worried about getting down into the submarine. She did fine with the ladder and they were very helpful. The coral reef was fairly new though, I believe they had sunk airplane or ship hulls to build it and this was nine years ago, so is probably better. It was still fun and I would do it again. We saw some neat fish, turtles and a shark. It’s not something you get to see in Indiana, obviously and they have the sub on three of the islands.
Polynesian Cultural Center: The Official Site of the Polynesian Cultural Center and Alii Luau
This is a pretty interesting, yet all tourist attraction. The drawback is that you will never see all the village shows you want because they all start at the same time. They have villages for Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga as well as other exhibits. Their mission is to “preserve and portray the cultures, arts and crafts of Polynesia.”
It’s on 42 acres and has a nonprofit center so that students of nearby Brigham Young University Hawaii can work their way through college by “sharing their island heritage with visitors.” They have hands-on activities and exhibits going on throughout the day and then at designated times, they do demonstrations and therein lies my complaint.
The demonstrations, as I remember, were always spaced two hours apart and each village did them at the same time, so that you could never, in one day, see all of them. You have to decide where you are going when. At the end of the day there was a canoe pageant that was cool. But, our favorite part was the evening show.
Their “Horizons” night show (and I do not believe you can do the luau and the show) was awesome and held in an open air auditorium and, at that time told the story of Hawaii. We really enjoyed it and for $58 per adult, you get admission to the seven villages, a tram tour, IMax and the night show. It is a good deal.
Before we left Hawaii, we would return to this island one more time and see Hilda Silva, mom’s pen pal since that was one of the main reasons for our trip. They have written to each other, since they were teenagers. Which for all you young folk, means hand writing on paper and sending it through the Postal service.