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Hawaii - Don’t Hire a Tour Guide, Guide Yourself

By Steven Anderson

When you visit Hawaii there are many islands that offer plenty of exciting activities, natural wonders, and enjoyment for all who visit. However, Hawaii is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States, so you can only imagine how traveling in the area might affect your budget. Because of this you might prefer to guide yourself through the islands with some suggestions of the better activities and natural wonders awaiting you, especially on Oahu and Kauai. If you choose to guide yourself you will certainly save yourself lots of money not to mention you will enjoy your trip a little more because you will be in charge and more aware of your surroundings. When you guide yourself through Hawaii you will enjoy more of an adventure than if you hire a guide. The following activities will help you guide yourself to a vacation of a lifetime.

Guide Yourself on Oahu

If you are on the island of Oahu then you can enjoy the beauty of the island from a rent a car and simply drive to the appointed locations as well as discover some on your own. Oahu is incredible and there is so much to see and do you will really enjoy guiding yourself because you can stay a little longer or move ahead faster if you choose to do so. If you follow these suggestions you will spend a couple hours checking out the recommended sites, or longer if you choose.

The first stop is at the Punchbowl/National Cemetery. The cemetery is located off of Puowaina Drive and there are signs that will guide you the short distance to the cemetery. Here you will encounter the National Memorial Cemetery that is the resting ground of thousands of WW2, Korea, and Vietnam soldiers who gave their lives for their country. More than 35,000 graves are located at Punchbowl, which is an extinct crater of a volcano. The Punchbowl is open to visitors daily from 8:30 am - 6:30 pm and more than 6 million visitors visit each year. You too should visit the Punchbowl to honor those fallen and to remember.

From the Punchbowl you can hop back in your car and head to Puu Ualakaa Overlook. This stop offers an amazing 230 degree view of Honolulu from Mt. Tantalus. You can see from Pearl Harbor to Diamond Head and will simply be overwhelmed with this site. If you feel like stopping for a few minutes and continuing on that is fine, or else you can pack a picnic lunch, hike the trails, and just enjoy the beauty.

If you are really interested in plant life and hiking then your next stop will be truly enjoyable. From the Overlook you should head to the Lyon Arboretum. More than 194 acres of rainforest is home to 8000 species of plants that will truly turn your head and make you appreciate nature. There are trails you can hike as well as restrooms on the premises.

Also while on Oahu you should visit Pearl Harbor. This is perhaps one of the most frequented locations on the island. Here is the USS Arizona memorial and you can view a memorial to all the individuals who lost their lives when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The memorial is constructed above the ship that sank. There is also a free program you can attend and learn more about Pearl Harbor.

While there are many places on Oahu you just have to visit, these are several recommended options that will keep you on your feet and enjoying the beautiful area.

Tour Kauai on Your Own

Once you have seen Oahu you should set your sites on Kauai. There is so much to see and do in Kauai that you could tour the island for weeks and still not see and do it all. However, just a few of the most exciting and interesting locations will be highlighted here.

The Waimea Canyon Lookout is a must see if you are in Kauai and you will be amazed at the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. From the lookout you have a vista of the mile long, 10 mile wide canyon. You will be amazed at the site.

After this visit you should head to Salt Pond County Beach Park, which is next to the salt ponds. These are the only salt ponds in Hawaii that are still in use and produce the ancient rock salt. This is off of mile marker 17 so keep your eyes open as you are driving along.

Another must see location in Kauai is the Russian fort at Hanalei Bay. Russia was not in Hawaii too long, but there is a bit of their fort remaining to remember when they were. Although the two year adventure ended and little is left of the fort, you have a breathtaking view of Hanalei Bay that is worth the trip.

Then, you must visit Maniniholo dry cave. This cave is made from a mesh of trees and vines and is simply amazing. There is no water in the cave to be concerned with, either. This sea cave has been in existence for ages and there is a legend that it was dug by sea elves. Once you see Maniniholo dry cave you can make up your own mind.

The final must see on Kauai is Kamokila Hawaiian Village. Here you will be able to learn a little bit about Hawaiian history and how old Hawaiians lived. Amazingly enough, these Hawaiians were truly self sufficient and lived off the land. Kamokila Hawaiian Village. Here you will be able to learn a little bit about Hawaiian history and how old Hawaiians lived. Amazingly enough, these Hawaiians were truly self sufficient and lived off the land. You can visit this village any day and even take a ride in a canoe if you so choose.

There are many more things to do in Oahu and Kauai than those listed above; however these are just suggestions to help you keep in mind hat Hawaii is more than beautiful beaches and luaus. It is a state with a significant past and an amazing history regarding the Hawaiians as well as the Americans. When you are visiting Hawaii you will get a feel for the past and truly come to understand a little more about Hawaii.

About The Author

Steven Anderson is the reservations director of Hawaiian Discount Rental Cars, specializing in Maui Jeep & Car Rentals. He has personally experienced many Hawaiian adventures and offers his advice on the many interesting locales in Hawaii. Please visit


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