Thursday, June 8, 2023

Fun circle tour offers Oahu's splendors, views, food, sacred sights

Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers enjoy one of many splendid views on a day-long
circle tour of Oahu, which takes tourists around the island with many interesting stops.


Oahu's much visited Byodo-In Temple
is part of the tour and one of its most
popular stops. Take time to ring the gong. 


IF YOU'VE been to Honolulu but haven't headed north for to circle this lovely island of Oahu, you're missing something varied, fun and wonderfully educational.

So book a ticket back to Oahu, -- or pull up a chair for a whirlwind armchair tour of this intriguing island, with E Noa's entertaining and user friendly Circle Island tour and one of its most popular guides, Jacob, who likes to be called Humu.

Shrimp tempura is
served, tasty and local.

From the moment you're picked up in the morning at your hotel, to the tasty  lunch -- prepared with seafood harvested at nearby shrimp farms -- to the end of a rewarding day when you're dropped back at your hotel, you'll learn, relax, enjoy and want to return. 

Humu enlightens guests on his
engaging tour with a pointers on
places and natural history.

WE WERE up early to meet our bus, which arrived on time at Hilton Waikoloa Village where we were staying.  Other convenient pick-up and drop-off spots are at various other Waikiki hotels, a nice feature. Then our delightful sightseeing tour was underway with a spirited, heartfelt narration as we zipped out of town -- with a drive up Waikiki Beach. Humu pointed out major brand-name shops, historic hotels before he paused so we could admire the statue of famed Olympian and surf king Duke Kahanamoku. Surf fans festoon the much loved international legend with floral leis and we had time for a quick look, then away we went.

Famous surfer Duke
Kahanamoku is
remembered in a
bronze on Waikiki.

A break from the bus drive comes with a walk through
beautiful Waimea Valley's park to a lovely waterfall.
We drove onward up toward Diamond Head, past high-end neighborhoods and some of the world's best known surf spots. Each stop was accompanied by Humu's eloquent commentary, and music -- some of it live, provided by our versatile driver-guide and his ukulele. (He even devised a fun game where last one on the bus at each stop had to dance a hulu to his ukulele!) His top-ranked sightseeing tour features a pleasant blend of Oahu's sights, nature, history, art, local lore and commentary. The island's natural wonders, favorite foods, cultural sites, surfing spots and shopping experiences are all explored.  
"Local color" is provided in a stop at Waikiki.
AMONG OUR favorite stops was the 20 minutes we spent at Pali Lookout, with time to admire the ocean below and take photos. We also delighted in the architecture and landscaping at Byodo-In Temple where we visited the sanctuary, strolled the grounds and lit remembrance candles. This elegant place is a smaller-scale replica of the 950-year-old Byodo-in Temple, a United Nations World Heritage Site in Uji, Japan.
BATHROOM BREAKS were incorporated into the day, much appreciated. Again, thoughtful Humu's choreography was well timed and courteous.
We hiked to a waterfall in beautiful Waimea Valley, and for lunch at a popular cafe, enjoyed shrimp fixed to order and harvested from a nearby local farm.

This lovely rooster and his hen friend might be
among the sights you'll enjoy on the day tour.

ON THE WAY to the waterfall, we again had time for refreshments, then wandered through an impressive botanical garden, admiring nicely marked flora from Hawaii's vast repertoire of flowers, trees, ferns and orchids.

We've traveled with this well organized company for several years and guides such as Humu, Kimo and Mike give great personality, individuality and depth to the day. Their personal anecdotes and asides really make each trip and these guides are among the best we've had in decades of global touring.

Several of the guides are from three and even four-generation tour guide families and they know the islands like no one else does -- the neighborhoods, nuances, small off-the-beaten-track eateries and street art that might go unnoticed.
Bathing beauties are part of the charm and
photo opportunities on the E Noa tour.

Most of the guides are of native Hawaiian ancestry so that's a plus, too.
THE SHRIMP LUNCH was a perfect mid-day break in a day of perfect day of touring, learning and relaxing. Shrimp farming is huge in Hawaii and we ordered that from a choice of several enticing preparations. Others enjoyed chicken, but the shrimp was hard to beat.  A vegetarian offering is also part of the day, all included in the fare.

E Noa offers wonderful tours. From Pearl Harbor, a moving day trip, to its entertaining trolley ride options, check out this well established and highly rated outfit, a star in Hawaii's burgeoning tourist industry.

Keller and Cookie enjoy a movie tour at Kualoa Ranch.
UP NEXT: We're in a Hawaii frame of mind with a culture cruise on the Big Island via a luxury raft in the Body Glove fleet. Come along to special coves and bays with insights from a noted historian and a chance to learn something you may not  have known about Captain Cook. And we're heading north on Oahu for a visit to Kualoa Ranch, 4,000 acres of beautiful land, where dozens of famous films have been shot. Rememberto explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on travel, nature, performance and the arts, family, food, and more:


  1. Carmel Camera BuffsJune 15, 2023 at 2:38 PM

    We have several small cameras and admire the variety of your photos. Seminar please.

  2. Always enjoy the mix of fun, opinion and information.