Tag Archives: Hanauma Bay

Aloha Stadium Swap, Museum Live Day, Punch Bowl and snorkeling at Hanauma Bay

We had been told by many of you that we just had to go to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet.  We listened and followed your advice.  We got there in the morning, found the stadium and found that it was CLOSED!  What the heck.  Apparently, the University of Hawaii had a football game that afternoon so there was no swap meet.  Lesson One:  Always check the swap meet schedule since there are other days that it is cancelled.

aloha stadium

We had made our reservations on the Museum Live site that I wrote about earlier.  We held reservations for the Iolani Palace and Queen Emma Summer Home both in Honolulu.  I wanted to visit the palace as it is the only palace in all of the 50 states.  With our tickets, we received the headphones to do a self guided audio tour.  It was fascinating to learn the history and see the portraits of the various King Kamehamehas and to learn about the sad story of what the US government and some American business men did to the last Queen of the Hawaiian Islands, Queen Liliu’okalani in 1895.  I would recommend visiting the palace  There is free parking on the grounds of the palace, you do not need to feed the meters out front on the street.  Lesson Two:  always ask first if there is free parking before putting $2 of quarters in a meter out front.

Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace
coat of arms at the gate of Iolani Palace
coat of arms at the gate of Iolani Palace

Next up was to drive to the outer limits of Honolulu to visit Queen Emma’s summer home.  There wasn’t much there, the women volunteering that day didn’t know much except for one docent who always had a crowd around here.  I would not recommend this site.

On our way back into the city from Queen Emma’s Summer Home we saw a sign on Puli Highway for Punchbowl Memorial.  We decided to go there.  Let me tell you, once you get off the main road, the signage is very poor.  Very small blue signs placed higher than most signs.  The signs also referred to the Veterans Affairs?  We didn’t get that, thought it was a national park or national memorial that would have the brown signs.  I did find out later that it is a national cemetery.  Nevertheless, after a few wrong turns, we made it to Punch Bowl, checked in at the Visitor Center and was told to drive to the top where the mosaics of the different campaigns were.  Blogger Hubby enjoyed looking at all the campaigns; me, not so much as I really don’t know much about the World War II campaigns and battles. Lesson Three: don’t depend on signage, get directions first.

Punchbowl 1

Punch Bowl 2

After the seriousness of the Punch Bowl, we headed for some fun – snorkeling in the famed Hanauma Bay.  It is a sunken crater on the water on the southeastern coast of O’ahu.  It cost $1 to park.  If you want to go to the beach, then it is an additional $7.50 each and then you have to watch a 19 minute video on protecting the coral.  It’s a good reminder for swimmers and snorkelers.  You can walk down the paved road to get to the beach or hop on the tram for $1 to ride down.  They do have rental of snorkeling equipment though we brought our own.  With the coral, there were all sorts of fish to see and swim with.  The sand was gravely, not the type of fine sand that I’m used to.  We elected to ride the tram up for $1.50.


We got in our car and headed back to go home only the traffic was very backed up.  We turned around again and decide to go along the eastern coast and cut over on the H3 .  Although it is a longer way back, we were moving and we saw some beautiful scenery along the way.  If we were going back to O’ahu, we would definitely stay along the southeastern coast.  We can now say we have been on each single square inch of road along the coast of O’ahu.

Next Up:  Beach Days and flying to Kauai