Tag Archives: oahu

Kaimuki: O’ahu’s favorite eclectic neighborhood

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WIT Agent Debbie is currently on O’ahu, Hawaii for an educational trip! Look out for her photos later — we’ll post them to Facebook!

She’ll be checking out the Prince Waikiki hotel and Turtle Bay on her trip, so she’ll be able to provide firsthand feedback. Feel free to give her a call when she’s back to know more at our office: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Why you should check out Kaimuki

Want a break from the hubbub of Waikiki? Why not swing by its sleepier sister?

Have you heard of Kaimuki? Not far from Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, this historic neighborhood calls back to Hawaii of 50 years ago. With old-timer buildings, charming parks and old-fashioned delis, it makes a great place to hang out on a hot afternoon.

Once a farm owned by King Kalakaua, where ostriches roamed wild on green slopes, Kaimuki is now a low-key residential area with a strip of niche restaurants and cute boutiques.

Talk story at Coffee Talk, a friendly, relaxed cafe with a hearty selection of drinks and pastries. Grab a tasty sandwich at Kaimuki Suprette, a new deli made up in the old-fashioned style, serving with farm-fresh favorites. Wander down the main street of Waialae Avenue to the niche shops, where you can scavenge for unique jewelry, aloha shirts and rare comic books. Summer is a great time to snack up on those cool treats: and you’ll find everything from shave ice to acai bowls to handmade gelato here. There is even some karaoke, and a wealth of cosmetic spas!

Fun fact: This is the very neighborhood where Israel Kamakawiwo’ole grew up!

So check it out! Kaimuki is just east of Waikiki Beach and Ala Moana–behind Diamond Head:

(Kaimuki is in shaded pink)

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Filed under All About Hawaii, Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines

Travel News: Will Hawaii get its Inter-island Ferry back?

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Alaska Airlines To Keep Current Loyalty Program
In a year full of bad news for frequent flyers (see Delta/Alaska fallout), Alaska appears to be stepping up, bucking the trend, and doubling down on Mileage Plan, its loyalty program. It’s the only remaining airline loyalty program that doesn’t have a revenue component attached to it.
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Will Hawaii Gets Its Interisland Ferry Back?
The Hawaii State Department of Transportation received a US$500,000 grant from the federal Maritime Administration to hire consultants to explore potential routes and boats for an inter-island ferry. But would it work this time? By all accounts, environmentalists were the reason the Hawaii Super Ferry was shut down, but some speculated the airlines were also behind the demise of this alternate mode of inter-island travel. Right now, roundtrip airfare between most islands is around $US300, although there are a few lesser-costing modes of travel on small turbo-prop planes. To put this into perspective, for US$600 roundtrip, one could fly from the US East Coast to Europe (around 3,500 miles from New York to the UK), while the furthest distance in the major Hawaiian Islands is from Kauai to the Big Island – a distance of only 305 miles. The Hawaii Superferry launched in December 2007 and was forced to shut down in March 2009. It subsequently had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with debts that included $135.8 million owed to MARAD which had provided construction financing guarantees.
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Atlantis Resorts Coming to O’ahu
The extravagant Atlantis Resorts announced plans to develop a resort project in Ko Olina on O’ahu. It’s expected to be built near Disney’s Aulani Resort, and will mimic Atlantis the Palm in Dubai. There will likely be numerous restaurants, nightclub, spas, aquarium, waterpark, and waterfront hotel rooms—but for now, all of that is speculation. Ko Olina developer Jeff Stone said that it will be designed as an “international destination for millennial travelers,” so it is unknown how much the resort will reflect the local ecosystem and culture.

Uber Is Losing Lots Of Money
Uber generated $3.76 billion in net revenue the first 3 quarters of 2016, but it is estimated that the bottom line will be a loss of more than $2.2 billion, with $800 million of that in the third quarter. By year end, it is expected that Uber will have netted US$5.5 billion. The company has tried to keep its financial information from public consumption, however, an anonymous source has revealed this data, which also shows that the San Francisco-based company is valued at a whopping $69 billion. That’s more than Twitter and General Motors combined.

Sandals Opening Fourth Resort In St Lucia
Sandals Resorts International has announced its plan to add a fourth resort to its award-winning list of properties on the Eastern Caribbean island. The Sandals brand has enjoyed tremendous success in St Lucia since 1993 when it made its first foray there and the newest resort, to be named Sandals LaSource St Lucia, will by all indications be a game changer. Groundbreaking for the new resort which will be nestled on 19 acres of land next to the existing Sandals Grande St Lucian Resort is set to begin in spring 2017. With the addition of this new resort, guests in St Lucia will now have the option of ‘Staying-at-One, Playing-at-Four’. Sandals LaSource St Lucia will boast an exotic infinity-edge sky pool bar offering picturesque views of the island’s beautiful north coast, 350 rooms and suites inclusive of the exotic SkyPool Butler Suites and all-butler signature swim-up Rondoval Suites, a first in the chain. The new resort will also feature an electrifying entertainment package to include a main stage with a 20′ high LED screen and a mobile DJ party scene.

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Lie-Detecting Robot Is The Customs Officer Of The Future
Travelers in the US and Canada may soon be forced to undergo a lie detector test as a standard part of airport security. The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real Time (AVATAR) is currently being tested by the Canadian Border Services Agency and the US Department of Homeland Security. The robot, programmed to look for physiological changes that indicate lying through eye-detection software and other sensors, could help border agents catch terrorists or drug traffickers, according to San Diego State University researchers. “AVATAR is a kiosk, much like an airport check-in or grocery store self-checkout kiosk,” San Diego State University management information systems professor Aaron Elkins told SDSU’s News Center. The kiosk has a face on the screen that asks questions of travelers and can detect changes in physiology and behavior during the interview. The system can detect changes in the eyes, voice, gestures and posture to determine potential risk. It can even tell when you’re curling your toes. Passengers would be made to step up to the kiosk, then answer a series of questions such as, “Do you have fruits or vegetables in your luggage?” or “Are you carrying any weapons with you?” If lying is detected, a passenger is taken aside for further screening. Passengers are also asked a series of simple questions to measure whether they are simply anxious about flying. Elkins believes the kiosk, which he says is bilingual and polite, could be used not just for border security, but also for law enforcement and even job interviews. “AVATAR has been tested in labs, in airports and at border crossing stations,” Elkins explained. “The system is fully ready for implementation to help stem the flow of contraband, thwart fleeing criminals, and detect potential terrorists and many other applications in the effort to secure international borders.”

Some US Airlines Reducing Flights To Cuba
The Jamaica Gleaner reports some airlines in the United States are reducing flights to Cuba, with Silver Airways planning to trim its flight schedule to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean country early in the new year. Silver Airways has become the second US airline to reduce the frequency of flights to Cuba. Between January and February, Silver Airways, which flies out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, plans to reduce the number of flights on six of its nine destinations to Cuba. The frequency of flights from FLL to Camagüey, Cuba will be reduced from five weekly trips to three; to Cayo Coco, Cuba from three weekly flights to two; to Holguín, to three per week instead of one daily flight; to Manzanillo, from three weekly flights to two; and to Varadero, Silver will trim its four weekly flights to three. Flights to Santiago, Cuba will also be reduced in February from one daily flight to three per week. Silver Airways, which does not offer flights to Havana, Cuba began regular flights to the island in September. The Silver Airways flights reduction follows American which announced in November that it would cut nearly a quarter of its flights to Cuba early next year due to poor demand. American, the US carrier with most flights to Cuba, had scheduled five daily flights to Havana and 56 weekly flights to other Cuban cities. But just over a month into operation, many of the flights were going half empty.

Port Everglades Gets Green Light To Deepen Channels
Port Everglades has received federal authorization for the US Army Corps of Engineers to move forward with a plan to deepen and widen navigation channels. The approval came as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, signed into law Dec. 16 by the President. The project, currently in the preconstruction engineering and design phase, can now proceed through the permitting and federal funding processes. It is anticipated to create an estimated 2,200 construction jobs and nearly 1,500 permanent direct jobs locally resulting from additional cargo capacity. Port Everglades received authorization for more than $335 million in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act earlier this month. The new legislation allows the port to take advantage of the expansion of the Panama Canal and receive the larger, neo-Panamax cargo ships. The project addresses safe shipping requirements as older cargo fleets are replaced with much larger ships that require wider channels and deeper water. Larger cargo ships currently arrive from Europe and South America lightly loaded and can experience difficulty maneuvering safely when other ships are berthed in some of the port’s narrower channel areas. Key features are to deepen the main navigational channels from 42 feet to 48 feet (plus one-foot required and another one-foot allowable overdepth for a total of 50 feet), and to deepen and widen the entrance channel and parts of the Intracoastal Waterway so that cargo ships can pass safely by docked cruise ships.

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Korean Air Crew To Be Allowed To Use Stun Guns On Passengers
Korean Air Lines has said it will allow crew members to “readily use stun guns” to manage in-flight disturbances, after being criticised by US singer Richard Marx for its handling of an incident involving a violent passenger. The South Korean carrier also said on Tuesday it will beef up security training of crew members. Last week, Marx said on Facebook and Twitter he helped initially subdue “a psycho passenger attacking crew members and other passengers”. He also accused crew members of being “ill-trained” and “ill-equipped” to handle the “chaotic and dangerous event”. Korean Air Lines said on Tuesday its crew members were “hesitant” to use taser guns because they were permitted for use in only “grave” situations which jeopardise the life of a passenger or crew member or the safety of a flight.

Gatwick Prepares For Major Terminal Shake-Up
Gatwick Airport is advising passengers to check the terminal of their airline as three of its major airlines prepare to switch in January. British Airways will move to the South Terminal, Virgin Atlantic will move to the North Terminal, and easyJet, which currently operates out of both terminals, will consolidate its entire operation in the North Terminal. The move will be the airport’s biggest project to date and took two years to plan. The relocation will be staggered over three days with all three airlines operating a reduced flying programme designed to simplify the upheaval. Around 50,000 passengers will be travelling with the three airlines on the 277 flights that will be relocating across the 72 hours. From 24 January all easyJet flights will depart from the North Terminal, while from 25 January British Airways flights will depart from the South Terminal and Virgin Atlantic flights will depart from the North Terminal. Gatwick said the changes will improve passenger experience with state-of-the-art technology at check-in, security and immigration as well as new bag-drop zones. It will also bring new British Airways and Virgin Atlantic lounges. Gatwick’s COO said “We are ready to deliver this major step in Gatwick’s strategic transformation programme. The moves have been meticulously planned for more than two years, with close attention given to ensuring that the airport operation and the experience of our passengers is not affected during the transition. Relocating the airlines allows greater efficiency and positions all three carriers for growth, which in turn drives Gatwick’s growth. For our passengers, investment at every step of their journey through the terminal will be hugely beneficial.”

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Travel Tips: 7 Reasons you should visit O’ahu

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The beautiful Hawaiian island of O’ahu is an unparalleled destination, full of fun and unique sights, smells, and savories! Here’s a quick list to whet your appetite: 

1. The Byodo Temple

The stunning and breathtaking Byodo Temple was built to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. Located on the Windward Side of O’ahu, the temple is more exhibition than functional, complete with a Lotus Buddha statue, lush Japanese gardens, koi ponds and crooning peacocks.

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2. The North Shore Highway

Escape the urban sprawl of Honolulu for the more remote and beautiful North Shore. The north is more relaxed and nostalgic, giving you a glimpse of “Old Hawaii”—and is also the legendary surfing capital of the world. Plus the drive alone has some gorgeous views of the scenic Pacific Ocean.

3. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

Be sure to stop by Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck driving north on the Kamehameha Highway. A converted 1953 bread truck now offers some of the tastiest shrimp you’ll ever try—with mouthwatering scampi, lemon butter, hot & spicy shrimp shrimp shrimp!

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4. Matsumoto’s Shave Ice

Nothing says “Hawaiian-style” so much like shave ice, a.k.a. the island snow cone. On O’ahu, flavors like red bean, passion fruit, and guava are as ubiquitous as the dessert shops that sell them. And the ice at Matsumoto’s is legendary, with delicious bowls of frosty pineapple and li hing mui flavors.

5. KCC Farmer’s Market

The KCC Farmer’s Market is an awesome market, chock-full of tropical fruits, baked goodies, drinks and a snippet of crafts. Don’t leave the islands without trying some dragonfruit, white guava, or young coconuts.

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6. Manoa Falls

Trekkers all love the elegant waterfalls at Manoa Falls. The tree-studded path will take you past old park buildings, large boulders, sweet floral aromas and delicate bamboo and ginger. The area is also famous as a filming location for Lost and Jurassic Park. Just be sure to wear the proper shoes (it gets muddy!), sunscreen and insect repellent. 

7. Ahi Poke from Foodland

Nothing says Hawaii like fresh aki poké, raw fish appetizer served with soy sauce, sea salt, roasted candlenut, sesame oil, seaweed and chili pepper. Freshly caught poké is hard to come by, even in Hawaii, so best to try your luck with a local. Foodland supermarkets have a huge poké and poké bowl selection—come early in the morning for the best taste.

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Looking to Experience Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial? Look no further.

In addition to your hotel, flights and car, Willamette Intl Travel can organize tours for you and your family while on the magical island of O’ahu. Call us at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com and ask us about your Hawaiian vacation today.

WIT Agent Nancy’s favorite way to experience historical O’ahu is a Pearl Harbor Tour. Tours may include:

  • Fort Shafter, Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Army Barracks, and Punchbowl National Memorial.
  • Visit to Home of the Brave’s nostalgic WWII museum that honors the brave men and women who fought courageously during WWII. One of the largest and most unique collection of 1940s memorabilia and photographs.
  • Ticket to board the Arizona Memorial via the Navy Launch, park service film, and tour of the Valor in the Pacific Visitor center.
  • Pick up at Waikiki hotels, avoid the crowds with guaranteed earliest timed entry at the Visitor Center.
  • Driver and knowledgeable guides in period costume.
  • The real radio broadcast of the day Pearl Harbor was bombed on the car’s PA!

photos from Flickr creative commons, courtesy of Jason Raia, frontriver, Edmund Garman, Eugene Kim, Christopher Liang

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Filed under Hawaii, North America, Oceania, USA

Scuba Diving off O’ahu

Last Week WIT Agent Wailana plopped beneath the waves off O’ahu shores and had a chance to scuba dive! Check out her photos in the slideshow below:

(Can’t see the photos? Try using a different browser, like Firefox.)

Interested in exploring the blue underworld in Hawaii? Call Willamette Intl Travel to book your vacation today! Our agents have been visiting the islands of Aloha for decades and we would love to share our insider tips on the best beaches, resorts and activities, with you and your family. Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com to find out more.

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O’ahu with WIT Agent Nancy

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Last September Willamette Intl Travel Agent Nancy took her daughter to O’ahu and checked out the newest hotels and renovations going on around the island!

Check out more photos here.

Nancy is an expert on all things Hawaii, she has been to the islands many, many times and each time she leaves her heart there! She is well-versed in the ins and outs of nearly every property on the islands! Call her to chat about your next vacation to the tropics, 503-224-0180 or email nancyf@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Hawaii, North America, Our Travel Agents, USA

Which Hawaiian Island is Right for Me?

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Over the winter already? Can’t wait until Spring? Hang loose in the Hawaiian Islands! With white beaches, aloha spirit, and tropical flavors galore, there’s plenty to adore.

If you’re planning a trip to the islands, but not sure where to start, never fear–Willamette Intl Travel has got your back. Each island offers a different selection of activities and sightseeing. Our expert agents can help you decide which island is the best fit for you and your family.

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Kauai

Kaua’i offers a plethora of outdoor adventures and soft sandy beaches. Often lauded as the most lush and beautiful of all the islands, this is a great choice for those who want to experience Hawai’i away from the bustle and wander stunning hillscapes. Explore the deep Waimea  Canyon, take a boat ride to the towering cliffs of Napali coast, and swim at Poipu Beach Park.

O’ahu

The main hub of the islands, O’ahu is home to the state capital, Honolulu, and draws the most tourists to its famous Waikiki Beach. Try your hand at surfing world-class waves at North Shore, check out the memorials and museums of Pearl Harbor, and enjoy panoramic views at Nuuanu Pali Lookout.

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Maui

Maui is probably the next most popular island after O’ahu, and offers fantastic resorts, sandy beaches, and iconic waterfalls. This is the island to head to if you’re interested in whale-watching or exploring a mix of sand and jungle. Catch the gorgeous sunrise at Haleakala, drive on the famed road to Hana, hike through Iao Valley State Park for the glimpse of the iconic Iao Needle, or go snorkeling at Makena Beach State Park.

The Big Island

The Big Island is the most diverse of the Hawaiian islands. It’s one of those few places where you can snorkel in an offshore reef in the morning, and snowboard on top of Mauna Kea in the afternoon. Explore the warm waters of Kona, enjoy the rainy Saturday market at Hilo, or check out Volcanoes National Park, with the massive Halema’uma’u caldera and the fiery Kilauea volcano.

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Moloka’i

The most laidback of the islands, Moloka’i is the spot for adventurous visitors who want to see a glimpse of “old Hawai’i.” Ride a donkey through Halawa Valley, check out the sleepy town of Kaunakakai, or learn about the historical Saint Damien at Kalaupapa National Historical Park.

Lana’i

Lana’i is often the choice for tourists who have been to Hawai’i many times, and its renowned as an island of tranquility and romance. With some of the best golf courses and the otherworldly rock formations at Keahiakawelo, Lana’i has much to offer.

Planning a Hawaiian honeymoon with a sweetheart or summer vacation with the kids? Call Wittravel for the best service and latest tips in travel to Hawaii. 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com

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