Kendall Sharp, Author at Marina Hawaii Vacations

Hawaii surfing started as a “sport of kings” because ancient royalty used the sport to flaunt their athletic skills on Waikiki Beach. However, in the 20th century, Hawaii surfing developed a whole new meaning. Duke Kahanamoku, renowned surfer, Olympic swimmer, and Waikiki native, introduced surfing to the world. Honolulu is arguably the surf capital of the world, especially during the winter months. There are many ways for you to enjoy Hawaii surfing, either by watching a surfing competition or by taking surf lessons in Honolulu. The ocean is calling; surfs up! 

Best Surf Lessons in Honolulu

If you’re ready to learn how to ride Hawaii’s waves, Waikiki Beach is a great place to start. The beach is lined with kiosks, shops, and friendly locals ready to teach you the Hawaiian way. Since many of these instructors have been teaching surf lessons in Honolulu, it can be confusing deciding where you would like to learn. For your convenience, our team here at Marina Hawaii Vacations put together a list of our favorite places for surf lessons in Honolulu. 

Sea & Board Sports Hawaii 

Sea & Board Sports in Haleiwa is located in an area that was built for surfers and away from large crowds. Its quaint, little town, is full of authentic surf shops and rustic buildings. However, Haleiwa also is known for having some of the best waves for beginner surfers. Sea & Board Sports teaches surf lessons at Chun’s Reef. You’ll experience low and long waves, with some rocky patches in between. 

Gone Surfing Hawaii

Many of our guests love Gone Surfing Hawaii because they are conveniently located on Waikiki Beach near our hotel. Gone Surfing Hawaii offers various levels of classes, but surfers of all skill sets will spend about 15 minutes on the beach with the instructors before getting in the water. These surf lessons also can be taken in a group setting or a semi-private setting. 

Surf HNL Kapolei

If you’re looking for private surf lessons in Honolulu, Surf HNL Kapolei is an excellent option for you. The surf lessons are held at Nimitz Beach, which is well-known by locals but otherwise unheard of by tourists. You can expect to surf in relatively rocky areas, but your instructors will show you how to avoid them. Surf HNL Kapolei keeps their instructor to student ratio very small, so you can have the best surf lesson experience as can be!

Must Stop Honolulu Surf Shop

Now that you’ve mastered the art of Hawaii surfing, you must stop at our favorite Honolulu surf shop! It’s challenging to select one as there are so many to choose from, so consider visiting all stores listed below.

  1. Hawaiian South Shore The Surf Boutique
  2. Aloha Board Shop
  3. Quality Surfboards Hawaii
  4. Blue Planet Surf 

Marina Hawaii Vacations

Your Hawaiian vacation is merely incomplete without trying surf lessons in Honolulu, especially our on-site surf lessons from Duke’s Lagoon Waikiki. Instructors offer lessons in both group and private settings, so you can get the most out of your Hawaii surfing experience. However, Duke’s Lagoon also offer several paddle board excursions for your to explore. Visit the Duke’s Lagoon office in the lobby of Ilikai Tower next to our leasing office. 

Since Marina Hawaii Vacations is close to countless stellar surf schools, you have no reason not to try! To learn more about surf lessons in Honolulu, visit our website or give us a call at 808-946-0716.


When we say hula dancing, what thoughts come to mind? Perhaps you think of the hula dancing scene in Lilo and Stitch. Or maybe the extent of your hula dance knowledge is from hula hoop competitions in grade school. Hawaiian hula dance is more than just a hobby; Hula dancing is a way of life. When staying at our Honolulu resort, explore local Hula dance performances, and even attempt some Hula dance lessons “near me.” But first, read through our Hawaiian Hula Dance guide to learn helpful tips and tricks. 

History of Hawaiian Hula Dance

Before the existence of written language, Hula dancing, hula songs, and their associated chants played a significant role in keeping history, genealogy, mythology, and culture alive. Every hand gesture, foot placement, and hip sway would tell a story. These Hula stories helped native Hawaiians feel connected to their land and gods. After the western missionaries arrived, Hula dancing and Hawaiian language were no longer used for social enjoyment and protocol. In fact, Hula dancing was even outlawed. It wasn’t until King David Kalakaua took the throne in 1874 that Hawaii’s cultural traditions were restored. Hula dance performances flourished, and by the early 1900s, the hula dance became more modernized. 

Hula Dance PerformancesHawaiian Hula Dance

You can see Hula dance performances at festivals, events, competitions, hotels, and resorts all over Honolulu. You can attend popular events such as King Kamehameha Hula Competition in June, Prince Lot Hula Festival in July, and the World Invitational Hula Festival in November. One of the best Hula dance performances, The Kuhio Beach Hula Show, is hosted by Hawaii’s finest hula school. There are hula dance performances at the Kuhio Beach Hula mound on Kalakaua Avenue every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm (weather permitting.) During winter months, performances occur from 6 pm to 7 pm. This event is free to the public! Luaus are also great places to watch hula dancing and learn about Hawaiian and Polynesian culture. Some of the best luau spots on Oahu are the Alii Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Paradise Cove Luau in the Ko Olina area. 

Hula Dance Classes “near Me”

Now that you’ve learned the basics of all things Hula dancing, are you ready to search for Hula dance lessons “near me?” We recommend taking hula dance classes onsite, in the Ilikai Tower, Hula Hula Entertainment, or Superhero Hula. 

Onsite Hula Lessons

Every Friday from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Marina Hawaii Vacations offers free hula dance lessons. The lessons take place at the Ilikai Tower and face the “Simply Wood Studio.” You’ll also learn the basics of the Hawaiian language! For more information, visit the Simply Wood Studio. 

Hula Hula Entertainment 

This fun, family-oriented facility has offered private hula lessons for over 18 years. The staff also provides hula shows, live music, lei making lessons, and lei greetings for special occasions. When visiting Hula Hula Entertainment, you’re bound to have a great time. 

Superhero Hula 

If you’re looking for an empowering dance experience, add Superhero Hula to your vacation itinerary. Superhero Hula offers private Hula Dance Therapy, which is a great option for visitors recovering from depression, a breakup, or a career change. This is a fully customized hula dance experience, including song selection, Hawaiian attire, location, and more! 

Marina Hawaii Vacations

Hawaiian Hula dance is deeply rooted in our culture. It’s become an international symbol of Hawaiian culture, and luckily, you can experience the tradition on your trip to Honolulu. Marina Hawaii Vacations is just a quick drive away from many of the above hula dance performances and classes; so, you won’t have to worry about traveling far for these lively experiences. If you plan to stay at our Ilikai Tower property, free hula classes are provided each Friday, 4 pm to 5 pm, in the lobby fronting the “Simply Woods Studio” shop. So, what are you waiting for? Book your Honolulu vacation today by visiting our website, or giving us a call at 808-946-0716. 


Kalakaua Avenue is known to have some of the most luxurious shops and restaurants in all of Oahu. Beginning in downtown Honolulu and ending in Kapiolani Park, Kalakaua Avenue boasts a unique international shopping experience with oceanfront views. Whether you’re looking for designer brands or spunky souvenirs, you’ll find all of that and more on Kalakaua Avenue! Take a quick walk from Marina Hawaii Vacations and experience the urban, Honolulu culture. 

Shop Along Kalakaua Avenue

The stores range from upscale designer boutiques to authentic Hawaiian attire and souvenirs. While exploring Kalakaua Avenue, be sure to stop in these fantastic shopping centers.

Luxury Row

Eight luxurious boutiques call Luxury Row home including Tiffany & Co., Coach, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Tod’s, and Hugo Boss. You can find Luxury Row in the center of Waikiki’s urban and beach resort district.

DFS Galleria

Another lavish shopping area is called DFS Galleria. You’ll enjoy browsing Prada. Gucci, Vera Wang, Godiva, and Emporio Armani. Don’t worry about burning through your wallet; Are items are duty-free! 

Royal Hawaiian Center

Located in front of Royal Hawaiian Hotel and Sheraton Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian Center houses over 100 shops and restaurants. Apple is front and center of Royal Hawaiian Center, but high-end boutiques make up the rest of the building. Visitors will find Kate Spade, 7 For All Mankind, Bebe, Bulgari, Fendi, and Cartier. There are a few stores that sell Hawaiian trinkets that make for great souvenirs.  

International Marketplace

For years, International Market has been the island’s traditional spot for dining and shopping in Waikiki. This open-air center invites guests to browse their 130 carts, shops, and artisan stands. Besides shopping, you can “talk story” with the local craftsmen, take a photo with Don the Beachcomber’s original home. 

Waikiki Beach Walk

Waikiki Beach Walk is the area’s largest development to date. Visitors get a true sense of Oahu’s taste from the outdoor entertainment plaza, 50 stores, and 16 restaurants. You’ll also find local businesses such as Hawaiian Quilt Collection, Mana Hawai’i, and Under the Koa Tree.     

Marina Hawaii Vacations

Shopping along Kalakaua Avenue can either be an all-day affair or a quick afternoon activity. Luckily, Marina Hawaii Vacations is located nearby so you can hit as many activities as you’d like in a day. There’s truly no better place to spend a vacation than in Honolulu. Whether you’re taking a couples getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, Marina Hawaii Vacations will help create everlasting memories. What are you waiting for? The Honolulu waters are calling your name! To learn more information, visit our website, or give us a call at 808-946-0716.

If swimming with sharks is on your bucket list, then you’re vacationing in the right place! Hawaii is home to about 40 species of sharks, but roughly eight call Oahu home. Luckily, Oahu’s top shark diving guides are a quick drive from our Marina Hawaii Vacations. Each facility offers its own experience for interacting with sharks, ranging from cage diving to open swimming with sharks. For an adventure like no other, slide on your bathing suit and swim with the sharks. 

Sharks in Oahu

swimming with sharks

Before swimming with sharks, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the species you’re likely to see. The whitetip reef shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, tiger shark, Galapagos shark, gray reef shark, and the sandbar shark are a few regulars to the area. 

You’ll quickly notice that whitetip reef sharks are easiest to identify because of their dorsal fin’s white tip. These sharks can breathe while lying still, which is rare. These curious sharks are known to get up close and personal but don’t worry; they pose no immediate threat to humans. 

Galapagos sharks are larger than whitetip reef sharks and can reach around nine and a half feet long! Unfortunately, Galapagos sharks can act aggressively toward humans if they feel their home or babies are threatened. Their behavior pales in comparison to tiger sharks, who’ve earned the reputation as man-eaters. People often forget to mention that at times, these sharks enjoy eating garbage. While these three species are seen most often, you’ll likely see other species away from the shore, such as around coral reefs or underwater volcanoes. 

Cage Diving Expectations

Is this adventure for you? Of course it is! Previous Hawaii Shark Encounters guests range from non-swimmers to National Geographic photographers; their eldest diver was an 80-year-old,, while their youngest, only three! The guides state that both parties were impressed! While this excursion is doable for most people, some factors require additional preparation. The entry and exit of the cage require guests to be able to climb down a five-step ladder. You also must be able to carry your weight back into the boat. Also, be aware of the potential for rough waters. Even on a calm day, there’s a chance for rough water. So, if you are prone to motion sickness, plan ahead. 

Marina Hawaii Vacations

After swimming with sharks, head back to Marina Hawaii Vacations for a Selachimorpha free, outdoor pool. Or better yet, cook up a traditional Hawaiian meal in your own fully-equipped kitchen. Whichever activity sounds more appealing after swimming with sharks, we’re sure you’ll feel right at home. To learn more information, visit our website or talk to our friendly staff at 808-946-0716.  


From small local bars to classy lounges with wild dance clubs, the island of Oahu has it all when it comes to nightlife. Honolulu and the surrounding areas boast themselves to have the largest variety of nightlife spots of all the islands. Luckily, Marina Hawaii Vacations is centrally located by all the fun. If you’re searching for a party, look no further. Honolulu’s busy streets are lined with party spots. Enjoy the best nightlife Honolulu has to offer, starting with our top six locations. 

Amuse Wine Bar 

Located in the Honolulu Design Center, Amuse Wine Bar serves dozens of wines in a classy, sleek lounge. Guests can fill a card with money and taste different wines and appetizers. The wine is poured in one-ounce increments at various prices- it’s an easy way to taste all 80 wine options! Amuse features live music, happy hour and specials throughout the week. 

Air Park Karaoke Lounge 

Air Park Karaoke Lounge is the place for you to sing your heart out, no matter how horrible you sound. Find a room to hang out or snag the microphone to sing your favorite tune in the open lounge. Air Park has a full bar and loaded song list that’s continually being updated so you can sing along to that song stuck in your head. If you’re on vacation with guests under 21-years-old, check out a private room Sunday through Thursday. 

The Manifest

Don’t feel like singing? Head to Honolulu’s arts and entertainment district where you’ll find The Manifest, an all-night dance party. This Chinatown bar brings in some of the hottest DJs in town! Be sure to snap some pictures during your night out; Manifest’s artsy brick walls and hanging lights will make a great picture for the ‘gram. 

The District Nightclub

Change up your nightclub scene and make your way to The District Nightclub. Guests can find this club across from Ala Moana and Addiction Nightclub in the Modern Honolulu Hotel. The District Nightclub is a popular spot for DJs and special performers to play their sets. There’s no better place to celebrate a birthday, bridal party or other special events than with VIP bottle service at The District Nightclub. It’s your time to dance the night away! 

SKY Waikiki

Take your night to a different level of fun at SKY Waikiki. This 19-story rooftop bar gives guests the best panoramic views of Waikiki and Honolulu’s skyline. SKY Waikiki is Hawaii’s only rooftop bar, restaurant and nightclub, so we guarantee this is a once in a lifetime experience. After all, they say cocktails taste much better while dancing under the stars. 

Mai Tai Bar

If nightclubs, karaoke and dancing isn’t your style, we’ve got a spot for you! Mai Tai Bar offers guests a more chill night out with live, local music and plenty of room to move around. There is a plethora of free parking and friendly bartenders to serve all of their guests. Mai Tai Bar is often thought of as the ‘locals bar.’

Wherever your night in Honolulu takes you, you’re bound to have a great time. When the bars start to close and you find yourself getting sleepy, Marina Hawaii Vacations will welcome you back with open arms. Book your dream vacation today by visiting our website, or talking to our friendly staff at 808-946-0716.

It’s no secret that Honolulu is a dream destination for so many people. From the gorgeous beaches to the surf scene to the cultural experiences of Honolulu and Waikiki, there is an experience waiting for every type of traveler on this beautiful island state. To get the best out of your Hawaiian adventure, the best place to book your stay is with Marina Hawaii Vacations, a vacation rental company renting condo units in primarily three different properties, the Ilikai Tower, Ilikai Marina, and Discovery Bay, with options for every type of vacationer. While there is plenty to do in Honolulu, Oahu during your vacation, there are also plenty of free things to do that will help you make the most of your experience. From gorgeous hikes and beaches to historic sites, there are plenty of completely free things to do in Honolulu.

Hike in Diamond Head

Of everything there is to experience on this island, one of the most famous free things to do in Honolulu is to hike up the famous crater, Diamond Head to see the sunrise. Hawaiian sunrises can’t be beaten, and the best way to see them is from points of higher elevation, like this iconic spot upon the dormant volcano and former military base. The hike itself is two hours and 1.8 miles long, and the views from the top are better than any other spot on the island. Once you make it to the top, you’ll be greeted by expansive views of Waikiki, and of course, if you’re early enough, the rising sun.

As of May 12th, 2022 all out-of-state visitors must have an advanced reservation to enter Diamond Head State Monument. The reservation system will activate on April 28th, 2022 allowing for reservations to be made 14 days in advance. Click here to reserve.

Experience the Beach and the Surf at Waimea Bay

Waimea Bay, which is located along Oahu’s gorgeous North Shore, is one of the most famous beaches in the world. From the magnificent horizon to the enormous waves, simply sitting on this beach is a must-do experience, and one of the best free things to do near Honolulu. Here, you’ll be able to watch surfers take on huge waves, and even swim in the ocean yourself!

Visit Pearl Harbor

One of the most important free things to do in Honolulu is visiting USS Arizona Memorial Park and Pearl Harbor. Here, you’ll be able to learn about one of the most pivotal moments in United States history through exploring the museum and the designated National Historic Site. You’ll also have the chance to take a ferry ride over to see the memorial. While visiting a historic monument might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you picture your Hawaiian adventure, it truly is one of the most important things to experience while you’re in Honolulu, allowing you to get a sense of the deep history of Hawaii and the United States.

Explore the Nature Reserve and Wildlife at Ka’ena Point

While it’s a bit further away, Ka’ena Point is a gorgeous nature reserve featuring hiking trails, beautiful coastline views, and a chance to see wildlife. While you can drive to the nature reserve, Ka’ena Point itself must be hiked to, although you can hike to it from either side of the sanctuary. While you’re there, make sure to keep your eye out for wildlife such as albatross, and even monk seals, who might be out there enjoying the sun and sand themselves.

Watch a Traditional Hula Dance in Waikiki

If you’re looking for that picture-perfect Hawaii experience, look no further. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, Waikiki’s Kuhio Beach hosts a sunset hula show. The show is as traditional as it gets and guests often spread out around the beach to experience its local magic, making this one of the best free things to do in Honolulu.

Free Things to Do in Honolulu

Hawaii is a magical vacation spot, featuring a little something for everyone, and in addition, there are plenty of free things to do in Honolulu that will make your experience even more fruitful. From exploring Hawaii’s wilderness on the trails to learning about its history, the opportunities are truly endless when it comes to free things to do in Honolulu. Your stay with Marina Hawaii Vacations will surely be a special one, as you spend your hotel downtime staring at those beautiful Hawaiian ocean views and relaxing in one of their many beautiful condominium accommodations soaking up the sun, sea, and sand.