Diamond Head Volcano Tour, Honolulu (Self Guided)

Diamond Head Volcano is perhaps one of the best-known attractions on the island of Oahu. The volcano's rugged cone is seen from almost every part of the island. However, at its base, along the coastal line, are situated a couple of other spectacular sights. Take this walking tour to admire one of the most ancient treasures of Hawaii - Diamond Head.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Diamond Head Volcano Tour Map

Guide Name: Diamond Head Volcano Tour
Guide Location: USA » Honolulu (See other walking tours in Honolulu)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.0 km
Author: helenp
Diamond Head Lighthouse

1) Diamond Head Lighthouse (must see)

The Diamond Head Lighthouse is located on Oahu, at the end of Diamond Head Road. The original lighthouse was built in 1899, but the current one was constructed nearly 20 years later, in 1918. Despite being reconstructed, the current lighthouse still uses the ironwork and Fresnel lens from the original lighthouse.

The lighthouse was built to help warn ships away from the reefs near Waikiki beach. In 1893, the steamship Miowera ran aground on the reef. All of the passengers and cargo were saved, but it took several weeks for the ship itself to be freed. Shortly afterward, in 1897, the China ran aground near the same area. At this point, it was decided that a lighthouse was needed to help prevent damage to more ships.

The original lighthouse was made of an open iron framework. This created some concerns for the stability of the structure, so the builders chose to reinforce it by enclosing it in native coral rock. Unfortunately, the rock began to show signs of structural damage in 1917. When it was rebuilt a year later, the original ironwork was preserved, while the coral rock was replaced with reinforced concrete for added stability.

While the lighthouse is not open to the public, you can get great photos even without going down to the beach.
Diamond Head Lookout

2) Diamond Head Lookout (must see)

Diamond Head Lookout is a wildly popular destination for tourists and hikers. Located on Oahu beach, this area offers panoramic views of the southern shore of Oahu and Waikiki. Since the lookout offers such clear views of the surrounding area, it was used as a military post from the turn of the century onward. Notable sites along the way include World War II-era bunkers and underground tunnels. At the summit, hikers can view a compass rose that points out all of the notable sites visible from the top of Diamond Head Lookout.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Shangri La

3) Shangri La (must see)

Shangri La got its start when art collector Doris Duke, heiress to the Duke tobacco and electricity fortune, decided to build a vacation home in Hawaii in the 1930s. One of Duke's favorite pastimes was travel, and she spent a lot of her time visiting countries like Egypt, Syria, Morocco, and Iran. Whilst on a trip to several Muslim countries during her honeymoon with actor James Cromwell, she became enamored with the art and architecture of these countries, which, in part, provided inspiration for her home in Honolulu, as well as her large collection of Islamic art.

Today, Shangri La houses Doris Duke’s collection of Islamic art and is nationally recognized for its high artistic value and as one of Hawai'i’s most architecturally significant homes. Duke collected over 3,500 objets d'art over a period of sixty years. Her collection is notable because she didn't just collect items that had a high monetary value, but the objects she enjoyed. As a result, many objects at the Museum are decorative things like hand-carved furniture, richly adorned doors, painted ceilings, and other touches embedded into the building itself.

Of the many homes that Duke inhabited, Shangri La is the only one that she built from the ground up and filled from the inside out. As such, the museum is worth visiting to see the immense amount of care that Duke took to curate the objects in her home, as well as to enjoy the museum itself.

Why You Should Visit:
This is one of the world’s best small collections of a wide range of Islamic art (pottery, glass, wood, furniture, ceramics) from Iran, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, India, etc.
An added bonus are the grounds which afford views of the east side of Diamond Head along the ocean's edge.

Every beach in Hawaii is public so you may swim outside the property (not on the tour, come another time and swim here). The water looks very inviting!
Get to the Honolulu Museum of Art at least 2 hrs before the guided tour to experience works by Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh that are really exquisite as well.

Guided Tours:
Wed-Sat: 9am / 10:30am / 1:30pm
Tickets must be reserved in advance
Tours last approx 2.5 hrs with 1.5 hrs on site at Shangri La
Salt pool

4) Salt pool

A salt pool is a small pool that contains a large quantity of salt dissolved in the water. However, this salt pool is not an ordinary one - it is situated near the Pacific coastal line. It's not only a place to relax, but also a perfect spot to admire the sunset or sunrise. Salt has always been recognized for its curative effects, so why not dip in it for a little while during your tour?
Diamond Head Park

5) Diamond Head Park

Diamond Head is a state monument located on Oahu. Native Hawaiians call it Leahi, but it got its European name from the English sailors that thought diamonds could be found there. The volcanic cone is 150,000 years old. Also, the interior of the cone was home to Fort Ruger - the first US military reservation on the island. Diamond Head Park is a perfect place for long lasting hike trips.
Diamond Head State Monument

6) Diamond Head State Monument (must see)

Diamond Head Volcano is one of Oahu's most famous and striking attractions. This feature, technically a volcanic “tuff cone,” was formed over 150,000 years ago from a very brief, explosive volcanic eruption. This resulted in the formation of millions of white calcite crystals that gave Diamond Head its modern name. Originally called Laeahi, or “Brow of the tuna,” Diamond Head was christened as such when 19th-century British sailors mistook the common, valueless calcite formations for diamonds. Though the original eruption that formed Diamond Head was quick and violent, experts say that the volcano is extremely unlikely to ever erupt again, since the kind of eruptions that create tuff cones generally only occur once. As a result, it is considered extinct.

The volcanic formation is a United States monument. A 0.7-mile hike follows the side of the cone and leads to the summit. At this point, called Diamond Head Lookout, visitors can see the southern shore of Oahu, as well as Waikiki. Because of the view that the summit of Diamond Head Volcano offers, it has been used as a military lookout point since the 1900s. One of the most interesting features of the trail, leading up Diamond Head Volcano, is the abandoned WWII military bunkers and underground.

Go early in the day – before the crowds and sun really kick in – and bring a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated.
On the way up, you get to an intersection and you go left or right. Right takes you up stairs; instead, you can take the left, which is a bit more scenic and not as grueling.
There is a food truck of sorts at the base of the path in the parking lot - a great place to get a pineapple slush or mango smoothie to help re-charge after your arduous climb.
Remember: they close at 6pm and are serious about that. Besides, you really do want to have enough time to take in the many excellent views and get all the pics you want. Not a visit to be rushed.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6am-6pm
Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market

7) Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market

What to buy here: Tropical Fruit Preserves and Butters. 

The Hawaiian Island is such a fabulous place when it comes to fresh fruits. Islanders have a steady seasonal supply of fresh mangos, bananas, papaya, oranges and pineapple that thrill taste buds, are low in fat and full of vitamins. Today, many have taken to their kitchens to jar these fabulous fruits into jams and jellies that have become the favorite of new and returning Hawaii visitors. Some of the preserves are simple and straightforward including strawberry and mango while others are irresistible combinations including pineapple and papaya, mango orange and the especially popular passion fruit or lilikoi butter. A jar of this tasteful bounty is in the range of $7-$10 and must be placed in check baggage for travel, no exceptions.

These jars of preserves can be easily found at local stores including Long’s Drug Stores, ABC stores and even Wal-Mart, however, the very best place to make that treasured purchase for friends and family back home is at the weekly Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market at 4303 Diamond Head Road. Open between the hours of 4:00 pm- 7:00 pm on Wednesdays, this collection of stalls is where some of the best of Hawaii’s food and farm trends are born. Although one can find several vendors selling preserves, there is no doubt that the folks at Honomu Jams and Jellies from the Big Island offer the widest variety and creative combinations.

Walking Tours in Honolulu, Hawaii

Create Your Own Walk in Honolulu

Create Your Own Walk in Honolulu

Creating your own self-guided walk in Honolulu is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Cultural Tour of Honolulu

Cultural Tour of Honolulu

From ancient times, the cultural life of Honolulu has been diverse due to numerous influences. The Hawaiian islands are inhabited by more than seven ethnic groups. Nowadays, Honolulu is full of museums, art galleries and theaters that represent the 200-year history of the island. We invite you to discover the most popular cultural spots in Honolulu on this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Kai Self-guided Tour

Kai Self-guided Tour

The Hawaiian Kai region is especially attractive for two reasons: Koko Head Park and Hanauma Bay. Today, the entire area has been developed, but without harming the picturesque landscape. Here, you can rent a boat, take diving lessons, or simply take a walk. The self-guided tour through Kai is a perfect opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital city, so we encourage you to take...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.9 km
Waikiki Beach Walk in Honolulu

Waikiki Beach Walk in Honolulu

Waikiki or Waikiki Beach is a beachfront area of Honolulu famed for its long rolling ocean break, ideal for boarding and surfing. Waikiki is also home to public places, such as Kapiolani Park, high-end resort hotels (Royal Hawaiian), and abundance of luxury brand stores concentrated on Kalakaua Avenue, the neighborhood's main thoroughfare. Once the playground of Hawaiian aristocracy, today...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Business District Self-Guided Tour in Honolulu

Business District Self-Guided Tour in Honolulu

The Central Business District is situated in Honolulu's downtown, between Bishop Street and Fort Street Mall. This area holds most of the subsidiaries of local companies. Also, it's Honolulu's skyscraper district. You can see popular sites, such as Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew and First Hawaiian Center. We invite you to take this self-guided tour and admire the Business District...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 km
Honolulu's Harbor and Coastline Tour

Honolulu's Harbor and Coastline Tour

Honolulu's Harbor is the main historic seaport of Hawaii. It is called Kulolia or Ke Awa O Kou, by native Hawaiians. It is situated on Mamala Bay and was the area that contributed most to the urbanization of the island. This self-guided tour will take you all the way down from Honolulu's Harbor to the Ala Moana Beach, and along Honolulu's beautiful coastline.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
The Capitol District Tour in Honolulu

The Capitol District Tour in Honolulu

The Capitol District represents a historic area in downtown Honolulu. This civic center includes the biggest majority of governmental buildings at federal, state and city levels. The district is situated among Richards Street, Ward Avenue, Vineyard Boulevard and Nimitz Highway. Some of the largest buildings in the city are located here. Take this walking tour and enjoy the treasures of historic...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

16 Hawaiian Products To Bring Home from Honolulu

16 Hawaiian Products To Bring Home from Honolulu

Pineapples, surfing, flower garlands and colorful shirts are the most distinct things coming to mind in association with Hawaii. Still, when it's time to go leisurely-pleasurely in the remotest part of the United States, it is good to know what is there exactly worth picking up in Honolulu, as...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Honolulu for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Honolulu has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Honolulu, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.