Feminist Passport: Your travel guide to Oahu
You want to see the world, but sometimes the world is an unfriendly place. That’s why HelloGiggles is bringing you Feminist Passport, a guide to all of the most inclusive hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, and sights to visit on your next big adventure. Because travel should be for everyone.
Whether it’s heavy rain on the west coast or freezing temperatures on the east, the weather so far this year has been terrible. Stop tolerating doomsday forecasts and treat yourself with a getaway to the sunny island of Oahu in Hawaii. While the state’s high cost of living means it will be a pricier trip than your average tropical vacation, the stunning beaches and Hawaiian hospitality make the experience completely worth it.
First things first: I highly recommend renting a car for this trip, regardless of how many days you’ll be in town. The island is a lot bigger than you think, and relying on public transportation takes way too long. Plus, I guarantee you’ll want to explore the different cities.
Even though Oahu stretches for miles and miles, a visit to each of the island’s towns will make you appreciate how supportive and progressive the Hawaiian people can be. In fact, there are feminist gems across the island that celebrate different groups that are usually overshadowed by the masculine surf culture that dominates the area. I recently traveled to Oahu with Red Bull for the Volcom Pipe Pro competition, and I unearthed some amazing feminist treasures.
1Say cheese. Literally.
Venture out 45 minutes from Honolulu for a tour of Naked Cow, Oahu’s last dairy farm—it’s owned and operated almost exclusively by women. According to Food and Wine, the low cost of imported milk ran surrounding farms out of business over the last two decades, but that didn’t discourage Naked Cow owner Monique van der Stroom. Instead of competing with big chains, she creates high quality milk, butter, and cheese free of antibiotics or hormones with just the 20 cows she has on-site—and her business is thriving. Her products supply plenty of local restaurants and can be found in Whole Foods. It’s a successful production you need to see, but remember tours only happen every Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., so please plan ahead.
2Don’t skip Waikiki.
Most of the hotels that are TAG-approved—the Travel Advocacy Group working to spotlight LGBTQ-welcoming accommodations worldwide—are located in Waikiki. Consider a chic stay at The Modern Honolulu, which boasts a laid-back contemporary design with breathtaking views of the ocean, or go all out with a luxury reservation at The Royal Hawaiian fit for the fanciest of travelers.
3Catch the surf photography action on the North Shore.
Fans may be coming out to the well-known Banzai Pipeline on the north side of the island to watch professional surf competitions, but I have to say the photographers behind the scenes (or under the water) are equally impressive, and Amber Mozo is the one to watch. She has been following in her father’s footsteps ever since he lost his life doing what he loved, taking photos on the Pipeline, also known as the world’s deadliest wave.
Mozo had to train extensively before diving into the deep blue sea to capture surfers in action. “I had to know that I could hold my breath and that I had good lungs and that I could swim,” Mozo previously said in a video documentary of her first time shooting the Pipeline last year for the Volcom Pipe Pro competition. Part of her training involved something called “rock running,” i.e. sinking to the bottom of the ocean with a rock. It trains you to hold your breath longer and allows you to better handle the pressure of a wave pushing you deeper underwater.
It’s amazing to see Mozo fearlessly challenging not only the waves, but also the traditionally male-dominated sport as a whole. Red Bull TV has video of the recent Volcom Pipe Pro competition, which should give you a better understanding of what Mozo is up against under the waves.
4Get ready to Blue Crush it.
Now it’s time for you to ride your own wave. I actually can’t swim, so if I can learn to surf, you can too. The best place to go is the female-owned surf school North Shore Surf Girls. Let’s face it, you’ll likely have a cheeky swimsuit bottom causing annoying wedgies that will be uncomfortable to pick in front of a male instructor. Do yourself a favor and opt for an environment with no male distractions, so you can focus on crushing that perfect wave.
5Grab a bite at Koko Head Cafe.
After a long day in the sun, you need a good meal, and Chef Lee Anne Wong is serving up an island-style brunch you can’t miss at Koko Head Cafe. Some standout dishes include a fresh poke omelette or the koko moco, the chef’s version of the traditional Hawaiian hamburger patty meal. Wong is also known for her dumplings, so don’t forget to ask your server about the “dumpling of the day.” You might even catch one of your meals on your flight back home with Hawaii Airlines, as the rockstar female chef is also in charge of the company’s dining program.