With a population of about 400,000 people, Honolulu is by far the biggest city in the Hawaiian Islands. The city gets its name from the nearby harbor, which means “protected bay” in Hawaiian. The section of Honolulu known as Waikiki is the magnet that attracts most tourists to Oahu. The area runs for a couple of miles between Diamond Head and the Honolulu Harbor and is home to a truly splendid, if not crowded, stretch of beach. There are several sections of the beach with local names, and some of the island's most expensive hotels lie right on the edge of the sand.
Between the beach and the manmade Ali Wai Canal, the Waikiki area is choked with a variety of high-rise hotels, apartments, and condos, along with an amazing wealth of shopping establishments and restaurants. The main city of Honolulu sprawls in all directions beyond.