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Waianae in 2014?

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I've read a lot on the internet about how Waianae isn't a good place for tourists and it's undesirable, but most posts are from several years ago. Has anyone been there recently?

My husband and I will be volunteering at a Conference Center there for a month this spring. We will have 2 days off/week, and enjoy hiking and exploring. We will have use of a vehicle, so will leave the area at times, but if we choose to stay around Waianae, will we be safe?
I've read that there are beautiful beaches and trails, but I won't enjoy them if I'm constantly worrying about our safety.

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    There are lots of very nice people out there, so I hate to bad mouth the area, but we do not go out to Waianae because of worries about safety. My husband will go as far as Nanakuli for surfing, but no farther, due to two expensive car break-ins over the years.

    You might consider doing your hiking on the windward side...Olomana, stairway to heaven, or places like Manoa, Tatalus, Waialae. There are lots of beautiful beaches on the North Shore and the windward side.

    If you'll be working out in Waianae though, the best people to ask would be people who live in the area.

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    We've lived out in the Waianae (actually Makaha) area now for a bit more than two-and-a-half years, and I'm here to tell you that crime is really no worse here than any other Oahu neighborhood - in fact it's better than some others!
    Here's our story: Almost three years ago we left the gray and gloomy Pacific Northwest on an adventurous relocation to enjoy some tropical sunshine. It took us about a year to sell our house on the mainland (in the midst of a historic down market) and make the move, but since resettling across the ocean we haven’t looked back.
    One of the communities in Waianae, the one we chose to make our home, Makaha Valley Towers, is a mid-rise condominium complex with landscaped tropical grounds, floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of verdant valley and mountain ridges, and, always, the blue Pacific filling out the horizon. It’s resort-style living on a daily basis. The 24-hour, seven-days-a-week security personnel give the property a safe, secure, gated-community feel, the office staff is helpful and the maintenance crew keep the property immaculate and in top-rate shape. The property also hosts an all-tiled, large swimming pool, kept at a constant 82 degrees. The Towers are located just one mile from world-famous Makaha surfing beach and close to several of the other best beaches on Oahu.
    Our tropical quest required relocation and its resultant living be done on a budget. Although Waianae, upon first look, doesn't present itself as the polished-up tourist mecca that is Waikiki, it does, indeed, posses some of Oahu's best, and least crowded, beaches, and is also greater Honolulu's last remaining rural enclave. I guess the real estate euphemism most apt to the Waianae Coast is "up and coming."
    To conclude, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Waianae Coast to anyone looking for budget paradise living. Just be aware you're not going to be visiting or relocating to a prettified tourist area, but to a somewhat gritty-looking, real-life Hawaiian lifestyle just as safe as about any other neighborhood on Oahu. Folks who seem to prosper here are the adventurous type and self entertained, able to accept Hawaii on its own terms, with an easy-going spirit, and able to peel back the layers of appearance in order to enjoy low-cost properties, a slower pace and a more authentic tropical lifestyle.

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