We are all envying Diane and Kala's vacation to Hawaii and we are sure that you all will be ready to hop on a plane to this beautiful island as well!
Waikiki, Hawaii on the Island of Oahu
|Rainbow over Waikiki|
We decided to travel to Hawaii during what is referred to as the “slow season” back in March of 2012. The best rates for hotels and airfare to and from Hawaii are during Spring (mid-Apr to mid-June) and Fall (Sept to mid-Dec). Public transportation is available, but we decided to not limit ourselves to the confines of the “tourist” areas and rented a car. We traveled all over the Island of Oahu in search of food, fun, culture and adventure.
|Waikiki at Night|
|The Daytime View|
We arrived on a Wednesday and picked up our Enterprise rental car. The roadways are easy to navigate—unlike other islands outside of the U.S. borders, Hawaii drives on the same side of the road that we are accustomed to. It has been said that Hawaii is amongst the top 3 happiest places to live and if the locals driving is any indication—this statement is true. You will not find road rage on the Island of Oahu, unless it is your own. Everyone waves or gives “the shoka.” Be prepared to drive slower than the speed limit as downtown Waikiki has a large local and tourist population.
Our resort was absolutely beautiful! We chose this specific location as it was one of the only resorts that had a separate bedroom from the main living area and kitchen (akin to the condos here in Florida). Due to the amount of people on the island parking is sparse so be prepared to pay for on the street parking and parking at the hotel. We visited the local grocery store for breakfast foods and snacks to save money on dining out 3 times a day. Don’t be surprised when you see the prices—all items have to be imported to the Island! For example: a normal pack of tri-colored bell peppers were $7.99. You can also expect to pay $1-$2 extra per gallon of gasoline as compared to the states.
|Gas prices on the Island|
Aston Waikiki Sunset Resort
229 Paoakalani Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815
We made an outline of all the places we wanted to visit during our week there, but due to unforeseen weather conditions some were accomplished and some were not. The best part of being on vacation is relaxing and knowing that there is nothing mandatory except for enjoying yourself. There are no “dangerous” areas of the Island to stay away from—the islanders are respectful, kind, courteous and bring the Aloha (love) and Ohana (family) spirit into all they do. It’s quite refreshing!
|Diane and Kala enjoying their getaway|
Throughout our week’s stay we visited the historic Pearl Harbor, the Dole Pineapple Plantation, the Byodo-In Temple, Hanauma Bay State Park, and took a scenic drive along Kamehamaeha Highway.
This is a great historical landmark and a top tourist destination. We chose to walk around for free, playing amongst the old submarine equipment, and observed the remnants of that day. Of course there is WAY more to do here, but we decided to venture away from the tour and the historical museum to save money.
Hawaii is known for its pineapple prowess! The Dole Plantation offers a garden maze, instructional classes on how to properly cut and serve a pineapple, historical information, and the best pineapple ice cream!
This Temple pays homage to the Byodo-In Temple in Japan. This location has peacock, a large koi pond, a gift shop and serves as a place of solace for its worshippers. It is important to note that this replica was made without the use of nails!
Scenic Drive Along Kamehameha Highway:
The benefit of renting and having a car at your disposal is a great way to explore the native areas of the Island. There are plenty of “Scenic Spots” along the highway. They have small parking areas for drivers to safely observe the beauty of the sand and sea.
Hanauma Bay State Park:
Hanauma Bay State Park was amongst our scenic drive and is a great location for photographers! This park is also a great destination for those wishing to snorkel and observe the local wildlife. While there we managed to see migrating whales, mongoose, and what I called “the cheetah bird.”
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet:
The swap meet happens on Sunday and is a great place to buy reasonably priced gifts, trinkets and obtain deals for touristy stuff (luaus, catamaran sailing, swimming with the dolphins, etc.) on the Island. This swap meet is a gathering of the locals and is a must if you’re into saving money. :)
Pearl Harbor: http://www.pearlharboroahu.com/
Dole Plantation: http://dole-plantation.com/
Byodo-In Temple: http://byodo-in.com/
Scenic Drive Along Kamehameha Highway
*Haleiwa, North Shore
*Halona Blow Hole
Hanauma Bay State Park: http://www.hanaumabaystatepark.com/
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet in Halawa
We only went out a couple nights during our visit. Karaoke is a big hit on the island, so we went to a local hole in the wall bar called On Stage-- where the prices are right and the singing is fun. During the weekend we hit up The Shack in downtown Waikiki and watched a local reggae band, Maoli perform. The music was great and after the group was done the bar/restaurant had a nightclub type atmosphere.
On Stage Karaoke
Of all the food available on the Island— if you don’t try ANYTHING ELSE, the Malasadas (Portuguese donuts) at Leonard’s Bakery are a MUST. If there was a way to import this bakery to the mainland: we would’ve. Since we didn’t have a chance to make it to a local luau we hit up the Waiahole Poi Factory by Kenohe Bay. The local food is light, filling and delicious. The portions are large and more than enough for two people. Other places worth mentioning were Burgers on the Edge in Waikiki and for the chocolate lovers out there: Keoki’s Donkey Balls Chocolate Factory Outlet. As Spam and Pineapple are main staples of the Island, make sure to hit up a plate-lunch establishment like L&L to try their Spam Sushi Roll! Lastly, we know it might sound crazy but make sure to check out the 7-11 stores as they are definitely unique to the island.
|Burgers on The Edge|
|Malasadas- Portugese Donut|
|Chicken Katsu with White Rice|
|Kalua Pork, Lomi Salmon, Brown Rice, and Hupia for Dessert|
Burgers on the Edge
Waiahole Poi Factory
Keoki’s Donkey Balls Chocolate Factory Outlet
Tell us about the fashion and current trends in Honolulu:
Anything that is comfortable is acceptable. Unlike a big city, Honolulu is really laid back. You will find that breezy dresses and shorts are appropriate to wear throughout the year.
Since the flight from Florida to Honolulu is a minimum of 12 hours—we’d advise that you bring an ipod, flip flops to wear on the plane and a book to keep you busy on the flight. You should also bring snacks, makeup to refresh your face after the long flight; and GUM is a definite must not only for yourself (ears popping) but for others who may have unappealing (stinky) travel breath :)
We hope to travel back to the Island soon as there were many things we were unable to do while there—make sure you spend at least 5 days while there, but if you can manage it: the longer the better!