My husband is lucky. Not only does he have me for a wife—ha, ha—he also gets to go to warm weather locations like the Caribbean a lot for his job. But he’s never been to Hawaii, so when my mom decided to spend winter in Honolulu this year, I told him we were going to visit her. He begrudgingly said “yes,” but after a day back from our trip, he (and I) can’t wait to go back!
I had been to Hawaii before, but it was fun to see it again with someone visiting for the first time.
First off, my hubby gushed about the people. So friendly, so helpful, so happy. I guess it would be easy to smile all the time if you lived in Hawaii, and everyone we met was truly and genuinely happy—and not because they were paid to be. Even a total stranger—a local resident—came up and started chatting with us as we watched the whales one day. She spoke, too, about how happy people are and how wonderful life is in Hawaii.
Then he raved about all there was to do. While visiting Hawaii, we swam in the ocean, climbed Diamond Head, hiked to a waterfall, did our own circle tour of the island, went to the Arizona Memorial,had a massage, saw whales breaching out in the ocean, marveled at the surfers, and dined on local specialties ranging from shave ice, kalua pork, and mai tais to gourmet delicacies including fresh mahi mahi. (All in a 4 short days)
Two of the local places that we loved were ONO Hawaiian Foods where for less than $20 you can get a combo plate of kalua pork and all the fixings. Another fun stop was a block away at Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts where we “surfed” their collection of more than 15,000 Hawaiian shirts to find the perfect one. As for the shave ice, I’m personally not sure what all the fuss is about, but looking at people outside of Matsumoto Shave Ice on the north shore of Oahu, I’m obviously in the minority.
Speaking of the north shore, my husband also commented on how easy it was to get around. We are independent travelers and love to rent a car and travel at our own pace, off the beaten path, and stop wherever we want. It was super easy to do that in Hawaii. The roads and signage are just like at home and our GPS worked the same, too—except the GPS’ pronunciations of the street names was pretty hilarious!
My husband was also blown away by the natural beauty of Oahu, even though it is the most populated of the islands. One afternoon, we drove a mere 6 miles to go hiking to spectacular Moana Falls, in the middle of a rain forest. Then another day we went over to Hanauma Bay and the Halona Blow Hole, just 20 minutes east of Waikiki. At Hanauma Bay—one of the best snorkeling places in the world—it costs $1 to park (or the 22 bus from Waikiki will take you there) and $7.50 to get in. You have to watch a short 9-minute video about snorkeling safety, reef preservation, and the park before you can go down to the beach. At the beach, you can rent snorkel gear. It’s best to time your visit around low tide, as there are fewer waves, making it easier to snorkel.
Another day we hiked the trail to the summit of Diamond Head, which was spectacular and not nearly as difficult as the posted signs lead you to believe. Although you need to wear proper footwear and bring water, the trail is paved, compacted dirt, or smooth rock all the way.The most difficult part was the last—and very steep—99 steps that you have to climb. To get to Diamond Head Crater Park, you can drive to the middle of the crater and park (but get there earlier than later to get a parking place), take a taxi, or take the same 22 bus from Waikiki to the entrance to the park and then walk 15 minutes to the inside of the crater where the trail to the rim begins.
Last, but not least, was one of my favorite things—and totally touristy. One evening, my husband, mom, and I had mai tais and dinner while sitting outside at the Halekulani and watching their hula show.
This may have been my husband’s first time visiting Hawaii, but we are already making plans to go back next year—to Waikiki to visit my mom and then maybe to the Big Island for a week.
What are your favorite things to do in Hawaii?
-Lori from Delta Vacations