I’ve finally gotten around to consolidating all my shots from my most recent trip to Hawaii to share. The trip was one of the most calming I’ve ever had and was definitely a necessary get-away. I think this is the first real vacation I have ever taken since I graduated high school…Living on an island for over a week definitely forced me to zen out a little bit and reflect on life. Anyway, I ended up staying in Waikiki, which is located in Oahu, most people don’t recommend staying here. Waikiki is a mostly tourist-populated area with several chain restaurants and shopping areas. I definitely would not stay in Oahu the next time I visit the island, however I think it was a great area for my first visit as I was very unfamiliar with the surroundings.
The best part about Hawaii other than the beaches would most certainly have to be the food. I made an effort to eat as much acai bowls and fish-focused dishes as I possibly could fit inside my stomach.
My recommendations for a trip to Oahu would be:
-Rent a car: We had rented a car mid-way through the trip after I had become a little stir crazy from sitting around the hotel pool. I really wanted to explore the island in its entirety and hit all the spots I had marked prior to visiting. There are few taxis if any on the North Shore (the other side of Oahu) so you really need your own mode of transportation if you want to get around. The island is extremely small and you can drive around the entire perimeter in about two hours.
-Skip the hotel excursions: If you wish to do any of the hotel excursions I highly recommend just doing them on your own and not through a hotel. The amount of time is takes just to wait on the shuttles to and from your destinations is insane. We had ended up doing snorkeling in Hanauma Bay and dropped by the Pearl Harbor Base. Both were great experiences, but we definitely spent a lot more time waiting on our transportation than we had hoped.
-Eat at all the food trucks you can find: The food trucks were definitely a highlight of the trip. I had read in advance that these trucks are where you will find some of the best and most authentic food in the island and people were not kidding. Some of my favorites that I found along the North Shore were Pupukea Grill, North Shore Tacos, and Giovanni’s Shrimp. Another one of my standouts is definitely Haleiwa Bowls, which I had previously seen several posts about for having the best acai in all of Hawaii.
If the idea of a truck freaks you out then I recommend one of the chains on the island I stumbled upon called Island Vintage Coffee Co. – this cute place is set up like a café but they have an extensive list of dinner and breakfast options that were all to die for.
-Do a road trip specifically to visit all the beaches: Towards the end of our trip we made it a point to see as many of the beaches as we could. We ended up making it to the vast majority and some of my favorites were Waimanalo Bay, Lanikai Beach, and Turtle Bay. Lanikai beach is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and it certainly lived up to its name. The water on Lanikai beach was the clearest I had ever seen in my life. Be sure to keep a lookout for cute swings and other picturesque things as you walk these beaches.
Wake up early to experience a sunrise on one of Oahu’s hiking trails: I was most looking forward to hiking what is called the The Stairway to Heaven, however it is currently closed to the public. I was advised the best way to hike it is to go in the extremely early hours of the morning in order to bi-pass security. However, I did not end up making the journey and settled for hiking Diamond Head. The views were stunning but I recommend getting there early as it began to get extremely crowded as we were headed on our way back down.
EAT DESERT: People who know me know this is NOT something I would ever normally suggest. But, when you are on vacation there is no such thing as calories so it is the time to indulge. My top authentic spots are Leonard’s Bakery for malasada’s (Hawaiian donut,) as well as Matsumoto’s Shaved Ice, The Pig and the Lady for their Yuzu Semifreddo
Overall this trip was one of the best I’ve had in a really long time. For all those who think Hawaii is cliché and don’t think it is worth your time, think again.
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