Hawaii beat my expectations, I could not stop smiling with the seriously warm weather for December and it was defiantly hard to leave this incredible island.
It’s funny, people from Hawaii call us in the US “The mainland” but what is even more hilarious is I call this place “never, never land” like from Peterpan. A place where you don’t even know the time, day or what the weather will do with the random quick rain showers. This island, Oahu is filled with LIFE. Rainbows at all hours of the day and unexpected beauty everywhere you turn.
@Rachellangell and I decided to stay in Waikiki for the first 4 nights and the rest on the North Shore. Both completely different parts and kinds of stay on this trip. Waikiki has a ton of asian cuisine, specially in this area of Oahu due to the resorts/tourists. This incredible view below was only 15 minutes from town and would recommend coming at sunset, clearly!
I absolutely loved our stay at 'Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, as it was so center to everything and the beach was right outside our door.
Food suggestions in the area of Waikiki/Honolulu
MUST: Morimoto Asia Waikiki, easily made one of the best dinner ever list. Wagu meatballs, edamame, orange chicken was perfection and the chocolate sphere dessert (get your camera out for that one!)
Eggs N things; Pork Chop with pineapple dish, incredible!
Cheeseburger In Paradise; yup..it really is paradise of burgers and it’s insane.
International Market Place; endless food choices.. I mean endless. Nice quick meals to go too.
Uncle Bo’s; every local will suggest this place and it’s awesome for pupu platter style. Wonton Nachos small as it’s so big and the Korean wings! (Either Honolulu or Haleiwa location!)
Literally, got out of bed, took elevator down and walked across the street to the turquoise water. The beach in front of Waikiki is absolutely beautiful and would suggest, being able to see Diamond head out to the left side when laying down on the beach, it’s seriously incredible.
There was no need for a rental car the first few days as this area is great to walk around to everything but eventually you will need a rental. We rented a car (5 of the 8 days!) We knew we wanted to explore a lot of the east side of Oahu and added an extra day when we got there.
The surf board rentals are around $20-$10 per/an hour after if you use it for that long. Luckily @rachellangell has been surfing her whole life and taught me, vs a lesson goes for around $150 but you can find local surfers online for cheaper rates and they are just as great.
If you are good with balance and love the ocean, you will do just fine on a board as I stood up about every single time! PS. Bring a go-pro to get a shot like this one above! They have a holder on the end of the board for these rentals and bring the screw part or else you should not bring it out. I would not suggest trying to hold the camera and paddling out as the Waikiki beach was a further paddle out then a normal surf as I was told.
I would recommend being mindful of any resort stay in touristy areas due to the noise/traffic. Luckily we did switch rooms (stay away from the pool with noise!) and got a better view from it too. Never be afraid to ask to switch a room for better comfort.
Rental car: I have a lot of recommendations after this trip for rental car wise!
First, download off your apps: Turo, it is airbnb for people cars. It is a game changer on trips! I did use Advantage Rent A Car for the jeep and enjoyed the co. a lot actually.
Second, having a Jeep Wrangler was perfect for Hawaii, and.. only for Hawaii. It’s an interesting SUV and be mindful it isn’t the easiest to drive but a blast. There is a lot of theft in HI sadly we were told, so always double check locking doors and even the roof part that comes off to make sure every single latch is on.
PS. The jeep you have to actually unlock the doors, no electric to the doors.
To do/not to do:
Staircase to heaven hike: If you google or have seen pictures, it is both beautiful/insane/terrifying. This hike can take up to 4 hours round trip and it is ILLEGAL, there is a tour guide who does this for a living because there is a security guard at the gate. You can not trust pass and if you do, he does call the cops. This guide has a way of sneaking past/dependent on how many people wanting to go and date. We decided not to since the pictures are terrifying and the fine for this illegal adventure is a high priced one.
Be mindful of the touristy area of Waikiki and people trying to advertise for tours. Some are worth the price, others not so much. Look up online for reviews as well as there are so many companies that do the packages. We did not do any of the tours since the waterfalls are all free other than one of them as its a botanical garden. Snorkel gear is also very cheap and wouldn’t do a package with that, less than $15 for the day at most places.
Helicopter ride, with the open doors..we did not do this on purpose. As the price is ridiculous (around $200+ a person) for 15 minutes to max 30 minutes. On top of noticing, as these helicopters fly around the island with the open doors… the helicopters do not fly straight/safe in my opinion. You will notice if you have visited and see them flying as there is a fair amount of winds sometimes but they want to get through the tour so fast as its less than 30 minutes. It seems like an amazing experience, but be mindful and of your belongings and price/company you go with.