DAY ONE / Let’s Start With a Luau
This would be our first trip to Hawaii and we hoped it would be a good trip by visiting two islands: Oahu and Kauai. We flew into Waikiki after a long flight and checked into our hotel by the beach. The first thing we did was pick-up our power pass, which are pre-paid vouchers for a buffet of activities in Oahu. The Power Pass covered everything we did in Waikiki.
Our Hawaii | Itinerary
The following is our experience and may not be representative of your experience.
Hopefully you have a better one!
We jumped on the city’s trolley and rode it around until we found a shrimp truck. Hawaii is famous for their shrimp trucks and the food was fresh and delicious. We kept it simple with grilled shrimp, mahi-mahi and garlic bread. After stuffing our face we took the trolley back to our hotel and tried to rent some scooters. The problem was that Lucy was not the most natural on a scooter. After about 15 minutes of practice, the owners of the rental shop advised that she would not be safe on the road and recommended we take bikes. We rode our bikes down to the beach and floated around for a bit. The nice thing about Hawaii is that you can just lounge around surrounded by beautiful water and green mountains. We headed back to our hotel and rested up before getting picked up for our Luau.
Lucy booked Germaine’s Luau and we were fortunate that our guide (Brother Aka) was from the island Niihau, the island where they still live in traditional Hawaiian lifestyle. At the age of 18 he chose to leave the island and live in Oahu. He was a genuinely interesting individual and gave us some insight into his culture. He let us know that the Luau dance is traditionally done by the men of the tribe and can be thought of as a war dance. When the guides did a Luau dance you could tell the difference as Aka had very strong calves and he got lower and had more control of his body during the dance. When you arrive at the Luau, they show you how they slow cook the pig in the ground over several days. You get to pick your seating and you have the choice of regular tables or sitting on the ground on very low tables. The food was delicious but the show was amazing.
From male to female dancers, to the fire dancers, the whole show was enjoyable. They even had a chance for the audience to come up and dance on stage a bit and I am glad to say that I went up there and shook my bootie. The only difference between me and the rest of the people on stage is that I had nothing to drink. I can’t say enough nice things of Germaine’s Luau and wish I could go back right now. On our way back to our hotel, Brother Aka serenaded us with songs of his upbringing and fortunately I was part of the few still awake to enjoy them.
DAY TWO / Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
We slept in and got picked up at our hotel for a day of snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. This was the first time we had ever gone snorkeling and it did not disappoint. The fish were so colorful and plentiful and the water was just perfect. We did forget about something though, the fact that our backs were facing the sun for hours. We both ended up after about 4 hours of snorkeling with some pretty bad sunburn. Fortunately, you are never too far from an ABC store and we dropped in for some sunscreen and my Hawaiian love affair Hawaiian Roast, delicious macadamia chocolate candies.
We took a nice afternoon nap and rode the trolley getting off and on at random spots. Since we were pretty sun burned we tried not do much. We did though book a catamaran tour of the seaside. This was a beautiful way to see the cityscape and a relaxing way to end a tiring day. After the calming catamaran tour, we decided to walk the coastline.
As we walked the coastline we ended up walking past a place called Duke’s and little did we know that this would become one of our favorite places to eat ever. The food here is just delicious but for someone like me that doesn’t drink this place has the best fruit smoothies in the world. This being our first time we had the calamari, fish and chips and the hula pie. Everything was fresh and delicious and again the calamari here is among the best we have ever had.
DAY THREE / See the Island
On our last day in Oahu, we planned to do a tour of the island. A man in a van picked us up early and took us around the island. Our first stop was a Buddhist temple where you get so see some art and beautiful grounds. When we arrived we got to ring a giant gong, which symbolized peace. The most amusing part of the stop was all the birds. Even without food, several small birds would just land on your arms and just stay there. Our second stop was a beach that just happened to have several large turtles resting on the beach. I had never seen large turtles so this was a sight to be seen.
We arrived at the Dole plantation, the largest producer of pineapples. This plantation is also famous for having a large maze. We only had 20 minutes at this stop but we really wanted to do the maze so we rushed to the maze and tried to come up with a strategy. Instead of it being a standard enter here and exit the maze, this maze was designed for you to find several stamp stations inside the maze. They give you a map of the maze with all the stations but it is still difficult to navigate. We managed to work as a team and completed the whole maze in 15 minutes. Lucy was paranoid that they would leave us behind so we didn’t get to try the pineapple ice cream, a regret to this day. We had several other small stops along the island, most noticeable was a cliff’s edge and serene beach. Unfortunately this was our last day in Oahu but it was truly an enjoyable three days in Oahu.
DAY FOUR / Travel
Just a travel day between the islands: Packing, getting to the airport, flying, unpacking, getting our car and settling into the resort.
DAY FIVE / Welcome to Kauai
In Kauai we were staying at our first ever resort, The Grand Hyatt but I will discuss that later. Today, we rode up the beautiful and breathtaking highway 520 on our way to a kayak adventure. The highway is tree lined and wouldn’t make for a bad daily commute. That is the thing about Kauai, it is the most natural of the islands and you really do get your fill of natural beauty. We arrived at kayak rental, where we would kayak for part of the trip and then have to hike to a 100ft waterfall, Secret Falls. I am larger than most, so Lucy and me couldn’t share one kayak so they put us in a canoe. Lucy was getting her stuff all organized as I started rowing us out of the kayak shop.
We got about 20Ft from the shore and I got annoyed Lucy wasn’t helping me row and just as she was about to take her first stroke the whole canoe tipped over. Lucy scrambled to get as much of our stuff as possible but since I am useless we ended up losing a camera and my walking sticks. Even worst was the fact that you can un-tip a canoe in the water. As we sat in the water trying to figure out what to do, some nice people passed by and helped inform the kayak shop about our condition. They sent a second boat out to get the canoe and Lucy but I had to swim back. So within 15 minutes, I was completely soaked, tired, and down a camera and walking sticks. We decided it would be best if we went in our own kayaks so as to prevent the further loss of property. We then nicely and slowly headed into the beautiful canal. It was a beautiful canal and after about 30 minutes of kayaking, we pulled onto a beach for a long trek to the waterfall.
The hike was beautiful, we were always right next to the river and the air was filled with birds chirping and for the most of the hike we were alone. Sometimes you take a hike to a waterfall to find something that looks more like a drip than a fall but this fall didn’t disappoint. It was a legitimate 100FT fall and the water was coming down with such force that it was hard to stay in the fall. We swam near the fall for a while and I decided to have the waterfall give my shoulders and back a nice natural massage. We hiked back to our kayaks and floated around the river for a while. Our next stop was at a natural cave. Some of the scenes in Hawaii including this cave, seem so vivid or dense with ocular information that sometimes you think they might be poster or CGI, because they just don’t seem real. After a couple more hours of kayaking we headed back to our car and looked for some dinner.
On our way back we noticed a Duke’s on the water again. Curious to see if it was just the one in Honolulu that was good, we decided to have dinner at Duke’s. It might have been my hunger but the food here seemed even more delicious. We had the calamari, pulled pork, fish and chips and my avalanche smoothie. Full of food and tired legs we headed back to the resort. We found a cabana near the beach and took a nice nap. We walked the resort grounds, which were breathtaking at night and decided to relax our muscles in the hot tub before going to sleep.
DAY SIX / Waimea Canyon
We drove up to a viewpoint for the Waimea canyon. The view is so ridiculous that sometimes it seems like a Hollywood backdrop. The canyon is just gorgeous. You can see the layers on the canyon wall and everywhere you look you see waterfalls in the distance. Lucy was afraid to take a helicopter tour, as someone had just died before we arrived but I would recommend it. We instead took a couple hikes through the trails offered by the park to see different angles of the canyon. The other striking thing to see is the color of the soil. The soil is brightest red soil I have ever seen and it is everywhere.
After a morning of hiking we decided to treat ourselves to some hot dogs. At the entrance to the trail to the Waimea canyon is Porky’s cart. It doesn’t look like much, just a cart in a dirt area in front of some old buildings, but this place might just have the most delicious hot dogs in the world. We ordered a beef dog and a pork dog but Lucy wouldn’t let me have anymore. We had too much to do to return but whenever we get the chance to go back, we are definitely eating there again.
Since we were staying at a nice resort we decided to have a resort day. The Grand Hyatt of Kauai is unbelievable. There are three layers and each has a lazy river connecting to pools and hot tubs. There was a giant lazy river at the bottom layer and a giant pool as well as a basketball court in the pool. In addition the resort had a private beach. We spent the afternoon around the lazy river playing with pool toys. Eventually I found the water slide, empty, and decided to spend the next hour seeing how fast I could go down the slide. The guy running the slide told me to build up some water before heading down, as that would shoot me down the slide. He was right; I have never gone down a slide as fast as the one in Kauai. Lucy mentioned that she knew I was coming down the slide because the flow of water would shrink to a trickle.
We lounged around for a bit and headed to dinner at Keoki’s Paradise. They sat us next to their small lake and we had a great meal. The nicest part of the night was the live music and during the dinner, a small rainstorm passed through the area making for a beautiful sound as the drops hit the lake near us. We headed back to the resort and sat near their open area where they had some entertainment. We sat around for a while and the only thing the resort could not do right was make a delicious smoothie (but I was probably spoiled from Duke’s).
DAY SEVEN / Snorkeling
Having snorkeled in the first half of the trip, we were itching to do it again but this time without the sunburn. We headed to the north side which did seem more touristy and just pulled over at a beach and jumped in the water. The difference in this snorkeling was that you didn’t have to swim out very much before the water became deep. We spent a lot of time snorkeling and saw a ton of fish. I was fortunate to swim with a school of fish and we ran into a couple of large turtles in the water.
On our way back we remembered that we wanted to try Hawaiian ice so we made that dream come true. Make sure to get one Hawaiian ice because they make them huge on the island. We headed down to Oasis on the Beach for lunch and had some delicious burgers by the water. Their smoothie was delicious but again never reaching the peak that is Duke’s.
We finished our day by taking a free tour of the Kona coffee company, free samples included. Interesting for any coffee drinkers, I know that Lucy started drinking Kona after this visit.
What an amazing trip to Hawaii, can’t wait to go back.
~ Happy Travels! ~