After traveling to over 16 countries, I’m frequently asked about my favourite destinations around the world. To answer this I have to delve into choosing just one out of so many beautiful places, that make my heart skip a beat…
Often it’s Hawaii!!!🏝 This is one of the many place where I wish to go again and again…
All I knew about the Hawaiian Islands 🌴 was the five star resorts & bustling tourist centers at Waikiki ( all of which I have nothing but love for, by the way). But these Islands have so much to offer. Hawaii is a great tropical escape within America.
My heart was bursting with happiness as our plane took off from San Francisco to Oahu. This trip was very special as we were going to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary! Our trip kicked off with the Hawaii tradition, a beautiful resort at the Waikiki beach 🏖
Oahu is very touristy but we loved every bit of it. Hawaiian people are very sweet & helpful. The very first day we enjoyed at the Waikiki beach & later at the infinity pool of our resort. After traveling for almost 12 hours from the east coast we just wanted to go little easy. You can spend time shopping, roaming around the bustling streets, talking to local people & enjoy delicious local food, goes well with tropical cocktails 🍹. The vibe of this side of the island is vivacious & fascinating. There is no better way to end your first day than sipping mai tais while watching the rainbows and sunset colours dance over the city skyline.
Oahu is also famous for it’s water sports. We got some good deals on Groupon🤑 and we had free time in the morning before we go for Luau. Parasailing was fun, though I was little motion sick by the end!!!!
Always wanted to see the famous Hula dance & know more about the Polynesian traditions, and Hawaiian Luau is the best way to get familiar to the local culture. Luau is a traditional Hawaiian feast accompanied by entertainment.
The bus came to pick us from our hotel. As we reached they welcomed us with Orchid 🌸 garlands & drinks! The sound of drums beating, artists performing with fire & the beautiful dancers 💃 will make you say WOW!!! All this you can enjoy with a grand feast! You can take part in a lot of other activities they offer!!! It’s fun and gives you a good taste of Hawaiian culture.
The other side of this island is very peaceful. You can go for easy hikes with breathtaking views from top. I highly recommend to hire a car. We drove down to Lanikai Beach in Kailua on the east side of Oahu. It’s just half an hour from the city. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches of not only Hawaii but the world 🌍. Surrounded by endless miles of calm tranquil aqua blue water.
Before hitting the beach, we decided to go for our first hike. Pillbox Hike is a very famous spot for the Travel Bloggers because of the heavenly view! The hike was easy & fun yet provide a rewarding panoramic views.
After the not so tiring hike it was time to take a dip in the ocean. Trust me when I say this, I have never seen such a beautiful sight!!! The water was calm, warm & blue! We were just so mesmerised as we walked into the crystal clear water. Best place to celebrate our big day!!!❤️
After lounging around the beach all day we drove down to Hanauma bay, just 30 minutes from the beach! This is the most popular place to snorkel on the Island of Oahu. Though we didn’t go in water, but we absolutely enjoyed the breathtaking natural beauty. It’s a 10 minute walk from the parking lot.
Last day in Oahu! Early morning started the Diamond Head Hike, the volcanic tuff cone that looms over the east end of Waikiki beach. This will require sturdy shoes and a bit of cardio, but the views of downtown, the mountains, and surrounding sea are well worth the effort. If you don’t want to rent a car, it’s easily accessible by public bus from Waikiki.
- If you are looking for Honolulu hikes, rent a Car
- Pillbox Hike Parking: You cannot park at the trailhead. The most convenient place is Kaelepulu, Aalapapa and the beach parking
- Go kayaking at Lanikai beach
- Try to hike early in the morning, to enjoy the sunrise
- Go for snorkeling in Hanauma bay, you can rent the gear from here. This place has lifeguards, changing rooms & showers
- Do book your flights well in advance to save money to do more adventures here😜
- Spend 2-3 days in Oahu, because the real magic happens away from the big resorts
- Steak Shack
- Duke’s Waikiki
- Tikis Grill & Bar
- Murukami Udon
- Kalapawai Cafe & Deli
- Nalu Health Bar & Cafe
- Chadlou’s Cafe & Rotisserie
And then we were back at the airport clutching our boarding passes for Big Island!!! The next 6 days felt like a dream. We landed in Big Island, rented a car from the airport. We split our time on the Big Island between two locations because, well, it’s a big island! 3 days in Kona & 2 days in
Drove down to Kona, west side of the island. This side is drier and get the bulk of tourists. But there’s a reason for that: some of the best snorkelling in all of the islands can be found in Kealakekua Bay & Honaunau Bay.
We stayed at Royal Kona Resort in a beautiful oceanfront view room. It’s a paradise at waters edge. The location of this Resort is great, right in the heart of downtown Kona. I could spend days just sitting in the balcony, watching the colourful sunsets of Hawaii! The shops & restaurants are within walking distance and a snorkel rental place is right on the premises. First day in Kona all about food, meeting the local people & beautiful views.
The island life starts quite early! Anyways we were badly jet lagged it worked for us. Started our day with a bowl full of Acai berry smoothie & tropical fruits over it. Just rent a snorkel gear and you are all set to! Just 14 mins drive from our hotel was Kahulu’s Beach Park. It’s a great place if you are snorkelling for the first time.
We had the time of our life. The ocean is usually very calm and the water is just perfect temperature. We saw the schools of bright yellow tang, turtles and so many colourful fishes. Spent almost 4-5 hours in the water. This was just the beginning!!!
Just 35 mins from downtown Kona, Two steps is a paradise for people who likes to snorkel.
After that we head to the eastern side of the island, via the southern coast. If you’re taking this route be sure to stop at South Point, Papakolea Green Sand Beach & Punaluu County Beach Park!
South Point ( also known as Ka Lae) is the southern most point in the United States. It’s about 50 miles from Kona. It’s a fantastic place away from the crowd with a great view from the end of the world. I feel this place is very romantic and if you can swim best spot for cliff jumping!
Volcano National Park & Helicopter Ride
Back to Kona. Kona also has one of the most unique dives on the planet: a rare Manta Ray Night Dive. I was super excited and scared to do this. While booking this we looked at each other and just smiled. In my mind I was thinking that we are just two crazy non swimmers who wants to dive into the open ocean at night! But at the same time I wanted to see this magical show of Mantas. The instructors were so helpful. Finally it was time to dive in. And believe me it was the best 45 minutes of my life!!! After we came out of water, one of the lady who dived with us came to me and said ” If you can do this being a non swimmer, you can do anything & everything. You brave woman!” And yeah it was icing on the cake. We did it!👊✌🏻👏🏻
- Hire a car, most of the places are accessible only via car
- South Point Access: Right turn off of highway 11 between mile markers 69 & 70