Where would you go if you could spend one month anywhere in the world?
That’s all we had to ask ourselves when we booked our first stop on our trip around the world. Where do we want to go first?
If you’ve been following me for a while you probably know that Marc and I were just in Hawaii. So why go back?
Hawaii is a special place full of amazing views, culture, and experiences
It’s not just the Luau’s and hula dancers that make up “Hawaii.” There is so much history here. Yes, you can come and enjoy Waikiki beach for a few days and you’ve still been to Hawaii. However there are a few experiences that make coming here a dream.
While we were here we went on a number of hikes.
Our first time in Hawaii we visited Diamond Head, an easy trail accessible to anyone right by Waikiki. The view of Wakikiki and all of Honolulu at the top is incredible. On a clear and sunny day the contrast of blue and green is breathtaking. But it’s an easy hike – it’s paved in many parts with staircases and rails to guide you.
This time we were a little more adventurous. Our first hike was the Maliki Trail. Not a difficult hike, but on a muddy day it’s a lot of work. The trail intertwines with other trails. From here you can get to Tantalus Lookout which is another incredible view of Honolulu. You can see Diamond head from here just past Waikiki, and if you turn to your right you have more views of Downtown and the rest of South Shore.
Manoa Falls was another beautiful hike. Fairly easy, we saw plenty of children and elders hiking the trail. It can get muddy and slippery though. But the view of the waterfall at the top was so worth it. You can even hike further up the waterfall, but Marc and I didn’t do that since we were short on time. Regardless, this waterfall is worth it, and the views on the way up are great too!
That last hike we did during our stay was the Koko Crater Railway Trail. This hike was more challenging than it appeared. We were told it was basically a staircase up a mountain, but it was more challenging than it seemed. There is little shade on the way up so on a hot and sunny day I would imagine it to be very hot and sweaty. We were tired, out of breath, and sweaty on the way up. However when we got to the top it began to pour. This made coming down very tricky. It wasn’t a very long hike but it was definitely tough. Mind you there were lots of kids and people running the stairs. If you’re careful, the view at the top is so worth the climb!
Beaches and water activities
Marc and I love to hike and be active – but there are plenty of water activities you can do aside from laying on the beach to enjoy the ocean.
Waikiki beach is crowded and can be pretty rocky. There are so many options for water activities around there like surfing, catamaran rides, kayak rentals. But if you just want to enjoy the water (without as many rocks) Marc and I enjoyed Ala Moana beach! It’s much quieter, across from the mall, with an outdoor workout park almost beachside! There are a lot of local activities here like evening yoga classes and parkour clubs. But if you just want to relax it’s also great too. There is much more local traffic so it is still very busy on weekends.
Snorkeling at Electric Beach. If you venture out from Honolulu and find yourself on the west side of the island – go to electric beach. We went snorkeling here and all I even need to tell you is that we saw a sea turtle. It came right up and probably would have kissed me if Marc wasn’t watching. Sea turtle are protected here in Hawaii so they’re very friendly. Other highlights were touching tako (an octopus) and diving down to the bottom of the ocean floor to swim with fish. It was in amazing experience!
Other popular activities in Hawaii
There is so much to do here that even a month isn’t enough time to experience this island. Here are a list of things you can do that were not mentioned above. Some of these we did have a chance to try – others are just popular recommendations around the web.
- Take a surfing lesson
- Paddle board/ rent a kayak or canoe
- Go to the water park
- Drive the coast
- Dole pineapple plantation
- Pearl Harbor
A very special place
Hawaii has a bit of everything. But there is so much more to the state than the popular tourist attractions.
Marc and I traveled to multiple islands during previous visits, and each one has so much to offer. Kauai is beautiful, lush, and very quaint. It is known as the Garden Isle and I can see why. Driving the coast on Kauai would be a beautiful experience if you get the chance. The Big Island is hot and has multiple climates – from dry dessert to tropical rainforest. It has active volcanos and home to the old fishing town of Kona (ever heard of Kona coffee? It’s incredible!).
Aside from all the luxurious hotels and fine dining experiences, I was shocked at the poverty. Staying outside the major tourist attractions really shed light on the living situation of many Hawaiians. Like many places, there is a clear economic divide. Many residents work in the tourist industry, live on food stamps, or are homeless.
There is so much to learn about Hawaiian culture. One thing I think we can all take away is their effort to leave nature as is and only take what they need. It’s a simple and beautiful way of living.
Hawaii will always have a special place in my heart. I know we have a lot more exploring to do on this crazy planet. But Hawaii truly is magnificent.