10.30.15 – Hawaii Vacation Recap

30 Oct

My awesome husband worked his fanny off to earn a trip to Hawaii. I will be forever grateful to him for marking this location off my bucket list. I think he would say that all of those early morning readings, review questions, and weekend classes were certainly worth it to enjoy a week in paradise together. Here is a recap of our trip! (The photos are a mixture of my camera, our cell phones, and disposable camera.)


Day 1: After a long day of flying and an educational cab ride, we arrived! (Our cab driver was quite the chatty tour guide.) We checked into our hotel. It was hot, sunny, and beautiful. We enjoyed some snacks and drinks by the beach and waited for the rest of our crew to arrive. The pork nachos at the Tropics bar were sooo yummy!

Day 2: We ended up calling it an early night, which meant a super early morning! We decided to go for a jog up to Diamond Head and watch the sunrise. Except we didn’t do our research – we needed $1 each to get in and had no cash on us, but we still enjoyed a beautiful view from right outside the entrance. On the way, we also discovered an outdoor gym with machines that use your body weight for resistance, so Kyle had to stop for a quick workout, of course.

Afterward the sun came up, we headed back down the hill to find some breakfast. We spotted the only rainbow we saw on our trip right over a restaurant we had noticed on the way there, so we figured it was a sign. πŸ˜‰ And it was delicious local fare! I had the pork hash and fried rice.

2015-10-22 06.59.15

Some of the crew attended some conference sessions while I enjoyed some beach time. We had some lunch at a food truck outside the hotel and walked out on some rocks (which ended up being quite nerve-wracking!).

That night we enjoyed the company dinner, which was a traditional Hawaiian luau with dancing. It was really fun and tasty – even if it started a bit sunny for the guys!

Day 3: We went exploring with the Carolans. We started with Manoa Falls Trail.

Then, we headed up to the Punchbowl Cemetary.

Then we stopped for a dolewhip tasty treat at the Dole Plantation. I wasn’t sure they would live up to the hype, but I definitely had two while we were there. πŸ™‚ We decided against waiting in line for a tour and headed out to find some lunch.

We spotted a crowd on a beach while cruising the north shore and decided to stop. There were a bunch of sea turtles swimming in the shallow water, and it was so cool! One was so close to my foot I had to jump out of the way. We stopped at some food trucks across from the beach and enjoyed a yummy lunch. Our final stop was a secluded beach where Kyle decided it would be a good idea to climb a rusty old pier post. We soaked in a little afternoon sun before heading back to the hotel for dinner at Roy‘s in Waikiki.

Day 4: In the early morning, I walked back to Diamond Head (with my camera and my $1!!) and met the rest of the crew who ran up (the long way). I got to enjoy the sunset from the top of the mountain this time (with hundreds of others). We stumbled upon a farmers market. I showed everyone our yummy breakfast stop Kyle and I had discovered, and we headed back to clean up.

We then went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, which was awesome. Kyle had to talk me into swimming out farther, but I was so glad I did. It was so cool! We worked up an appetite snorkeling, so we had some super delicious pizza at Doughlicious in Waikiki

On our final night, we headed to Paradise Cove Luau (which we booked before we came not realizing the company dinner would be luau-style). We were pretty tired from our day’s activities, and we had a pretty odd tour guide. Let’s just say his jokes fell pretty flat. The pre-dinner activities were fun, but the food and show was not as good as our company dinner. The whole thing wasn’t much to write home about, but it’s always fun to be with friends in paradise.


Day 5: Off to Kauai! Despite some early morning stress of the airline we booked being closed on our arrival, we were able to make it to our next destination. (We apparently missed the memo they had transferred our flight to a different airline as they no longer flew to Kauai.) We had lots of fun on Oahu but were looking forward to a more peaceful part of the trip. Luckily, our friends had scouted out some things to do for us since they went there before the conference. One quick flight and we were there. First stop was car rental where Kyle just couldn’t help but upgrade to a Jeep. (He says he got a good deal, but just look at his smile!)

We stopped for lunch at the Kalapaki Beach Hut where we had some yummy burgers and tried tarrow fries. Afterwards, we did a little souvenir shopping. We checked into our awesome hotel (seriously, awesome). We decided to do a little exploring and checked out a couple of waterfalls that we could drive up to (Opaeka’a Falls and Wailua Falls) and said hi to some rooster friends. Then Kyle found a dirt road in Wailua River State Park and had to immediately put our Jeep to the test. We saw some locals swimming and almost made it all the way around until we found a puddle that looked a little too big to cross. We headed back to the hotel for some yummy pizza from Pizetta, laundry, and sunset watching.

Day 6: We had plans to head up the east side of the island the next morning, but a traffic accident had the traffic on the main road at a standstill. Not wanting to waste any time we headed up the west side to Waimea Canyon. We decided to make a pit stop at Fort Elisabeth (ruins of a Russian fort) and stumbled upon a black sand beach where the Waimea River meets the ocean. I was a little annoyed at first that we were detouring from our plan, but it ended up being fun checking out a pier and meeting some local fishermen (and women). Kyle was going to jump off the pier, but the locals informed us he may impale himself on the bars that held up the old pier. Luckily, he heeded their warning and we made it safely back to the Jeep and were on our way.

Making the drive up the canyon with lots of stops to take in the views was really fun. I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon, so this was breathtaking to me. It was definitely one of my favorite sites of the whole trip. We made it all the way to the top and found the “wettest place on earth” where it ironically was not raining.

By this time, we were ready for lunch. We found Island Taco and Jo Jo’s Shave Ice in Waimea.Β  Tacos were great. We weren’t overly thrilled with our first shave ice experience. We decided to head over to Kauai Coffee Company in Kalaheo (this stop was definitely more for Kyle, but I enjoyed it). Then it was off to Spouting Horn Blowhole. We decided to head back to the hotel so Kyle could give surfing a go. Our rental hut attendant and surfing instructor was super helpful giving him some pointers without a lesson. I was quite impressed how quickly he got the hang of it, and I think he was surprised how quickly he got tired. We rounded out the rainy night trying a Puka Dog and Gelato at the Poipu Shopping Center near our hotel.

Day 7: No accidents this morning, so we made our way up the east side to the north shore of the island. We drove all the way up to Ke’e Beach, which was actually closed because of the CRAZY waves! It was so windy, which felt just like home. πŸ˜‰ We checked out a dry and wet cave and stopped at some scenic overlooks along the way. We did just a mile of the Kalalau Trail to the overlook. It felt like the wind might blow you right off the cliff. If we had more time, it would have been fun to do more of the famous trail, but we were pretty tired by this point in the trip and had more to see.

We had Chicken in a Barrel for lunch in Hanalei, which was pretty tasty if you kept the live birds out of your food. πŸ˜‰ We did some shopping at the nearby shops then headed to Kilauea Lighthouse. We didn’t get to go in the lighthouse, but there were some pretty views of the crazy surf. Afterwards we stopped at Hee Fat General Store for some shave ice. We tried the real fruit syrup and thought it was much tastier this time around.

We headed back to the hotel to attempt some body boarding, which was a big flop. The waves were so different than what we were used to on the East Coast. We got cleaned up for a fancy dinner out to the Beach House restaurant. We weren’t able to get a sunset reservation, and the food was just OK. But we made up for it with some tasty ice cream from Lamperts afterwards.

Day 8: We only had the morning before we needed to get packed up and head over to the airport. I had signed up for a surf lesson, and I am so glad I did. It was so much fun, and I wished I had more time to try again. I got pretty scraped up from my tumbles onto the coral reef, but it was worth it. A monk seal also took a rest on the beach during our lesson and swam right by us! Kyle was able to do a little more surfing during my lesson too. Then it was off to drop off the Jeep. We were asked about a dent in the bumper upon our arrival, which we did not do! After a little stress, we were able to explain that there was no inspection before we left (lesson learned!) and were not responsible for the damages. It was time to head home and see our baby girl!

My surfing video.

Aloha! It was as amazing as we dreamed it would be. I only hope we can make it back someday to check out more of the islands.





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