Aloha and happy weekend, everyone! I just got back from Hawaii last weekend and even though I really wanted to do a blog post on it immediately, I was just too pooped. It made me realize that even though we can try to stick to our blog’s timeline, sometimes we have to take care of our selves first!
I traveled to O’ahu, Hawaii for five days to see one of my good friends from high school. It’s been forever since I’ve seen her and I figured I should visit her while her family is still stationed there. Of course, I also was looking forward to the beach. 🙂
If you’d like to go to Hawaii someday, be advised that the plane flight can be loooooong depending on your location. My flight there from Chicago was 9 freaking hours. And of course, I ended up next to two rowdy kids so I didn’t sleep a wink of it. (*sobbing*) The flight back was a bit better because it got broken up into two legs of four and then 3 hours. Bottom line, I would look for flights that get broken up, as sitting for too long can make you stir-crazy!
I loved catching up with my friend, but she has two small children to take care of, so I spent most days there out on my own, exploring the southern half of the island.
The first day, I went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. Hanauma Bay is one of Hawaii’s most treasured nature preserves; it is a half-moon beach and reef that houses many species of fish, some of which are only found in that area. If you’re lucky, you might even see a sea turtle! Once you get down to the beach, you can rent snorkeling equipment to use. Even though I was by myself, I felt safe and had so much fun exploring the reef. It’s super cool because you’re literally just a few feet above the living reef and the fish. The farther out you go, the deeper the reef gets and the more you see. While I saw so many cool fish, my favorite was this huge fish that decided to come right up to me out of nowhere. I couldn’t believe how big he was. My only regret is not spending more time at the beach before I left.
The next day, I did something certifiably crazy: I woke up at 5:30am to go hike 1000 plus stairs up a mountain. I wanted to hike at least one good trail and while most tourists go for Diamond Head, a hike that goes along a famous crater in O’ahu, I wanted to do something off the beaten path.
I had been told Koko Head would challenge me, but I didn’t really grasp how tough it would be until I got there, on a drizzly morning. Koko Head Hike is a railway tie track that runs straight up the mountain. The railway ties are from an old tram that used to run supplies up to the top, where there are some old bunkers. The wood planks vary in how far apart they are, so there are areas where you are on your hands and knees, climbing. There is also, fun stuff, a 20-foot bridge that you must climb. It was terrifying.
It is a true testament to the human body and spirit that I was able to make it to the top and back down in one piece. People coming back down urge you on and tell you to keep going, you’re almost there. You don’t realize how far you climbed until you’re at the top, looking down at the whole island.
Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of fog so the view was a bit impaired on the ocean side. But I didn’t care; I was just happy I survived the climb!
Later that day, even crazier, I walked across Waikiki to visit the beach, the aquarium, and the zoo. The beach was super cool because I saw some surfers out doing their thing and there is a beach cafe nearby that sells whole pineapple smoothies. Of course, I had to have one! The aquarium and the zoo were also neat, but if you have to choose between the two, the zoo has more to see.
Before checking into my AirBNB, I went to Red Earth Massage for a massage. I love getting massages and to me, spending money on one is always worth it. This time, I did splurge a little more than usual to get a full two-hour massage package. I would definitely recommend the place. My AirBNB was a condo in a high rise building opposite the Hilton Hawaiian village and just a 10min walk from the Hilton Lagoon and the beach. It was an amazing location, and I wish I had more energy to fully enjoy it. But after hiking Koko Head and walking across Waikiki, I was pooped. I somehow managed to go for one dip at the beach, thank goodness.
The next morning, I ended the adventurous part of my trip with a breakfast at Goofy’s, a local brunch joint near the beach that only serves food that was grown in Hawaii. I ordered pork belly eggs benedict with purple potatoes. It was so delicious, my mouth is watering just remembering it.
Overall, I really enjoyed my trip and I would totally recommend a lot of what I did to other people. My only regret is that I was so go-go-go I didn’t have much time to just sit on the beach and relax. Next time I go to Hawaii, I’ll be sure to carve out a day or two to just sip a drink on the beach.
Mahalo for reading! Check out the links below to see some of the places I visited and stayed, especially if you’re going to Hawaii!
Check out the places I went and stayed!