You will never be bored in Honolulu – there are simply too many things to do. I’m a compulsive planner (my Pinterest board for you is living proof) so naturally, I over-planned in the activities department.
Here’s what we did:
- Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
- Rented mopeds
- Rode jet skis
- Paddle boarding
- Surf lessons
- Went to a luau
- Toured Pearl Harbor
It might not seem like a lot for 7 days, but with the wedding stuff and meals thrown in, it was all too much. ST recommended that we keep it to one activity per day next time with at least two days of free time.
Stuff We’d Love to do Again
Snorkeling – I got really excited about Hanauma Bay because there’s lots of wildlife to be seen there – turtles, fish, sea urchins, and coral. We purchased two snorkel sets and brought them to Honolulu since we didn’t want to rent them. Tía Kim bought hers from Walmart when they got to Hawaii. This way, we could snorkel whenever we wanted.
Hanauma Bay is a bit of a hassle to get to. When we went, the parking lot was full and closed by 9:30 am. We had to find a residential area, park, and then trek a half mile to the visitor’s center. Then we waited 15 minutes to buy tickets and another 10 minutes to watch the mandatory movie about the preservation of Hanauma Bay.
This was the crazy long line:
Our waterproof digital camera got lost later in the trip (explanation below) but luckily I’m paranoid and gave disposable waterproof cameras to everyone. At least we have some pictures.
Hanauma Bay has fish, sea urchins, and lots of coral. We see didn’t turtles, though other people did. Boo.
I prefer snorkeling in Mexico though, where aquatic organisms are plentiful, colorful, and unafraid – they bump right into you! You’ll see : ) Also, the water is warm and not so shallow – I got a bunch of scrapes from the coral.
Typical Hawaiian fare for lunch…
A fun day!
Renting Mopeds – We had so much fun doing this! Next time, we’ll rent a car on an as need basis (unless you’re with us, of course) so we can ride mopeds half the time. Riding a moped is very easy to learn (took our whole group of 7 about 10 minutes) and we rode to Diamond Head and through random neighborhoods for 4 hours on them. They are also pretty cheap to rent – $25 for the whole day.
Here’s your tía Winnie all ready to go. She never got to name our bad ass scooter gang.
Enjoying the views at Diamond Head Crater:
LOL : )
Check out ST with our adorable goddaughter, Kaitlyn (your cousin), taking in the views. He will be an amazing dad.
Ride Jet Skis – I have a need for speed and this activity was just the thing I needed. The boat ride there is under 5 minutes and we zipped around for 30 minutes. I would recommend bringing goggles or at least sunglasses because the constant salt spray stings your eyes.
Paddle Boarding – This is really fun, but only for an hour. We rented a paddle board at tía Winnie’s hotel for an hour and shared it. It cost $32 per hour and you don’t need lessons to use it unless you’re out in the ocean. We were in the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s man-made lagoon, which was calm and full of little fish.
Surf Lessons – SO FUN! Refer to my previous post on this.
Tour Pearl Harbor – The Pearl Harbor exhibit is comprehensive and educational. You can tour submarines, take a ferry ride to the memorial to those who died, and walk through two large exhibits dedicated to the events leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The most interesting part was touring the USS Bow Fin. I couldn’t believe how small the living quarters were. The arrangement of the kitchens actually reminded me of a typical NYC apartment.
The exhibits were informative but kind of depressing. Also, they would do well to focus more on the Chinese- and Japanese-Americans who were killed by friendly fire after the bombing as well as the discrimination of Asian Americans in the aftermath of the bombings.
Anyway, if ever we’re in Oahu again, we’ll take you here. It’s part of history – something you have to see.
Stuff We’ll Probably Never Do Again, Ever
Parasailing – This was a rough experience due to your dad’s seasickness. You need to ride out pretty far on choppy waters in a small boat. I don’t usually get motion sick but this was enough to make me puke. Also, once is enough.
Side note: Whenever a company offers to take pictures for you – DO IT. You can’t predict what could happen to your camera. Always bring a laptop and SD card reader to back up your photos at the end of the day. We wouldn’t have any parasailing pictures had we declined this service.
Kayaking – This was just a catastrophe. I had signed up for Groupon Honolulu as soon as I booked our trip and was delighted to find a Groupon for a half day kayaking tour for $48. I immediately purchased it and was excited for the tour, during which we’d visit various islands and see turtles in Kailua Beach. We rented the kayak at 9:15 and brought it back by 10:05. The waves were really rough and the rental company gave us no instructions whatsoever on getting past them. I got hit in the head with the kayak, hit on the side of my face with an oar, our camera got ripped off my wrist, and we STILL hadn’t made it through the waves.
We cut our losses and laid out to enjoy beautiful Kailua Beach.
Then we consoled ourselves with food. ST had a second helping of fish and chips from this place in the International Market. I had Honolulu’s famed garlic shrimp. I thought it was okay.
I also had the best dessert ever – lychee sherbert!
Go to a Luau – I was a bit disappointed with Germaine’s Luau. It’s rated as one of the best in Honolulu but it just wasn’t what I had expected. The luau was in a kind of shady part of town, next to what looked like junk yards and a landfill (nothing new to me, having grown up on Staten Island).
The luau itself looked pretty outdated (most things do in Honolulu) and consisted of two bars, a stage, and a bunch of picnic tables. Your grandparents complained audibly about the food, which was nothing special at best. The entertainment was pretty good though – their schtick is a tour of Polynesian islands.
We dined on Chinette…
Coconut pudding is usually my favorite Chinese dessert, but their version tasted gritty and flavorless. Yuck. The pork was decent and the fried chicken was good but it stained my dress : (
Kaitlyn loved eating the fried chicken skin. She is hilarious.
The views were nice and we had fun hanging out…
Here are some videos of the entertainment. The hula dancer’s hips were INSANE!
Anyway, I think if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
Stuff We’ll Do Next Time
- Tour Pearl Harbor
- Tour the Dole Plantation
- Hike at Diamond Head Crater