Hawaii is paradise, its that simple. The nature, the weather, the clean air. The laid back island lifestyle, the friendly people, the Polynesian culture. To write down all the details of my trip would be impossible, so I would like to share with you a few fun facts and photos about my experience in Hawaii.
Hawaii is one of the states of America, and it is composed of 8 islands. I visited the islands of Oahu and Maui, inter-island transportation is of course by the Bombardier plane.
This is the Honolulu airport upon my arrival.
Hawaiians always welcome first timers to the island with a flower necklace. Its a superstition and bad luck if they don’t offer the guest a delicate necklace made of real flowers like the one I am wearing. This is the city of Honolulu seen behind me in the photo below, it is very busy especially on the Waikiki beach front but as you go further up the mountain it is so silent and peaceful, you feel disconnected.
The ‘Shaka’, or ‘hang loose’ is a hand gesture in surf culture used by the locals to say hi or to show approval. My husband and I are doing the shaka in this photo, and we are wearing Aloha shirts, which are considered to be formal in Hawaii. These shirts we are wearing in particular are made of silk, although more affordable versions can be bought in touristic shops.
Hawaii is named the Aloha State, and famous for its aloha spirit which is a friendly attitude. This is written on the sidewalk in Honolulu, and on every corner there is a tidbit like this about the island. In case you are wondering, yes the island natives and tourists walk barefoot even on the street.
Surfing is essential to Hawaiians, and those who love the sport choose this destination to practice it. You will find large groups of surfers ready to catch the waves and also many beginners taking lessons in surfing, body surfing and paddle boarding.
The waves in some parts of Hawaii such as the North Shore where I am surfing in the photo below, are quite strong. The current is dangerous and it is advised not to swim if you are not highly capable. At some point the ocean was taking me in and spitting me out and I had to muster incredible control to be able to get out of the water, and unbelievable as it may sound, the sand on the shore and the wave form a 90 degree angle.
I visited Pearl Harbor also, watched a special historical report about the events that took place, and saw sunken remains of battleships such as the USS Arizona including the memorial.
Everywhere I walked around had an island charm even if I was actually in the city, whats even better is that most of the times I walked around barefoot with a bikini and my surfboard, even entered (the fanciest) restaurants that way. Almost all the major designer shops are open on the Waikiki front in addition to the largest outdoor mall in the U.S., the Ala Moana.
I went sailing at around 5 AM, just in time for the boat to reach the middle of the ocean at sunrise, where I saw the beautiful volcanic cone known as Diamond Head. Standing still in the middle of nowhere in complete silence is surreal.
Hiking isn’t my favorite activity, but when its Diamond Head that I mentioned above, I had to reconsider. I was up at sunrise to make sure I got to the summit before the piercing heat took over. The trail is tough at times, at one point I had to climb hundreds of steps at a time I lost count, and go through a dark and ever ending tunnel to get to the top. Once I did, I saw all of Waikiki and the inside of the volcano.
Another tradition of the Polynesian culture is Hula dancing. I attended a hula show at night at the park around an old Banyan tree, where a band was playing folk music and men and women danced. Barefoot on the grass under the stars, that’s my kinda night.
The perfect treat for hot days is shave ice, which is ice served in a plastic cup using a machine that smoothens the ice, and adding syrup in any flavor you choose.
This is a Malasadas I tried from the farmer’s market, fried dough dessert with coconut, cream or chocolate filling. Its origin is debatable, some say Portuguese some say Hawaiian, but who cares its delicious.
This is at the beginning of Waikiki beach where the locals hang out away from the tourists.
The famous flower of Hawaii the Hawaiian Hibiscus, you will find most ladies wearing it on their head.
Tattooing is historically significant in Polynesian culture and is a rite of passage for them. This is particularly noticeable on the beaches, where every single native is tattooed. I was so incredibly close to getting a tattoo of my own, I have wanted one for years now, but i chickened out.
This is one of the parks in Honolulu overlooking the city.
Since Hawaii is volcanic, most of the virgin land you see is either green or a volcano.
Macadamia nuts and coffee are their pride. I became addicted to Kona coffee (and a juice named Hawaiian Sun) and halfway across Oahu I passed by a hut that had actual tastings of the many flavors of Macadamia nuts ranging from honey to spicy.
The Honolulu skyline at night, so close yet so distant.
My next destination after Oahu was the island of Maui. My adventure began with a road trip to Haleakala which is a massive volcano with a summit at 3,055 meters. The scenery on the way to the national park was a treat in itself, and as we drove the clouds became more distant underneath.
These are the many colors of the volcano with an almost velvety feel.
Another challenging activity in Maui is ‘The Road To Hana’, Hana being an isolated community famous for its long and winding (sometimes dangerous) road to arrive there. The closer you get to Hana the farther you will feel. Along the way there are parks, waterfalls, and incredible amazon nature.
This is a stop along the way at Ohe’o or the Seven Sacred Pools. I walked along the trail leading to a hidden bay.
Yes, I survived the road to Hana!
The arts and crafts fair was held in Lahaina under one of the largest Banyan trees in the U.S.
Calm early mornings chilling at the golf course, as well as driving the golf cart at night in my pjs, something I would have never thought I’d do!
I got this Hawaiian made beach dress, and towards the end of my vacation, people would mistake me for a native Polynesian, I guess I adapted too well!
Hawaii is famous for its pineapples (the BEST I have tasted) and sugar cane fields. Even this winery I visited below had a tasting that included pineapple wine.
This is the Iao Valley, I wish I could go back and sniff some fresh air again.
That’s a wrap for my Hawaiian excursion, it truly was a once in a lifetime experience, and if you get the chance to go to this beautiful island, do not hesitate, and use this post as a guide to the culture and must do activities!