I’m finally getting around to writing this blog again. Yes…. again. I’ve written it several times already but with the problems of my previous computer it kept getting deleted. BUT here I am today, and I am excited to share about our amazing trip to Hawaii in December.
Sheldon and I had to live apart for 9 months of 2018 so that we could each work and get all of our schooling done. We chose to spend our Christmas in Hawaii to celebrate being able to live together again AND to celebrate our graduation. I will share the details of our trip by breaking it down by day. If you are planning your own trip to Oahu anytime soon, please feel free to use this as a guide. You are welcome to comment any questions. Here we go, its a long one!
Tuesday, Dec. 25th – Christmas Day
We ended up staying at my grandma’s house the night before our flight so we could wake up early and leave at 4:30am. We parked at Diamond Park n’ Ride which made it really easy for us with their 24/7 shuttle service to SLC airport. We went from SLC to PDX to SEA to HNL. We arrived in Honolulu at 9:55pm, so our entire day was consumed with traveling.
We took an Uber ride from the airport to check into our AirBNB in Aiea at 11:00pm. All of our food was eaten in the airports along the way.
Wednesday, Dec, 26th
It was nice to wake up Wednesday morning and actually see paradise. It was so dark and late when we arrived the night before that we were unable to see the beauty of the island. We started the morning off with breakfast at “Pancakes & Waffles” in Aiea and did a quick grocery stop for some snacks.
Our main adventure of the day was to hike the Waimano Ridge Trail. It was honestly a very difficult hike because of how steep and muddy the trail was. At some points you had to pull yourself up with a rope. It was worth it though because of the beautiful waterfall area we found at the end. It was a nice way to cool down and immerse ourselves into the Hawaiian landscape right away. Round trip this trip took about 5 hours so were very glad to have brought snacks and plenty of water. We both wished that we had brought our swim suits though. I probably wouldn’t recommend this hike to anyone, unless you are up for a challenge. It was a fun hike to do in the area without too many other people on the trail.
After the hike we were so dang exhausted that all we really wanted was a shower and some food. Thankfully our AirBNB was about a 15 minute walk from the second largest indoor mall in Hawaii, called the Pearl Ridge Mall. So we walked there to relax and do some dinner at L&L Hawaiian in the food court. Yum!
Thursday, Dec. 27th
This was the day that we were both the most excited for! We had to catch a bus in Honolulu at 7:30 am to take us to….
Magnum Helicopters! This helicopter tour started at 8:00am and circled the entire island for about 50 minutes. It was the most incredible views and 1000000% worth every penny. The CRAZIEST thing was that this tour was “door free” so the only thing holding us in was our seatbelts! It was slightly terrifying, but seriously AMAZING! We both would recommend this, it was our favorite thing we did in Hawaii by far. The tour guide was very nice and pointed out several landmarks and even some things only visible from the air. We loved every second of the tour!
After the incredible tour we were dropped back off in Honolulu so we grabbed some lunch and checked out the city. Sheldon and I split a pizza at the food court of one of the many shopping centers there. Then we walked to the beach just for a few minutes and along the route we saw a wall of surf boards which was so foreign to me, but looked really cool.
We decided to take an Uber to do another hike. This one is the very popular, Diamond Head hike. This hike was very different from our first in that the crowds were insane and it was all in the open sun. Honestly it would have been a relatively easy hike, but the mid-day sun made it miserable. Thankfully the views were stunning and the ocean water looked amazing.
What kept us motivated on the hike was the promise of a pineapple smoothie at the bottom. That was one of the best purchases of the trip; delicious and refreshing!
That evening we retired early to the AirBNB and slept so hard!
Friday, Dec. 28th
We actually had completely different plans for the day but had to change them due to rain. It ended up being such a fun and relaxing time!
We decided to visit the Ala Moana Mall which is the largest indoor/outdoor mall in the USA. We walked around the stores, were entertained by a hula dance performance, and got some Haga’an Das ice cream for a little treat.
When the rain cleared up a little bit we decided to walk around the Ala Moana Beach, which was right across the street from the mall. It was overcast enough to scare away the crowds, but still nice enough weather to go in for a little splash.
Next to the beach was a little park area called Magic Island. Sheldon and I are convinced that it is called that because of all the cats that wander around. We loved spending time there walking around and taking pictures. It was pretty, even on a rainy day!
That evening we walked to Pizza Hut for some dinner after taking a Lyft to the AirBNB.
Saturday, Dec. 29th
This day may go down with the memory of one of our favorite hikes ever. We decided to go to the Moanalua Valley trail. It starts at a park and goes through 15+ river crossings. It was super muddy, but seriously SO fun! We were hiking through the Hawaiian jungle and it was the coolest thing. It was a pretty easy trail because it was flat, but there was seriously so much mud in some places that Sheldon had to carry me through. The river crossings were a nice way to clean off our feet between muddy sections. We didn’t go the entire way, but it was a beautiful walk! Highly recommended.
From there we took an Uber to the swap-meet for souvenirs at the Aloha Stadium. This market-like event only happens on Saturdays and Sundays, so we really wanted to get there before it closed. We got there with about an hour left and were able to get some fun souvenirs to share.
We went to the AirBNB to clean up and went to Applebee’s at the Pearl Ridge Mall for dinner. We were glad to have a little nicer sit down meal after a busy day outside.
Sunday, Dec. 30th
We took our Sunday morning to go to church at 9:00am in the Newtown chapel. Everyone there was so friendly and we honestly loved starting our day there.
Then we returned to Honolulu to begin our “boat day”. We were able to check into Extreme Parasailing at 12:30 for our first boat ride of the day. It was on a speed boat in the ocean so the ride got pretty bumpy which made some of the passengers a little sick. There were probably 12 passengers and each ride could hold 2 people. Sheldon and I paid for the highest fly (850 ft up) so we got the most time in the air (about 8 minuets of flight). It was a little scary taking off with the parachute, but once we were in the sky it was really relaxing and the air was so fresh! We loved it.
Pretty much as soon as we got back from that ride we had to get in line for the next boat. We took a Glass bottom boat tour at 3:00pm. It took us out towards Diamond Head on the water and showed us some turtles. We honestly didn’t see a ton of wildlife on the boat but we enjoyed the tour.
After the glass bottom boat tour we went to grab some chicken dinner at the Ala Moana Mall then took our food back to Magic Island (that we had explored on Thursday) to watch the sunset over Honolulu. Once it was dark we took an Uber back for our last night at that AirBNB.
Monday, Dec. 31st – New Year’s Eve
We checked out of our room and went to pick up our rental car at 7:00am. Once we got our little car checked out, we left Honolulu to drive to the North shore. It only took about 45 mins to get there. We grabbed some quick breakfast at McDonalds, (which was the only place open.) While we waited for the Polynesian Cultural Center to open we visited the LDS Temple and BYU Hawaii. We love visiting temple grounds and were a little bummed to learn that we couldn’t fly the drone there. We spent time in the visitors center and taking pictures.
We still had some time to kill, so we went to the Laie Point State Wayside Park Viewpoint. It was this pretty beachy-windy-rocky area. We took some pictures there and waited out a little bit of rain in the car.
Finally the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) opened at 11:30am and we spent the rest of the day there. It was honestly so different than I expected, I thought it would be only shows, but the place is like Disneyland for Polynesian culture. The entire experience was very enlightening about all the different islands. There were activities, games, canoe rides, dancing, and shows, etc. Each island had something to teach you and a fun memorable unique experience to share. There was seriously so much to do there. But I think our favorite thing was the show about the coconut in Samoa, or the drum show in Tonga. In the middle of the day there was a fun musical production on the river. In the evening we went to an authentic luau at “Hale Aloha” with amazing food and dancers, we loved receiving beautiful flower leis there. From there we went to the final evening show which was a full theater production to include each of the different cultures that we learned about. It was a very full day and we didn’t leave until like 10:30pm or so. The only reason we were able to do so much was because Sheldon bought us a VIP ambassador pass. That meant we got a specific tour guide and got a special kukui nut lei to differentiate our group. We were very glad to have had a guide or else we would not have been able to see everything that we did that day.
Being very tired from the day, we sought out our next AirBNB. We got all settled in and ready to sleep BUT remember it is new years eve…. There were TONS of street fireworks right outside the house for hours. By the time that the new years fireworks died down a little bit there were wild chickens that annoyingly woke us up. We didn’t sleep the best that night.
Tuesday, Jan. 1st – New Year’s Day
This day began with breakfast at Teds Bakery. We got some delicious fresh baked doughnuts and pastries to start the day. They were very filling, so we actually had to snack on them throughout the day.
Though it was a rainy day we decided to do another hike. This north shore hike was to Waimea Falls in a botanical garden area. It was about $15 to get in. It is a beautiful area where you can walk around to see all the beautiful plants that are well taken care of. At the end of the trail there is a really fun waterfall that you can swim at. It was still rainy when we got there, which stifled the crowds and made the falls fuller, but it also made it a little muddy and cold. This was a really easy hike and there were some really unique plants to see!
The rain cleared up and we decided to take a little walk along the beach. About the only place in all of Hawaii where it is legal to fly drones was at the Pua’ena Point Beach. It was a fun little beach park where people were learning to surf so we spent some time there taking pictures.
We had heard about the famous Matsumoto Shave Ice and really wanted to try it, but because it was new year’s day they were closed. So we went next door to Malia’s. I think the one we got was called lava flow; it had coconut, mango, and cherry flavors. It was delicious and refreshing!
From there we began our trip south- back towards Honolulu. On our way through we visited the Dole pineapple plantation. Sadly the maze was closed because of the mud, so we just walked the grounds and ate some dole whip. Sheldon was especially excited for the dole whip so he ordered the largest size! IT WAS HUGE! We were not able to finish it, but it was fun to try it out. We got so many glares haha. To be honest, except for the overpriced refreshing treat, this place is a little overrated.
Before finding our next Air BNB we stopped for a scenic view at the Nuuanu Pali lookout. It was a pretty overlook of the green mountains parking was only $3 and it was worth it. The funny thing is that it was really hard to take pictures because it was so so windy.
We did dinner at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers and it was priced so well and seriously some of the best burgers we have ever had! Highly recommended. Then we drove to our last AirBNB in Hanauma Bay area, which had the best view and a cat that loved us!
Wednesday, Jan. 2nd
Our last day in Hawaii we got up early to go to Snorkel in Hanauma Bay. We learned that if you get there at 6:30am you can get in for free which was awesome because then we could watch the sunrise over the ocean. Once it warmed up a little bit we rented our snorkel gear and went out to find some colorful fish. There was a little bit of a learning curve to it because we struggled to breathe at first. Once we got the hang of it, it was a really fun and relaxing experience. This was Sheldon’s favorite activity of the trip besides the helicopter.
After our snorkel experience we decided to hike the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. It was a short walk on a paved surface which only took about 30 mins out and back. It had pretty ocean views and I’m a sucker for lighthouses, so this was a fun one!
The sun really got to us this day so we took a lunch break at Sophie’s Gormet Hawiian Pizzaria. We enjoyed splitting a salad and a pizza. Fresh and yummy.
Our time was coming to an end, but I wanted to do one more stop before flying out. I’d seen pictures of the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden and I just had to visit. We just drove through, but this was such a plush green area and so, so pretty. The camera really didn’t capture the views but it was the perfect jungle scene, and a great way to end our epic vacation.
We took one more trip to the Pearl Ridge Mall so that we could get airplane snacks and some Jamba Smoothie Bowls.
Then it was time to return our rental car and get to the airport. Our flight left at 10:33pm and got into LA the next day.
Thursday, Jan. 3rd
Thursday was a full day of travel. We spent like 10 hours in the LAX airport. We explored the entire airport and ate a few meals there. We made it back to SLC at 6:45pm and drove back to Idaho to sleeeeeeepp. Poor Sheldon had work the very next morning.
We are very grateful for the chance to have gone to Hawaii together. It was such a fun experience for us, we have decided that creating memories important. Adventures are some of our favorite ways to spend our time. If you’ve been wanting to go to Hawaii, you totally should! Just buy the plane ticket, you won’t regret it! I’ll be creating a video to commemorate our trip so when that is up I’ll link it HERE. I also made a blog post about travel tips we’ve discovered, I’ll link that HERE if you’d like to read it. If you have any questions please comment them and I’ll get back to you.
Thanks so much for reading! We will catch you next blog.