Waikiki Beach

Hawaii Holidays Trip of a lifetime

14 day Hawaii Holidays – For a lot less then you think

There are no words that can describe this incredible place. To be able to say I have been here and seen Hawaii in all it’s beautiful glory. I can safely say it’s a place that remains the top destination I have ever been too. Continue reading below and you too can have the unforgettable Hawaii Holidays that I had.

Hawaii is a state of the United States of America and is made up of 8 different islands. Hawaii sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Honolulu is the state capital and sits on the Island of Oahu. Oahu is also the most populated of all the islands. It has the world famous Waikiki Beach on its shore line. This beach has been voted the best beach in the world for many years. 10.4 million Tourists came to the islands in 2019. I visited in 2016 for the first time and I was blown away. I finally managed to tick it off my bucket list of destinations.

HONOLULU

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu
Waikiki Beach, Honolulu

The state capital would serve as our main destination for the entire trip which was totally OK with me. Honolulu is like any other major city and has everything you would expect. BUT one thing I want to clear up before we continue is that although Hawaii is a US State, it is nothing like being in America. Hawaii has its own cultures, food and traditions and language. This is what makes it stand out (more on this later in the blog). Honolulu has a population of approx. 351,000 people making it the size of Bristol and surrounding area. The first thing that struck me, despite its size and the amount of people was how spotlessly clean the city was. Not a crisp packet or water bottle anywhere. No chewing gum on the paths, no rubbish anywhere.

Another thing to note you can’t fly direct to Honolulu from the UK – we opted for a stopover in LA. That would turn out to be eventful to say the least. But when we finally got to Hawaii it was night time. We got straight to our hotel, checked in and went to bed after an epic 22hrs of travelling. The following morning we were ready to see what the next 14 days had to offer…

THINGS TO DO

Pearl Harbour National Memorial

This was an unexpected trip that I booked through the hotel concierge service, it came about we were sat in a restaurant along the beach front on the 2nd evening having spent the day at the beach next to another couple and as we were both on our honeymoons we got talking and that day they had been to Pearl Harbour. It’s not a place I really thought about going before we went. However after hearing about the experience and the history behind it, we thought we should check it out. So the following morning I managed to book us up a day trip and I am so glad we did.

Pearl Harbour was a sombre experience, knowing that under your feet were 900+ American soldiers on the USS Arizona. You are in fact walking on a mass grave, their tomb on the sunken ship. It’s a feeling that even when I write this I am getting goose bumps taking me back to that feeling. A feeling I never felt before. I loved learning about Pearl Harbour, how it all came about and why it was so important in history. You are able to watch a 20 minute movie of actual footage from that day. Hear eye witness accounts of what it was like to be there. It was also really good to hear from both sides the US and Japanese soldiers.

Pearl Harbour, Oahu

Where is it? How to get there?

It’s not just the USS Arizona hear either, Pearl Harbour is a real life working US Military base each afternoon there is a fantastic parade. You can visit the museum which is packed full of really interesting facts. Full of artefacts and information, you can even get inside a Kamikaze Bomb. This is what the Japanese soldiers would drive into the US Warships. We got to have a walk around the USS Mississippi. Another huge US Navy Ship still in operation today.

There is a little restaurant on site for visitors. It is little compared to the amount of people that come here but the food was great. We had Gumbo which is a traditional US state of Louisiana dish. It’s like a soup and stew all in one and tasted great. The only problem was, it was 37 degrees when we visited Pearl Harbour and we had soup/stew! It certainly didn’t cool us down but tasted great – we had ice cream for pudding which helped do the job.

If you are visiting the island and have some time, then I really do recommend checking out Pearl Harbour. It’s a brilliant, interesting and a sombre day all rolled into one. Due to the trip being booked through the hotel we got picked up and dropped off. It really couldn’t have been easier. I highly recommended day trip.

A FEW TOP TIPS:
  1. Pearl harbour is one of the top tourist destinations on the island so 99% of hotels will offer day trips.
  2. Remember to take some change with you. The restaurant at Pearl Harbour didn’t take cards when we visited, it was only cash. That may have changed now as we did travel a few years ago.
  3. Remember you are entering a full working US Navy Base so security is tight. You will be searched on arrival, bags are checked and you need to walk through a metal detector. It’s a bit like being in airport security. It’s the same when walking around, don’t leave bags untended and if there is a sign saying no photography, it means DON’T take a picture. We saw a few people get their cameras taken away and removed from the premises.
  4. If you do deicide to head out to the USS Arizona remember it’s a mass grave. Show some respect and compassion for the fallen war hero’s. Speak quietly or better yet, don’t speak at all until you leave. There is NO FLASH photography allowed on board.  

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach

It’s one of the most famous beaches in the world and it’s easy to see why. It is the home of the surfing world championships. The beach runs right along the entire length of the city of Honolulu. Although it’s pretty big that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get busy. If you don’t get here early enough you will find all the best spots are gone. Believe me it gets extremely busy especially during the weekends. Despite the crowds it’s a beach like no other, it has perfect white sand, crystal clear warm waters and big waves.

The beach offers countless water sport activates including surfing, snorkelling, paddle boarding and parasailing among many others. There is beach ball and volleyball courts of plenty. A number of eating and drinking places along the beach front. However smoking is NOT allowed on the beach itself and must be done on the promenade. We would often either walk along first thing in the morning after breakfast or last thing at night before bed. Either way this beach it a total must do if visiting Oahu.

A FEW TOP TIPS:
Waikiki Beach, Oahu

  1. This beach gets busy, it gets even busier at the weekends. The locals also come out to spend time on the sea at weekends. Make sure you get there early if planning a day at the beach. There is plenty to do and see along the beach front. More then enough to easily make a day of it.
  2. Most hotels in Honolulu are next to Waikiki Beach. If you happen to be away from the area there are a number of bus routes. They are head for the beach front. We used the bus to get to Hanauma Bay and North Shore.
  3. ENJOY IT! Make the most of the activities on offer and do something you haven’t done before!

Diamond Head Monument

Ever thought about hiking into the crater of an extinct volcano? This is what Diamond Head is, it’s a state park inside the crater of the volcano. It’s a beautiful park with numerus hiking trails. All the trials end up taking you up to the top of the crater for an incredible view of Honolulu. The park costed $2 to enter and it’s easily accessible by car or bus. We got the bus from outside our hotel and it drops you off right outside the entrance. The hiking trails are all designed to give you a different route but also some are harder than others. I will say the last few meters up to the top is all steps that are pretty steep. There are stopping places along for people that need it.

The park also has a little shop and coffee shop at the entrance. We stopped for a little drink on the way back and even had a little snack as well. The entire park is lush green forests complete with monkeys and birds. The trails are beautiful which ever one you pick. The view at the top is a pretty cool reward for all that walking. It took us about 1.5 hours to walk up and about 50 mins to come down. I highly recommend it’s something you should do.     

Diamond Head State Park
Diamond Head State Monument Park

A FEW TOP TIPS:
  1. Get their early or late to watch the sunset or sunrise from the top. We didn’t get to do this as we found out after we visited. We didn’t have the time to return but we heard the views were outstanding, check local opening/closing times.
  2. It’s really easy to get to via public transport. We got the bus from downtown Honolulu from outside the hotel. We walked back to the beach and it isn’t that far to walk either if you preferred that option.

Pacific National War Memorial, City Hall and Royal Palace

This was another trip we booked once we got to Oahu. We wanted to see as much of the island and the city as possible. So we decide to book this city tour to see what else the city had to offer. It was booked through the hotel concierge service we got picked up and dropped off right back at the hotel. It was a lovely few hours spent, seeing and learning more about the great city of Honolulu. It’s so true what people say, I will stress again. Although Hawaii is a state of the United States of America Honolulu is nothing like being in America and this city tour really showed that.

Royal Palace & City Hall

The royal palace is the only royal residence in the United States. It sits in the heart of downtown Honolulu. And was once the residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii. It now stands as the identity of the Hawaiian people. It’s a grand, beautiful building a stone throw away from the municipal city building. Which was also included in the city tour. This building houses the state governor’s office and the ministers that oversea laws made on the islands. It’s grand and big as you would expect. We even got to go inside and watch a session with the ministers discussing the latest policies and changes.  

National War Memorial

The national war memorial was also included in our trip and is free to enter. It’s the biggest cemetery I have ever seen and sits within the crater of another extinct volcano. This one is above the downtown area of Honolulu. It was a sombre trip but something I am glad I saw. There were these little white crosses for as far as the eye could see in all directions. One for each of the fallen soldiers from all the different US Armed Forces. From the Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force that lost their lives in any Pacific conflict.

They still have services today in the cemetery and it remains a place for reflection and grief for many families. We were able to wonder around the headstones and read the hundreds of thousands of soldiers names that have been laid to rest here. Until you are stood in the middle you really can’t grasp how big this place really is.     

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

I did a little research before we travelled and had a few places I wanted to visit. As of yet none of them have been listed as all the above activities we only found out about once we arrived. However a trip to Hanauma Bay was certainly something I wanted to do and knew about before we arrived on the Island. For those that follow my blogs and travel activities you will know I can’t keep away from the sea. Any chance I get to snorkel or dive I am there and this is one of those places.

Where is it? How to get there?

It’s a nature reserve on the island, in fact it’s a coral reef system that sits in the bay. It is protected from the harsh currents and battering waves. This means it’s a safe haven for thousands of tropical fish, corals, rays and sharks. This in turn brings in sea birds and makes the entire area a wildlife hub. In 1999 the BBC came here and filmed part of the blue planet TV series. It remains a hot spot for tourists as well as scientist and ecologists from all over the world.

We managed to grab the bus from near the hotel to the Bay area. Luckily the bus stops directly outside the entrance. Once you pay your entrance fee to get in which was $6. It’s important to know that your fee goes toward the preservation of the reef and all the staff that help look after it. There is a fair walk down to the bay from the top which you will see in the picture.

There was no other way of getting down so bare that in mind, once you get down to the bottom there is a 10 minute induction video that all guests must watch which explains the do’s and don’ts and what you need to do while spending the day here to help protect the reef and it’s wildlife. Once you’ve seen the video it’s onto the beach, you can rent a snorkel and flippers for the day, find a nice spot on the beach and get into the water and start to explore.

Summary

Snorkelling at Hanauma Bay

Now at first I was a little disappointed in the reef. It was extremely busy and I saw many people ignoring the video advice. They were walking on the corals, touching them and scaring/chasing the fish. I didn’t like it and no-one seemed to be on hand to keep them under control. However once I passed the shallow reef and swam into some deeper water, I was rewarded with the most amazing array of wildlife and colours. I brought a disposable underwater camera just for this day trip and got zapping right away.

I spent about 2 hours the first time around. Then came back to shore grabbed a drink and a little food from the many huts that line the beach. All selling all sorts from sandwiches to hot dogs and burgers. I eat some food and chilled out in the sunshine, I then got right back in. It had also seemed to have got a little quieter then the morning which was even better. I continued to snorkel around for another few hours before calling it a day and leaving. We were so over the moon that I got to see a turtle. I was also happy I managed to get a pretty good picture of it.

A FEW TOP TIPS:
  1. To find the best fish, you need to swim out a little further away from all the crowds. It seemed the closest to the shoreline the less you saw.
  2. Take note of the video and respect the reserve, don’t be like many of the other tourists. Take care around the corals. Don’t touch them and certainly don’t walk on them and don’t chase any of the fish. I found that in fact if I stayed still they would come even closer to me. This meant I got much better viewing and photos. 
  3. There are plenty of eating and drinking places along the beach in the bay. You welcome to bring pack lunches if you wanted to. There are also lockers, toilets and showers available. However we didn’t use any so can’t comment on prices I’m afraid.

Chiefs Luau

Lu’au means “Party with a Feast” in Hawaiian. This was another trip we booked once we got talking to a family from Canada. We got talking to them in the pool area one evening in the hotel. They had been a few nights before, they recommended that we went. So the following morning I went and spoke with the concierge desk and we booked for that evening.

Chief Luau, Hawaii
War Paint

We spent the entire evening being surrounded by Hawaiian culture. We got picked up from the hotel as it was a pre-booked tour and taken to the venue. It was an open air place set out like a small Hawaiian village would have been many years ago.

Meeting the Chief

We got greeted by the residents of the village and separated into smaller groups. We got given a guide for the evening, our guide was called “Kaholo”. He was great, he started with asking us our names. He told us what our names translated to in Hawaiian, mine is “Kaniela”. We were given a little card with our Hawaiian names on and its meaning, which was pretty cool. We then got told we would need to meet the Chief. In Hawaiian culture any visitor to the village needs the blessing of the chief. We were introduced to the chief and he was a huge, strong man but extremely friendly. the Chief blessed us all and welcomed us to his village. He presented us each with a garland made of the most beautiful flowers and shells. He then made sure we were looked after by Kaholo and shown the ropes.

Once we got into the main village it was pretty cool place. There were loads of things to do – firstly we all had a go at learning the “shaka”. It’s a hand shake they use which I had seen during our time but never understood what it meant. I spent some time learning the language. Got to try our hands at making some garlands. We got ourselves a traditional henna tattoo and then we all took our seats for an incredible buffet dinner. All cooked in the village in the traditional way. We were then all treated to a wonderful evening of entrainment as the sun set. Dancing, fire eating and a fantastic firework display at the end of the evening. There was great food, amazing company and incredible atmosphere.    

Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

When most people think of Hawaii they think of lush beaches, tropical rainforests and loads of sunshine. That is most certainly what Hawaii is all about. It also has some of the largest and most active volcanoes in the world. It has it’s very own national park which is situated on the Big Island (another one of the 8 islands).

This was a place I really wanted to go to. I had done my research before we travelled. I’d seen the incredible pictures and videos of the most famous volcano on the entire island, “Mauna Loa”. This for me was going to be a tick off the bucket list. To be able to walk onto an active volcano and feel it’s amazing power. I was excited the night before to the say the very least. It took me nearly 2 hours to decide what to wear!

This was a trip we booked before we flew out to Hawaii via TripAdvisor. I was aware the tours get booked up pretty quickly. The volcano is a huge draw for both tourists and geologists alike. Having never been to a volcano before I had no idea what to expect. Let alone one of the most active in the world, all that I did know was I so excited to be able to have the opportunity.

Start of the tour

The tour itself was an early morning call. We needed to be up at 5am as we needed to meet the driver at 6pm. We got driven to the airport as we had to get a small sea plane to the Big Island. This didn’t take long at all, It was really cool flying over the other Hawaiian islands on the way. We landed and meet our tour guide, “Helena” was wonderful. She was so welcoming and friendly and I could tell already this was going to be a brilliant day.

We opted for the 10 hour day trip which included a ton of other stuff. A trip into the town of Hilo, the largest town on the Big Island right under the Volcano. We saw the area in town where in 1973 the largest Tsunami to ever hit the islands came in land. We took a trip to a black sand beach, because the Island is volcanic the sand is completely black.

Helena took us to the “fishing pools”. These were pools of sea water that have developed over thousands of years. They were designed by the local people to fish. As the tide comes up it fills the holes and fish swim in, crabs and sea-life. Once the tide goes back out again the sea creatures get stuck in the pools. This makes it easier to catch them to eat. It was pretty cool, although after 35 minutes I still couldn’t catch a thing!

Rainbow Falls

After this little adventure we stopped for some lunch, all laid on by the tour – it was simple but tasty. After lunch we moved on, getting closer to the volcano and finally entering the national park itself. We stopped at the most beautiful waterfall called “rainbow falls”. Over thousands of the years the larva changed direction and now it forms the main fresh water river on the island. It runs right though the town of Hilo. Gallons of water were pouring over each second. You able to stand behind it which was cool and the noise was something else, it was so loud.

After the waterfall we carried on into the park a little further and got taken to the larva fields. It was like looking at another planet, being in space. Everything was black and rugged looking with not much greenery growing. Plenty of trees and shrubs on the outside. It shows just how the larva would off flowed when it came out the volcano.

Lava Fields

We got the chance to wonder off and explore the area, there were pockets that you could climb into. The colours were beautiful as the rock hardens and it leaves minerals and deposits behind. Oranges, purples, yellows and pinks and blues all within the rocks. When the sun hit it just right it sparkled and glittered – Mother Nature at her best for sure. We moved on, we could also tell we were getting higher up the mountain as the temperature was starting to drop. We saw the sulphur fields which stunk. It smelled like rotten eggs, it was awful and also got to see a hot springs and geyser.

We then finally got to the top of the crater of the Volcano. I was so excited I was about to see larva for the first time. We walked around the corner and got taken to the viewing platform and saw nothing…it was so cloudy and foggy we saw nothing! I was gutted, which was an understatement I could have cried. In any event Helena wasn’t going to be beaten. She would bring us back later and see if the weather clears up. We were 4,169 meters above sea level and I was praying to the good lord above to not let me down.

Lava Tunnel

Helena took us to a larva tunnel for the next stop. A huge underground tunnel that had been created by the volcano to transport its larva. From the bottom (earth’s crust) to the surface and we were walking through it, it was immense. You could hear your voices echo of the walls and it had an eerie but fascinating feel to it. You kind of knew it was dangerous but just had to be there.

On the other side of the tunnel there was a little gift shop and café so we stopped and had a little drink. The viewing window looked out across the crater of the volcano. So it was a pretty cool place to stop and have a drink and slice of cake. Now by this time the sun was starting to set. It was getting dark and finally the clouds started to clear. You could see an eerie glow starting to come from the centre crater and I was totally ready for this. However, Helena rounded us all up again after our brief pit-stop. We headed to another Volcano in the park, this was the mighty “Mount Kilauea” and I am so glad she did.  

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Volcano Observatory

Our first stop was to the geology centre or the Volcano Observatory as its known locally. It’s right at the edge of the crater. This was a really cool place, they had everything. You could watch the seizmatric machine measuring the earth’s movement. Here you could see how active it was. You could read about all the eruptions in the past and learn all about this historic volcano. Not only was I standing on the largest volcano in the world I was also standing on one of the most active in the world. It started erupting in 1983 and hasn’t stopped to this very day! This volcano caused the highest death toll of any volcanic eruption in 1975 in the state of Hawaii. In 2018 135 homes were burnt to the ground as it spilled larva from one of its fissures.

As you walked through the Observatory and got to the other end the reward was finally what I had been waiting for. The chance to see Mount Kilauea in all her glory. The sun had set and finally the glow of the larva could be seen for miles,. It was intense glow of yellow and orange and for a moment I just stood in awe as I watched along with everyone else.

Mount Kilauea

It was beautiful and something I will never forget. After seeing the larva glowing in the night sky it was time to leave this amazing place. What a brilliant national park it had turned out to be. For us the adventure would continue tomorrow. I booked a night stay on the Big Island. We had a few more things to see and do tomorrow. One of which would even top today! We got back to our hotel for the night in Hilo. For the rest of the evening we just chilled out

Mount Kilauea Crater

If you are going to Hawaii I can’t recommend this tour enough. It’s a must even if you are here for a week, you must be able to fit it in. We did the 10 hour tour, but others are available. For example a 6 hour tour for as detailed above it’s really worth doing. You get so much more than just a trip to the volcano with the 10 hour tour. I would be lying if I said we weren’t knackered by the end of the day. But sometimes that is what being on holiday is all about. Look at the things we did in 10 hours and for the price of the tour. I thought it was amazing. It’s a day I would never forget and for that reason alone, it’s worth it.

A FEW TOP TIPS:
  1. Remember you are travelling to the summit of a volcano. Its 4,169 meters above sea level and that is pretty high. So remember to wear the correct clothes, I really wish we did. It was freezing in t-shirt, shorts and flip flops at the crater.
  2. We did the 10 hour tour, there are many others available. 6 hours and 8 hour tours but remember you won’t get all of the things we did. But if it’s only the main things you want then go for the 6/8 hour tour.
  3. We had food and drink included on this tour but it was basic. We were fine with basic sandwiches, snacks and cans of pop like coco cola and tango. If you want more you will need to buy some from the local stores in Hilo. Remember also if you are staying on Oahu you will get a flight over to this island which takes approx. 40/45 minutes. 
  4. I would also say, this tour isn’t ideal for really small babies or toddlers. Due to the different places you are visiting during the tour. The terrain is extremely uneven and getting a pushchair around would be difficult.

Scuba Diving

Hawaii Holidays Sunset

Some things in life just need to be done. Like when you open a parcel and have to pop the bubble wrap. This is no different, when visiting Hawaii you have got to Scuba Dive. It is one of the top Scuba Diving locations in the world. Due to the island chain being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean it becomes a refuge for thousands of marine animals from across the world.

Hawaii has hundreds, and I mean hundreds of different companies and tour operators. Taking tourists out into the waters around the islands each day to witness some of the amazing wildlife on display and for me. There was one animal I really wanted to dive with. It would cross another item off my bucket list and become one of the most incredible dives I have ever done.

The animal in question is found off the coast of Hawaii. Lucky for me found of the coast of the Big Island. I booked this trip before we headed out to Hawaii as again it gets booked up pretty quickly due to nature of it. In fact I completed this dive the same day as the trip above. To see this particular animal this dive would have to be a night dive. As they mainly came out at dusk to hunt.

Start of the Dive

To start this amazing adventure I made my way over to the dive site and got introduced to the group. We spent an hour or so having a drink and talking to one another. It was nice getting to know other people who were just as excited and nervous as you are. We had no idea what was about to happen but had the same huge expectations. We all boarded the boat and on our way out to the dive site we had our health and safety briefing. I want to mention that at this point, I had only ever Scuba dive once before in a tank in Liverpool.

This would be my first time in the ocean. If you are thinking about doing this tour but thinking you need experience you don’t. Everything is sorted for you in the most ingenious away. We all had our briefing, we got shown the dive site on the map. The team told us more about the eco system and why it’s so important. We learnt about some of the other animals and marina wildlife that we could come into contact. I was told we might even see some sharks, so I was even more excited and hoping for the double!

Arriving at Dive Site

We got to the dive site at the perfect time. The sun had just set behind the sea and the crew started to set the dive spot up. They helped us get into our gear and check it all out for us. We got divided into smaller groups as this would optimise our viewing pleasure. It would also give us more time under the water. We were also told, if we didn’t see the main animal we were hoping to see we would get a 90% refund. They are that confident they could get us up close and personal to one of the oceans greatest wonders.

I couldn’t contain myself, the minute were able to get into the water I was in. I wanted to get as much time as I could with these incredible animals. To be able to see one in real life, in the wild for the first time. In the excitement I totally forgot to switch on my GoPro, that’s how much I wanted to do this. But after I get into the water I noticed it wasn’t on, so switched it on and away we went.

The Great Ocean Wonderers

For the more confident divers or professional divers you were allowed to swim to the bottom and wait on the sea bed. For the less confident divers they had floating buoys for you to stay attached to while out in the sea. These had powerful lights projecting into the deep blue of the ocean. Lighting up the view like a stage performance was about to get underway.

It didn’t take long for the performance to get underway once we were in position. The performers were right on queue and looked as amazing as I thought they would be. I saw one come in and check out the group followed by another. Then soon we were surrounded by the greatest ocean wonderers, The Great Manta Ray.

We got to spend 90 minutes in the water watching these animals swim around, play and feed and as quick as they came in they swam off again into the big black abyss that was the night time ocean. Manta Rays are huge, some of these animals were the size of the sea plane we had got on to get to the Big Island the day before but they moved so graciously and effortless, at times it almost seemed like they were “flying” through the water and also at times they showed great speed and power for an animal of their size.

Manta Ray Hawaii Holidays

After the Dive

After the dive we all boarded the boat again, everyone elated at what we had all just seen and been apart off and everyone talking about how amazing it was and looking through everyone’s video and pictures of the trip on the way back to the shore. We all had a drink on the boat as well and before we knew it we were back on dry land with an incredible story to tell everyone.

I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to the crew and tour operator for allowing me to be a part of that trip, to be able to tick another item of the bucket list and be able to say I swam with the Great Manta Ray. It doesn’t get much better than that. I highly recommend this trip, this is without a doubt one of the top things I have done and it was this single trip that inspired me to take up Scuba Diving and go for my PADI certificates.

If you are thinking about doing this trip, stop thinking about it and do it!! You will not regret it. I have more on this adventure and the entire trip in the budget/costs section with links as always at the end. 

FOOD & DRINK

You are on a tropical island and the food and drink reflects that. Everything has a tropical spin on it, like a cheese burger has pineapple thrown in, or your hot dog has a mango source. Your lemonade has lime or coconut added. This isn’t a bad thing at all, in fact it’s just another thing that allows Hawaii to stand apart from the mainland United States. Don’t get me wrong, if that type of food is your preference there is plenty out there as we saw IHOPS, Dennys, Starbucks, cheesecake factory and 7/11 stores to name but a few but it’s the other places that make the most difference. The smaller coffee shops and private ice cream shops, some of this food was outstanding.

Best dishes to try?

One of the best dishes I had the entire 2 weeks was the Gumbo at Pearl Harbour. There is always the debate regarding pineapple on Pizza, I love it. In fact it’s my favourite pizza topping and I was going to have a Hawaiian pizza in Hawaii and I’ve got to tell you, it was pretty special. It not only had a Pineapple and ham topping but also came with Papaya and coconut, it will be hard for any pizza for the rest of my life to come close to that.

Drinks are no different, all the normal soda and soft drinks are on offer everywhere. They also have an abundance of fruit juices in all different combinations, smoothies are great. They also offer all the alcohol you could ever want, just like anywhere else I guess.

Hawaii Holidays Food

I found most of the venues a little pricey. We are in Hawaii and we were eating along Waikiki Beach. It is the most famous tourist place on the island so you would expect prices to be a little higher here. All in all, the food and drink are great and you will eat like kings and queens.

You can see most of the food is US style food with a tropical, Hawaiian twist. Needless to say it all tastes great and if you do see Gumbo on any menu please order it – you won’t be disappointed.

BUDGET/COSTS

The second I start to tell people I visited Hawaii the first response I normally get is, did you win the lottery? The second thing is normally something along the lines of, I must be paid a fortune. To be honest with you neither are correct. Hawaii is the most expensive destination I have been to so far. But what if I could tell you I went and spent 2 weeks for under £4,000, would you believe me? That is the truth, our trip including flights, hotel and transfers came to a respectable £3,576. That was for 2 adults so for less than £2,000 per person. So, is this trip really out the question for you now? I have a little summary below:

Total Costs:

Cost for the trip; £3,576 (2 Adults Accommodation and Flights)

  • London Heathrow to Honolulu International Airport with a stop and change of planes in Los Angeles
  • We flew with United Airways on this trip.
  • We stayed at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Resort for 14 nights

Please keep in mind that this trip was in 2016 so prices would have increased. The point I am trying to make, you don’t need to be paying thousands of pounds to travel to Hawaii. That was the costs to get there and back and sleep for 14 nights. I know the next question you ask, how much did all those amazing activities cost? Well, again not as much as you might think. Hawaii is a place that has something for everyone. Want to sit on a beach all day in the sunshine, tick! Do you want to snorkel or learn to surf, tick! Fancy an adventure holiday and swim with sharks, tick! Maybe you want to visit an active volcano, tick! You see it really can offer whatever holiday you are after. Therefore it also caters for a wide range of budgets.

Final Thoughts:

We stayed at the 4 star Hilton Waikiki Beach Resort but if you wanted to stay in a B&B it would reduce the price. Our Hilo B&B was only £78 per night with breakfast. We did a huge array of activities and day trips while we were on the islands. That did add up by the end. But maybe instead of all the activities listed above you just picked 2 or 3. Maybe just visited the islands for 10 days instead of the 14 nights. All of these things will help reduce the costs of your trip but still allow you to enjoy this amazing place.

Here is a summary of the spending money:

We took £1,500 Spending money each (so had £3,000 between us) so figured that would be £1,500 per week spending money for the time we were away. That did work out to be enough and we only had £221 left at the end of the 2 weeks. That included all the activities we did as above and covered our food and drink for the entire holiday.

  • Manta Dive Tour – £125pp
  • Volcanoes National Park 10 hour Day Trip – £195pp
  • Volcanoes Helicopter Tour (45 minutes) – £122pp
  • Hanauma Bay Day Trip – £25pp

SUMMARY

How do I sum up a place like Hawaii? I don’t think the words will reflect this place or do it justice. It’s a destination that you have to see to believe. It has everything you could ask for. Sun, crystal sea waters, warm climate, beaches, great food, loads of things to do and amazing local people. What more could you want?

Hawaii is one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world. Which is evident when on the islands, there are little beach huts for two. Restaurants with tables on the sand brushing the sea. To top it off Oahu is only the start, you could check out some of the other islands. Mali or the Big Island as each of them has their own little something special to reveal. The seas around the Islands are a paradise for wildlife. Reefs with every colour of the rainbow ideal for snorkelling and deep ocean drop offs ideal for scuba diving.

Here are a few links you might find useful in planning your next trip to Hawaii.

Official ESTA Application Website, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (dhs.gov) – All arrivals must have a valid ESTA (VISA).

Daniel S (@Stick1985) – Profile – Tripadvisor – This is the link to my TripAdvisor page with more in depth reviews on hotels, Airlines and Airports plus other activities like Ala Moana Mall:

You can also check out my top 10 travel tips to get you well on your way. These tips will help you save time and money when travelling anywhere.

Final Thoughts:

I was able to cross of 3 items on my bucket list while being on the islands. Swim with a Manta Ray, visit the Volcano and visit the islands of Hawaii itself. So for that reason alone Hawaii will always be a fond and incredible destination. It will give any destination a hard act to follow. For that reason, Hawaii still ranks the No.1 place I have ever been to. It’s hard for me to think of anything that will come close to this amazing place. If anyone would say to me, can you recommend a holiday for under £2,000. I would always say Hawaii and people look at me like I am crazy. But I did it and I am sure you can too. Believe me the trip of a lifetime awaits with the most unforgettable memories to be made.

Until next time….

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