If you follow me on social media, (mainly Facebook), or if I consider you a friend, you already know that at least once a year, Bae and I are going to take an unforgettable vacation around the time of our anniversary, which is around Labor Day. Last year, we were very truly blessed to vacation in Greece, and it was absolutely everything that I have ever dreamed of and imagined. Yes, it will always be a tough act to follow, in my opinion, but we welcome the challenge of seeing the WORLD and experiencing all of God’s beautiful creation! This year, we chose Hawaii for our annual vacation. Bae really hit it out the park with the planning for this trip. All I can say is OMG!!! *heart eyed emoji*
We spent 1 week on the island of O’ahu, where we did all of the tourist sights and attractions. We stayed at the Shoreline Hotel Waikiki, and the accommodations were excellent!
All of the staff were warm, friendly and welcoming. The hotel was walking distance to the famous Waikiki beach. Pictures only capture a fraction of the beauty of the beach. We spent several days laying on the beach soaking up that good Tropic sunshine. Can I just say that sunsets on Waikiki beach are the things that dreams are made of. OMG! *heart eyed emoji*
While on O’ahu, we visited the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, which is filled with all of the powerful emotion that you would think a memorial to the fallen sailors who lost their lives on 12/07/1941 would provoke. This is definitely a must-see if you ever have the chance to visit O’ahu. I can truly say that I will always remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice on one of the most fateful days in American military history. This memorial pays homage beautifully.
One of the most majestic scenes, in my opinion, is the panoramic view of Waikiki after hiking to the top of Diamond Head. All of the twists, turns, and STEPS are ABSOLUTELY worth it once you experience the stunning, breathtaking view for yourself. Just make sure to stay hydrated and pace yourself, because at times, you will be getting a good cardio workout. But it is all worth it!
The next attraction that we had the chance to experience was the Iolani Palace, the residence of the rulers of the kingdom of Hawaii including Kamehameha III and Queen Lili’uokalani. We experienced the rich history and living restoration of a honored national Hawaiian identity, and learned so many interesting historical facts about Hawaiian culture. This National Historic Landmark is also a must-see when visiting O’ahu.
The hike up Manoa Falls Trail is another must-do activity. The absolutely breathtaking views as you hike this 1.6 mile trail is an experience that you will remember for a lifetime. Yes, at times, the trail is moderately challenging, but a little cardio has never stopped us from an all-around great experience. I was able to get some absolutely stunning photos that I am going to be able to look at and remember the beauty for years to come. A word of advice… it is better to hike the trail in the mornings… the earlier the better, as the trails are very popular and there are far less people on the trail.
The last attraction that we experienced on O’ahu was the Polynesian Cultural Center. First of all, the drive from Waikiki Beach to the cultural center was some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen! Lush green mountains literally next to the sandy crystal clear blue beaches… the beauty was almost overwhelming at times. Just a quick side note, I would not try to see all the islands in one day, because each of the islands presents special presentations and demonstrations that are educational and interesting and usually last about an hour. We chose to visit the islands of Samoa, Aotearoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Fiji. Tahiti really hit a home run with their presentation because it was a traditional wedding ceremony in which the officiant invited all the married couples to participate in the event with the renewing of vows! Yes, we renewed our vows, which was a total surprise, because we were not expecting such a treat!
We ended the stay at the cultural center by attending an absolutely AMAZING show called “Ha: Breath of life.” This truly unforgettable experience is a story of pure passion inspired by song and dance. It is a story of love, family, birth, death, tragedy, and triumph. I was literally captivated the whole show! Absolutely a must-see for visitors to the cultural center, and an experience I will never forget.
Our next 7 days were spent on the beautiful island of Maui. THIS is the island to visit if you just want to hang loose and relax in paradise. We stayed at a nice condo in the town of Kihei. Ma’Alaea Surf Resort does not owe us anything when it comes to accommodations and being literally steps from the beach! Honey we were living our absolutely best life as we relaxed on the beach side patio, sipping wine, and letting the stress and tension of work life melt away with every crash of the waves.
We did get to experience the marvelously breathtaking views as we drove along the road to Hana. This is THE MUST-DO attraction on the island of Maui. Stops along this scenic drive were just absolutely, sickeningly gorgeous! I do have to suggest getting a very early start on the Road to Hana drive because it takes SEVERAL hours from start to finish including many stops along the way. Also you have to make the drive back and maneuvering on the road at a certain point is… how can I say it nicely… not for the faint of heart. It is the 620 hair pin turns and curves for MILES for me. I don’t know if someone who suffers from motion/car sickness will escape nausea on this excursion because I am not going to lie, the drive is challenging at times. Anyway, some of the high points we visited during the drive are:
The Garden of Eden Arboretum
Kaumahina State Wayside Park
and Wai’anapanapa State Park
We started the drive around 7:30 am and made the drive in under 5 hours including all the stops. Of course the drive back will not take that long, but again, keep in mind, you do not want to try to drive this road when the sun is going down. So yes, it is definitely worth it, in my opinion, to make the drive, because the sights are those that you will remember and treasure for a lifetime.
We saved the best for last during our trip to Hawaii, and the best was the Old Lahaina Luau. This was my very first authentic Hawaiian Luau, and baaaaaby I thoroughly enjoyed. The views, the entertainment, the food, the beverages, the service, everything receives an A+ from me. The unlimited drinks, the 6 course meal, and the alluring hula dancers and performers truly made this an experience of a lifetime!
Hawaii does not owe us anything, because we were truly blessed to experience the best of Hawaiian cultural enrichment. Hawaii is truly an island paradise and if we didn’t have so many more places to visit on our bucket list, we would definitely visit again.
Thanks for viewing.