Recently I went on a sisters trip to Oahu, one of the islands in Hawaii, to celebrate something awesome that had happened in my life, and also because it seems like a lot of the travel restrictions that had been put in place during the pandemic have started to lift recently!
We booked an airbnb in Waikiki, and it turned out to be pretty good place to set up our “basecamp” because a lot of the car/moped rentals were very close to the area and most of our non-Honolulu destinations kind of all centered around the city, so it was a central starting place for a lot of our daytrips 🙂
Our itinerary kind of looked like this:
- Waikiki Beach – Waikiki beach is definitely crowded, and for popular restaurants & eateries, the lines looked like they could easily take over 30 minutes of waiting to reach the front :0 The beach itself is also super crowded, and there were so many people swimming and surfing it was kind of hard to see the bottom of the beach and enjoy the scenery; but if you’re interested in the nightlife then this seemed like to be the best place to be!
- Diamond Crater Hike – The hike was really nice, but parking seemed like it’d be difficult with a car! My sister and I took our mopeds to the crater so we were able to easily park in the moped parking, but for cars there was a line entering the park that was just for parking :0 The hike itself wasn’t too difficult, but there was a very long line of people waiting to reach the top closer to the end of the hike, so if you want to see the view from the top of the crater, definitely come early!
- Brief lookaround Chinatown – We didn’t do much in Chinatown other than go for lunch, but it seemed like a relatively quiet place 🙂
- Snorkeling and swimming
- Aloha Stadium Swap & Meet – This swap and meet was huuuge! It took place at the Aloha Stadium, all over the perimeter of the stadium, and while it was a bit overwhelming at first, we noticed that a lot of the vendors sell the same things so if you see a good part of the market, then you’ve pretty much seen it all! Some of the vendors will like to bargain, especially if you buy more expensive things/more things in general, so try your luck in getting the best deals! 🙂
- Ala Moana Center – This is Hawaii’s biggest mall, and it definitely was big! It has a lot of stores that you’d probably find on the mainland though, so I’m not sure if it’s a must-see but if you have the time and want to just enjoy a nice mall, then check it out!
- Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail – The views from this trail were so amazing, you could see so far out in the Pacific and fully appreciate the expanse of blue! We didn’t actually reach the lighthouse, because we took a discouraged detour to the tidal pools along the way (which were very worth it and super refreshing during the hot hike * ^ *), but I’m sure the view from the lighthouse is also great!
- Haleiwa – We stopped by this small town on our way to the Polynesian Cultural Center, and got some yummy shrimp at Giovanni’s shrimp truck! I think a lot of people stop here to enjoy the beaches near the town, but after lunch we drove through the streets and chose to enjoy the coastal view from the drive instead 🙂
- Polynesian Cultural Center – I absolutely loved this place! In some ways it kind of felt like an amusement park, because there were lots of “attractions” but they were also educational, which is the best kind of amusement park in my opinion :3 I highly recommend visiting the cultural center, I learned a lot about different cultures in Polynesia and the show and buffet dinner at the end were awesome!
Tips for your hawaii trip
If you’re also planning a trip to Hawaii sometime this year, here are some things to be aware of!
1. Plan Ahead!
I think this is the most important, definitely plan your trip ahead of time! A lot of the places we wanted to go to had really long lines where we had to spend a good chunk of time waiting, so if you can either go in the “off-times” (maybe really early to a beach, or an afternoon cup of coffee instead of a morning one?) then you can probably avoid some crowds!
There were also a couple places that were reservation only, but we didn’t know until the night before when we were looking up directions on how to get there from our airbnb (; ^ ;), so definitely keep an eye out for those too! A couple examples of places we had difficulty getting to/doing were snorkeling tours and visiting Hanauma Bay 🙂
2. reef safe sunscreen
The sun in Hawaii was pretty ruthless, so definitely make sure you pack some sunscreen for your trip! If you’re planning on going into the water though, it’s super important to make sure you take sunscreen that’s safe for the reefs, since a lot of commercial sunscreen can be harmful to the native ecosystems.
3. renting mopeds vs car
The first couple days of our trip, my sister and I rented mopeds at a store near Waikiki called Cruizin Hawaii! The store people were super friendly and nice, and they even helped me out a lot when I lost the keys to the moped one day and needed to get a set of spares, but actually riding the mopeds was an interesting experience.
One of the main pros of getting around using a moped is that parking is super easy! A lot of the places we went to had designated parking for mopeds and other 2-wheel vehicles (like bikes and motorbikes), so we usually were able to park pretty quickly and oftentimes close to wherever we were trying to go. Riding the mopeds themselves is also super fun! It’s nice to enjoy the view without being obstructed by any windows or other parts of the car (?) while riding along the roads 🙂
There are definitely some cons to consider to moped rentals though, one of the biggest being that you can’t ride the moped on any of the major highways or freeways so it’s kind of hard to go far on the island unless you want the ride the moped all around the perimeter of the island D: There were also some pretty hot times of the day where it got pretty difficult to stay out in the sun the whole time, but because we were on mopeds we were exposed to the sun and wind pretty much all day; so if you’re going to be on a moped all day, make sure you cover your shoulders to prevent sunburn and also make sure you have good eye protection!