In June for my birthday I took a last minute trip to Hawaii. Traveling is my favorite way to celebrate, so I decided to book this trip last minute and go for the weekend. When I booked it I felt like it was a Now or Never decision, so NOW was the right answer.
We arrived on a Friday in the afternoon to Honolulu, Hawaii.
As we arrived, if you have read my previous travel diaries you know we more often than not have an interesting arrival, to say the least. Hawaii was not too bad but definitely not the exception! Upon our arrival we were greeted by a lady working at a shuttle counter. She was the nicest! She suggested getting the bus instead of a shuttle since we only had carryons and this would be faster and more budget friendly.
Since we had not planned anything and felt adventurous we went with it; and let me tell you, that was a ride! To keep it short, do I recommend it? I would say it depends. It depends on wether you know what to expect in public transportation; things such as small crowded spaces, smells, and small inconveniences at times. If you have high tolerance for things like the ones I mentioned I would say you should be fine, if not I would pay an Uber or a shuttle. If you are thinking about public transportation, it is very common for tourists to take use it in Hawaii, but do note if you want to take it from the airport to your hotel you can only take the public bus if you have ONLY carryons, no big luggage will allowed.
After that ride all we wanted was to check into our hotel and unwind. We stayed at VIVE Waikiki Hotel! I loved it, they greeted us with fresh pineapple juice and a wet towel. Their service was nothing short of superb during our entire stay.
We freshened up and headed out just before sunset. Since we had not planned or researched things to do we started walking, just taking everything in. Our first stop was at a bar for a pina colada and a beer. I hadn’t had a pina colada in so many years, it was so good! We continued walking and exploring Waikiki, but we were getting hungry.
We really wanted something authentic of the region, that’s what we always tend to look for but since we’re starving we checked a menu saw one thing we liked and sat there.
Honestly, Hula Grill Waikiki was a nice place but I wouldn’t eat here again. I don’t like to talk about my not so great experiences but I do think it’s important for me to be honest and true to my experience. We checked out the menu before deciding to eat there, we both liked a burger. We waited about 15 minutes to be seated and once we were seated and ready to order the burger, we were told they did not serve burgers were we were seating only at the bar, but the bar was full, so we couldn’t go sit there. We chose the two plates below, my boyfriend like his, I ate mine but I would not order it again. Plates were overpriced for the quality of food but I guess we were paying for the view, maybe. Money is not an issue when food is great, in my opinion this restaurant just wasn’t up to par. I will say that yelp reviews differ from mine.
I feel terrible writing about my experience at this restaurant but I’m doing it in hopes that it will only help you have a better experience when you travel to Waikiki. Typically when I read blogs to plan my trips when I travel, I look for honest opinions and experiences to know what to expect and what to avoid.
That was the end of day 1 we would have loved to go party but we were exhausted.
The only way to start day two was at the beach. We were up bright and early to enjoy a couple of hours at Waikiki beach.
After the beach we were on the hunt for a loco moco, one of plates that you must try while in Waikiki. We found it at Shorefyre Lunch & Dinner. This plate is made with a beef and sausage patty over a bed of rice, covered with gravy and topped with eggs. I liked it, it was something different. The flavor is strong but good, we shared this plate and the portion was perfect for the two of us.
Now that our belly was full and our heart smiling after that plate we were ready to continue exploring. We hopped on the bus to go to the blow hole, someone recommended it to us so we went. It’s a beautiful place, we didn’t take a bathing suit otherwise we would have jumped in the water.
We hopped back on the bus to continue going north, we got down in the last stop and walked a bit to enjoy the view at this beach close to the Sea Life Park Hawaii. It seemed like there were a lot more locals at this beach that at other beaches. After a couple of pictures and taking all the beauty of this place in, we headed back to the bus stop.
Back in Waikiki and it was time for dinner. We wanted to avoid the place right in front of our hotel at all costs but we ended up there because we knew we didn’t want a big chain restaurant and we didn’t want to walk much more, we opted for poke at Maguro Spot.
Poke is a bowl with a base often of white rice, raw fish, sauce and a couple of toppings. I liked mine it was different than some I have had, but my boyfriend prefers the ones we’ve had back home.
On our last day there we rented a car, I have to say this was probably my favorite day because explored so much more. If you go to Honolulu, I definitely recommend renting a car to explore the island throughly and with more time of course.
Our goal was to drive the whole island before our flight. We stopped really quickly at the blow hole and from there just continued driving and stopping at the places that appealed to us the most. Some were super crowded and popular while others were super lonely and secluded, none the less we enjoyed every single stop. My favorite stop was a very tiny section of the beach in Kahaluu on road 830 after Heeia Kea Small Boat Harbor if you are going north. We had the place to ourselves, we enjoyed a beer there and handout for a bit. The water was so clear and shallow. This little section brought so much peace to my heart.
After this we continued driving, we were getting hungry and I found Waiahole Poi Factory in the map. The food looked different but they had great reviews, so we had to try it. It was authentic and so good, very different but it was good. I liked the poi. If you like to try new things and food authentic to places you travel to, you must stop here. We took the food to go and stopped a little further at Kuala Regional Park.
We continued driving, and came across food trucks and vendors, I am so happy we stopped! I have the best corn on a cob I’ve ever had. We were so full from the food earlier but we enjoyed it so much. We honestly wished we could have had more space in our bellies to try more food at this stop, there were many places to eat. There is always next time. The way to find this place is to look for Honos Shrimp Truck on the Kamehameha Hwy.
After this we stopped at a place where there was no one in sight and got in the water. The place where we stopped was filled with rocks that created a little jacuzzi size pool where we hung out for a while before heading back to Waikiki to go to the airport.
Our very last stop was for food right in front of our hotel at Ruffage Natural Foods. This braised tomato beef noddle soup was so good!
We didn’t drive through the entire island but we drove through most of it! This is an amazing island, I would love to be back hopefully with more days to enjoy more of it. I would say if you want to drive the entire island separate certain sections into different days, that way you can fully enjoy every stop you make. Until next time…
PS. We took a shuttle back to the airport, our hotel called them for us but if you want to book your self you can find them at hstshuttle.com or call 808-841-2928. This was not sponsored their service was just great.