I can’t believe it’s already two years since I’ve been to the paradise itself: Hawaii. I made a lifetime dream come true in July 2016 and thinking back to it, still seems like a dream. I spent a lot of money to go there, and I will spend the same amount and even more if it meant that I could sit on Waimanalo Beach and just enjoy the movement of the waves and the sun kissing my skin.
Have you ever seen “The Sword in the Stone”? There’s a part in which an angry Merlin decides to go to Bermuda. Well, the Italian translators decided to change Bermuda with Honolulu, Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to go there as fast as Merlin did.
It took me definitely more than Merlin. Being an au pair is not always charming as many people think, the traveling part comes at a cost which is always the cheapest available. Cheap means that you have to sleep an entire night in the Phoenix airport to wait for your connection to Honolulu. Was it worth it? Definitely when I saw this view from the airplane window.
We decided to focus our trip to paradise to Oahu. The idea of going to the other islands was always there but, besides flying, from Oahu there’s no other way to go to the other islands. Flying was too expensive for our poor bank accounts so we decided to focus our attention on Oahu and its amazing shores. We booked a room thru Airbnb, a room 20-minute away by feet from Waikiki and Honolulu. It was July, it was really hot in the early afternoon but we made it to the beach and enjoyed the weather, even if it was definitely too crowded compared to the other beaches we were going to see. We were happy, we were in Hawaii, who could have wanted something more?
The first thing we did the next day was to hike the Koko Crater. Koko Crater Trail is a 1.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail. It counts 1100 steps of an old tram trail that the military used in World War II to transport supplies to the summit. It is located on the South side of the island, a 20-minute drive from Waikiki. The hike is rated difficult, and it really is. I suggest leaving pretty early in the morning so you are going to hike without the heat since there’s no shade on the trail. The hike is worth everything you faced with the 1100 steps, the view from the top is amazing.
Our second stop was our second beach, the one that I probably loved the most: Waimanalo Beach. It is just a dream with turquoise water and white sand. At the entrance, there’s a sign warning about jellyfish. We didn’t see any until the very last day when we came back to Waimanalo and Alice, my friend, got stung by one of them. It’s a really calm place, few tourists and local kids playing in the waves. Along the beach, there are tall palm trees where to find shade and calm from the strong sun rays. I got sunburn although I was wearing sunscreen, I was under a tree and my skin was already tanned. Hawaii’ sun is no joke.
If you want to go to Pearl Harbor you can do it for free if you are an early bird. The first 1300 people showing up in the morning have a free entrance. We had to wait two hours for our turn but there’s various museum to walk thru before taking the ship and visit the USS Arizona. It is a 75-minute program that begins at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theatre. They start with a 20-minute documentary film and then a Navy-operated shuttle boat will bring you to the USS Arizona Memorial. The experience has been heartbreaking. The night before we decided to watch the movie just to put ourselves in the mood, it really helped and it was a really touching experience.
After spending the morning at Pearl Harbor we decided to drive to the North Shore, precisely at Waimea Beach. Since when we visited was summer, the ocean was flat with no waves (in the winter this is a must be for surfers). The beach is amazing, we had the chance to swim with two turtles (or maybe it was the same one swimming up and down the shore) even though there is not much fish to see. There’s a rock, called “Da Big Rock”, located on the left hand of the shore where local kids jump into the water. It’s a 30 feet climb and dive.
Another amazing beach is Lanikai Beach. It could be hard to find since, on the shore, there are a lot of private properties but there are several public accesses where you can just park the car for free and walk down. The place is amazing, it is rated one of the best beaches in the world and I seriously can’t say anything about this award. It is an endless vastity of clear blue water and white sand.
We didn’t spend that much time at Lanikai because a storm arrived and forced us to move. In the meanwhile the weather was going to get better, we decided to eat and in front of Kailua Beach, there’s this restaurant called Buzz’s Original Steak House with a huge variety of food. From Hawaiian to typical American. Kailua is right next door to Lanikai, the sand is really white and the water is turquoise.
If you want to snorkel and find a huge variety of fish, you have to go to Hanauma Bay. If you really want to enjoy it, please go really early in the morning so you’ll be able to see the fish and not just people and sand. Only 3000 people per day are allowed in the marina. It is a 7.50$ fee to enter the park since it is a protected area. It is closed every Tuesday, so take note of that. If your child is under 12 years old he/she’s gonna have a free entrance. After you enter there’s a 9-minute instruction video that explains the story of the bay and how to behave correctly.
We didn’t want to miss the real Hawaiian touristy attraction so we spent 119$ to see a Luau. We went to the Chief’s Luau at Sea Life Park. It was actually really enjoyable and the people were super friendly. We bought the Paradise Experience that allowed us to seat in the Paradise section, 2 adult beverages and buffet all-inclusive. I think because there was space in the Royal section we got moved over there and we had a nice view of the stage.
The last beach that we went to was Pupukea Beach, again on the North Shore. In the summer it is a really calm place, while in the winter I imagine is a surf paradise. There was basically no one there, just us, the waves, the sand and the sun. It was an amazing experience on this kilometric and endless beach.
We didn’t make it see the sunset on the North Shore like we wanted after a stop at the tattoo shop, but we made it to Ko Olina. A tiny little beach close to a Luau that stole our hearts.
Oahu basically stole my heart like few other places in the world did. It is a place that I’m really eager to visit again, most of all all the other islands too. We didn’t visit any waterfall because the ground was really muddy and we fell in the first two meters that we walked. Oahu is such a magical place and I still don’t understand why the English speaking Merlin in “The Sword in the Stone” didn’t decide to go there but to Bermuda.