Those that follow me on my social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook) know that I went to Hawai’i to celebrate my 26th birthday. I had to go all out for 26. Hawai’i is a beautiful place to go away for hibernation with family and friends. When I was deciding on what Island in Hawai’i to go to as I planned my trip, I was torn between Maui and Oahu. I am very outdoorsy and like to do touristy things so Oahu was the island that was going to give me two of both worlds. Maui not so much, because it is more of a relaxation island. The capital of Hawai’i Honolulu, attracts many tourists because it meets the modern luxurious of today from high-end stores to five star hotels, dinning and entertainment. I enjoyed waking up to many Alohas and Mahalos which come with Polynesian hospitality.
WHERE TO STAY
I stayed at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Waikiki. Aside from the exceptional customer service, it is surrounded by luxurious hotels, restaurants and stores. Cultural activities, art & music and festivals where a daily scene. The hotel offered a complimentary happy hour each day with variety of Hawaiian tropical cocktails at their pakini bar. Who can give up a free Mai Tai, Blue Hawaiian? I mean the list goes on. In addition to this, the hotel offers a full cooked to-order breakfast which was one of my favorite perks of staying at the Embassy Suites aside from the Complimentary Manager’s Evening Reception (happy hour). Omelets, roasted potatoes, bacon, sausages, ham, pastries, overwhelming cereal selections, fruits, biscuits and gravy, I mean, can I go on? From the bell service to the travel agents and house keeping staff, they made sure our stay was for the books.
WHERE TO EAT
In Hawaii, food trucks help you experience food on wheels on another level. The majority have sea food prepared in different ways and others have vegetarian food options. My favorite restaurant during my stay was Duke’s Waikiki. It has the best mahi mahi that comes with lemon beau blanc which by the way is a must have when in Oahu. The most fascinating thing about this restaurant was that it’s cocktails come with a back scratcher as part of the garnish. I mean it doesn’t get better than that right? Only in Hawai’i. I also went to Cuckoo Coconuts Waikiki, which gives you Hawaiian ambience at a low-cost. If you want to get cocktails out of coconuts, listen to soothing music under vibrant umbrellas, this is the place to go. Atlantis Seafood & Steak also in the heart of Waikiki gives you a variety of seafood and steak. Want to have a palette refreshing Hawaiian cocktail in a pineapple with umbrellas, this is the place you need to make a stop over.
WHAT TO DO
You can never run out of things to do in Oahu. I was really conflicted on what to do prior to my trip. I then found a site called “Hawaii Discount” that broke everything down to the T. Because I am very outdoorsy as I mentioned, I incorporated outdoor activities and activities with more intimate settings to mix things up.
- Kualoa Ranch: This is a secluded place about 45 mins away from Waikiki with activities like horse back riding, ATV tour, raptor tour, jungle expedition tour, secret island beach activities, zip line tour etc. I only went for the ATV tour and the secret island activities. The ATV tour is a must because of the scenic experience. You get to see Oahu in a whole different lens. As you ride the ATV with your tour guide of course, you get to see movie sites for movies like Journey, Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Lost and where some scenes of Hawai’i Five O are shot. If this is not incensing enough, I don’t know what is. I was in awe the entire time going through the jungle and capturing these ever lasting memories. The secret island on the other hand is secluded as well and can only be reached by boat. It is a hide away for private pictures without having people photo bomb or fill up your background with their unwelcome shadows. You know how annoying that gets ha! You get to paddle board, canoe, lounge in hammocks, play beach volley ball, badminton, the list goes on.
- Luau: There so many luaus in Oahu, so always look at the reviews before going to any. I know I did. I decided to get away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki and attended Germaine’s luau which was very intimate and fun. I got to indulge in Polynesian culture in a whole different form. The gorgeous sunset and the ocean waves were the perfect backdrop for the occasion. You can not go to Hawai’i and not go to a luau. You just have to do it. I got myself a tiki cup as a souvenir because it is what you do in Oahu.
- Dolphin watch/ snorkel Cruise : I went on the Dolphin Star Cruise to watch dolphins and also snorkel. This was a much more relaxing activity to do. A BBQ lunch on a cruise and the tranquility of the ocean where also highlights of the experience.
- Makani Catamaran Dinner Sunset Cruise: I knew I had to watch the sunset when in Oahu some way. This sunset cruise was nothing but an atmosphere of fun and good vibes. From the food to the ambience, everything was spectacular.
- Manoa Falls: This is where my outdoorsy side came to action. I hiked up the Manoa falls which was an interesting adventure. Navigating my way through the woods and rocks was nothing but an adrenaline rush that got me excited. Once I got to the 200 feet tall falls, I was mesmerized by their swishing sound as they poured into the blissful pond. People are not allowed to cross over to the falls as it is hazardous due to following rocks. I couldn’t resist but take some pictures by them despite the warning signs. Risking it all for the perfect shot huh?
- Diamond Head: This was the longest hike I have ever had and it was nothing but a peaceful adventure. It was a 40 minute hike up to the top where I got to see Oahu from above. Incredibly beautiful scenery worth picture-taking. I believe I lost a couple of pounds dripping in sweat and gasping every step up. On my way down, I treated myself to shaved ice and coconut juice out of a fresh coconut. Worth it!
The night life in Oahu is vibrant and lively. Dinning, entertainment and swimmers that enjoy a night dive in the ocean; you get a different side of Oahu at night.
I enjoyed every day in Oahu. I made sure every day was fun by partaking in adventurous activities.