Saturday, March 19, 2016

Hawaii, I Love You! | Part 2: Honolulu



Aloha, once again! :)

After my friends and I adventured around Kauai, we hopped a plane (probably the shortest flight I've ever been on, clocking in at 20 minutes or so) to the island of Oahu.

Once we landed in Honolulu, the landscape totally changed. The peaks and valleys changed to skyscrapers, but the beaches remained the same, with clear blue water and shell-laden sand.

So, here's what all we saw during our stay in Honolulu!

Leonard's Bakery


I had seen Leonard's Bakery floating around on YouTube and online in general, and we had to put it on our to-do list since it had gotten great reviews...and who wouldn't want to try Portuguese, palm-sized donut holes?

They were SO. GOOD.




Pearl Harbor/USS Missouri

Then, we made sure to visit Pearl Harbor. The boats weren't going out to the Memorial due to high winds, but we were still able to visit and actually board the USS Missouri - also known as the "Mighty Mo" - which is filled with so much history. This was where the treaty that closed World War II was signed.



The Dole Plantation

After we visited Pearl Harbor, we decided to swing by the Dole Plantation, home to the Dole Pineapples. Because of the high winds and heavy rain, a lot of stuff around the plantation was closed, but we were determined to buy Dole Whips anyway.

A Dole Whip is pineapple soft-serve, sometimes with pineapple juice, sometimes with pineapple pieces on top, but it's absolutely delicious however it's served. (Side note: if you've ever been to Disney World, they serve these in Adventureland in Magic Kingdom.)

Let's just say that the Dole Whips were a huge success, regardless of the heavy rain. 


Iolani Palace/Kamehameha

As we drove back from the Dole Plantation, the rain let up, so we decided to stop by Iolani Palace, the palace of the last queen of Hawaii before the islands were incorporated into the United States.



Diamond Head

The next day, after we had lunch with some of my friend's friends in Honolulu (who were super, super nice), we made plans to hike the Diamond Head state monument trail. This trail was definitely different than the other two we hiked back on Kauai, but the views over the Honolulu skyline were my absolute favorite.



Waikiki Beach

Finally, during our last afternoon before our flight home, we spent time around Waikiki Beach. While our snorkeling by the shoreline wasn't as successful as on Kauai (I saw leaves instead of fish), the views from the ocean were amazing, possibly even better than the ones from Diamond Head, just because it seemed like the city was right there on the water.



And that concludes my two-part Hawaii series!
If you want to catch up on the first part, where we adventure around Kauai, click here.
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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hawaii, I Love You! | Part 1: Kauai



Aloha! :)

A couple weeks ago, I went with some girl friends of mine on a girls' trip/adventure to Hawaii. I'd never visited the Aloha State before, but I was so excited to finally visit a tropical island for the first time.

We visited two islands on our trip: Kauai and Oahu. Our first stop was the garden island of Kauai, and we fell in love with its lush landscape, friendly atmosphere, and - of course - the awesome food.

The Kauai Countryside

The day we woke up after our long flight to the islands, we set out for a drive after breakfast. Almost immediately, we were gushing over how pretty the landscape was. Normally, you wouldn't associate the countryside with an island, but it was almost crazy how varied the landscape became the more we explored.



Koloa

Based on my research of this town, I found out that Koloa was the home of the very first sugar mill on the island. 

This town was cute. We enjoyed walking through the shops and grocery store, and we had fantastic shaved ice at a nearby shaved ice truck.



Poipu Beach

Poipu Beach was one of the places we found that was highly recommended for snorkelers. It was my first time snorkeling, and to say I absolutely loved it was an understatement. LOVED seeing all those fish!



Waimeia Canyon

I can remember thinking several times while we were in Kauai that the landscape reminded me a LOT of the Jurassic Park movies. The two hikes we went on while on this island pretty much cemented that idea the more we ventured onto the trails.

The first hike we went on while in Kauai was in Waimeia Canyon. The trails were a bit steep and rife with rocks and roots, but the views we discovered were absolutely breathtaking.



Hanalei Bay & Napali Coast

Our last couple of stops on our trip to Kauai were at Hanalei Bay and the Napali Coast Trail (our second hike).

Hanalei Bay was a cute little town just before Ke'e Beach, where our trail was located. We wound up having some of the best shaved ice EVER, which consisted of epic flavors and ice cream underneath (mine was cotton candy flavored with vanilla ice cream...I got that two days in a row!). We also had lunch at Bubba's Burgers there, which has been frequented by many Hollywood stars.

The Napali Coast Trail was absolutely breathtaking as well. It had the best views of the coastline, where the water was SO blue, and there were tall peaks just behind us, beyond the trees. Again, rocky and steep hike, but the views were definitely worth our walk up those mountains.

 

The Other Things We Did and Loved
  • We generally had some of the best food on this island, from fish (Opah is AWESOME) to dessert (shaved ice!!!) to...
  • ...Hot dogs! We ADORED Puka Dogs...we went there two days in a row, and I highly recommend it, even if you're not normally a hot dog fan.
  • We went to a luau on our first night. That was fun.

All in all, we absolutely LOVED Kauai.

To continue on to part 2, in which we visit Honolulu, click here.
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