Traveling to Hawaii
Hawaii is not playing when it comes to COVID. You must get a NAAT COVID test 72 hours prior to visiting and you must test at their trusted testing partners. You also need to register online with the state of Hawaii. Once approved you will receive a QR code. You will need that to board the plane.
For more pre-travel questions visit https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/faqs/
I stayed in Honolulu on the island of O’ahu. Keep in mind that each island has their own COVID restrictions and it’s not as easy to fly to each island. Masks are required even outside.
I highly recommend getting a car rental. Ubers/Lftys are limited and expensive. You will want a car to drive around the island and explore. Car rentals are very expensive and limited so I recommend booking a car rental a month prior. Turo was the most cost effective car rental option.
Hawaii is not a place to figure out your activities when you arrive. YOU MUST PRE-PLAN! Luau shows are booked a month out in advance and it’s very difficult to make restaurant reservations everywhere. I recommend you make your restaurant reservations weeks prior or expect to wait about 2 hours for a table. You cannot just go to a bar either, you must have a reservation. Plan which excursions you want to do and make your reservations prior.
Unfortunately all turtle snorkeling tours and luau shows were booked when I was visiting. I got lucky to get a spot on a sunset booze boat tour with Manu Kai at Waikiki Beach. Mai Tais and sunset views on a boat in Waikiki was a vibe!
Hawaii Foodie Adventures
You must eat one of the main dishes of Hawaii, POKE! It is raw fish but soooo good!
I had authentic poke at Fresh Catch.
Delicious poke nachos at Sky Waikiki. This is a rooftop restaurant with amazing views of Waikiki. The sushi was also amazing. Try to go during happy hour!
Hula Grill and Duke’s Cafe are one of the more popular restaurants. They are located in the same building in Waikiki. Macadamia Nut-Crusted Mahi Mahi is one of the popular Hawaiian dishes and I recommend ordering it.You must also order the hula pie!
You must also eat Korean/Hawaain BBQ. I went to a hole in the wall (usually the best food) called Choi’s Kitchen. The Kimchee special was BOMB!
For another foodie adventure, you must try Malasadas! It’s a Portuguese doughnut. The best are at Leonard’s Bakery on a food truck.
Mai Tai’s are the most popular drinks. Rum is my preferred alcohol of choice so I was loving it! Rum Fire has great drinks and a nice ambiance. They also have fire shows at night.
Tip: If you do not have reservations for a restaurant, call or try to make a reservation online. Most places are 50% reservation and 50% walkin. Arrive a few minutes before the restaurant opens to put your name on the waitlist which is the best option.
Also food and drinks are much more expensive in Hawaii. Expect to spend about $35 per meal.
Exploring the Island of O’ahu.
The views and beaches are just beautiful all around the island.
I stopped at the Pali Lookout to capture breathtaking views of the island.
I also stopped at the Makapu’u Lookout. Believe me, pictures do not do justice!
Beaches I recommend to visit: Waikiki, Kailua and Kauloa
I highly recommend taking a day to explore Waimea Valley. Swimming at the waterfalls was an unforgettable experience. They have a limited admission to the waterfall so I recommend making a reservation online to guarantee entrance. Admission is $20 and park hours are 9AM-4PM.
Make sure to stop at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck at North Shore for the best garlic shrimp! They only accept cash.
Dinero! Dinero! Dinero!
In all honesty, have your coins right for Hawaii. Everything costs! Food, drinks, parking, Airbnb/hotel and gas are pricey. I personally like to use the Qapital app to save my travel funds. Use my code ‘nv6x94z5’ and earn $5 when you join. Don’t go broke for travel!
Fun fact: The Hawaiian alphabet only has 12 letters! Which explains why everything looks and sounds the same!
Also, my grandpa is from Hawaii but I don't know much about the culture. I enjoyed to learn more about his hometown.
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