|I won trivia on the plane!|
We arrived on Saturday at 1:00PM Pacific time. When we got to the hotel we were greeted with fresh leis. They smelled amazing! The shuttle took us to our condo on the beach. There aren't very many condominiums directly on the beach in Oahu. Honolulu is a pretty big city with rows and rows of hotels so getting a condo was nice to accommodate our big family. We got two rooms. Our room was the four of us and my Mom. The condo had a separate bedroom, 2 twin size beds, and a couch that had a fold out bed. It also had two bathrooms and a kitchen. Our room had a city view and a partial ocean view. My inlaws room had an ocean view. The hotel beside us was a sister hotel of ours. We were able to use the pool from that
kids. I got to brag on Elijah though because he walked the entire thing and didn't complain once! After the hike we refreshed ourselves with shaved ice which someone conveniently located at the bottom of the volcano. It was the best shaved ice I've ever had. Not sure if it was due to how hot I was after the hike or it was really that good. It was time for lunch so we headed by taxi to Teddy's burgers recommended by one of my friends. It was sort of like 5 Guys but way better! That night we were so tired from the hike and once again the time change was putting us off so we decided to just take advantage of the pool side restaurant at the hotel. It was decent food, but way over priced. Starting to find out that is the way it is in Hawaii.
Monday: We woke up a little later today. Made it 5:00AM! It was my Mother In Law's 60th birthday! It was also Memorial Day. That morning me, Cameron, Tessa, and Jon had booked an ATV tour on Kualoa
little further and we passed by this huge oval cage looking building. He said they were filming Jurassic Park 4 here and it looked like a Raptor cage! Even though the original plan was ruined by the weather we still had a ton of fun on the other tour and it was all free! While we were gone the grandparents kept the kids and took them to the Honolulu Zoo. Afterwards, they went to the beach and picked up the lantern for the Floating Lantern Ceremony. Every year on Memorial Day in Honolulu they have a Lantern Floating Ceremony. The Ceremony is a huge event there. The morning of the ceremony you can go pick up a free lantern kit that you can put
together and write a message about a loved one you lost. At the ceremony you light the candle inside the lantern and release it into the ocean. Hundreds of people showed up for the ceremony. Della picked up a lantern in memory of her Mother and my Mom picked one up in memory of my Dad. The kids wrote/colored a message on the lanterns. The weather was absolutely perfect that night. It was a beautiful moment watching the sunset over the beach and sending those lanterns out to sea. After the lantern floating we had reservations at Duke's. It is one of the most popular restaurant on the island. The food was very good, but the dessert was the best. We all shared a huge piece of Hula pie! It was ice cream with frozen chocolate syrup on a Oreo Crust. It
Tuesday: The family set out to spend the entire day at the Polynesian Culture Center. From what I understood it was basically a museum to showcase the history/culture of the Polynesian Islands. I wasn't sure what it was really about and honestly I was not looking forward to this day, however, it ended up being my favorite day here!! It was basically a mini theme park kind of like Epcot showcasing the different islands.
Wednesday: Me, Cameron, Tessa, Jon, Elijah, Julia, and London had a kayaking and snorkeling excursion planned at He'eia State Park. We got picked up at our hotel and the bus took us to the park to get all of our gear and then they towed us out on our kayaks to the snorkeling areas. We had two guides for this trip. They were fantastic!! They were so helpful and our kids were the only kids on the tour and they helped out so much with their gear and at one point Julia had fallen asleep on the kayak and they helped get get back to the boat and made her a little bed. We kayaked to another location for more snorkeling and the water was so clear. We saw alot of fish and even a sea turtle. The coral snuck up on you through and if you touched it it was really rough. We were out for about 90 minutes and then we kayaked back to drop our gear off and then they had grilled out lunch for us. We had chicken, ribs, rice, salad, and corn. It was delicious. I would highly recommend this tour if you ever go snorkeling on Oahu!!
That afternoon the boys left to go pick up rental cars for us to have the rest of the week so for dinner we decided to drive over to Aulani which was Disney's resort on the island. We had actually looked into staying here, but for a group our size it just wasn't very accommodating plus of course it's Disney so it was triple the cost to stay there. You can go over to the resort though and eat at their restaurants so we decided to go over and see how the resort looked and eat. the resort was beautiful. It reminded me of Disney's Wilderness lodge, but with a Polynesian theme. The pool looked amazing!! They had a lazy river that wrapped around the pool and a small volcano in the middle.
Thursday: Me, Cameron,Tessa, Jon, Elijah, and my Mom went to Pearl Harbor. My In laws had been last time they came to Hawaii so they stayed with Julia and London back at the hotel.
Friday: Our last full day here. We got up and took the rental cars for a drive on the island. A girl on our kayaking tour told us we should go to Waimea Bay. So that morning we headed out and ate breakfast at Boots and Kiko's which was featured on Diner's Drive ins and Dives.
I got a fried rice egg omelette. It was yummy! Cam got what Guy ate on the show which was their Puleho Ribs. They were delicious!! After stuffing our faces we headed to the bay. The drive over was long. We got to see more residential areas but the traffic was pretty bad. When we made it to the bay it was gorgeous.
When we left the shrimp truck we headed back to our condo a different way we came so we got to see more rural areas of Hawaii which included coffee trees and their pineapple plantations. We barely made it before closing, but we got to shop at the Dole Plantation.I picked up a pineapple to take home which I have yet to cut into because every time I open my fridge its'a nice reminder of paradise!
Saturday: Our flight left today, but not until 8:00PM so we had most of the day to get more stuff in. Some friends had told us to wait to buy souvenirs until today because at the Aloha Stadium they set up a flea market with hundreds of booths with all kinds of things you could buy. They had shirts,hats, toys, and handmade or homemade goodies. Some booths had fresh cut up fruit. We bought a bag of bread fruit. It's a fruit in the mulberry family, but it reminded me of a peach. After the flea market we returned our rental cars and grabbed lunch at Cheeseburger Beachwalk.
Some things I was surprised at on our trip. One, is how many Japanese people there were! I mean at one point I thought maybe we were in Japan! It's covered with Japanese. I love the Japanese though. They are so funny and love to laugh at everything! This Japanese couple was taking pictures at the ranch where we did the ATV tour and I offered to take their picture together and they did this pose by the sign to the ranch and then they offered to take mine and Cameron's picture. I told Cameron we should do that same pose that they did so we did and they laughed so hard and even took our pictures with their own camera.
My top 3:
Polynesian Culture Center
Waimea Bay Beach Day
Cameron's Top 3:
Polynesian Culture Center
Diamond Head Hike
Elijah's Top 3:
Polynesian Culture Center
Julia's Top 3:
Swimming at the hotel
hiking Diamond head
Overall I had a wonderful time. Probably my favorite family vacation we've taken so far. I wander where we will go next??