Hawaii…..sounds amazing doesn’t it? It had been my dream trip for a long time. I longed to see the beautiful beaches, the jaw dropping volcanic mountain scenery and the massive waves that surfers love. Two years ago I put a picture of a Hawaiian beach that I cut out of a magazine on my vision board and three weeks ago, it became a reality.
Back in September 2019, my husband and I decided we were finally going to make the trip as a family (we have two teenages aged 19 and 15). We are both in our mid life years (he is 50 and I am 48) and the time we have where our children still want to travel with us is limited. So we decided now was the time. We watched the cost of flights over the course of a couple weeks and when we saw a price we were good with, we booked. Now only 5 more months to wait…..
Our Hawaiian trip was 10 days total. We decided to split the time between Oahu (Honolulu) and Maui. The first 5 days on Oahu and then 5 days on Maui. I will focus the first few posts on our time on Oahu and save our Maui experience for another time.
Fast forward to January 30, 2020 and the four of us were onboard our flight and headed to Honolulu. But not a direct flight. The rest of my family does not like being on airplanes for long periods of time, so we did the trip with a stop in Denver for and hour an a half. Just enough time to go for a walk, stretch our legs and get something to eat. 7 hours later, we were flying over the coast of Oahu about to land at the Honolulu airport.
The one thing I noticed immediately is that most of the airport is open air. I guess when your average temparature is 26C, there really isn’t much need for walls and windows, unless in secure areas!
We picked up our rental car. We got upgraded to a Jeep which at the time we thought was cool, but as we drove out of the car rental garage we saw a sea of Jeeps parked – rows and rows of them! And there are tons of them on the road, so the upgrade wasn’t as exciting as we initially thought. My advice, book a smaller class car. Chances are you will get upgraded as walking through the garage, I really didn’t see many small cars!
Off we started on our way to our condo in Waikiki Beach. The one thing I noticed immediately was the landscape. Ocean on one side and volcanic mountains with houses built into the side of them on the other. Breathtaking views no matter where you looked. I was fascinated that the houses didn’t slide down the steep inclines and marvelled at how they were built in the first place. Want to get a good workout if you live in those neighbourhoods? Just go for a walk down (and then back up) your street!
We chose to rent a condo for this trip so we could have our own space and be able to have breakfast in before heading out for the day. Also, a condo turned out to be a better deal as it also had parking included, which was a big plus since we had a rental car. Many hotels charge $30+ USD per night for parking in addition to your nightly rate. Our condo was in Waikiki Beach just a few blocks from the beach. We had a great view of the ocean from our balcony.
So upon arrival and after now being up for 15+ hours and travelling for the better part of a day, we were exhausted and hungry. Still feeling like we were on EST, it felt like 8pm, but was in fact only mid afternoon. Hawaii is 5 hours behind our time zone, combined with getting up at 3am to be at the airport for 4am, suffice to say we were tired! But I do have to say, the time change going there was much easier to adjust to than coming home. We dropped off our stuff, freshened up and headed out on foot in search of food.
A friend of ours recommended a little place called ‘Surf n Turf Tacos’. We looked it up on the map and it turned out to be about 3 blocks from our condo – just a short walk! We arrived and were amazed at the size of the place, just a tiny hole in the wall kind of spot where you just know the food is going to be good. We proceeded to order a mix of tacos, burritos and quesadilla and took up a spot on the picnic table outside to satisfy our grumbling stomachs! Food was definitley good, but a bit on the pricey side. $75USD for our meal (with no alcohol) – which rivals the cost of many sit down nice restuarants. My recommendation would be to just stop in for a snack mid day and share a quesadilla or two. Save the big spend for a nicer restuarant.
We got our second wind (or more like our 3rd or 4th as by this time as now it felt like midnight!) and set out for a walk around before watching the sunset on the beach along with some traditional Hawaiian Hula dancing. Shortly after, headed back to the condo to bed to rejuvenate and gear up for the exciting days ahead.
Watch for my next post where I share our Oahu experiences and the must do places to visit and great resturants to try.
Until next time….Aloha!
Amber Dinda is wife, mom of two teenagers and a serial entreprenuer. She has embraced the mid life years as an opportunity to enjoy and explore all that life has to offer and not approach mid life as a crisis. You can follow Amber’s journey and experiences by subscribing to her blog and connecting with her on Facebook or on Instagram.