Flight: Hawaiian airline 5 hours 30 mins flight from San Jose, CA. No meal included, they only provide snacks. Alaska airline on the way back provided a meal. Flights can be cheap around $350-400 but check in bag is not included which cost $60 two ways.
Car rental: We went with alamo car rental. Got the cheapest deal through Costcotravel.com After our return they said that the gas tank was damaged even though we didn’t hit anything. Not sure what happened.
Driving: Very crowded and traffic around Oahu. Drive was easy just like in the US. On our 4 1/2 days of stay we always wake up early (4-5am) to beat the crowd or else you might get stuck on traffic and also will have difficulty getting a parking.
Day 1: Arrival. We went straight to Giovanni’s shrimp truck around 11am. Line was already so long. It was good shrimp but my Mom can make the same. It is good to try. We then went to Laniakea beach. We saw some turtles swimming but no one was in the beach maybe because the tide was high and very windy. We then went to Matsumoto’s shaved ice. I didn’t really like this shaved ice, it was nothing compare to Waiola shaved ice. Waiola’s shaved ice was like Maui’s Ullulanis shaved ice. We went to Walmart after.
Day 2: We woke up at 5 am to go to Diamond Head crater. This place gets really crowded and parking can be difficult. Around 6:30 am the parking was almost full. Place was already crowded but not so much. Hike was easy. Water fountain and restroom in the area and some dole dessert. Very nice view on top but very crowded (feels like a sardine on top) You will also pass a tunnel that is dark(careful for those people with claustrophobia. Drones is not allowed here.
After the hike we went to Ala Moana Beach. Not so popular beach compare to Waikiki beach. The area is manmade and is protected. No waves or current but can get deep if you go further. Very peaceful here. Highly recommend. Another beach that is close is Magic Island, very few people there also. If you like privacy you go to these beaches. Parking is easy too.
It was Friday this day. Hilton has free firework every Friday at 7:45(8:00 on other months) One spot to watch is by Magic Island. Get there early or else you will struggle with the parking. Lots of locals gather here on Friday. We almost missed the fireworks because there is very few parking available. Also come here early to watch the sunset then watch the fireworks.
Day 3: We woke up early again at 4 am. We went early to see the Sunrise at Lanikai pillbox. Parking was already hard when we get there. We park close to Lanikai park. There is also no restroom. Medium hike up, not so hard but can get difficult if it is raining or it rained the night before. Sunrise is beautiful here. Bring lots of water. After the hike enjoy Lanikai beach which is 3-5 mins from the parking. Parking here can be really difficult so it is good to come early. There is also no restroom even though this place is well known. Restroom is 10-15 mins walk which is by Kailua beach. For me Lanikai beach is the most beautiful beach in Oahu, water is very blue as long as you have enough sun. We then went to Kailua beach to shower and to check the area. We ate at Boots and Kimo’s which is close in the area. Highly recommend this place. We then toured the coast otw back. Makapu’u tidepools>Makapu’u beach>Makapu”u lookout>Halona blowhole. Too tired to hike Makapu’u lighthouse. We then went to Waiola shaved ice which we highly recommend. Sunset again at Ala Moana beach.
Day 4: We woke up again around 5am to do the Koko crater trail. Parking was half full when we get there around 6. The hike was medium but it can be difficult to those people who don’t hike. Our friends who don’t hike had difficulty climbing up. Some area can get pretty steep so this can scare those people who are afraid of heights. There is also an area where it is open and they said it is like 20 feet deep(it looks less than that for me) You can get injured if you fall down that area. Good news is there is a trail on the side to bypass that area if you’re afraid to do it. Don’t forget to bring some water. Come early because it can get hot. Restroom is by the school close to the parking lot. If you want to continue there is also a ridge hike trail which I wished we had done. Beside Koko crater is Hanauma bay. Parking here can get difficult that’s why I wanted to do the Koko crater early. Parking was full when we got there at 11am. Lots and lots of people here. There can be some current, some areas are also very shallow, you may hurt your legs hitting the dead corals. Water here is not that clear. We had a better snorkel experience at Kaneohe. After this went home to shower then head to Chief’s Luau. Highly recommend this Luau place.
Day 5: Our last day. We decided to kind of chill this day. Ate breakfast at Cinnamon’s which is also well known for their pancakes. We then went to Kualoa regional park where you can see Chinaman’s Hat. I really wanted to hike Chinaman’s Hat which you need to kayak first to go there. Nice view here. We then went on tour with Captain Bob’s Kaneohe sandbar tour and snorkeling. Highly recommended this place, this is a hidden gem. Water is nice when sun is up, it was cloudy when we went but we still had fun. They provide food and let you stay in the sandbar for 45mins to 1 hour. You can also play volleyball here. You go snorkeling on the reef afterwards which for me was better than Hanauma. Went shopping after to bring home.
Favorite restaurants: Kyung seafood was our favorite by Waikiki. The poke at food lands was really good. The spam musubi was the best at 7 eleven.
Here is the 4K video to summarize our trip. Feel free to watch.