Hi everyone! Just thought I'd share my own trip report from my trip to Oahu and Maui last month. This was my 3rd time coming to the islands but my mother's first time so we needed to take her to all the main sights/attractions. We only spent a week and visited two islands so some may call us crazy but we are more "been here done that" type of people. Just a heads up, it's really long!
Day 1: We arrived in Honolulu at 4:30 pm from Toronto via a 3 hour layover in LAX. We took an uber to our hotel the Hilton Garden Inn on Kuhio (cost us 29 USD) and because it was rush hour, it took us 45 minutes. As soon as we got settled we walked over to Waikiki Beach to catch the sunset, stunning as usual, where we took several pictures along with everyone else. After that, we strolled around Kalakaua avenue for a bit, popping into stores here and there before we went to international marketplace to grab a quick dinner. We shared two bowls of ramen and a shawarma plate from the food court, not the best but we didn't care at that point as we were starving. After eating we went to the ABC store to buy some water before heading back to our hotel (luckily right across the street from international marketplace and only a 5 minute walk from Waikiki beach). We were exhausted from being up almost 24 hours and could not wait to get some sleep!
Day 2: Due to the 6 hour time difference, we were up very early at around 6am. We took advantage of the breakfast buffet being offered at our hotel for $14 USD per person before taking an uber to Peal Harbour (cost us $29 USD from our hotel). Keep in mind there is no entrance fee but they charge you $5 per bag to store your bags as no bags bigger than your hand are allowed inside. We arrived at around 10:30am, it wasn't too busy and we strolled around a bit before getting our free tickets for the 1pm movie and boat ride to the monument. The monument was under construction so we could not actually get off the boat and go see it so that was a shame for my mother, but still amazing to get so close to it. We left around 2:30 and decided to take the public bus back to Waikiki to save money. That was a disaster as we waited an hour for the bus to come and the bus ride itself took 1.5 hours. That was our own fault for not doing more research on the bus times but I would still recommend an uber or drive yourself. Once back in Waikiki, it was around 5pm and we decided to go to Marukame Udon for dinner as recommended by our uber driver. For around $5-7 a bowl and good portions, it was amazing. During peak dinner times the line is extremely long but it does go by fast. You truly can't beat the price especially for the expensive Waikiki area. After eating we walked around Waikiki some more and eventually walked back to the beach to catch another sunset. We just can't get enough of those! We did some more shopping here and there and went back to our hotel around 10pm. It was a long day and we had no trouble falling asleep.
Day 3: The best day of our trip. We booked a Grand Circle Island Photo Tour with Datesnap Tours (initially hesitant because of the lack of reviews but it was simply amazing). We were up early again due to the time difference but this was a blessing as we had to meet our tour guide in the lobby by 8am. It was just my family so we had a private tour. We started the day off in the North Shore where we stopped at Green World Coffee Farms, Dole Plantation, Laniakea Beach where we saw some turtles, Sunset Beach, Haleiwa, Giovanni's Shrimp Farm (simply delicious), Shark's Cove, Waimea Falls, Chinaman Hat, and Macadamia Nut Farm, before making our way back to South Shore where we stopped at the Halona Blowhole, Eternity Beach, Makapuu lookout, Hanauma Bay and finally finishing with a sunset view at Koko Head District Park. Wow! It was almost a 12 hour tour so we were simply exhausted, but the number of places we visited were simply outstanding especially for my mother who is seeing all this for the first time. Our tour guide even gave us a mini photo shoot at one of the beaches with his professional DSLR Camera and emailed the pictures to us later that night for free. While we understand that you can spend a couple hours at some of these places, we prefer to see more in a limited amount of time. Once our tour guide dropped us off at our hotel we were too tired to walk anywhere far for dinner so we just went to Mikawon, a Korean restaurant next to our hotel. It was good, but nothing spectacular. Very pricey but that's to be expected. We went to ABC after to buy some little things and then went back to our hotel around 10:30. Our flight to Maui was at 3pm the next day so we had to pack.
Day 4: We woke up early again and checked out of the hotel at 10am. Since our flight was not until 3pm we stored our luggage at the lobby and decided to grab a quick lunch and do some last minute walking around. We ate at Marukame Udon again, could not leave Oahu without eating here one more time! Then we walked the upstairs level of International Marketplace where we did some more shopping until it was time to go back to our hotel to grab our luggage and take an uber to the airport. The uber only cost us 24 USD this time, and after all the airport stuff, we were on our Southwest flight to Maui. Thank god it was only a 25 minute flight. After landing we took a shuttle to our resort, the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas in Lahaina about a 1 hour ride. We settled into our rooms, enjoyed the sunset from our balcony and had a nice dinner before heading to bed.
Days 5-7: As our days in Oahu were very hectic, we used this time to relax. Beach, pool, sunbathing, eating, and sleeping. We have been to Maui before and did the road to Hana so we did not want to do that again as my mother was already tired from the long days in Oahu. We contemplated Haleakala but opted out as it would take a full day and we will likely be returning to Maui in the near future and will probably only do Maui next time so that we can fully focus our time on one island.
Overall we had a lovely trip, it was off season (Mid May) as nothing was too busy and we got some great deals with flights. Loved both our hotels and would stay at both again in a heartbeat. We got everything we wanted out of this trip (beautiful sightseeing, shopping, relaxation, and much needed sun!) My mother really enjoyed Hawaii although she definitely preferred the city and views of Oahu. For first timers, you can easily spend a week in Oahu as there are endless things to do such as Polynesian Cultural Centre, Diamond Head, Snorkeling, many beaches, etc. We have done all that on our prior trips to Oahu and loved it.
I hope this report was helpful and I will be happy to answer any questions!Edited: 9:05 pm, June 15, 2019