Me and my DW booked a vacation through beachdestinations.com that had us 3 days in Oahu and 3 days in Maui. It was somewhat a budget vacation but more so with respect to time than money. I will post our Maui trip report on that board.
Day 1 – Flying Delta from Tampa had a super quick layover in Atlanta so sprinted our way through the airport to make the connecting flight. We were the last one on. About 9 hours in the air with 2 cry/wine/kick kids directly behind us. Lasted the entire 9 hours but other than that it was a good flight. We left florida at 8 am and got into Oahu at 2:30 pm. Tried to sleep on the plane but that didn’t really work out. Landed at the airport picked up bags and headed to the Budget shuttle to get our car. I had booked an economy car through www.discounthawaiicarrental.com but when we got the counter we got another discount for flying delta and got a jeep for the same price. On to the hotel.
We stayed at the Aqua Aloha Surf Hotel. I’ll have a review of the hotel up later. It’s an OK hotel. Smalls rooms, decent location, adequate staff. After check in, went up to room relaxed a bit, freshened up, and headed out to Waikiki to do some sightseeing and get something to eat. By now it’s 5 or 6. Had some drinks along the beach and watched the sunset. After sunset waited for a table at shore bird (just cause we were there). There was a 30-40 minute wait but we were fading fast (it’s 2 am our time) so decided to grab something quick (KFC) and a couple of beers for the room and crashed by 9 pm.
Day 2 – Woke up super early 4 am for me about 5 for DW. Breakfast wasn’t ready at the hotel yet but we headed to Diamond Head to try to catch the sunrise. Probably wouldn’t do that again. It was packed beyond packed. So many tours busses got there exactly at 6 (which is when it opens). We didn’t make it to the top before sunrise but did get good views of it on our way up. At the top it was hard to walk around and enjoy it there were so many people. Great views though.
From Diamond Head we went to Pearl Harbor. Little bit of traffic but got there about 8:15 and signed up for the Arizona Memorial which we got for 9:15. Not too bad cause it gave us time to check out the grounds. I’m former Navy and this was my first time here, it was kind of a big deal for me. The video before the ferry out was probably the saddest/hardest part for me but was done well. From the Arizona we toured the Bowfin which was really cool to see and the audio was very informative. We didn’t go to the Missouri but I did enjoy Pearl Harbor. It’s like others say, well done but not over the top with sadness. Also great for history buffs.
We then headed back to Waikiki to spend the day. Had lunch at a Mexican place (can’t remember the name) it was overpriced and not all that great. Then we hit the beach. The water was great and now it’s starting to feel like a vacation, time to slow down. We had some drinks at the tiki bars. I think DW drank exclusively Mai Tai’s and I’m a craft beer lover and love to drink local. I do enjoy Kona’s Fire Rock Pale Ale so I drank either Kona Beer our Maui Brew Company while here. Good stuff.
We tried the Shore Bird after sunset again, for no reason other than location at this point. Here’s a tip, get a drink at the bar and keep the receipt. On the receipt is a coupon for half off your entire on your next meal. I had a steak, DW had the salad bar, turned out to be a pretty inexpensive evening. After dinner, took our time walking back to the hotel and crashed. Made it all the way to 10 pm this time.
Day 3 – Today we planned to go to the North Shore, but before we do we wanted to check out Manoa Falls and we’re glad we did. At the parking area was the “lost tattoo guy”. Huge lost fan (as are we) that told us all about the filming that took place here, so we’re already super excited. It was a really cool hike, a lot more difficult that Diamond Head and you MUST wear good shoes. We forgot bug spray but meet a nice couple that helped us out (mahalo). It’s a beautiful fall and we really enjoyed the hike. Did get muddy, especially our shoes. It’s just outside of Waikiki.
We then headed to the North shore. Not a bad drive as the traffic had let up by now. When we got there I called the North Shore Surf Girls to see if we could fit in a lesson. Our instructor meet us an hour later. We opted for the 1 hour lesson and we headed to the beach. After a short instruction on the shore it was time to get wet. The boards we used were huge and that made it super easy to get up. I got up on my first try and DW was up by her second. Our instructor was super awesome. Very supportive and understanding. Would definitely go to them again. After only an hour we were exhausted. Now I’m no triathlete, but I’m not in bad shape either and this kicked my butt. Our morning hike probably had something to do with it but I was ready for a break. After saying mahalo to our guide we explored some more of the North Shore. Got some food at the Sharks cove grill which was good. Checked out Sharks cove, didn’t snorkel.
We stopped by Wiamea Valley on our way back to Waikiki. $15 entrance for adults nice walk (not hike) up to the falls where you can swim, which we did. The grounds on the way up are nicely manicured.
Back at Waikiki we had dinner at Hula Grill. This was really nice, on the water with some live entertainment. Could have stayed longer if we could have kept our eyes open. But you guessed it, time to crash. I think we lasted to 10:30.
Up the next morning for our flight to Maui. Check out was smooth, as was dropping off the rental.
We enjoyed our stay in Oahu. Waikiki was a little too much for what we wanted but did enjoy our time venturing out (North Shore, Manoa Falls).
Mahalo for reading and all the help we got from here.