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You had me at aloha – Part III

You had me at aloha – Part III

Aloha!

This the third and final post in my Oahu series. Parts I and II were focused around how you can spend two days of your Hawaiian adventure exploring Waikiki and other smaller towns in Oahu.

At this point, after two days as busy as Part I and II, I just want to sit on a beach and relax for the remainder of my trip and enjoy island time. This final post is all about a few stragglers that you can add into your trip here and there that are too good to not mention.

Food

Ono Seafood Products – So you say you want a poke bowl? Search no further than Ono Seafood Products. This place has the best poke that locals rave about. The fish is fresh and they sell out on the regular. Get there before 2pm, otherwise I can’t promise you what will be available.

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Monkeypod Kitchen – All around good food in a nicer setting than the Ono seafood or Mike’s Huli Chicken Truck. This restaurant is near the Aulani (the Disney hotel) on the southwest side of the island. The wait is always insane, so grab a cocktail and watch the sunset at the Aulani while you wait it out.

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Sunset at Aulani, yes, the Disney hotel.

Honorable mentions: Waiola shave ice, Leonard’s Bakery, and Mike’s Huli Chicken Truck

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Hiking

UnReal Hawaii is an awesome website that has compiled more of the hikes than the ones listed in this post. I highly recommend it, it gives great instructions on how to get to the hikes, difficulty level, length of hike, etc. Note, for all hikes in Hawaii, make sure that you never leave any valuables in view, your car WILL GET BROKEN INTO. Hawaiians are all about the spirit of ‘aloha’, but that doesn’t mean your camera or phone will be ignored. Also, practice common sense – don’t go on these hikes alone, especially the Makapu’u hike. Some hikes involve climbing rocks at higher elevations, nobody wants to say they went to Hawaii and saw the beach from their hospital bed.

Makapu’u Hike – This one is a little more challenging to find. There were a couple of times we thought that we were just plain wrong. It also raises a lot of questions when you park in a lot by the highway, cross the highway and just start walking up the hill.

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Literally walking up a hillside along a highway.

Sounds really bizarre right? Just follow the little pink ties on the bushes and branches and you’ll stay on trail. You’ll start to notice that the cars and the road will look smaller…

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…and smaller

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You’ll also see some crazy agile mountain goats. Similar to Diamond Head, this hike is fairly exposed, so make sure you bring sunscreen and water. (~3.5 miles roundtrip)

Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail – this does include some ridge paths but, those afraid of heights shouldn’t be concerned. The trailhead is inside an upscale neighborhood, just tell security at the guard shack that you are heading to this trail and he’ll let you through.

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Beginning of the hike – wide pathway and pretty flat

Make sure you wear a pair of tennis shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. There are a couple of parts where you use a rope to help climb up but, anyone in moderate shape can handle the hike.

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You can’t tell from the view, but the rope made it easier to climb the stairs.
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Path along a ridge after the rope steps

It can be a little foggy at the top sometimes but, that can yield some really interesting photos. (~3 miles roundtrip)

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You can see Diamond Head from this hike (upper right hand corner)

Beaches

Sandbar day – If you have a day to spare, look into a sandbar tour in Kaneohe Bay. You’ll ride a large catamaran out to the sandbar. The sandbar will occasionally go as deep as your waist but, most of the of time, it is shallow enough to play volleyball (and the tour will set up a net). Additionally, you can ride jet skis, banana boats, go snorkeling, and more! Lunch is usually provided, but if you are still hungry, you should stop at Mike’s Huli Chicken Truck on your way back to Honolulu after returning to shore.

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No filter required here – the tide was a little high that day though, so it went up to our waists.

Waikiki Beach – If it’s your first time in Hawaii, hit up Waikiki beach and take your obligatory picture with the Duke statue before hitting the beach. You can rent some surfboards there or just hang out on the beach – but it does get crowded, so if your hotel has some private beach access, take advantage of it. If you need a cool drink, go to the Honolulu Coffee at the Westin right next to the beach and get an iced coffee or smoothie.

There you have it, pretty much all of my favorite things to do when I go to Oahu (in addition to just napping on the beach and surfing). Don’t worry if you can’t fit in everything you want to do in one trip, that means you’ll have to go back for another visit. The best part of a vacation is actually taking a break and there is no better place than Hawaii to slow down, unwind, enjoy some nature and get some peace of mind.

Hopefully, after this trip you will have a fond appreciation for the island spirit that I’ve come to love and have you saying “Mahalo for the aloha” as you look out the window of your plane as it takes off to head home.

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