Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Justin
Travel expert Karol Chareza visited Oahu and Maui and lists must-dos for upcoming visitors. He loved it, can you tell?
We arrived in Honolulu and checked into the Ala Moana Hotel. All other beachfront hotels were sold out due to the Rip Curl surfing competition on going earlier in the week. The hotel is about 20 minutes away from Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and cabs are readily available at the airport. The Ala Moana is located next to the island’s largest mall/shopping complex so it’s great for those looking to do some shopping. I rented a Jeep for 3 days on the island but quickly realized that I would only need it for one day and used The BUS, Oahu’s public transportation or the $2 hop on hop off trolly’s or Orange double decker buses for the balance of my time in Honolulu as this proved to be more convenient and inexpensive.
We took off on our first full day with the car rental to see Pearl Harbour. From downtown Honolulu the drive was only about 25 minutes and it’s super easy to drive in Hawaii so I highly recommended to do so. I will advise however to follow the Pearl Harbour Visitor signs and not the Pearl Harbour Base signs as we ended up at the live base with Blackhawks flying overhead. You really don’t want to be taking a wrong turn here folks. Luckily for us the Military folks manning the gates were very friendly and pointed us in the right direction.
There’s a small entry fee to access the grounds. The museum on-site has various interactive displays as well as relics from the war. To access the theatre & USS Arizona Memorial you will require an additional ticket. These tickets are free but must be pre-booked in advance as they do book up.
FYI: Each day, 300 additional tickets will be available for next-day tours. Each person may reserve a maximum of six tickets per day. Valid photo identification must be presented to claim tickets.
Walk-Up Tickets: The National Park Service distributes approximately 2,000 free tickets each day beginning at 7:00 a.m. (HST). These tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until they are gone.
From Pearl Harbour it was off the Dole Plantation. Originally, the Dole Plantation was operated as a fruit stand. Today it’s one of Oahu’s major tourist attractions. There are a number of activities at the Plantation like a huge maze, train ride through the pineapple fields, not to mention the huge gift shop with everything Dole! The tour would not be complete without some fresh pineapple for lunch as well as their pineapple soft serve ice cream! It was like the Wonderland of Dole!
This was the end of day one for me. We spent an hour at Waimea Beachpark then headed back to the hotel for the night.
The rest of my time in Oahu was spent either on Waikiki Beach or driving around the Island. Waikiki Beach was a quick $2 trolly ride away from the Ala Moana Hotel. Once at Waikiki beach you can either set yourself up on the beach or rent lounge chairs and umbrellas by the hour or day. Tons of surfers and every school-aged child on the island takes surfing lessons as there are many surf schools in Waikiki.
After a day of swimming and sunning, we stopped by the bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku at the entrance to Waikiki Beach. Known to locals as the Father of Surfing and overall Hawaiian Hero, Duke was born August 24th, 1890 and was a competitive swimmer, surfer, lawyer and widely credited for spreading the sport of surfing.
From Honolulu we flew on Island Air to the Kahului Airport (OGG).The flight lasted about 45 minutes. Keep in mind when staying in Maui it’s best to either rent a car right from the airport or arrange for transfers.
I booked the Royal Kahana. The condo is beachfront just north of Ka’anapali closer to Kapalua. It is a 100% non-smoking property including balconies, parking lots and beach. Choice of rooms are Studio or 1 bedroom Ocean Front. The 1-bedroom had full kitchen with stove fridge microwave, dishwasher and ice machine!
For the duration in Maui I rented a Jeep and we began our adventure on the island.
Day 1 was spent driving along the Northwest side of the island from Lahaina to Kapalua and WOW what a drive it was. A must stop on this trip is Julie’s Banana Bread Stand. The best banana bread I’ve ever had in my life. This is one of those tourist stops where you will meet people from all over the world who’ve heard down the grape vine that YOU MUST STOP HERE!
Day 2 we left our condo near Kaanapali and headed to Haleakala National Park. It’s just over an hour drive to get to the gates of the national park but the drive up the summit can take a good hour once you get to the gates. There are lots of twists and turns but the feeling you get while driving through the clouds was well worth it. You can actually drive to the top of the 10,000 ft summit. The view was spectacular of the various colours of the volcano’s crater.
Day 3 We drove from Kaanapali to Wailea, spent some time at Wailea Beach Park and toured the lush green and very expensive golf courses and private homes in the area. Golfing clients will love this area with the Elleair Maui Golf Course, Wailea Blue Emerald Golf Course & Makena Golf Courses all located here.
Day 4 – A MUST DO! Road to Hana. The drive starts officially in the town of Paia. Start early, 8:30 am is recommended with a full tank of gas and a fully charged camera. Do not drive this route at night! One major tourist stop just past town is Mama’s Fish House, a local and tourist favourite where you’ll get the freshest seafood at a reasonable price! It’s tough to explain the beauty of the vegetation along this Hana Highway. We ended up stopping so many times to take pictures and stretch our legs. The entire drive has some of the most amazing views, plants and flowers I’ve never seen anywhere else in the Caribbean and don’t forget to check out the Bamboo Forest! This drive takes between 2.5-5 hours depending on how often/how long you stop for but it was well worth it!
Aloha & Mahalo!
Contact Karol at 1-800-665-4981 ext. 7320 or firstname.lastname@example.org