Guest post by Carrie
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Our plane left Cleveland in the early AM – we arrived in Honolulu around 1 PM. We had pre-arranged a shuttle to pick us up from the airport and take us to our hotel (the Royal Hawaiian). Once there, we unpacked, walked on the beach, and ate dinner at a local Thai restaurant. (Note: We didn’t eat much in Waikiki itself, since the restaurants were so expensive, but we found good, reasonably priced food by walking a mile or so inland).
- Waikiki Beach
- Honolulu Cookie Company
We napped and relaxed on the beach all day (we were very jet-lagged). Also, ate lots of free samples at the Honolulu Cookie Company store, and used the Viator app to schedule excursions for rest of trip.
- Leonard’s Bakery
- Ala Moana Beach Park
- Iolani Palace
- King Kamehameha Statue
- Hawaiʻi State Capitol
In the morning, we walked to famous Leonard’s bakery (2 miles from our hotel) to buy malasadas (filled Portuguese donuts). In the afternoon, we took a private “Hidden Honolulu” bike tour through Pedal Bike Tours (booked through Viator). It was probably 3-4 hours, and was just the two of us and our tour guide. Bikes, helmets, and water bottles were provided. We learned about the history of the city, biked downtown and along the coast to see monuments and historic sites, and stopped in Chinatown to pick up fresh fruit and smoothies. Bonus: Every time we stopped, our tour guide took photos of us (so we don’t have only selfies from our honeymoon!)
- Diamond Head
- Waiola Shave Ice
Woke up at 6 AM to hike to top of Diamond Head crater. It was about a 2 mile walk from our hotel just to get to the entrance of the Diamond Head park, then another mile or so to the top of the crater. We left early because our bike tour guide from yesterday had told us to get there before 9 AM if possible. We had tried to schedule this excursion through Viator, but the bookings were all full. I’m glad, because the trip was easily doable (and much cheaper) on our own. Because we were on foot, the entrance fee was only $1 each. The walk to the top of the crater was beautiful and not too tough (we saw lots of families with small children doing it). We bought fresh pineapple from a food truck as we exited the park. In the afternoon, we went to Waiola Shave Ice (highly recommended) and bought souvenirs in Waikiki.
- Ho’oilo House Bed and Breakfast
- Lahaina Pizza Company
Flew from Honolulu to Maui, where we picked up our rental car and made our way to our B & B (Ho’oilo House). In the evening, we explored the beautiful Front Street in the historic village of Lahaina (a short drive from the B & B) and ate dinner at the famous Lahaina Pizza Co.
Day 6: Molokini Crater Tour
Woke up early for our Molokini sail/snorkel adventure (booked through Viator). Breakfast, snorkel gear, and a barbecue lunch were provided on the catamaran. We rented an underwater camera from the crew and also ended up purchasing photos from the boat’s official photographer. Ate breakfast on the boat, sailed out to the half-submerged Molokini crater, snorkeled, ate lunch, and looked for turtles on the way back.
Day 7: Wailele Farm Tour
Took an afternoon rainforest waterfall hike at Wailele Farms, through Hike Maui (excursion booked through Viator). This was our favorite activity of the trip. There were about 12 hikers in our group, plus our guide. We were picked up from a meeting point near the airport in a Hike Maui van, then drove as a group to Wailele Farms. Backpacks and packed lunches were provided; we rented water shoes from our guide (NECESSARY) for $2 each. The hike was rated “beginner-moderate” but was somewhat slippery and steep in places. We stopped at 5 waterfalls, where you could jump in from a cliff (with the guide’s instruction) or simply swim at the base. Waded through waist-high water, trekked through the rainforest, and stopped to learn all about the flora and fauna of Hawaii (including eating passion fruit that had fallen to the ground). The guide was great and the tour lasted all afternoon.
Day 8: Haleakalā National Park
Woke up at 2:30 AM to drive to the summit of Haleakala (dormant volcano) to watch the sunrise. The drive took a few hours from our B&B and the trip up the mountain was terrifying–lots of winding roads with no barriers at VERY high altitudes! They took credit cards ONLY at the entrance to Haleakala National Park–I think the fee for one car was $15. If you go for the sunrise, get there early–the parking lot at the summit fills up even an hour or so before dawn. Bring snacks and blankets (it’s very cold up there). The stargazing is amazing, though I was less impressed by the sunrise than I thought I’d be. Once the sun is up the place clears out pretty quickly. The drive back down the mountain is beautiful but equally terrifying (then again, we’re both afraid of heights). Spent the rest of the day relaxing and swimming in the B & B’s pool, then drove to Lahaina for ice cream at night. We flew home the next day.
Traveled in October 2015