HAWAII – HEAVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF PACIFIC

Perfect weather, warm sand and amazing, blue water.

I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, it was my dream, but since it is very far away, I have never actually thought that one day, I would go there. During my stay in the USA last year on the Work&Travel program, my friend Asia and I decided to make our little dream come true. Instead of a bigger trip around US, which we already did three years ago, we saved our money and bought tickets to Hawaii.

We arrived to Bozeman, Montana ready to hop on a plane to Hawaii with a layeover in San Francisco. We were to spend whole four days there and we were extremely excited, so we planned the whole trip. Arriving there pretty late, few hours before the midnight, we didn’t want to lose any more time – Asia and I rented a car (Advantage Rent-a-car, $125 for 4 days), put our baggage in the trunk and started the trip we were anticipating for a few months!

A very nice and BIG Kia from Advantage Rent-A-Car

DAY ONE – UNDERSTAND THE CITY

We didn’t plan anything big for our first day in Honolulu as we were pretty tired after the flight. We decided just to walk around the city, buy some souvenirs, eat some local food and enjoy every minute of being there. In the morning we went to the ZOO because we were curious of what animals they have in their exibits. The ticket was ridicoulously expensive but it was worth it.

The city itself is pretty crowded but we didn’t mind it when we were exploring. I really liked people’s life style – relaxed, chilling, not really worrying about anything and, what’s the best, not hurrying up to go anywhere. After two and a half months of running around in the restaurant and bussing tables that was exactly what we needed! Our friend recommended us trying Mai Tai so we found a nice, local restaurant which looked really fancy but had reasonable prices. We ordered sea food and Mai Tai and I swear it was the best meal I have ever had till then.

What I noticed immediately was that in Honolulu people are trying building places in the city in a much better way than, for example, in most of the european countries. A huge shopping center was built AROUND the tree that was there, probably much, much longer than other places in the city. I really liked that idea because it shows that apart from wanting to have new money sources they actually keep in mind that environment is important too – see by yourself!

Shopping center built around the tree

DAY TWOMANOA FALLS AND NUANA PALI DRIVE

Since we both love hiking we woke up early in the morning and drove to Manoa Falls trail which started from the car parking (we paid around $5 for whole-day parking which I think is a okay price). The trail itself is about 2.4 km long and it leads you to, as the name says, the beautifil falls. The curved path takes you through the jungle of tall trees, flowers and creepers which fall down the road. The views are absolutely amazing and breathtaking. I think we spent at least an additional hour only on taking photos and just staring at the landscapes in front of us.

You definitely need good hiking shoes as the path is damp and slippery. The humidity is very high so it is very, very hot there. Apart from that, a good idea would be to take some insect repellent because there are just 6253263 flies trying to bite you. As you reach the end of the trail, you will see the sign saying that entering the falls is prohibited (so, of course, there will be people swimming there). We decided not to act the same, sign is the sign, someone put it there for a reason. Instead of that, we sat on a bigger rock next to the river going from the falls and cooled down with our feet soaked in a nice and cold water.

 The hike is not too long but you are going uphill all the time in a high temperature so after all that it was very refreshing just to relax next to the trees and frogs jumping in the river. If you saw Jurrasic Park, you can imagine how the jungle looked like because at some point when I looked in front I thought to myself that it is probably the place where they recorded it. (I checked, I was partially right – they did recorded some parts in Honolulu, just on a different trail).

After that we went back to the city but we chose a bit different road this time. If you know where to turn, you will find a beautiful tunnel from one side of the road to the other. It is called Nuuanu Pali Drive and you can easily find it on Google Maps. It takes about 10 minutes to drive it through but you are going under a bunch of trees making a roof over your car. It really is an amazing experience even though it doesn’t last too long. Asia liked it so much that I had to turn around at the end and go through it again. And if you have time and like panoramas, 5 minutes of driving, there is Nuuanu Pali Lookout which you should definitely check out because the view of the whole city is just breathtaking.

DAY THREE – SCUBA DIVING AND A SMALL SOUVENIR

While looking at what to do in Hawaii we found an add on scuba diving experience. Swimming with turtles and fish sounded really cool so even though the tickets were about $130 per person, we decided to do that. We recommend the company we found, Living Ocean Scuba, from all our heart because they gace us the best experience ever. Excited and a bit anxious, we arrived at the bay from where a boat was supposed to take us further.

A very nice guy, Nate, welcomed us, led us to the boat and the journey started. Apart from us, there were only two people from which one was scuba diving before so we were the only newbies. Nate explained how to use all the equipment, how to behave in the water and all other things we needed to know. Honestly, it was a lot and it just sounded easy but as it turned out later, it certainly wasn’t.

We put on the diving suit, the bottle with oxygen, fins and goggles, and we entered the ocean. At the beginning it was pretty good, we learned how to breathe properly and it seemed like everything was okay. The problems started later when we had to move from the back of the boat to the front – the waves were big, the current was strong and the boat was moving so much that when we finally somehow managed to swim to the front, we were extremely tired.

There was waiting even harder part – going down the rope. We started to move under the water but with the waves, the current and, I guess, excitement, it was too much. Nate asked us to go up on the boat – he didn’t want to take all three of us because we were new in that and the conditions weren’t too good which we completely understood.

The fight with water tired me down so much that when later we arrived at different spot where the ocean was calmer, I had no strength to even put on the equipment. Asia went down with Nate and I stayed on the boat and just swam around on the surface. She saw a couple of turtles chilling at the bottom which I am super jealous of! In the end, it was an amazing experience and even though I didn’t actually scuba dive, I really liked it and will definitely try one day again.

After half success with the ocean we had another thing planned but this time smaller. We decided to get ourselves helix (ear piercing) as a souvenir from Hawaii. Asia already had one and I loved it so much I had to do one for myself. It hurt but we both have something small that reminds us of our trip to Hawaii and that will stay with us (possibly) forever. Fun fact – our piercer was also called Nate!

DAY FOUR – BEACH AND POOR (ASIA’S) CATS

Since we only had a few days in Honolulu, we spent most of the next day on the beach just chilling and trying to get some tan. The water there is amazing, it wasn’t extremely clean but it was nicely warm and we could just sit there and swim forever. In the afternoon, we took the car and went for a ride around the city (Asia wanted to go to the tunnel again…) and as we were driving, we found a place with bunch of stray cats. Asia is adores animals, so we stopped there to spend some time with them. We bought them some food (which Josip doesn’t approve of – apparently Hawaiian cats are killing birds in Hawaii in large numbers) but Asia being Asia, she had to feed the cats.

DAY FIVE – GOOD MORNING?

Earlier I said that Asia adores animals and what I should add, she also loves sunrises and sunsets. That being said, she decided that on our last day we will go to see the sunrise on the beach as a way of saying goodbye to Hawaii. Don’t give me wrong, sunrises are beautiful, I love them but when I checked the time of the sunrise, I wanted to kill her. But Asia being Asia, she didn’t back off and woke me up at 4.20AM as there was about 20 minutes of driving to the beach. I do say lots of stuff but actually I am thankful that she did that – the sunrise was one of the most mesmerizing ones I have ever seen in my life. We spent about an hour on the beach taking photos, watching over the horizon and being happy we had a chance to come to Hawaii at least once.

I spent only four days in Honolulu but I fell in love with that place. I recommend it to anyone who loves nice beaches, perfect water, nice weather and good food. I needed few days to acclimatize because of very high humidity but this place is worth doing anything to be there.  

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