Happy Saturday everyone! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I was in Hawaii on holiday recently. This trip was a celebration of my graduation, my sister's graduation AND my dad's birthday! In my book, there's no better way to ring in a birthday and a bunch of milestones than on a tropical island that's jam-packed with amazing eats, beautiful beaches and great shopping.
Typically when my family and I travel, we often go to the same places, eat at the same restaurants and do relatively the same activities. This is great and all, but it defeats the purpose of going on vacation to explore everything a destination has to offer. Don't you agree? This time around, we ended up stepping out of our comfort zones a little (ok a lot more) and checked out places we wouldn't normally see and it was awesome! As a matter of fact, it was so great that I ended up capturing hundreds of photos along the way, which didn't make narrowing down a photo series for this post very easy. But after hours of scrolling through all of my albums, I managed to compile my favourites and what better way to show them to all of you than in a travel diary blog post!
Before you start scrolling, at the end of the photo diary I included a list of my recommendations on where to stay, where to eat and where to explore if you ever plan a trip to Oahu.
Giovanni's Shrimp Truck
Where to Stay?
I've stayed at this resort a dozen times, and it was awesome every single time. The property is massive so there's tons of exploring you could do. From coffee shops to great restaurants, amazing pools, Waikiki Beach on the south side of the property and even a lagoon that's perfect for paddle boarding, there's something for everyone.
The Modern Honolulu is an instagrammer's dream. The aesthetic is very clean, minimal and almost every inch of the property is picturesque. They also have an amazing infinity pool that faces the harbour. Aside from the rooms themselves, that's probably my favourite part of the property.
I'm a big fan of Moana Surfrider because it has a ton of character. If I remember correctly, it's a historic hotel and based on the decor and the overall property, they've done an amazing job of preserving the history and meshing "old" elements with new elements. It's also situated right in the heart of Waikiki which is a huge bonus.
Where to Eat?
Food trucks are KEY places to check out when you're in Hawaii! More specifically, shrimp trucks. My favourite is Giovanni's. Essentially it's the go-to spot on Oahu to grab a plate of superrrr garlicky shrimp that's drenched in butter with a side of rice and a slice of lemon to squeeze on top (photo shown above).
Bills has and probably always will be one of my all-time favourite restaurants in the Waikiki area. The cocktails are out of this world, the food is killer and guys...the banana pancakes are to die for! If you don't want to have a full meal, I suggest you stop by and order the pancakes with a cup of coffee. As a matter of fact, they're so famous, they even sell little keychains in the shape of their signature pancakes. Before I stepped out of the restaurant, you best believe I purchased one and immediately attached it on my apartment keys!
If you're on the hunt for a killer sweet treat, I highly recommend you trek over to Leonard's Bakery for their malasadas. Otherwise known as Portuguese doughnuts. They're made to order and come filled with regular custard, coconut custard, chocolate custard, li hing and the list goes on. Keep in mind, it's a short taxi ride away from the central Waikiki area but I assure you, it's worth it! So worth it that my dad and sister took a taxi over at around 9 p.m. on our last day on the island because they needed to have them one last time. That's how good they are.
Where to sightsee?
Waikiki is great for shopping, eating and walking around, but if you want to experience the "real" Hawaii, rent a car and drive to the North Shore. The beaches are far more breathtaking than Waikiki Beach, and the water is exponentially more turquoise and crystal clear. There's also some awesome spots to see crazy huge waves, surfers and even sea turtles and Hawaiian Monk Seals.
Out of all the amazing things my family and I did in Hawaii, spending a few hours at Waimea Falls has to be my favourite! The second I stepped out of the car and started walking towards the falls (heads up, there's an admission fee), I instantly felt like I was transported into a Jurassic Park movie. Everything is so incredibly lush and the sights and sounds were almost too amazing to be true. If you're planning to rent a car, drive around the island early in the morning/afternoon and on your way back to Waikiki/Honolulu, stop by the falls and take a peek. You won't regret it!
If you ever have the opportunity to travel to Hawaii, DO IT! Without a doubt, it's one of my favourite destinations to visit because it has the perfect balance between your typical relaxing tropical getaway and the hustle and bustle of a city. If you've been Oahu, let me know if you're familiar with the spots I mentioned above! If you haven't visited Oahu or Hawaii in general, is it one your list of places to travel to?
Photos captured by myself and my sister, Cassandra Biro