Travel Memoir ~ Outer Islands, Hawaii

No trip to Hawaii is complete unless you visit the Outer Islands. While Oahu (Honolulu, Waikiki) has many areas to explore and beautiful beaches, while in this Pacific Paradise take your time to explore the other islands. You will find yourself using the words “awesome, magnificent, gorgeous” to describe the natural beauty.

My first trip to Hawaii, a friend and I decided to take a 4 day tour of the Outer Islands. It was fabulous and we saw all of the major sights and fell in love with the beauty of the islands and its people. I went back to Maui, my favorite, two other times. And once in Oahu, I took a one day tour of the Outer Islands.

Maui, “The Valley Isle,” is mystical from its beautiful beaches to the moonscape like landscape of Haleakala Crater and National Park, to the marvelously, windy road to Hana. If you go for sunrise, it is a memory that will last forever. Take time to explore historic Lahaina and Wailea and you will soon discover your favorite spots. The western part of the island has spectacular beaches, especially Wailea.

I still remember floating in the water one morning. A friend had decided to leave late morning while I chose to get a late night flight. We were standby (airline staff). She came running along the beach looking for me, saying that only the late morning flight was now available and all flights were full through the next day. I never dressed and packed so quickly. We did get boarded on the late morning flight and spent the afternoon in Waikiki, laughing as only stand-bys can when getting on an almost full flight. Waikiki was more crowded than Wailea, but I will always recall floating at Wailea, not having a care in the world, until my friend found me.

Kauai, “The Garden Isle,” is spectacular. Take a helicopter or boat tour of the incredible Napali Cliffs. Rent a jeep and tour the island. Waimea Canyon is a must-see. It is nick-names the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Go swimming in the magnificent Hanalei Bay on the North Shore. Take a day sail or dinner cruise along the magnificent Napali coast.

Hawaii, “The Big Island” is a super destination for those who love to fish. A must see is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Take in a Hula Luau show.

Each of the islands has its own unique characteristics. You can plan in advance based on your favorite activities (swimming, surfing, dining, golf, diving, hiking, etc.) or take an exciting one day overview tour while vacationing in Oahu and decide which island(s) you want to further explore. Each island is memorable and very diverse. You will create memories that will last a lifetime as will your memories of the Aloha Spirit.

Travel well and often.

Travel Memoir ~ Oahu, Hawaii


Travel Memoir ~ Oahu, Hawaii

Working for an airline and living in NYC, I planned escape trips to Hawaii several times a year, particularly during the winter months. The first time I arrived at Honolulu, I was greeted with a lei and immediately fell in love with the island. It was night, the air had a beautiful fragrance and the lights on the mountains in back of Honolulu were twinkling. It was rather magical.

I stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and was enthralled. I checked out other hotels for future visits and fell in love with The Wakikian. I stayed there several times. It was a  fabulous “tike-style” hotel, wedged in between the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Ilikai. I fondly recall its fabulous open air bar, the Tahitian Lanai, with the most incredible Mai-Tai’s and a very good restaurant, with the best Coconut Cream Pie. After its demise, I stayed at various other hotels in Honolulu, but always missed the “tiki-style” hotel and its beautiful tropical gardens.

Yes, the beach is spectacular. Go surfing or go for a ride in an outrigger canoe. Or take a day cruise along Waikiki or a cocktail or dinner cruise on a catamaran. Take in the beauty of the ocean, Diamond Head, the mountains and the Aloha spirit.

Rent a car and drive about the island. Stop at the North Shore beaches and, depending on the season, enjoy watching the surfers and/or give it a try. The water is far, far rougher than Waikiki. Go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. The spectacular colors of the fish will stay with you for a long time. Stop and tour the very moving USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

A favorite activity for me was taking a scenic glider ride. It is spectacular. If you want, the pilot will let you “fly” it for a bit, which is fabulous. There is a marvelous sense of quiet, except for the incredible sound of the wind. It is thrilling to be soaring in a glider, above a beautiful landscape. I highly recommend it and enjoyed doing it several times.

Stop off at the Polynesian Cultural Center as you drive about the island. Have fun learning the hula dance. Hawaii is far more that beautiful beaches. Here, you can explore and learn the history and culture of Hawaii and other Polynesian Islands.

Yes, it is touristy, but do go to a luau. It’s great fun, with marvelous entertainment. And at some of the luaus, you can be a part of the performance.

Kalakaua Ave was and still is the main avenue, with numerous shops and restaurants. I am sure that the International Market Place has seen many changes but would still be the place to browse.

While Honolulu and Waikiki have seen many changes, I remember marvelous people who truly radiate the Aloha Spirit. It is a state of mind, which you can bring home with you. You will long remember the generosity and friendliness of the Hawaiian people. It is a gorgeous island paradise, with many lasting memories, all to be treasured.

Travel well and often.