Trip Report – Oahu - long

Mar 23rd, 2005, 06:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 38
Trip Report – Oahu - long


First, I would like to send a big Mahalo to everyone who has posted advice on this site and in particular those who answered my posts. The advice helped to make my trip wonderful. This was our (my wife and I) first trip to Hawaii. But hopefully not the last!

We spent some time in Waikiki and some on the North Shore. It was due to comments on this board that we got accommodations on the North Shore for part of the time and I would recommend that anyone who is going to Oahu spend some time there, as well as in Waikiki.

Mar 12 (Saturday):
We left home early in the am. Flew on United (Air Canada code share) Halifax–Toronto–LA–Honolulu. We ended up delayed in LA for an extra hour and a half, so did not land in Honolulu until after 12:30am on Sunday.

We had a Jeep Wrangler reserved with Alamo, so after we got our bags, went to find the desk/shuttle for Alamo. There was no desk for Alamo and all the other car rental desks had signs telling you to go directly to the shuttles, so we headed outside. The guy directing traffic showed us where to go for the Alamo shuttle and said it had been there about 15 minutes prior, so it should be back shortly. We waited quite a while and the shuttle was nowhere to be seen. There were others from our flight were also waiting for the Alamo shuttle. It turns out that Alamo closed at 12:30am (the Budget shuttle bus driver told us that) – even though they had at least 4 clients on our delayed flight! All the other rental car companies’ shuttles were still coming by. When I booked my car and gave them my flight number, I told them my scheduled landing time was around 11:15 pm if it was on time. She told me that was fine, that since they had my flight number, they would know about any delays! Some of the other clients went on the Budget shuttle to rent from them instead, but we had a good deal with Alamo that I didn’t know if they would match it since Budget’s quote for a Jeep had been quite a bit more, so we took a taxi to the hotel.

Checked in to the Sheraton Waikiki. We ended up with a nice room with a partial ocean view (we had reserved a city view room). The hotel was very nice and well located. I would stay there again. They had a display in the lobby about room renovations they are in the process of making. Looks like the new rooms are going to be really nice. Went straight to bed as we had been traveling for more than 25 hours.

Mar 13 (Sunday)
We woke up early (still on Atlantic time!). I called Alamo to find out about the car. They said they closed last night at 12:30am and they did not know the flight was delayed (you’d think they would have noticed that they were 4 clients short, all from the same flight) and they wanted me to make my way back to the airport to get my car. I complained, since I was not about to fork out for another cab ride and the time to get to the airport and back, and she passed me on to the manager. I ended up getting their shuttle to their Waikiki location, picking up a Jeep there and getting the drop charge waived. They were friendly, but I was still out cab fare from the airport and some extra time.

After picking up the Jeep and returning to the hotel, we went for a walk along Kalakaua and ended up having breakfast at Charley’s tavern. It was in one of the Ohana hotels on Lewers. On our way in, a customer on his way out said that we’d enjoy it. He ate there every morning. It was 2.99 for the “Quick & Easy” – 2 eggs, bacon or sausage, toast and hash browns. We also got juice and a bowl of fruit (fruit seems more expensive here than I would have thought, it was almost $5 for the bowl of fruit). It was good and very quick. I would recommend it, but it may not be there much longer. Seems that there are renovations and from what we overhead some of the staff saying, it sounded like they are turning it into condos or something. Looks like it may be all of the Ohanas on Lewers are being converted as many of the business on that part of the street had closing sales.

We then went walking and shopping. We went up to Duke Kahanamoku’s statue and Kuhio beach and then back. Had lunch at Planet Hollywood. It was okay. We chose it as I had had some great chicken fingers made with Captain Crunch at their Toronto location, but they weren’t near the same this time. Would not recommend it over other possible choices in the area.

During the walk, we saw was the International Market Place. I had read about it being a good thing to see, but I can’t recommend it. It was just the same few vendor carts over again and again. Must have been at least 8 carts for Pick a Pearl and there was the same jewelry cart at least a dozen times. However, we did find an item that my wife had been looking for. I had bought her a wind vane in Vegas that had a gold wire around it and her mother wanted one, but we had not seen the same type of one anywhere else (turns out the company that makes them is in Hawaii).

The Galleria had some neat stuff. In one of the shops there was the Tube. It’s an aquarium with a walkway through the middle of it. They had all kinds of fish as well as sharks and rays. It was cool to walk through it and see the fish all around you.

Went back to the room to relax for a bit. Still a little jetlagged (6 hour time difference). Headed down to Kalakaua at 4:30 for the parade. The Honolulu festival was just ending and there was a parade to end it off. It was neat to see and it ended with a fire breathing dragon. It was then after 8pm and we figured that due to the crowds from the parade it might be hard to find seating in a restaurant. We went to MOS Burger and ordered it to go. Took it back to the room and ate on the Lanai. I had the MOS Burger and my wife had the teriyaki chicken burger. Both were very good and the MOS Burger had meat sauce (like thick spaghetti sauce) on it. We then crashed for the night.

Mar 14 (Monday)
Woke up early. Our plan was to go to Hanauma Bay this morning.. It was VERY windy and there was some light rain, so we weren’t sure what the conditions would be like. We decided to make our way there anyway and check it out. On the way, we stopped at Leonard’s to get breakfast (I had read about their Malasada’s on the forum and had to try them). The place smelled wonderful. We bought ½ doz of the Malasadas and ½ doz of the Malasada Puffs (2 chocolate, 2 guava and 2 haipu (I think that's the correct word for the coconut filling). We ate half of them on the way to the Bay, they were excellent! If you like pastry shops, you need to go there.

We arrived at Hanauma Bay around 8am. The rain was clearing and the air felt a bit cool. The place was not busy at all. We parked and went in ($1 for parking and $5 each for admission). The weather just kept getting better through the morning and it started to get busy. We left shortly after noon and the parking lot was full. I have to say that this was a high point of the trip – Wow! It was the first time either of us went snorkeling and we loved it. It was great to see all the fish up close (some were even checking us out) and I did manage to see the state fish, but I was unable to get a picture of it. I would highly recommend this to everyone.

We went back to the hotel to change and then went to Hilo Hatties. We stopped at the Ala Moana Shopping Centre for lunch. We had Thai from Little Café Siam and roast from Lahaina Chicken Company. Both were excellent and the food court was very impressive. There was anything and any type of food you could possibly want.

We watched the sunset from a beach near our hotel. Did some more shopping and went to Cheeseburger in Paradise. We had a 20 minute wait. The burger (with grilled pineapple) and onion rings were great. The rings were breaded rather than battered. However, the hot dog was not so good. I would recommend the restaurant, but stick to the burgers. We then wandered back to the hotel to call it a night.

Mar 15 (Tuesday)
We walked down the beach to the Hilton Hawaiian Village and then back along the street. We did see a rainbow over the ocean this morning. It was fairly faint though. Tried to get a picture in front of it with the beach and ocean behind us, but it had faded too much to show on the picture. Had breakfast at McDonalds (I didn’t have it, but they have a local breakfast plate with rice, spam and portuguese sausage). We then hopped in the Jeep and headed off to the Aquarium. It is not a large one, but they have some neat exhibits and we learned some stuff about the local sea creatures – some that we had seen at Hanauma Bay. They had one of those penny flattening machines, so we made a couple of souvenirs.

We were going to go to Chinatown but we realized we didn’t have time for both it and playing in the water back at the beach, so we ended up at the Ala Moana Shopping centre again and had lunch there. Ate at Tsuruya Noodle Shop. Had tempura shrimp and okyadon (I think that’s right). It was very good. Then took the car back to the hotel. Changed into our suits and walked to Kuhio Beach to play in the water. Chinatown will have to wait until another visit.

We saw the torch lighting ceremony and concert (and sunset) at Kuhio beach that evening. Along with the band, they had some young students and their teacher from a hula class. They were really cute. It was a fun and interesting show.
We ate at the Kuhio Grill Buffet at the Marriott. It had Prime Rib, roast pork, chicken stir fry and steamed mahi mahi. All were very good, and it was a good way for me to try mahi mahi since I had not had it before. The deserts were excellent and the Mai Tais were good.

Mar 16 (Wednesday)
Had breakfast at the Waikiki Surfrider and Longboard bar. It was in the Ohana on the corner of Lewers and Kalia. They are also closing at the end of the month – part of the renovations of the Ohanas on Lewers I think. It was good and cheap - 2.99 for two pancakes, an egg and bacon. They had coconut syrup for the pancakes (yum!) and the pineapple juice was very good.

Headed to Waikiki beach (in front of the battery, I think this part of the beach might be called Ft. DeRussy Beach) to play in the water for a while. It was rockier here than on Kuhio and not as wavy. Did not stay too long since we needed to check out this morning.

Checked out of our hotel around noon. Packed our stuff in the Jeep (Makai1 – don’t know how you ever fit four people and luggage in a Jeep Wrangler – in ours the trunk would only hold two backpacks max – our suitcases went on the back seat! Ours did say “Sport” on the side and we saw others in a similar one that looked a little longer and did not say “Sport” on it, so maybe it’s a different size) and headed out. Since we had a while until we could check in at the bungalow, we decided to take the long way around and go up the eastern side of the island. We stopped at Leonard’s on the way. This time we got coconut strudel and almond horns to eat on the way and some pao doce for later.

What a beautiful drive. I had planned to come back down this side of the island later, but we ran out of time. We stopped at Giovanni’s shrimp truck. It was a busy spot. The shrimp scampi was good.

When we got to Ke Iki Beach Bungalows, Greg was out hosing down the lot to clean up some construction debris (new septic I think he said). He was very nice and helpful. The surf and waves were incredible. I think they said 15 to 20 feet that day. I did not know the ocean could be so loud – but soothing at the same time. We had the Gardenia unit. What a beautiful spot.

Drove to Haleiwa to check it out. Stopped at Matsumoto’s for shave ice. Had a Hawaiian with ice cream on the bottom and a Matsumoto’s with ice cream. They were great! They had a penny machine too, but I did not have the change. Figured we’d be back anyways. Went to Foodland to get some staples (it’s really close to the bungalow).

We had dinner at the bungalow while watching the waves. Sushi (inari and ebi ngiri), Pinot Grigio and pie (Ted’s pie: haipau and macnut cream) – all from Foodland.

We went to sleep listening to the waves – what a great sound to drift off to.

Mar 17 (Thursday)
Woke up to the sound of the waves and the birds – wish I could hear that every morning! Had breakfast watching the waves (Do you see a theme here? You can just get mesmerized by these waves). We toasted slices of the pao doce from Leonard’s (yum!) and yogurt, pineapple and juice from Foodland.

We walked along the beach for a while and then sat and watched surfers (I think we were on the section called Sunset Beach, but not sure). You don’t realize how big the waves really are until you see people in them!

For lunch we went into Haleiwa and ate at Kua ‘Aina. A mahi mahi sandwich, a cheese burger and some fries to share. All were delicious. It was just before noon, so not too busy.

Drove to Dole plantation. Had a look around and a dole whip. Didn’t do any of the tours. They had a penny machine as well, but I couldn’t get them to make change for me.

We had heard there was a Costco nearby, so we thought we’d check it out for some items and to get some “local flavour”. It was pretty similar to ours, except they had some different food items, Aloha shirts and booze. Bought a pack of macnut chocolates boxes to give out when we get home – much cheaper than at the souvenir shops.

For dinner we went to Haleiwa Joe’s. Nice location, we got to sit outside as it was not too busy that night. We split the coconut shrimp and then had haiku chicken and sticky ribs for the main courses. It was all good, but the shrimp really stood out as the favorite. We were there through sunset time, but couldn’t see it too well as the trees and harbour are between the restaurant and the location of the sunset.

Back to the bungalow for dessert (chocolate macnut ice cream we had bought at Foodland). Another great night for going to sleep listening to the crash of the surf.

Mar 18 (Friday)
Similar breakfast to yesterday.

Drove to Waimea Bay to see if there were any surfers. Not many yet, so decided to drive out to Keana Point. Noticed that there was an airfield close by. Ended up watching the gliders, ultralights and parachuters for a while. Drove over to Mokuleia beach park. The beach and water looked great, but from what I had read it is not a place for visitors to swim. There was a man (I assumed local) sitting in the sun on a picnic table. He asked us if we planned on going in the water and advised us not to (or we might end up as the headline on the local news) as the currents there are strong. We chatted for awhile and it turns out he’s originally from Texas and vacationed in Hawaii three years ago and decided to stay (great idea!). He did tell us of a spot close by where it was safe to swim. Like most people here, he was very friendly and helpful.

On our way back, we stopped we had lunch at Kua ‘Aina again. This time a burger with pineapple and a teriyaki chicken. Quite a bit busier this time as it was after 12. The burger did not seem quite as good as the day before (but still really good), may have been because it was so much busier.

Driving back towards the bungalow, we noticed a sign at one of the beaches that said “Do not touch the turtles”. Decided we should stop and check it out. Went down to the beach, noticed that there were a few people a little way down the beach who were looking at something, so we headed over. Had to climb over a few rocks to get there (we should have gone down from the road further over) and as I stepped off the last of them down to the beach, one guy kept pointing to a spot near me. I looked over and it was not another rock as I had first thought, but a turtle! There were three turtles on the beach getting some sun and he said there were at least two more in the water. We watched the water for a while and noticed some dark spots that looked kind of like rocks but they moved. Closer in you could tell they were turtles and they would occasionally stick out a head or flipper from the water. You could also see them “riding” the waves. Two of them came out of the water and up on the beach while we were there and you could see at least one more in the water.

We then headed to Sunset beach to watch the surfers and hang out in the sun. Shortly after getting there, I noticed that my wife’s upper arms were getting red and we decided we should get out of the sun for a bit, so we headed back to the bungalow for some ice cream and some out of the sun relaxation. We relaxed in the hammocks in the shade for a while and then noticed what looked like some splashes out in the ocean. It was quite a ways out so hard to tell. We grabbed the binoculars to get a better look. It was at least one whale and maybe two. My wife saw a tail fluke and I saw some breaching. Wow – whale watching from in front of our bungalow. Greg told us later that they often see whales and that when the surf is calmer, they come in closer.

We decided to drive in to Mililani to go to the Walmart for some items (coconut syrup, maui onion dressing and some grocery items that we can’t find in Canada but always seem to see in the US). We had dinner at Loco Moco Drive Inn. We had plate lunches – grilled garlic mahi mahi and bbq chicken. It was very good. You could tell we were no longer in the tourist area and I think we must have looked really out of place. It was mostly local high school kids hanging out.

Back to the bungalow. We had the sad chore of starting to pack everything up. Our last night of going to sleep to the sound of the ocean. I was wishing that I had brought a tape recorder to record that sound, or a video camera to tape the waves. What a great thing that would have be to watch and listen to during a cold, snow covered day in the winter back home.

Mar 19 (Saturday)
Woke up to the sounds of the ocean and the birds. Went down to the beach to look for shells (I did this one other morning as well). Found more this day, but most were quite small and broken. I did find one that looked like a tiny scallop shell and it was in perfect shape. I don’t think I saw any sunrises (as described in makai1’s trip report).

We had breakfast on the lanai. Saw another whale way out in the ocean. Then off to the airport with a stop at Matsumoto’s to make that penny since we had not gone back for another shave ice (would have had one then, but I don’t think it’s a treat I could have while driving!).

Got to the airport rental car returns and discovered that the Alamo return is offsite. Wish they had told me that when I picked up the car in Waikiki! The Alamo people were nice, but I was not impressed overall. If it hadn’t been for the great deal I got on the Jeep and the fact I had enjoyed the trip so much, I would have been very peeved.

18 hours later – back home wishing I was still there! 1 week was much too short. Wish I could have spent a week in Waikiki and a week on the North Shore (or longer). Oh well, hopefully I’ll get to go again!

bart is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,404
Thank you for putting your great trip report in paragraphs, it sure makes for much easier reading The trip sounded great, personally I have always enjoyed Oahu. As for Alamo, well -- I've never had trouble with them and it looks like the mix-up did not spoil your vacation (some people do tend to dwell on the negative).

What I would do if I were you would be write a nice letter to the President of Alamo outlining your delayed flight situation and the office being closed upon arrival. You might want to make a xerox copy of your cab receipt if you got one. Keep it simple and to the point - you may be surprised and get a refund.
Lori is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 06:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 485
Great review! I just returned last week from a stay on Oahu and loved it as well!
Miramar is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 07:27 AM
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Lovely report...mmmmmmmm I could almost taste the coconut syrup and hear the waves!

Thanks for the details.
highflyer is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 07:33 AM
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bart, thank you for sharing your fun report with us. Sounds as though you thoroughly enjoyed yourselves on one of my favorite islands! I hope you will have the pleasure of being on Oahu many more times!!!
Mar 23rd, 2005, 10:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 212
Where is Leonard's (malasada) and Ku'uana?

Hanalei is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 576
Leonard's is on the Diamond Head side of Kapahulu, just makai of H1.
MerryTravel is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 01:05 PM
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Posts: 38
I got to Leonard's by driving from the hotel along Kalakua towards Diamond Head. Turned left on Kapahulu. It's a couple of minutes later on the corner of Kapahulu and George (I think it's George).

Kua 'Aina is in Haleiwa on the main street. It's just beside a large parking lot for a grocery store with a name that ends in Market and across from a Pizza place. I've heard there is also one in Honolulu in the Ward Centre.
bart is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Aloha Bart!

Aaaahhh... I forgot I was in Illinois for just a few minutes. Your report is wonderfully told. Sounds like you hit some of the great highlights of the island! Did this trip leave you wanting for more of O'ahu?? Every time I go, I can't wait to get back!

Ke Iki is truly a piece of paradise, isn't it? The mornings with the birds, and the sunsets with the whales and dinner on the lanai... simple aloha!

Mahalo for the memories and sharing of your trip... if I squint... I think I can hear the surf! ;D
makai1 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2005, 03:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 316
thanks for a great trip report bart! the trip reports are my favorite part of this website. H-Bay was the highlight of my trip to Oahu also: swimming with a turtle! doesn't get much better than that!! and Kua Aina has the BEST burgers i've ever eaten. it is the standard by which i now judge a burger!!
stellaluna is offline  
Mar 24th, 2005, 10:56 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 38
Aloha Makai1!

The trip did leave me wanting more. We kept saying - "next time, we'll have to do..." or "when we go back...". Not like a lot of trips, where it's "if we go back,..."

Unfortunately, it's usually way too expensive for the airfare from Nova Scotia. We got a really good deal on the airfare (and I mean really good!) and I don't know if we'll ever get that kind of deal again. I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled and keep saving!

bart is offline  
Mar 25th, 2005, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Aloha Bart,

I wanted to you to see what a sunrise shell looks like... (per your comment from the other thread)

...for "next time"!

makai1 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2005, 05:19 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 38
Aloha Makai1,

Mahalo for the site with the images of the surise shells.

I think I found broken pieces of those types of shells and one that is the same shape, but completely white.

(I'm still dreaming I'm still there! I have to go to Las Vegas on business tomorrow - that's about halfway to Hawaii from here - and I'm tempted to just keep on going!!)
bart is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 12:47 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 399
Aloha Bart, thanks for sharing your report. Sorry to hear about your mishaps in the beginning of your trip, but sounds like the awesome time you had more than made up for it. Looks like we arrived the day before your departure..will be posting our TR soon. It's always tough to get back to the real world after visiting paradise

BTW...your right about the Jeep, there are 2 different sizes, so renters beware, the sport edition is smaller. Ours was the regular model, with seating for 4, plus space behind the back seat that was large enough to store a few suitcases. We saw a couple in the sport edition heading back to the airport for the same flight as ours and they virtually had no room, the back seat was stacked with luggage.

Hope you get back to Hawaii again soon, almost addicting isn't it?!
ggrtist is offline  
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