I have literally hundreds of close relatives. We’re Catholics, so yeah, we take the “go forth and multiply” thing seriously. Half of my “10000 relatives,” as my oldest describes them, live in Hawaii so we often find ourselves having a vacation there. You can’t beat free lodging, and free food. Almost every night we have family dinners that will rival most weddings.
I typically mooch off my brother for free lodging. Actually, I’ve tried to get an Airbnb but my parents, especially my Dad wouldn’t hear of it. Because we all live so far apart and the holidays are the only times we’re together, my Dad always insists that we be in one roof for two weeks. And it’s not a bad place to stay. My brother has an amazing view of the water, and Waikiki and the Diamond Head. It’s
We typically spend our time there hiking. Hawaii has a lot of places with easy hikes which are kid-friendly. Although we stay for at least two weeks every time we visit, it feels like there isn’t enough time to explore and enjoy this island.
One of the first stops we make is breakfast at YogurStory. My cute little nephew loves this place and I agree with his excellent palate. Try the
We also made time to visit Lee Ann Wong’s Koko Head Cafe. Koko Head is close to downtown but its sort of tucked away so they don’t get that many tourists, except for the Cafe, and I suspect it’s because of Lee Ann.
There was a little wait for our table so we decided to walk around the corner (literally) to Coffee Talk. I had a latte which was the perfect nudge I needed. My cousin who was starving after our morning yoga and hike ordered a quiche. It was actually tasted better than we expected. But we held off ordering more as we didn’t want to get too full. We were all looking forward to our meal at Koko Head. If you’re in the area, visit this funky cool cafe. It has that retro cool vibe meshed with island flair, complete with the hipster
We only waited less than twenty minutes to get seated at Koko Head Cafe which was faster than I thought. Our waitress was friendly if a bit harried. But it was to be expected. The place had a long line outside and they didn’t have a lot of tables.
We started our meal with
I’ve loved Lee Ann from years ago when she was a contestant on Top Chef, so I may have had higher than normal expectations. Unfortunately, I found that my food was just ok. It wasn’t great, which was disappointing. My family shared the same sentiment and we all agreed that the best part of our meal
One sure stop we make every single time we’re in Hawaii is the Arizona Memorial. This year, the actual memorial was closed due to repairs but it is scheduled to open in May so if you’re coming before then, check the schedules. The memorial is always a somber visit but I want my children to appreciate and to give respect to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for this country. And with every visit, my kids learn something new so be sure to take time to see the memorial.
My favorite hike in Oahu is Lanakai’s Pill Box but when President Obama was the current president it was difficult to get into this area as he vacationed here, and I think he might have purchased a home in the area. The Lanakai Pill Box hike is an easy hike IF there’s no mud. The mud in Hawaii is unlike your typical mainland mud–its thicker and stickier because I think the entire island is basically made of lava. The mud is compact and very heavy.
The hike itself is short but it’s up there in level of difficulty because we kept falling into the mud. It had been raining for days when we did the hike so it was expectedly more muddy than usual. We had to use ropes to climb up but we kept slipping even with our hiking shoes. Within a few minutes and a few feet, we were caked in mud which dragged us even farther down. We had some minor injuries–scraped hands from falling and burns holding on to a rope, and scraped knees. But the climb is part of the adventure, and worth it for these views. A tip though,
Also, parking is tricky. This is a residential area with no parking.
If Lanikai is a trail of mud and tears, the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail is a study in contrast with its well-paved road, and dedicated parking lot. The lot gets full but be patient, people come and go all the time. This hike is less than a mile and is great for kids. Just bring water as it’s easy to get dehydrated in the island heat and humidity and people take it for granted because the hike is “easy”.
If hiking is not your idea of fun, there are a couple of places I love where you can just enjoy the beach. My absolute favorite is Ko Olina as its convenient to get
Don’t let the name turn you off–Cockroach Cove is awesome. Its official name is Halona Beach Cove. Be aware though, you’re not supposed to technically go down the hill where this cove leads to as it’s not safe for someone
My next post will be all about the touristy places like Hanauma Bay, and of course, the shrimp trucks, and Matsumoto.