In this post I’m going to share you my story of when I visited Hawaii and in my opinion the best places to go to and how to get there! Hawaii is not the cheapest to travel to so keep in mind , this trip is definitely more of a treat yourself and splurge! But it is worth it and a must go to place if you’ve never been!
Now, as much as I like to travel solo, I definitely recommend going to Hawaii with someone whether it’s family, spouse, friend, whatever because splitting costs makes life a bit easier also it’s just a great place to share the experience with! This is the one and only time I ever used a travel agent for help and I did not regret that decision! She made life so much easier and even helped when we had hiccups a long the way. My friend Rachel and I planned the whole thing in 2 months. We told her what we wanted to do and which islands we wanted to travel to, and she found us the cheapest flights, booked us adventures to go on, got our rental cars taken care of and found us hotels with views that didn’t break the bank.
We left for our adventure extremely early at the end of February of 2020, right before the world shut down, so it was clutch timing. Our first stop was the island of Kauai! We got in pretty late, got our rental car , found our hotel/condo and made a plan for the next day. Both Rachel and I are pretty adventurous so she was the perfect person to join me on this trip!
The first thing we had planned for the day was scuba diving with sea turtles! We woke up early got some coffee and set off. When we arrived, we ran into our first tinnny hiccup. When our travel agent booked this for us, she didn’t realize we were both experienced divers so the dive was actually a shallow shore dive (basically an entry level dive course for those who have never dove). Like I said it was a tiny hiccup and we still had a blast, but if you’re going to scuba in Hawaii just do some research in advance on the dive locations and go into the open water because the clarity of the water is like a night and day difference! We still saw and scuba’d next to a bunch of sea turtles and fish and it was a good little refresher for both of us to start off our trip on.
That same day we decided we wanted some more adventure. So, previously, I used Pinterest to find all the go to waterfalls and hikes! Pinterest is my go to place to do research before I’m traveling somewhere because bloggers like myself, post specific locations and detailed descriptions of places that aren’t as populated and traveled to. Before heading off for some hikes we stopped by a shopping center that had a bunch of restaurants and stores along a beach in a town called Lihue. We each got a delicious meal with a frozen fruity alcoholic beverage and ate our lunches with the view of waves crashing into the beach. We then walked around and this was where we found our little good luck charms! We found these little wooden heads with colored feather mohawks on them called….. The woman who sold them to us told us they were local Hawaiian charms that provided good luck to travelers so we hopped on that. (I named my guy akala 🙂 )
We then headed to our first hike and waterfall of the trip! At first we just took pictures of it at this overlook spot and then we found a small opening in a fence and our curious selves decided to follow the trail down and it went straight down to the edge of the waterfall! We walked to the edge, look some pics then decided to swim back to a smaller section of the pools at the top and just hangout there for awhile! Best part was no one else was there, where as a bunch of people were at the overlook, so it was our own little oasis.
This still wasn’t enough adventure for us for the day so I looked up another waterfall and off we went! This one was a bit longer of a hike but so freaking cool! We hiked down this muddy path surrounded by these tall vine filled trees and finally reached our destination! This waterfall we were actually able to jump off of into a pool of small rapids at the bottom. So we did that for awhile and then someone told us there was another waterfall down the hike more so of course we had to go!
This waterfall was actually filmed in one of the Jurassic park films (fun fact a lot of Jurassic park was filmed in Hawaii). At the bottom of this waterfall we found a rope swing and had fun on that for awhile and then realized.. shit we have one hour till it gets dark! Haha we packed up our gear and started walking back and it ended up being a hike in pitch black dark, surrounded by frogs and toads barking at us and covered in mud haha! But it was all worth it! And this was just day one!
On our second day we decided to take our time a little bit more and we got breakfast at this delicious restaurant called Java Kai! We got avacodo toasts, açaí bowls and London fog teas! Everything was amazing! From here we drove to our next hiking destination! As you can see, our Hawaiian trip was not your typical beach vacation. We were all for the hiking and chasing waterfalls.
We went to Waime Canyon State Park! It was so beautiful and unexpected for what I imagined Hawaii to look like! It reminded me slightly of the Grand Canyon (it’s actually called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) but cooler. When we got there we walked around, took some pics and off in the distance we saw this waterfall that looked small from where we were but in reality it was an 800ft waterfall we could hike to. Yes, we did it.
The hike to the top of the waterfall wasn’t crazy long but it was extremely muddy! It was called the Canyon trail and it took you to the pools at the top of this waterfall. We decided getting to the top wasn’t enough, and we had to swim in these right at the edge of this magnificent falls! To say it was breathtaking isn’t enough. I genuinely don’t have words for how amazing this experience was! We took it all in and embraced every moment we could! Definitely do this hike if you get the chance! This trip took us pretty much all day so after this hike we got cleaned up and walked around and shopped for a bit till it was time for sleep.
Day 3 was interesting. Haha it started off pretty chill, got breakfast again at the same place as before, decided to walk around the area and shop and get some local goods then we were off to the airport to hit Maui! Well.. we overshot exactly how much time we had to get there, get gas, return the car.. ect. Long story short we missed our flight. It was our second hiccup and kind of a big one because we had reservations for things in Maui that night and the next day. Luckily we were able to get different flights and it all worked out but oh my gosh was it stressful. After that we decided we were never putting our good luck charms away again!
When we landed in Maui Rachel’s parents surprised us with lays and a sign with our names on it welcoming us to the island. It was a nice little mood booster to get us back to our happy vibes! We got in pretty late so we decided to just get some food and hit the hay that night.
Looking on the bright side, missing our flight actually benefitted us because our original plans wouldn’t have worked if we did make it. So on day 4 we went to Haleakala National Park and the reason our plans wouldn’t of worked is because we were supposed to scuba dive first then go here but we wouldn’t of been able to due to altitude changes. So we drove up as high as we could then decided to do a hike throughout the clouds and volcanoes! It was stunning to be up so high and seeing a different side of Hawaii! Plus I got a stamp in my national park book so that was a bonus of going here :)!
The next day we decided we wanted to do another scuba dive since our first one wasn’t what we were expecting. This one was amazing!! We woke up early, met our guides and headed out to sea. We did two deep water dives and the most memorable one was the Cathedral dive! If you ask anyone that’s scuba’d in Hawaii, they highly suggest doing this dive! It was my deepest dive I’ve done, we went 80ish feet and because we were there in February/March, it was humpback whale mating season and we could literally hear them calling each other underwater. It was surreal! And it just kept getting better!
Once we were down there, we got to this beautiful coral/rock figure that looked, well, like a cathedral. We swam inside it and a hole in the top made the light from above shine through it and created this peaceful and sparkly scene. Small puffer fish and lots of other colorful fish swam in there and past us and then to get out we torpedoed through a vortex tunnel! On the other side we saw so many other awesome creatures including two sharks, an octopus, multiple eels and so much more! It was definitely abs experience of a lifetime!
After our morning of diving we got lunch (more açaí bowls of course) went shopping and then headed back to relax by the pool for a bit before going to our luau that night! So, I know when people think of Hawaii one of the first things that comes to mind is going to a luau.. but I will say this was the one super touristy thing we did and it was overrated in our opinion. We were both happy we did it and found out what it was like, but it was just way overpriced and a little too touristy for us. We still had fun and met some fun people but I think we both agreed whenever we go back to this state, we’d skip out on the luaus. But, find out for yourself and at least get the experience once! The dancers are extremely talented and it was fun to dress up and get fancy for the night.
Day 6 was a fun one and we saw a lot! Maui is famous for a specific road on the island that goes around the whole island and has a lot to see along the way! It’s called the road to Hana and it’s very tight and windy but in my opinion, a must do if you go to Maui. Along this road are so many waterfalls, small hikes, beautiful beaches with black sands and other unique rocky sands, local artists who sell beautiful jewelry, delicious food trucks and restaurants, caves to hike into and so much more! The one thing you NEED before hitting this road is an app called Gypsy bean. It’s a $6 app but I promise it’s worth it because without that guided app (we named our guy talking Phil haha) we would’ve missed so many amazing things!
My personal favorite part on the road to Hana was definitely the Pīpīwai Trail that took us to the gigantic Waimoku falls (that was also filmed in Jurassic park). Along this trail you run into the most unique looking trees, walk through a bamboo forest and at the end you stand right underneath the waterfall! You feel like a tiny ant standing next to this waterfall, that’s how big it is and just something that seemed out of this world! The hike was only 1.8 miles there and 1.8 back and it is truly worth it!
For our last day there we wanted to get some beach time in and walk around a bit but we also wanted to do one more adventurous thing, so we decided to go whale watching. We hopped on this giant ship and went out with a huge crowd to see these beautiful creatures breach out of the water. To be honest we had better views of them when we went scuba diving and it was way less crowded that way but it wasn’t that expensive and it gave us something to do and try. After this we got food and shopped, I got my hair braided by a local artist, and then we went to do yoga on the beach and chill (the only time we spent on the beach the entire week haha).
All in all it was an AMAZING trip and I couldn’t of asked for a better person to travel with here! Of all the 50 states Hawaii is my favorite and Kauai would be my favorite island! I’ll definitely be going back in the near future to hit the other national parks on the other islands but I will always stop at Kauai whenever I go back. Attached at the bottom here is a document explaining details of the hikes and waterfalls I went to and also ones I was not able to go onto that were suggested to me by a friend who lived there! Hope this was helpful and you enjoyed 🙂 till next time!