Hawai’i

Oahu - Big Island - Maui - Kauai

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Trip Overview

Highlights & Details

Nights

$

for 2 persons, 30 nights,
50/50 hotel & camping,
in February 2019

Pacific Marina Inn

After a late arrival at the Honolulu Int Airport we felt happy to feel in this comfy bed only minutes from the terminal. Easy stay for a night without heading through the traffic of Honolulu after a long flight.

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Beach Boutique Hostel

Very well located next to the beach, restaurants and bars in Waikiki. 3 double rooms are sharing a shower and bathroom but the rooms are nice, modern and clean. Good place to stay where the touristy thing is happening – but also explore the rest of Oahu and especially the other islands.

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Malaekahana Camping

Located at one of the most beautiful beaches at the north shore of Oahu and with one of the best sunrises we’ve seen on Hawai’i this private campsite allows tent and car camping.

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Bellows Field Camping

Going asleep with the sounds of the waves and waking up with a view of the nicest sunrise direct at the beach – but be prepared the facilities are absolute basic. There is a toilet and a cold beach shower but nothing else. No electricity, no table and chairs, no grill, no washing cabin, no mirror. And as it is part of a military training zone only open at weekends.


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Reeds Bay Hotel

One of the payable hotels in Hawaii is located at the Banyan Drive in Hilo. Close to the airport and a good starting point to the south and east coast of the Big Island. Clean and spacious rooms which aren’t the most modern anymore.

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Samuel M. Spencer Camping

With camper and tent camping possible this campsite is located at a small beach and there is a pavilion with light to cook, eat and spend the evening. Like most camping sites on Hawaii only cold beach showers and some toilets.


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Kohanaiki Camping

Around Kailua-Kona everything seems to be not older than a few years. The resorts seem modern and even the ablution blocks at this campsite were relatively new. We had a nice quiet parking lot in a corner.

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Punalu’u Camping

White sandy beach is our idea of the perfect beach but a black sandy beach is so different, so fascinating. Punalu’u campsite is directly at the rocky shore and a small beach. We said good night to green sea turtles and watched them waking up during sunrise. Toilets and cold beach showers are available and small pavilions to cook and eat.

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Waianapanapa Camping

Located at the end of the famous road to Hana this campsite is perfect for a slowly drive up the road and down the next morning. Explore all the stops along the coast and experience the laid back Hawaiian feeling. The shoreline of Waianapanapa State Park are rough and rocky.

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Hosmer Grove Camping

Sunset or Sunrise? This is the question for Haleakala NP. As you need a reservation for the sunrise and this is fully booked long before your arrival – we decided to experience the sunset and it was epic! Sleeping at Hosmer Grove was not so than… a small campsite with the most basic shit hole ever and a small pavilion to sit, cook and eat. And don’t forget your socks because the nights up there are freezing. Camping is included in the NP Entrance fee.

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Kahana Falls Resort

One of our nice resort nights we spent at the Kahana Falls Resort. A lovely hotel a little bit north of Lahaina with cute rooms and a wonderful pool and jacuzzi in the garden. A luxury retreat for us after camping nights. With the concierge we booked diving and whale watching for the following days.

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Olowalu Camping

The nicest campsite of them all. Proper shower cabins with hot water and small toilet/bathroom cabins were a perfect surprise on a campsite on Hawaii. This one is still in extension, the tent sites and cabins are done, the camper park is just a car park but ok.

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Kauai Shores Hotel

Booked for only one night we extended our stay for the whole time on Kauai. What a lovely beach resort with its own restaurant at the beach front. Literally tables and feeds during breakfast, lunch and dinner in the sand. Pool and jacuzzi in the garden area, yoga classes in the morning and beach beds next to the turquoise ocean – everything you need to relax.

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Traveling

$

for 2 persons,
in February 2019

Oahu

Rental Car
$ 284 (incl fuel)

  • Honolulu- Pearl Harbor – Waikiki
  • Waikiki – Haleiwa – Malaekahana
  • Malaekahana – Bellows Field
  • Bellows Field – Hanauma
  • Bellows Field – Honolulu
  • Honolulu – Hilo

    Hawaiian Airlines (one way)
    18.40 – 19.35
    USD 186
    Attention: Luggage costs extra (+USD 25pp)

    Big Island

    Rental Car
    $ 395 (incl fuel)

  • Hilo – Kalapana – Hilo
  • Hilo – Waipio Valley – Samuel Spencer
  • Samuel Spencer – Kohanaiki
  • Kohanaiki – Punalu’u
  • Punalu’u – Volcano NP
  • Volcano NP – Mauna Kea – Hilo
  • Hilo – Kahului

    Hawaiian Airlines (one way)
    09.45 – 10.25
    USD 237
    Attention: Luggage costs extra (+USD 25pp)

    Maui

    Rental Car
    $ 324 (incl fuel)

  • Kahului – Hana
  • Hana – Kipahulu – Hana
  • Hana – Haleakala NP
  • Haleakala NP – Kahana
  • Kahana – Kihei – Kahana
  • Kahana – Wailea – Kahana
  • Kahana – Olowalu
  • Olowalu – Kahului
  • Kahului – Lihue

    Hawaiian Airlines (one way)
    10.40 – 11.30
    USD 254
    Attention: Luggage costs extra (+USD 25pp)

    Kauai

    Rental Car
    $ 350 (incl fuel)
    all drives from and back to Kapa’a

  • Wailua Falls
  • Hanalei & Kilauea
  • Poipu Beach
  • Waimea Canyon
  • Port Allen for Napali Coast
  • Kamokila Village for Secret Falls
  • Lihue – Honolulu

    Hawaiian Airlines (one way)
    16.50 – 17.30
    USD 196
    USD 58 (Uber Airport Transfers)
    Attention: Luggage costs extra (+USD 25pp)

    Activities

    $

    for 2 persons,
    in February 2019

    Pearl Harbor

    Where history was made. A place of big stories and tragedy. We appreciated the many individual destinies which are showed in the Memorial Site and it is enormous interesting to explore the USS Missouri Battleship where WWII actually ended.

    USD 74

    Dole Plantation

    Did you know that Hawai’i is the capital of pineapples and Dole is located on the island of Oahu? We were surprised and we explored the plantation. During the short train ride over the plantation suck in the wonderful tasting pineapple air and in the garden they grow all the beautiful flowers of Hawai’i.

    USD 35

    Snorkeling at Hanauma

    One of the best spots on Oahu to snorkel and we were surprised how serious they take it with the actual protection of the reef. A volcanic crater filled with ocean water and a lively underwater world. A wonderful place even though the tourists know it.

    USD 16

    Diamond Head

    This view over Waikiki and Honolulu is just stunning. To climb up to the crater of Diamond Head you drive and park into the crater. There is an easy 1h hike up but be prepared to share the view as there are many people around.

    USD 5 for parking
    Tip: Park before the tunnel and you get up there for free!

    Kayaking to Captain Cook

    In the bay of Kealakekua is the famous Captain Cook Monument located. Ehu and Kai rent kayaks to explore the bay, look for the resting dolphins and snorkel in front of the monument. The corals are healthy and the colorful fishs amazing.

    USD 62

    Volcano NP

    The visitor center right behind the entrance supports you with a lot of information about the volcanoes on Big Island and the growing of the islands. Rangers are leading tours with more information which are very good. Mauna Ulu is perfect to explore a solidified lava field and the drive down to the coast a special experience. You can spend easy a day or two in the park.

    USD 10

    Wine on a Volcano

    Yes, they grew and produce wine on top of Kilauea. Different to other wines they blend it with sweet berries and fruits and the wines are very pleasant to the taste. We shared a cheese platter with crackers and had eaten for the day afterwards.

    USD 42

    Sunset at Haleakala NP

    Sunset or Sunrise? This is the question for Haleakala NP. As you need a reservation for the sunrise and this is fully booked long before your arrival – we decided to experience the sunset and it was epic!

    USD 25

    Diving Molokini

    Molokini was very top on our diving bucket list. The underwater world around Hawai’i is full of life and we wanted to spend at least one day exploring it. As normal you have to be lucky to see what you see. This time we didn’t see too much but heard! A whole dive with whale songs was an epic experience!

    USD 350

    Whale Watching & Snorkel

    As we like to do one thing at the time and we’re not American we figured out that this tour was a little too much for us. Whale Watching and Snorkeling at the same time is difficult. We were constantly entertained with preparing for snorkeling, looking for whales, drinks and food all together. A fully packed afternoon.

    USD 141 with Pride of Maui

    Kayaking & Secret Falls

    Kayaking on the Wailua river and reach the Secret Falls was appealing to do some sports and experience the wonderful nature of Kauai. We figured out, that we better rent the Kayak from the Kamokila Village as it is much cheaper. But the way to the head of the trail was then only 5 minutes. Anyway we hiked through ankle-deep mud to reach the Secret Falls. Amazing powerful falls and a pool of refreshing fresh water!

    USD 73

    Napali Coast Sailing

    Our most expensive but also most worthy tour on Hawai’i. What an amazing coast and we’ve been extremely lucky with the weather, moon and whale activities on that day! The ocean was pretty rough but the crew wonderful and we not only stunned about the gorgeous Napali Coast but also the fully grown male whale who breached in front of our boat!

    USD 261 with Kauai Sea Tours

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    Hawai’i

    History in Pearl Harbor

    Day 1: Pearl Harbor

    A must do while on Hawaii because it is a place where history has been wrapped up. Interestingly the story of the attack is not only shown from the US perspective, but also from the Japanese perspective and of the Japanese descendants living on Hawaii. It also gives you the opportunity to inspect a gigantic battle ship from up close and to see the place where the 2nd world war has ended. When we were there it was mostly gray and rainy but that gave this dark place of history even more atmosphere.

    Hawai’i

    Waikiki Beach Fun

    Day 2-3: Waikiki Beach

    It’s the place of the rich and the surfers. It has a beautiful beach which is divided by all the top hotel brands but it still has the cool surfer vibe of all the surfers hanging out in the waves. We stayed for two nights in a hostel and besides the immense traffic absolutely loved this buzzing city. And we enjoyed the view on Diamond Head. This is the name of the crater rim right next to Honolulu. The view on the way up and from up there is unique and definitely worth the hike. But be prepared to share it with some others. As even on a Monday it was quite crowded up there.

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    Waves at North Shore

    Day 4: Malaekahana Camping

    The place to be for all surfers and those who like to watch them. As we both tried and failed at surfing on previous trips, we belonged to the second group. We grabbed ourselves a shaved ice and watched them doing their tricks. And afterwards we went wave jumping which was a lot of fun.

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    Snorkeling Hanauma Bay

    Day 5-7: Bellow Field Camping

    Probably the most beautiful beaches on the island are on its east side. They are perfect for relaxing and snorkeling and the best place to do that is Hanauma Bay. The reef there is very healthy with lots of fishes and the rangers there are doing an excellent job in protecting it. Besides many colorful fishes we saw a species of trigger fish we have never seen before.

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    Volcanic South Coast

    Day 8-9: Hilo Reeds Bay Resort

    The southern tip of the island is full of lush rainforest. Some of it so pristine, that you fear to destroy its equilibrium if you simply touch it. In harsh contrast to this you can find the lava fields right next to it. About a year ago was the last outbreak of one of the five volcanoes and this one destroyed more than 700 buildings and structures and forced more than 2’000 people to relocate. One of the streets is still blocked by solidified lava.

    Hawai’i

    Fragrant Rainforests

    Day 10: Samuel M. Spencer Camping

    There are many waterfalls worth visiting on the biggest of the Hawaiian islands. Two of them are the Rainbow falls and the Akaka falls. We visited the Rainbow falls first and after waiting long enough, there was enough sun, to make the rainbow appear. The Akaka falls don’t have a rainbow but are, with their 132m of free fall more than twice as high as the Niagara falls.

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    Whales & Dolphins

    Day 11: Kohanaiki Camping

    The south-west part of the island offers the best whale watching possibilities. We managed to see one of those giants jump. We witnessed three big jumps and got it all on camera. All this happened quite far away from us, we needed all the zoom we had, but it was still a unique experience.

    Petroglyphs are stone carvings created by the ancient Hawaiians. Their exact meaning is not known but they show events like birth and other major events. Close to the petroglyphs is a beach with black volcano stones mixed with white remains of the corals.

    We rented a kayak at the Kealakekua Bay and looked for the resting dolphins as well as snorkeled at the Captain Cook memorial. It is probably the best snorkeling spot on the island as the corals look super healthy and there are many colorful fishes. Only a short drive further was 2-step the snorkeling spot. And there Spinner Dolphins showed up. First we saw them deep down, but then they came up and swam with us. It was absolutely magical. And one of them was jumping out of the water and doing his pirouettes next to us.

    Hawai’i

    Land grows on Hawai’i

    Day 12-13: Punalu’u & Volcano NP

    Even though there was no more glowing lava to see, it was still a super interesting trip to do. We learned a lot about the five big volcanoes on Big Island and the recent eruption. After the introduction and inspecting some steam coming off the ground, we made our way all the way down to the ocean. But first we took another stop at one of the craters and searched for Pele’s tears. Those tears are black and shiny and can be found on the ground when looking closely.

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    Sunset on Mauna Kea

    Day 14: Hilo Reeds Bay Resort

    Driving up the highest mountain in the world. No, we are not talking about Mt. Everest, we are talking about Mauna Kea. Measured from the ground of the ocean this mountain is more than 10’000 meters high. We started in Hilo on zero meters and drove all the way up to the top of the mountain. We started in the tropical warmth of the coast, then passed the rainy and foggy area in the middle, then warm again and then freezing cold on the summit. But driving up there was probably the best thing we had done in a long time. The view up there was simply mind blowing and all the telescoped up there looked fantastic during sunset. And btw. a car with AWD is absolutely sufficient to drive the little piece of unpaved road on the way to the top.

    Hawai’i

    Road to Hana

    Day 15-16: Waianapanapa Camping

    This road is considered one of the most beautiful roads in the world and probably everyone who has driven it, would agree. You get the chance to drive at the coastline within a beautiful rainforest. Every couple of meters there is another waterfall to watch or another spectacular piece of coastline to stare at. Tipp: Make sure to stop at the Ka Haku Smoke Shack as their Hawaiian BBQ platter is absolutely fantastic. All points are marked on the map above.

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    Sunset on Haleakala

    Day 17: Haleakala NP

    Watch the sunset or sunrise at the Red Hill Haleakala. It is the highest mountain on Maui and of course it is a volcano. The road up there is a bit less steep and tricky than the one leading up to Mauna Kea on Big Island but the view is of the same intensity. Because you need a reservation for the sunrise long before your arrival we watched the sunset. In case you are lucky enough to be above the clouds, the view over the cloud sea is spectacular but also a bit freezing.

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    Strolling in Lahaina

    Day 18-19: Kahana Falls Resort

    Lahaina is a beautiful little town, that managed to keep its attraction despite being full of tourists. There are art galleries and shops and of course many restaurants. A great place to drink a beer while watching the sunset and enjoying original Hawaiian live music is Kimo’s.

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    Whale Songs Underwater

    Day 20-21: Olowalu Camping

    From Dec to April is whale season. The humpback whales are travelling all the way from the Antarctic to Hawaii to mate, give birth and nurse their babies. One of the best places to see them from the shore is Papawai Point. But to take a closer look you better book a whale watching tour. We booked a combined snorkel and whale watching tour but think it would have been better to do only the whale watching and invest the entire time into those gentle giants.

    Molokini is the moon shaped remaining part of a volcano crater and as it offers protection from the current a preferred place by many marine lives. We went diving there and during the entire dive at the wall we could hear the whales sing. It was a unique experience. Besides we saw many colorful fishes, some nudibranchs and a pretty big and active day octopus.

    And then there are too many beaches to name them all and the best way to see them is by beach hopping. But plan more than one day to do that, so you can get hooked by your favorite and still explore the other ones on another day.

    Hawai’i

    Relaxing Beach

    Day 22-28: Kauai Shores Hotel

    On Kauai we ended our camping experiment prematurely. As soon as we had checked into the Kauai Shores Hotel for our first night we were overwhelmed by the comfort, kindness and beauty of this hotel and decided to extend our stay. With its own little beach at the turquoise water and its beach front restaurant everything was perfect for a relaxing time at the beach.

    Poipu Beach is considered one of the best snorkeling spots on the island and it is pretty in the shallow water with all the colorful fishes. But because of the shallow water it is also full of kids, which shouldn’t have surprised us when reading its nickname – baby pool. But there was one guest that helped us to calm down, a member of the rare species of the monk seals. Exhausted from a night of hunting he was resting at the beach. And when one of the kids was getting too annoying he buried his head in the sand.

    Hanalei Bay is the most north you can go and we had a perfect rainbow expanding over the bay. Hanalei hosts the most famous farmers market of the island every Saturday morning. There you can buy all sorts of vegetables and fruits, flowers, handcraft items and food. And there are some local artists performing on their instruments.

    Hawai’i

    Kayak to Secret Falls

    Day 27: Secret Falls

    To be honest, they are not that secret anymore, but as they can only be accessed by kayaking and a long muddy walk they are still pretty special. The kayaking was short and easy, but the hike was the tough part. As we didn’t want to spend hours to clean our shoes we decided to go barefoot. On most parts of the trail that was a good decision as the mud reached up to our ankles. All that was rewarded with an astonishingly beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail. The falls are about 30m high and free falling and you can swim to them and even stand under them. And when doing so you start to realize how powerfull this water is.

    Hawai’i

    WOW: Waimea Canyon

    Day 28: Waimea Canyon

    Drive up the Waimea Canyon until you reach the Napali Coast. We have already been to the Grand Canyon, Brice Canyon, Fishriver Canyon and some others, but this one was for sure the most beautiful one we have ever seen. Its colors are unreal. The further we drove the more fascinating the canyon became. There were all sorts of waterfalls, from the tiny little Red Dirt Waterfall to the gigantic falls in the center of the canyon. Everything about this canyon fascinated us. Its size, the plants, the colors, the shape of its walls – simply everything.

    And when we had reached its highest point, we drove directly into the Napali Coast. From the most beautiful canyon we had ever seen to the most beautiful coastline we had ever seen. The coastline looked like it was wrapped around the island with hundreds of wrinkles, holes, waterfalls and plants. This view made us already so happy and we couldn’t wait to see this unique coastline from the water.

    Hawai’i

    Sailing Napali Coast

    Day 29: Sailing Napali Coast

    The only way to access the famous Napali Coast is by boat or a helicopter flight. We took off with a catamaran and the most service oriented and entertaining crew we could imagine. We had so much whale action, that we sometimes didn’t know where to look. First there was a baby training his muscles for its long swim to the Antarctic. It did that by repeatedly jumping out of the water and fall to its side – the so-called breaching. And then there was another baby standing vertical in the water with his tail reaching to the sky and smashing it on the surface. Their power was also demonstrated to us by a male whale who did the most massive breaches we had seen during our entire time on Hawaii. This force of nature was simply mind-blowing.

    And we met some Spinner Dolphins which started to swim in front of our catamaran. It was so fulfilling to see those magical creatures again from up close while they were joyfully gliding through the water at full speed.

    And of course, there was the Napali Coast itself in its impressive size, shape and beauty. From what we were only able to see a glimpse while standing on top of the coast, we could now enjoy it in all its dimensions. And this view confirmed our verdict, that it was probably the most beautiful coastline we had ever seen.

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