72 Hours in Hawaii
Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson Islands: Maui, Kauai, Oahu
Hawaii is one of the places we imagine when we think of a vacation in paradise. The long stretches of sandy beaches and coral reefs alive with vibrant colours calls us to its bosom. Hawaii is a hub for bold arts and culture, dancing to life. Its diverse community keeps its tradition of hula, ukulele, and taiko drumming, which is often experienced by the thousands of visitors visiting the island yearly.
Hawaii is not just a hot tourist spot; it is perhaps one of the most sought after wedding and honeymoon destinations. It is famously known for beach weddings. However, its lush gardens have been seeing their fair share of nuptial bondings in the backdrops of some of the most divinely serene waterfalls. One such waterfall is the seven-hundred-year-old, sacred Waimea Falls, which consists of over one thousand acres of land.
When vacationing in Hawaii, consider spending some time on the three main islands: Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. With its unspoiled natural beauty, these islands offer some of the most breathtaking natural views. Island hopping is perhaps one of the best ways to discover paradise here if there is a time restraint.
Waikiki, meaning sprouting fresh water, was once a place for Hawaiian royalty but is now open to all. Being one of the most famous beaches in the world, Waikiki has a modern flare and can be a little crowded despite its serene turquoise waters. Discover life after dark while choosing from their large selection of nightclubs or stop by for a late night breakfast of Hawaii’s largest pancakes at the Hilton Waikiki Beach.
Hawaii is known for the Luau, a traditional Hawaiian welcoming feast with music and a generous spread of food. Hosts are known to serve traditional foods like poi, kalua pig (pork cooked slowly in a traditional pit oven), and laulau (meat or fish wrapped in taro leaves) among others. Influenced heavily by Polynesia and the Pacific islands, many popular, traditional Hawaiian foods, such as the poiand laulau remain a tradition. The highlight of many Luaus is the feature acts by Tahitian and Samoan fire dancers.
The island is also synonymous with Hula dancers, which will definitely grab your attention with the telling of beautiful tales through music and dance. If it’s your first visit to Hawaii, just remember no trip is complete without experiencing a luau.
5 MUST SEES
1. Waimea Canyon in Kauai is one of the most breathtaking canyons. It is referred to as the grand canyon of Hawaii. My visit allowed me the feeling of being on top of the world, within the clouds, waiting for the beautiful beaches secretly hidden beneath.
2. Hanauma Bay in Oahu gained popularity because of its incredible snorkeling and the wide variety of sea life. With an underwater camera, one can see the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa (the state fish of Hawaii), among others.
3. Haleakala National Park, known as the ‘House of the Rising Sun’, is Maui’s largest peak. It is the perfect spot to watch the sun rise. If you’re lucky, you may also see the Hawaiian goose, a Nene.
4. Halona Blowhole in Oahu offers a spectacular view of crashing waves against the sides of the Hanauma Bay. The lookout point is a great place to view the outer islands and the coastlines. Experience the incredible view of the blowhole spraying water up to 30 feet high. The Ka Iwi channel, below Halona, is considered one of the most unpredictable and dangerous ocean channels in the world. But you can still enjoy looking at the whales at play.
5. Waikiki Beach, south Oahu, is one of the most sought after vacation destinations worldwide. This beach town is known for its picturesque setting and is lined with luxurious hotels and resorts, restaurants, nightlife and shopping centers. Surf lessons are available and souvenirs and gifts are to be had at the international marketplace.
5 Must Eats
1. Poi, one of my favourites, is the main dish in Hawaii. It’s made from taro root, which is similar to a potato or yam. It is baked, steamed and then pounded with water until it has a pudding like consistency.
2. Laulau is pork wrapped in layers of taro leaves and roasted for hours in an underground hot, rock oven to give it a smoky flavour. Fish and chicken laulau is
also an option.
3. Lomi Salmon (lomi-lomi salmon) is Hawaiian salsa of raw salmon seasoned with diced tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, and salt.
4. Kalua Pig is similar to pulled pork in a tangy barbecue sauce with a distinct wood smoke flavour. It compliments rice
5. Poke is bite size chunks of raw fish (tuna is common) with a splash of soy sauce, onions, Hawaiian sea salt and wrapped in limu (seaweed).
1. Beach sand in Hawaii can vary in colours. White, black, yellow, green and red are popular.
2. For some 600,000 years, Kilauea has been the world’s largest and most active volcano.
3. Hawaiians consume the most Spam per capita in the United States.
4. Haleakala is the world’s largest dormant volcano. It is large enough to hold Manhattan.
5. Snow falls in Hawaii, but only on the peaks of the three tallest volcanoes: Mauna Loa, Haleakala, and Mauna Kea.