10 Places to See and Eat in Hawaii
Are you planning a trip to Hawaii? Here’s our itinerary to Hawaii, prepared by an island insider. I’m sure most people imagine these islands as such: sun, crystal sea, palm trees, volcanos. And while they are true to that image, they are also so much more. We’ll try sharing with you what it feels like to be standing on the edge of a cliff with the strong ocean below, or passing through a vast expanse of pineapple with a radio ball and the scorching sun. In Hawaii, there’s something different: particular vibrations you become dependent on and that you can’t go without.
Here is our advice on the places to see and eat at that you absolutely can’t miss out on while visiting these wonderful islands!
WHAT TO DO IN HAWAII
SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS AT NORTH SHORE
Swimming with sharks in the open sea: an experience that will remain indelible in your memory. Don’t panic, you’ll be safe in your floating metal cage, but the sharks will be there, half a meter from you. Being a rather popular activity, our advice is to book your adventure well in advance. The company I chose is Shark Encounters, and I must say that I’m really happy with my choice. At the appointed time, you set sail for the open sea and reach the place where the cage is anchored. There, you will be provided with a mask and snorkel and off you go, down in the cage for half an hour. I can assure you that all the hesitation and the initial fear will be largely wiped out by feelings of awe and wonder when you’ll find yourself in the cage. Curious sharks with lengths of up to four meters will be moving around you and observing you, and levels of adrenaline reach a new high: so much so that when it’s time to get back on the boat, they’re probably acting up to stay an extra five minutes (as I did !).
SNORKELING AT SHARK’S COVE
Since you’re already in the Northern part of the island, you can’t miss out on Shark’s Cove for a dip in its crystal clear waters and to enjoy one of the best places to dive along with millions of fish. This beach was listed by Scuba Diving magazine in the top 12 of the best places in the world to snorkel. This beautiful rocky beach isn’t easily accessible, but does feature a breathtaking backdrop and a marine life that is so varied it can only be rivalled by a few other beaches in the world. Don’t be surprised if all of a sudden you find yourself among a flock of colourful fish swimming alongside you, completely careless of your presence, or if you come across a giant turtle. One of the best moments of my life was swimming side by side with one of these beautiful turtles, close enough to look one another in the eyes.
SWIMMING IN THE NATURAL WATER BASINS OF MAKAPU’U
Bypassing the north and heading towards the east you cannot miss the natural pools of Makapu’u. Of course, getting there will not be the easiest of businesses: first, you’ll have to drive up to Makapu’u Beach Park, take a half hour or more to climb to the top of the mountain and pay constant attention to your right. The pools, which are called “Tide Pools”, will not be advertised in any way with signs. To reach them, you’ll have to walk down the mountain between steep rocks. The beauty you will witness will make every single moment during which you cursed yourself for choosing to go down there worth it. You’ll find yourself immersed in these natural pools with sea water heated by the sun and ocean waves hurled against the rocks, creating your own small private beach. Enjoy the moment as much as you can and recharge your batteries, because the climb back up awaits you!
ENJOY THE CORAL REEF AT HANAUMA BAY
After the hard work of the climb, continue towards the south and make a stop at Hanauma Bay. If you haven’t had enough of snorkelling at this point, then put your fins back on and enjoy the coral reef and its underwater scenery, or relax on one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Don’t miss the view from above, where you’ll have a typical Hawaiian landscape in front of you: wild beach, clear blue sea water, tall palm trees and the side of a volcano with its lush greenery!
TREKKING ON THE DIAMOND HEAD VOLCANO
Diamond Head is an inactive volcano with at its base Waikiki and, a bit further, Honolulu. The road to reach the top of the volcano starts from Waikiki Beach, and goes along the ocean to reach the Diamond Head State Park, where the serious trekking begins. Dirt roads, narrow tunnels dug into the rock, artificial stairs and zig zag paths will keep you company while you try to reach the top. The 360 degree view you get from here is breathtaking. Green inland volcanoes, Waikiki and Honolulu a little further, the endless blue expanse of the ocean, and if you’re lucky, a rainbow running through it!
WHERE TO EAT IN HAWAII
THE SHRIMP AT MACKY’S FOOD TRUCK
Close to the harbour where boats leave for shark cage you’ll find various shrimp food trucks, real “must eat” places in the area. One of the most popular is called Macky’s (66-632 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa) and offers a selection of six simple dishes featuring only shrimp, all of which will have you licking your whiskers and coming back for more. As in good food truck tradition, you order directly to the truck window and take a seat at one of the tables or benches in front of it. Your shrimp with white rice and the ubiquitous pineapple slice will be served in styrofoam containers. We ordered the shrimp with salt and lime and the coconut shrimp: a blast!
THE POKE AT SPASH BAR
As many of you may know, Hawaii is full of Japanese people who have been living and working there for generations and generations. That means go ahead and order that sushi, it’s likely to be absolutely delicious. A typical dish of Hawaiian tradition, born from this union with Japanese flavours is poke, a kind of tuna sashimi salad, diced and seasoned with spices and salt. It is often accompanied by Taro chips, a Polynesian tuber similar to the potato. It’s a light and fresh dish that I ate several times, but my favorite is definitely the one at the Splash Bar at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani (120 Kaiulani Ave, Honolulu).
THE LOCO MOCO AT SEASIDE BAR&GRILL
A super popular dish in the contemporary tradition is the Loco Moco, which literally means “local” (loco) and “mix” (moco) in the local language. The Loco Moco is a poor and simple dish, but like all poor and simple dishes, it’s truly delicious. It has boiled white rice at its based, topped with a giant beef patty, which is then topped with a fried egg and finally topped off with a delicious sauce. There are many variants of this dish, but if you’d like to try the original, head to the Seaside Bar&Grill (2256 Kuhio Ave #1, Honolulu).
SHAVED ICE FROM WAIOLA
After a day at the beach there’s nothing better than a cup of shaved ice, a sort of granita flavoured with colourful syrup. You’ll find it everywhere, but you’ll likely end up in one of the tourist traps, where the shaved ice isn’t even similar to what shaved ice really is. To try the true authentic one, go to Waiola Shave Ice (2135 Waiola St, Honolulu), where you’ll be happily surrounded exclusively by locals. It’ll be hard to choose which flavour to try as there is almost an infinite amount of them, but if you want to stay on the tropical and Hawaiian side, then go for lilikoi, lychee, pineapple, acai, mango or coconut.
THE HAWAIIAN CHEESEBURGER
No trip to America is complete without a good cheeseburger, and the one we’re suggesting is nothing like the usual boring cheeseburger that anyone can make at home. Here, we’re talking about a true classic: the famous “Cheeseburger Island Style with Kalua Pork, Pineapple and Teriyaki Sauce”. Yes, pineapple: you’re in Hawaii after all, home to pineapples, so just set back and enjoy the omnipresence of this fruit! Event though we’re on an island, the pork is particularly delicious and flavourful, pulled and placed atop a classic beef patty, finished off with a slice of pineapple and the unmissable teriyaki sauce. The fried shrimp, prepared in a classic batter with coconut flakes, are also worth mentioning.
Are you ready to go now?
Read the original article on Conosco un Posto. This English version was translated by Kelsey Rivett.