Hawaiian Island Hopping Part II

Almost one year to the day, I’m back in paradise for round two of the aloha state. During the pandemic, I enjoyed a quiet 3 weeks on the Big Island snorkeling daily, waterfall hopping, diving with the manta rays, hiking the gorgeous cliff sides and never missing the magnificent sunsets.

This jaunt is my last (yes, for real) hoorah prior to buckling down with a new job. So after negotiating the entire month of January off to get the wanderlust out of my system, I am beaming ear to ear at just the thought of exploring the islands for three weeks.

This go-round, I plan to island hop and learn even more about this fascinating culture. My first nine days are based in Oahu and I was very ambitious, as my research had so many must dos.

I love getting lost in the challenge of a new hike, and the islands had endless possibilities for those willing to venture out. The only issue is that most treks started straight uphill so you really had to dig in and embrace the sweat fest ahead. From a sunrise trek up to the bunkers on the magical Diamond Head summit to the west side Pink Pillbox to the Northshore’s Sunset Pillbox to the east side’s Crouching Lion or the once-in-a-lifetime Stairway to Heaven, it was a dream come true to climb daily to new heights above the paradise beaches far below.

And I had plenty of downtime built in to relax on numerous stretches of Waikiki Beach to naturally work on my tan and hair lightening. Check out the numerous different man made bays, as they are all so dreamy and a perfect concoction to totally disconnect. Without question, Waikiki is the ultimate spot to watch stunning sunsets E. V. E. R. Y. single night.

I then jetted off to the rugged Kauai for 4 days of serenity. My highlight was without question flying in a biplane over the exquisite Napali Coast, and then trekking the following day on those same ridgeline trails into mother nature’s perfect creation. I chased waterfalls, visited a glass beach, swam in the “queen’s bath” and was mesmerized by unspoiled sunsets once again.

Next up was Maui for a week. Day 1 I booked the ferry to the island of Lanai for a day of R&R, which ended up being my fav beach adjacent to Sweetheart Rock. I had to take on biking down the volcano at warp speed, which also included an insanely early wake up call to glimpse sunrise from the crater summit. Omg. The road to Hana was a long day full of waterfalls and hiking. And I encapped my island stay with sunset from atop the crater.

My last day I went big….. flying back into Honolulu I got whisked off to Disney’s Aulani Resort & upgraded to a deluxe ocean view room overlooking the luau. AYKM?!? A dream come true and I maximized 24 hours in mickeyland.

This was truly a trip of a lifetime, with a total of 52 hikes over 100+ miles. I wouldn’t change a single moment after 29 days of exploring to my hearts content and finding complete rejuvenation.

My final thoughts after thumbing through 1200+ photos and being so thankful to be able to bring my dreams to reality:

  • Best snorkeling 🤿 – Big Island
  • Best sunsets 🌅 – Oahu
  • Best for waterfalls 💦 – Maui
  • Best scenery & cliff hikes 🥾 – Kauai
  • Best serenity & beach 🏝 – Lanai

Published by elliottcm

Love adventure travel, work hard & play hard, happy in both extremes - relaxing on a remote beach or rappelling down cliffs, take joy in simple things, love being on & near the water, visited 55 countries & 47 states so far in this crazy beautiful life! Goals by my 50th birthday - 50 states. 75 countries. 50 national parks. Be in Antarctica on my big day.

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