Yesterday was awful. Pure horrible. We had initially booked a direct flight to Honolulu from JFK in New York. Fog in the morning created a delay, and during the flight the “if there is a doctor on board please stand up” announcement came on, which meant we were not making our connection (by literally 15 minutes!). We had to rebook, which should have been fine, but we had the worst experience with JetBlue. I won’t go into too many details, but let’s just say I had to run in many airports to make connecting flights, had a full on meltdown in LAX which resulted in me sobbing at the check-in counter and James left his wallet on one of the planes (which we luckily got back, with literally minutes to spare before our next flight). We got to our AirBnb in Honolulu around 10:45 pm local time (aka almost 3 am at home). That being said, we were determined to make today stellar to make up for it.
The AirBnb we booked is in East Honolulu and is absolutely fantastic. It’s massive to start, with an extremely comfortable bed and amazing balcony that overlooks the ocean and Diamond Head.
Because we arrived so late last night (our original intent was to get in around 4:30 pm), we opted not to set any alarms for our sunrise hike. This ended up being completely fine, as the sunrise from the balcony was just as amazing, and required significantly less energy at 6 am.
Late arrival also meant that we were able to grocery shop. So around 7:30 we drove to Moena cafe at the recommendation of our AirBnb host. The food here was fantastic. I had a vegetarian omlet which was packed with spinach, tomato, pepper and cheese, topped with avocado. James had a plate with grilled fish, eggs and rice. From there, we headed to the grocery store and discovered how expensive life on Hawaii is. A loaf of bread is around $5, baby carrots are $6 and a bottle of wine at home that is usually $10 was $21. We suffered through, knowing that groceries would be cheaper than eating out for every meal (breakfast alone was almost $50!).
Having sacrificed our sunrise hike, we decided to hit up the trail anyway. We hiked the PillBox trail, which boasts as you might have guessed, pill boxes. This was a great hike with lots of steep hills, but amazing views that made up for it.
Afterwards, we decided to enjoy a picnic lunch at Kailua Beach, just down the road. I attempted to go for a quick swim, but the current was just a tad too strong. Though comical to swim in one spot, like nature’s water treadmill. I drudged out of the water and as soon as I did, it started to downpour. We ran for cover, quickly changed, and then headed up to the North Shore.
Our intention was to hit up Waimea falls (if you’re a LOST fan, this is where Kate and Sawyer swim and fight over the case). On our way we kept seeing signs for Haleiwa so we decided to stop off. This is the epitome of a surf town and it was amazing. After finding parking, we strolled around, bought a few t-shirts and eventually made our way to Coffee Gallery, one of the coffee shops on my “must visit” list. It did not disappoint. I had a rosemary mocha latte and James had an iced chai tea latte. Caffeinated, we hit the road and made our way to Waimea falls.
The falls are located in a botanical garden (which also comes with a cover fee of $16 a person – ouch!). After almost being malled by peacocks, we headed up the nearly one mile path to the falls, taking in the garden and enjoying the sun (the rain luckily stopped!). We opted not to swim in the falls due to enough warnings about a bacteria that can cause your brain to swell and you to subsequently die, but if you want, you can most definitely hop into the fresh water pool and swim up to the water fall.
On our way home, we decided to drive down the North Shore, and stopped at one of the beaches to watch the surfers and enjoy a little stroll on the beach. The waves are massive – and at one point, even though I was walking far away from where they met shore, one was strong enough to woosh up anyway until I was standing thigh deep in the water!
Afterwards, we decided to head back home for a much needed shower and dinner. Sunset from our balcony was amazing, and I made a wonderful risotto with balsamic fish to round out the evening.