Back in 1998, when Rob and I traveled to Hawaii for our honeymoon (on free Delta flights), we rushed out of Oahu for more exotic islands, like Lanai and Kauai. But this time around, with the kids in tow, we stayed a few more days as we had a ton to do on Oahu.
The first day we landed in Oahu at about 3pm. We rented our car and made the 30 minute drive to our hotel, the Moana Surfrider, Don’t forget, I booked this hotel on Starwood points. We had one room, which was tight, but we were only in Oahu for three nights and only really used the hotel to sleep. Also, we had our portable bed, so we were good!
We had a great casual dinner that first night at the beach bar at the hotel. We sat at a table right on the water and shared yummy apps, like tuna nachos, fish tacos and Hawaiian chicken wings. It was a little cloudy so there was no true sunset, but the sky colors were amazing. And speaking of clouds, we realized on our first afternoon on Oahu that there are numerous sun showers in December. However, with those showers come many rainbows! I think we saw a total of about 6 rainbows during the 2.5 days we spent on Oahu.
We retired very early that night, as we were so tired because of the time change. I paid for our early bed time and was up at 2 am the next day for good. (I am writing this on our 4th morning in Hawaii and today I got up close to 4am-it is getting a little better ). The kids were a little better and slept till about 5 that first morning.
Since I knew we were going to be up early, I booked us a 7am check in time at Pearl Harbor. I reserved the tickets online 60 days in advance (the first day you could), We arrived at about 6:50 and there was already a line. Most people had advanced tickets too. If you are going, don’t rely on the tickets they give out that day. Plan ahead!
The entrance was smooth and we were the first group in for the movie and the boat trip to the USS Arizona Memorial. The movie was great and not boring (as we had feared). It showed a very real account of what happened that day. After the movie, we luckily got on 1 of 2 boats that went out that morning. Subsequent boats were canceled due to heavy winds. Whew! My kids were in awe seeing the oil that still comes up from the ship and forms prisms in the ocean. It was a great experience for all of us.
From Pearl Harbor, we set off to hike to the top of the Diamond Head Crater. Word of advice, do this either early or late. We reached Diamond Head at about 11 am. Unfortunately, so did everyone else. We basically made the 3/4 mile hike up and then back with people in a line. It was awful. The crater itself was cool, but not worth the crowds. Oh well, off to the beach…
I needed to rally the troops back at the hotel (we were so tired) for an afternoon outrigger canoe ride, but it was worth it! It was so much fun and a a little scary (at first). It was definitely a highlight of our 2 time spent on Oahu. After that, we had a great dinner away from Wakiki at Uncle Bo’s Pupu Bar & Grill. The food was amazing and it was nice to be away from touristy Wakiki for dinner.
The second day we did a submarine ride with Atlantis submarines. We spent an hour 110 feet under the Pacific gawking at many pretty fish and even a few sharks. I had never been on a submarine till then (check) and we all really enjoyed it. From there we headed to the north shore of Oahu.
On our drive up, we made the highly recommended stops at Giovannis Shrimp Truck for lunch and Matsomoto Shave Ice for yup, shave ice. Both are must dos! We went up higher to try to see some surfers and bigger waves, however, the waves, although bigger than in Wakiki, were not that big and the surfers were not that good. It was a little disappointing.
We quickly recovered when we got to the Dole Pineapple Planation. There we tackled the pineapple maze. We split up. Jessie and I went together. Rob, Daniel and Mason, each chose to go it alone. The boys were running, sweating and hastily making decisions through the maze. Jessie and I were calm and deliberate in our path. Needless to say, we won. We finished the maze in about an hour and 10 minutes. That is girl power!
Dinner that night was sushi at a place called Sansei in the Marriott in Wakiki. I paid for that dinner using my Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, as I get 5 Marriott Rewards points per $1 spent at Marriott Resorts.
And with this stay at this Starwood resort, I earned three (3) Starpoints on our incidental charges (like meals) because I am an SPG Gold member and upon checkout, I used my American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card to pay our hotel bill (for meals, parking, etc) and I will receive two (2) Starpoints for each dollar spent at Starwood resorts with the card.
Now we are in gorgeous green Kauai. Will post about that soon…