I’ve been dying to share my trip to Hawaii with you all, but my mind has been on vacation mode trying to find the motivation to get started on this post. Coming back to work after a relaxing week off really put a damper on time to get to writing about my exciting adventures in tropical paradise!
But here we are, finally! On a jam packed Friday afternoon filled with doctors appointments, working, and happy hour adventures, I some how found time to pack for the trip! I really only needed some bathing suits and a pair of sunglasses, right?
Anyhow, Kyle and I woke up at the crack of dawn and flew out to Phoenix where we enjoyed the loveliness of the airport on our 4 hour layover. But actually, they have some great restaurants and a hipster’s paradise of a coffee shop there named “Cartel”. Definitely check it out if you’re ever there! We had coffee…And then went a terminal over for some outrageous bloody Mary’s. Cheese in a cocktail, my kind of breakfast.
On to Hawaii we went, arriving around dinner time. We ate, moved into the condo, and reveled in our view of the water! Just what the doctor ordered!
^We’re really good at taking selfies.
After having a good night’s rest under our belts, it was time for some exploration! We spent much of the afternoon at Front Street Lahaina doing some serious window shopping. This was one of the first places that was settled after the “discovery” of Hawaii, and it was used as a town center and harbor. Shops range from art galleries and jewelry stores, to shaved ice parlors and tourist stops. Tourists and locals fill these streets every day, rain or shine. Makes for some lovely people watching!
Did someone say shaved ice? It’s not just a snow cone people, it’s so much more! It definitely looks like a snow cone, but the ice is soft and refreshing. There are shops for this on every block, and I would definitely recommend sharing one with your partner in crime.
The other truly amazing sight in town is the Banyan Tree. Banyan trees are huge feats of nature that grow outwards and down to re-root themselves back into the ground. It looks like something out of a fairy tale! Seriously amazing stuff.
^Yes, that is all one tree.
Full to the brim with sights and vacation goodies, we decided to call it an early night. Big plans were brewing for Monday! We set our sights on the Road to Hana and Haleakala National Park… but we woke up a little late. No matter, we filled the car with snacks, put on our hiking shoes, and drove off into the forest. Let me tell you a few things about the Road to Hana:
- It is a LONG drive. We left around 10 AM and didn’t get to Haleakala until 1:30 PM. We stayed on the north-west side of the island, but you have to take the long drive south around the mountain to get to the park. We didn’t stop anywhere along the way either. Bring snacks and a bunch of people you like!
- When I noted we didn’t stop anywhere along the Road to Hana, this is a big feat. It’s GORGEOUS!!! The sights change in minutes going from a rain forest, to a plantation town, to a cliff overlooking the ocean. I was entertained the entire drive, hanging out the window like a dog, trying to catch photos of everything. I would advise leaving a bit earlier in the morning than we did to take a more leisurely tour of the sights.
Here are some of my favorite sights from the Road to Hana. Like I said, if you can stop along the way, you should. You’ll get many more quality photos of waterfalls, views of the ocean, and gorgeous flowers.
Once we arrived at Haleakala, we ran out to the Bamboo Forest hike to see the waterfalls. Though the point of the hike initially had been to reach the waterfall at the end, I truly enjoyed the bamboo 100% more. The only way I can describe the hike is that you’ll feel like you’re in a spectacular foreign country. Enough talk, more pictures please!
Another amazing banyan tree! This one felt like it was going to pull us into it’s lair of branches…kind of creepy!
An overlook over the cliff read, “DANGER- DEATHS HAVE OCCURRED”. Needless to say, we did not venture off the path.
We saw these spotted leaves everywhere we went in Hawaii. At first they appeared to have a disease or maybe a bug had been eating them; but after looking closely, the bumps were in quite a nice little formation. Maybe it’s an aging thing like lady bugs and their spots? If you know, please share!
We finally came upon the bamboo! They were so tall, and yet so thin. I still can’t understand how they stays up so well. Really, another feat of nature. (Note, another danger sign.)
I got hot, so I channeled my inner Mulan with a bun. *Let’s get down to business! To defeat*…. what’s that? I’m singing out loud again? Classic, embarrassing everyone around me.
Once we arrived at the waterfall, it was pretty cool. But we all agreed that it felt somehow like we were supposed to be in front of something a little more dazzling as an ending point to the hike. We took our picture, and strolled back into our favorite parts of the park. The bamboo was enough to make the hike totally worth it!
Coming back to our starting point, we headed out on the much shorter hike to the swimming hole.
Look to the right and you see the beautiful Pacific…
Look to the left and…. ta-da!
I was like a kid in a candy shop! I had always dreamed of swimming in a gorgeous pool of water in the middle of the rain forest, and this pool did not disappoint. Though the water was cool, it was bearable and really clean. Waterfalls trickled down into the water, tropical plants surrounded us, and I floated away into bliss. I think this was when I really became fully relaxed for the first time on the trip. Ahhhh happiness.
^Note: I almost downed taking this photo. But it was worth it, no? Brothers in paradise!
With darkness creeping in, we were forced to head home. Though there are many food stands on the road back, most of them close in the mid afternoon so we missed our chance. We stopped at the one open shop and bought some banana bread, the perfect bite to tide us over until dinner. Hilariously, every single place has the “BEST Banana Bread” or the “BEST BBQ”. I’m sure they’re all great, but we giggled about it.
Though there is so much more I want to show you, I think I should save it for another post… let’s take another vacation in another few days, shall we?! Thanks for sharing in my trip, travel bunnies! Til next time, aloha!