After the visit to Pearl Harbor, we visited the Polynesian Cultural Center. We actually went to the Luau, which included the show “HA….Breath of Life”. We were disappointed in the actual Luau….we were expecting more….didn’t expect a buffet line for dinner. BUT, it was definitely worth going to see the different villages and the show. The show was a major production and was EXCELLENT! On Sunday we went to the Swap Meet at the Stadium! There are over 900 vendors selling their wares there and you can find most ANYTHING in the way of souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, etc. It was unbelievable and pricing is the best you'll find anywhere. Be sure to go early and give yourself plenty of time…they are there on Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday and start around 9:00 – 10:00. Then, we checked into our hotel on Waikiki Beach! It’s, supposedly, the most famous beach in the world and, yes, it is beautiful….but, it is crowded with people and very noisy. Also, a lot of homeless people hang out in the little pavilions on the lower part of Waikiki. But, there are some beautiful resorts there and sunset on Waikiki Beach is amazing!
On our last day in Honolulu, we drove to the North Shore and had Fresh Shrimp from Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. I have been eating Shrimp my entire life and have NEVER had anything to compare to his! On the way, we saw some incredible scenery…..went around Diamond Head and then up the Eastern coastline……many beautiful bays and rock formations. Then, we headed on up to the Sunset Beach area and watched the surfers….it was awe inspiring to watch….even National Geographic can’t do it justice!
UNBELIEVEABLE is the only word I can think of to describe this trip. As our pilot said…..”we picked the right thing to do….coming to Kauai without doing a helicopter tour is like going to the Sistine Chapel and not looking up!” I HIGHLY recommend this company and, please ask for Travis. He was our pilot and gave us an incredible ride! In fact, it was so incredible that I wasn’t really frightened (and I have ALWAYS had a fear of flying….couldn’t believe I was getting on the helicopter). And, yes, the copter ride is a little pricey…..but, you go into so many valleys, etc., that you wouldn’t be able to go to in a plane. Plus….we were able to travel very close to the ground and get up close to a lot of waterfalls. It was truly majestic!
Then, it was time for our excursion. We used Captain Zodiac for our snorkeling excursion and it was AMAZING! They REALLY went out of their way to make sure we had a phenomenal experience. They took us out to Cook's Bay and we saw some of the most beautiful fish you can imagine. I will have to warn you, though....the ride out there and back is approximately 13 miles on a Zodiac Raft and the ride is pretty rough. So, if you have back/neck issues, I wouldn't recommend it. But, if you don't have any of those issues and are planning to snorkel on Kona, I highly recommend Captain Zodiac (www.captianzodiac.com).
The second day, we rented a car and drove over to LaHaina….what a WONDERFUL little seaside town. We just parked the car and walked through the town…..be sure to visit the Court House and see the amazing Banyan tree! The views from the back portico of the Court House are amazing! One thing you might miss is the former Palace site of King Kamehameha…..it’s simply a place in the ground….but, you HAVE to observe the view he had from that place….INCREDIBLE! It was a lot of fun just walking around, seeing local artisans create their beautiful wares….be sure to see “Paul”…..he will be carving Tiki’s and will be happy to customize one for you. Also, there are lots of women creating leis…..and you can find a few ladies actually creating some beautiful pieces of jewelry. Of course, you’ll HAVE to had a cup of Bad Ass Coffee while you’re there! One more thing....you HAVE to buy a Maui Gold Pineapple....we actually just went to Safeway and bought one....brought it back to the ship and cut it up.....YUMMMMMM!!!
After that, we drove up to the Ka’Anapali Beach area……that was one of the most beautiful areas I have seen. The drive was really pretty….but, when you get up beyond the resort area….up to the cliffs….and look down on the bay….it is breathtaking!! We saw a lot of snorkelers out and I can understand why…the water was amazing. In fact, we are thinking about going back to spend a week in this area.