Hawaii can usually be found at the top of many travel bucket lists...and for good reason! Ever since my short visit 9 years ago I knew I wanted to come back one day with my family and explore.
We have been here now a little over a month and as we have explored, spent time at the beach, driven around the island, and relaxed we have realized that there are so many things that make Hawaii a hugely popular place to visit. Here is a list of the top reasons we love it here so much:
Without a doubt the weather here on Oahu is the best I have ever been in. For me the key really is that you have such comfortable weather and can still be sunning yourself on a beautiful beach. Costa Rica had some wonderful climates but I can assure you none of those were anywhere near a beach. Excessive heat is typically what you find on the beach in or near the tropics but here on Oahu there is almost always a nice breeze (trade winds) and the temps stay between 68 and 85 throughout the day and night. I mean really, does it get better than that?
What can I say? The beaches here are everything you imagine they would be. Clean, stunningly beautiful, and so diverse. You can have rocky with tide pools to explore, huge waves to surf, or peaceful lagoon like water perfect for relaxation.
Most beaches have facilities like bathrooms and showers which is so nice to take advantage of before heading home. Another part I love is the downright perfect temperature of the water. Not too cold yet refreshing enough to feel nice after sitting in the sun. You really cannot do much better than the beaches here!
Lack of bugs
I have seriously not seen a single mosquito..not one! I am usually the person who sits itching while everyone else in the area wonders how I could be getting bit as they aren't getting touched. This has been magnificent.
We have seen an enormous centipede and there are a few creepy crawlies around sometimes but nothing terrible and nothing biting me. In over a month I have not gotten a single bite!
In the interest of full disclosure though there are many sea critters that I would rather not see. Urchins are any place you see rocks or coral and can give a nasty sting. Also after every full moon there are 3 days that the South side of the island, in particular, is inundated with jellyfish. They are not my favorite critter!
After living in Costa Rica, where some of the finest and sweetest pineapples grow, we have become pineapple snobs. In Asia, the pineapples just did not make the grade, they were small and lacked the flavor that we have gotten used to.
Since arriving in Hawaii we seem to be back in the land of delicious fruits, pineapple being one of the yummiest and our #1 go to fruit. They are more expensive here than in Costa Rica but I can forgive them of that as I am just so grateful to have a source for my favorite fruit again.
Again, not much I can say here except that the views are endless and stunning. Whether you are looking out at the ocean and its ever changing landscape of blue, or turned around facing the stunning fluted mountains that make Hawaii a perfect spot for filming so many great movies, you will not be disappointed with what you see. I simply need to have natural beauty around me and Hawaii has it in spades!
Another thing that we seem to need around us is unique wildlife. We love zoos and aquariums but usually leave feeling sad for the animals and wishing we could have a more authentic experience. Since leaving the US we have discovered the amazing feeling of seeing animals in the wild.
We have seen countless varieties of monkeys, sloths, elephants, dolphins, kangaroos, and more. Since landing in Hawaii some of the biggest thrills have come from spotting spinner dolphins, humpback whales and most often large sea turtles. There may not be very many land critters here but the sea life more than makes up for it.
My oldest son, Dylan, fell in love with surfing while we lived in Costa Rica. We drove down to the beach as often as we could in order for him to improve. Then we moved to Asia and not a single place we have been was good for surfing.
We spent a small amount of time in Australia but it was winter and too cold to surf. Within a week of arriving here Dylan bought his own board and has been surfing as much as he can. We even got the 5 year old up and surfing. Looks like we have 2 fans in the family now. The great thing here is that there are beaches and waves good for every level.
When we were staying in Waikiki we frequented a shave ice place and fell in love. It was the prefect treat after a few hours at the beach; cool, refreshing, and sugary sweet. Everyone seems to market it and many stores sell it in the area. When we moved closer to the North Shore the love deepened. The ice is smoother and the serving is large enough for 4 of us to share. We have had slushies around the world but this Hawaiian shave ice is a whole other thing. For the best around try Matsumotos in Haleiwa, North Shore!
Ever since we really started using the Internet on a regular basis it has been hit and miss as to quality and speed. When we moved to Costa Rica we literally had dial up Internet and it would take over a day to download a short TV show. The Internet improved with time there but then we moved to Asia. We had plenty of areas with great speeds but most of the time we were at the mercy of the hotel or guesthouse and often times the speed was in and out.
Our week in Australia saw virtually NO Internet at all as hotels do not offer it and 3G is expensive and rarely works outside a major city. Since landing in Hawaii we have marveled at the speed of the Internet. Very few dropages and we can typically download an episode of our favorite shows in less than 5 minutes. I know it is more US thing rather than just being Hawaii but we are loving it!
To most people basic plumbing is no luxury or even something to notice at all, but to us the functionality of plumbing more than anything else is what amazes us! In the past 7 years there have been very few moments when plumbing worked like it does in the US.
In Costa Rica and many countries in Asia you cannot even flush toilet paper as the pipes and septic system (or lack there of) can not handle the strain. There were regular problems with one of the pipes, leaking toilets, downright broken toilets or showers, and a complete lack of hot water for even the shower in some cases.
In Asia the stakes were raised again as we were now faced with a complete lack of toilet paper all together and the introduction of the lovely squat toilet. In Asia, most people feel that a wet room means a clean room so trying to keep clothes dry was a daily challenge. Even in our own apartment the house keeper would come in and literally hose down the entire bathroom, walls and all. And have you heard of suicide showers?? Google it and then tell me US plumbing is not amazing!
Admittedly, some of these are simply strong appreciation of the little things after living in 3rd world or developing countries for the past 7 years. The great thing about Hawaii is that it feels exotic and foreign yet still retains the functionality and convenience of the US. Hawaii is truly a beautiful and fun spot to be but it is not perfect. Things are expensive here! Gas costs more, groceries are all imported so that costs more, and although we scored a great sublet, apartments are expensive as well. I won't even discuss health insurance...another article no doubt!
How about you? Have you been to Hawaii? What was your favorite island? Wat was your favorite thing about it?