Ted’s Bakery on Oahu

Ted’s Bakery is a popular eatery on Oahu’s North Shore, within walking distance of Sunset Beach. The place looks inconspicuous when seen from the road, but they offer many different types of lunch plates, sandwiches, salads, as well as baked goods, pies and cakes. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (from 7 am to 8 pm). Here is what their mahi mahi and lemon chicken lunch plate looks like. The portions are very big, so you might want to share a dish.

Ted's Bakery

Ted’s Bakery

Mahi-Mahi

Mahi-Mahi

Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

Interesting inhabitants at the Honolulu Zoo

Here is a small sample of some of the interesting inhabitants you can see at the Honolulu Zoo:

White-handed GibbonsWhite-handed gibbons

Also known as the Lar gibbon, white-handed gibbons share their range in southeastern Asia with the siamang. Like other gibbons, white handed gibbons move through the trees by brachiation, swinging hand over hand through the upper canopy of the forest. Mainly frugivores, white-handed gibbons prefer fruits high in sugar such as figs. They also feed on insects and flowers.

Aldabra Tortoise

Aldabra tortoise

Aldabra tortoise are second in size to the Galapagos tortoise. Males’ shell length grows to 42 inches and their weight to over 550 pounds. They have longer, thicker tails than females. Females have a more domed shell, growing to 34 inches and weighing up to 370 pounds. Their lifespan is believed to be 200 years.

Elephants

ElephantsAfrican and Indian elephants are the only proboscideans alive today, but there were over 350 different species in the order that are now extinct. The closest living relatives of today’s elephants are in the rock hyrax and sea cow. The roots from which the elephants are believed to have evolved 50-60 million years ago was a mammal about the size of a very large rabbit. Fossil remains discovered in Morocco in 2009 including a skull with front incisors which jutted out of its mouth to form the forerunner of the modern tusks.

Giraffe

GiraffeExperts believe that the giraffe’s long neck evolved to allow them to browse vegetation beyond the reach of other grassland herbivores. Males have longer necks than females, and each takes a different stance while feeding. Females tip their hands downward to browse on smaller trees, while males reach upward toward the tops of taller ones. This lessens their competing for the same levels and branches.

Plains Zebra

Plains ZebraMales are very protective of their harems, the primary social units of the plains zebra. A harem is made up of a dominant male and 1-6 adult females and their offspring. When a lion is spotted nearby, the group will form a semicircle facing the predator and watch it intently. If it moves in closer the group flees while the stallion takes up a defensive position to the rear. He will often aggressively attack the predator to protect the herd.

Ostrich

OstrichExcellent eyesight and acute hearing allow ostriches to be sentinels for other African grazing mammals. Their long legs give them running speed up to 30 mph (48 kmh) and enable them to roam great distances in search of food and water. Male ostriches court up to five females, all of which lay their eggs in the same nest producing a clutch of between 15-50 eggs. Males incubate the completed clutch with some assistance from the dominant hen.

Slender-tailed Meerkat

Slender-tailed MeerkatThese extremely social animals live in troops of 10-30 individuals in the deserts and grasslands of southern Africa. All of the meerkats in the troops participate in gathering food, keeping a look out for predators and taking care of the young. Meerkats are diurnal, leaving the safety of the burrow to forage during the day, turning over stones or rooting in crevices for food. One or more meerkats will act as sentinels while the rest of the troop is busy. The sentinel stands on a higher point to scan the surroundings for predators like eagles, hawks and jackals. A sentinel who senses danger will let out a shrill alarm bark that sends the troop scrambling for cover. Different calls are given for aerial or land-based predators.

Honolulu Zoo Photo Gallery

Entrance to Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo

White-handed Gibbon

Aldabra-Tortoise

Elephant

Elephant

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffe

Ostrich

Slender-tailed Meerkat

Peacock

Food Trucks on Maui

View-of-Food-Trucks-Above-Piilani-Hwy-in-Kihei

They say that Hawaii always gets things months or even years after everyone on the mainland has “it” already. Well, this might be the case for some things… including food trucks, which are currently multiplying around the island so quickly they are having a hard time finding places to park. Until just recently that is.

Road view approaching Kahului Harbor Food Truck Stop

Road view approaching Kahului Harbor Food Truck Stop

The Kahului Harbor is the original area that food trucks started to gather on Maui. Although the trucks change from time to time, the place is always the same. This is the closest oceanfront dining you will get on Maui. Most of the trucks are set up and ready by 10 am, and most are closing up by 3-ish. Some trucks sell out early and leave, and at times some will stay late.

Usually you can find a great local plate lunch, like chow fun, chicken hekka, shoyu chicken, or pork adobo. Sometimes you will find local sweet treats, like kulolo (taro) or haupia (coconut) being sold for a school fundraiser. However, the truck that is most always there and the best reason to go to this truck stop is Geste Shrimp Truck for… drool-worthy shrimp! So ono! This truck only offers shrimp plates, which is perfectly fine. They also have mac salad with crab! Spurge the $1.50 for an extra scoop. You won’t regret it. While you wait for your shrimp, stroll over to Kuau Kitchen and order some smoke meat or pork adobo fried rice; they are delish. This is the only truck at the harbor offering any sort of breakfast plates, like loco moco and Belgian waffles. Although, rumor has it the Donut Dynamite Truck might be headed over in the mornings starting soon.

Hot & Spicy Shrimp plate with 2 scoop crab mac salad from Geste shrimp Truck

Hot & Spicy shrimp plate with 2 scoop crab mac salad from Geste Shrimp Truck

Until recently Kahului Harbor was the only spot where there were a few trucks together. Food trucks started springing up everywhere on Maui in the last two to three years, and they scattered around the island, some moving locations every day or two and others renting from private businesses. Someone organized and now we have two new food truck courts. One is located in Kahului just passed the Costco gas station on the left side of the Haleakala Highway. And the other is off the Pi’ilani Highway just as you enter North Kihei. On Pi’ilani Highway at the Ohukai Road light, turn left and take the first right behind Tesoro. You will see the signs in front of you to the right.

Plantanitos from Pura Vida

Plantanitos from Pura Vida

At this food truck court in Kihei, things are just getting started; this is the newest addition. Here you will find great Costa Rican food at Pura Vida. Highly recommend are the plantanitos (plantain chips). They come with a guacamole, but ask for the Rosa sauce too. Yum! If they have the yucca chips, get these too! They have chorizo and butternut squash empanadas, and the pastry dough is so good, it’s perfectly flaky. You can wash all this down with a WoW lemonade. This is an ultimate lemonade stand! Great combinations of fresh fruits and juices with fresh lemonade that aim to quench your thirst in the heat of the afternoon. Save the planet and upgrade to the glass mason jar-sized option for $7. All refills are $4.

Grilled Cheese sandwich from 808 Street Grindz truck

Grilled Cheese sandwich from 808 Street Grindz truck

Bring a friend to this Kihei food truck court and go to 808Grindz and order a grilled cheese. These guys can make a real grilled cheese! It is massive. They offer a couple different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches and a few daily specials that change. All their food has been outstanding. If it is not sold out, get the artichoke, jalapeno spread, pulled pork grilled cheese. Crispy cheesy crust on the outside and lush yumminess on the inside. The hours here tend to be 10 am to 2 pm, although Pura Vida is trying to work on staying open for dinner in the near future. Being that this location is fairly new, it will probably attract a few more trucks to this area. The most recent rumor is a coffee truck is headed to this location. Yes, please!

Food Trucks off Haleakala Hwy by Costco

Food Trucks off Haleakala Hwy by Costco

The food truck court by Costco has some ono grinds (delicious food) too! The best local fish plates on the island are at the Like Poke? truck. Get the melt-in-your-mouth ahi katsu. Big portion, good prices. A must try! You will usually find Three’s food truck as well with a nice selection of daily specials, like a bacon-wrapped hot dog or a panko crusted ahi sushi roll (fried). Slightly Salty is another food truck with a very talented chef who makes homemade pasta, crab balls and so much other deliciousness. At this location there is a different company serving up fresh lemonades to refresh you. Same concept, but different recipes.

Ahi Katsu from the Like Poke truck

Ahi Katsu from the Like Poke truck

If you love hot dogs, you must try Sumo Dogs. Look for the small bright green doghouse. It could be at any one of the food truck courts. This dog gets around; he could be anywhere. The bread is so soft and fresh and sumo sized. The center is hollowed out and the large hot dog is stuffed inside, but not before they load the inside with one of their signature sauces – spicy onion, mango, guava or lilikoi. You’ll be amazed, you’ve never had a hot dog like a sumo dog. Get one! (Disclaimer: Friend might also be needed depending upon your appetite. It’s called sumo for a reason).

With all this being said, there are still many other food trucks stationed all around the island of Maui. If you happen to see one and are hungry, stop, stand in line and get a taste of some of the local food offerings. You will not be disappointed.

Lanai Animal Rescue Center

Lanai_Animal_Rescue_Center_5

This is the ultimate destination animal sanctuary!

Lanai Animal Rescue CenterLocated .06 miles past the airport on the small island of Lanai, Hawaii, is Lanai Animal Rescue Center, or L.A.R.C., a no kill cat sanctuary. L.A.R.C. shelters around 380 cats. The “enclosure” is created in an outdoor setting, using the natural environment to build on and around. Started mostly from volunteer labor, L.A.R.C. has flourished into a functioning 501- c(3) non-profit. They are always looking for volunteers, especially on the 2nd Sunday of the month.

L.A.R.CThe layout of the sanctuary was planned well. As you enter, there is a small fenced area where guests sign in and place booties over their shoes. This area is also security in case a cat sneaks past you on your way into the main area of the sanctuary. As guests sign in, the cats begin to gather at the main entrance awaiting all the petting and attention they will soon be getting. It is amazing how friendly and curious these cats are. For the well-being of the general population of cats there is a quarantine area, a sick ward, a transition cage and a few other staging areas, which are separated “enclosures” for new or sick cats.

Lanai Animal Rescue CenterThe space has plenty of hiding areas, baskets hanging from trees and baskets on the ground in rows for sleeping. Wooden pallets lying in the tall grass create hideaway areas too. It is peaceful out in the open air with felines purring at your feet, head butting your leg for attention. Guests can come to the sanctuary anytime from 11am to 3 pm. There is a feeding station and outlying litter areas. For a place with so many cats you would expect there to be an overwhelming smell, but there isn’t. The animals are so friendly here that you might decide you need a furry companion. Or you might decide to “sponsor” one that steals your heart. L.A.R.C is always looking for “furr-ever” homes for their “Hawaiian Lions,” as they call them. Even if you can not take one home, this place is definitely worth a visit.

LARC HawaiiFounded in 2008 by Kathy Carroll, L.A.R.C. was (and still is) a labor of love. Many years before, she recognized that there was an overpopulation of cats on the island and decided to organize a quarterly TNR program (Trap, Neuter, Return). She organized volunteer vets and volunteer community members to trap the animals, spay or neuter them, give them dewormer and flea treatment and release them back where they had been trapped. Because of her efforts the cat population on the island of Lanai is infinitely smaller than what it could be today. Since the sanctuary was built many of the homeless and feral cats around the island have been relocated to the sanctuary. Yet, it is amazingly calm at the sanctuary. There is an occasional cat fight, but most of the felines have found a way to survive together, after all… they do live in a kitty paradise.

Lanai catDirections once on Lanai: Take Kaumalapau Hwy west out of Lanai City past the airport. Turn left at the second dirt road on your left. There will be an engraved rock that says “Kaunolu.” Take this turn and stay to the dirt road on the left and drive up. You will see the gate to L.A.R.C. on the right side of the road less than a quarter of a mile up the road. L.A.R.C is open from 11 am to 3 pm daily.

If you would like to help this sanctuary from afar or you would like to learn more about the programs and adoptions that they provide, visit www.lanaianimalrescue.org.

Maui Swap Meet Treats and Treasures

There is one location on Maui that is a one stop shop kind of place. A place that ‘has it all’. A place where you don’t know what treasures you might find.

Maui Swap MeetThat place is: The Maui Swap Meet!

Even its location is beautiful, if you look up while shopping. You will be looking at I’ao Valley in the distance. The clouds usually hover just around the peaks of the West Maui Mountains and sometimes sink down into the valley, creating a beautiful landscape. The ocean is very close by; it is about a 3-minute walk. Tourists as well as locals can enjoy a visit to the Swap Meet. It is a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Swap MeetThe Swap Meet happens on the grounds of the University of Hawaii Maui Campus every Saturday morning from 7 am to 1 pm. It costs $0.50 cents to get in; children 12 and younger are free. It is an outdoor event, yet very rarely does it get cancelled because of rain. The early bird definitely gets the goodies here! If you arrive after 11 am you will find some vendors sold out and some packing up. Another reason to go early is because the later it gets, the hotter it usually gets as well. Don’t forget the sunscreen or a hat, you will want a little protection from the sun.

Maui Swap Meet The Swap Meet has been happening on Maui for over 30 years. It has been at its current location at the college campus for about the last 5 or so years. It was previously held in Kahului in a vacant lot next to the local post office. It probably grew too big for that area and traffic and parking created some issues. Now there is plenty of parking at the college, which is good, because this place gets busy.

Fresh FruitsWhen you enter you will see rows and rows of tents with clothing, jewelry, sunglasses, souvenirs, wooden carvings, art work, jams, jellies, spices, produce, fresh cut flowers, and plants. You will find booths where you can get a massage, some reflexology, or a tarot reading. It is also a meeting ground for many local food trucks and vendors. There are fresh juices, teas, gourmet donuts, gourmet popsicles, gourmet hot dogs, etc.

The food is always good and there is a variety of options to make even a large group of people with differing appetites happy. There is local Hawaiian food, Indian food, Filipino food, Mexican food, even vegan food, and the list goes on. Besides the prepared foods there is also fresh produce, and the selection is fantastic! Some of the best you will find on the island.

Maui artYou can find anything from multiple varieties of bananas and plantains, avocado, tomatoes and squash to local strawberries, coconuts, macadamia nuts, taro, turmeric and mushrooms. You can even find some of our more unusual fruits like rambutan, noni, sapote, dragonfruit, white guava and lilikoi when in season. So stop by and seek out some of the delightful treats and treasures that Maui has to offer at the local Swap Meet.

Four islands, four waterfalls

Some of the prettiest and most popular natural attractions in Hawaii are the Hawaii’s waterfalls. Here is one on each of the four major islands that anybody can visit. No strenuous hike or helicopter ride is necessary to see these gorgeous cascades.

Waimea Falls, Oahu

waimeafallsYou may already know Manoa Falls, Oahu’s most popular waterfall, which is located just a few minutes from Waikiki. Another equally beautiful waterfall on the island’s north shore is Waimea Falls, a 45-foot cascade. It also requires a short half-hour hike to get to it, but it’s an easy stroll through a lush botanical garden. Along the way, you’ll see a variety of tropical plants and trees, and there are several benches and picnic tables where you can relax and enjoy the views. The valley is a sanctuary for rare birds and plants that are endemic to Hawaii, and it also features several reconstructed archaeological sites. So a visit to Waimea Valley is a great combination of learning about Hawaii’s native species, as well as its history and culture.

Wailua Falls, Maui

wailua_fallsMost of the waterfalls on Maui are located on the lush north shore of the island, along the popular Road to Hana. An easily accessible waterfall is Wailua Falls. No hike is necessary to see this one. Just drive up to it, get out of the car and have your camera ready. Wailua Falls is a pretty 80-foot cascade surrounded by lush vegetation. Keep an eye out for mile marker #45 and find a parking spot next to the road.

Opaeka’a Falls, Kauai

opaekaa_fallsKauai also has its share of beautiful waterfalls. Some require a tedious hike to get to them; others can only be seen from a helicopter. Opaeka’a Falls, however, can be seen from a convenient lookout point right next to Kuamo’o Road near Wailua on the island’s east shore, making it one of the island’s most accessible major waterfalls, 151 feet tall. And just across the street a few hundred yards down the road is another scenic lookout to Wailua River, the only navigable river in Hawaii. If you have some time you can take a boat tour up this river to Fern Grotto, a fern-covered lava cave.

Rainbow Falls, Big Island

rainbow_fallsThe Hawaiian name of this beautiful waterfall is Waianuenue, meaning “rainbow seen in water.” Rainbow Falls is located near Hilo and is part of the Wailuku River State Park. The lookout point offers a terrific view of the 80-foot plunge waterfall. Rainbow Falls is especially impressive when heavy rains fill the Wailuku River. With a bit of luck you can see first-hand how the waterfall got its name. On sunny mornings a rainbow appears in the waterfall’s spray.

Top scenic Oahu lookouts

Some of the best Oahu lookouts are within easy reach from Waikiki. Here are some to put on your to-do list for your next island excursion.

Diamond Head Lookout

No other landmdiamondheadark on the island of Oahu is more popular than Diamond Head. Located at the east end of Waikiki, this volcanic cinder cone has decorated many postcards and wallpapers. One of the best lookout points is located at the top of Diamond Head, accessible on foot via a hiking trail (it takes about 30-40 minutes to hike up to the viewing platform). Even though there isn’t much shade and it can get hot, the view is very much worth it. From up here you can see a large stretch of Oahu’s south shore, all the way from Pearl Harbor in the west to Kahala in the east, with downtown Honolulu and Waikiki in the middle.

Ever wondered where Diamond Head got its name from? It was back in 1825 when British sailors approaching Oahu noticed small sparkling calcite crystals around the crater and in the beach sand, so they named the crater Diamond Hill. This name was later changed to Diamond Head.

Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

 

pali_lookoutLocated at the top of the 1,200-foot-high pali (meaning “cliff” in Hawaiian) between Honolulu and Oahu’s windwardcoast, the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout offers magnificent views of a large stretch of Oahu’s east shore, including the towns of Kailua and Kaneohe and the green peaks of the Ko’olau Mountains.

This lookout is also an important historical location. In an effort to reunite all the Hawaiian Islands, King Kamehameha the Great fought his last battle here in 1795. His army of 10,000 soldiers forced several hundred of rival chief Kalanikupule’s soldiers off these cliffs. Legend has it that on certain nights, one can still hear the screams of the warriors.

Makapu’u Lookout

makapuu_lookoutThis lookout is easily accessible from the road. Located along Kalanianaole Highway near Oahu’s southeastern tip, Makapu’u Point overlooks the steep sea cliffs, Makapu’u Beach and two small islands, called Rabbit Island (also known as Manana Island) and Kaohikaipu Island.

Hanauma Bay Lookout

hanauma_bayHanauma Bay is Oahu’s prime snorkeling destination, home to a spectacular reef and more than 450 kinds of tropical fish, many of which can only be found in Hawaii. But before going down to the beach, spend some time at the bay’s two great lookout points, one located near the entrance and the other one behind the restaurant to the east. Tip: Wear polarized sunglasses to better see the outline of the bay’s coral reef.

Halona Blowhole Lookout

blowholeThis popular attraction is located along Kalanianaole Highway on Oahu’s southeastern shore. The entire area is very scenic with steep sea cliffs and views of small bays along the rocky shore. The blowhole is an underwater lava tube with an opening on the rocky shelf. When water from the ocean enters the tube, the pressure in it increases and the water shoots up into the air above the rocky shelf, sometimes up to 30 feet. This natural phenomenon can best be observed when the surf is up. The higher the waves, the more action at the blowhole. To the west of the blowhole is Halona Beach Cove, also known as Eternity Beach. This little beach was made popular in the 1953 movie From Here to Eternity.

Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park

tantalusAlso known as Mt. Tantalus, the summit of Pu’u Ualaka’a offers fantastic views of Honolulu and Waikiki. Come during the day to enjoy a picnic here, or watch the sunset and city lights in the evening. The state park is accessible via Round Top Drive, which loops around Tantalus.

Vitamins and Good Vibes at the Big Island Farmers Markets

hilomarket1Big Island Farmers Markets on the Hawaiian islands are more than places to buy your produce, local treats and flowers to decorate your home or yourself. They are centers of social life, where you never know who you will run into to talk story and share the latest news with. It can be your local councilwoman, the friend you have not seen in a while or someone who speaks in the same accent as you and, as you find out, went to your old school thousands of miles away. The world can be that small on a farmers’ market, even on the Big Island. If you want to get to know the island inside and out, start with buying some papayas and apple bananas at the farmers market and talk to the people you meet there. Here are my two favorites:

Find some Hilo Magic

hilomarket2It all began with only 4 vendors in 1988, who set up their wares across the street of the big banyan tree in Mo’oheau Park by Hilo Bay. Today there are more than 200 fruit, vegetable, flower, art, crafts and clothing sellers together with food booths, homemade soaps and even Hawaiian Lomilomi Massage at the Hilo Farmers Market that starts at the picturesque Hilo Bayfront on Kamehameha Avenue and expands up Mamo Street. The two big days are Wednesday and Saturday. Then both sides of Mamo Street are filled with booths and all of the action. On the other days only the side with the vegetable and flower vendors is open, which are often joined by some jewelry, tropical clothing and honey stands. Make sure to stop here next time you are in town and find your favorite tropical delight. How about a bag full with sweet papaya for just one dollar? The market is open from 7 am to 4 pm.

Puna’s Cornucopia at Maku’u Market

hilomarket3The freshest green papaya salad, a juicy huli huli chicken, French crepes or a local laulau plate are just some of the items you can find at the Maku’u Market to make your palate very happy. This Sunday sensation is the place to be on Sunday mornings. Have a bite and shop around for your fresh produce, perhaps some new plants for the garden, jewelry, clothes, art or anything else you can imagine. Maku’u Market it a colorful and vibrant combination of a farmers’ market, an art market and a flea market at the same time. A feast for the senses and also a chance to catch up with friends and neighbors or hilomarket4to make new ones. It is as much a social event as it is a chance for small businesses from the Puna region to generate an income. Let the music, the scent of flowers and fruits and every now and then a refreshing rain shower take you to a slower pace of life and recharge your inner batteries for a new week. This gem is about 25 minutes south of Hilo between Keaau and Pahoa. Plenty of parking gives easy access. 8 am to 2 pm, every Sunday.The Big Island now has about 28 farmers’ markets and they are sprouting up all over the other islands as well. There you can always be sure to find the freshestproduce and the best prices, together with great food, live music and a fascinating mix of local and visiting people.

Bea’s Banana Bread

It does not matter where your bananas come from, these were from the Hilo Farmers market, but any ripe banana will do and within a short time your kitchen will be filled with the scent of tropical pleasures. Better even when it comes out of the oven! Try this easy recipe and don’t forget to share the Aloha with others too…

  • 1 cup butter at room temperaturebananabread
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Beat butter at high speed, add sugar and eggs until all is thick and creamy. Add the previously mixed dry ingredients and beat at medium speed until all is well mixed. Add bananas and vanilla. Finally fold in the walnuts.

Bake about 55 to 60 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Fits perfectly in a 9 x 13 baking dish or make it fun and fill a few small loaf pans. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Watersports on the Rocks – Hilo’s Playgrounds for Water Lovers

keaukahaHilo may not be on the list for prime beach destinations, but Big Island’s best kept secret has many surprises for all water lovers in store. Beautiful spots for swimming, kayaking, surfing and even snorkeling can be found all along the coastline and are not even that well hidden.

The fun begins right behind the airport of Hilo, east of Hilo Bay in an area known as Keaukaha. Following Kalaniana’ole Avenue you will find some unique and simply beautiful spots where you can get wet or just bask in the sun while enjoying the views.

richardsonBring your snorkel, mask and fins to explore Richardson’s Beach Park. Black sand, lava rock plus a smooth entry into the water, which is teeming with schools of fish and the famous sea turtles of the area, are just a few of the attractions there. On clear day you can see all of Mauna Kea while you are floating in the water.

onekahakahaOnekahakaha Beach Park is the best place for families with small children. The water is shallow with a sandy bottom, protected by lava rocks all around. In the park there are several covered gazebos ready for picnics and much shade can be found under the trees. Weekends can be rather crowded.

coconutislandCoconut Island is located just a short walk away from Hilo’s hotels on Banyan Drive and Queen Liliuokalani’s Garden. A footbridge takes you to the quaint park with its miniature beaches. Small but exquisite, it is a great spot for kayaking and snorkeling. Kids, big and small ones, enjoy diving off an old stone tower. The Hawaiian name for this little jewel in Hilo Bay is Moku Ola, meaning “Island of Life.” It is said to have healing energies and has a rich, ancient history. Take some time and talk to the fishermen in the area to learn about the legends and stories of Moku Ola!

Surf is up in several areas in and outside of Hilo. One of the most beautiful spots however is Honoli’i Beach Park. It is popular with the local surfers and on some early mornings you may even run into the mayor of Hilo, who also appreciates a good break. Parking can get tight, but it is so worth it, even if you have to walk a bit. A small path and stairs take you to a rocky shoreline with some black sand, all backed by a beautifully landscaped park with bathrooms, showers and picnic facilities.

For those who prefer to count their laps in a more controlled environment, the answer is Hilo’s Kawamoto Swim Stadium with its Olympic size pool in a central location on Kalanikoa Street.

coconutisland2White sandy beaches are not a part of Hilo’s landscape, but instead there is an abundance of one-of-a-kind enchanting lagoons, magical bays, beautiful reefs and the perfect waters for kayakers and surfers. Together with the bustling art and food scene, the rich history and natural beauty of the land, this small, laid-back town in East Hawaii is a destination for those who are looking for the true Hawaii.

Off the beaten path accommodations in Hawaii

West MolokaiAs you probably already know Hawaii is a major tourist destination attracting millions of tourists from around the world every year. The four most visited islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island each have busy resort areas where visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities and things to do. But if you’re looking to avoid the hustle and bustle of these resort areas you will also find a good selection of off-the-beaten-path destinations in Hawaii.

The two islands of Molokai and Lanai are the least visited Hawaiian islands and therefore are the most remote in terms of peace and quiet. If you’re on a budget, Molokai is significantly more affordable than the privately-owned island of Lanai. On Molokai, you will find a good selection of affordable vacation rentals in Kaluakoi on the island’s western end as well as around Kaunakakai and Honouliwai and Kainalu on the island’s eastern end.

Koele LodgeThe island of Lanai is home of two five-star luxury resorts – the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay featuring panoramic views of the Pacific and the beautiful white sands of Hulopoe Bay, and the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele, located in the middle of the island and surrounded by pine trees and lush valleys. Both resorts are ideal for a luxurious and tranquil vacation. Many visitors come here to play golf at the two world-class golf courses that are operated by the two resorts. If you stay here you don’t need to rent a car. There is a resort shuttle that runs between the Manele Bay Resort, Lanai City and The Lodge at Koele.

KapohoIf you are headed to the Big Island of Hawaii you will find remote destinations all over the island (this island has plenty of room and everything is more spread out compared to the other islands). The most remote and affordable area on the Big Island is Ocean View. It is a small town located in the southern part of the island. The area is really very rural and most of the people who choose to live here are self-sufficient. There are only a few vacation rentals here so if you are planning the ultimate remote vacation on the Big Island you may want to consider Ocean View. A second option is the area around Kapoho in the Puna District, which is also remote, but within easy reach of some shops and restaurants in Pahoa.

Kauai North ShoreThe islands of Oahu, Kauai and Maui are popular vacation destinations so you will not find many remote destinations there. But if you have made your mind to visit one of them here are some insights for each island. Maui’s most preferred off-the-beaten-path destination is Hana, located on the east side of the island. Here you will find a luxurious resort and a few vacation homes. Other laid-back destinations on Maui are Haiku, Makawao and Kula located in upcountry Maui. If you are planning a quiet vacation on Kauai, you will find some vacation homes along the north and east shores of the island around Anahola, Wainiha and Haena. The island of Oahu is the busiest of all Hawaiian islands, but you can still find some vacation rentals along the windward coast, north shore and west shore of island offering privacy and tranquility.