Archive for May, 2015

postheadericon Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail ~ Oahu

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Hiking Makapu’u Lighthouse

This trail is the second most popular of all hiking trails on Oahu following Diamond Head.  It is an easy to moderate hike up a paved trail and when you reach the top be prepared to be blown away!  The views are some of the most stunning and memorable you’ll probably see on the island.  The views overlook the Makapu’u Lighthouse, Koko Head, the windward coast, and the neighboring islands of Molokai and Lanai.  Below you’ll see the giant tide pools and if you’re lucky (like we were) a pod of majestic whales!  If I could only hike once while in Oahu, this would be the one I’d pick!




 

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Selfie

 

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View

 

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Know Before You Go

  • It tends to be dryer and warmer on this point of the island and there is virtually no shade.
  • Arrive early to avoid crowds and a full parking lot.
  • Bring water.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Gates open at 7am.
  • If you wish to start your hike earlier, you can park your car on the side of the road  and walk in.
  • The hike climbs approximately 500 feet up to a viewing platform.
  • It takes about 30 minutes to reach the top.  There are amazing views the whole way up and plenty of places to stop and take it all in!
  • It’s free to park and free to hike!

 

Makapu’u Tidepools

There are some giant tide pools at the bottom of these sea cliffs and brave souls climb down and swim in them.  While this may look fun and attractive, it is NOT recommended.  It’s dangerous not only to make the climb down, but the ocean is unpredictable and strong waves tend to smash over the barrier reef onto the shelf area.

 

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Location

The Makapu’u Lighthouse is on the very southeastern most point of Oahu and sits 600 feet on top of a sea cliff.  You can see three different sections of ocean from one point making a beautiful panoramic photo!

 

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From Waikiki, it’s about a 45 minute drive.  You hop on the H-1 South.  It will turn into Hwy 72, but still part of the Kalanianaoli Hwy which follows the coast.  You will follow H-1 past Koko Head, Sandy Beach, and up towards Makapu’u Point.  Turn into the Kaiwi Scenic Shoreline area.  In the area you’ll also find Sandy Beach, Hanauma Bay, and the Halona Blowhole.

postheadericon Condo Review: Ilikai in Waikiki

Ilikai Waikiki

 

Visiting Waikiki with kids is no doubt one of the most popular things to do while vacationing in Hawaii.  Over spring break we had the opportunity to visit Hawaii and we needed to figure out where to stay.  We wanted do this trip on a budget ( yes, that is totally possible) and I scored a great deal bidding on our airline tickets to Honolulu.  We were hoping to find a great deal on our Oahu accommodations, too, so I started researching all of our options.  We’ve stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village  several times before, but for this trip we were hoping for a condo that had a full kitchen to help offset some of the cost.  Eating out in Hawaii really adds up so this was a way to help us stay within our budget!  We also knew that we wanted to be right near the beach, not a few block off.  After looking at many condo rentals we decided on The Ilikai, as it checked off everything on our list:  view, pool, location, a kitchen, and space (not to be confused with the Ilikai Marina.  They are two different buildings)!




Comfortable Room for the Whole Family

We booked room was 1441 which offered some of the best ocean and sunset views in Waikiki Beach.  It was about 650 sq. ft. and had a full kitchen (no dishwasher), one bathroom, and sleeping arrangements for 5.  We would have preferred a bedroom, but the studio worked out fine for us.  What really sold us on this room was the view!  The spacious balcony was the perfect place to drink coffee in the morning and eat dinner at night!  We loved watching the boats come into the marina as the sun was setting.

 

Ilikai Kitchen

 

Ilikai Bathroom

 

ilikai Studio

 

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Did I mention the view!  This is what we woke up to and went to sleep to!  It’s where we ate all of our meals.  It’s where we enjoyed a nice glass of wine watching to sailboats come and go.  It felt like it was our home, not a hotel/condo.

 

Ilikai Sunset View

 

Marina at Night

 

Marina View

 

 

Great Location for Exploring all of Oahu

The Ilikai has both privately owned condos which are rented out either personally or via property management companies and hotel rooms.  The lobby looks like any hotel lobby with staff, a bell service, and a concierge.  It is located on the far end of Waikiki directly between the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Modern.  This is our preferred location because we like being a little bit away from the hustle and bustle, but still within walking distance to all of it.  It sits right on the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon with is a public lagoon on the widest stretch of beach in Waikiki.  Our view was of the marina and Ala Moana Beach Park and the popular Magic Island.  To get to the heart of Waikiki it’s about a 15-20 minute walk.

 

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The Pool

The pool at the Ilikai was a clean and spacious pool and we never had trouble getting a chair.  You’re provide clean fresh pool towels when you check in, but you may not take them to the beach.  There is not a pool bar/restaurant, but it does have clean bathrooms and showers.

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The Big Debate  Condo vs. Hotel

Since we’ve only stayed in hotels in Hawaii we wanted to give staying in a condo a chance!  We found this to be the best value for our family and we’re so happy with our choice!  When thinking of booking accommodations think about what type of traveler you are.  Do you like to be pampered and taken care of the whole time?  Would you mind doing dishes or laundry?  Do you like room service?  Do you mind cleaning up after yourself?  Do your kids need amenities or kid clubs?  Do you like to be left alone?  Personally, the biggest con for me was the laundry.  There is no washer and dryer in the unit, but there is a laundry room on each floor.  Otherwise, the pros far outweighed the cons and the price, location, and quality of our stay were all well worth it!

Pros:

  • A Fully Equipped Kitchen!  We saved a lot of money by cooking our own meals and keeping snacks on hand for when we were out and about.
  • More space to spread out!
  • Comfy beds and pillows.
  • The balcony was perfect!
  •  The view was amazing!  You would easily pay double or triple for that view in a hotel.

Cons:

  • No Towel Exchange or Laundry Room in the Unit (this was a big deal for me.  We were only given 5 bath towels and 3 beach towels so we had to use the laundry room a lot.)
  •  No maid service.  It’s a nice touch to come back to the room and have everything tidied up.
  •  No refilling of toiletries.

 

How We Booked

We booked our room via Waikiki Beach Rentals and had a seamless experience.  There are mixed reviews on TripAdvisor on the site, but our experience was flawless.  Everything is done online, we never actually talked to anyone regarding our stay, but the directions were easy to follow and we didn’t have any bumps along the way.  There are no hidden fees and all rates are posted online.  Another bonus about booking through them was their policy on late checkouts.  If the unit is not occupied the following day you may check out as late as 8:00 PM TOTALLY FREE!  We had a late flight home and we were fortunate to be able to utilize this perk.  It really gave us an extra day in paradise!

 

Things to Do in Oahu

Oahu is the perfect place for a family vacation.  Unlike other tropical islands, it’s gives families the option of doing city activities, water activities, hiking, and historical tours all within a few hours of each other.  Some of our favorite things to do on the island:

  • Pay respect to fallen soldiers at Pearl Harbor
  • Visit Lanikai Beach
  • Hike Diamond Head
  • Hike Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail
  • Go for a scenic drive
  • Kayaking to the Mokes
  • Eat delicious malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery
  • Snorkel Hanauma Bay and/or Sharks Cove
  • Attend a Luau

 

Disclaimer:  Waikiki Beach Rentals has no idea who I am.  I paid for this room in full and this is my honest review of our stay! 

 

 

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