Honolulu Travel Guide

Call me crazy, but Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of my favourite comedies. So it can’t come as a surprise that Honolulu has been on my bucket list for a few years. And I’m delighted to say that it lived up to my Forgetting Sarah Marshall expectation of it. Aside from the breathtakingly beautiful beaches and lush greenery, I think my favourite part about Hawaii was the people. Everyone I met from my cab driver to the people we bumped into at cafes were so warm and friendly. I went with my friend Ashley, and we had a wonderful time. I couldn’t think of a more laid-back place to travel to.

As you guys know, I always do a travel guide for places I travel to. So of course, I wanted to do one for Honolulu as well. I’ve gotten a lot of questions from you guys, and hope to answer them all here. First things first, I wanted to share a few basic tips:

  • You absolutely must rent a car. Public transportation is basically non-existent, and without a car, you cannot experience Honolulu.
  • If you’re into luxury shopping, Hawaii is the place to do it. Brands like YSL and Valentino have sales and it’s also tax free for tourists.
  • Although most hotels are located in Waikiki, don’t spend any time there. Everything you want to see is a short drive outside of Waikiki.
  • Opt to take the shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel. It’ll drop you off to your hotel and is much cheaper than a cab.

Where to stay

During my time in Honolulu, I stayed in the Lotus Honolulu and The Modern. I had a wonderful experience at both hotels.

You can read about my experience at The Modern here.

I absolutely loved my experience at Lotus Honolulu as well. It was centrally located, our room was beautiful, and the staff were lovely. Stay tuned for a more detailed review.

What to do

North Shore: Drive here and explore. Here, you’ll find the majority of sites that Honolulu is known for: Turtle Bay, Shark’s Cove, Haleiwa Town, to name a few.

Lanikai Pillbox Hike: Before going, I’d read that this hike was fairly easy. To beginners like myself, this is a lie. If you think it involves steep stairs, you are very wrong. You have to hike up a ‘trail’ which is basically just loose stones that you could easily slip and fall on. That being said, the view was totally worth it. I could only make it to the second pillbox (there are three), but my goodness, words can’t describe how beautiful it was.

Lanikai Beach: Of all the beaches in Honolulu, this one was my favourite. The water was pristine and the sand was white. It felt otherworldly.

Lanai Lookout: I worked with Sweet Escape on my very last day in Hawaii. It was my photographer who took me to this location, and for that I will always be grateful. If you’re looking to get blown away by nature, this is a good place to start.

What to eat

Before going to Honolulu, I was expecting it to be a lot like Bali. And what I mean by that is I was expecting every restaurant and cafe to be Instagrammable. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. While there are cute cafes and restaurants, a lot of research is required to find them. They just weren’t as rampant as I expected them to be. Here are a few of my favourites:

Sunny Days: We visited this joint for a post-hike meal. As you can see, the serving sizes are massive. However, the biggest tip I can give you is to not leave without trying their pancakes. They were so soft and cloud like, we were in heaven!

Haleiwa Bowls: One cannot discuss Honolulu acai bowls without the mention of Haliewa Bowls in the same breath. This was my favourite acai bowl place in Honolulu.

Da Cove: Another great spot for acai bowls. Although I should warn you that it is by no means fancy.

Koko Head Cafe: Again, far from fancy, but the food is incredible.

North Shore Tacos: There are so many food truck options in North Shore. The fish tacos here were delicious.

North Shore Shave Ice: If you’re looking for an excuse to eat a snow cone as an adult, look no further. Shave Ice is a specialty in Hawaii. I personally find it way too sweet, but hey, when in Hawaii…

Arvo Cafe: This was undoubtedly the cutest cafe we found. I mean, the latte art speaks for itself!

Juicd Life: This was another favourite for acai bowls. What I loved about Juice Life was the fact that I could add as many toppings to my bowl as I wanted!

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33 Comments

  1. May 20, 2017 / 8:48 am

    Thanks for sharing love! I have always wanted to go there! Actually, a few of my friends also told me I SHOULD go to Honolulu!

    http://www.thequinoxfashion.com

  2. May 20, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    Those acai bowls are amazing! Love the photos! Amazing place!

  3. May 21, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    Beautiful photos and great tips. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. May 21, 2017 / 3:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Honolulu is a place that I really want to visit!

    Hugs Bella, http://nouw.com/bellss // Instagram: bellaskoog

  5. May 21, 2017 / 5:55 pm

    Beautiful photos! It looks amazing there, I’d love to visit one day! 🙂 xx

  6. May 21, 2017 / 8:32 pm

    The food looks so good and also the beach pictures make me miss living by the sea x

    Laura
    Pink Frenzy

  7. May 22, 2017 / 2:09 am

    Your photos of Honolulu are amazing. They perfectly encapsulate the Honolulu vibe!

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

  8. Amy Arnold
    May 22, 2017 / 1:31 pm

    Ahh it looks so amazing! I have been to Maui but not Honolulu. That plate of pancakes has me ready to go yesterday.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  9. May 22, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    My mom went to Honolulu and loved it! I’ve never gone, but my husband and I have definitely talked about it and hopefully we can go in the near future and I know your guide will be helpful for when the time comes, you’ve shared some really great tips here! I had no idea that they have luxury stores such as YSL AND that they have sales AND are tax free! Yup, rest assured I’ll be getting my first YSL bag there, haha. The food looks incredible, which I’ve always heard about regardless of where in Hawaii you stay, the food is always something to experience. Thanks so much for sharing, girl, and I hope you have a great week ahead!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    http://www.thestylecontour.com

  10. May 22, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    I love Honolulu! It’s my favourite place I’ve ever been on holiday and I always recommend it to everyone! These pictures are gorgeous, they bring back so many memories for me…Turtle Bay was definitely my favourite xx

    |Georgia Megan|

  11. May 22, 2017 / 5:04 pm

    Honolulu has been on my bucket list for years now! Aaaand can we talk about the food for a sec? It looks so damn yummy!

    xo | Cindy Elena
    http://www.boringclothes.com

  12. May 22, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of the best comedies, I don’t care what anyone says! haha.
    Seems like Honolulu will have to become apart of my travel list, sounds like such a beautiful place!
    Staying outside of a resort is such an amazing experience, really gives you the opportunity to see what life is really like wherever you’re visiting. From the culture, the people, the food.. I can’t travel any other way now!

    Great post love, thanks for the travel inspo!

    xo
    S
    Grey Canvas

  13. May 23, 2017 / 2:58 am

    I have such a severe case of Wanderlust right now – these pics and descriptions are GORGEOUS! So glad you had such a nice trip!!

  14. May 23, 2017 / 10:41 pm

    Visiting Hawaii would be such a dream! I would love to try acai bowls and snow cones there, even as an adult, hehe! Love your photos! Thanks for the guide!

    Kim
    Simply Lovebirds