Hawaii

Hawai'i is a beautiful state, with ~4 major islands, each of which offers a different experience. All of Hawai'i feels very different from "the Mainland", due to different weather, history, demographics, and pure distance. The first time I went to Hawai'i as a kid, I was struck by how people on TV "looked like us"—Asian and hapa (part Asian).

O‘ahu

"The Gathering Place", O'ahu is the most populous, most "developed" of the islands and home to the state capital (Honolulu). The different parts of the island offer very different experiences—the western "leeward" side is much dryer than the eastern "windward" side, and parts of the island are still very wild, even though Honolulu is a big city. Due to its population and relative wealth, Oʻahu probably has the best restaurants in Hawai'i.

Things to See/Do

  • Waikīkī - the most famous (and thus the most packed) beach

  • Pearl Harbor - memorial to those who died in Japan's attack on the US Navy base in 1941 (and site of a modern US Navy base)

  • Hanauma Bay - great (and popular) snorkel site

  • Polynesian Cultural Center - a theme park run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (it turns out there are a lot of Mormons in Polynesia), which sounds weird but it's a great way to learn about Polynesian culture (e.g. what many people think is the Hawaiian hula is actually a Tahitian dance)

  • Pali Lookout (Nu‘uanu Pali) - nice view from highway between Honolulu and Kailua

  • Hiking

    • Diamond Head (aka Lē‘ahi) - nice, albeit dry, hike near Waikiki with nice view at the top

    • Manoa Falls - easily accessible waterfall near the University of Hawaii

    • Olomana - very difficult/steep (involving 3 peaks) but gorgeous hike near Kailua

    • places Luke hasn't been but are on everybody's lists: Waimea Falls/Valley (North shore, easy/short...also a nearby botanical garden), Makapu‘u Point (Winward side, easy/flat, has lighthouse), Koko Head/Crater (near Hanauma Bay, old railroad "stairs" lead to crater; also check out Koko Crater Botanical Garden), Lanikai Pillbox (aka Ka'iwa Ridge, somewhat steep but only 1.8 mile hike leading to ocean views from World War II "pillbox" observation posts, popular at sunrise since it's on the Eastern Windward side)

Places to Eat

Maui

"The Valley Isle", so called because the island has a large valley between two extinct volcanos, Maui is in many ways the most gentle, laid-back of the Hawaiian islands. The 5th and 6th largest islands in the Hawaiian Island Chain, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi, are also near Maui.

Things to See/Do

  • Haleakalā National Park - a huge volcanic crater on the East end of the island; it's very popular to go up to the crater for sunrise, but it's also stunning during the day or at sunset (although having seen both, I think the sunrise is much better, since it's over the crater)

  • Iao Valley State Park - beautiful, lush valley not far from the airport...washed out somewhat in 2016?

  • West Maui Mountains - gorgeous coastal drive, including sights like the Nakalele Blowhole and Olivine Pools, see Maui Guidebook for description

    • ??? Waihe'e Ridge Trail?

  • Road to Hāna (aka "RTH") - a windy road that goes along East Maui from Pā’ia to Hana, passing a bunch of stuff along the way (note: most people recommend getting food/gas in Paia, since the options are slim for both until you get to Hana; also note that driving alone is ~3 hours from Paia to Hana each way...although with no stops some say you can do it in ~2 hours, so plan accordingly):

    • (in Paia check out Ho’okipa Beach Park, a popular beach for windsurfing, see Maui Guidebook)

    • Twin Falls - easily accessible set of waterfalls near the beginning of the Road to Hana, good snack shop in parking lot (see Maui Guidebook)

    • Wailua & Ke’anae Valley Hike - nice hike rec'd by Maui Guidebook

    • Na'ili'ili Haele Stream & Waterfalls (aka "Bamboo Forest") - rec'd by Maui Guidebook although access can be tricky

    • "Garden of Eden" Arboretum - mile marker 10.4, open daily 8-4 (near Lower Puohokamoa Falls, world of waterfalls has more)

    • [Haipau'ena Falls - at mile marker 11.5, not rec'd by Maui Guidebook]

    • [Honomanu Bay - the first real beach on the RTH; visible from mile marker 12-13; turnoff is mile marker 14.1, a bit rocky, Maui Guidebook]

    • Ke‘anae Peninsula - see Maui Guidebook

      • Ke’anae Arboretum - just past 16 mile marker, free, see Maui Guidebook

    • Hanawi waterfall - nice view from road at mile marker 24

    • Waikamoi Nature Trail - easy stop/20-minute walk with nicely labeled flora, rec'd by Maui Guidebook

    • Wailua:

    • [Nāhiku has a fruit stand rec'd by Rough Guide]

    • Kahanu Botanical Garden - just past the commercial nursery Hāna Gardenland, take 'Ula'ino Road to these gardens, M-F 9-4, Sat 9-2, you can call 808-248-8912 for guided tours on weekdays that cost $15 extra (on the grounds is the Pi’ilanihale Heiau, the largest traditional temple all of Hawaii, see Maui Guidebook) ...do NOT be confused by the "Hana Maui Botanical Gardens" which is just a B&B...also the "Blue Pool" is now closed; also nearby is the Ka’eleku Cave/Lava Tube (Maui Guidebook)

    • Wai’anapanapa State Park's Black Sand Beach - just north of Hana, see Maui Guidebook

    • Hana

      • [Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach - in Hana, rec'd Maui Guidebook --> now very difficult to get to]

      • Hana Fresh Farmer’s Market is on 4590 Hana Highway every day (relatively short hours, 10-3 Sat, 9-2 Sun, 8-4 M/F and 8-6 T-Th)

    • South of Hana

      • Hāmoa Bay/Beach - just South of Hana, white sand crescent beach, strong currents so swimming can be dangerous (Maui Guidebook)

      • ??Koki Beach - nicer in summer than winter (when the sand gets removed by currents), near Ka Iwi o Pele (“the bones of Pele”), Maui Guidebook

      • Pools of Ohe’o (aka "Seven Sacred Pools") - see Maui Guidebook, in the "Kīpahulu" section of Haleakala National Park (so it has a fee, although the $20 daily fee lasts 3 days and also works on the Summit)...from there you can also take the bamboo-forested Pīpīwai Trail to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls (Maui Guidebook); very crowded after noon

      • Ono Organic Farms - offers $35/person (children ≤10 are free) tours M-F at 1:30 if you reserve at least 1 hour in advance

    • ??Kula/Ulupalakua (Tedeschi Vineyards --> now "Maui Wine" has pineapple wine, Ulupalakua Ranch, Enchanting Floral Gardens, Sunrise Protea Farm), see Maui Guidebook

    • ...once they get to Hana, most people head back the way they came, but it is possible to continue around (although if you have car problems with a rental car, the rental companies say you're on your own); see Maui Guidebook for a description; there are Pu’u Maneoneo Petroglyphs along the way although the hike is difficult

    • for waterfalls this website has a ridiculous number, including a list of those on the RTH

  • Towns

    • there are a number of "towns" in Maui but two in particular that are pretty walkable:

    • Lahaina - an old whaling town that still has a walkable downtown with nice shops

    • Paia - an old sugar plantation town that now has a hippie / surfer vibe, lots of cool shops (like SF's Valencia street but with a Hawaiian twist)

  • Beaches

    • Big Beach - probably the nicest, biggest (as the name implies) beach (with great sand, waves, etc.) on the island

    • Baldwin Beach - nice beach in Pa'ia, which includes on its northern side "Baby Beach", a protected cove popular with very young kids

    • La Perouse Bay - not much beach but some nice hiking (and snorkeling), sometimes people see dolphins

    • Ka'anapali Beach - near the resorts north of Lahaina, very nice but a bit antiseptic (almost all tourists)

    • Wailaia - where most of the newer resorts are, similar feel to Ka'anapali

  • Upcountry - the somewhat cooler, more rural part of Maui on the slopes of Haleakalā

  • Resources

    • Maui Guidebook is a great website that discusses the major attractions on Maui

Places to Eat

  • ##STUFF TO READ:

  • Upcountry (Pā’ia (Paia) / Ha’ikū (Haiku) / Makawao ("Maktown"))

    • Paia

      • Mana Foods - great grocery store, like Rainbow in SF but Hawaiian-style, good place for provisions on the Road to Hana

      • Maka by Mana - delicious "hippie" place with smoothies, etc (note: they used to be up the street but as of late 2017 are inside Mana Foods, with a much smaller menu than before)

      • Paia Inn Café - nice place for breakfast, they had some nice ahi specials when we went in Jan 2017

      • ?Paia Fish Market - famous for fish sandwiches, rec'd Fodors

      • ?Charley’s Restaurant - known for hearty breakfasts

      • Paia Gelato (formerly Ono Gelato)/Hana Picnic Lunch Company - pretty good gelato including tropical flavors like lilikoi (passionfruit), rec'd Maui Guidebook...also has picnic lunch sandwiches for the Road to Hana, etc.

      • Ono Ono BBQ - text order on Friday to pick up on Saturday, rec'd Eater

      • Vana Paia - Japanese-ish place, runner up for best new restaurant 2020

      • nyloS Restaurant - fancier, haute cuisine place, won a Aipono award

      • [just outside Pa'ia:] ?Mama’s Fish House - fancy, upscale place that many people like but some say is overrated, just outside of Paia, lilikoi (passionfruit) creme brulee, rec'd Zagat, Eater, photos atthis blog

    • Pukalani

    • Makawao

      • ?Market Fresh Bistro - local produce/ingredients, closed Mon, open 9-3 most days but occasionally dinner, rec'd Zagat

      • ??Hali'imaile General Store - voted "best lunch on Maui", fusion cuisine, M-F lunch 11-2:30, dinner every day 5:30-9, rec'd Zagat, one friend said that some things are amazing but other stuff is mediocre

      • Komoda Store and Bakery - cult place known for donuts

      • Satori - sushi, good reviews?

    • Haiku

      • ***Nuka - Japanese/sushi, amazingly fresh fish and both traditional & inventive Japanese food, first-come-first-served (no reservations), probably our favorite Japanese place on Maui, rec'd Eater

      • Maui Kombucha - in Haiku, kombucha maker (~5 flavors on tap) but also serves light, raw/vegan food (salads, wraps, etc)

      • ?Sala Dang Thai Kitchen (aka Tuk Tuk Thai) - good reviews, seems popular

      • ?Colleen's At the Cannery - organic American food, rec'd by Fodors and Frommers

    • Kula

      • ?O'O Farm - tour & lunch with chef offered M-F from 10:30-2 for $58/person, reserve ahead at 808.667.4341, photos/review here and here (from 2012)

      • ?La Provence - traditional French-style bakery/cafe open for breakfast/lunch, also crepes; most negative reviews on Yelp are about their service/hours, not the food, rec'd Lonely Planet

      • ?Grandma's Coffee House - local favorite

      • ?Kula Bistro - popular on TripAdvisor for breakfasts, breakfast 7:30-10:30, lunch/dinner 11-8, closed Mon breakfast, chef is from Venice so some Italian stuff

      • [Kula Botanical Garden - open 9-4 every day]

      • [Surfing Goat Dairy - runs tours, etc. open M-Sat 9-5, Sun 9-2]

      • [further down the road: Ulupalakua Ranch Store & Grill - known for Elk burgers]

    • other ideas here

  • Lahaina

    • ***Honu - delicious food right on the water, especially rec'd grilled octopus, ahi bruschetta, and ahi "lifeguard"

    • ***Aloha Mixed Plate - relatively casual place near the water with great "local"-style Hawaiian food, the first is rec'd Fodors

    • ***Lahaina Grill - probably the nicest restaurant in Maui, awesome salads, excellent fish (especially a very buttery mahi mahi...we found the ahi to be nice but a bit too sweet with its apple butter sauce; next time try the ahi poke?), Liz likes the tomato/mozzarella salad but Luke thought the tomatoes weren't that fresh and it was too similar to what you can get in California, we previously liked the flourless chocolate cake but in Jan 2017 found it to be a bit dry?, rec'd Zagat

    • ***Nagasako General Store - a "plate lunch" (takeaway food counter) place across from Foodland Lahaina supermarket, which has cheap prices and *awesome* spam musubi

    • ## Papa 'aina (at Pioneer Inn) - Eater rec's for fancy brunch/breakfast, including fish benedict with miso-mustard hollandaise, breakfast ramen, etc.

    • ## Manuela malasada - casual spot for Hawaiian-style portuguese donuts (malasadas)

    • ??? Aloha Braised (food truck) - great reviews online?

    • ?? Alchemy Kombucha Bar + Bistro - kombucha, sandwiches, and other casual fare, good reviews online

    • Moku Roots - vegan gourmet sandwiches, salads, and bowls with ingredients from their local farm rec'd Eater (who especially like the vegetarian Rueben, kabocha kale salad, and farm boxes)...we liked them in 2022 but found their burger to be pretty dry

    • 808 Grindz Cafe - casual, hole-in-the-wall "greasy spoon" local specialties and breakfast (also location in Kihei), see this blog and another one for photos

    • ?Mala Ocean Tavern - successor to Avalon restaurant, same owners as Honu, rec'd Fodors, Nom Nom Paleo

    • Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice - famous shaved ice with delicious toppings; the portions are huge, rec'd Fodors

    • Star Noodle - more than just noodles (some gluten-free options too) but lots of tasty stuff, pan-Asian, rec'd Fodors, run by celebrity chef Sheldon Simeon so it can be a wait to get in, Nom Nom Paleo and Eater rec's

    • ?Sale Pepe - nice Italian place rec'd Zagat, Eater

    • ??Paia Fishmarket Front Street - branch of the Paia restaurant, 11-9:30

    • ?Koa's Seaside Grill - rec'd Maui Guidebook

    • ??Gerards Maui - fancy/expensive French place with island ingredients, rec'd Fodors, Zagat, Eater, good photos in this blog

    • ?Bamboo Fresh Cafe - south of central Lahaina, rec'd Nom Nom Paleo

    • ??Choice Health Bar - known for vegan food, juices, açai bowls, etc., open Mon-Sat 8-6 rec'd Nom Nom Paleo, was consistently Maui Time's Best Vegetarian until Maka stole it away in 2015...also a smaller branch at the Whaler's Village

    • in Olowalu (just S of Lahaina): Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop - rec'd by many including Eater, see this blog

  • Kā'anapali and West Maui

    • ***Farmers Market Maui - good produce, delicious açai bowls (made with Big Island honey that you can also get here), etc.—as the name suggests, they also have a Farmer's Market on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays (from ~7-11), across the street from Honokowai Beach Park. The store is vegetarian, but you can get good eggs at the Latino market next door.

    • ## FOND Neighborhood Eatery - Eater rec's for bento/burger lunch and pork/cassoulet dinner, as well as the pricey "molecular gastronomy" on Sunday nights

    • ##Miso Phat Sushi - fresh (they have their own boat), somewhat reasonable (known for its large portions) sushi (Yelpers like the TNT roll), ahi poke (and miso butterfish, lilikoi ice cream) in Kahana, open every day 11:30-9 (also location in Kihei), featured on the Food Network,

    • a'a Roots - heath food place in Nāpili, good reviews online

    • Honokowai Okazuya - informal place a bit north of Kā'anapali, nice "lunch plates" like lemon caper ono...when we went in 2016 we liked it but it seemed a bit overpriced given how casual the place is, rec'd Fodors

    • Joey's Kitchen - best place to eat in Whaler's Village in Kā'anapali

    • Burger Shack at the Ritz Carlton - in Kapalua, nice burgers and right on the beach; you can get there from the Ritz itself (they'll drive you down in a golf cart!) or you can access via DT Fleming Park's parking lot

    • The Gazebo - rec'd by Luke's parents & Chowhounds in Napili Shores (near Kapalua), nice spot on the water, known for macadamia nut pancakes, see Paradise Found in Maui for photos/description

    • ?Huli Huli Chicken Stand - south of Ka'anapali, might be open only 11-1 on weekends?

    • ?The Fish Market - dine in or take out, super-fresh, seafood tacos/burritos/plates/sandwiches, open 11-7, rec'd Nom Nom Paleo, Maui Guidebook (likes ono burger, poke)...people on Yelp like the seared ahi steak sandwich, kalua pork tacos, and coconut shrimp

  • Central Maui ("Town", Kahului, Kailuku, near the airport, Wailuku "Waiside", etc.)

    • ***Tin Roof - celebrity chef Sheldon Simeon's inexpensive counter-service spot in Kahului, M-Sat 10-2, opened in 2016, good for a quick bite (you can also do orders online/over the phone to pick up), rec'd Eater ...check out their Instagram & order ahead for takeout

    • ***Cafe O'Lei at the Mill House - great food, both "fancy" and castual at the same time (relatively kid-friendly), not quite the same as the original "Mill House" restaurant but still very good...if you get there before sunrise there's a gorgeous view of the West Maui Mountains, also a cool duck pond, etc.

    • ?Waikapu On 30 - takeout place on the road between Kahului and West Maui/Lahaina/Wailea, popular online

    • Da Kitchen - classic place for Hawaiian local classics, with big portions, rec'd Fodors

    • Ichiban Okazuya - Eater rec's for old-school menu and says they might have the best chicken katsu on the island

    • ?Sam Sato's - Fodors and Eater rec's for noodles (especially dry mein with pork), also turnovers with pineapple/coconut/azuki in Wailuku

    • ?Tight Tacos Maui - rec'd Eater, tacos, rajas, and carnitas, plus esquites

    • ##Broth at Alive and Well - inside a health food store, ramen served until 5 PM, and before noon are other dishes (avocado toast, etc) with locally-sourced vegetables, etc.

    • ?Tokyo Tei - Fodors highly rec's for local-style Japanese in Wailuku

    • Poi by the Pound - rec'd Eater, known for its Hawaiian Plate, big portions

    • Aria's Restaurant & Catering - rec'd Zagat

  • South Maui (Kihei, Wailea, Makena, etc.)

    • Kihei

      • ***Fork & Salad - awesome salads, sandwiches, and soups with very fresh, local ingredients, open 10:30-9 every day; we especially liked the smoked chicken & goat cheese sandwich, and tomato bisque soup.

      • ?? The Market - nice sandwiches rec'd Eater, who especially like seared 'ahi melt, Proper BLT, Green Eggs & Kale, and various other grocery items

      • ?? Kitoko Maui - Eater rec's this "five-star restaurant on wheels", recommend 'ahi Reuben, bentos, and cacao sorbet

      • Sansei - Luke's parents' favorite restaurant, features innovative sushi and other fusion dishes, panko ahi is great, butterfish is amazing, and salmon sashimi is very good; rec'd Fodors...also a branch in Kapalua

      • Da Kitchen Express - a branch of the Central Maui original (see above)

      • ?808 Bistro & 808 Deli - in Kihei, Deli has very popular sandwiches, Bistro is BYOB, rec'd The Shanghai Kid, yelpers like banana bread French toast, whale pie, curry omelette, focaccia egg sandwich, breakfast 7-12, lunch 12-3, dinner 5-9, lukewarm review from Maui Now

      • ??Paia Fish Market (Fishmarket), South Side - in Kihei, rec'd The Shanghai Kid 11-9:30

      • ?1054 Togoshi Sushi

      • ?Coconut's Fish Cafe

      • ?Nutcharee's Authentic Thai Food

      • ?Cow Pig Bun - fancy sandwiches & burgers with a nice bar, rec'd Zagat

      • ?Kihei Caffe - local place with loco moco, cinnamon roll french toast, etc., breakfast served all day (5-2), lunch 11-2

      • ?Ami Ami Bar & Grill - in South Kihei, associated with Cafe Ole’i Kihei, rec'd The Shanghai Kid, breakfast 7-11, dinner 5-9

      • ?Cafe Ole'i Kihei - open every day lunch 10:30-3:30, dinner 4:30-9:30

      • ?Taqueria Cruz - in Kihei, rec'd The Shanghai Kid

      • ?Kinaole Grill Food Truck - in Kihei, popular on TripAdvisor

      • ?Monsoon India - Indian food rec'd Fodors

    • Wailea

      • ???Pita Paradise Mediterranean Bistro - relatively inexpensive Greek (and a bit of Italian) food, rec'd Fodors for baklava ice-cream cake, fish, etc. lunch 11-5, dinner 5-9:30, happy hour 3-6, great reviews online

      • ???Lineage Maui - another restaurant by celebrity chef Sheldon Simeon, a bit fancier take on pan-Hawaiian fusion cuisine with plates meant to be shared

      • ?Morimoto Maui - at Andaz Maui, chef is famous for being on Iron Chef, on Eater's Heatmap for Hawaii as of 2016, rec'd for asian fusion dishes and local incredients/fruits (including fresh apple bananas, Kula strawberries, and lilikoi/passionfruit)...pretty expensive though (Omikase for dinner starts at $140! ...although a la carte is more reasonable, especially for lunch), also rec'd Fodors (esp. the braised pork belly)

      • ?Humuhumunukunukuapua'a (aka "Humu Humu") - at Grand Wailea resort, dinner only, rec'd Fodors

      • ?Ka'ana Kitchen - at Andaz Maui, also expensive, rec'd Fodors and Eater for farm-to-table cuisine with interactive layout, breakfast 6:30-11, dinner 5-9

      • ?Kō Restaurant - in Fairmont, plantation-era cuisine (mix of various Asian styles)

    • ?Zen Zen Restaurant Pacifica (was Hakone) - rec'd Maui Guidebook

  • Road to Hana

    • (also see Paia, etc. above)

    • ?Auntie Sandy's Banana Bread - very popular on TripAdvisor for its banana bread, technically in Haiku but near Ke'anae Point...also fruit, save ice, and sandwiches, also rec'd Eater

    • ?My Thai - Chef Jen makes fresh Thai food, rec'd by The Shanghai Kid

    • ?Travaasa Hana Hotel - nice view of Hana bay?

    • ?Hana Fresh Market - rec'd Fodors

  • Recommended with reservations

    • Merriman's Kapalua - *really* nice, romantic atmosphere, and delicious food (we loved the lamb)...but for a place that claims to have "Hawaiian Regional Cuisine" we were surprised at how Mainland the food was (e.g. even their beef is from the Mainland, not the Big Island and most of the flavors are more typical American/French/Italian than Hawaiian), rec'd Fodors and Zagat

The Big Island

The largest Hawaiian island is named "Hawaiʻi" and thus most people call it "The Big Island" to avoid confusing it with the state. Large portions of the island are sparsely inhabited, so much of it is pretty rural. Formed by five different volcanoes, the most famous is Kīlauea, which has been erupting since 1983. The Big Island is perhaps the most "adventurous" island, with other-worldly landscapes and daredevil activities (e.g. the Ironman World Championship is held here).

Things to See/Do

  • Volcanoes National Park - see the lava erupt from Kīlauea

    • will you see lava? check out the park sevice lava website and the USGS status and maps, which will show you whether it's erupting and where...note that as of 2016, lava is erupting from 2 vents: Halema'uma'u Crater, which has an amazing glow at night visible from the Jaggar Museum in the park (get there ~1 hour before sunset for the full show), and the Pu'u Ō'ō hotspot (which is east of the main part of the park and thus mostly inaccessible, although sometimes you can see lava entering the water)

      • in summer 2016 flow reached the sea; check out this article for a description of how to view from Kalapana

    • some companies offer helicopter rides above the vents, but from what we heard (in 2016) it's not worth it

    • during the day, check out the steam vents, visitor center, Thurston Lava Tubes, drive the chain of craters, etc.

  • Swim with Dolphins - the western side of the Big Island features dolphin pods who congregate close enough that you can often swim near them; several companies offer tours to help you do this...we've had great experiences with Jack's Diving Locker

  • Near/Around Kona

    • Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau ("Place of Refuge") - interesting historical park that features reconstructed ancient Hawai'ian buildings and beautiful views of the ocean

  • Ka'ū (Southern Part of Island)

    • Punalu'u Black Sand Beach - beautiful spot, also often has honu (sea turtles)

    • Ka Lae ("South Point")

    • Papakolea Green Sand Beach

  • Hilo - older, wetter, more "local" town; this was where most people lived before resorts popped up on the drier west side (near Kona)

  • Kohala - northern area, is relatively lush, with a number of farms

  • Saddle Drive / Mauna Kea - may be difficult for some vehicles, but is a way to experience the interesting interior of the Big Island, including its highest peaks (which can be much colder than the lowland areas)

Places to Eat

  • Island Naturals - nice grocery chain, lots of organic stuff

  • Two Ladies Kitchen - delicious mochi in Hilo, don't miss the strawberry flavor but many other flavors are good too

  • Da Poke Shack - very fresh poke at a casual place

  • Annie's Fresh Island Burgers - delicous burgers made from local, grass-fed beef

  • Holuakoa Cafe - really nice restaurant up above Kona

  • recommended with reservations:

    • Bamboo Restaurant - in Hawi, seemed a bit touristy/overrated to us in 2016

Kaua‘i

"The Garden Isle" is the oldest, most north-western of the main Hawaiian islands, thus allowing time for lush vegetation to grow on what was once barren volcanic soil—hence its name. It's the most wild and jungly of the islands, and thus appeals to people who love the outdoors and nature (especially lush greenery)...although it also has some very luxurious resorts.

Things to See/Do

  • [add notes from other folks...]

Places to Eat

  • [add notes from other folks...]

Hawaiian Language

If you visit Hawaiʻi, you'll notice that many people use a handful of native Hawai'ian language words. The language is relatively easy to pronounce—vowels are similar to Spanish/Italian/Japanese—with the exception of the ‘okina (the "apostrophe" in "Hawai‘i"), which is a glottal stop (like "oh oh").

Here are some of the most common words you'll hear:

  • aloha - hello/goodbye (and an expression of affection)

  • mahalo - thank you

  • mauka - toward the mountain

  • makai - toward the sea

  • hana hou - do it again (encore!)

  • haole - white person (literally "foreigner")

  • hapa (haole) - part Asian person (literally "half (foreigner)")

  • kāne - man

  • wahine - woman (e.g. you'll sometimes see kane/wahine on bathrooms)

  • keiki - children

  • ‘ohana - family

  • lanai - balcony/patio

  • pupu - appetizers (so if someone says "Do you want to eat pupu?" they aren't crazy)

  • ‘ono - delicious

  • honu - sea turtle

...there is also a fascinating language called Hawaiian Creole English, known locally as "Pidgin", which mixes English, Hawaiian, and several other languages. You might hear locals talking to each other in Pidgin.