Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Luaus & Leis

Call us cheesy tourists, but we just couldn’t leave Hawaii without attending a classic luau, especially since this was my first time visiting the islands. Though the food was just OK, and I hated the bland poi sauce that’s for some reason super popular, the hula dancers and show were incredible.

Sharing the legend of the first voyagers to Hawaii during ancient times, the performance was filled with song and fire-twirling. Plus, to get us in the Hawaiian spirit, we were able to string our own orchid leis onboard the ship earlier in the week.

As you can surely guess, these weren’t the only “touristy” things we did. By signing up for prearranged tours through the cruise line, we hit up many common hotspots before the week was over. But to keep things from becoming too predictable, we also rented a car for a couple days, which let us get out on our own and enjoy street fairs and “local” hangouts that were more off the beaten path.

Here, some highlights of our adventures.

I’ll definitely be back to hike Diamond Head, which we could see from our port in Honolulu.


Maui’s Iao Valley is lush and rainy. We also watched a kite surfing lesson at a small beach discovered along our drive to the island’s winery, where we sipped – what else? – pineapple wine.

Chickens run lose everywhere in Hawaii, where they live like wild birds! We saw this flock while stopped at a roadside market.

At Volcanoes National Park, we saw steaming craters and checked out the museum. That night, our ship also sailed past an active volcano, giving us a view (from a distance) of lava as it poured into the sea.

Sailing up the Na Pali Coast in Kauai was absolutely incredible!

Before catching our flight home on Oahu, we were able to visit Pearl Harbor, which was a must for history buffs like us.

When you travel, do you tend to go for popular tourist attractions, or do you prefer to seek the less common? What are some of your favorite sights in Hawaii?

(Photo Credits: Stephen Walrath)


  1. Those photos are great, especially the one of the Na Pali coast!

    We like a mix - it's important for us to hit up the major attractions, but we usually avoid large tour groups if possible to try and make the experience our own. Sometimes this isn't possible (like if you go to a protected area where you have to hire a guide due to preservation issues), but for the most part we find a good balance. It's great to sometimes put the guidebook down and go where the wind takes you . . . though I would feel safer doing this in certain countries as opposed to others.

    And you have to go to a luau when you're in Hawaii! It's the law :) I loves Volcanoes National Park, and also some of the other, smaller hikes the Big Island had to offer. The lava caves were great, too!

  2. Very fun! We're honeymooning in Hawaii too, visiting Maui and Oahu! So excited :) Glad you had a good time. We're also doing a sail and luau! :)

  3. Looks and sounds amazing! I think it's good to mix it up and do a little bit of touristy stuff and some off-the-beaten-track stuff as well.

  4. Gorgeous photos! And I agree, poi is not very good. But we had to try it, if only to say we did!

  5. Great pictures! We did the luau thing when we were in Kauai and loved it (except the poi)! I loved the Na Pali coast! For our honeymoon we just want to chill out on the beach and do outdoorsy things. No sightseeing. But depending on the place, we enjoy checking out the history of a place.

  6. Looks gorgeous!

    I usually like to see a mix of the most famous places then others I have found myself / discover on the way.

    However for our honeymoon we did an organised tour so there were always other tourist around!

    Ive never been to Hawaii!