One of the great things about living in Hawaii is that when friends and family come to visit we get to play tourist with them. This weekend my cousin and his wife from Miami came to visit us and we got to experience some fun places we haven’t been to in a long time. It was so much fun I had to share our experiences.

Miami is another tourist destination but nothing like Hawaii. One of the big differences I noticed is our beautiful mountain ranges. As we drove to Waikiki from the airport my cousins could see mauka (toward the mountain) up into Manoa Valley. As we drove down the H-1freeway they could see the Honolulu skyline and Diamond Head. We checked them into their hotel and 30 minutes later we were at the Hula Grill celebrating the restaurant’s fifth anniversary. I could feel the Aloha spirit all around Waikiki. People were friendly and smiling and it made me proud that we have such a wonderful opportunity to help folks plan vacations in Hawaii. Next we took a walk down Kalakua Avenue and showed them the beautiful Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Moana Surfrider. The great thing about these hotels is that you can just stroll onto properties and hang out; there so much Aloha spirit and history that you feel very welcome. Both properties are very beautiful and you can relax while having a drink and watching a wonderful Hawaiian sunset. The Pan Pacific Festival was happening in Waikiki that evening so we spent some time enjoying this wonderful event. I especially enjoyed seeing the festival and other activities through my cousins’ eyes; the multiculturalism, the beauty and excitement of being there was overwhelming.

On Saturday we started very early. My cousin told me about all fun they had doing simple things such as enjoying the sunrise, taking pictures of the beautiful scenery from the hotel room, and getting food at one of the ABC stores. After picking them up we drove up to a beautiful rainforest in Manoa with a trail that leads to a waterfall. Later, we went to the Waioli Tea Room, a wonderful restaurant located the heart of Manoa. As if that wasn’t enough, we took them back to the East side of the Island to our home in Hawaii Kai and took a little boat ride on Kuappa Pond.

Sunday was just as much fun but with a little twist. It was my cousin’s anniversary so we took them to Hanauma Bay for snorkeling. They had a great time enjoying the beach in this beautiful sanctuary. Unfortunately, when we returned to the car I discovered that I had my keys in my pocket while I was swimming. Little did I know that would cause my car not to start! We had plans to go to dinner in the evening in just a couple of hours. I thought to myself “What a bummer!” along a few other choice words, but my cousins were so relaxed it didn’t even faze them. They took the bus back to their hotel and we had our car home (only 3 mile away). We ended the night at Alan Wong’s, our favorite restaurant. I am not a food blogger so I will spare you all the details. I will tell you though, our meal was just incredible and I highly recommend you check out Alan Wong’s restaurant when you’re on Oahu.

We actually enjoyed being tourists again, seeing and experiencing Hawaii anew. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend in Paradise.


  1. which of all the hawaiian islands do you recommend to a first-time traveler to hawaii? and assume they prefer the nicest beaches (warm water, clear, and nice scenery)

  2. Great pictures Bruce and Yaling…you all look like you had a really great time! Did your cousin buy those rice bag shorts? They are cool! And don't spare us the foodie details…LOL you know how we all love Hawaii regional cuisine. 🙂  Or is it just me that's obsessed with food?  😉

  3. Aloha Jack! 
    Maui is beautiful….awesome beaches, great scenery and wonderful hiking and outdoor activities.
    Just the right amount of laid-back attitude, not crazy busy like Waikiki, but not so quiet that you'll be bored. 🙂

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