In the middle of the last insanely busy weeks, I had the opportunity to visit Oahu, Hawaii. It's been more than 20 years since I've been on the island and it was time to explore as much as I could in 4 short days. The first activity on the list was Hanauma Bay, voted America's best beach in 2016.
The people of Oahu worked hard to preserve the wildlife of the beach while still making it available to the public. As a result, this beach is the best location to go snorkeling. You may even get lucky and spot sea turtles!
The park opens bright and early at 6 am and closes at 6 pm. To get to Haunama Bay you can make a reservation for shuttle service or drive yourself. There is limited parking however so if you plan to drive, try to arrive before 7:30 am.
I arrived at 6:30 am and was lucky to get in for free. Was it a one-time occurrence? Who knows but it's yet another reason to come early! In this case, the early bird does really get the worm. Now you might be thinking, swimming at 6 am? Isn't the water freezing? Fortunately, the water is a perfect temperature, not too cold and not too warm. Arriving early also means being able to explore the entire beach without running into other snorkelers. I was able to check out the entire beach in about 2 hours.
Another tip: bring water shoes! There is a rental shop for snorkel gear and fins but I was able to swim fine without the fins. The only issue I came across was trying to carefully walk into the water without cutting my feet. Water shoes would definitely come handy as I ended up getting small cuts on almost all my toes.
Sadly, I do not have an underwater camera, but even if I did, I'm sure it would not do justice to the beauty of Hanauma Bay. I was able to see everything from rainbow fish to schools of yellow fish to even sea turtles. It was, without a doubt, the best snorkeling experience of my life.
After enjoying the beach, I headed over to the city, Honolulu, to visit one of the most popular restaurants, Marukame Udon.
With over 5000 reviews and 4.5 stars on Yelp, I knew this was the place to eat at. I've read that there is usually a line of people but because the food is served cafeteria-style, the wait goes by quickly. After picking out your bowl of udon, there are a la carte items you can add including tempura, croquettes, even fried chicken. Even though I've been to Japan, Marukame Udon delivered. The kakke udon was exactly what I wanted after a long swim.
The udon was so tasty that I came back the next day and tried their ontama bukkake udon - another delicious bowl. This is definitely a restaurant I will be coming back to the next time I visit Oahu. Unfortunately, that was all the time I had in the city but check out my next post on good eats in the north!