Honolulu has been a gem.
Maybe it is because I didn’t expect to like it that much. Booking a few nights here was an afterthought, since we didn’t want to fly out on two unrelated bookings, one Hawaiian Airlines and one New Zealand Airlines tickets.
Maybe it is because we are splurging and staying in a nice hotel which is right on the beach at Diamond Head, which means we can walk to the beach in the morning, eat lunch in Waikiki while Kiddo sleeps, and spend the afternoon at the zoo or the aquarium. We have to walk a bit to go into Waikiki, but it is worth it because it is way less touristy out here and the beaches are WAY less crowded. Plus, the walk in to town is beautiful, with a beach esplanade or a park sidewalk for most of the way. The buses go frequently from the Waikiki/Diamond Head neighborhoods, so exploring a bit further is also possible, although we haven’t had the need for that yet.
The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and the big city is within walking distance…from the beach! It is kind of a paradise!
We have been to the zoo two days in a row. We ended up buying a Couples Membership, which at $40 was pretty reasonable. It has already paid for itself with us going just twice. I think we will go again at least on Friday before we take our red eye to New Zealand. Tire out Kiddo!
The zoo has a great monkey exhibit, with ringtailed lemurs, francois lemurs, ruffed lemurs and spider monkeys, not to mention chimps, orangutans, and baboons. Other highlights are the sloth, which they feed an apple twice daily so it comes out – it was the first time I have ever seen a sloth! – and the petting zoo, with koi, goats, a llama, and some exotic cows. Today a patron mimicked the Hippo mating call with a whistle he fashioned out of a palm leaf, and the female Hippo came bolting over and made a show right on the window. I felt bad that she was tricked, but I have to admit that it was AMAZING to see her mating behavior! Kiddo was mesmerized.
We have eaten some fantastic food too. We had Japanese food three times already already: Sunrise Restaurant, an Okinawan restaurant, Yoshitsune, a fancy place in the lobby of the Park Shores hotel, where we had amazing bento lunches, and Marukame, an udon joint where we ate the best udon of my life, plus watched them make the noodles. Tonight we are trying yet another place, Jinroku, which has more street food. I hope it is good. We love Japanese food, and Honolulu is a good place to get it. (P.S. We went to Jinroku and it was gooooood!)
Lemme just say it outright: we love Honolulu!