You can see Oahu from Kaanapali Beach
Travel report: Aloha - round trip island hopping in Hawaii
04/21/2019 Arrival in San Francisco
In a small tour group of only 15 people, we make our way across the pond. Our actual travel destination are the beautiful islands of Hawaii, but since there is hardly an island paradise further away, we make the way to the destination and make a stopover in San Francisco. The flight route leads over the eternal ice of Greenland and offers us great views during the flight when the sky is cloudless. After about 11 hours we reach the west coast of the USA in the evening, where our tour guide Martina welcomes us and accompanies us to the hotel "Holiday Inn Golden Gateway". If you are not too tired yet, you can join me for a pint in a rustic pub near the hotel. Cheers then - have a good trip!
April 22nd, 2019 City tour of San Francisco
The entire day is dedicated to the famous sights of San Francisco. After a hearty breakfast in the hotel, we start our city tour to Washington Square, where Chinese residents practice Tai Chi in the park in front of the Peter & Paul Church. San Francisco's China Town is the second largest after New York! The streets of China Town are lined with market stalls where you can buy all kinds of exotic fruits and medicines in Chinese pharmacies. We make our first photo stop at the town hall, which is structurally modeled on St. Peter's Basilica. Then we go up to Alamo Square, where we take a look at the most famous Victorian houses in the city, the Painted Ladies. The cityscape is shaped by these colorful houses from the 19th century - different epochs and styles give each one an individual look and they belong to San Francisco like the cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge. Before we turn to these two attractions, we drive up to the Twin Peaks, where we enjoy a fantastic view of San Francisco in the best weather. THE landmark of the city is of course the Golden Gate Bridge. After only 4 years of construction, the bridge was put into service in 1937 and, with a span of 1,280 meters, was then the longest suspension bridge in the world. The bridge is still an important traffic junction, with the six lanes being adapted to the volume of traffic depending on the time of day. The toll income covers the costs of maintaining the bridge and the red color is not only used for the beautiful appearance, but also to protect against rust and the salty air. We don't miss the opportunity to cross the bridge to the other side, where we take our lunch break in the tranquil town of Sausalito. From here the ferry will later leave for San Francisco, where we will pass the prison island Alcatraz and have the best view of the city skyline. San Francisco is also the city of hills - according to various sources it should be 42-47 - and so our ride on the famous cable car alternates uphill and downhill and we are jolted and shaken. The Powell & Mason Line takes you to Fisherman's Wharf, the lively harbor district where tourists and sea lions cavort at Pier 39. We end the eventful day with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge in the "Charthouse" restaurant.
April 23, 2019 San Francisco - Hawaii / Honolulu
In the morning there is the opportunity to get to know what is probably the most winding road in the world. We walk over 2-3-4 hills to Lombard Street, which is known from film and television and, with its loving design, is a beautiful photo opportunity. Then we drive to the airport and can't wait to land in Hawaii soon! After about 5 hours of flight the time has finally come and our local tour guide Brigitte welcomes us traditionally with flower chains at Honolulu Airport. Through the rush hour we make our way to our hotel "Sheraton Princess Kaiulani". It is located in the middle of the Waikiki Beach district, so in a few minutes we can reach the famous beach as well as shops and restaurants - this is where life pulsates. Accompanied by live Hawaiian music, we enjoy our delicious buffet dinner in the open air. The time difference home is now exactly 12 hours, so bed rest is not too late today.
April 24th, 2019 Oahu island tour
Hawaii joined the United States as the 50th and last state. The "American way of life" meets Polynesian and Asian influences here. Oahu is the main island of the archipelago and therefore has the most inhabitants: just under a million, which is about 75% of the total population of Hawaii. For our island tour we leave the skyscrapers of Honolulu behind and get to know the scenic beauties of Oahu. Amalia Earheart is a modest monument on a beautiful bay. In 1932 she was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. The beauty of the coast can be enhanced at the picturesque Hanauma Bay. From the vantage point we observe numerous snorkelers exploring the underwater world on the reef. Humpback whales also like to roam the Hawaiian waters from December to May, giving birth and raising their young before heading back to Alaska. On our onward journey we make a stop at the Halona Blowhole, a water geyser that generates a high water column when the surf is strong. But since the sea is extremely calm today, we enjoy the play of colors of the deep black lava rocks, flanked by white sandy beaches that are caressed by the blue of the sea. Soon we get to the west coast of the island, which is much greener. In the Valley of the Temples, at the Byodo-in Temple, we find a place of soothing peace and tranquility. The Buddhist temple is an original replica of a temple from Kyoto, embedded in a beautiful park with ponds. Whoever makes the big bronze bell ring will have a happy and long life. Our next stop is a macadamia nut farm, where we can nibble our way through the entire range and buy a few packs as delicious souvenirs. At the Kualoa Ranch we stop for a rustic lunch and, based on the picture gallery, we are amazed at which stars and starlets have already come and gone here. The beauty and unspoilt nature of the landscape has made the valley the setting for numerous Hollywood productions: Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Lost or 50 first dates are just a few examples. Passing some surfing beaches we get to the Dole pineapple plantation, where we see the tropical fruits and feast on delicious ice cream. At the end of the day we go for a sundowner in the "Sky Waikiki" - from the 19th floor we have a wonderful view of Honolulu at sunset.
04/25/2019 Pearl Harbor - Honolulu City Tour
Today we visit Pearl Harbor - the famous US military base in the Pacific, which was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941 and gave the USA the opportunity to enter World War II. Pearl Harbor was well armed against attacks from the sea, but no one expected attacks from the air on a Sunday morning: 6 Japanese aircraft carriers with over 300 fighter planes transformed Oahu into a battlefield in two waves of attack in a very short time. In a nearly 30-minute film with original recordings, we get an impression of the events of this fateful day in American history. During the subsequent boat trip we see the USS Arizona Memorial, which was erected over the sunken hull. Not only in memory of the 1,177 members of the crew of the USS Arizona, but as a memorial for all victims of this historic event. The battleship Missouri was one of the targets of the 1941 attacks, but the end of World War II was sealed here with the surrender of Japan in 1945. Today it is moored in Pearl Harbor as a museum ship and can be visited like the submarine USS Bowfin. There are also numerous exhibitions and exhibits on the site that illustrate the events from the point of view of the Americans. Afterwards we get to know the most important sights of Honolulu on a city tour. We drive up to the memorial and the cemetery, see the presidential palace and the government building, the China Town district, the city center with the modern financial center and the royal palace with the statue of King Kamehameha. At the end of our tour we stop at the Aloha Tower, once the tallest building in Hawaii (56 meters). Today, skyscrapers shape the cityscape of Honolulu, which is why it is also known as the Manhattan of the Pacific.
April 26th, 2019 Onward journey from Oahu to Kauai
In the morning we have time again for a hearty breakfast in the hotel, which leaves nothing to be desired, and for a stroll through the shops of Honolulu / Waikiki Beach. Then we say goodbye to the hustle and bustle of the city and await a contrast program on Kauai. But before we take off from Oahu, the airport is quite chaotic, so that we barely reach our plane. In half an hour's flight time we land on the garden island of Kauai. For many, it is the most beautiful island in the archipelago - we will see if we can confirm this. Our Hilton Garden Inn Wailua Bay hotel offers great comfort and direct access to the sea. A walk through the beautiful garden leads us to a sheltered sandy bay, where we can enjoy swimming. Incidentally, there are no private beaches in Hawaii, all beaches are open to the public. Our dinner in the hotel is garnished with wonderful live music and so we end the day in good company.
04/27/2019 Kauai Helicopter Flight Recreation
Today, without a doubt, THE highlight of the trip is on the program: a helicopter flight over Kauai. Full of anticipation, we set off for the airport early in the morning. Once there, we are weighed discreetly again, after which the seats for the flight are allocated. Five or six of us sit in a helicopter and enjoy 50 minutes above the clouds! Although that is not entirely true with the clouds, the weather could hardly be better, we first fly in a westerly direction over agricultural area and then into the middle of the wild heart of the island. 85% of Kauai is not road-accessible, so we have a bird's-eye view of pristine landscapes. Small and large waterfalls pour down from lush green mountains and then the huge Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, opens up below us. The red-brown rock layers give an insight into the history of the island. Volcanic activity and water have shaped the island over millions of years. The view of the bizarre Na Pali coast in northern Kauai is really breathtaking. A play of colors from the bright blue of the sea, the red, iron-rich earth, green vegetation and golden beaches - it's just fantastic! In view of these impressive landscapes, it is hardly surprising that Kauai serves as the backdrop for great Hollywood blockbusters, such as B. King Kong, Pirates of the Caribbean or Elvis Presley's Blue Hawaii. Finally, we fly into the crater of the Waialeale volcano. This possibility only exists on a few days a year, as it rains most of the time in what is probably the rainiest place on earth (approx. 12,340 mm per year). Today we are lucky enough to be able to fly into the crater. Waterfalls pour down almost vertically up to 1,000 meters on green rock walls. WOW! Everyone lands safely and happily on the ground with beaming faces. The rest of the day is free and used for sunbathing, swimming or writing postcards.
04/28/2019 Boat trip to the fern grotto - onward journey to the Big Island of Hawaii
Also this morning we are woken up by the Kikeriki of the roosters, but actually we can start the day relaxed. The wild poultry has already blossomed into a tourist attraction, because you can see them everywhere, especially on Kauai. So that we don't just experience Kauai from a bird's eye view, we take a boat trip on the Wailua River to the fern grotto in the morning. After a short walk through the tropical rainforest, we reach the lava grotto, which is overgrown with ferns. We enjoy this special place with background music. On the way back there is more Hawaiian music and hula dancing - you are invited to join in! We leave the tranquil, green island of Kauai and reach the Big Island after a short flight in the afternoon. In Kailua-Kona we move into our hotel "Royal Kona Resort". The fantastic location right by the sea lets us see beyond the somewhat "morbid charm" of the hotel. The promenade with numerous restaurants and shops invites you to stroll and offers a lively atmosphere.
04/29/2019 Big Island tour
We enjoy our breakfast with a view of the sea - exactly where every year in October the athletes of the Ironman triathlon complete their 3.8 km long swim. After all, one or the other has already seen dolphins in the sea in the morning! Big Island, the large and eponymous island of the archipelago, should essentially unite all facets of the Hawaiian islands. We will be able to confirm this at the end of our stay. Our full-day excursion takes us clockwise from Kailua-Kona, first along the coast and then into the interior of the island between the two dominant volcanoes Mauna Loa (4,169 m) and Mauna Kea (4,205 m). If you look at the height of the mountains from the sea floor to the summit, they are the highest mountains on earth! On our trip we see extinct volcanic craters and lava fields with AA lava and Pahoehoe lava in different forms. On the west side of the island there is a sudden change of vegetation: from the rather barren lava landscape we get to the wet side, where tropical green awaits us at the Rainbow Falls. We stop for lunch at the Imiloa Astronomy Center. At around 800,000 years old, the Big Island is the youngest island in the archipelago and still has active volcanoes that shape the appearance of the island. It was just a year ago (late April - September 2018) that the Kilauea volcano, one of the most active volcanoes on earth, last erupted at the Pu'u O'o crater - with serious consequences: the volcano has lava continuously for 36 days spat at a height of up to 60 meters, since then there have been around 80,000 earthquakes, 62 of them strong, and the lava flow into the sea created 3.5 square meters of new land. After a short stay in an orchid nursery and beautiful flowery impressions, we drive into the Volcanoes National Park. We make the first photo stop at Kilauea Iki crater from the eruption in 1959. Even if the rain surprises us on Lua Manu, the red Lehua flowers conjure up beautiful splashes of color in the dark lava landscape. In the Lava House and Visitor Center we protect ourselves from the rain shower. As Brigitte announced to us before our trip, it will definitely rain somewhere. She was right about that. We finally continue to the coast and to the black, palm-fringed Punalu'u Beach, where we can watch a turtle up close. The last stop of our big island tour is in Naalehu in the southernmost bakery in the USA and feast on delicious sweet pastries or ice cream. On the way back to the hotel, the road leads through a deep black lava landscape with lava flows from various eruptions. A day with a thousand impressions is behind us.
04/30/2019 Historic Big Island - Leisure
Today we get to know some historically significant places on our half-day excursion. But first we head to a coffee farm, where we learn how coffee is processed in Hawaii. Since the harvest time is already over, the machines are currently at a standstill, but we can at least spot the green coffee cherries on the bushes and of course a taste of the Kona coffee should not be missing. On our tour we again enjoy the tropical vegetation: mango trees, macadamia trees, African tulip trees with their bright orange blossoms, bananas and countless palm trees. Our next stop is the pretty St. Benedict's Painted Church, which has beautiful paintings inside: Christian motifs with Hawaiian influences. After Captain James Cook was first worshiped as a god on his arrival in Kauai in January 1778, he died almost a year later in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island. We pass this bay on our onward journey to the sanctuary of Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, where we get an insight into the traditional Hawaiian lifestyle. The royal courtyards were once located on the palm-lined bay, as the thick walls made of lava stone indicate. Wooden images of gods guard the sacred historical site and are portraits for beautiful photos under palm trees. It was also a refuge for law breakers, as those who violated the sacred laws (Kapu) were sometimes punished with death.However, those who managed to escape their persecutors under difficult conditions and to get to a pu'uhonua (sacred refuge) were given absolution and were able to return to society. We return to Kona full of enthusiasm and experience a wonderful sunset in the evening, followed by a heavy rain shower.
May 1st, 2019 on to Maui
Hawaii is also a popular destination for cruisers. After a ship from Celebrity Cruises was anchored yesterday, today we see the NCL ship "Pride of America", which Eberhardt TRAVEL has in its travel program for everyone who wants to discover Hawaii with the floating hotel.
We are lucky that there is a Hawaiian Luau in our hotel in the evening, because in the morning the pig is already buried here in the earth oven, the Imu. The meat is cooked underground all day with hot lava stones and is served on the table in the evening. An interesting procedure, because soon we too will be taking part in a luau. But first it goes on to the last (and for many the most beautiful) island, to Maui. The name alone promises holiday pleasure. Our hotel "Royal Lahaina" is located on one of the most beautiful beaches on the island and spoils us with a lot of comfort - you want to stay longer here! In the evening we stroll along the beach promenade to the Whalers Village and have a fine dinner at "Leilani's".
May 2nd, 2019 Catamaran tour for snorkeling - Lahaina
It rained overnight, but the sea is very calm in the morning and therefore offers the best conditions for our snorkeling excursion. According to the motto: the early snorkeler finds the fish, we walk early to the meeting point on the beach, where we board the "Trinity" and sail along the coast to our snorkeling spot. On board we receive the equipment and a briefing and can soon Explore the underwater world of Maui. Once you get used to the new element, it's really fun. And even if none of us has spotted a Humuhumunukunukuapua'a - the Hawaiian state fish with the funny name - we are lucky and see next to it Corals and colorful fish also some sea turtles. After snorkelling, lunch and drinks are served on board and we can enjoy the sun. Setting the sails is not worthwhile with the calm today, so our sailing catamaran makes its way back with motor power we can take pictures of our hotel from the sea, and the afternoon is free - some would like time to swim n use, although the beach visit unfortunately more or less falls into the water. Others drive to Lahaina and stroll through the numerous shops of the lively town. Here you can shop to your heart's content and there is also a large selection of pubs and restaurants. The gigantic banyan tree at the harbor, which covers an entire park and whose aerial roots grow into the ground several meters away, is particularly impressive.
05/03/2019 Haleakala volcano - tropical Iao valley - Luau in the evening
Today a real contrast program awaits us on Maui. In the morning we make our way to the legendary Haleakala volcano, the "House of the Sun". On our way to the summit we pass beautiful blooming jacaranda trees - a dream in purple. The road winds up in serpentines up to an altitude of 3,055 meters, whereby the vegetation becomes increasingly sparse. Above, a lunar landscape awaits us, where the silver sword, an endemic plant, thrives. The weather can change quickly up here and it's already quite fresh, so we're glad to have our jackets with us. When looking into the imposing crater and the clouds, hardly anyone can resist a WOW. All of Manhattan should fit into the crater! We are amazed by the size as well as the colors and structures. In the crater we see other smaller craters and old lava flows - a picture like a painting. Maui is also known as the island of valleys - after our dance on the volcano, we make our way to the fertile Iao Valley, where tropical vegetation awaits us. The eponymous rock needle, which is covered over and over with lush greenery, is particularly striking.
We'll crown our last evening in Hawaii with a visit to a luau. We are greeted with a shell necklace and a Blue Hawaii and brought to our table. Once again we experience a romantic sunset on the beach. For dinner we help ourselves at the rich buffet and afterwards it's "let the show begin"! On stage we can experience atmospheric, Hawaiian music and dances as well as an impressive fire show. A really fitting end to our beautiful Hawaii trip.
May 4th, 2019 flight to Los Angeles
A final breakfast with a view of the ocean doesn't make saying goodbye to Hawaii so easy. Well, our journey is not quite over yet. On the way back we also make the way to our destination and make a stopover in Los Angeles. At the Maui airport we finally say goodbye to our tour guide Brigitte. Since the time difference is working against us, we don't arrive in Los Angeles until late in the evening. Our hotel is located in Little Tokyo and offers a wide variety of Asian restaurants for a late night snack.
05/06/2019 City tour Los Angeles - return trip
Until our departure we will explore the sights of the "City of Angels". We start with a photo stop at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Los Angeles City Hall. Then we get to know the oldest part of the city on Olvera Street, where we discover the Mexican influences. What would a stay in LA be without a visit to Hollywood ?! In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the film industry, we go over the famous Walk of Fame with over 2,600 stars, which are dedicated to the greats of show business, such as Michael Jackson, Greta Garbo, Mickey Mouse and many more. In front of the Chinese Theater we discover the hand and footprints of Marilyn Monroe, Donald Duck and Richard Gere, and next door in the Dolby Theater the annual glamorous Academy Awards take place. Via Sunset Boulevard we get through the posh Beverly Hills district to Santa Monica, the western end of the legendary Route 66. Here we have some time for a stroll on the lively pier with the amusement park, stalls and street performers. Now it's time to say goodbye and go home!
Dear travel guests, I would like to thank you for this wonderful trip and the great time in Hawaii! I hope to see each other again on another trip. Until then, I wish you all the best and the best of health. ALOHA!
The ALOHA spirit: The people of Hawaii live in the spirit of ALOHA - in openness, deep respect and tolerance, in connection with nature and love for their country and its people. ALOHA - the joyful (OHA) sharing (ALO) of the life energy (HA) in the present. Sharing joy in the NOW.
PS: I'm looking forward to your comments about the trip :-).
Picture gallery for the trip
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