By: Hary Andriamanana, Travel Consultant
When it came time to pick a trip, I chose the 10 day Best of Hawaii with Trafalgar, because it had always been my mom’s dream to go there. We were both full of expectations and ready for exciting adventures as we landed in Honolulu on Oahu Island, after an 8 hour nonstop flight from Houston.
A smiling Trafalgar agent greeted us at the airport Hawaiian style, with flower Leis, and guided us to the baggage claim area where porters were waiting. Next, a shuttle drove us through the streets of Honolulu and along the infamous shores of Waikiki beach to the Marriott Waikiki Beach Hotel, where we would stay for 4 nights. After checking in and taking in the breathtaking view, we joined the group for a welcome reception where we met our fellow travelers.
The following morning, we set off on a grand circle Island tour that included the Dole Pineapple Plantation and a Macadamia nut farm. On Labor Day, we visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, where the sunken battleship still remains. It was a very serene place and a humbling experience that really put things into perspective.
The next 3 days were spent in Kona, on the Big Island, where we paid a visit to a local coffee plantation upon arrival. During the free day, I enjoyed a submarine ride 100 feet deep underwater, toured the Kona brewery, and went snorkeling with manta rays at night. On the last day, we were taken to a black sand beach, then to Hawaii Volcanoes national park, a UNESCO world heritage site home to the world’s largest & most active volcano. We even walked through a real lava tube before heading to the Island of Maui via a short flight to end the day.
In Maui, we drove to Haleakala National Park 10,000 feet above sea level before a ‘Be My Guest’ lunch at a local farm with emphasis on the importance of sustainable agriculture and environmental protection. After taking stunning pictures at Iao Valley State Park, we gathered for a traditional Luau to say farewell to the group. The last 2 days were at our leisure.
Our travel guide, Betsy, was very knowledgeable and always full of energy. She made sure everyone in the group, mostly enthusiastic seniors and seasoned travelers, had updates on optional excursions, daily meeting points and schedules. Transfers between islands went smoothly as we did not have to worry about logistics or any formalities. I especially appreciated the fact that our luggage was picked up & directly delivered to our hotel room at each destination
The hotels we stayed in were perfect and offered great views & surroundings. The staff was always available, nice, and very accommodating. All hotels were extremely well maintained and were located right in front of the beach. I made it a point to swim in the ocean every day!
This Hawaii Trafalgar trip exceeded my expectations. Trafalgar offered a well-organized tour, and looked into every detail to ensure the comfort and safety of the group. I was able to experience all the contrasting aspects of Hawaii from the historic landmarks, multicultural population, and the diverse food, to the busy nightlife in Honolulu or the geological diversity with lush rainforests & long sunny sand beaches. 10 days is definitely short since there are so many things to do there but it gave us a good “feel” of the island and I would love to go back in the future to explore even more.
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