Tackling Honolulu in 24 hours with Waikiki beach fun

Yes when you get news you have a long layover in Honolulu Hawaii of all places it is like you stepped out of a nightmare and right into a dream. My path to Honolulu was definitely not blue skies as there are few things worst then being told you won’t make a leg of an international trip.  So after a night of being puked on by a baby and a couple of hours sleep in LA I was stood at a counter close to tears about my flight to Tokyo.  Luckily an unexpected blessing was coming my way as although there were no flights to Tokyo in the next 2 days out of LA I could connect in Hawaii for a long layover.  No question my answer was yes!!!

 

So what do you do in Honolulu with just a day there and no real preparation for your trip? Well that’s easy.  First is just to remember there is always a silver lining and just be grateful.  After that immediately book a hotel room around Waikiki, buy some flip flops, and go flying towards the beach.   Just to highlight all the wrongs made a right on this trip for me a rainbow popped up to highlight my great luck.  The Waikiki beach and sunset is nothing short of amazing.  It is a great time to give pause to just what a blessing life is.  And as things are looking up there is still a ton to do in Honolulu once you get your beach time in.

The Waikiki beach area has really built itself up with great shopping and restaurants all within an easy walking distance. With their late night hours and busy walking traffic you almost get a baby Vegas strip vibe.  We set off to do a little shopping and fill our bellies as we took on the 24 hour Hawaii challenge.   The only downside of a very commercial build up is that you can lose some of the more authentic stores that are a real refection on Hawaii.  So after popping in a couple of Urban Outfitters and other stores we decided that food was the new top priority.  To start Hawaiian shaved ice!!! Okay I had a mild obsession while I was pregnant but my love did not prepare me at all to an authentic Hawaiian twist.  At Island Vintage Coffee Shave Ice they had fresh favors and Hawaiian ingredients that were one of a kind.  Not to mention how amazingly light the ice was.  It was a great warm up for what was to come.

We took some good advice from a stranger also scarfing down shaved ice and wandered into a newly renovated shopping center, the International Market Place.  In addition to some great luxury shopping options the third floor is dedicated to some great eats and good times.  On the weekends they have live entertainment and the band that was rocking 80’s music and 70’s funk had my son getting his serious grove on.  At the Eating House 1849, the food was an eclectic mix of Asian Hawaiian influences and the 1849 Spicy Ramen Bowl and Tavern Style Fried Chicken were a perfect cap to a long day.

Up in the morning and while my mind is on Tokyo there is still time for some final Hawaiian moments. We heard that the Island Vintage coffee company with their honey latte was the place to be and the long line we faced confirmed the recommendation.  With a gorgeous grassy area and great view of the boulevard it is a great way to wake up your day in Hawaii.  It is a great reminder that the best memories happen in a moment.    You don’t always have to have an extended stay, just a fabulous location with the ones you love can give you the opportunity to make memories that last a lifetime.

Cozumel: A Perfect Island getaway destination

Sometimes you just need to get away and when that happens the white sand beaches and crystal clear water Cozumel may be calling your name.  This summer I did a quick summer getaway to Cozumel and it turned out to be just what the doctor ordered in getting some major R & R packed into my summer.  As an island getaway Cozumel offers all the fun in the sun you would expect from Mexico with a small cozy feel perfect for taking a vacation that you don’t need a vacation from once you head back to real life.

I think the beauty of the beaches in Cozumel are reason enough to check out the island. The fish meet you at the water making it a great location for snorkeling, especially if deep water swimming is not your thing.  With the warm water you can also take advantage of all of the great other water sports like jet skiing and scuba diving.  My favorite is probably sitting where the sand and water meeting enjoying a pina colada but to each their own!

Outside of the water fun Cozumel is a beautiful place that gives you glimpses of big city fun and exotic adventures. If you are in a party mood their central district has some great bars and food all piled into one place where drinks flow with ease.  If you want to step back in time you can visit some of the great Mayan pyramids on the island.  My choice for Cozumel (outside the United last minute special ticket price) was the rest and relaxation so I refused to lose focus from my goals, despite the fun options that abounded on the island.  As I hopped between the ocean, my beach chair, the bar, and the pool I knew I made the right decision as I got my fill of downtime on the lovely beaches of Cozumel.

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