Hang 10 in Hawaii
First things first, you need to get your Hawaii coordinates (no, we don’t mean matching sarongs—we mean your location). There are six major islands that make up Hawaii: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and ‘The Big Island’ also known as Hawaii itself! Not confusing at all, right? Oahu is where you’ll find the beating heart of Hawaii—the capital city of Honolulu. The rest? More incredibly unique, volcanic landscapes, lush green valleys and coastline for days.
When it comes to the chilled out vibes, you need to not only say ‘aloha’ but embrace ‘aloha’ as a state of mind. Aloha isn’t just a greeting, it’s a way of life in Hawaii.
Feeling chill yet? Check out our limited time only Aloha Hawaii Sale to get you there for less! We’ve got deals on Hawaii flights, top stays, plus you can save 10% on the epic Hawaii Unplugged tour with Contiki*.
Here’s our recommendations for where to explore, eat and drink to keep you on the path to aloha chill times!
All the beaches
While Waikiki Beach has an amazing vista in the middle of the action, it’s tempting to slip into piña colada mode and never move from your poolside cabana. If you want to explore a little further afield, secluded paradise awaits.
Want to feel like you’re on the set of Lost? Yeah, maybe not. Oahu’s Mokuleia Beach is where the first season of the TV show was filmed, and as far as chilling out goes, it definitely has the remote tropical island vibe down pat.
The Big Island is full of incredible beaches to explore, and with an array of sand colours! There’s Black Sand Beach (Punalu’u) great for snorkeling and spotting turtles, Green Sand Beach (Papakōlea) a remote beach with stunning crystal green sand, and White Sand Beach (Hāpuna) voted one of the best beaches in the world with it’s long stretch of white sand and great swimming.
The famous Road to Hana on Maui is the ultimate Hawaii road-trip, with endless rugged ocean scenery, lush rainforests and epic waterfalls. While it might seem like a magical waterfall at every turn, don’t miss Wailua Falls, Twin Falls, Hanawi Falls and Ohe'o Gulch for the best waterhole swimming action. Plus, the best waterfall stops have locals selling homestyle foods and unique handicrafts.
Known as the ‘birthplace of surfing’ it comes as no surprise that Hawaii is a great place to either try surfing for the first time or surf waves you’ve dreamed about for years. Maui’s ‘Jaws’ beach is known as the biggest and baddest surf spot in all of Hawaii, though you might not find these waves particularly ‘chill’.
Head to Honolulu’s Diamond Head for a full range of surf breaks from beginner waves to bigger breaks for more experienced surfers.
Aside from its endless waves, Hawaii is a hiking wonderland.
You didn’t come all the way to Hawaii to sleep in—do your best to rise early and enjoy it. Right in Honolulu, Diamond Head State Monument hike will be worth your attention, and at least a few instagram likes for it’s enviable vista.
There’s a few precarious hikes around the islands for mad-keen experienced hikers, but if chilled out vibes are your goal, head to the westernmost tip of Oahu to Kaena Point, regarded as a spiritual place in Hawaiian folklore. Plus, there’s some great local restaurants nearby to chow down at after your walk.
Speaking of food…
Eat & Drink
Hawaii is a foodie playground and Honolulu aims to feed! Whether you’re content pulling up at The Cheesecake Factory (FYI, not just cheesecakes) or, seeking out hip cafes and bars further afield-take for instance, Leonard’s Bakery—home of the deep fried sugar-coated (Portuguese) Hawaiian donut, the famous malasada. When it comes to a insta-worthy cup of joe, you can’t go past the cold drip coffee at Morning Glass Coffee.
You'd be remiss not to have an acai bowl in Hawaii, though the Brazilian superfood is not native to Hawaii, the surf and healthy lifestyle culture here certainly embraces the bowl and you’ll find acai everywhere. Hit up Banán for speciality banana dairy-free soft serves and creative Acai Bowl combos.
For your avocado toast fix, head to the Anthony Bourdain approved ARS Café and art gallery (that also serves handmade gelato!)
As for cocktail hour and dancing into the evening, head downtown to Honolulu’s Chinatown to find The Manifest Bar, with the slogan #wedealinliquor you should be able to find a drink on the menu with your name on it. Definitely order anything made with Pau Vodka, a delicious spirit made from pineapples on neighbouring Maui.
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