Hi everyone, I just want to first and foremost say that I know we are in the middle of a pandemic and things are very tough right now. Everyone is trying to adjust to the new norm and there are little to no blogs about traveling with COVID. The only reason why I traveled to Hawaii in the first place was because I got a free flight voucher to go anywhere in the U.S. and it had to be used by the end of 2020. (don’t lie, you would take the opportunity too.) With that being said, we made sure to wear our masks EVERYWHERE and we made sure to social distance ourselves in stores, restaurants, and more!
*** If you want to go to Oahu right now, you CANNOT get in unless you have a NEGATIVE covid test 72 hours before your trip!! If you do not have a COVID test at all, they will require you to quarantine for 10 days! This is the website to do that here. Every island is different. I believe on every other island, you HAVE to quarantine for 10 days!!***
INSERT PIC HERE
First things first:
There aren’t many blogs out there that talk about what traveling to Oahu is like with COVID, so that’s why I wanted to share my experience. I went to Oahu December 19th – December 27th. Overall, I felt pretty safe on our trip. Also, knowing that every other traveler there had to also have a negative test or quarantined made me feel better. It is recommended to wear a mask even when you’re just walking outside. So, give your face a break from the make up because you’ll DEFINITELY be sweating!! I only did my eyebrows and some mascara for the whole trip! Everyone there is pretty good with wearing their masks and social distancing too! That’s travelers and locals!
Plane Ride/ Airports:
I want to talk about the plane ride. We had to take 2 different flights and yes, it was an all day thing. The plane rides are probably the most uncomfortable/ unsanitary I felt because some flights were packed and others were empty. You do have to wear your mask at all times. You can pull it down to drink or eat if you want. Just make sure to put it back up right away. For the most part, I still felt pretty uncomfortable. Make sure to sanitize your seat, arm rests, and table. I’m not going to lie though, I was really shocked to see the amount of people traveling at the moment. They do not social distance at all on the planes. They serve water with ice and these little snack bags. Nothing else. I think maybe even soda? The airport was also very packed. People were not social distanced, but I made sure that I was.
We decided to stay at the Hyatt Centeric Hotel in Waikiki. I have a blog about the hotel here. It was $2,000 for 8 days and 7 nights. A little bit more than we wanted, but we paid for a better view and location. Also, the time we went was during the holidays, so I’m sure the price was more! They were very professional and serious about COVID. The restaurant in there was closed. The pool section was for 1 family at a time. You also have to reserve the gym if you wanted to work out. Every employee we saw had masks on. We barely saw anyone other visitors in the hotel. They even clean the elevators every hour or every couple of hours. You can also OPT out for room service too! So you can feel a little bit more safe. If you do need additional items, you can just call or go to the lobby and ask. If you do want room service, you have to schedule it at a time you’ll be out of the room.
Car Rental/ Parking:
I really really recommend renting a car and getting out of Waikiki, if you’re staying there! Even if you’re staying in Downtown Honolulu! There are so many other places in Oahu to explore and see! You can Uber, but we drove around a lot more than I thought we did. So, I rather have my own car. Especially if you’re in the more rural areas, there might not be any Ubers at all. Please make sure to look up if places (like hikes, restaurants, etc) are open during this time with COVID!! There were a lot of times when we had gone to a restaurant and they were was closed. I made sure to check google, the website (if they have one), yelp, and even their social media. This is the website we rented a car from. The total for a week was only $500 VS. other airport rentals. It would’ve been over $1,000. You do have to take a separate shuttle to get to this car rental. You can find the shuttle right outside of baggage claim, just make sure to read the signs above!
Also, I just want to mention that most hotels will have overnight parking ramps next to them. It does get kind of expensive though. Ours was $45/ for overnight parking. There was parking on the streets and other ramps, but it was either 2 hour parking or no overnight. I rather pay more than risk our car getting potentially towed. It is nice having ramps next to the hotel though because there’s usually an elevator in the parking ramps that are connected to the hotels.
Stores & Malls:
Depending on what store you go to, most of them you do have to wait. I will say that little convent stores didn’t have lines though. More popular stores like clothing stores, had lines with people waiting outside. The Ala Moana mall itself was probably the most packed with people. This mall is an outdoor mall, but again. Everyone was wearing a mask. They have little food courts indoors too, but they have workers seating people so it doesn’t get too crowded.
Recommendations/ places to go:
We did go to a lot of random state parks/ beaches that were very empty! I’m talking like 10 or less people! If you stay in Waikiki, it’ll be very busy! The Waikiki Beach and the Royal Moana Beach, for example, were packed with tourist! The beaches like, Ka’ena Point state park and Hale’iwa Ali’i Beach park were very empty! Just giving you a heads up though that these spots are almost an hour or more away from Waikiki, but worth the trip! We also stopped by the Dole Plantation and did the Pineapple maze, it wasn’t too packed when we did the maze, but the tour itself and store inside was. (We did not do the tour, but saw the lines.)
(INSERT BEACH PICS HERE)
I recommend going to see the Byodo-In Temple. It is very very peaceful and beautiful! Probably some of the best views we had seen there! The temple here is not for practice anymore, so you can take pictures. (Even though it felt very very wrong) I will say that it is a cemetery for loved ones, so. Please be respectful! If you take the road up to see the “ocean view” that’s where you can find these views! You do have to pay to see the temple, I believes it’s under $10/ person. The ocean view however is free.
Also stop by the Kualoa Ranch! Super super cool to see! I was sad to hear that they were totally sold out of every tour they had. So, I had to just admire the mountains from afar! There is a beach here called Kualoa Regional Park as well that has Chinaman’s hat! I totally would recommend coming here because its super empty! There’s actually a beach here called,” The Secret Beach”. I personally didn’t see it, only the pictures. I read that you do have to pay to get onto it though. I believe its a little island you can go on. This beach was probably my favorite though because you could see the mountains very close. We literally stopped on the side of the road to take pictures with the mountains.
insert pics here
The reason why I recommend going out of Waikiki is because it feels very local when you aren’t in the city. It feels like you’re just living there. Funny thing is that, if you have a local ID, you can actually get a discount. We got asked many times if we did have one because we probably looked like locals! I honestly felt like I fit in for once because there are SOOO many asians there! We also stumbled across a ton of random beaches and sites that aren’t really mentioned anywhere, but was so worth it! I honestly just browsed the maps app that comes on the iPhone to find random places.
We only ended up doing 1 hike this entire trip, which I really regret. The hike we did was the Makupu’u Lighthouse hike. It was a very easy uphill hike. It was very well made. It has a cemented walk way. So, it’s not dangerous to go up, but there are no fences on the sides. Be aware of that if you have small children. It literally just drops on the side. SO, PLEASE be careful!!! We almost did the Croutching Tiger Hike, but we chickened out last minute because they do have flowers and crosses at the entrance of the hike. SO, be aware of that. That one is actually an unofficial hike so, it’s kind of illegal???? I’m honestly not sure. There’s only blogs that talk about it.
We did one thing that was a tour. It was shark diving!! There was a total of 8 of us on a boat! 2 of them were instructors. They ask you how you’re feeling, have hand sanitizer, and bleach and clean your snorkels before you use them. I will say that unfortunately I got sooooooo seasick, even though I took medicine beforehand!!!!! So that’s frustrating! Also, my GoPro freaking died, which is another bummer because I had to pay for extra footage that they took. lol. Just my luck. The views were incredible though! The water is SOOO BLUE. It honestly looks fake, but it’s not! If you’re interested, the company we went through was One Ocean Diving! Click here.
INSERT PICS / VIDS HERE
I would say that Waikiki itself is actually smaller than you think. Once you go on the other side of the canal, it’s soooo local! There is a ton of restaurants, small malls, stores, and more that are walking distance. So, definitely just walk down the street and see what you can find! I even went out to get an acai bowl by myself one morning and felt very safe! There’s not too many people walking outside, but enough to feel safe by yourself.
Walking around in Waikiki still felt pretty clean, even though there were tons of people. Like I said before, everyone on the streets were wearing masks. People on the beach however, were not. There was a good amount of people at the Royal Moana beach. (We were closer to this beach than the Waikiki one) Especially during sunset. The beach is not as big as you would think. So, there’s really not much space. We did swim here one night. Funny enough though, people still social distanced in the water. I would say to be careful in the water though because there are a ton of people surfing! I would NOT recommend for smaller children (unless supervised) because some waves were a bit unpredictable. There are no lifeguards. Swim at your own risk.
Since it gets darker around 4ish in the winter time, we were back in our room by then. Not going to lie, we stayed in our hotel a lot because we would do so much and then be exhausted by the time we got back!
Restaurants and food:
Moving onto restaurants. We did eat at a couple (I think like 3?), but I promise you we probably ordered out more than dining in. Unfortunately, a lot places were closed due to COVID. A little heads up, a lot of restaurants have little to no parking and very small seating areas. So, be aware of that when you go to restaurants or pick up food. We ended up eating in our car or just going back to the hotel to eat. We actually ordered food from DoorDash or Grubhub a lot too because places we wanted to eat at were not walking distance.
Price wise for food. I would say that its pretty normal for what I’m use to paying. I got an Acai bowl at The Sunrise Shack for $12. It’s pretty much the same for what I pay where I live. We went to a farmer’s market on Saturday called the KCC Farmer’s Market. Prices were pretty normal as well. The farmer’s market was a “take out” market. Instead of the usual eat it right there, with tables. It was a go back to your car or home to eat.
Overall, travel at your own risk. Do your search in and out! Especially for things to do, restaurants, and more because of COVID. Please respect their laws and wear your masks there. The only way they can get COVID is from people coming in.
This is very long overdue, but I hope you enjoyed this! I love writing about trips and more! –