Beginning October 15th 2020 Hawaii lifted its mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival and instead implemented mandatory proof of testing negative for Covid-19 through approved testing sites. When we heard this we immediately started researching how we could make a holiday season vacation happen. If you go to the Travel Hawaii site there is some paperwork to fill out and you can find the testing site in your region that is approved by the State. Be sure to make copies of your negative test and screen shot all the codes it will make getting through airport security much easier. You will be asked to show proof of registration on the Travel Hawaii site at your hotel and certain excursions require it as well.
Part of our plan to stay safe while on Oahu is to stay in a private home via VRBO on the North Shore where there aren’t as many tourists and beaches are virtually empty. I have been spending time on the North Shore since I first started coming to Hawaii as a teen, my older brother is an avid surfer and this is where the pros surf. From November through February there are multiple surf competitions due to the extremely large waves ie. 18-25 feet high.
We always like to spend at least part of our time on the islands up here mostly because of the beauty & chill vibe but partly because of all the food trucks! Garlic shrimp is a pretty big deal on the N.S. and there are plenty of places to choose from. Our fave food truck village (there are several) is right on Kamehameha Hwy across from the Pupukea Tide Pools, a spot we frequent as we love the snorkeling there. There are at least five different food trucks at this spot including a larger incarnation of Sunrise Shack where we love to grab smoothies or an energy boosting bullet proof. (see final photo)
We have slowly been discovering more of the East side of the island during our past few trips to Oahu and Kailua Town is quickly becoming one of my favorite places. Just south of Kailua Beach is the incredibly stunning Lanikai Beach which is often described as one of the most beautiful in the world and with good reason. The aquamarine water is always room temperature, calm and full of sea creatures which makes it perfect for snorkeling. We finally did the hike to the Lanikai Pillboxes on Christmas Day midway up we were hit with pelting rain which was short lived but made for a slippery descent. The view was most definitely worth getty muddy for.
A little bit North of Kailua lies Kualoa Ranch a stunning privately owned nature reserve that has been the backdrop to multiple films such as 50 First Dates & most famously the Jurassic Park series. They have many activities such as horseback riding, zip lining or movie tours but we opted for the ATV ride which was a great way to see all the sites. I highly recommend making reservations in advance as activities sell out fast. At the recommendation of our tour guide we stopped by the Waiahole Poi Factory for some authentic Hawaiian cuisine, unfortunately we got there late and most of their specialties were sold out as it is a very popular spot amongst local foodies.
Another exciting area off the touristy path of Waikiki is Kaka’ako. Famous for its street art, it has become a hipster destination full of great restaurants and bars. Since we were there during Covid is was pretty quiet and everything shut down at 9:00 I have my suspicions that it’s way more fun during normal times, regardless we had a great meal and (multiple glasses of Rosé) at Bevy and toured the streets to take in some of the incredible murals. Kaka’ako is a very large area so I recommend starting off here at the Salt building which is full of shops and cafes and walking distance to some of the best street art.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my recent getaway. I know travel is not particularly safe right now but we felt that Hawaii with all its safety precautions as well as all of our own personal precautions (traveling with N95 masks & face shields etc.) we would be better off than staying in LA. We did not interact with other people with the exception of my pal Tillie who flew in from the Bay area. We are now at home quarantined for ten days due to the LA County mandate which I’m ok with since we are now the Covid epicenter.
Hawaii is one of my favorite places on earth and it was amazing that we were able to safely get away. Stay safe my friends and thanks for reading!
check out this post for more tips on traveling the Hawaiian islands