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Travel tips for Hawaii

Updated: Apr 19, 2020


Last year on Christmas 2018 Tim and I both said we were going to Hawaii next year...and we did!

Talk about manifesting your dreams outloud, and it was amazing!

I mean come on, have you every heard anyone say anything bad about Hawaii....ummmmm no!

Here's what we did, and what we learned!




We've never even thought about going on a cruise because we both feared it would restrict us to adventuring, but after we booked our flights to Hawaii and starting researching resorts in Maui for Christmas, OH BOY were they $$$$$$. So, Tim had the brilliant idea of booking a cruise. I love that I fell in love with a not only handsome, but brilliant man!

The cruise was perfect, and we didn't feel restricted. AT ALL.

In fact, I felt more free because everyday we saw a new island or part of an island and I didn't have to keep repacking my stuff for the airport shuffle from island to island. We boarded the ship as soon as we could at noon with our backpack, went straight to the pool deck to get drinks and lunch, and in about an hour we got into our rooms with tons of time until we sailed away at 7pm to watch the sunset! We also did get the drink packages, so I can't even describe to you how amazing it was to have unlimited wine and mimosas for 7 days. The only things I wish I had for next time were a water bottle to refill at the water machines in the cafe so I didn't have to keep buying bottled water, a coffee thermos to carry around because Starbucks on the ship was not free and it was NOT cheap, and those little coffee mugs in the cafe are SMALL. Like 4 trips to the coffee station small. Maybe a highlighter to highlight things on the daily itinerary for next time. Things I am glad that I brought plenty of: 2 kimonos, sea bands and Advil, cell phone battery bank, wireless earbuds, and a power strip for the room to charge all of our cameras and computers! Click the photo above to check out the cruise itinerary. I'm sure it changes all the time, so I'm just linking it to their page for you.



Kihei Caffe!

We had two days to spend in Maui, so we walked from the cruise ship to the nearest shopping area "mall" across the street and rented a car there. There is a car rental on the left of Whole Foods store, and the Whole Foods is very nice! They gave us a little truck for rental and we set off towards a town called Kihei where we found this amazing little place called Kihei Cafe.


Grab one of the cinnamon rolls that are at the register. They aren't on the menu, but are a known local favorite! The Line is a bit long but you can sneak inside to the left and get a cup of coffee to sip on while you wait in line. You just pay for your coffee when you check out at the register! Well worth the wait!



Watch the sunset at the summit of Haleakala National Park.

This was the only excursion we took through our cruise ship's offerings, but you can also rent a car and drive it yourself. Here are some things to know before you go:

-This is not for you if you get carsick. You wind up and down a mountain, and come down during the dark. We had one of our tour passengers holding a bag for the entire trip.

-Leave when the sunsets. Going down the mountain as the sun dips below the clouds was an even better view, and extended the sunset longer than it would have been if we stayed until it got dark up there. You also don't want to drive down the volcano completely in the dark on an unfamiliar windy road.

-Watch out for bikers. It's popular to bike up and down the mountain, and extremely dangerous!

-Wear really warm clothes! Bring a jacket! It's cold up there guys!

-Fill up your gas tank before you go. Bring sunscreen and food. Wear hiking shoes!

-You can't take it with you. Do NOT take any lava rocks! If you are caught you will get a fine and will not be welcomed back, or worse. You could take home a curse. It is believed that every piece of the land is imbued with spiritual significance of Pele. She’s the Hawaiian goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes. According to legend, she created the Hawaiian islands, forged from lava. She’s kind of a badass. Most stories about her highlight her jealousy, rage, sneakiness, and, above all, her power. Of all of the Hawaiian deities, she’s the one you least want to piss off.

-take lots of memory cards and a charged battery with you for your camera!


Big Beach

"Big Beach" is not too far from Kihei Cafe. If you have the whole day in Maui I suggest doing what we did: getting breakfast at Kihei Cafe, swimming the afternoon away at Big Beach, and around 2 or 3pm heading up to Haleakala Volcano for the sunset.

Here's an update on how my back piece is progressing! It's not finished yet, but we are working on it bit by bit!

I love this one piece by Albion Fit, and it's the only one piece I travel with bc it's so cute and well made!


Road to Hana

Roadtrip Day!

This is a full day activity! The Road to Hana is a crown jewel of Hawaii driving tours, and it starts in Paia and takes about 3 hours (without stopping) to drive. You are basically driving through a large jungle on a cliff and it is SO gorgeous! Black and Red sand beaches, waterfalls that you can swim in (twin falls was our favorite stop), and the local food! Don't let the distance fool you because it's going to maybe take longer. Why so long?

The majority of time you’ll be spending on the Hana Highway is a narrow, twisting, sometimes one-lane road with an estimated 600 turns and 54 (mostly) one-lane bridges, and no shoulder. This is a jeep with the top off road! I'll never forget the roadside tacos!!!!!!!!!


But wait! Know before you go:

  • There are no gas stations. Fill her up before you go.

  • If you are a person that sees driving as just a way to get from A to B, if you're overly timid, or just a plain bad should skip this.

  • If you get carsick easily the road to Hana will give you 600 opportunities to lose your lunch

  • know how to drive on one lane bridge crossings. You'll have to do this 54 times and trust me, you don't want to be the one that messes up. The picture here is graphic, but I think it needs to be shown. This was someone who did not fit any of the above criteria and messed up big time.

We saw them with the local park rangers and they were ok, but it probably ruined their trip and they didn't plan on buying a Prius in Hawaii. Ok, here are the fun pictures below, and so worth the trip!

Be safe out there guys!




We kept Hilo pretty simple. I wanted to do something different, so we booked an Airbnb experience to visit someone's local farm.

We fed baby cows! They are so much fun to feed, and they get so greedy that it's adorable! You can hug them. They loved cuddling and were like big dogs. They also had goats and it was a lot of fun to feed them banana peels and treats! Wear closed toe shoes because they will step on your toes!

After trying some tea and smoothie products made right there on the farm, we walked down to the private waterfall! The water was cold, but we both braved it and swam because how many times do you ever get to swim in a private waterfall in your life! Bring watersheds and a towel!

You can find the Airbnb experience here:




14 miles long, 1 mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep

This was a really fun and easy drive, and we had the perfect rental: Jeep Sahara that matched my hair color. I'm really tempted to buy one of these now that I'm home and have to admit that I already bought a dashboard hula girl at the airport for haha! There is a lookout at the top, but in my opinion if you stop along the side of the road the view are better and the parking on the roads are free! You will have to pay $5 to park at the lookouts. Watch out for roosters crossing the road!

Eat at "Island tacos" in Waimea!

That waterfall though!!!!!



I LOVE coffee.

So when I saw a sign for this museum and farm, I took a hard right in the Jeep.

You can sample literally all of their coffees, and I don't think I've every had better coffee in my whole life. It was so fresh and you have the atmosphere of walking through the coffee plants sipping on one of mother natures most precious gifts. Coffee!!!!

You can also tour the farm and spend some more time in the museum, but we just tried everything and ordered a mocha to walk around with and strolled.

We're on island time and only island vibes.


Happy New Year!

2020 is going to be a great one!


Amy Edwards

The Tattooed Bride Photography

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