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Welcome to the inaugural Hawaii Travel News Update May 2023!
I’m the person behind Suites and Lobbies and I’m excited to share the latest trends, news, and must-do experiences for anyone traveling to Hawaii.
In this month’s update, I’ll cover a wide range of topics, including:
- The famous monk seal at Kaimana Beach and how to watch it on a live stream
- The arrival of Cirque de Soleil in Waikiki at the Outrigger Beachcomber
- Hawaii’s feature on Good Morning America and the story behind it
- The increase in tourist fees across the islands
- Changes to Hawaiian Airlines’ in-flight entertainment
- Updates on Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- & much more.
I’ll be hosting these live streams monthly, so stay tuned for the latest travel news and updates from Hawaii. Feel free to leave your comments and feedback, whether you’re watching live or catching up later. I’m eager to hear your thoughts!
Southwest Imu One
First, I want to share something unexpected that caught my attention. Southwest Airlines has introduced a unique plane called “Imua One.” I’ll be showing you a short clip from a two-minute video that highlights its creative design. I’d love to hear from anyone who’s flown on this plane, as I’m eager to experience it myself and share a review. If you have any personal pictures, thoughts, or insights, please share them! I have a few friends working for Southwest, so I find this quite fascinating.
Kaiwi Monk Seal & Pup
If you haven’t been to Kaimana Beach in Waikiki, you should definitely check it out, as there’s a monk seal named Kaiwi who loves to hang out there. She recently had a pup, and it’s been all over the news. It’s a unique sight to see in Waikiki! Local news station KHON2 has a live stream of the beach, so you can check if Kaiwi is on the beach before heading down. If you’re thinking about going, watch the live stream to see if she’s there.
I haven’t been there myself, but I’ve heard they often have staff on-site with information leaflets and pamphlets about the monk seal and so you can learn more while you’re there.
Cirque Du Soleil Waikiki
Recently, some big news emerged that Cirque du Soleil is coming to Waikiki. This was quite the buzz, as they’re planning a multi-year show starting at the end of 2024. Don’t look for tickets yet, but expect a 100% unique show tailored to Hawaii. They’ve collaborated with local practitioners and advisors to ensure the performance is representative of Hawaiian culture. Outrigger, which has been making significant moves with branding and positioning lately, is behind this exciting development.
I’m really looking forward to attending the show myself. I haven’t been to a Cirque du Soleil performance before, but my wife has and she says it was the most amazing thing she’s ever seen.
Hawaii on Good Morning America
Good Morning America recently did a piece on tourists behaving badly, and Hawaii made the list. I’ve grown up here and been around tourists all my life, so I know how frustrating it can be. Sometimes people go on vacation and forget to act responsibly, regardless though it is no excuse.
In the segment, they showed a group of nearly three dozen swimmers harassing a pod of dolphins. I don’t know the exact details, but I believe we should always respect wildlife and their habitat, and behave like the guest you are.
When I watched the video, I couldn’t help but wonder if the dolphins were actually playing with the swimmers, as they could have easily swum away. Regardless, I don’t condone such behavior. It’s essential to be mindful of our actions around wildlife and remember that this issue of tourists behaving badly is getting worldwide attention, even on big-name shows like Good Morning America.
Iao Needle Fees
I have news of another fee for visitors to Hawaii. The Iao Needle Memorial Park on Maui has implemented a $5 park entry fee and a $10 parking fee for non-residents. Make sure to have your park entry reservation done ahead of time. If you’re not a resident but have a local drive you there, you’ll still need a reservation and will have to pay the fee, even though the local can park for free and enter without a fee.
I know it seems like there are fees everywhere in Hawaii, and while I understand the need for them, I’m concerned about how the funds are being managed and where the money is going.
Volcanoes National Park Goes Cashless
I often see people asking how much cash they need to bring to Hawaii, perhaps because they see pictures of food trucks or remote areas. However, in reality, the vast majority of places here require a credit card. In fact, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is moving to cashless fees later this month. So, make sure you have a credit card or a debit card with a major credit card logo when visiting the park.
I saw that the Hawaii Spam Jam was packed with long lines everywhere, which is great for the festival. If you’ve never tried spam, I encourage you to give it a shot. There are many delicious recipes with spam, like spam and eggs or a spam musubi. It’s a popular food here in Hawaii. Though not exactly healthy, it’s definitely tasty. If anyone went to the Spam Jam on April 29th, I’d love to hear about your experience, the lines, the organization, and any good food you tried.
Green Lady Cocktail Room Opens In Waikiki
Last year, I reviewed a hidden boutique hotel called the White Sands, tucked away off Kuhio Ave.. Inside this hotel is an even more hidden gem: the Green Lady Cocktail Room, which just opened recently. If you’re looking for a unique, off-the-beaten-path spot that isn’t all over Instagram, check it out. If you’ve been there, let me know your thoughts. I plan to visit the cocktail lounge since I reviewed the hotel, which also had an excellent restaurant with one of the best Mai Tais I’ve had on the island. Give it a try if you have a chance!
May Day Is Lei Day
Tomorrow is May 1st, and May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii, a huge event for us. If you want to know what’s happening, check out the City and County of Honolulu website for festivities at parks, museums, and other spots on the island. If you’re a local or a visitor, take a look and get involved. You’ll find information on social media too. There are all sorts of activities, from lei-making classes and hula to general festivals and learning about Hawaiian history.
It’s a great time to be in Hawaii, especially if you’re traveling. Lei Day is huge for schools, and I participated in festivals throughout my school years. It’s a big thing, perfect for families, kids, and parents alike.
Hawaiian Airlines On Board Videos & Music
Hawaiian Airlines recently unveiled new songs and videos to be shown on their planes. I think they’ve done a great job with this because when you board a Hawaiian Airlines plane, particularly from the mainland to Hawaii, it feels like your vacation is already starting. I don’t know why other airlines don’t do this, as the music creates a relaxing atmosphere, especially after going through TSA. If you’ve flown Hawaiian recently and experienced the new videos or music, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’m looking forward to my next flight to check them out. It’s a great presentation and a fantastic way to start your vacation when coming to Hawaii.
Pearl Harbor Parking Fees
I have some bad news. There’s now a $7 daily parking fee at Pearl Harbor. It seems to be a mobile or kiosk-based system. Keep this in mind when budgeting for your visit. I believe this fee applies to both locals and visitors, but if I’m wrong, please leave a comment and correct me. I want to ensure my information is accurate.
You should be familiar with all facets of Pearl Harbor before visiting.