Hawaii’s Playground Pools

Guest Post by: HNLhulagirl

Although the islands have many options for water sports including surfing, snorkeling and diving, many enjoy the allure of a fantastic resort pool where waterslides, coves, kid free areas, kiddies’ play areas and more to round out the perfect Hawaii vacation.

 There are many resort pools in the islands but three come to the top each time, without a doubt. The Grand Hyatt Kauai, the Hilton Waikoloa and the Grand Wailea have by far the best pool facilities in the state.Hawaii Resort Pools

 Here is a rundown of the best of the best in Hawaii-nei.

Grand Wailea – 3850 Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea, Maui, HI 96753

Hours: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm. Slides are open daily from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Located in the upscale and sunny resort area of Wailea, Maui the Grand Wailea is by far the largest and most opulent resort in the islands. The pool is no exception. No less than 30,000 feet of aquatic bliss that offers something for everyone. Located makai or beachside of the massive resort, it is actually a series of pools that offer something for everyone. The most peaceful pool is the adults only Hibiscus pool. The mosaic lined pool is the spot for serene sunbathing bliss. Located just steps from the ocean and away from the high energy slides and waterfalls, this pool has a large deck, two whirlpool spas and lots of sun all day long. The star of the resort is the Water Canyon Activity Pool. Actually a series of different water experiences connected by a river descending some 40 feet to sea level. This pool offers the active and energetic guests an opportunity to whisk down any one of seven slides, run rapids, ride the river current, rope swing, ride a water elevator, explore caves, enjoy whirlpools, swim up for beverages, wander through jungle pools and even an infant pool and sand beach for the resort’s youngest guests.

Hyatt Kauai 1571 Poipu Road, Koloa, Hawaii, USA 96756

Hours: 24 hours

It’s the best resort on Kauai. Located about 25 minutes from the Lihue airport, the resort at the heart of luxury in the sunny Poipu area. The pool is a fantastic collection of fresh and salt water lagoons, freshwater lazy rivers plus the wide and lush white sands at Shipwreck beach. The best part is that its open 24 hours and the activities run a wide range of activities from soaking up the sun to kayaking. The intermingling pools and lazy river are built on descending levels that offer quiet respite adult areas, private coves and waterfalls. The salt water lagoons are quite unique offering guests the option to enjoy the natural waters without having to venture out into the rough conditions along the shoreline. There is an additional lap pool available at the Anara Spa that offers adults to swim laps undisturbed by other activities.

Hilton Waikoloa Village 69-425 Waikoloa Beach Drive Waikoloa, HI 96738

Hours: 8am-11pm

This affordably priced resort is located about 20 minutes from the Kona International airport. It is the largest man-made pool complex in the islands. There are three freshwater pools and a large salt water lagoon that offers activities that include sunbathing in solace to rip roaring waterslide and numerous waterfalls. The ocean tower pool is enveloped in lush tropical vegetation for those seeking rest and relaxation. The Kohala River pool offers a meandering river that flows through the pool area where guests float and wander under the sunny South Kohala sun. The Kona pool is the largest pool on the resort. It’s the center of resort activity and adjacent to the bar and casual poolside restaurants. The lagoon is a unique man made feature of the resort that allows guests to snorkel with tropical fish, enjoy kayaking and stand-up paddle boards in controlled and safe conditions. The massive waterfall is the focal point of the lagoon which is located adjacent to the dolphin habitat.

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Merriman’s Monkeypod Kitchen in Maui

Guest Post by: HNLhulagirl

Finally, an enjoyable alternative to the overpriced and overdone resorty restaurants in Wailea has arrived, and this one is a keeper. I must admit that I skipped it once only because being from Kauelma, home of Merriman’s notable flagship restaurant and Merriman’s Café in nearby Waikoloa, I felt that perhaps something more unique to Maui would be the better choice.
After a couple of disappointing stints on previous trips at other Wailea resort restaurants, anticipation of Peter Merriman’s casual café was high and my table reservations were confirmed for just after noon.


Merriman’s Monkeypod Kitchen in MauiMaybe it’s me, but being a lifelong island girl, hotel restaurants with very few exceptions fail to impress me regardless of how crisp the linens, how beautiful the ocean views or how attentive the service. Loyalty in the resort restaurant world is unrewarding and runs thin like a badly made buerre blanc. Re-purposing and new trends make changes regular and often seem to result in a much too mainstream experience that fails to delight or even amuse.

I will put my money on the local Hawaiian chefs any day. These folks are the crux of island cuisine and offer patrons more bang for the buck, more creativity for the cash and more ferocity for the funds.

Island chefs like Sam Choy, Alan Wong, Bev Gannon, George Mavrothalassitis, Göran Streng and Peter Merriman not only have the challenge to keep the menu interesting but also have the daunting task to keep the establishments profitable. These chefs have all succeeded in winning over the hearts and appetites of islanders consistently over the years. Each one is successful, creative and offer high-quality dining experiences..

I finally arrive on Maui after a morning of airport security, seat belt fastening, carry-on stowing. After a task-oriented morning, I was looking forward to my early afternoon respite at Monkey Pod Kitchen. The Wailea Gateway location is wonderful. The restaurant is located upslope and on the fringes of the upscale Wailea resort just far enough from the tourist haunts to make it agreeable. Access is simple and quick via Piilani Highway, which negates having to slog along South Kihei Road. The upper-level location provides just a sliver of ocean, and Kahoolawe views and is wedged along the corner of Wailea Ike Drive.

I entered early and was greeted promptly by host staff in a dining room that was more empty than full. For lack of a better description, I will call the décor tropical trendy. It was inviting and fresh without being kitschy or mundane. The bar occupies the length of the restaurant positioned to take in the ocean views and afternoon light while the open kitchen is toward the rear. The bar is quickly gaining speed as a popular happy hour and meet-up place for islanders and the bar staff is certainly the reason for this acclaim. Aside from being cordial and efficient, they mix a list of fantastic specialty cocktails and offer over thirty types of beer. In addition, there is live music on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Most of the tables are located on the wrap-around covered patio while banquettes are limited to the air-conditioned interior. For those who enjoy dining alfresco, tables near the front entrance are best to see and be seen while the side patio area offers more privacy but only a view of a resort intersection. For those dining alone, there is seating along the kitchen counter and even a few oversized banquettes for larger parties.

The menu is classic Merriman with a few fresh twists. I was delighted to see his popular white Hamakua mushroom pizza front and center on the menu. I was also excited to see new items, including a designer saimin, dry mein with vegetables and a very interesting Coconut Seafood "Seabury" Chowder that I will certainly try during my next visit.

My visit was filled with a bottomless glass of iced tea, my favorite wood fired pizza (yes the white mushroom one) and a slice of banana cream pie for dessert. Merriman’s pizza is done on a thin crust topped with exotic Big Island mushrooms and parmesan cheese. Their selections of pies are made on Maui. My huge slice was silky and creamy. It was filled with generous slices of banana and a flaky homemade crust.

The dining room was cool and comfortable and even though the meal was a bit on the pricey side, it was worth every cent. This restaurant is the perfect spot for long ladies’ luncheon, business brainstorming, cocktail co-mingling and delectable dining. Overall the service and food was spot on. I cannot wait to return during my next trip to Maui.
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A Day at Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

Hanauma Bay, Oahu, HawaiiGuest Post by: HNLhulagirl

This stunning bay on the island of Oahu was once a quiet little fishing spot where one needed to park along side the road on top and hike down the service road to fish, swim and enjoy the clear waters and white sand beach. In the old days, the reef was always a popular spot for island residents to catch small fish like aholehole, aweoweo or wekeula or o’io to take home and fry for family evening meal. It was a favorite spot of younger, stronger fishermen since the hike into and out of the crater was strenuous, especially with wet nets and a day’s catch. Eventually, it became a place where the young and lively set would gather to socialize, swim surf and sun.

Today Hanauma Bay is a bustling water sports and snorkeling paradise. The fish still thrive in the clear, warm waters, protected by government regulation and carefully monitored to preserve the natural experience of one of the most beautiful coves in the world.

The bay opens early in the morning, just after sunrise everyday except Tuesdays. City personnel prepare the bay for the continuous showings of the ocean awareness video program.  Lifeguards check their radios and safety gear and assess the ocean conditions for the day. The snorkel rental stand opens for business with buckets filled with fins and snorkels of all sizes. The concession stand brews fresh coffee and cooks rice for plate lunch specials. By this time, the ticket booth is already the scene of a short admission line for those who want first choice of the perfect spot to launch their day with the fish. The bay is best in the morning. Water is clearest and calmest, mynah birds are heard squawking in recesses of the kiawe trees, and the bay seems as peaceful and pristine as ever, at least, for the moment.

The crowds from slowly in the morning. It seems like no one wants to rise early on a Hawaii vacation even for the fish. However, gradually rental cars begin to arrive filled with sun-screened tourists with towels and beach gear in hand. The first of many #22 city buses opens doors on squashed-in tourists who have boarded along Kuhio Avenue and paid a mere pittance for a one way trip to an experience of a lifetime. There is also a parade of various tour vans that bring divers that range from the novice to the ultra-certified. Underwater masks, tanks, wet suits, fins, gauges and other gear make their way to the shoreline with the help of a barrage of tour personnel.

Cliffs at Hanauma Bay, Oahu Hawaii

There are several ways to visit Hanauma Bay. The simplest although not necessarily the easiest is to drive. This way is best for those who have kids or a large family or who are planning a visit as a part of a day exploring the Kaiwi coastline and Windward areas of the island. The parking lot at Hanauma has been expanded several times, but it never ever seems to be large enough for all who want a space. It’s best to arrive near 9:30 a.m. or the parking lot wait will cut seriously into sun and snorkeling time. One of the ways not to visit Hanauma is by getting in any taxi cab that approaches at a bus stop or anywhere else for that matter. Crafty taxi drivers love to make a quick buck by gathering the bay-bound into a cab along the bus routes in Waikiki. Cruising for fares or hailing cabs along the curb in Hawaii is illegal.  If a cab is required for a day at the bay, get one from one from a hotel rank at anyone of the large hotels.

Once on the beach, visitors will make their way into the bunkers and hallways and homes of a myriad of colorful fish. The aholehole, aweoweo or wekeula and o’io that were easy pickings of a devoted fisherman have now become the stars of the show. There are other fish like manini and kole that are not as tasty but are a joy to see swimming in abundance and unencumbered by aquarium glass. There are a few eerie creatures, too. Moray eels, squid are now once again commonplace. It is a sign that the bay is as healthy as ever.

The Hanauma Bay experience will be an experience of a lifetime for about 3,500 people on any given day. Yes, crowded it is, but it is certainly still worth the effort. However, regardless of how crowded it is, remember, don’t stand or walk on the reef, ever.


Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

7455 Kalanianaole Hwy

Honolulu HI 96825

Visitor Informaiton Line: 808-396-4229

Hours:  6a-7p summer 6a-6p winter. Closed Tuesdays

Non- Resident Admission: 13 years and over – $7.50, children under 12 – free

Parking: $1 per car

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Monorail, Trams and the Deuce Bus – Getting around the Las Vegas Strip

Guest Post by: HNLhulagirl

“The Strip” is a collection of hotels that range from the fabulous to the funky all positioned shoulder to shoulder for four and a half miles along the Las Vegas Boulevard.

Taxicabs are always available at the larger hotels to whisk away the high heeled and elegant to trendy clubs, shows and parties. For others, walking is a great way to soak in the ambiance of Sin City and enjoy the various attractions such as the Mirage Volcano and the Bellagio fountains. However, for those who would rather ride than walk, there are a few additional ways to get around the strip for little or nothing.

Las Vegas MonorailAfter months and months of trenching and building, the Las Vegas Monorail opened to the public in 2004. The modern system is cool and comfortable and provides riders with an elevated view of the east side of the strip. The route spans a distance from the MGM Resort and Casino to the south to the now closed Sahara Hotel to the north. The system is safe, reliable and easy to use. The narration is upbeat with celebrity voices. It consists of just one line that makes stops at resorts including Bally’s, Paris, Flamingo, the Las Vegas Hilton and the Convention Center. Tickets can be purchased via kiosks at the entrance or online. Single ride, all day and multi-day passes are available. Since the train is located in the rear of the resorts, access to the entrance always requires walking long distances thought casinos and resorts to access the stations. Not the best for those who are looking to minimize walking. The monorail operates Monday thru Thursday between 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. Monorail tickets also include connecting shuttle bus service to and from the Rio Hotel and Sam’s Town.

The Deuce Bus Las Vegas NevadaAnother option for those who want to explore the strip is the Deuce Bus. This double deck bus operates up and down the strip along Las Vegas Boulevard. Part of the Clark County public transportation system, this is by far the easiest and fun to use. The shiny and clean buses operate every 10-15 minutes up and own the strip. The Deuce Bus operated 24 hours a day with many stops along the strip. For those seeking to see the row of kitschy Wedding Chapels and the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas, no additional fare is required. Speaking of fares, one can buy a 24 hour pass for $7, certainly one of best deals on the strip. The best seats are on the upper deck in the very first row. There the unobstructed views will wow and amaze. The bus is very popular so it is often quite crowded. So a squeeze into a stopped bus or passing up one may be necessary especially in the evenings when people are on the move to restaurants, show and clubs.

Las Vegas TramThere are a handful of lesser known transportation options along the strip. Resort trams offer yet another option from getting between hotels along the strip. Operated by the hotels, they offer comfort and convenience. All are free and easy to use.

The Mandalay – Excalibur Tram is one of the most visible on the strip. The single line train shuttles between the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to the Excalibur Resort and Casino and includes a stop at the Luxor Resort and Casino. Access is in the rear of the Mandalay. Luxor and Excalibur access is along Las Vegas Boulevard. This tram operates daily from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and trains leave every 3-7 minutes.

Another widely unknown tram is the tram the operated between the Mirage and Treasure Island. Access to this tram is easiest from the Mirage where the boarding area is adjacent to the main entrance. On the Treasure Island side, the tram arrives and departs from the rear of the resort. This rams operated everyday of the year between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 a.m.

The newest tram system on the strip is actually an extension of an old one. Many remember the system that connected the Monte Carlo and Bellagio resort several years ago. It was shut down during construction on the new Bellagio Tower. It has re-opened to connect not only the new Bellagio tower, but to include the new glistening City Center complex. The tram still operates from the rear of the Monte Carlo Resort from the rear of the Bellagio, but stops now include the glittery new Crystals Shopping Complex, The gorgeous Aria Resort and Casino and the fabulous Vdara Hotel. The stations are ultra-modern and sleek offering views of the City Center complex that are particularly stunning at night. The tram operates every 7 minutes between 8 a.m. and 4 a.m. daily.

There are many transportation options available along the strip for Las Vegas visitors to enjoy. Use one or combine several to get the most out of a Las Vegas visit.

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Oahu Hawaii’s Diamond Head Trail

Guest Post by: HNLhulagirl

kaimana hila, Diamond Head Oahu, HawaiiOfficially called the Diamond Head Summit Trail, this 1.6 mile roundtrip trail offers a bit of history, a bit of exercise and a huge panoramic payoff at the end of the trail. Unlike most trails in Hawaii, this one is dry, paved in spots and crowded at times. For the mere $5 car entrance fee or the $1 pedestrian entrance fee, Diamond Head offers a hiking experience like no other. Recent park and trail improvements have refreshed and revitalized this important Hawaii icon.

The gates are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday, including holidays. Access to the trail head is easiest by rental car or by public transit.

By bus, board the #58 or #22 Hawaii Kai-Sea Life Park anywhere along the mauka or mountainside of Kuhio Avenue. Walk up the crater road through the tunnel into the crater. To return, stand on Diamond Head Road and wait for the #58 Waikiki-Ala Moana or #22 Waikiki Beach and Hotels bus. Buses run about 30 minutes apart.

By car, follow Monsarrat Avenue from the Honolulu Zoo. Monsarrat becomes Diamond Head Road, and the well marked crater access road will be on the right. Continue through the tunnel, into the crater and park in the parking lot.  Remember to lock your car and DO NOT LEAVE ANY VALUABLES in it. Furthermore, remember that any cars remaining in the parking lot after 7 p.m. will be towed away.

It is 0.7 miles, or about an hour to the summit and about a half-hour for the return. The trail climbs along the interior slope of the volcano steadily for about .6 miles, then steeply upward through a series of stairs and tunnels. The first staircase has 79 stairs, and the last has 99.

The crater has a long and revered history. Aside from being one of the largest dormant volcanoes in the islands, it holds a sacred place in Hawaiian history and a heralded military past.

Diamond Head Crater HawaiiHawaiians believe that the volcano was originally named Leahi by the goddess Hiiaka. The volcano was used as a navigational guide in ancient times. Torches were positioned along the ridges to guide canoes along the shoreline. Hawaiians also built temples at the summit to appease wind gods and lessen the strong updrafts that frequently extinguished the many torches.

The trail was originally built in 1908 as a part of the US Coastal Artillery defense system and fortification of the landmark. Today there are several artillery batteries still visible along the trail.

Once at the summit the views include the entire southern shore of Oahu, and on clear days, one can see the neighboring islands of Molokai, Lanai and Maui.

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Hawaii’s Hapuna Beach-Breathtakinly Beautiful

Guest Post by: HNLhulagirl

Although the Big Island is more than twice the size of all the other major islands put together, it is dead last when comes to an abundance of large white sand beaches.  However, the few it does have are some of the best in the islands.

Hapuna Beach, HawaiiMost of these beaches can be found along the sunny Kohala Coast where native grasses grow in cracks and crevices of black and dark brown  a’a and pahoephoe lava, where,  dark expanses of lava contrast with the cerulean ocean, foamy white crashing surf and the wide expanses of pale golden sand. On clear days, Haleakala can be seen just beyond the unpredictable Alenuihaha Channel that separates Maui from the Big Island.

Hapuna is a beach that is breathtakingly beautiful. The half-mile stretch of sand is nestled between two lava bluffs where the ever-changing shoreline widens during the summer months and where powerful winter surf erodes the beach to a narrow stretch. Summer or winter Hapuna is always pristine.
Midway between the two lava bluffs is another lava rock feature that divides the beach in half. This rocky outcropping is named Ihumoku which translates into Hawaiian as the ship's bow. These lava rocks mark the official boundary of the Hapuna State Recreation Area. The state park is well appointed with camping shelters that can be permitted for up to four persons. The area also has paved parking lots, picnic pavilions, restrooms, showers, and paved walkways to the beach.

A visit to Hapuna on any weekend and especially holiday weekend will find the park awash with islanders who come from all over the island to enjoy the surf and sand. Locals also find fun in jumping off shoreline cliffs and fishing from the lava outcroppings. Since Hapuna is one of the sunniest shorelines, it attracts many island visitors who seek the sun, snorkeling and more.

Hapuna Beach State Park, HawaiiHowever the beautiful it is, Hapuna is not without danger. Summer is the time when Hapuna is inviting, peaceful and hospitable. Gentle waves and a soft sandy bottom make everything from swimming to scuba-diving irresistible. The beach also gives up a small shallow calm protected cove at the northern end that is perfect for children to enjoy.

Between October and April the mood at Hapuna is drastically different. Rough ocean conditions, pounding surf breaks and strong rip tides make it a spot where entering the water is only for the experienced. Inexperienced body surfers who brave the powerful waves risk neck injuries and even death.

However, regardless of what time of the year, Hapuna is always staffed with lifeguards that are highly trained and knowledgeable on conditons, rescue and more. Lifeguards should be consulted regarding ocean conditions before entering unfamiliar areas.

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The Beaches of Waikiki

Guest Post by: HNLhulagirl

Lifeguard Tower Waikiki Beaches, Oahu HawaiiWaikiki, dreams are made of the beach. The sandy shoreline and the cerulean hues waters are world famous. The beach attracts many from all over the world to the shores where surfing was born and beach boys reign. The resort area of Waikiki is barely seven blocks wide and 2 miles long and packed into this collection of luxury resorts, shops and restaurants is actually a collection of beaches. Each beach is filled with history and a unique personality. Waikiki along with all beaches in Hawaii are public property and access to the beach is mandated and required by law. Here are a few of the more notable beaches in Waikiki:

Duke Kahanamoku Beach and Lagoon
Fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village, this beach and lagoon has always been a popular spot for locals and hotel guests who enjoy the wide sandy beach the soft gentle waves and the shade from several palm trees. The lagoon was recently renovated where the ocean water is re-circulated keeping the ocean water cool and clear.

Fort DeRussy Beach Park
Located adjacent to Duke Kahanamoku Beach and Lagoons, this beach park is known as the widest stretch of sand in Waikiki. Adjacent to the Hale Koa Hotel, this park offers more than sun and surf, there are volleyball and handball courts, showers and more.

Grays’ Beach
Proceeding toward Diamond Head, this beach is one of the more historic in Waikiki. Fronting the luxurious Halekulani Hotel. The area was originally the home of King Kamehameha V whose home sat amidst coconut tree groves and taro patches. Today the sandy channel off the white sand beach is popular with swimmers.

Royal-Moana Beach
This beach stretches from the Sheraton Waikiki to the Moana-Surfrider hotel. This area of Waikiki is the traditional heart of Waikiki Beach. The shoreline offers soft sand and a gentle sloping bottom that gracefully edges into deeper water. This beach is also the site of a couple of Waikiki’s famous surf breaks. One is popular with outrigge4r canoes and the other is a great break for beginner surfers.

Waikiki Beach Oahu HawaiiWaikiki Beach Center
It is the portion of Waikiki Beach that is the sandiest and safest. The area offers immediate access to the refreshment stand, beach services, lifeguards and police. The beach is very popular and is congested at times.

Kuhio Beach Park
Stretching between the Banyan tree and the Kapahulu Groin, this stretch of beach is by far the best for children. The sea wall keeps the water quieter than most areas of Waikiki and gentle for young children. The area was once called Pualeilani, home of Price Kuhio and Princess Kahanu. The area was given to the city in 1922 and dedicated to the beloved Prince.

Waikiki is a magical place that is beloved by many. In earlier days, it was a collection of royal residences, taco patches, fresh water streams and shady coconut groves. Today it is a collection of resorts and excellent beaches full of beauty excitement and recreation for visitors all across the world.

For more information on Waikiki and the island of Oahu, check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventure guides on Hawaii.

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Las Vegas – City Center, Making the Impossible Possible

Guest Post by: HNLhulagirl

In typical Las Vegas fashion, the new City Center complex is a dazzling and stunning new addition to the fabulous Las Vegas strip. Over five years in the making, the latest phase was completed with the grand opening of the Cosmopolitan in mid-January 2011. The complex is by far the largest in Vegas to date and the developers gloat over the fact that it is the largest privately funded construction project in United States history. The project is a partnership of MGM Mirage and Dubai World.
Las Vegas City CenterBut all has not been glorious. A failing economy, litigation, unsafe working conditions, union walk-outs and project downsizing and delays has made City Center more than just a handful of headaches.
The project hit the drawing boards in early 2000 when the US economy was stable and Vegas was riding a wave of success driven by the discretionary spending of many Americans and international visitors. Nipping at the heels of the massive projects slated for the northern end of the strip, City Center was slated to be the new heartbeat of Las Vegas.
The project broke ground in 2006 and was off to a great start. Then, in the wake of several construction related deaths, unions initiated a work stoppage that drew the attention of many in Washington DC to address the safety concerns of the workers. Federal fines flew, but the work continued.
Then the economy began to shudder to a halt. Funding for the project was in question and the all were very concerned that the project would go the way of the Elchelon and the St Regis project at the Palazzo, both of which have been stalled indefinitely due to economic reasons.
However, revisions were made and the project was scaled back which eliminated the completion of the Harmon Hotel. The Harmon’s exterior is completed, but the interior has been abandoned. The hotel is draped in a banner hailing the new Cirque du Soleil Elis show at the Aria Resort and Casino and will serve as a largest billboard on the strip until the economic conditions improve.
Aside from all the difficulties, the complex is a major success. Today the complex includes the Aria Resort and Casino, the Cosmopolitan, the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, Veer Towers, Vdara Hotel and Spa and Crystals, the retail and entertainment center. All are accessible by foot from the strip or via a complimentary tram system that runs from the rear of the Bellagio, makes stops at the Vdara, Aria, and Crystals before ending at the Monte Carlo Casino and Resort.
The buildings in City Center all have a stark modern appearance with glass and metal facades. Leaning columns and curving trusses at Crystals and the leaning Veer Towers all seem to defy logic.
For more Information on Las Vegas or surrounding areas in Nevada check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventure Guides
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Winter Waves at Waimea

Guest Post by: HNLhulagirl

It can start as early as a week before. Local television meteorologists track the Pacific buoys located as far as 120 miles northwest of Kauai various internet sites post the latest updates. As the day approaches, text alerts to cell phones fly across the island and web cams give a glimpse of what will come.

Winter Waves at Waimea, HawaiiIt’s another north shore winter swell on approach to the Hawaiian Islands. The surf makes the north shore communities buzz with excitement. Local surfers haul out their long boards and come alive waiting to challenge Waimea yet again. Those in the islands for the winter are anxious to experience the most awesome waves in the world. Local eateries and merchants stock up on supplies and merchandise and the tourists load up for the trek to the country with cameras charged-up.

The Oahu winter waves bring a force to the North Shore that wakens the sleepy towns between Waialua and Kahuku. One can hear the newest surf slang area bars and eateries. The experienced and not so experienced surfers throw around words like “epic,” “stick,” and “sets”. Speaking of sets, waves are measured not only and feet, but these days those in the know need to clarify Hawaiian or California style because size does matter when it comes to waves. Hawaiian style measures from the back while California style measures the face of a breaking wave.

On the morning of the expected swell, crowds begin to gather from as far away Waikiki to be immersed in the world’s best wave show. Lifeguards post high surf warning signs along the beach and constantly patrol to ensure that innocent bystanders are not swept away in the rip tide. Expert surfers arrive at Waimea knowing that if other surf spots like Pipeline and Sunset close out, Waimea will most likely remain ride-able all day. Surfers who know Waimea favor the huge break off Waimea point where their skills are flaunted and tested with each ride.

By mid-morning the traffic begins to slow to a crawl. Parking lots from Ali’i to Sunset beaches begin to fill and overflow onto the shoulder of Kamehameha Highway. Rental cars everywhere and outnumber private cars. Professional photographers with telephoto lenses stand in ranks with their equipment along the Waimea Valley hillside to catch those perfect shots.

Everyone gets their fill of the sun and scenery. Many will “ooh” and “aah” at the tremendous force of these waves and all will appreciate the talents of those who dare to challenge Waimea. As the shadows begin to lengthen, most will make their way back to Haleiwa for a meal or at least a shave-ice at Matsumoto’s before heading back into Waikiki. The locals will head for various post surf session gatherings at friends homes, and nearby bars. Merchants and restaurateurs will close for the evening happy and exhausted.

It is another great winter day on Oahu’s North Shore and another great day of he’e nalu or wave riding Waimea style.


Discovering Hawaii’s North Kohala

Guest Post by: HNLhulagirl

North Kohala,HawaiiWhile the mega resorts are clustered near beaches of the South Kohala coastline where the dark lava flows and straw colored brush contrast with the gorgeous cerulean waters of the Pacific and the white sands of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. As gorgeous as it all is, there is more to Kohala, Hawaii, lots more. Divided into two parts, South Kohala has the beautiful beaches, Hawaii’s North Kohala is untouched and scenic. Both have enormous historic importance.

A 4WD is not necessary, a convertible would certainly be nice, but a small SUV or compact car will do just fine. Allow an afternoon or a morning, no less than 3 hours from Waikoloa and 4.5 from Kailua-Kona to insure enough time to wander, picture take, soak up the fresh air and vistas. Combine it with a visit to Spencer Beach for a full day of Big Island fun.

Kohala HawaiiBegin by taking the Queen Kaahumau Highway north, turn right at Kawaihae and head to Waimea then left onto Kohala Mountain Road to Kapaau then right and onward to the end of the road.

To return, head back to Kapaau and continue onward along Akoni Pule Highway to Kawaihae and south toward Queen Kaahumanu Highway. The drive is scenic and easy. Be on the lookout for wild goats and turkeys along the road. Views of the summit of Haleakala on Maui and whales along the coastline in the winter are abundant.

Here are some points of interest along the way:

Pololu Valley
End of Akoni Pule Highway
Niulii HI
Wonderful vistas, optional steep and strenuous hiking trail, small free parking lot.

Statue of King Kamehameha the Great, HawaiiStatue of King Kamehameha the Great
54-3900 Akoni Pule Highway
Kapa’au HI 96755
Quick stop for photos at this iconic statue. This statue is the original, copies are located on Oahu and in Hilo.

Bond Memorial Public Library
54-3903 Akoni Pule Highway
Kapa’au HI 96755
Located across the street from the statue, the books were moved to the new library down the street in late 2010, but the building still retains charm and interest.

Located just 3 miles from Kapaau, this former plantation town is now a collection of galleries, boutiques and eateries. It’s a great place to have lunch, browse the shops and stretch.

Puukohola Heiau
The largest archeological site in Hawaii, this historic site was the war temple of King Kamehameha the Great. A visit is a wonderful experience in ancient Hawaiian culture and history. Not to be missed.

Spencer Beach
Located next door to the Puukohola Heiau, this beach is one of the more popular spots to swim and sun. Bring lots of sunscreen and water.

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