Hawaii for Vegans and Vegetarians

Aloha! Hawaii is awesome and one of the best travel destinations in the world. Hawaii has good infrastructure, unparalleled natural beauty, lots of fun and adventurous activities for everyone (couples, solo travelers, families, parents, kids, grandparents), safe, not as expensive compared to a lot of other tropical destinations and you can find about half of the different types of climates amongst the islands.

And you can keep going back and experience whole new adventures each time! Each island has its own unique character and wonderful things to see/do.

The only drawback of Hawaii is food…for vegans and vegetarians. The majority of the restaurants focus on steak, fish, and meat across the Hawaiian islands. (Notice I wrote “majority” of restaurants, not all restaurants are not vegan and vegetarian friendly).

 

Waikiki, Oahu
Seacliffs, Maui

{Condo vs. Hotel on Hawaii}

So whenever I go to Hawaii I rent a condo with a kitchen, and cook throughout my trip. Now, if you have been following PassportPages, you know I’m all about nuance – not generalities so I will say that if your length of stay is longer than 3 days, it’s worth it to get a condo. Otherwise, just eat at restaurants. Three days or shorter and your stay is short enough where you’ll be able to find enough variety and good food to eat out. And grocery shopping for just a few days would just be a hassle.


As I noted above there are places for vegans and vegetarians to eat. I’ve had great Thai food and pizza (not vegan pizza) on Maui and Oahu as well as so-so Indian food. Fresh Mint was a lovely, quaint vegan Vietnamese restaurant on Maui but it closed down.

There’s a Yardhouse in Waikiki which serves a whole section of vegetarian and vegan options. The thing is the options are limited and on a 5-7 day trip you might have to eat at the same restaurant or order the same item more than once. By the time a person combines their personal tastes with the number of options, there might only be a couple options for you.


And for vegetarians who don’t eat eggs as well as vegans, breakfast at restaurants is usually a challenge. There are other options like toast, oatmeal, and cereal but frankly it’s always pretty low value. You end up paying a lot for what you’re getting; and if you’re on a 5-7 day trip that adds up.


Also, condos work out really well for me (and a lot of people I think) because people are pretty active throughout the day on Hawaii – hiking, snorkeling, diving, sailing, whale watching, relaxing at the beach, etc. For me, by the time I get back to the condo in the evening, I’m usually pretty spent. So it’s cozy to come back, pop open a bottle of wine, cook a nice meal and listen to the waves crash while enjoying dinner on the lanai.

#TravelHack: if you care, confirm that what kind of kitchen the condo has. Some define kitchen which has a mini fridge and a microwave. I always look for condos with a full kitchen.

#TravelHack: Also I go for condos with a dishwasher so that reduces time cleaning up.

#TravelHack: Inquire about tupperware in the condo. When in Hawaii, I usually either pack my lunch or buy a salad as I’m typically out and about at that time, not holed up in the condo.

#TravelHack: Last but not least inquire about whether the condo already has dishwashing soap and napkins (things non-planners wouldn’t necessarily think of).

I’ve rented condos several times on Hawaii and each time all of these items were already in the condo, which made it so convenient.

There are a number of sites to rent a condo on Hawaii: FlipKey, VRBO, AirBnB just to name a few.

Surfer and dolphin statue, Waikiki, Oahu

{Grocery Shopping on the Hawaiian Islands}

There are grocery stores on each island – namely Safeway and Costco. And luckily the Costco on each island is strategically located near the airport, so you can stop by after you pick up your rental car.

ProTip: plastic bags are banned throughout Hawaii. So you might want to pack some plastic bags for Safeway or any other grocery store. And they’re compact, light and easy to pack!

Now if cooking and cleaning up afterwards is not your idea of holiday then clearly getting a condo isn’t for you. Otherwise an additional advantage of staying in a condo is all the money you’ll save. My trips to Hawaii often end up being the least expensive holidays I go on; even more so if I go during off-peak (basically not summer, nor Christmas to new year, during major events on the islands).

TravelHack: Hawaii is an island (duh) so pretty much everything is imported, which means everything’s a bit more $$ on Hawaii. So pack a few kitchen items with you like, spices – salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder etc. You’ll spend a lot more if you buy these on Hawaii and you won’t finish them during your stay.

Whenever I go to Hawaii I pack these spices as well as my uncooked steel cut oats (my fellow health nuts holla!), and my 70%+ cacao chocolate bars. To summarize, I pack items, that are any combo of easy to pack,  not going to finish by a long shot on the trip, and will cost a lot more on Hawaii. And the underlying assumption (of course) is items that are allowed and legal.

And since I travel pretty light on clothes when I visit Hawaii (read Other Benefit of Staying in a Condo, below), I can easily fit all of these items in my carryon.

#TravelHack: inquire with the condo rental company whether it already has dishwashing and laundry detergent.

View from Diamond Head, Oahu

{Other Benefit of Staying in a Condo on Hawaii}

The other reason I like staying in condos is I can travel lighter since the condo has a washer and dryer. So I typically only take a carryon to Hawaii. I typically find that I can’t re-wear anything when I go to Hawaii – like it has to be washed before I wear it again to get the sea water and sand out.

Private beach at our condo, Kihei, Maui

{Conclusion}

Hawaii is a fantastic holiday destination. There’s something for literally everyone and activities across the spectrum from adventure and relaxation to the shopping in Waikiki and remote nature.

Food in restaurants on Hawaii mainly focuses on non-vegetarian and non-vegan options. This is NOT to say there are no vegan and vegetarian options at restaurants throughout Hawaii, but it is limited. And if you’re staying for 5-7 days, eating the same meals at the same restaurants can get old.

Thus for vegans and vegetarians I suggested an alternative way to visit Hawaii which is to rent a condo with a kitchen and cook for yourself on your trip.

In addition to eating nice home cooked meals on the lanai of your condo, you will also save a ton of money that would have been spent eating at restaurants.

I listed some useful #TravelHacks above for anyone looking into renting a condo on Hawaii.

  • things to find out about the condo
  • things to pack with you

Happy travels! Cheers to wonderful sights and adding more stamps in your PassportPages!


{About PassportPages}

I created the PassportPages travel blog, to provide nuanced, detailed travel advice, tips, and hacks for traveling all over the world — from a unique and different perspective than the other popular travel blogs. There aren’t as many travel blogs geared towards:

  • nuanced, detailed travel tips and advice
  • vegetarians/vegan travelers
  • ethnic Americans, Canadians, and others
  • women, especially petite women


{About Samta}

When I’m not traveling and/or adventuring (and even when I am), I operate my tech startup, ShaadiShop. ShaadiShop is a marketplace for Indian-friendly wedding venues in California.

During undergrad I decided to study abroad which triggered my travel passion. I lived in Adelaide, Australia for a year and after that, for the next 10 years I spent 1-2 months each year, traveling to various destinations around the globe, on my own while I managed my direct marketing company.

I think traveling solo, prepared me to become an entrepreneur – journeying into new experiences, figuring it out as I went, self-reliance, facing your fears head on, trying new things, and so much more!

Then I decided to get a Masters in Business Administration, and I met my husband. Now we travel around the globe together and often. I love backpacks, vegetarian and vegan cooking and of course planning our next trip. I’m also kinda addicted to blueberries. =p

Check in on the blog or better yet follow PassportPages to get travel info from around the world. And definitely post your questions and comments. I love hearing from our readers! Cheers!

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Samta, Founder, PassportPages

 

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