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Hawaii

Hawaii

Great Destination:

5

Value for Money:

2.5

Total Stars:

7.5

Personality Types that Like it Best

All personality types love it including Mid and Centric-Authentics (warm beaches) and Venturesome types (varied activities)

Did You Know…?

  • Hawaii is a chain of 132 islands extending 1,523 miles — like New York to Denver.
  • Capt. James Cook called these the Sandwich Islands.
  • Hawaii is the only U.S. state to have been an independent monarchy (ending in 1893).
  • The Hawaiian alphabet has five vowels, seven consonants and the glottal stop (‘).
  • The first bill for statehood was introduced in 1919; statehood came in 1959.

Beaches plus

Hawaii is a beach destination, yes, but it is much more. Even several visits covering all the larger islands may not be enough for an inquisitive visitor to experience all that is of interest.

It helps to know key facts about each of the state’s most important islands. Each has its unique personality, weather and attractions, as follows:

  • Oahu, the main island, contrasts its hustle bustle, great shopping and fabulous dining enjoyed in the capital city, Honolulu, with the open spaces on the windward side, which includes Sunset Beach, often called the surfing capital of the world.
  • Hawaii, the largest island of the archipelago, is known simply as the Big Island. It has two volcanic mountains, each nearly 14,000 feet tall. Mauna Loa covers half the island while Mauna Kea is called the white mountain because it is snow-capped in winter and visitors can ski. Kilauea is the Big Island’s active volcano on Mauna Kea, which periodically enlarges the island with new flows.
  • Maui, a favorite for many, probably fits Hawaii’s stereotypical image more than any other island because of its concentrated collection of luxury beach hotels at Kaanapali and Wailea. Maui gets the most positive traveler references because of its incredible beaches and the backdrop of beautiful hills and valleys.
  • Kauai is called the garden island because of the lush growth of colorful native flowers and fruits.
  • Molokai and Lanai offer seclusion at isolated luxury resorts for those who really want to get away from it all.

Hawaii envelopes visitors in a sense of peace and serenity and immediately makes them feel relaxed and comfortable. Nearly everyone mentions the consistent sunshine and comfortable temperatures, along with the aloha spirit of its residents.

However, Hawaii could not succeed on weather and hospitality alone. Its strength lies in offering a greater variety of things to do for all travelers — regardless of age or personality type — than other destinations.

There is one thing though: Attend a luau at a hotel or elsewhere with the understanding that these presentations are commercialized re-creations of native Hawaiian festivities.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Dive into water sports, literally. Go scuba diving or snorkeling, or try spearfishing being certain to abide by any restrictions that may apply in the area where you propose to fish.
  • Rent a Jeep, ATV or scooter and tour the islands on your own. Don’t set a rigid schedule because you’ll want to explore at your own pace.
  • Venture out on a horse or hike in places away from busy crowds. Most islands have stables. You’ll experience Kauai’s lush beauty (“South Pacific” and “Jurassic Park” were filmed here) or Maui’s own sense of isolation and inner peace.
  • Become a botanist for a couple of days. Hawaii has lost more native plants and species from centuries of human settlement, followed by commercial development and tourism, than any other place in the world. But it’s still a rich place for biodiversity. Get thee to a state park and study up.
  • With a permit from the Hawaii Department of Health, you can visit the former leper colony of Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai. The town, part of the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, is still inhabited by survivors of the leper colony although they are no longer confined to the town. Victims of the much-feared disease were isolated until 1969.
  • Time your visit right, and you can ski on Mauna Kea.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Snorkel at Hanauma Bay on Oahu. It is a short drive from Waikiki. You’ll be swimming with an incredible number of colorful fish in a shallow bay. The fish want to be fed and some will give a nudge or a mild bite if you don’t comply!
  • Hike inside Diamond Head, the inactive volcano that forms the picturesque backdrop to most photos of Waikiki. It offers great views of Waikiki and Honolulu from its 761-foot summit.
  • See Hawaii by helicopter. You’ll marvel at its lushness, many valleys and steep canyons, and at how much open land still exists. During spring rains on Kauai, helicopters from Lihue and Princeville go inside the craters where you are surrounded by 360-degree waterfalls.
  • Get married on a beach in Hawaii. Don’t bring shoes.
  • Trek around Kilauea, part of a national park on the Big Island. You might even happen to be there when it’s active. If the National Park Service doesn’t prevent access at that time, you can walk right up to hot lava flows.
  • Take advantage of the variety of dining and entertainment in Honolulu. Entertainment ranges from native Hawaiian to reggae, from jazz to live theater and headliners — in addition to symphony, ballet, opera and more.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Take a drive around the Big Island. It presents contrasts of rolling brown hills and lush areas with tropical waterfalls, macadamia plantations and beaches of white sands or black volcanic pumice.
  • Play golf. Hawaii abounds in incredibly beautiful golf courses, often at water’s edge with dramatic views.
  • Take in the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. It presents a fine overview of Hawaii’s history from the arrival of the Polynesians to the growth and power of the Bishop family (now remembered for its philanthropic activities to support native Hawaiians).
  • Hawaii is a shopper’s paradise with unique gifts that reflect native Hawaiian influences, including Hawaiian shirts, luau dresses and art objects. Devote time to Ala Moana, the massive open-air shopping mall in Honolulu with many specialty shops. Even shops in hotels can offer great variety.
  • Tour the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor (operated by the National Park Service). The monument spans the mid-portion of the battleship which was sunk by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941.  Or, take a full-blown Pearl Harbor tour which can include the USS Arizona, and then visit the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery, burial grounds of U.S. military.
  • Take a circle island tour of Oahu traveling by jitney bus. Other islands also offer tours of their back-country areas. You can book most of these tours after you arrive at your hotel.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult: Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau at www.gohawaii.com and, to find a Hawaii Travel Specialist for the state or a specific island, while on the home page, click on Find a Travel Specialist, or go directly to http://admin.agents.gohawaii.com/widget/agent_locator