Hawaii is made up of 6 unique islands*. Each island has a unique feel and different offerings. Each island is very different and even within each island, there are lots of different things to experience and explore.
The islands are not far from one another, making island hopping a breeze! Flights between islands range from 20-50 minutes and some be reached by ferry. A hawaiian cruise allows you to see many of the islands in one trip.
80% of Hawaii is inaccessible by car. Consider a helicopter, boat, or hike to really experience the authentic and cultural aspects of the islands.
Here are some descriptions of each island to help determine which island is right for you:
Kauai is known as the "Garden Island" due to it's lush greenery. As the oldest island in the chain, the Kauai landscape includes tropical rainforests, sprawling rivers, and gorgeous, accessible waterfalls. Although it is not possible to drive completely around Kauai due to the beautiful Na Pali Coast, it is easy to drive from the north shore to the south shore in about 50 minutes. If seeing a Hawaiian waterfall is on your bucket list but you don't want to hike, Kauai is the island for you! Wailua Falls offers a waterfall accessible by car! Additional activities include kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, ziplining, and laying on a beautiful beach. Regulations only permit buildings to be built as high as coconut palm, giving Kauai a relaxing, small town feel.
Oahu is known for its energy, art and surf culture. Oahu's different regions provide various options of activities. In the south shore, you will find the vibrant capital, Honolulu. Famous Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach are also located in the south where museums, restaurants, and water activities are in abundance. Contrastly, the north shore, has gorgeous beaches with restaurants and activities more spread out. If you are short on time and want to experience culture, beaches, activities and quite time; Oahu is right for you!
The "Valley Isle" . Maui offers something for everyone! The most popular attraction is Mt. Haleakala where visitors can watch a spectacular sunrise from above the clouds - a truly magnificent experience. Whale watching is also popular in Maui with the season running from November – May (Jan-March being peak season). The famous road to Hana is an adventurous experience combining the thrill of the journey with the laid back enjoyment of entertainment once you have arrived. Amazing hiking trails, watersports, local farms, and recreation all make Maui an amazing destination for a honeymoon!
Hawaii - The Big Island
You have probably heard about this island in the news recently... Kilauea volcano erupted in May 2018, leading to destruction of homes and landscape. But don't rule out this island so fast, the volcano is on the east coast of the island, while the tourism is on the west coast (in and around Kona) which was, generally speaking, unaffected by the volcano. If you love geology and nature, this island is a perfect fit! You can experience climates ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra in this unique setting! Of course, you won't miss out on shops, restaurants, entertainment, taro farms, black sand beaches, and splendid waterfalls!
Lanai and Molokai
You can access Lanai from Maui via ferry or plane. Generally a day trip but you could opt to stay at one of the 2 hotels on the island. Snorkeling, and golf are popular activities while visiting Lanai.
Molokai is accessible from Maui by plane but mostly geared towards natives with not much tourism.
*There are actually 8 Hawaiian islands. Niihau is privately owned and Kahoolawe is uninhabited.
Thank you to George Johns, of Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, for graciously extending me a lei greeting at the Hawaii Destination Specialist Training this week! The native Hawaiian practice of ho'okipa, or greeting and welcoming of strangers, is deeply embedded in the Hawaiian culture.
Some people go on vacation to a destination and think they are a 'specialist' but this was serious training. It took a full day to learn the unique characteristics of each of the 6 Hawaiian Islands, the history and culture, the islands geography, tons of accommodation options and last but perhaps most importantly, the activities/events/cuisine and entertainment that is offered to meet every traveler's needs. I have visited the islands more than once, which helps put all the information in perspective.
Many people are aware of the iconic activities such as visiting Pearl Harbor, attending a luau and seeing a waterfall. The benefit of talking with a Hawaii Specialist is planning the lesser-known activities that will give you the authentic cultural experience. For example, it isn't as widely known that if you visit Lana'i's northwest shore, there is a beautiful white sand beach that is a nesting ground from endangered green sea turtles. Or if you are foodie you will want to know all about the
Hi! My name is Buffy and I am the owner of Sunlit Travel! I love to plan special occasions like GROUP VACATIONS and MULTI-GENERATIONAL FAMILY VACATIONS! My favorite part is adding special touches to make the trip especially memorable!