“You may leave the island, but the island never leaves you. Don’t tell your friends about our island. Tell them they must come to experience it on their own to have their own stories!!”
My shuttle driver told me that as I was leaving a recent trip to the Island of Hawaii. And these are valuable nuggets for each of us; hearing about a trip is wonderful, but using your own senses to experience Hawaii (or other destinations) is essential. A visit to the Hawaiian Islands is on 97% of people’s bucket lists. It’s easy to see why. The beauty of the islands is pure and wild. The island culture is unique and sincere. And the variety of EVERYTHING on the island means it’s impossible to fully understand and fully know the islands. A second visit to the same island can include very different adventures.
When I say “Aloha,” everyone I meet instantly thinks of saying “hello” or “goodbye” in Hawaii. And, yet, to the Hawaiian people, “Aloha” is more than a greeting; it is a way of living with gracious hospitality and a genuine love for others. They call it the Spirit of Aloha, and it is alive and well in the people of the islands. While many of us want to go visit, there are many questions to answer before booking a trip. Here are a few that I hear regularly.
Why don’t they have all-inclusive resorts?
The Hawaiian people want travelers to get out and experience the culture and beauty all around the islands, so you won’t find all-inclusive resorts! That means the costs of food, alcohol, and many other experiences continue to add up while you are on the island (and these cost a lot since everything is imported). Contact me or your travel agent for ways to save money which can include tips like staying at the club level, finding a free breakfast deal (breakfast can cost up to $60 per person at some resorts!), or taking an island-hopping cruise.
Doesn’t it take forever to get there?
Traveling west is to Hawaii does take at least a 5-hour flight from California, but it’s pretty great because you can leave in the morning from the eastern US
and arrive mid-afternoon to enjoy a half-day in Hawaii! Make sure to sleep on the plane, though.
Why Hawaii when the Caribbean is so close?
The Caribbean has great choices, and of course, I recommend everyone sample those destinations, too, but most Caribbean islands are under the governments of different countries, so travelers must have a passport, exchange money, change cell phone coverage to international plans, and often have patience with language barriers. Since Hawaii is a state in the USA, none of those issues come into play and the benefits that you enjoy in the 48 continental states continue while you are surrounded by some of the most unique ecosystems on earth.
What’s the best way to get around the islands?
A rental car gives you many options to see what’s what in each destination, and as an added bonus, you can listen to Hawaiian music in your car. In my rental car, I scanned through the radio stations, and each station’s songs got me in the Hawaiian spirit!
Which island should I visit?
There are over a hundred different islands that make up the island chain but only six that make up the state of Hawaii. Many people island-hop with inter-island flights, and while those can be expensive, I hear that Southwest may be adding inter-island flights which will drop the prices for consumers!! For the price conscious adventurers, there is a ferry that runs between Maui and Lanai. You will find many of the same types of adventures on all the islands from zip lining, to nature hikes, to beautiful beaches, but every island has a different spin to these.
Here’s a brief overview of what each island boasts:
Hawaii, the biggest and youngest of the island chain, has the Volcanoes National Park with craters and lava tubes to explore. It also has 11 of the 14 microclimates represented in the world which in part means that in the winter you can have a day at the sunny beach one morning and throw snowballs the next day on Mauna Kea!
Maui is home to the infamous Road to Hana where the beauty of Hawaii twists and turns through the journey itself. You will also find great resorts and sunrise biking down Haleakala unforgettable. The snorkeling at Molokini Crater is beautiful!
Moloka’i is home to the beautiful and significant Kalaupapa National Historical Park. This area was once home to a leper colony, and visitors may access the isolated peninsula via mule rides or hiking trails.
Lanai has just a couple of resorts, so as you walk through the town, you are immersed in local culture and life. Only 30 miles of road are paved in Lanai, so to explore places like North Lanai, get a 4×4 or a guide.
Oahu is the well-known island for the beautiful beaches of Waikiki, the urban melting pot in Honolulu, and Pearl Harbor; all on the southern end of the island. Go north to watch the amazing waves on the North Shore.
Kauai is the home of the famous Napali Coast whose cliffs are featured in Jurassic Park and many other movies. Their beauty can be observed by boat, helicopter, or a few hiking trails only. If you love adventure, Kauai has the longest zip line in the state at 4,000 feet!
Do you have any specials for Hawaii?
For more information, contact me or your Magnolia Travel Group agent for a quote. Also, visit the Go Hawaii web site and app. You will find Hawaiian vocabulary and valuable island information.