Saturday, July 3, 2010

Choosing your Island of Hawaii

Beautiful beaches, lush greenery and clear blue waters are what attracts me to Hawaii.  In my earlier travels I had no clue that each Hawaiian Island has it's own personality.  Something different to offer and something that may or may not please every tourist. 

My first trip to Maui was amazing and it captured the essence of what I had known Hawaii to be on Television, Brochures and Magazines.  I wanted to go again and again, so a couple years later we booked our second trip to Hawaii on the island of Oahu.  We were in for a surprise! The big City of Honolulu with the crowded Waikiki beach was not my picturesque Hawaii and I wanted to go home. 

For those who have yet to make the adventure to the Hawaiian Islands, think about what it is that your looking to experience before making your choice of islands.  Are you looking for privacy, quiet beaches, live Volcano's, a big city, or is Hawaii on a budget your biggest factor? All these things can have a big affect on where you choose to go in Hawaii. 

I am giving my own short description of each island in hopes to save someone from the mistake I made years ago.  Each island is different and appeals to different people. Some islands have similar features but always something that makes it unique!  Find your island and what fits you and have a GREAT Hawaiian vacation.
Considered the most private of islands with it's tropical lush greenery, small towns, 50 miles of beaches and great hiking trails. Typically also known as the most expensive of the islands for accommodations and attractions.  Many people head to Kauai for the ultimate private getaway and true Hawaiian culture.

A mix of resort cities such as Kaanapali, Wailea and small historic towns like Lahaina and Hana.  Maui has world-renowned locations for snorkeling and plenty of beaches to stop and jump in the water at any given spot off the highways.  Haleakala crater is a great volcano to visit, but you won't see any lava flow action.  Maui can get expensive, but I've found some great deals for accommodations using and it's my personal favorite of the Islands.

The Big Island
Also called the "Island of Adventure", the Big Island is the youngest and biggest of all the Hawaiian islands and continues to grow thanks to it's biggest attraction, Mt. Kilauea.  Here you will find a mix of resorts, small cities, lush greenery and desert like climates around the island.  A popular destination recommended by many that I consider affordable and a great mix of all things Hawaii.

I consider Oahu, "Hawaii on a budget".  If you are looking for greenery, stay on the North Shore side of the island.  Oahu is the only island I know that has a Freeway, which for me was disturbing because Hawaii is supposed to be the ultimate bliss, not 5 o'clock rush hour traffic.  A must see attraction is Pearl Harbor and about the only part of Oahu I enjoyed.  Waikiki is a city built of skyscrapers and if your not right on the beach your hotel may be more of a wall view rather than a ocean view.  If you like to Shop, enjoy the City life and nightlife, this may be the island for you!

I did not include Molokai or Lanai, which are also part of the Hawaiian chain. These islands accomodate tourists, but are not very populated.  I do not have enough knowledge to write about them except that I took a helicopter ride over Molokai and the waterfalls were AMAZING! ShareThis


Travel with Teens and Tweens said...

Maui is good with younger kids but the Big Island offers so much for teens and tweens that want to do some hiking and see an active volcano. We love both

Travelers Barista said...

That's great to know Travel with Teens! My toddler and kindergartener had a WONDERFUL time in Maui, so sounds like it'll be the Big Island when they are a little older. For now we LOVE Maui with the kids.

Colleen at Travel Mamas said...

Great sampling of the isles!

I've been to Molokai and it is VERY sleepy! It is considered the most "Hawaiian" of the islands (besides the forbidden island) because most residents there are Hawaiian in descent. This would be a fun getaway for a newlywed couple who wants lots of quiet, alone time and isolated beaches. I would NOT recommend it for a family trip.

Lanai is pretty sleepy too but its residents are more tourist-friendly. I think Lanai makes a better day trip than a several-night destination but there are a couple of gorgeous 4 Seasons Resorts that can be booked at a cheaper price than you might find elsewhere due to the island's remote-ness.

I think Maui is a great place for families because it isn't as hectic as Oahu but still has more to do than Kauai and others.

I love, love, loved the Hawaiian Cultural Center on Oahu and like Honolulu overall. You just need to know that it's a city (a laidback city, but a city nonetheless) that you are visiting!

Lisa said...

Love your assessment. It's pretty impressive for someone who doesn't live there - and apparently has only been there twice. I agree with all of it, and I lived on the Big Island for 14 years - although I must confess that I've never heard of it referred to as the Island of Adventure :)

Travelers Barista said...

Thanks Lisa! I've actually gone to Hawaii 4x, not that it makes me an expert, but I've had my share of fun on the islands.

With rates for flights now, were considering trip #5 very soon :o)

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