With eight volcanic islands to explore, Hawaii offers a little slice of tropical paradise in the Pacific. Part of the USA, Hawaii’s melting pot of cultures includes traditional indigenous, European, and Asian influences that help make it a fascinating place to visit! Soak in the sun on Waikiki Beach before cooling down with a fresh pineapple juice, or head to Kona to see where some of the world’s finest coffee is grown. From shopping in Honolulu’s trendy boutiques to exploring the volcanic tubes of Hilo, there’s never a dull m...
Take in the centuries of history in Honolulu, Hawaii’s sunny capital city on the island of Oahu. It’s famous for its Waikiki neighbourhood and iconic beach, as well as the Diamond Head crater perched nearby. Learn more about WWII history at Pearl Harbour, go gallery hopping in Chinatown’s alleys, or swim with sea turtles in Hanauma Bay. Shopping is also a prime pastime here, including the open-air shops at Ala Moana.
Soak in the sunshine in beautiful Maui, one of Hawaii’s most naturally appealing islands. It’s famous for its outdoor recreation. You can walk among volcanoes in Haleakala National Park, stroll through bamboo forests, or enjoy one of the world’s most scenic drives along the Hana Highway. There are over 30 miles of golden sandy beaches to enjoy, or you can go sea kayaking next to dolphins and whales in Makena Bay.
The winter’s the most popular time of year to visit Hawaii, for a few reasons – chief amongst these is whale watching! The prime whale watching season falls between November and the start of May, when you have a good chance of spotting them from your cruise ship. It’s also a popular spot for a bit of winter sunshine. However, this coincides with the rainy season so those in search of guaranteed clear skies may prefer the summer months. The shoulder months of spring and autumn can offer the best of both worlds in terms of comfortable weather and less-crowded beaches.
On the island of Oahu, stop off at Honolulu to visit the broad sands of Waikiki Beach, learn more about WWII history at Pearl Harbour, or go hiking at Diamondhead Crater. Coffee fans won’t want to miss a visit to Kona on the ‘big island’ of Hawaii, where you can tour plantations to taste the local java. You’ll find an abundance of both black and white sandy beaches here as well, with nearby Hilo hosting the Volcanoes National Park. You can get up close and personal with the lava tubes here! Head to Maui for snorkelling and the twisting turns of the scenic Road to Hana, dotted with waterfalls.
Traditional Hawaiian food makes ample use of the islands’ riches, from tropical fruit to freshly caught seafood. Poi is one local delicacy you’ll find everywhere, made from pounded taro root to create a starchy paste. The leaves of the taro plant are used to make laulau, wrapped around juicy cuts of slow-cooked pork, chicken or fish. Poke is a trendy dish you’ll find in cities across the globe now, but these delicious marinated cubes of raw fish come from Hawaii where they’re served in bowls with rice and mouth-watering condiments. And of course, you must finish your meal with a bowl of fresh fruit – either pineapple or passionfruit will do!
Although it’s part of the USA, Hawaii is quite distinctive from its fellow states. It’s home to the country’s only tropical rainforest, for example, and in this lush, tropical environment you’ll find over 175 different species of trees! The natural floral displays are rather spectacular, like the foot-wide yellow hibiscus.
Nature lovers can spot whales out in the water, particularly pods of humpback whales who make their way back to Hawaii from the Arctic each season to breed. You’ll have the best chance of spotting them in Maui, between the months of November and February. Apart from the whales these warm waters are also home to toothed dolphins, tiger and hammerhead sharks, triggerfish, and even green sea turtles. The remote positioning of the islands means that it is home to endangered animals you won’t see anywhere else, with multiple conservation agencies to help protect them.
Hawaii’s native culture is another big draw to the islands, with the spirit of aloha the driving force behind traditional music, art, and dance. You may be familiar with the Hula dance, which was traditionally used to tell stories through graceful movements. Don’t miss the chance to see the ancient style of hula – hula kahiko, performed to chants and drums.