Kauai has an identity that’s separate from the rest of the neighboring Hawaiian Islands. It’s the first place that a western explorer ever set foot on Hawaiian land, and it’s the only island that King Kamehameha didn’t directly conquer through war. It’s the last know holdout of a Polynesian minority who identified as “manahune,” and even the Hawaiian language on Kauai historically has its own dialect. Add in the fact that missionaries and sugar were infused in the 19th century, and Kauai has an eclectic cultural history to accompany its tropical beauty. To tap into this wealth of history and unique Hawaiian culture, the following are some of the best cultural experiences on Kauai for your trip to the “Garden Isle.”
Everyone knows that Maui is beautiful and is one of the world’s best islands, but there’s a lot more to the “Valley Isle” than many visitors might realize. Sure—it’s the second largest island in the Hawaiian chain and has the world’s largest dormant volcano, but those are facts that appear in virtually every list about Maui. Instead, we’ve chosen to highlight some facts about Maui that are little bit more obscure, and offer some insight into its fascinating history and current visitor activities. So, if you consider yourself a Maui expert or simply love the island, test your knowledge with these 10 things you never knew about Maui.
There’s plenty to love about Hawaii. Even if you’ve never been, I bet you’ve got a picture in your mind. Flower leis, the hula, a sunny beach. Now picture this; helmets and headlamps. Confused? It’s worth saving precious vacation time for Hawaii’s unexpected side. There’s plenty to make you smile and helmet and headlamps are just the beginning.
The Big Island is the youngest and largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It has an entertaining way of showing off. Resorts and golf courses dot the dry and most populated areas, while active volcanoes, stretches of multi-colored sand, and waterfalls do a great job of hiding in almost impossible to get to spots. Almost impossible. On the Viator VIP: Sunset Champagne Helicopter Tour from Kona guests get a glimpse of remote sections of coast, volcanic hotspots and lush valleys, some so remote, many locals have never seen them.
Spring isn’t a really a season in Hawaii (there’s really just winter and summer), but the successive weeks that form Spring Break are one of the busiest times of the year. In March and April, the weather on Oahu is still warmer than the majority of the mainland U.S., and humpback whales are still splashing in the blue waters offshore. Tens of thousands of college students suddenly have the week off, and families and students from across the country choose to spend the holiday in paradise. Given the warmth and the natural beauty, the most popular spring break activities on Oahu almost all take place outdoors, and Honolulu pulses deep into the night with the best nightlife in the state. So, if your Spring Break plans involve tickets to Hawaii—or you just happen to be a in town—the following are some the most popular activities for Spring Break on Oahu.
The Road to Hāna may have a reputation, but after all the twists, turns and waterfall watching, it’s hard to beat a day at the beach. From surfing and canoeing to napping in the sun, Hāna’s diverse personality leaves an impression in its sand. From black, to red to white, folks have a colorful selection of beach options.
Maui is an island where you better be sure to pack a lot of memory cards. There’s a reason why this Hawaiian island is a perennial award winner and favorite, and in addition to the food, the culture, and people, it’s the natural beauty from mountain to sea that makes it no ka oi (the best). At times, when driving, walking, or biking around Maui, the number of photo opportunities around every corner can sometimes be overwhelming; a rainbow appears in a lush valley and then disappears just as deeply, or a thundering waves goes crashing against rocks and sends spray flying in the air. While mental pictures are are always good—and it’s important to live in the present—many visitors want to capture the beauty to show their friends back at home. If you’ll be traveling to the island anytime in the future, here are some of the most photo worthy experiences on Maui you’ll definitely want to snap.
Cruising, albeit slowly, along the Hāna Highway is like a rite of passage for many Maui visitors. There’s bragging rights involved. The 52 mile stretch from Kahului has 620 curves and 59 bridges. Depending on how often you stop and stare, the drive can take anywhere from two to four plus hours. After a drive like that you deserve to be able to sit and stay awhile, but since vacations are never long enough, you can do Hāna in a hurry, you just need a good game plan your day.
With a short, 30-minute drive from most of Maui’s hot spots, horseback riding on Maui was an adventure in paradise. Even before you arrive at the Ranch, you are winding up narrow roads passing lush valleys and overlooking the views of the Pacific Ocean and Haleakala. The uphill journey past Wailuku is about seven miles and parking easy to find.
Here’s a little secret about the Hawaiian Islands: It rains a lot more than the postcards and brochures typically tend to depict. Sure, when the sun is shining the islands are as beautiful as you’ve always dreamt them to be, but when a winter cold front comes barreling in and completely obscures the sun, the beaches, hiking trails, and outdoor activities suddenly aren’t as fun. Even worse, if it’s a heavy rain that causes murky brown runoff, the snorkeling, surfing, and swimming can be dangerous since the runoff can often attract sharks. Thankfully, there are lots of rainy day activities on Oahu for when the weather doesn’t cooperate, and any of the following should still provide an warm, enjoyable day.