When it comes to wildlife viewing, there are few greater experiences than being on a boat during whale watching season in Hawaii. Every winter, from December through April, these 50-ton leviathans migrate from Alaska to the tropical waters of the islands. Thanks to the shallow and protected surroundings, this royal blue sanctuary is the perfect place for mating and nursing their young.
Given the lack of snow in the Hawaiian tropics, Christmas in Hawaii is a warmer affair where local children grow up learning that Santa Claus arrives in the islands by way of an outrigger canoe pulled not by reindeer, but dolphins. Likewise, his traditional red and white coat is replaced by a red and white aloha print shirt with big black sunglasses and a Hawaiian “shaka” hand gesture.
More than anything, festivals are some of the best ways to get a feel for local culture. They are a time when the community comes together in a form of mutual celebration, and they are time when you can enrich your knowledge on one particular subject. That, and they’re simply a whole lot of fun.
More so than all others, the best festival on the Big Island of Hawaii is the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, a hula festival which has been held annually since 1963. This prestigious event is held each April at the Edith Kanaka’ole stadium, and hula halau from across the state compete in the multi-day festival.
While Honolulu can be a fascinating city, every now and then you need to get out of town. Even if it’s only to the other side of the island, the best day trips from Honolulu are those where you can relax and experience something new.
The Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival takes place each fall on the Big Island of Hawaii. Though not nearly as large as the prestigious Merrie Monarch Festival which is held in the city of Hilo, the Moku O Keawe festival provides an authentic experience for people who are traveling to Kona.
Driving the Road to Hana is without a doubt the most misunderstood experience on Maui. This, twisting, curving, waterfall-laden highway is arguably one of the world’s greatest drives, yet many visitors return from the experience vowing to never return. In order to ensure success along the highway, it’s imperative to understand a few important tips before embarking on this excursion through paradise.
The first tip for driving the Road to Hana can be summed up in three simple words: Don’t. Rush. Hana.
Without a doubt, Lahaina is the nightlife capital of Maui. While it isn’t as varied as the nightlife of Oahu, the nightlife in Lahaina is still strong enough that on any given night there are multiple options to choose from. Also, just because this ancient capital has a seedy port town past, doesn’t mean that all of the nightlife revolves around grog shops and bars.
Filled with preconceptions of a Hawaiian luau, I couldn’t leave Kauai without trying it. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised, and I got a whole lot more than a feast. It was a good lesson in music, dance, drink, food, and nature.
To get the true flavor of Maui, eat from its homegrown bounty: its farms, ranches, and fisheries. Rather than lobster flown in from Maine or produce shipped from Mexico, seek out restaurants and markets serving up locally-sourced food. It’s becoming increasingly easy to do so, thanks to chefs and purveyors who value Maui-grown goodness.
With only a mere fraction of Kauai accessible via car, you must go off the beaten path or off the beaten paddle to scrape the surface of its beauty. With that said, I stumbled upon a way to combine the best of active adventure travel, including kayaking, hiking, and swimming with the Wailua Kayak and Hike Adventure.