Hawai’i has long been a dream destination. From weddings to anniversaries to bucket lists, Hawai’i conjures visions of a pristine tropical paradise. There’s good reason for that. The people of Hawai’i have had a reverence and respect for their lands long before environmental responsibility and sustainability became mainstream buzz words. It has always been part of their culture, is ingrained in their way of life and has been taught to their children for generations. It’s foundational to why the six Islands of Hawai’i are home to treasures unlike any other on earth.
Home to the state’s capital and largest city, and saturated in ancient custom and culture, Honolulu is by far the busiest, most populated island. From iconic Waikiki Beach and historical Pearl Harbor to the idyllic North Shore, Oahu offers an unparalleled variety of activities and experiences. Oahu is the heart of Hawaii, a place where timeless beauty collides with the modern world. Fun fact: Honolulu is the only U.S. city to be founded by royalty and has the only royal residence on U.S. soil, ʻIolani Palace.
Known as the “Garden Isle”, Kaua’i is an island paradise that defies description. Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, where the stress of life fades away into the gentle trade winds. The island is breathtaking, characterized by its wealth of lush, rich lands that include vast tropical rainforests, jaw-dropping mountains and stunning beaches. Dramatic cliffs and the panoramic Nā Pali Coastline have served as the backdrop for major motion pictures, including Jurassic Park. Kauai is also home to Waimea Canyon, referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It’s not an overstatement. Kauai’s beauty knows no bounds; it’s charming, mysterious and unconquered.
Renowned worldwide for its breathtaking beaches and scenery, as well as unforgettable experiences, Maui lays claim to long, gorgeous stretches of coastal paradise. There are hidden waterfalls all along the serpentine Road to Hana, which stretches for 65 miles and navigates 50 narrow bridges. A trip to Haleakala’s 10,023-foot-summit to catch the sun rising over the horizon at dawn is a bucket-list item that has inspired thousands who have made the pilgrimage. Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui is one of the most sought-after destinations on the planet.
Island of Hawai’i
Also known as “The Big Island,” this is the largest and most volcanically active of the island chain. Geographically unique, the Big Island boasts everything from black sand beaches to snow-covered peaks, from hardened lava deserts to steamy and lush rainforests. Beach goers head to the Big Island’s Kona coast, while those seeking a more quiet, casual experience will head for Hilo and its breathtaking natural beauty. Whether you prefer Kona or Hilo, everyone agrees that the “can’t miss” item on this island is a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Lanai is Hawaii’s smallest inhabited island at only 18 miles long and 13 miles wide. The most prominent “noise” you’ll hear on the island are palm trees being caressed by trade winds and the lap of soft waves. If you want to experience Hawaii for its raw natural beauty and laid-back island culture, there is no better place than the island of Lanai. In a place with no stop lights, no traffic jams, world-class resorts, and some of the world’s most unique sights, Lanai is like a paradise within a paradise. A stay on Lanai is like vacationing on your own private island.
On this island, no building is taller than a palm tree. Moloka’i is rural and peaceful and the pace is slow and relaxed. A high percentage of the island’s residents are Native Hawaiian and maintain a strong connection to Hawaiian culture. Molokaʻi has the longest fringing coral reef, the longest white sand beach in the state, and the tallest sea cliffs in the world at 3,000 feet above sea level. The island is also home to Kalaupapa National Historical Park and Halawa Valley. Molokai is the most authentic Hawaiian experience you can have, and you’ll remember it for a lifetime.
Hawaii has long captivated the imagination of travelers and explorers, and for many it is the ultimate bucket-list destination. What you will appreciate most about Hawaii is not the picturesque landscape, but rather that each island seems to have its own unique identity, and they all personify a unified aloha spirit.
This post was written by cruise marketing expert, Shannon McKee, founder of Access Cruise Inc. Access Cruise Inc is a Miami based cruise marketing and sales consulting group, specializing in product and business development within the cruise industry.