Hawaii Travel Guide
We have a question for all you well-traveled folks out there: Sure, you've experienced a lot in your life, but have you ever walked on a rock that was a day old?
Hawaii Island might not boast the beaches that some of the other Hawaiian Islands do, but it certainly makes up for it with its incredible opportunities of environmental exploration. Yesterday, we told you how you can find all but two of the world's ecosystems on the island (except temperate snow forests or polar ice caps), including active volcanoes.
If you're stuck in the snow, ice, or rain blanketing the east coast this week, you're probably looking for an excuse to escape to warmer climates and we have one: sea turtles.
The nonprofit Hawaii Wildlife Fund has organized an effort to help protect the sea turtles who "bask" every night in the same spot on some of Maui's busy beaches.
The Road to Hana is the most famous drive in the Hawaiian Islands – which is understandable – but interestingly enough, it is Hawaii Island (the Big Island) that boasts perhaps the most unique opportunity when it comes to getting behind the wheel: The chance to see so many of the world’s ecosystems in a single day.
What does that mean exactly? Hawaii Island is by far the most diverse island in North America, and perhaps the world, in terms of the various life systems it supports. Now, the exact specifics of how many it harbors depends on which system of climate designation you use (you know how those things go), but the big picture here is that a drive around Hawaii Island will get you much more than coastal views.
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Wait, what? Winter wear in Hawaii? Not many people realize that Hawaii's tallest volcano, Mauna Kea, tops out at just under 14,000 feet and even gets a few snowfalls a year. Bearing the cold might not sound like much fun considering you went to the islands for the sunshine, but trust us, the payload of these activities are well worth the price of a small shiver.
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We all know that the Road to Hana is a winding, beautiful journey with dozens of potential stop offs and waterfalls along the way. Yet no one really talks about Hana itself as a destination - it seems only the road to get there is discussed. But don't even think about turning around without first doing a little exploration, and, perhaps more importantly, a little relaxing after the long haul.
Hamoa and Koki are great traditional beaches, but why go for beige when you can get volcanic red sand? This maroon cove used to be a haven for nude sunbathers, and we can certainly see why given its secluded location and protected swimming area. Even when the current is rough, the line of volcanic rock creates a barrier that produces two calm pools that you can see in the photo above.
This weekend The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hits theaters and just like the first movie, it's sure to get fans talking, and traveling.
Though much of the movie was shot in Atlanta the cast and crew did spend five weeks filming on the beaches of the North Shore of Oahu. Here's a look at where to stay, what to do, and where to eat if you want to immerse yourself into the world of The Hunger Games on your next trip to Hawaii.
We know all about pork, pineapple, mangoes, and papaya, but what else should you keep an eye out for while on the Hawaiian Islands? All that hiking is sure to work up an appetite, so here are five foods you can find around town that will have you stuffing your face like a local:
Taro is a non-native but now local vegetable that is often described as the “Hawaiian potato,” grown like rice in a flooded field and starchy in taste. It is used in a variety of ways by the locals, including frying it to make “taro chips,” using it as a base for smoothies and desserts, or pounding it into a dipping sauce called “poi.” The leaves of the taro plant are used to wrap either fish, pork, or chicken in the well-known Hawaiian dish “laulau.”
Our Assistant Editor Will McGough is currently traveling through the Hawaiian Islands, making stops on Kauai, Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu. Yesterday, we reported that one town on Oahu was hoping to drop off the tourism map. Below, he shares is thoughts on the news from a Kona hotel room.
Aloha from Kona, the land of lava, kava, and coffee. For those of you who have never had kava, a “sedative” drink made from the roots of the plant by the same name, stay tuned. I’m going to be doing my fair share of sampling tonight in anticipation of writing a rundown of it next week.
The Aloha State welcomes plenty of visitors from the nifty fifty and aboard each and every day, but apparently one town is calling back the welcome wagon. We guess all that tourist attention is a little too much, and residents of one town would prefer that you would snorkel, sun, and swim somewhere else.
Residents of Kailua on the windward side of Oahu aren’t really cool with all the attention that they’ve received, and it probably doesn’t help that even President Obama has stopped by pretty much every year for some rest and relaxation.
As a result the town’s neighborhood board has actually asked the state’s tourism board to kind of stop promoting Kailua as an overnight option, and that they would prefer that tourists not spend the night in town. The problem isn’t regarding sharing the beaches and parks—seems like they’re fine with that—it’s that the overnight guests don’t really create a sense of community.
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Hawaii's coastline and waterfalls get all the attention, but visitors will soon realize that the volcanic interiors of the islands are a large part of the outdoor scene, especially on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.
Kauai houses what's known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," a state park called as Waimea Canyon that's ten miles long and 3,000 feet deep (FYI the real Grand Canyon 277 miles long and 6,000 feet deep). "Waimea" is Hawaiian for "reddish water," no doubt referencing the color of the canyon and the tint the water takes on as it runs through. On our visit a few days ago, those red walls were painted green thanks to the recent rain.
When people talk to potential (and current) tourists about the Na Pali Coast of Kauai, one of the first things they do is spout off about how many movies it has been in and what famous people grace its shoreline with their presence. To that, we roll our eyes. Seriously, Daffy Duck could materialize and waddle through the water for all we care, and it'd still be the same surf, right? It leaves us wondering: Does scenery this amazing really need any justification?
The Kalalau Trail is 11-miles of postcard photography and awe-inspiring vantage points, and it's not just about the ocean-mountain combination - it's the way it presents itself. See, lots of places have oceans and mountains, but few combine in such dramatic fashion. The tropical setting surrounds you with thick, bright, and colorful vegetation, much of which is edible, be it fruit trees of mango, avocado, guava, and orange or edible herbal trailside supplements. The ocean comes to life too in a way that's different from, say, the coast of California. You can see it in the photo above. The blues, the greens. The in-betweens.
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Remember that scene in the beginning of Jurassic Park when they land in front of the waterfall upon arriving at the island for the first time? Well, queue up the classic music score, because you can visit it yourself on your next trip to Kauai.
Epic doesn’t even begin to describe it. Not only do you get to land at and hover in front of the 360-foot Manawaiopuna Falls, you get to cruise around the rest of the island as well, including ridiculous sightlines down the infamous Na Pali coastline and into Waimea Canyon (both of which we will dish on this week).