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The Islands of Hawaii

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 | BLOG, Hawaii | No Comments


It seems that almost everyone dreams of at least one trip to Hawaii. We are so lucky that these wonderful islands sitting out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean became our 50th state.

The people of Hawai‘i are known throughout the world for their spirit of Aloha. This spirit can only be described as an inner warmth; a feeling of love, respect and hospitality. This spirit is in the very soul of its ancient people. Today, the people of Hawaii work to preserve not only the language, food, music and dance that the ancient Hawaiians brought to the islands but the traditions of Aloha, a culture of generosity; a culture of family. The culture of the Hawaiian Islands is a varied mixture of people from China, Japan, Russia, Korea, Puerto Rico, Portugal, and the Philippines. This is a true melting pot of diverse cultures that have blended and transformed its traditions, festivals and foods.

It is believed that these islands were found many centuries ago by people from Polynesia. Built by millions of years of volcanic activity the topography is as varied as the culture. Yes, it’s a long way from us here in the Southeast where I am located, but well worth the trip and surprisingly not as expensive as you might think. There are 4 islands that attract the most tourist. So let’s take a look at them beginning with Kauai located at the northern end of the chain.


Kauai is known as the Garden Island or Island of Discovery. This is the oldest in the chain of islands and one of the least developed other than the world famous golfing resorts located on the northern end of the island in Princeville. Here you find fabulous golf courses and resorts sitting high atop cliffs overlooking the turquoise water. The town of Hanalei is down on the beach and is one of the wettest places on earth. On the southern side you will find Poipu Beach and a little further on the Grand Canyon of the Pacific is a total surprise. This area is so arid you see cactus growing along the road side and in the higher elevations there are forests of large evergreens just like our Northwest region on the continent. From here you are at the top of the 4000 foot high Napali cliffs while you would be at the bottom of them if you were visiting Hanalei. The road does not go completely around the island because of the Napali Cliffs. They can be seen only from the water or by air. If you truly enjoy eco tourism and exploring a lush green island, this is the place for you. There are nice beaches here as well as mountains, rivers and waterfalls. Once you see Kauai you’ll know why they film so many movies here!


Oahu is the second oldest island in the Hawaiian chain of visitable islands. She lies between her sister islands Kauai and Maui. Oahu is the island where the capital city of Honolulu is located. Here is where you find a city of skyscrapers and the world famous beach of Waikiki with Diamondhead at the eastern end. This is also the only city in the United States that has a royal Palace. Some of the best dining to be found in the U.S. is located in Honolulu as well. And if snorkeling is your favorite sport, you have to go to Haunama Bay. This is a nature preserve actually located in a collapsed crater.

A cultural experience of Oahu is incomplete without a step back into the history of the islands. From ancient Hawaiians who canoed across the Pacific, to Christian missionaries and plantation workers who immigrated to Hawaii, to Hawaii’s royal traditions, to the role of Hawaii in World War II to Statehood, Oahu offers a fascinating journey into influences that have impacted Hawaii, the Pacific and the US.

From the South Shore with picturesque Diamond Head, Beautiful Waikiki and Historic Pearl Harbor, to the world famous North Shore, home of Waimea Bay and the Banzai Pipeline and rustic surfer towns where you’ll find great art shops and little cafes with shave ice and pineapple ice cream. You can come to relax or come ready to wear yourself out, either way Oahu has countless things to do. Getting around Oahu is easy. There is a great public bus system that actually goes all around the island so forget the rental car, especially if you’re planning to stay in Waikiki. Just rent a car for the day and go explore the other parts of the island at your own pace.

Oahu is for Lovers. Plan the perfect romantic escape to this beautiful and exciting island. Hike to hidden waterfalls hand in hand, share a beautiful sunset while walking along a white sandy beach, or discover the tastes of Hawaiian Regional cuisine while listening to the sounds of strumming ukulele under the Hawaiian moon. With all the excitement of a metropolitan city and the natural beauty of splendor of a true island paradise, it’s all waiting for you here, on the Island of Oahu, the Heart of Hawaii.


Maui is the most visited of the Hawaiian Islands. From the golden sunrise at Haleakala to the famous sunsets of Kaanapali, Maui is home to more things to see than you could possible achieve in a single vacation. Maui is everything you have dreamed Hawaii to be, and almost certainly more than you imagined. Palm-shaded, powdery beaches and lush rainforests… Eclectic small towns and world-famous enclaves… Exclusive, world-class resorts and gem-like B&B’s. It’s all here. Maui’s natural wonders are the stuff of legend… the white-sand beaches, the volcanic craters, and the dense green of the rainforests. A great place for Christmas gifts. But you’ll also find plenty of man-made wonders too – from the pleasures of a hillside winery to the joys of shopping and dinning to the relaxing embrace of a world-famous spa.

Standing at over 10,000 feet, magnificent Haleakala (House of the Sun”), is not only Maui’s most impressive natural landmark; it’s the largest dormant volcano on Earth.

You can take a tour to the top to watch the sunrise (if you’re lucky enough that you’re out of the clouds!) and then ride a bike down to the coast village of Paia. Most visitors head to the summit of Haleakala to enjoy the views down into the crater. The drive itself is fascinating, through diverse landscapes dotted with native Hawaiian plants and wildlife.

Not for the lead-footed or light headed, the Road to Hana is a commitment. With dozens of bridges and hairpin turns, many high above plunging ravines and sea coasts, driving the road is nothing short of a genuine adventure. Taking at least three hours each way, not counting time spent at roadside fruit stands or gazing at waterfalls. And as wonderful as the drive is – this is one journey with an equally enchanting destination. A magical little hamlet of simple homes and quiet gardens, Hana’s isolation is the source of its charm visited mostly by daytrippers. There is a wonderful black sand state park here as well as the Queen’s 7 Sacred Pools and a little further down the road is the burial place of Charles Lindbergh. It’s worth staying 1 or 2 nights.

Kaanapali, was once the exclusive retreat of Hawaiian royalty and the training grounds for Hawaiian warriors. Today Kaanapali is an oceanfront playground home to a variety of resorts and hotels, as well as fantastic shopping and dining at popular destinations such as Whaler’s Village. Separating Kaanapali and Kahekili Beaches is the majestic Black Rock. The ancient Hawaiians believed the Black Rock to be the departure point for spirits leaving this world, “jumping off” to join their ancestors. In commemoration of this legend, a not-to-be-missed cliff diving ceremony is performed nightly. Should you be visiting from December to May, Kaanapali also happens to be Maui’s premier whale watching spot.

Set along the glittering shore of Kaanapali Beach, Lahaina is Maui’s largest town, and undoubtedly one of the island’s most popular destinations. Lahaina holds an enviable position on Maui’s warm southern shore, providing stunning vistas of the Pacific and the neighboring island of Lanai, great seasonal whale watching, and front row seats to Maui’s famous sunsets. Lahaina’s streets are lined with boutiques, galleries, shops and restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets. There are enough sites and activities here to keep anyone busy.

Whether it’s a breathtaking Zipline tour, a mountain bike excursion, a scuba diving expedition, or a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter tour, you’ll find unlimited opportunities to stir your passions.

Maui means romance. Whether it’s a dream wedding, an exhilarating honeymoon, or simply a romantic escape from the everyday. Not only are the settings sensational, the marriage and honeymoon service providers are second to none. With an array of spectacular dining and entertainment choices, as well as some of Hawaii’s finest accommodations, and you begin to see why so many couples return for a second, third, or 20th honeymoon celebration!

Maui truly offers something for everyone… from the quiet majesty of a Haleakala sunrise, to a stimulating stroll through historic Lahaina… an historic afternoon in the paniolo town of Makawao, or a thrilling drive to “Heavenly Hana.” So go ahead, explore. Engage. Indulge. Whatever you do, Maui will change you.


Known to most as the Big Island or Orchid Island, this island is also full of contrasts. Hawaii is the youngest and still growing with the activity of Kilaua as the goddess, Pele, is still spewing forth plenty of red hot lava. You can spend days just exploring the Volcano National Park where you can see hundreds of acres of lava fields and hike trails through craters and rainforests. The capitol city is Hilo on the eastern shore. Hilo is no longer the major tourist destination, but still not to be missed. North of Hilo along the eastern coast is where you find plenty of waterfalls and the Royal Valley of Waipio which can only be entered by 4-wheel drive or you can go horseback riding or take an ATV trip. Don’t forget to take a raincoat! Like Kauai, the road ends here because of the high Pali, or cliffs. The northern center section of the island is cowboy country. This area has large cattle farms and raises some of the best grassfed beef you’ll ever taste. The Parker Ranch located in Waimea was, until recently, the largest cattle ranch in the Unites States. On the Western side or Kona coast is the town of Kaihalua Kona and the major airport. This village still holds it small town charm located right on the water. The famous Waikoloa resort area is just up the road to the north where you see lush green resorts carved out of lava fields. There are also some great golf courses here and like most of the islands, water sports are just awesome. The slopes of the mountains is where you find the world famous Kona Coffee. Don’t miss a trip to a coffee plantation. This island has 11 of the 13 climatic zones found on our planet and that is another reason for the diversity of plant life. Hawaii is where you find black sand beaches as well as white, green and pink sand beaches, however, don’t think you will see a lot of beaches here because the coast is still mainly lava. With so much to see, it’s best to experience the island in small pieces. There’s plenty of room on Hawaii’s Big Island for your return.

Lanai and Molokai

There are 2 smaller islands that don’t even have traffic lights. Until a very few years ago. Lanai was a privately owned island. Lanai was known as the Pineapple Island because Dole grew most of their pineapples here. Most of the pineapple business has moved overseas, so Dole no longer owns the island. There are two luxury resorts here and one other small hotel, but no traffic lights. Lanai is a small island and not very developed, but you can find great beaches and there is a daily ferry between Lanai and Maui if you need some entertainment.

The other is Molokai. This island is mostly tall lush mountains with many secluded deserted beaches. Molokai lies just to the west of Maui. Known as the most Hawaiian of all the islands, Molokai has a lot of nothing but true “aloha”. Molokai is where the famous leper colony run by Father Damien is located. Although leprosy is controlled today, the colony is located there with fewer than 100 people still living there. Like Lanai, Molokai is not very developed so if you really want to get away from it all on an island with plenty of deserted beaches and towering mountains. Take the 3 mile mule ride that descends 1600 feet with 25 switchbacks in to valley to visit Kalaupapa. This is your place if you’re looking for the true old Hawaii.

Each of these islands have only 3 hotels.

Why would you choose the Hawaiian Islands for your vacation, destination wedding or honeymoon?

Well, close you eyes and imagine:

Tropical flowers of every color surrounding you.

Sea turtles swim in surrounding ponds while birds sing in the trees.

Warm breezes scented with flowers and the sea.

Turquoise seas, lush rainforest and tall mountains.

I could go on and on but suffice it to say that the Hawaiian Islands are truly the tropical paradise that have earned them this name.


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