Travelling between islands is done via plane with Hawaiian Airlines or GO! Mokulele, which offers flights in small aircrafts. These are cheaper than flying on a commercial airline, but tend to be a little more hair-raising due to the size of the plane.
Car hire is another option for tourists. Hawaii’s roads are well maintained and pleasant to drive on, and all the leading car hire companies offer a fleet of cars to suit your needs.
Each island has its own bus service, which offer a cheap, reliable way to get around. In fact Oahu’s 93 bus routes are some of the best run in the US. Oahu also has the Waikiki Trolley’s; open-air buses which take visitors to the main tourist attractions on the island.
Taxis are reasonably plentiful in Hawaii, though are expensive. Use them sparingly, if you’re watching your dollars.
Despite its status as a tropical island, Hawaii is very safe for travellers. The main causes for concern are safety in the choppy oceans – around 1100 'rescues’ are performed every year. Another slight concern is the sea life. Though shark attacks are relatively rare, it’s worth taking precautions by not swimming in murky water, or at night.
It’s important to remember that Hawaii is part of the US. At best it’s considered very ignorant, and at worst very rude, to refer to the mainland as the US. As with anywhere you visit, it’s vital to look after the environment. Hawaiians pride themselves on their beautiful islands, so take good care of it and leave everything as you found it.
As one of the 50 states, Hawaii has the same visa and passport requirements as the rest of the US. Passports are required, even if you’re travelling from the US. Passports must be valid for travel six months beyond the point you land. Acquire a visa from the US Embassy before you travel.
Hawaiian is a Polynesian language, however, you probably won’t hear a word of it muttered while you’re on holiday there. In fact, only 0.1 percent of Hawaii’s population speaks Hawaiian as their native language. English is, without doubt, your best bet for communicating when you’re in Hawaii.
From Auckland : Air New Zealand offers two flights per week, run between Auckland and Honolulu. These take around nine hours.
From Wellington : Qantas offer flights between Wellington and Honolulu with a stopover in Sydney. These flights take from around 16 hours.
Numerous companies offer airport transfers across all the main islands, in cars ranging from shared shuttle buses to limousines. Most of these services offer an optional, traditional lei greeting service. This means you’ll be greeted at the airport with a flower garland, which will be placed around your neck.
The number 19 and 20 bus routes service Honolulu Airport. Buses depart every 20 minutes during the day, and every half hour in the evening.
One of the most active in the world, Kilauea is a hive of incredible wildlife and a must-visit for its spectacular views. Its fertile soil gives life to a lush rainforest and streams peppered with fragrant flowers. On a hike, you can expect to see some of the island’s most incredible sights, including Hawaiian petroglyphs, flowing lava tubes and incredible views of the island.
There are few sights on this earth quite as exciting as seeing a whale breach in the ocean. Tours from all of Hawaii’s main islands offer whale watching boating trips. Expect to see Alaskan humpback whales that have headed to the warm, shallow waters of Hawaii for the winter.
A holiday in Hawaii is, for many, a holiday of a lifetime. It’s no secret that Hawaii isn’t cheap, but sometimes it’s worth the blowout. If you’ve got the cash to spare, a helicopter ride over Kauai is an experience you’ll never forget; mountains, tropical green forests and deep, blue seas. About 80 percent of Kauai is inaccessible, so this really is the best way to see it.
Hawaii is a magnet for surfers from across the world, and hosts several high profile events throughout the year. Its crashing waves, laidback vibe and spectacular scenery make it an ideal destination for surfers. Whether you’re a pro, or just fancy getting yourself a few lessons and a washboard stomach, Hawaii has the all the amenities you’ll need to hit the water.
Sample Hawaiian cuisine at its best at Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch & Crab. Sam Choy is a culinary celebrity on the Big Island due to his relentless promotion of its feast of flavours, which are showcased to perfection on his menu including the marinated poke and loco moco, a local dish of a hamburger patty served over white rice with a fried egg and gravy.
Simultaneously chilled out and classy, Kona Inn is welcoming and charming, and offers some of the best views you'll find from a dining table. Take our advice and opt for the seafood dishes, washed down with a refreshing mai tai.
Freshly plucked from the ocean it sits beside, Mama's Fish House claims to serve the freshest fish in Hawaii, and it's not hard to believe. Open since 1973, it was the island's first fish restaurant, and remains one of the most popular fine dining options on the island.
Celeb favourite, Nobu is about as chic as it gets. Located in the Parc Hotel Waikiki, this is the ideal location for a blowout evening. Be sure to book in advance if you want to enjoy impeccable service, five-star cuisine and a cocktail menu to-die-for.
Hawaii is the spiritual home of the mai tai, even if they weren't invented there. Indulge in the island's adopted cocktail at its namesake bar, Mai Tai in the Ala Moana mall. Expect the bar to be crammed with revellers enjoying the live music, buzzing atmosphere and – of course – the expertly mixed drinks.
As laid-back as the name suggests, this outdoor beach bar is the perfect spot to start your night, or just enjoy a few sundowners in. In fact, if you're heading to Hawaii with a few boozy nights in mind, it's unlikely you won't hear about the charms of this chilled out venue.
Get a taste of the Hawaii of another era with Tiki's pretty palm wood floors and Pacific artwork. As well as its holiday atmosphere, Tiki serves up mouthwatering tropical cocktails and dishes including coconut shrimp and calamari katsu, which are sure to excite your tastebuds.
As you'd expect in Hawaii, there are beach bars aplenty. But, if you're looking for something a little more refined, there are plenty of options, too. Pearl Ultra Lounge offers a lively combination of live music, dancing, happy hours and delicious cocktails in an upmarket lounge setting. Expect the full VIP treatment and leave your thongs at home for this one!
Make an early start and head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where Mauna Loa, the world's largest volcano and the world's most active volcano are located. You won't want to rush around, so give yourself until sunset to explore. Then, as the night falls, head to Waikiki or Honolulu to experience the nightlife; beach-y and bohemian, high end and luxurious or pulsing and upbeat, there really is something for everyone.
Maui is the perfect spot for exploring Hawaii's incredible array of marine life; head to Molokini Crater for some of the best snorkeling around. After an active day, unwind in Kahului where you'll find bars and restaurants offering live music and dance as well as fresh, juicy mai thais.
Get your surf on for a day's riding the waves at Oahu's North Shore, the surfing capital of the world. Even if you don't fancy getting your toes wet, the scenery and sport-watching make it well worth a visit. In the evening, head back to the cities for a laua – a Hawaiian party. Most of the big resorts have their own, and there are several others dotted around the city, too. Expect plenty of drinking, hula dancing and a fair amount of fish to munch on, too.
Perfect for honeymooners, or those who just want a relaxing break, the best way to spend your time in Kauai is on the long, white sand beaches. Soak up the rays and enjoy the spectacular scenery until the sun sets and it's time to head to one of the island's luxury resorts with their extensive selection of high-end seafood restaurants.
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