Travel tips to Hawaii: Which islands to go to?

If you are planning to travel to Hawaii , you are in the right place. I have just returned from touring the archipelago for 17 days and I come with fresh information and good advice so that yours is also an unforgettable trip.

Many people think of Hawaii and the first thing they imagine in their head is white sand beaches, transparent greenish blue sea, flower necklaces, big waves and surf. But the truth is that very few people really know what to do in Hawaii, what there is to see in Hawaii and less how many islands they are and what is special about each one.

The state of Hawaii is made up of 4 “big” islands and two small ones. It is (almost) impossible to cover them all in less than 15 days. The ideal for a good trip to Hawaii would be 1 month and thus be able to explore each island in time.

On each island there is much more than what a guide can say. They are full of unexplored or little known places. You need to plan your trip to know what to do in Hawaii and to be able to make the most of your time on the islands.

Most people visit a single island or in some cases two and even three. It is very rare for anyone to visit Hawaii’s four largest islands.

I made up my mind that, despite how little time I had.

In just 12 days I toured the 4 largest islands very intensely and quickly but covering all the most important places. Next time I will make it calmer.

Where is Hawaii

Most know that Hawaii is a state of the United States and that it remains in the Pacific . But when I was planning my trip, I was surprised to see that it really is in the middle of the ocean.  In the middle of nowhere It is located almost the same distance from Japan as from the United States.

How to get to Hawaii

The best way to get there is by plane from the west coast of the United States.

There are flights every day from ( Los Angeles , San Francisco , Seattle, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento , etc.) and if not, there are some cruise options.

The airlines that fly the most to the islands are Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines. All flights from the mainland arrive at:

  • Honolulu:  capital of Hawaii, located on the island of Oahu or
  • Kahului:  located on the island of Maui.

To travel between the islands I did it by plane.  Hawaiian Airlines is the best but there are also other smaller and cheaper airlines such as: go !, Island Air and Mokulele Airlines. The planes are smaller and tend to depart from more airports than Hawaiian.

There is also the possibility of touring the islands of Hawaii by cruise.  Either departing from the United States coast or departing from the port of Honolulu.

Introduction to the islands for your trip to Hawaii

There are 6 known and visited  islands, but the archipelago is made up of a huge number of islands. Most of them underwater.

They were all made up of at least one volcano and are basically made up of solidified volcanic lava. All due to the successive eruptions over millions of years. There is a “Hot Spot” that is where the lava emerges “creating islands” for thousands of years.

The “Hot Spot” is located in a fixed place.

Over time, due to the movements of the Pacific tectonic plate, the islands move to the northwest and also erode.

That is why the largest (and newest) island is the one to the east and from there they shrink until they disappear from the sea surface.

One of the most impressive things is that a new island called Loihi is currently being created east of Big Island. It won’t appear on the surface for 10,000 years, though.

What to do in Hawaii: island by island

Oahu, the most developed island in Hawaii

The best known island. Where the city ​​of Honolulu , capital of the state of Hawaii, is located. The only big city on the islands.

It is a mixture of Hawaiian culture with the comforts and amenities of the 21st century. It is the only one where we can find world-class museums. There are many resorts and in general there are options for all tastes.

It is also recognized for its huge waves for surfing in the North Shore area.

Maui, the coolest island in Hawaii

The second largest island and the second most famous. It has some of the best beaches in the world.

It is a great place for whale watching , it has a great sleeping volcano  (that can be climbed), very good night life, very picturesque historical towns like Lahaina and a great variety of resorts .

But without a doubt, its main attraction is driving the incredible Road to Hana , a spectacular road that offers a great variety of natural landscapes.

Big Island, the island of volcanoes

The newest and largest of the islands. It has 11 of the 13 climatic zones in the world. From white sand beaches to snowy mountains. It is quite green and natural.

Many of the main tourist attractions require long walks and there is not as much hotel infrastructure as in the previous two. It has few large sandy beaches but its main attraction is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: a volcano national park with several interesting activities to do. The Kilauea volcano is located in the park , one of the most active in the world  and it is very common to see lava flowing.

Coffe Berries

Kauai, the best island in Hawaii

The last and oldest of the big islands. The least known and developed but in my opinion the best.

It is also called the “garden island” . It is full of huge sandy beaches and has  lush natural beauty everywhere.

It is undoubtedly the greenest of all the large islands. Landscapes from another planet like the Na pali Coast , and the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, the Waymea Canyon.  Waterfalls, dolphins, whales. Of everything.

I was left without touring the two smallest islands. On the one hand  Molokini , known for its inhabitants are mostly native Hawaiians who have preserved much of its history, culture and nature. On the other hand,  Lanai , famous for its tranquility and privacy (it does not have a single traffic light).

What language is spoken in Hawaii

Most of the names of the towns, rivers, beaches, lakes, mountains and volcanoes come from the Hawaiian language . The names sound very strange and are made up of only 13 letters. But in reality it is much easier for us Spanish speakers to pronounce Hawaiian names. Much easier than for those who speak Anglo-Saxon languages ​​because the pronunciation of the letters is the same as Spanish.

Anyone who speaks Spanish can read and pronounce Hawaiian well.

Conclusions on what to see in Hawaii

In my opinion, since Hawaii is so far from everything, the bare minimum should be trying to visit two islands on your Hawaii vacation.

Kauai for me is unmissable. The best. Then Big Island follows, then Maui and finally Oahu. But that depends on the tastes of each one. All four are incredible and have much more than I could explore.

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