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Hawaii is USA's 50th state and a popular holiday destination for its citizens, as well as foreign tourists. Together with Florida, it's one of a few states where it's usually summer year round. The most popular island is Oahu, where you'll find Honolulu, Waikiki Beach and numerous other options to have a relaxing holiday. Maui is a good number two, and has great beaches and surfing as well as fantastic scenery. You can do daytrips to from here to islands like Molokai and Lanai. Kauai is another gem, in the northwest of the archipelago, while Hawaii Island (or the Big Island) is as big as all islands combined and is great for wachting the stars, hiking and more of a nature destination compared to the other islands.
Hawaii is an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean roughly 3,200 kilometres southwest of the continental United States, south of Alaska, and north of Tahiti. Hawaii is the southernmost state of the United States and the second westernmost state after Alaska. Only Hawaii and Alaska do not share a border with another U.S. state. Hawaii is the only state of the United States that is not geographically located in North America, grows coffee, is completely surrounded by water, is entirely an archipelago, has royal palaces, and does not have a straight line in its state boundary. Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea, stands at 4,205 metres but is taller than Mount Everest if followed to the base of the mountain, which, lying at the floor of the Pacific Ocean, rises about 10,200 metres.
The eight main islands, Hawaiʻi, Maui, Oʻahu, Kahoʻolawe, Lanaʻi, Molokaʻi, Kauaʻi and Niʻihau are accompanied by many others. Kaʻala is a small island near Niʻihau that is often overlooked. The Northwest Hawaiian Islands are a series of nine small, older masses northwest of Kauaʻi that extend from Nihoa to Kure that are remnants of once much larger volcanic mountains. There are also more than 100 small rocks and islets, such as Molokini, that are either volcanic, marine sedimentary or erosional in origin, totaling 130 or so across the archipelago
In Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii, you can see the only active volcano in North America. Here are steaming vents and gleaming black rocks, the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution - processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with unique, exotic, tropical ecosystems and a distinct human culture. The park highlights two of the world's most active volcanoes, and offers insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands as well as world-famous views of dramatic volcanic landscapes. An experience visiting the volcano on the Big Island has two parts. There is the steaming Kilauea crater at nearly 4,000 metres high as well as the long slope near Kalapana where the molten lava goes into the ocean. Watching earth being created is an experience you will never forget and is best done near sunset. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is only one of several astounding natural features on the Big Island of Hawai'i. You can also find Mauna Kea, the world's tallest peak as measured from base to summit, sacred Waipi'o Valley with its lush flora and black sand beach, and eleven of the world's thirteen climate zones in one area of the island or another.
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Mauna Kea is by some measures the tallest mountain in the world. It is located on the Big Island. When measured from the base of the mountain on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, it rises 10,203 metres to its peak, taller than Mount Everest if using the same measurement. It is a dormant volcano, with its last eruption dating back to about 2500 BC.
In the Hawaiian language, Mauna Kea means "white mountain", so named because its summit is regularly covered with snow in winter. The mountain's summit is one of the best astronomical sites in the world and several leading observatories can be found there as a result.
Hawaii is a popular destination among people looking for great weather. There are however differences throughout the year and even between parts of the islands. The southwestern parts are generally much drier compared to the northeastern parts of the islands. Honolulu is located in the southwest and has only between 20 and 50 mm of rain during most of the year, more so from November to February. Temperatures here are highest between July and October, around 28 °C during the day and around 24 °C at night. The other months are still nice and warm, between 24 °C and 27 °C during the day and around 20 °C at night.
The northeastern parts have even less fluctuation regarding temperatures though nights tend to be slighly cooler, days a bit warmer, especially in 'winter'. Here, rainfall is high with between 200 and 400 mm of rain a month, the wettest again from November to March. It is quite unusual for tropical islands to have the wettest time of year coincide with the slightly cooler months. Oddly enough, the possibility of a tropical storm or even a hurricane is higher from May to November, opposite to the wetter months. Still, such storms are less frequent compared to for example the Caribbean or west Pacific.
Honolulu International Airport on the island of Oahu (airport code: HNL) is the main gateway to the islands of Hawaii and the principal hub of Hawaiian Airlines. There are direct routes to Honolulu's airport from Asia, North America and the Pacific.
Dozens of international destinations are served, among which many cities in the US, like Los Angeles, Seatlle and New York City. Other destinations include Vancouver, Auckland, Fiji, Taiwan, Micronesia, American Samoa, Seoul, Melbourne, Sydney, Manila, and quite a few cities in Japan, including Tokyo and Osaka.
To/from the airport
TheBus (Honolulu) routes 19, 20, and 31 stop on the upper (departure) level of the airport. Routes 19 and 20 connect the airport to Pearlridge Center (20 only), Hickam AFB (19 only), Downtown Honolulu, Ala Moana Center, and Waikiki. Route 31 connects the airport to Tripler Army Medical Center, via Kalihi Transit Center. Routes 9, 40, 40A, 42, and 62 run on Nimitz Highway within walking distance of the airport.
Taxis, limousine services, (hotel) shuttles and rental cars are all widely available, some of them requiring advance reservations.
Kona International Airport (KOA) is the major airport on the western side of the Big Island.
There are direct flights to the Big Island with United Airlines from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. US Airways has flights from Phoenix.
American Airlines and Delta Airlines also serve the airport from Los Angeles. Some other cities with direct flights include Vancouver (seasonal), Seattle, Oakland and Tokyo.
Kahului Airport (airport code OGG) handles all flights to and from Maui. Destinations include Vancouver in Canada and several mainland US cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, Anchorage, Portland, Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix, Denver and San Francisco.
Lihue Airport (LIH) is located on the southeast coast of the island. From here, Alaska Airlines flies to Seattle, American Airlines and Delta Airlines to Los Angeles, United Airlines to Los Angeles, Denver and San Francisco, US Airways to Phoenix and there are seasonal flights with Westjet to Vancouver.
Royal Carribean Cruise
Hungry for a dazzling at-sea experience that combines sleek swiftness, panoramic vistas, and an array of our best new dining options? Look no further than the newly renovated Radiance of the Seas®. With acres of glass enclosing the nine-story central atrium, elevators facing the sea, and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, you'll never be at a loss for an incredible view. Plus, we've just added eight new dining experiences, ranging from casual eats at Boardwalk Doghouse, to the family-style Italian fare at Giovanni's Table, to the sizzling skewers of Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse. Other new features include a Royal Babies & TotsSM Nursery, VIP guest lounges, and an outdoor, poolside movie screen showing first-run movies day and night. Whether you seek adventurous activities, relaxing moments, or fine fare, Radiance of the Seas has the features to please every taste.
Sail from Vancouver on a 12-night voyage to the mystic Hawaiian islands. Bask in the sun on the black-sand beaches of Hilo. Stand before the awe-inspiring sight of Mount Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. End your vacation with a festive luau in Honolulu. Discover the Aloha spirit in Hawaii.
Explore the islands, Maui's waterfalls and winding back roads on a four-wheel adventure through Kauai. Discover lush rain forests and orchid-scented botanical gardens on Hawaii, and hike Oahu's Diamond Head and Koko Head volcanoes. Come experience the wonders of Hawaii on an incredible Royal Caribbean International® cruise vacation.
Princess Hawaiian Cruise
Sail for 15 days on a Hawaiian Islands cruise from Los Angeles, San Francisco and now from Vancouver that visits four islands and is a better vacation value than a land-based vacation.
Enjoy our 12-day sailing from Vancouver to Honolulu where you can experience Kona as well as a new port - Kahului, on Maui.
Immerse yourself in Polynesian culture ashore on a variety of optional shore excursions and experience it on board with an array of activities, like our Aloha Spirit program on Hawaii cruises featuring luaus, lei making demonstrations, traditional performances and more.
A wide range of unique itineraries to Tahiti and the South Pacific, Fiji, as well as Hawaii, including our popular 10-day Tahiti & Polynesia, 11-day Fijian Jewels, and 11-day Hawaii & Tahiti cruises.
A return to the beautiful Marquesas Islands await on a 10-day Marquesas & Polynesia cruise roundtrip Tahiti. Longer voyages of up to 35 days delve deeper into the South Pacific, with calls to intriguing ports such as Bora Bora, Moorea and Raiatea. Princess Cruises was named "Best Cruise Line for Honeymooners" by Cruise Critic.
Enjoy glorious views from your private verandas where you can unwind from a day of island exploration. Onboard, you can intertwine lunch hours with happy hours.
Get unplugged from the world-wide-everything and recharge your life by relaxing on one of Hawaii's many world-famous beaches. Journey to the island waterfalls or heat things up with a volcano tour. Hike through the rainforests full of tropical birds or take a dip with the fishes. Hawaii will be proof that paradise still exists.
E komo mai
Hawaiian for "Our house is your house," and what a house it is. From palm-fringed beaches and indescribable sunsets, to emerald green rainforests and thunderous volcanoes. Experience a land that is open and welcoming, yet marbled with mystery. Whether your vision of Hawaii conjures up images of moonlit beaches or dancers taming batons of fire, you'll see the Hawaii of your imagination and the Hawaii that will defy it.
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
Hawaii on a cruise. With two basic alternatives, Hawaii is one not to be missed. Start from Honolulu, go around the other Polynesian islands and get back to the most populated island takes around seven days. Other choices would leave from Vancouver, San Diego or Los Angeles. The longest cruise would take almost two weeks from mainland, taking few of those days to get to Hawaii. Visit the Big Island (Hawaii Island) and look at the volcanic formations, enjoy luxurious Oahu and Maui full of resorts and beautiful beaches.
Uahi Island Grill
Address: 131 Hekili St #102, Kailua, HI 96734
Hours: 10:30 am – 10:30 pm
This small mom and pop shop features local favorites with a twist. A common meal in Hawaii includes kalua pork and cabbage, Uahi Island Grill has put a twist on this dish and instead features kalua pork with kale, another leafy green packed with nutrients. Their menu is delicious and playful. When dinning at Uahi Island Grill for dinner make sure you don’t forget your favorite bottle of wine. They are BYOB and don’t charge a corkage fee, so you’ll be able to enjoy a glass of wine and save some money.
The Kalapawai Market
Address: 306 S Kalaheo Ave, Kailua, HI 96734
Hours: 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
This is an old-style general store, and while the only seats are outdoors, the beach is right in back. Loyal patrons from Kailua and Lanikai show up every morning to choose from six types of coffee brewed each day. Kalapawai is the perfect place to grab a solid latte after a sunrise walk.
Address: 767 Kailua Rd, Kailua, HI 96734
Hours: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm, 5:00 – 10:00 pm
Cactus is “a celebration of the cuisines of the new Americas with Aloha,” transporting the flavors, culinary traditions and techniques from Central and South America as well as Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Offering the cuisines of the sun, land and sea, Cactus menu selections focus on:
Local produce from the islands
Shinsato Farms pork from Kahalu’u
Kulana and Kuahiwi beef, veal, wild boar from the Big Island
Sustainably caught or farmed seafood from the island chain
Along with the cuisine, Cactus puts a very large focus on the wines of Argentina, Chile, Peru and some small estates in Spain and Mexico. Traditional, and some untraditional, Sangrias are featured, including a signature frozen Sangria.
We also offer premium rums, tequilas and piscos (sort of a South American Grappa) that are paired with fresh island herbs and tropical fruits, alongside non-alcohol selections like Horchata, Jaritos sodas, and fresh juices.
All is served in a casual, convivial environment with warm, engaging, professional service.
Address: 413 Kawailoa Rd, Kailua, HI 96734
Hours: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, 4:30 – 9:00 pm
Buzz’s Steak House is a famous dining spot in Kailua. This local landmark serves perfectly cooked steaks, mahi mahi filets and Hawaiian themed cocktails. Located near the beach, it is a great place to stop by after a fun day on the beach. The filet mignon is always a great choice. A fun drink to try is their lava flow. This is a pina colada with a little grenadine to give it the appearance of a lava flow.
Address: 108 Hekili St #107, Kailua, HI 96734
Hours: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, 5:00 – 9:30 pm
Prima is in an old Blazing Steaks location, in a Kailua strip mall. Hard to spot, because it has no sign.
Prima vaguely models itself on the New York joint Torrisi Italian Specialties, and features familiar terms such as caprese and cannelloni on the menu, but this isn’t a red-sauce joint (although their red sauce is stellar). Its Caprese salad is an elegant construction of fresh, oven-dried and sundried tomatoes (the fresh being the predictable tasteless weak link) with house-pulled mozzarella and house-baked breadsticks. The crudo plate, which changes according to the fresh catch of the day, was a pretty plate of opakapaka morsels dotted with pieces of pomelo, tomato, basil and crisp, mini oven-dried pepperoni slivers. Pepperoni? Yes, it takes the place of salt and makes for a crazy, perfect melding of flavor. These guys are masters of acid—pieces of pan-fried opelu are brightened with oregano-orange marmalade and Meyer lemon vinaigrette.
Address: 315 Uluniu St, Kailua, HI 96734
Think pancakes! Cinnamon's Restaurant opened its doors in March 1985 and they've been packing ‘um in ever since. Russ and Lyle were told, without a doubt, if you're coming to Kailua you gotta go to Cinnamon's!
The most suggested dish, by viewers, is the red velvet pancakes. "…red velvet pancakes, very popular down here at Cinnamon's with white chocolate sauce on top…" says Russ. So if you've yet to try them, know that the dish comes highly recommended by veteran Cinnamon's visitors. If you're not in the mood for sweet . Check out the crab cake eggs benedict with their world famous hollandaise sauce.
Cinnamon's has both indoor and outdoor seating. If you opt for outdoor no worries, the tables come equipped with large red umbrellas. They provide ample shade for putting away a number of their tasty dishes from the curry chicken salad to their cashew chicken sandwich. Their kitchen cranks out breakfast as well as sandwiches, burgers and lunch entrees.
Big City Diner
Address: 108 Hekili St #101, Kailua, HI 96734
Phone: (808) 263-8880
Hours: 7:00 am – 12:00 am
Voted one of the Best New Restaurants in Hawaii by Zagat surveys. Honolulu Star Bulletin Restaurant critique, Nadine Kam, gives Big City Diner four stars for fantastic food, excellent service and tremendous value. Honolulu Magazine restaurant reveiwer, John Heckatorn, says Big City Diner has "Great local food with a lot of self-confidence". Great family dining (kid friendly) and recipient of the Hale 'Aina award for Best Restaurant under $20 in Hawaii. Enjoy Big City Dining at neighborhood prices, try their "to die for" baby back ribs with a guava barbecue glaze or calamari tempura with wasabi aoli dipping sauce. Open daily from 7:00am for breakfast, lunch dinner and late nite. Reservations suggested for parties of 6 or more for seatings before 6 pm. Full bar, micro-brewed beers on tap, wine list, satellite live sports and home delivery available.
There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:
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