Heavenly beaches, lilting 'ukelele music, and umbrella-garnished cocktails… Are you dreaming of Hawai'i? This exquisite archipelago may be the ultimate beach destination, but seaside delights are only the start of Hawai'i’s seduction.
Beyond the beach lies a land that throbs with the promise of adventure. There are active volcanoes, luscious valleys, and secret waterfalls to discover, as well as fascinating traditions and one-of-a-kind foodie experiences. Whether you’re learning to live aloha, or bonding with the land through the sustainable travel practice of Mālama, we dare you to resist the spellbinding embrace of Hawaiian culture.
O'ahu’s blend of urban and natural attractions is impossible to resist. Known as the heart of Hawai'i, this loveable destination promises you’ll never leave disappointed. The jewel-blue water and white sand of Waikīkī are every bit as idyllic as you’re imagining. Once you’ve had a fix of summer vibes, the possibilities for adventure unfold around you. The shopping, dining, and nightlife choices of Honolulu ooze with tropical glamour. Hike the volcanic plug of Diamond Head for fabulous city views before choosing a culinary delight from the city’s famous food trucks. A surfing lesson on Waikīkī Beach is an iconic rite of passage, but experienced surfers dream of the epic winter swells of O'ahu’s North Shore. This laidback region offers a fresh contrast to the glitz of Honolulu and its surrounds.
Bucketlist ocean experiences include scuba diving at Turtle Canyon and winter whale watching on an interpretive cruise. But head inland to discover a trove of lush rainforest and fascinating landmarks. Make time for a stop at the stunning Byodo-In Temple: a Japanese replica whose red-lacquered glory is a thrilling contrast to the verdant Ko'olau foothills. Discover the intriguing past of Hawaiian royalty at Iolani Palace, and get acquainted with the history that shaped modern Hawaiian culture.
Hawai'i’s second-largest island is a fitting tribute to the legendary demigod. There’s an abundance of luxury resorts, yet the breathtaking Maui wilderness has space for everyone to find a personal oasis. Maui beaches are among the best in the world. Makena Beach is a generous stretch of flawless sand bookended by dignified lava formations. For striking black shores and photo ops for days, visit Ho’okipa Beach, or opt for an adrenaline rush from the cliff jump at Ka’anapali Beach. Humpback whales make their annual migration past Maui in the winter, but sea turtles and manta rays frequent the waters all year round. There are world-famous breaks for avid surfers, but the waters are just as inviting to stand-up paddleboarders, snorkellers, and swimmers.
Maui’s luscious interior is teeming with adventure. Hiking trails wend by bamboo thickets, waterfalls, and extinct volcanoes. Save time to visit the Iao Valley, where emerald-draped peaks make it easy to understand why it’s a sacred place. After an early dinner of fresh poke, make your way up to the Haleakala summit and sit enthralled by the sunset views from 3,000 metres above sea level. As the blushing sky fades, the stars will twinkle into existence, lighting the way for your next Maui adventure.
The Island of Hawai’i
What will you uncover on the Island of Discovery? The Island of Hawai’i is a natural wonderland of furious volcanoes, exquisite valleys, and thundering waterfalls. The coastline is young and rugged, but sandy havens range from the sun-drenched Hapuna Beach to the black sands of Punaluu Beach. Crystalline waterfalls and tropical blooms adorn the east side of the island, while the west side rolls into verdant pasturelands. Above it all looms Mauna Kea, considered the world’s tallest mountain if measured from its ocean base. An evening sojourn up this dormant volcano could reinvent your idea of stargazing; the altitude and lack of pollution reveal the heavens in dazzling clarity.
Kilauea makes up for its shorter stature with volcanic vigour. When eruptions are active, you can take a boat tour to see molten lava gush into the ocean: a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle that will leave your heart pounding. The Island of Hawai’i boasts some of the state’s finest golf courses, with postcard-worthy feature holes. It’s often called the breadbasket of the Hawaiian islands, thanks to the rich bounty of its volcanic soil. Tour a coffee plantation, visit a vanilla farm, or simply pluck an avocado from the side of the road. For a humbling creature encounter, sign up for a nighttime swim with manta rays off the Kona coast. These gentle giants glide centimetres away from you in pursuit of plankton that is lured by the lights of your tour vessel.
Older and more serene than her cosmopolitan siblings, Kaua'i is a land of unspoiled wilderness. The nickname ‘The Garden Island’ can’t begin to describe the lavish greenery of this tranquil isle, where over 90 percent of the land comprises untouched rainforest and mountain wilds. A visit wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Waimea Canyon, where you can hike among the red cliffs and plunging gorges or drink in dramatic aerial views on a helicopter tour. An airborne perspective is one of the best views of the Nā Pali Coast. Known as Heaven on Earth, it will make you wonder how the landscape before you can possibly be real. Join a cruise or boat tour if you’re eager to get close to Nā Pali’s sacred cliffs and coves.
Hawai’i’s signature golden sands are on offer at Hanea Beach Park, which offers enticing snorkelling options in the calm waters of summer against a magnificent backdrop of Mount Makana (Bali Hai). Anani Beach is known for its frequent sightings of sea turtles, and the divine crescents of Poipu are a generous gift from nature. There’s nothing like a cold treat after a day of adventures. Don’t miss a stop at Wailua Shave Ice, which takes a Hawaiian favourite to gourmet heights.
Festivals & Events
The Hawaiian events calendar is a juicy menu of year-round experiences. The annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival and Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival are foodie paradises, where industry-leading chefs and master winemakers combine their talents to deliver Hawai'i’s top epicurean delights. The name says it all at the Kaua'i Chocolate & Coffee Festival. Indulge in the region’s toothsome cacao and coffee at a deliciously interactive event.
At the Prince Lot Hula Competition, you’ll be enchanted by the different forms of hula. The King Kamehameha Festival and Eo e Emalani i Alakaʻi are thrilling celebrations of culture and the intricate history of the islands. Wherever you find yourself, don’t miss your chance to attend an authentic lūʻau, which you’ll leave with a full belly and a brimming heart.
Hawaiian culture is rooted in the vital connection between people and place. By practising mālama, the act of cherishing and protecting, Hawaiians ensure the bond is constantly nourished and renewed. The Mālama Hawai'i Program is a sustainable travel initiative that can gift you a deeper connection with the unforgettable Hawaiian Islands and the invaluable sensation of being part of a profound relationship.
You could find yourself planting native trees, restoring a traditional fishpond, or scouring the coastline for fishing debris. This is a unique opportunity to go beyond travel and become a part of a precious destination.