There are so many great things to do and places to see in Hawaii that can offer a great escape, cultural experience, spiritual refreshment and visual feasting. A carefully planned trip to Hawaii can allow you to enjoy the best of the islands. However, uncareful planning, or falling to the temptaions of tourist-cattle operations can deny you the true Hawaiian experience you had once dreamed of. There is plenty in Hawaii that can offer you a much less than perfect Hawaiian vacation.
Ask yourself why you wanted to come in the first place? Does your dream experience involve spending lots of time in a big city? With lots of other tourists? Riding on a bus? Partying in wild nightlife? Driving in lots of traffic? Shopping at lots of stores? Spending money at expensive restaurants? Staying the whole time at a posh, yet artificial resort? Sharing a sunny beach with many others? All this can be had and done in Hawaii, as well as at hundreds of other vacation resorts throughout the world. But none of it will allow you to experience the real Hawaii. If you want Cancun or Las Vegas, go to Cancun or Las Vegas.
But if you really want to experience the real Hawaii, scratch all of the above activities from your vacation list and search for what makes Hawaii special. This blog has lots of good suggestions. However, here I will list what I believe you should stay away from:
1. Honolulu / Waikiki. It's big, busy and no longer reflective of the real Hawaii. That being said, you do not need to avoid Oahu. There's plenty of special places outside of the metro area.
2. Bus tours to anywhere. Do you like to be cattle? Cars or vans are much better.
3. Major tourist places. Again, moo? The only worthy exceptions are Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center.
3. Shopping centers. Most of the souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, etc that you'll find are mass produced, some not even in Hawaii, and in the end are not worth it. There's plenty of real, authentic products that will mean much more and have greater value in your memories when found outside of the shopping centers.
4. Expensive restaurants. Sure, there's some real nice ones with great ambiance, but in most cases your best meals and eating experiences will be had in smaller, less fancy joints in more remote areas.
5. Non-Hawaiian themed nightlife. You need a nightlife fix? Go to Cancun or Las Vegas. Or any of hundreds of other non-special places.
In determining where to go and what to do, always ask yourself "Why do I want to go to Hawaii?" If your answer includes any of the above proscribed items, then ask yourself if there isn't a closer, cheaper vacation spot you can go to accomplish such objectives. It's a shame to come all the way to a such a special place and only experience what can be had elsewhere.
Seek the mana, or spirit, of Hawaii and learn the meaning of aloha. It can change your life.
About This Blog
This blog is to share with you some of the highlights of my visits to Hawaii and miscellaneous Hawaiiana. Hawai'i has had a great impact on my life. To see more on why I keep this blog, see: The Impact of Hawai'i in My Life.
I have been asked several times which is my favorite Hawaiian island. Although I hesitate very briefly, I always say that it is Kaua'i, the Garden Island. The only cause for brief hesitation is my thoughts of Maui, which runs a close second. Some reasons why I choose Kaua'i in the top slot are that this island has:
1. The NaPali Coast - an other-worldly, un-paralleled, beautiful piece of earth (see pic above)
2. The greatest abundance of green, beautiful foliage on one Hawaiian island (although the Road to Hana on Maui takes the crown as the best area - bar none)
3. Awesome hikes - on the coast and inland
4. Great beaches in beautiful settings
5. Beautiful waterfalls and special places
6. Fewer people, but more than sufficient services
The below listed link is a good one for exploring the bounties of Kaua'i. Make sure to view the video "I am Kaua'i - Hawaii's Island of Discovery", below. This will give you a taste of why Kaua'i is special. But the only way to really understand is to go there.
And, in 2013 my dream to hike the Kalalau Trail was fulfilled. Check out my log of the hiking trip at My Journey to Kalalau as well as this video.
My Tips for Visiting Kauai
Posted by The Youngs at 8:35 AM