The island chain of Hawaii with its powerful nature, magical landscapes and aloha spirit is a dream destination for romantics and adventurers. Blogger Eva guides you through the lifestyle of the six main islands, shows you the most beautiful beaches and explains what makes Hawaii a place of longing for her.
Right calibers have been guests here before me. I’m sitting at the counter in the Tahiti Nui Bar on one of the carved bar stools that George Clooney once sat on in The Descendants . I sip a mai tai pensively – I don’t like rum cocktails after all – and listen to the softly whispering musician Mike Keale and his ukulele. I’m in the flow. After four weeks on the islands I have found my aloha, this relaxed attitude towards life full of respect, love and respect.
Mike Keale sings in Hawaiian about the crashing waves, fire-breathing volcanoes and water. Hawaii’s essence of natural beauty and Polynesian heritage can be beautifully told in a language with just 13 letters and lots of vowels strung together. Or through the hula: His companion in the traditional Muʻumuʻu dress and the indispensable lei flower necklace around her neck accompanies the story while dancing. She’s not a Polynesian beauty, but an aging mainland American. But that doesn’t detract from her grace.
The Tiki Nui Bar is not a stylish establishment either, but a rustic appearance, but an institution in Hanalei. Unpretentious, always packed, the audience mixed and matched. You quickly get closer to experience Aloha for yourself. That’s how it is in Hawaii. Everything is possible, nothing is mandatory and nature takes care of the design.
Hawaii, longing islands in the Pacific
Hawaii, the chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean, with its mighty nature, magical landscapes, exciting history and tradition and its Aloha spirit, is a longing destination for romantics, adventurers, sports fans, those interested in culture and myself. Those who are looking for an extraordinary, varied spot far away from the mainland.
The six main islands developed for tourism could not be more different:
- Oahu, with Honolulu and legendary Waikiki Beach
- Hawaii Island, also called Big Island with active volcanoes and black beaches
- Kauai, with the fascinating Napali Coast from Jurassic Park forming part of the contrasting vegetation
- Maui, surfer Eldorado and urban flair in a rural atmosphere
- Molokai, the most pristine island
- Lanai, the smallest inhabited island, also called “Pineapple Island”.
However, what is common to all islands is the ubiquitous Aloha spirit. If you want to experience Hawaii in all its diversity, you should bring a spirit of discovery with you to explore a very special US state with its own language and monarchical past.
What else do you need? A bit of time, flexibility when nature shows its own will, and a budget that is not too tight. Which island you choose depends on your preferences. The fact is, however, that just one is definitely not enough.
Oahu: Urban life and gorgeous beaches
Oahu is the third largest island with the state and island capital Honolulu. It is home to almost a million inhabitants and thus a variety of different cultures. This is where historical and contemporary Hawaii meet in disparate forms: urban living meets hidden rainforests, visitor-pulling Waikiki Beach meets the laid-back surfing community of the North Shore, and movie-worthy mountain backdrops meet scenic waterfalls. In my opinion, Oahu is underestimated as a vacation spot. The island is so diverse that everyone can get their money’s worth there.
There are dream beaches in every direction on Oahu and the world-famous Bonzai Pipe amazes surfers. You can also get an up-to-date picture of Oahu at fantastic museums like Pearl Harbor , Iolani Palace and street art.
My tip: After the effort comes the pleasure. After the short but tough pillbox hike with a fabulous panoramic view, we head to the snow-white Lanikai Beach. I still have energy reserves and paddle over to the so-called Mokes, the two offshore twin islands.
Underwater things get interesting at Shark’s Cove on the North Shore, especially if you live on the North Shore like me. It’s less crowded than Hanauma Bay; and you can admire the many colorful fish from the water surface even without a snorkel. Every now and then a honu, a green sea turtle, drops by. But you often meet them elsewhere in Hawaii.
Maui: Where the eucalyptus trees are rainbow colored
Maui also bears the title of the magic island and I am immediately enchanted by it. The magic of the second largest island captures every traveler, not just romantics and windsurfing cracks. Miles of white, yellow, black and even red beaches, whale watching, the magnificent sunrises and sunsets on Haleakala Volcano, which covers 75% of the island, and the sacred Iao Valley are just a few of Maui’s attractions.
The Road to “heavenly” Hana is an approximately 85-kilometer scenic grab bag – with more than 50 bridges and over 600 bends along the sea, rainforest and bamboo forests and rainbow eucalyptus trees.
Because of the different climatic zones and the east-west weather divide, there are also enough ordinary rainbows to be seen. At the end there is always a special treasure waiting in Maui.
Maui’s towns: surfer vibes and whale watching
Paia, for example, a pretty little town with a surfer vibe, or Lahaina, the former capital of the Hawaiian kingdom. Today a lively place and a popular meeting place for locals and tourists. The pretty little town has a few sights and museums, as well as plenty of restaurants ( Fleetwoods is wonderful at sunset – and if you’re lucky, owner Mick Fleetwood might even go on stage himself), shops and a variety of art galleries. For the latter, the city is known even beyond the borders of Hawaii. Lahaina is also a popular base for whale watching, snorkeling and diving tours.
Ka’anapali Beach in the west is one of the most beautiful, while the luxury hotels are located on the golden dream beach of Wailea Beach in the south-west. Personally, I feel most comfortable among windsurfers and locals at the Sunday picnic. That’s why I’m always drawn to Kanaha Beach Park. But no day at the beach without having bought banana bread and a fresh smoothie at the Olowalo Juice Stand. At Leodas next door, you’re right to queue for pie.
Hawaii “Big Island”: Hiking through the climate zones
Of all six islands, Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, holds two superlatives: It is the largest and youngest island, because the island is constantly growing thanks to the volcanic activity of Kīlauea. However, not all regions are currently accessible due to recent devastating eruptions. Big Island lives up to its name and is almost twice the size of the other five combined. Accordingly, the island has a lot to offer: around 240 kilometers for hiking, numerous waterfalls, black beaches, green beaches, a lively paniolo culture (cowboys) and almost all climatic zones that are responsible for the extreme weather conditions on the island.
Hawaii has some of the clearest skies in the world. Stargazing opportunities are excellent on all islands. Street lights are also dimmed on the Big Island, so there are few light sources to obscure the view. If you want to enjoy this romantic but bitterly cold moment, you should go to Mauna Kea for stargazing . At over 4,000 meters above sea level and due to its excellent weather conditions, the volcano is one of the most famous astronomical sites in the world.
Meet the Heli on Kauai
Green, greener, Kauai. Also known as the Garden Isle, Kauai is Hawaii’s oldest island. Kauai is almost only accessible by boat or helicopter. My tip: If you want to fly with a helicopter, then here. I made my dream come true and it was breathtaking every second.
The motorable roads are reduced to around 20% of the island’s surface. Many fantastic beaches and views have to be worked out on foot or “paddle”. Not so Hanalei, a crescent-shaped dream beach. Here, too, George Clooney jogged along in the film mentioned at the beginning.
Picture-perfect sunsets can be experienced from the water. Various tour operators offer great sailing excursions along the stunning Napali Coast. The inaccessible coast has served as a backdrop for Hollywood blockbusters such as Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean. During the whale season from November to May there is also a good chance of seeing the sea giants.
Lānai and Molokai: Because it’s the icing on the cake
At Lanai and Molokai you can experience Hawaii in a raw, unpackaged form or indulge yourself. There are no skyscrapers or crowds here, just a tranquil and private island experience.
Lanai is mostly undeveloped except for two luxury resorts and golf course and is a favorite destination for honeymooners. Between Manele Bay and Hulupoe Bay, you can get a great view of the fabled Sweetheart Rock from the Pu’u Pehe lookout. At sunset, it is enveloped in a magical light – when dolphins show up, it almost borders on kitsch.
Molokai – a piece of Hawaiian originality
Molokai in particular has retained its originality. This is thanks to the fact that a majority of the islanders are of Hawaiian Native descent and continue to live a rural lifestyle out of love for the land.
If not at Papohaku Beach, one of the longest white sandy beaches in Hawaii, where else can you unwind and complete a Hawaiian experience?
More tips and information for a trip to Hawaii
- On our trip we only stayed in Airbnbs . I can only recommend that to you!
- Eating out in restaurants in Hawaii is generally very expensive – self-catering is not a problem at all and if you want to travel on a budget it is definitely the preferred method.
- You should not miss a Na Pali Coast tour . With a bit of luck, whales can be spotted on the sailing tour.
- A helicopter tour is expensive, but worth every second. With Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, for example, you can discover Hawaii from a whole new perspective.
- Otherwise, I can only recommend that you discover the island chain individually and on your own. We have had very good experiences with this on our round trip.