There are places you visit, and places you experience. One of my favorite places to experience is Hawai’i. When I first arrived I could smell the ocean and flowers, feel the calming energy, and giggle at the warm kisses from the sun. This was all while waiting for my luggage at the open airport. At night, the moon smiles down on the shore, satisfied with the melodic sounds of the rhythmic waves. There are early morning showers, great places to watch the stars, endless beaches and so much nature to explore. Below I have listed five of my favorite tips for experiencing Hawai’i.
Top five tips for Hawai’i
Cue your mother’s voice or a vintage sunscreen commercial. The sun seems to be on steroids here, and since you will find yourself drawn to the beautiful weather and outdoor activities, it is important to protect yourself. Black peeps burn, too. I have the pictures to prove it.
4. Local Cuisine.
Let’s face it, not everyone is open to trying different kinds of food. Hawai’i has something for everyone. When on Hawai’i, leave your fast food fascination on the Mainland (Mainland is what Hawaiians call the contiguous United States. Simple, right?). Tthe fish here will make your head spin. Try poke (pronounced poh-kay), artfully seasoned sectioned raw fish. As I am obsessed with spicy food, it was only a matter of time before I fell in love with the spicy Ahi poke. If seasoned raw fish isn’t your thing, there are tons of restaurants willing to cook your meal to your liking. I wasn't prepared for the amazing Thai cuisine at a barely noticeable place called New Chiang Mai in Hilo.
3. Stay local, drive far.
If you are visiting the Big Island of Hawai’i, Kaua’i, or O’ahu, there are beautiful resorts that offer the best of Hawai’i. These resorts offer guests a myriad of activities to keep you occupied on the property. It may also be a good idea to borrow some wheels and have a drive along the island. My best friend and I drove through the mountains on the Big Island from our resort, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, to one of the wettest cities on Earth, Hilo. It was like being transported to Thailand. Make sure to visit the Hilo Farmer’s Market for some of the freshest produce and fresh jams. Visit a macadamia plantation on O’ahu or drive past the Dole Plantation and pick up a fresh pineapple.
2. Get active.
While it's quite easy to find yourself relaxing on the beaches on Hawai’i for hours, fight the trance and experience the nature of Hawai’i. Waikiki has world famous beaches on O’ahu - go for a short hike or take surfing lessons. During my first kayaking experiencemy best friend and I got stuck in the middle of the ocean during a rainstorm (not fun!). I hiked up mountains to view the best secluded beaches on Kaua’i, convinced myself that I was brave enough to swim in tide pools next to the ocean on Makapu’u Mountain, and watched a solar eclipse.
1. Island Hop!
I am sure you've noticed by now that I managed to find great things in different places. Because each island has something different to offer, it's a great idea to visit at least two of the islands. Some flights are even as short as a New York City subway ride from Brooklyn to Midtown! Kaua’i is known as the “Garden Island” because of it's breathtaking scenery and lush vegetation. Moloka’i is the “Friendly Isle” because it has the most Hawaiian natives; go for a truly Hawaiian experience. Lana’i is the “Secluded Island” and has two world class resorts. The Big Island has almost all of the major geological zones. O’ahu is the “Gathering Place” and has famous places like Diamond Head, the North Shore, and Waikiki. Maui is voted the Best Island in the World. With so many diverse islands, it is quite easy to experience different parts of Nature’s Paradise.
Your illustration of Hawaii is very vivid. I'm truly a traveler myself and we are planning a cruise next year and I will recommend going to see and do everything you have displayed in this article.
OMG! I will visit the spots in Hawaii that Ebony visited and described. She literally put me there with her in Hawaii as she tells us the story.
Catch the trend, here?
I scored all of these amazing deals by doing one thing, and one thing only.
I traveled off season.
Traveling off season or during the low season, simply put, is the time of year when a destination gets the fewest visitors. As a result, amazing hotels are plentiful as they tend to offer the lowest prices to attract customers and fill rooms. Scheduling some of my travel during this season has been the easiest way for me to secure the best resorts, vacation packages and flight deals. People always say that the weather off-season in most places is horrendous (hot, cold or rainy), but often, it's quite the contrary. If you're ok with a day or so of possible shoddy weather, traveling when there aren't many other tourists around is an attractive option for many. During my stay at each of these locations, the weather didn't hint at anything out of the ordinary (with the exception of Bali). In fact, I couldn't have asked for better weather.
My friends and I have individual condos in Vegas, an island in eastern Canada, and a flat in Budapest. It's not the same group for each property, but there's a lot of overlap. I realized that none of our places are ideal for winter, though Budapest does have its charm, so I started thinking about tropical places that would be good for quick escapes from winter (it even gets cold in Vegas).
When buying these shared places, cost is a major factor. The property has to be cheap enough that everyone can afford it without needing to go there constantly to make it worth it, and also so that no one ever needs to sell to free up cash. Every property we've ever bought has been under $100,000. Those factors eliminated a lot of popular winter spots.
My first choice was San Juan, Puerto Rico. I had been once and thought that it was a really cool city with a mix of good beaches, good healthy food, and a nice downtown area. I sent out an email to my usual group of friends, got a group together, and booked a cruise that ended in San Juan so that I could go check it out.
In the meantime the hurricane hit, but I was undeterred. I figured that I could see which buildings could survive a hurricane and if I still liked the city at its worst, it would only get better from there. Plus, maybe some people would want to move to a non-hurricane-prone city and prices would be good.