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Say aloha to tropical beaches and a warm welcome with a holiday in Hawaii, an island chain of idyllic sands, epic volcanoes, and a distinctive culture. Whether you're a honeymooner, adventurer or family looking for a package holiday, each of the major islands has its own character and appeal.
The Big Island (also known simply as Hawaii) is home to smouldering Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as well as the cowboy ranches of Waimea. Maui, meanwhile, has some of Hawaii’s best beaches, plus the scenic Road to Hana and the luxurious resorts of Wailea. Nearby is little Lanai, slow-paced and strung with secluded beaches. ‘Garden Island’ Kauai is known for its lush landscapes, threaded by hiking trails. Then there’s Oahu, home to the fizzing capital of Honolulu and historic sites such as Pearl Harbor.
Most come to Hawaii for the beaches; none leave disappointed – Hawaiian beaches live up to the hype. Go snorkelling with sea turtles and manta rays in crystalline water (south Lanai is ideal) or surf the north shore of Oahu. Experience scuba diving at colourful Molokini or spot humpback whales between January and March.
For a first-hand look at Hawaiian culture, be sure to experience a luau. These feasts showcase traditional island life with communal dining on roast pork and poke (seasoned raw fish) and mesmerising hula dances by torchlight. Beyond the luau, find fresh pineapple and dragon fruit at farmers markets, seek out food trucks serving malasadas (Portuguese style donuts) and raise a mai tai at sunset. After a day of volcanoes and beaches, you’ve earned it!
Hawaii is generally safe for travellers, but it is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity, and there are hurricanes (particularly May to November). For the most up-to-date travel advice for Hawaii, check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
British passport holders need a USA visa waiver (ESTA) to holiday in Hawaii.
There are no specific vaccinations required for travellers to Hawaii.
Given the long flight time from the UK, most visitors from outside the USA stay for ten days or more to allow time for snorkelling, seeing active volcanoes like Haleakala and Kilauea, nightlife and a couple of day trips. To explore multiple islands, a fortnight feels less rushed.
The principle of malama aina (nurturing the land) underpins Hawaii so don’t take rocks and sand as souvenirs, and always take rubbish away with you.
Many travellers use their resorts as a base for day trips by tour or taxi. Some resorts have free shuttle services to attractions. Consider cutting down your car rental period to only a couple of days to keep your price tag low. Oahu has a good public bus system.
Is it cheaper to book way in advance or will you get more bang for your buck if you book at the last minute? We weigh up the pros and cons of one of travel’s greatest challenges.Read moreabout Booking now vs booking late: The great holiday dilemma
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