Hawaii is one of my favorite places to travel to. I have been to Oahu and Maui islands and they have indeed been my FAVORITEST holidays ever. The breathtaking beaches, mountainous landscape, yummy cuisines all come together in these islands and make it “the experience of a lifetime”. There are way too many reasons to love these islands, but I have done my best to bring down to 5. These reasons are enough for you to pack your bags and take the next flight to this Pacific gem.
The Beaches & the Sunsets
The first thing you notice while landing on the islands is the varied color of waves on the beaches of Hawaii – sea green, light blue, cyan, deep blue…..the different shades are a visual treat to the eyes. The pristine beaches, warm water, sparkling sea and the perfect waves breaking on the shores do make you feel like heaven on Earth.
On the Maui Island, the Road to Hana is a 45-mile stretch which is embedded with high jungle cliffs, bamboo tress, sacred waterfalls and tropical flowers on one side and the other side of the road with the panoramic Pacific Ocean views and beaches like Ho’okipa Beach Park. Oahu’s eastern shoreline reveals more wonderful sights like the Hanauma Bay lookout known for snorkeling, Lanikai beach which is ranked among the best beaches in the world and the trendy Kailua waves.
Of course, the beauty of the beaches is incomplete without the mention of the sunsets! Every sunset here blows your mind and no photo can justify its true beauty. It’s incredible how the sky lights up with vibrant colors and makes it so picturesque!
The Volcanic Mountains
Driving the way up to the 10,000 foot summit of Haleakala is not for the faint hearted. I got the opportunity to see it and the sight was worth it. There are also the Koko Head Stairs – which is the StairMaster workout for the day with a rewarding panoramic view up top. The Nu-unanu Pali lookout is worth a mention for the panoramic views of the sheer Koolau cliffs and the lush Windward coast. Named “Pali” meaning ‘cliff’ in Hawaiian, the Pali Lookout is the site of the Battle of Nuuanu, where in 1795 King Kamehameha I won the struggle that finally united Oahu under his rule. This fierce battle claimed hundreds of soldiers’ lives, many of which were forced off of the Pali’s sheer cliffs.
With the islands nestled in the Pacific, it is an eye opening experience to taste the unique, delicious flavors of Hawaii. You can literally stop anywhere on the side of the road and the food is good. Here the cuisine is influenced from Asia, Polynesia, parts of Europe and other regions of the islands. Abundance of fresh fruits in this tropical area is enviable. Also on Kona Island, there are hundreds of coffee farms that grow, harvest and brew their own coffee. It has a distinct strong taste owing to rich volcanic soil and environment.
With the mountains to hike and the whole ocean floor to explore, there are plenty of activities on the islands. Oahu’s north shore are great for underwater and surfing activities while Hanauma bay is famous for snorkeling. Helicopter rides to watch the island from above, as well as Waterfall hikes to get mesmerized by the beauty of Nature. For the History lovers, there is Pearl Harbor on Oahu where the USS Arizona Memorial can be seen and history about the WWII attack can be learnt. The USS Missouri which was the last US battleship ever built and which was the site of the Japanese surrender for WWII is also situated at the same place.
Spirit of Aloha
Hawaiian way of life focuses on a relaxed lifestyle, balancing between yourself and those around you. The people seemed to be happy and friendly always with a fresh smile. It’s unique and amazing to meet the locals who are carefree. I had the pleasure of watching some traditional Polynesian dancing which is one of the iconic things to see on the island. Apart from the lovely dresses and the leis (flower garlands), their graceful swaying with the folk songs was wonderful to watch too.
The pace is slower on the islands but they give us time to take everything in, enjoy the little things, pause and breathe.