There are few destinations on the planet that can boast the paradise backdrop of Hawaii.
From Big Island villas to five star hotels, glamping opportunities to budget accommodation, there is a scene for everyone in this stunning island archipelago. Of course, Hawaii isn’t just one island, it is a collection of stunning islands that will blow your mind with their beauty and variety. Oahu is perhaps the most famous of the islands, because it is home to iconic Waikiki Beach and the state capital, Honolulu, but the Big Island, the largest of the lot, is home to some of the world’s most jaw-dropping natural scenery on offer.
Of course, Hawaii is known for volcanoes, and the Big Island is where you will find the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Any way you choose to see this amazing destination will give you memories to last a lifetime, but a helicopter tour over the top is truly the way to see the might of nature at its very best. The almost lunar-like landscape, with huge peaks and craters at every turn, is really something to treat your camera to. There is no need to worry about eruptions however, as these volcanoes are very carefully monitored, and experts are aware when an eruption is due – for that time, you will be advised not to visit, or to visit in a limited manner; simply heed advice at all times and you’re fine!
Of course, the climate in Hawaii is something to treat yourself too, with seemingly endless warm summer days and mild nights. Even during the ‘winter’ months, the weather is never cold, however there is the chance of a little more rain. The Big Island is called ‘big’ because it is obviously the largest, but this also means that there is likely to be variation in weather conditions across the island as you move from east to west, north to south. If you’re someone who is wanting to catch a wave or two, this being Hawaii after all, then the Big Island is the ideal place to learn, because the waves are not as huge here. You won’t struggle to find surf schools, however if you wanting to find those monster waves, perhaps jump over to Oahu or another of the islands, to check out the professional surfers in business.
The eastern part of the island is perhaps one of the most visited, and this is because it is home to Hilo, the largest city on the island. This particular part of the geography is located on the Windward coast and this means there is a little more in the way of rain, when compared to Kona, which is the west side, and is located on the Leeward coastline. Kona is where you will find the most tourism on the island, and there are many beach-related activities to enjoy here. If you want to swim, surf, dolphin or whale watch, scuba dive, snorkel, or generally enjoy beach fun, then this particular part of the island is for you.
If you’re looking for luxury however, it has to be Kohala, which is in the north-west. This is where you will find championship golf courses and luxury accommodation. Whilst this part of the island is a little more artificial, when compared to the rest of the island, it is very up and coming, and a wonderful base for a ‘get away from it all’ luxury break.
If you are keen to visit Hilo, the largest city on the island, you’ll certainly be able to explore some of the culture and real way of life on the Big Island, as well as Hawaii overall. There are some beautiful waterfalls around the city, and you can visit the Botanical Gardens too. The architecture in Hilo is olde-worlde and quite authentic too.
The volcanoes are probably going to be on your visit list, and rightly so! In that case you will be passing through Volcano Village, which is the base drop off point for the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
It’s worth remembering that Hawaii is part of the United States of America, and isn’t a country in its own right. Many people mistakenly make this assumption, probably because Hawaii is so famous in its own right! For this reason, you need to be sure that you meet USA visa regulations before you visit. For most people this will mean applying online for an ESTA, which is an electronic version of a visa, but you should certainly check that your particular country of origin is included in this arrangement. If not, you will probably need to apply for a more formal type of visa, and this will be a time-consuming process, so make sure you check all of this out ahead of time. You will also need a minimum of six months’ validity left on your passport, after the day you return back home from the USA.
The Big Island is a fantastic example of when Mother Nature is angry, and when she is in her most laid-back state. Volcanoes show you the might, but the stunning natural scenery shows you her serenity. Which side do you prefer? When you visit the Big Island you will probably find yourself unsure which to choose, but one thing is for sure – one visit to this stunning version of paradise will probably never be enough, and you may be planning your return visit before you realise it!