Hawaii is well-known for its abundance of Islands to visit and explore, and with each of them offering such diverse experiences, the decision of which one to see can be difficult. Sure, you could simply see them all in one go, but as amazing as that would be, it would also be very expensive. If you are limited to seeing only one island, it’s important to be well-informed of what the different destinations provide.
Kauai is known as the garden island while Oahu is known for its bustling city. Maui is the perfect spot for serenity, but the big island of Hawaii is a paradise that simply cannot be missed. With volcanoes, rain-forests, coffee farms and much more, there is something for everyone on this island. Here are the top five reasons to check out Hawaii.
Captivating History to Explore
Hawaii is surrounded by a fascinating history for visitors to discover. The island was home of the first king of Hawaii, King Kamehameha I. This king originally set out to conquer and unite the Hawaiian Islands. Many intense battles took place over islands such as Maui and Oahu, although by the time he reached Kauai, they surrendered to the 7 foot king. There are plenty of spots around the island to learn more about the fascinating history that Hawaii holds, such as the Hulihe’e Palace located in Kona.
Star Gazing Opportunities
The big island of Hawaii has some of the best spots in the world to look up at the stars with the most acclaimed location being the Maunakea Summit. The dormant volcano provides visitors with an elevation of over 4000 meters, free from any light pollution. There is a location halfway to the summit (the first station) that any car can access, although to get where the telescopes and other cool stuff is, you’ll need the 4WD. Many tours are available to visitors wishing to visit. For those intending on reaching the summit, it may be a good idea to stop at the visitor centre to acclimatise to the high altitude.
Lush Tropical Rainforests
When landing in Kona, guests will be provided with sweeping views of volcanic rock, with a few goats scattered here and there. The locals consider this area of the island to be a desert. However, once you begin to drive to the northern side of the big island, and towards Hilo, you’ll be driving among a lush tropical rainforest before you know it. These forests are home to vibrant plant life, sweeping, deep valleys and majestic waterfalls waiting to be explored. When visiting the big island of Hawaii, be sure to take the time to venture up north to marvel at these natural masterpieces.
An Abundance of Volcanoes
The big island of Hawaii is renowned for its volcanoes and the plentiful opportunities for travellers to get up close and personal with them. Visitors can stop by the Volcano National Park and see Kilauea and Mauna Loa – two active volcanoes. Drive along the crater rim, stop by various steam vents and check out the renowned Jagger Museum. This museum houses a perfect viewing point for visitors to see the Halema'uma'u Crater, along with a variety of captivating volcanic exhibitions. Also be sure to visit the Thurston lava tube, located among a dense tropical forest. The tube was formed as a result of lava flow many years ago.
Keep in mind, the recent volcanic eruption has left the park closed until further notice, so before visiting, do some research to ensure it’s been reopened.
Black and Green Sand Beaches
Hawaii is well known for it's colorful sand beaches that tourists simply admire. One of the most popular and unworldly beaches that continues to pull travelers is Punalu'u Beach, otherwise known as Black Sand Beach. The black sand is basalt and was created due to lava flowing into the ocean. Due to the heat retaining properties of the sand, green sea turtles often make their way onto the beach to regulate their body temperature, making this location the perfect spot for those wanting to see a turtle. The contrast of the white water flowing onto the black sand is truly memorizing. With an abundance of green palm trees engulfing the beach, it makes the atmosphere of this spot absolutely unmissable.
Papakolea Beach is known for its beautiful green sand. The crystal sand is rich with the mineral olivine, which is a major component of lava. To reach the secluded beach, visitors must hike approximately 3 miles among lava fields. Be sure to leave enough time before walking back.
The different islands of Hawaii offer visitors a collection of different and exciting experiences. The big island is a natural playground, with the exclusive opportunity to see a combination of volcanoes, colorful rainforests, lava rock formations, towering waterfalls and much more. When deciding on which island to include in your Hawaiian getaway, be sure to take a good look at Hawaii’s big island.