Last week we reintroduced Kendall to the J5Travel team and this week as our Hawaii expert, she is taking over the ezine to lead you through the basics for your Hawaiian Islands trip, in order for it to be simply perfect. Kendall has extensive travel experience to the islands and will be heading there again in early December. Hawaii is a true passion of her family and in full disclosure, her Mom, Lisa remains my amazing travel mentor to this day and I would not have a successful travel business without her.
It is no secret that circumstances have made it difficult to use our travel imagination for basically all of 2020. However, one US state has recently provided a small glimmer of hope that those dreams can in fact be a reality again, and soon.
You guessed it - as of October 15th Hawaii has reopened its borders. The state has waived its original 14-day mandatory quarantine to visitors who present a negative Covid test within 72 hours before arrival. The test must be completed by one of their state-approved providers, and uploaded to an online account that travelers must create on the state’s website, along with flight and lodging information.
Hawaii is an international-like destination with domestic-like accessibility. With everything from clear water and white sand beaches to hiking through volcanoes, to riding horseback through the mountains with a view of the ocean down below, there is something for everyone to enjoy. There are five main islands that attract visitors, all offering their own special activities, terrain, and luxury resorts.
This begs the question not IF you should visit Hawaii, but WHICH islands best suit you?
Top 5 Islands - Your Hawaii 101
Besides being the home to the populated Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, Oahu also has a booming North Shore full of charming art towns, big wave surfing, and incredible food trucks. One of my favorite things to do on the island is explore the North Shore by car – it is truly a cultural parade of food and art! If you are looking for a balance of city and serenity, The Kahala Hotel and Resort (above) is a great option. The resort is located just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki Beach, but provides the perfect amount of relaxation and Aloha spirit the Hawaiian Islands are so known for.
2. The Island of Hawaii ("The Big Island")
This island is known for its volcanoes and wide variety of climate zones. The Big Island is almost twice the size of all the other islands combined, so there is A LOT to see and do. Some highlights are hiking through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, exploring the coffee plantations of Kona, hanging out with sea turtles on the black sand beach of Punalu’u (above), and night snorkeling with manta rays. If you are a coffee snob like me, you will quickly develop an appreciation for the process of harvesting and roasting coffee beans. Once you have had that 100% Kona coffee, it's hard to go back! The Big Island is also home to my all-time favorite resort: The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai (below). This resort truly embodies the spirit of the Big Island with a mix of white sand beaches, tropical landscape, and lava rock while also being conveniently located on the Kona coast.
Being my personal favorite island, the only word I can use to describe Maui is magical. Maui is the perfect blend of beautiful beaches, lush valleys, and tropical mountains. My favorite way to take a break from the beach activities is to drive into the upcountry and explore the Ali’i Lavender Farm (above), Maui Wine, and the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm. Within a quick 30 minutes, you are back at the Fairmont Kea Lani (below) enjoying an afternoon at the beach. This family-friendly resort offers a wide variety of water and adventure activities, while also providing all the amenities of a luxury resort – and do not even get me started on the breakfast buffet!
I will be writing a Top Five Maui ezine in December when I travel there for two weeks.
Kauai (above) is commonly referred to as "The Garden Island" and truly lives up to its name. Kauai is covered with lush green mountains, cliffs, and waterfalls. The Napali Coast is a must-see by boat. I suggest a guided sail along the coast to learn more about the island from the captain. As far as accommodations, Kauai is full of condominiums and resorts. The Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa is located on the southern tip of the island and showcases some of the best beaches and golf the island has to offer. Oh and there's more coffee!
Lanai is the least-inhabited island that visitors are drawn to. Located just a ferry ride away from Maui, Lanai’s landscape is similar with beautiful beaches and an attractive upcountry. Because Lanai is small, it is typically visited by people wanting to spend time at one of the two luxury resorts: The Four Seasons Resort Lana’i (above) and Sensei Lana’i (below), a Four Seasons Resort. After undergoing an extensive renovation, Sensei Lana’i offers incredibly personalized wellness packages for anyone wanting a totally secluded, serene getaway. The resort includes round trip airfare from Honolulu, as well as transfers to the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i for beach access.
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