Apr 2, 2014

Hawaii Island Hopping

Sunrise on Moloka'i
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Why do people come to Hawaii? There are many reasons, the number one reason is that Hawaii has the perfect climate with temperatures staying between 80-85˚F. People also come here to relax in the sun and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Other people come here to party. Hawaii has an international array of bars and night life. Personally, I came here for the food. Hawaii is an international and cultural melting pot. Here you will discover a fusion of China, Vietnam, Korea, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, and Thailand. And you can't miss out on indulging in the local Hawaiian Regional cuisine; always made with fresh, local, ethnic infused ingredients. 

Here are some statistics you will find interesting:

2012 Average yearly visitors to each island:
Oahu, with 35,864,094 visitors
Maui, with 2,309,194 visitors
The Big Island, with 1,433,282 visitors
Kaua'i, with 1,084,681 visitors
Lana'iwith 72,649 visitors
Moloka'i, with 53,323 visitors
Ahi Poke
Hawaii's favorite "pupu" (appetizer)

Hawaii's 3 largest markets are the U.S., followed by Japan, then Canada. Visitors from the western half of the U.S. remained Hawaii's largest market in terms of total expenditures, visitor days, and visitor arrivals in 2012. 

The average length of stay was 9.59 days. 

The largest age group was between 41 to 59 years (32.9%), followed by the 25 to 40 years group (26.1%) and those 60 years and older (19.5%).

Where do these visitors stay? According to the 2012 Hawaii Tourism Authority, 63.4% stayed in hotels, 17.6% stayed in condominiums, 9.7% stayed in timeshare properties, 9.1% stayed with friends, 5.5% stayed in rental homes, and 1.6% stayed on cruise ships.

The statewide average daily room rate for 2016 was $222.84, with the Big Island having the highest room rate at $513.65 as of January 1, 2017.

People who come to Hawaii for their first visit usually only have time to spend on one island. That's unfortunate because one of the greatest things about Hawaii is that you have quite a few options when it comes to island hopping. The other wonderful thing is that the islands here are quite different. 

Mokulele Airlines,
Hawaii's #1 Island Hopper Airline

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Most visitors arrive on the island of Oahu by air. The first thing they notice is that Oahu is loaded with people, with a population of 953,207 to be exact, but with all of that population comes a great choice of restaurants, big city shopping, nightlife, museums, theaters, etc. Personally I would hop on Mokulele Airlines and go where the beaches are beautiful but not so crowded, and the lifestyle is a little slower, that would be the island of Maui. 

Maui has been voted the "best island in the world". Besides that, it is a wonderful place to play golf at some of the worlds finest golf courses, or visit upcountry Maui to find fresh fruit and produce. Maui also has its share of great restaurants, and a very active art community.

The Big Island of Hawaii is HUGE! You can spend days just driving around it, and depending on where you drive you will find so many different things like miles and miles of lava flows that are less than 200 years old, Kona Coffee, golf courses, Kona Cold Lobsters aquaculture farm, farmers markets, and the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the Hawaiian islands.

Kaua'i is beautiful, everything you would imagine a tropical island should be. If you like gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, and hundreds of hiking trails with spectacular views, then Kauai is for you. The down side of Kauai is that it rains all the time, that's why it's so lush.
Moloka'i Ka Hula Piko Hula Dancer

Visitors come to Moloka'i to relax and enjoy peace and quiet. Moloka'i offers lonely beaches, a beautiful waterfall, and a place to get away from it all. On the first week in May, you can enjoy festivities at Moloka'i Ka Hula Piko, with music groups from all over Hawaii. Many visitors enjoy taking a three mile mule ride down the mountain trail to the historic town of Kalaupapa, one of the most remote settlements in Hawaii. Moloka'i has some of the best deep sea fishing in Hawaii, plus whale watching trips when in season. The down side to Moloka'i is that the accommodations are very limited, hardly any shopping, and there are only a handful of restaurants. Moloka'i only has one hotel, Aqua Hotel Moloka'i, but there are also rental condos, cottages, and bed and breakfasts here.

Lana'i is also quiet, but with the charm of a pineapple plantation town called Lana'i City. Lana'i City is located 1,700 feet above sea level in Lanai's central highlands where it is noticeably cooler than coastal areas of the island. Hotel Lana'i is a country inn with charming plantation-style decor secluded amongst the Cook island pines, or check into a couple of luxury resorts with golf courses to play on.

As you can see, Hawaii is a very personal place to visit and many times it takes several trips here to fully understand how different the islands truly are. If you have the time, and the money, you need to spend at least three weeks island hopping in Hawaii.
Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, on Oahu

There are many places to stay on Oahu. My wife and I visit there often to shop and enjoy incredible food at local restaurants. If you're a food lover and golfer like me, I would recommend booking a room on Oahu for a week. My wife and I usually stay at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki. They are not on the beach, but they offer special kamaaina (Hawaii residents) rates. The hotel is located near great shopping and it looks out over the marina, plus they have an excellent restaurant, not to mention a convenient parking garage, a nice swimming pool, and their own golf course! Another thing we like to do is rent a condo with a kitchen. There are many condos for rent on Oahu, but you need to book way in advance. After we settle in, we visit China Town or the many farmers markets on Oahu and pick up local produce and fish to save money on restaurants by cooking a few of our meals. Naturally many people don't want to cook while on vacation, but we enjoy it.

Live Dungeness crab from Kona Cold Lobster
aquaculture farm in Kona
After you fill up in Oahu, fly to Kaua'i for three days to hike off the pounds I gained eating in Oahu. Then I would fly over to the Big Island, rent a condo, with a kitchen, on the Kona side of the island for five days, rent a car and drive to see the volcano and lava flow, then drive to Hilo to see the more "local" side of the island. While on the Big Island, visit my friend Phil Wilson at the Kona Cold Lobsters aquaculture farm in Kona for fresh moi fish, Maine lobster, dungeness crab, clams, abalone, etc. all live and farm raised. Also visit farmers markets to pick up local fresh vegetables to have for dinner. After that I would fly to Maui for three days of snorkeling, eating, and art buying in the old whaling village of Lahaina, then take a whale watching ferry to Moloka'i or Lana'i to rest for three days and play a relaxing game or two of golf before going home with a great tan and plenty of things to tell your friends. Sound good?

For more detailed information about the islands of Hawaii, visit gohawaii.com.
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