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Holidays in Hawaii
Called ‘The Aloha State’, Hawaii’s six islands welcome you with a smile; ‘Aloha’ is both a greeting and a lifestyle. Each island has its own distinctive character - Oahu is lively and Maui is captivating; Kauai is perfect for rejuvenating and Hawaii Island is for the adventurer. Come to the Hawaiian Islands to enjoy the luau and lei traditions that have made it famous, and settle into the easygoing sway of island life.
Best time to visit Hawaii: The Hawaiian islands have a lovely tropical climate all year round, cooled a little by the trade winds coming in from the east.
Los Angeles (LAX), then catch a connecting internal flight to your island of choice.
Surf’s up! Book your Thomas Cook holiday to the Hawaiian islands, and experience the true meaning of 'aloha' in this Pacific paradise.
North of Hawaii Island is Maui, ‘The Valley Isle’. It’s where you’ll find the incredible Hana Highway route, and award-winning beaches like Wailea which is perfect for romantic strolls. Keen golfers are spoilt for choice, with three championship-level golf courses. Further north-west is energetic Oahu, called ‘The Heart of Hawaii’. Come here for lively Waikiki Beach, and all the urban charms of state capital Honolulu on the southern shore. North of Oahu is verdant Kauai, ‘The Garden Island’. The oldest of all the islands, it boasts 90 miles of sandy beach, and plenty of miles of wilderness for trekking.
Golfers and shoppers alike will love Wailea – it’s got three amazing golf courses and the shops have all the big brands you could ask for. For fantastic views, make your way to upcountry Maui. Drive to Haleakala National Park to take in the sunrise or stroll through the historic town of Lahaina for dinning, arts, and shopping.
This stunning tropical archipelago is home to active volcanoes in the National Park on Hawaii Island, and nature preserves like Hanauma Bay on Oahu. On Kauai you can hike the beautiful Kalalau Trail, or take in the view of Waimea canyon. Grab a fruity shave ice (snow cone) to cool off after bodyboarding on Waimanalo Beach, or learn to surf at Waikiki or chill on Poipu beach with a book. Learn more about Hawaii’s history with a visit to the poignant Pearl Harbour and USS Arizona Memorial on Oahu; celebrate its culture of garland-making and giving during Lei Day (1st May).
Hawaiian food has strong east and south-east Asian influences, plus a fondness for SPAM. There’s even a local sushi variation called SPAM musubi (spam, rice and seaweed). Try it with POG, a drink blended from passion fruit, guava and orange juices. A filling plate lunch is a local favourite, serving a Korean or Japanese-style main, plus two scoops of rice and a macaroni salad on the side. Satisfy a big appetite with a Loco Moco - a gravy-topped hamburger steak and egg served on rice. Got a sweet tooth? You’ll love sugary and fluffy donut-style masaladas.
Drive the scenic Hana Highway to the tiny village of Hana, on east Maui. One of the world’s greatest road trips, it twists and turns over 109km through jungle and waterfalls for a thrilling, jaw-dropping journey. Climb on board the Pineapple Express train, which trundles pleasantly through Oahu’s Dole Plantation, former centre of Hawaii’s pineapple harvesting industry. Dive into the Pacific waters to go snorkelling and see if you can spot Hawaii’s state fish: the delightfully named humuhumunukunukuapuaa (practise saying that before you’ve sampled the local Mai Tai or Blue Hawaiian cocktails).
With its lush mountain backdrops, Hawaii’s stunning beaches and famous waves make for perfect sunbathing and watersports – here is where surfing was invented, and the North Shore of Oahu sees some of the biggest waves in the world during the winter. Poipu on Kauai is the ‘sunny side of paradise’, and here you can snorkel, swim, and see incredible sunsets. Of the 80 incredible beaches on Maui, the award-winning sandy Ka’anapali Beach is a visitor’s favourite, and home to a daily cliff-diving ceremony.
Enjoy idyllic honeymoon strolls or exchange vows on a beautiful sandy beach.
Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing – get ready to dive headfirst into a thrilling world of watersports.
Take a drive on the world-famous Hana Highway for a road trip you’ll never forget.
Language: The languages spoken in Hawaii are English and Hawaiian.
Currency: The currency used in Hawaii is the American Dollar ($).
Local time: Hawaii is 10 hours behind GMT/UK time.
Fly to: Los Angeles (LAX), then catch a connecting internal flight to your island of choice.
Flight time from UK: About 11 hours to Los Angeles (LAX), plus 5.5 hours to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) for Oahu, Lihue Airport (LIH) for Kauai, Kahului Airport (OGG) and Kona (KQA Airport for Hawaii Island.
Tourist Information: Further Hawaii tourist information can be found here.
Visa & Health: Before you travel click here for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday in the United States.
Temperatures: 28°C in winter (December-March).
Best time to visit Hawaii: The Hawaiian islands have a lovely tropical climate all year round, cooled a little by the trade winds coming in from the east. Temperatures are a balmy 28°C or so in the winter (December-March). They can reach 31°C in summer (April-November).
By bus: Take bus tours, or travel like a local - $35 will get you an unlimited 4-day pass on Oahu's public transport, The Bus.
By car: Arrange a car hire at all airports, or book a taxi. Like the mainland US, taxi fares are metered - and don't forget to tip the usual 15-20%.
By plane or boat: Hop between islands with the inter-island airlines, or take the ferry which leaves from Maui's Lahaina Harbour.
Prince Kuhio Celebration: An official state holiday in Hawaii, the last 2 weeks in March are spent celebrating the birthday of this popular royal statesman (kauai)
Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival – Maui Style: Free outdoor concert in June at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center featuring ki-ho‘alu (slack key guitar) performers, along with local food and craft vendors. (Maui)
Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival: During the first week of September, internationally-renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers gather to showcase wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, one-of-a-kind excursions, and exclusive dining opportunities with dishes highlighting Hawai‘i’s local produce, seafood, beef and poultry. (O‘ahu and Maui)
Hawai‘i International Film Festival: Held annually in October, HIFF presents an average of 150 features, documentaries and film shorts, including world premieres, North American premieres, U.S. premieres, experimental films, animation and digital works representing social and ethnic issues, and first features by new directors. The focus is on emerging films from Asia and the Pacific. (O‘ahu)
Kona Coffee Cultural Festival: Celebrate Kona’s cultural heritage and accomplishments of Kona coffee pioneers, farmers and artisans during this 10-day event in November. (Hawai‘i Island)