Four Flavors Of Paradise On Earth
Simply saying the word conjures up reveries of gentle ocean breezes, swaying palm trees, spectacular sunsets and the sweet lullaby of ukeleles strummed by a blissed out Hawaiian lazing on a sugary white beach. The Hawaiian Islands are nothing short of paradise. All the tropical scenes produced in films or in photographs are very, very real - and in fact, the reality of setting foot on one of the lush islands is even better than the images produced on paper or screen.
Why? Because the islands emanate a healing energy unlike any place on the planet. The air is the cleanest in the world, due to its isolation. Imagine being in a place thousands of miles from any other populated land mass. The natural environment is so alive, so lush, you think you've stepped into a true Shangri la. Let's take a look at each of the four main islands to get a little glimpse of what you've been missing.
The oldest of the four main islands, Kauai is a spectacularly lush site to behold. Mother Nature pulled out all the stops when she formed this one - home to the fluted cliffs of the Na Pali coast and the dramatic carvings of Waimea Canyon. Here you'll need nothing more than a bathing suit and a pair of hiking boots and your most amiable companion. The island is heaven on earth, with no string of major resorts or island nightlife - it's the perfect setting for a little rural romance in a true tropical paradise.
Oahu, the most populated of the Hawaiian Islands is a hub for culture, nightlife and history. Its capital, Honolulu, offers an ethnically diverse array of people - with all of the exotic cuisines and customs that come along for the ride. For the upscale traveler, dine on haute Pacific Rim cuisine. For the surf-enthusiast, hang loose on the North Shore. If you're a history buff, Pearl Harbor is sure to leave a lasting impression. The geographically tiny island of Oahu offers an enormously large cultural array of activities. When the hustle and bustle overwhelms, escape to Waikiki to take in the bathing beauties. This island has it all and then some.
Maui is the island for nuptial bliss. Romantic to the core, this green island dotted with quaint towns, swimming holes and breathtaking waterfalls will seduce you to no end. Haleakala, the world's largest dormant volcano lives here, as does the infamous road to Hana, a winding 68-mile long stretch of natural bliss, dotted with one-lane bridges, waterfalls, roadside shops and marvelous vistas. Here, it's all about the journey - not the destination. If you're a beach lover, this is your island. The entire west coast is lined with swaying palm trees and interminable stretches of golden beaches. Here, there are magnificent resorts, too. If your idea of paradise is holing up with your lover for a week in a world-class resort, Maui is the place. Upcountry Maui is home to farm-to-table restaurants and lavender plantations. This is where the foodie amongst us will feel at home. Like the other islands, there's a place for all of us, and the aloha spirit is alive and well on Maui.
If you arrive from the Kona side of this youngest Hawaiian island, you may think you've just arrived on another planet. The stark landscape of volcanic rock that rolls on for miles and miles is like nothing you've ever seen before. The amazing thing about this island is the sheer diversity of its climate. Hawaii actually contains eight of the thirteen climate zones in the world - all on one island you can circumnavigate in a matter of a few hours. The Big Island also boasts Kilauea, the most active of the island's five volcanoes. Here you get to feel the power of mother nature in its raw force - red lava flowing into the vast Pacific. The majesty of it all is a sight to behold. Then there's the coffee country surrounding the quirky beach town of Kona. Taste coffee in its purest form while sampling chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and the juiciest papayas you've ever sunk your teeth into. On the east side of the island, Hilo is home to a delightful farmer's market and lots and lots of rainfall. (Don't forget your umbrella!) On Hawaii island you can don your snow boots atop Mauna Kea and be back to the beach for a glass of wine to toast the sunset - all in a matter of hours. This island will keep you enchanted for many, many lifetimes.
The earthly paradise of the Hawaiian islands beckons a visit or two - especially if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life. If you need to rejuvenate and restore your senses, or if you're looking for a romantic destination to celebrate a special occasion, you simply can't go wrong with a sweet sojourn to this technicolor tropical paradise.
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Janice Ross0 Photos1 Thanks1 Reviews
Sound beautiful. Can't wait to visit all the islands.