Visit Hawaii: Which Hawaiian Island should you go to?

Hawaii is unique. Especially for a malihini (newcomer) it can be hard to determine which island to visit.

The first thing to do is asking yourself: What do I imagine my Hawaiian vacation to be like? What kind of pictures do I see in my mind?

  • Have you always wanted to see a live volcano?
  • Do you picture hula dancers on the beach?
  • Have you always wanted to play on one of the many phenomenal golf courses?
  • Or, are you a history buff and Pearl Harbor is a must?big island hawaii, kohala coast, dining, oceanfront, beach, hawaii Image credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Once you have a good idea of what it is you are looking for, check out the grid we created. This check-list allows you to determine what experiences are available on which island. Check the ones you are looking for, see on which island/s they are available. The island that offers the highest amount of experiences you are looking for should be your top pick.
aavtravel, hawaii, which island to go to, where to travel toYou should leave enough time to properly experience an island. The Island of Hawaii for example does not only have a lot to offer but is also quite big. Travel times are longer and you need a couple of days, if you want to experience most of what the island has to offer. If you only have a week, I would suggest sticking to one island. If you have 10 days or more, a combination of 2 islands is a great option. If you have limited time but want to see them all, you might be interested in one of the cruises.

hana, waterfall, maui, hawaii, hikingImage credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Every island is distinct in what it offers (from urban to rural and private), which makes choosing the right one a little difficult. Hopefully our grid makes finding the one that suits you best a little easier. No matter which moku (island) you decide to visit (or if you choose to island hop!) you will have an experience of a lifetime.

Written by AAV Travel’s Hawaii Expert


stefanie pichonnat aavtravel
STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the Hawaii Specialist at AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. Having personally travelled to Hawaii she can help you create a wonderful experience. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

O’ahu: The Gathering Place – Honolulu, Waikiki & the North Shore

honlulu, aerial, oahu, waikiki, aavtravelHome of the state capital, Honolulu, Oahu is the third largest of the six islands. Known as the “Heart of Hawaii,” it is home to most of Hawaii’s population, and also a popular tourist destination. It is where you find the perfect blend of city and island experience, and one of the most famous beaches in the world – Waikiki Beach. It is the most urban of all the islands, with electric nightlife, endless shopping and contemporary dining. However, people oftentimes forget that they can also experience the rustic charm of old Hawai’i by venturing inland or with a trip to one of many quaint surf towns of the North Shore.

This is the best island if you want an energetic and activity-filled getaway!

O’ahu Attractions:

Waikiki – Once was a playground for Hawaiian royalty, but now serves as the island’s main hotel/resort area. It is famous for it’s beaches and is perfect for surfing! Here you can also find the Waikiki Aquarium.
oahu, waikiki, diamond head, beach, surfing, aavtravel‘Iolani Palace – The United States’ only royal palace.
iolani palace, honolulu, royal palace, hawaii, aavtravelNorth Shore – This surfing mecca’s winter waves attracts the best surfers from around the world. Though the waves in the summer are much smaller and more gentle, making it a great place to learn how to catch a wave for the first time. Here you will also find the Polynesian Cultural Center.

north shore, turtle bay, oahu, hawaii, aavtravelHaunama Bay – Famous for its spectacular snorkeling
Haunama bay, oahu, snorkeling, hawaii, aavtravelThe Pali Lookout
pali lookout, oahu, hawaii, aavtravel
Kualoa Ranch – home to many movies and shows like Jurassic Park, Lost, Hawaii 5-O. Many different adventure tour options await.
jurassic park, oahu, kualoa ranch, hawaii, aavtravelkualoa ranch, atv, hawaii, aavtravel, oahuWaimanalo Beach – stunning stretch of white sand beach with turquoise blue water. Perfect for that romantic pic-nic or a day of family swimming.
waimolo beach, oahu, hawaii, aavtravelThe Bishop Museum – A beautiful historical and cultural museum

and of course

Pearl HarborThis National Historical Landmark features five different sites that memorialises the December 7, 1941 attack. You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy this!

Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
stefanie pichonnat aavtravel
STEFANIE
PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is an O’ahu Master Agent and Hawaiian Travel Specialist at AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating and customizing personalized travel itineraries. You can contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

 

in conjunstephanie jellett aavtravelction with

STEPHANIE JELLETTE

Stephanie Jellett is interning as a travel writer and social media manager at AAV Travel. You can contact her at stephanieljellett@gmail.com

Turtle Bay Resort — O’ahu North Shore, Hawaii

Five miles of sandy beaches, natural authentic beauty, and completely remote, Turtle Bay Resort is the only hotel and resort located on the North Shore. Situated an hour north of the bustling cities of Honolulu with its busy Waikiki beachfront, you’ll get to experience what it feels like to escape from the world and immerse yourself in the laid back island lifestyle.

Imagine sitting on a beach chair, enjoying the sun and a fresh breeze, sipping a Kona Big Wave, overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean whilesurfers are trying to catch a wave. This is one of the many experiences you can have at Turtle Bay. Talk to the staff and you will quickly understand the magic of the place. Many have left their high-paying careers in big cities to come here to find the perfect work/life balance.

 

Turtle Bay

Aloha!
Aloha! Is likely the first greeting you will hear arriving on O’ahu. Hawaiian’s are proud of their native language and they love it when visitors know a little bit about it. The most challenging part for English speaking people is the pronunciation. This Hawaii language guide can help with it.
Aloha and mahalo are very important. Whether you’re passing a local on the street and say aloha, or paying for dinner and thank your waiter by saying mahalo, having those two words in your vocabulary will go a long way.

Here are a few other common Hawaiian words to help you out:

  • Pehea ‘oe — How are you?
  • Maika’i no au — I am fine
  • ‘Ono — Delicious or tasty
  • Malihini — Newcomer or visitor
  • KOkua — Help or need of assistance
  • Kala mai ai’u — Excuse me
  • Aloha au ia ‘oe — I love you

Experience Turtle Bay Resort

Under new management since 2010, millions have been invested into upgrading this unique property.Today you can expect sleek, sophisticated rooms and an overall modern, luxurious, casual surfer vibe. The resort has 452 up-scale, oceanfront accommodations. Choose from either beachfront cottages and villas or pick a guest room or suite–majority of the rooms at Turtle Bay have a stunning ocean views as well. What’s really spectacular is going to sleep to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore–and it’s not from a sound machine that’s on repeat, you’re really listening to the soothing sounds on your front door.

Oahu Hawaii Turtle Bay aavtravel travel Not only do you get five miles of pure beachfront beauty to walk along, the resort also has endless activities that you can keep yourself busy with, such as: horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking and tennis. You can even go to surf school and learn how to catch a wave. Water sports include: snorkeling, paddle boarding, kite surfing, kayaking and fishing. There’s also a 36-hole championship golf course designed by pro golfers George Fazio and Arnold Palmer near by. You can also learn some of the traditional Hawaiian culture by trying hula and ukulele lessons and lei making.

The Nalu Kinetic Spa will give you a multi-sensory experience: hearing waves crashing on the shore, beautiful views of the swells, and the new Wave Therapy will gently rock you back and forth as if you were floating in the ocean. It’s a great way to experience the ultimate relaxation. The spa was also named one of the nation’s top 10 Organic Spa’s in 2013–and there’s good reason for it! There are various kinds of treatments that you can choose from, whether you want a private seaside massage, body wraps, reflexology, or couples massages, you’ll be guaranteed to find something you’ll love and the treatments are reasonably priced.

Oahu Hawaii aavtravel travel Have you ever dreamed of having a private beach wedding? At Turtle Bay, you’ll be guaranteed to get just that. Ranked in the top 10 of Hawaii’s best honeymoon destinations, tying the knot beachside or at the oceanfront chapel will feel like a dream come true; it’s the perfect romantic couples escape. After ‘I Do:’ Imagine yourself, just recently pronounced man and wife. You get ready for a private dinner on your lanai with your own personal butler as you watch the sunset. Afterwards, you walk hand in hand down the beach, feeling the soft sand between your toes and listening to the soothing sounds of the waves coming on shore. You come back to your cottage and it’s decorated with rose petals leading to your own personal exotic spa….where you relax and toast to your new life together as a married couple.

Oahu Hawaii Turtle Bay aavtravel travel Haleiwa
Just a short drive from Turtle Bay Resort, Haleiwa (pronounced hah-lay-EE-wah) is a small community and is also known as the surfing capital of the world. Though this town may be little, it definitely brings its A game! Don’t expect to find Waikiki here, expect a laid back surfer town instead. There’s no shortage of shopping in downtown Haleiwa, whether you’re looking for high-end shops or affordable authentic Hawaiian-made gifts to bring back home, you’ll be sure to find something! Surf shops, art galleries featuring local artists, and specialty shops are also located downtown. If you are into photography and want to take home a authentic North Shore souvenir stop by Clark Little’s gallery. His images are amazing!

Oahu Hawaii aavtravel travel Turtle Bay’s Webcam is a great place to catch a glimpse of the waves (heads up: the link first runs an ad before connecting with the webcam).

Or, if you like videos, check out this clip about a typical day at Turtle Bay Resort:

Have you ever stayed at Turtle Bay or visited the North Shore? Share your experiences with us, leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you! Dreamed of planning a vacation to O’ahu and its magical North Shore? We can help! E-mail us at info@aav-travel.com or visit our website at www.aav-travel.com