Covid-19 has made it more important than ever for Hawaii tourists to have travel advisors. The travel planning landscape is cluttered with obstacles to smooth, stress-free vacations in the Islands as well as shrimp trucks on Oahu's North Shore.
The first step is to navigate the Safe Travels protocol, which allows you to enter and receive an exemption from a 10-day quarantine. Over spring break, tourists began to flock to the Aloha State. This surge continued throughout the summer, straining the capacity of hotels, restaurants and tours, as well as the staffing and capacity of the Aloha State's attractions. It is vital to plan ahead for things such as car rentals, dinner reservations and visits to museums. The current recommendation by Gov. Visitors are expected to return to the Islands in large numbers after Gov.
The Islands have many lesser-known, but equally impressive, attractions, parks, and experiences that can be used as a replacement for items on a client’s bucket list.
The Bishop Museum is an excellent place to see Hawaii's history and people. Iolani Palace is the seat of U.S. monarchy, and the site of Queen Liliuokalani’s captivity during U.S.-backed overthrow, and is a fascinating walk through the past. There are many other historical attractions in Honolulu, in addition to these two famous sites.
The Hawaiian Mission Houses, a National Historic Landmark located in downtown Honolulu, is where Hawaii's oldest Western-style home and other buildings from 1800s are preserved. The library contains both English-language and Hawaiian-language archive material that illuminates the rich and varied history of the Islands. It offers tours and hosts performances of live theatre and music throughout the year.
Aerial view of Leahi (or Diamond Head) in Waikiki Photo Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority
The Manoa Heritage Center, located in Honolulu's Uplands, is a 3.5-acre educational center that promotes a deeper understanding about Hawaii's natural and cultural heritage. The program is centered on Kukaoo Sheiau, an ancient Hawaiian temple that has been reconstructed in Waikiki's ahupuaa (land subdivision) and its rare Hawaiian plants gardens.
People think of Pearl Harbor when they think about the USS Arizona Memorial. This solemn memorial is located above the battleship that was destroyed by the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. The memorial is very popular and reservations fill quickly. However, the harbor is worth a visit for its many other military-related attractions.
After a $23 million upgrade, the USS Bowfin submarine museum was reopened as the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum in March. The exhibits show the evolution of Navy undersea duties from the beginning of the 20th century up to the $6.5 billion Columbia-class missile submarines.
The Battleship Missouri, where Japanese officials signed the articles of surrender ending World War II, was also restored. Meanwhile, the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum documents the history of World War II and the development of U.S. military aviation capabilities during the Gulf War.
Visitors must enter Haena State Park to gain access to the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park's rugged, breathtaking Napali Coast and the Kalalau Trail's 22-mile roundtrip (which require a separate permit). This park was established in 2019, and requires advance reservations for anyone except Hawaii residents. These spots are not available for booking until 30 days before release and often sell out in hours.
Visitors who are unsuccessful on land can still approach the beautiful cliffs, lush tropical valleys, and towering waterfalls via sea or air if they have any questions.
Kayak or boat tours offer more opportunities to see marine life and explore coastal rock formations. Helicopters can descend into hidden valleys from the air and offer unrivaled views of oceanside cascades. Holo Holo Charters offers Napali Coast tours via sea. Kayak Kauai, Captain Andy's Sailing Adventures, and Holo Holo Charters offer Napali Coast tours through the water. Jack Harter Helicopters as well as Blue Hawaiian Helicopters can be accessed by air.
Island of Hawaii
Kilauea, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park's Kilauea, is the most prominent volcano in Hawaii. But, outside the park's western side, Hualalai, another active volcano, offers a rich dive into Hawaiian culture and nature.
The summit crater is considered private and sacred. It can only be accessed via guided tours through Uluhao O Hualalai, or Hawaii Forest and Trail. You can also hike in the cloud forest, climb through a lava tube and visit previous eruption sites.
The Kona region is the best when it comes to Hawaiian coffee. However, in recent years coffee production has increased in other parts of the island like Kau, Honokaa, and Hilo. Visit less-traveled areas to discover the different flavors and soil compositions of coffee beans. Both Kau Coffee Mill and Hilo Coffee Mill offer tours.
Although the Haleakala volcano on Maui is most popular at dawn, it's also a great spot to visit later in the day. Photo credit: HTA/Tor Johnson
The "House of the Sun" Haleakala Sunrise Viewing at Haleakala became so popular that the National Park Service established a reservation system in 2017 for sunrise hours. You can still visit the summit crater if you go later in the morning. It is less warm and less welcoming in the early hours. The sunsets from Maui's highest peak are beautiful, and there are fewer people to obscure the views.
Residents of Hana, a remote eastern town, are calling for authorities to stop visitors from clogging the Road to Hana. This has made the Road to Hana a focal point in tourism's return back to Maui. For 20 minutes, the flight from Kahului Airport to Hana flies low above the coast. It offers bird's eye views of the coral reefs and the waves crashing against the seacliffs. Mokulele offers a bonus: Roundtrip fares start at $100. This is far cheaper than renting a car these days.