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Hawai’i offers travellers a paradise that blends stunning scenery and breath-taking landscapes. With mouth-watering culinary delights and exhilarating water sports and adventure opportunities, there truly is something for everyone.
Whether that’s eating in locals’ favourite restaurants and discovering the hidden hotspots of the islands, enjoying locals’ recommended surf spots and sunset views, or best hikes and waterfalls, we’ve rounded up the best ways for visitors to get under the skin of Hawaiian culture and cuisine, as advised by our Aloha Ambassadors.
Food & drink
For food lovers
Hawai’i is a haven for the culinary curious, offering a variety of farmer’s markets, local eateries, food trucks and traditional delicacies, such as Loco Moco. One of the best places to sample Loco Moco is at Aloha Mixed Plate, where visitors can try dishes made from recipes passed down through the generations.
Those with a sweet tooth can head to Doughnut Dynamite to enjoy a delicious freshly baked treat with flavours including rose, bacon maple, Maui grown coffee and Maui lavender.
In tribute to the varied foodie scene across the islands, in 1992 a collection of chefs set up Hawai’i Regional Cuisine – a movement that focuses on using the freshest island ingredients to curate menus that inventively blend Hawai’i’s diverse, ethnic flavours with international cuisine, and thereby showcase the delicacies available on the islands.
Those wanting to sample some of the best Hawai’i Regional Cuisine can visit Maui’s Beverly Gannon’s Hali’imaile General Store – a favourite hotspot for the locals, known fondly as ‘The Store’. Chef Bev was originally from Dallas, Texas, and her menu takes inspiration from the Texan roots with tones of Asian flavours that use fresh Hawaiian produce.
Those wanting to explore further afield can visit Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, located in the Upcountry region of Maui at an elevation of 4,000 feet, the 13.5 acre farm is home to approximately 55,000 lavender plants and 45 different varieties of lavender. Thriving in Kula’s Mediterranean climate, Ali’i Kula’s lavender blooms year-round in the cool, dry climate and tours are available to those who would like to learn more about the farming processes behind the creation of products such as lavender tea, soap and honey.
For drink aficionados
Maui Wine is nestled in 23 acres of land, on the southern slopes of the Haleakalā volcano and is the only winery in Maui. Founded in 1974, the winery offers tours of the vineyard and tastings in the winery, to teach visitors about the process behind the production of the wines.
King’s Cottage, the former holiday home of King Kalākaua dating back to 1870s, is now used as the tasting room for visitors. An 18-foot bar crafted from a single piece of solid Ulupalakua mango wood, stretches across the room, and frames the impressive collection of wines, ranging from pineapple wines, estate wines, and traditional sparkling wines.
For those whose tipple of choice is something a little more hoppy can visit Maui Brewing Company. Founded in 2005, it is Hawai’i’s largest craft brewery, and the production brewery and tasting room is located in Kihei, on the west side of Maui. Visitors to the brewery can enjoy guided tours and tastings to learn about the brewing process and the different types of beer.
To learn more about the food and drink offerings on Maui, Pomai Weigert, from Hawaii Agritourism Association tells her story here:
Local beaches and adventures
For ocean enthusiasts
Kaui’i is known for its dramatic cliffs, breath-taking canyons and vast rainforests, but the island, surrounded by 50 miles of white-sand coast, is also home to some of Hawai’i’s most spectacular beaches.
Poipu Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island, with crystal-clear waters and gentle waves, it is perfect for beginner swimmers and surfers. Visitors can take part in surfing lessons with instructors who have grown up with the beaches on Kaua’i as their playground and know the ocean like the back of their hand.
Those wanting to try something more challenging can head to the North Shore beaches that attract world champion surfers from across the globe. Kekaka beach is a favourite surf and fishing spot amongst the locals, located on the far west of the island that offers beautiful sunset views.
For adrenaline junkies
There is much more to Kaua’i than beaches and with 90% of the land only accessible by foot, it’s the perfect place for travellers wanting to discover the hidden gems of Hawai’i and explore off-the-beaten-track locations.
Whether it’s a horseback ride to one of the island’s remote waterfalls, or an exhilarating zip line adventure through the jungle, the island is a true adventurer’s heaven.
There are a number of stunning waterfalls on the island including the Hanakapiai Falls, perfect for those looking for a challenge, it can be reached only by hiking, but offers stunning views over the Nā Pali Coast, whilst Wailua Falls, a double-tiered waterfall, is easily accessible and perfect for families and children.
To learn more about the beaches and adventure activities on Kaua’i, Krystl Apeles, World Tandem Surf Champion tells her story here:
For further information about Hawai‘i, please visit: GoHawaii.com/UK