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When we took our tickets to Hawaii, we didn't really know what to expect. Actually, we decided to leave on a whim. We only knew Hawaii from a few videos that had packed Flo, or the Hawaii 5-0 series that we sometimes watched from time to time. At that time, going to the other end of the world seemed almost utopian to us. What if we knew!
On our return from Iceland, we set out to find a more "exotic"destination. And that's how Hawaii came to us. We thought this project was so crazy that we put it into practice! After all, we only have one life! And here we are, we're off for an incredible 3-week trip!
Today we've been back for just over a month and our heart has stayed in Hawaii. An unexpected trip that totally captivated us! Here are our 10 reasons why you will want to discover Hawaii.
1 - Swim with Manta rays and turtles
If there is one experience that has left its mark on us, it's good to have swam with the Manta rays! Imagine giant rays of about 3 to 4.5 metres in span, grazing your belly and arms, passing within inches of your body while describing large parables in the water. It was the most incredible experience of our stay! There were about ten of them, turning around us, taking turns in a broom of incessant loops. Just a magical experience! And I'd like to make it clear that they're totally harmless.
And to top it all off, in Kona, on Big Island, you can watch Manta rays all year round!
But rays are not the only attraction. Hawaii is also a paradise for sea turtles. Coming to Hawaii you will be sure to see the beautiful turtles and even be able to swim with them! If with this you are not yet conquered...;)
There are so many of them that you can see them every day! They are mostly in the water, but they come from time to time to rest on the beaches. The places where they are used to come are known and you can easily approach them (but not disturb them). Finally, you will also have the opportunity to swim with them! Although they are quite furtive, it is not uncommon to meet a lovely sea turtle, even at the water's edge!
2 - See volcanoes in activity all year round
If there is a place in the world where you will have the chance to see a volcano erupting all year round, it's in Hawaii! Indeed, Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world! It has been in constant eruption since January 3,1983, that is to say if it is rather active!
To go to Hawaii is therefore to have the near certainty of witnessing large-scale volcanic phenomena, to see molten lava, and if you are lucky, to be able to watch the lava flow into the ocean or even to set foot a few centimetres from an active flow! Yes yes, you don't dream, this experience is really possible at the Volcanoes National Park on Big Island!
What is appreciated in Hawaii is that the active lava field is accessible 24 hours a day! Although the danger is present, the lava flow zone downstream of the crater remains open to the public, except in cases where the danger is too great. Thus it is possible to walk on the flow until you reach the lava and observe it with your own eyes! But it should be noted that on some days, there may be no surface activity as the lava flows through tunnels under the cooled lava. But in any case you can observe the lava lake of the Halema' uma' uma' u crater, and Hawaii is worth the detour!
3 - Admire the sunset and stars at the top of Mauna Kea, 4207 meters
Who would believe that tiny little islands lost in the middle of the Pacific could take us so high! Yet Hawaii has the highest peak in the Pacific, the Mauna Kea. It is a huge dormant volcano whose summit is covered with snow during the cool season. It is even possible to ski there! Pretty incredible, isn't it?
But what is just as fascinating is to be able to climb in 4x4 at this altitude where we are beginning to miss the oxygen, and discover the grandiose view on an endless sea of clouds! At this altitude, the clouds are mostly below the summit.
Here you'll see the stars shining like never before! At sunset, the Milky Way lights up and crosses the sky with its star coat. The summit of Mauna Kea is also a famous astronomical base where impressive domes and telescopes are installed. But that's not all, the Visitor Center of Mauna Kea, located at 2800 meters above sea level, offers activities around astronomy at nightfall. Telescopes are installed and galaxy images can be discovered! It's amazing to see them on the screen! Another appointment not to be missed in Hawaii.
4 - Cross in a few hours 8 of the 14 climates of the world!
This may sound incredible, even surreal, but according to the Köppen Classification, the Hawaiian archipelago and especially Big Island Island boasts 8 of the 14 climate types in the world!
The diversity of climate on these small islands in the Pacific is due to the fact that the volcanic islands reach an altitude of over 1000 metres. The summits being very close to the ocean, they create very atypical air masses and currents.
On Big Island, the eastern lands are very wet and wet because the clouds clump together, blocked by the great volcanoes (Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa). On the other hand, the climate is much drier, even arid and desert! Finally, the peaks culminating in more than 4000 meters, one finds a climate of tundra and desert at the top, and thus milder climates on the intermediate levels.
To fully appreciate this, here is the list of climates that can be found in Hawaii: Equatorial, Savannah, Monsoon, Semi-arid, Desert, Oceanic, Mediterranean, Tundra.
And here are also the ones you won't find in Hawaii: Wet Subtropical, Wet Continental, Wet Continental, Mediterranean Continental, Sub-Arctic, Oceanic Subpolar, Inlandsis (polar calotte).
5 - Discover new landscapes every day!
Thanks to the climates, we understand why Hawaii's landscapes are so diverse! That's where Hawaii's incredible power of attraction lies. Each island, each region is different and offers a multitude of scenery and landscapes that are not alike!
In Hawaii, each day will be different! One day, you will walk through the humid and luxuriant jungle with its flowers and 1 cubic metre leaves, the next day you will walk on lava flows in full sunlight, then you will enjoy the fresh air of the seaside, or the green and fresh meadows to find yourself by 0°C above the clouds! Fascinating, isn't it!
Each island has its own landscapes and reliefs. One might think that all the islands look alike, but no! Even if seen from an airplane the archipelago seems green and mountainous, once down below, one realizes the incredible richness and diversity of the islands. You will only be seduced by the abundance of decorations on such small islands lost in the ocean.
6 - Explore inaccessible and wild areas
Hawaii is also a small paradise for hiking! If you are fond of walking or trekking, you will be delighted! Because of its steep relief, the archipelago is full of unusual and incredible trails. There are so many that it would take several years to go through them all!
From the short stroll to multi-day hikes, Hawaii offers yet another opportunity to explore new landscapes. It is important to know that few roads go inland. So to explore these still virgin parts, you have to walk. Sometimes, on the side of the mountain, on narrow ridges or only a small rope will serve as a lifeline. But what an adventure!
I reassure you, not all hikes are so vertiginous and sporty, but the advantage is that there is something for everyone! You can stroll along the coast, in the heart of the jungle or even on the lava. Each time you will discover a new environment and discover some of the hidden waterfalls of the archipelago! If you like to walk, you'll be satisfied!
7 - Admire corals and swim among tropical fish
Hawaii's wealth is also in the ocean! A large part of the islands is surrounded by a coral reef, home to millions of tropical fish. In Hawaii, the corals are still in good condition and it is very easy to see them without having to venture offshore.
Some of the famous snorkeling spots offer a superb reef and incredible colors. From yellow to red, from purple to blue, corals sublimate the seabed! They are not spectacular compared to some varieties, but in some places they cover the rocks creating a magical scenery under water. Add to that dozens of brightly coloured fish and you feel like swimming in an aquarium!
The icing on the cake is that many beaches are ideal for snorkeling and are spread all over the island. This way, you will have almost every day the opportunity to admire the marine life, and after a good day of walking, what better than to relax in the water at 28°C and admire all these fish!
8 - Surf on the world's biggest waves
Here I'm talking to surf enthusiasts. Hawaii's reefs form incredible waves during the winter (November to March) that make it world-famous, especially in Maui and Oahu. But more generally, it is possible to surf almost everywhere in Hawaii! During the summer, the waves are less impressive, but surfing can still be practiced.
Here surfing is a religion! The locals even have days-offs when the conditions are good for surfing the wave. Surfing is also the cool spirit that goes with it and can be found everywhere in Hawaii. Aloha "kind of way, here you don't get caught up in the head, and that's really nice!
If you don't like surfing, you can always watch the beautiful silhouettes from the coast and take the wave. It's always impressive to watch!
9 - Immerse yourself in local cultures and the Aloha spirit of Hawaii
Hawaii is also a cultural crossroads! The Pacific is divided among many cultures that are predominant in Hawaii. We appreciated this cosmopolitan atmosphere where the traditional Hawaiian (polynesian) culture rubs shoulders with its traditions, folklore, religion, and American and Japanese cultures.
From religion to architecture to cooking to architecture, this cohabitation works wonderfully and offers an amazing choice of diversity! And on top of all that, Hawaii is also the Aloha spirit. This word has many meanings, such as "hello","goodbye" or to express affectionate signs such as"love". The Aloha spirit is also respect, hospitality and compassion.
Throughout the archipelago, you will be constantly reminded of the meanings of the word Aloha and put them into practice! It's also why you feel so good in Hawaii, the calm and calm mind. Everyone speaks spontaneously. We had touching contacts with the locals and we didn't feel like a wallet on our feet. We were welcomed with open arms, always advised and well guided. That's also why you feel so good in Hawaii!
10 - Losing yourself in the middle of the Pacific
Hawaii is located in the heart of the Pacific. We've been saying it all along, but just in case you find out, take the globe and turn it around to face the Pacific. On this part, you will see only water and a few islands, including Hawaii. It's pretty crazy to think that there is water for thousands of miles around and that the nearest continent is 6 hours away by plane! It's a rather strange feeling that we felt on the spot, a kind of inexplicable but fascinating change of scene!
Besides, it's still the class to say we're in Hawaii. Imagine the conversation with your friends. "So where are you going?" "Hawaii." "Not serious? Going to the other end of the world?" "Hey, yeah, hey, hey, hey!" Well, that's for the show off part, but mine of nothing, it's a great experience to go to the other side of the world! And then it's also an opportunity to try a little 12 hours of jet lag, just to put it on the charts of the most unusual things you've ever done in your life.
The last word
That concludes this article! I had to stop because I could have found dozens of other reasons! You will have understood, Hawaii is a place where you can't come back disappointed! Since we set foot on it, we have been longing to come and live here...
Finally, there is only one black spot in all of this, because we have to point out: the cost of living. Small budgets are likely to be burned by this very expensive trip. You can get an idea of this by reading our article Hawaii in 2017: itinerary and budget for 3 weeks. Nevertheless, Hawaii will remain one of our most beautiful trips!
So when's your turn?