Ok, even though I hate all of you, today's fact is for you bunch of cruel cruisers with no hearts!
Hawaii is the quintessential tropical paradise where the average daily temperature is 75 degrees coupled with ever-present cooling trade winds. The balmy temperatures and nearly constant sunshine make Hawaii a year-round vacation destination for travelers around the world. Still, winter storms can drench the Islands. Honolulu, for example, averages 3 1/2 inches of rain in January but rainfall has reached close to 20 inches in wet years. Despite this infrequent occasion, the islands continue to be dramatic with volcanic ridges carved by waterfalls, deep green valleys arched by daily rainbows, miles of blue ocean with vast waves that gave birth to the sport of surfing, reefs teeming with brightly colored tropical fish, vast mountains tipped with snow, rain forests teeming with rare plant and animal species, and active volcanoes pumping hot lava into the sea. In the same day, you can hike to a remote pool created by a rumbling waterfall, snorkel in a marine preserve, and then return to a world class resort to enjoy the comforts of civilization * from cable television to chilled Chardonnay. It's no wonder that Hawaii draws nearly seven million visitors a year, it is truly an exotic location combined with all the comforts of home.
Although the archipelago stretches 1,523 miles and includes 132 islands, reefs, and shoals, most are uninhabitable except by seals and birds. Four islands * Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii, are the primary destinations that most people consider when planning a trip to Hawaii. Oahu is the first stop for most visitors since the airport is here. Eighty percent of the state's population reside on Oahu. Compressed into one square mile of Oahu are 32,000 hotel rooms and condominiums, 700 restaurants, 350 bars, and 1,100 shops * plus about 60,000 visitors on any given day. Waikiki Beach has traffic jams, highrises, and crowds. However, there is a lot to see and do - the weather is good, the pace is reasonable, and the beaches are wonderful. The North Shore with its exciting surf is relatively undeveloped and is more like the deserted tropical island you are probably dreaming of.
Maui is much closer to most people's notion of Hawaii. It's larger than Oahu with one-tenth as many people. Maui has glamour, great natural beauty, and a carefully planned resort infrastructure that avoids the excesses of Waikiki, while providing plenty of golf, tennis and many other recreational activities. Maui has become sophisticated and expensive, but also a favorite among travelers. If Oahu and Maui are the two sophisticated sisters of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai and Hawaii are the country cousins * less known, less often visited, but with a great deal of natural charm. Kauai is the oldest, wettest, and lushest of the islands * and most off the beaten path. If your idea of fun is sightseeing among spectacular scenery or hiking in a rain forest, then Kauai will work for you. That's especially true if you're not much for shopping or fancy restaurants.
Hawaii, the island from which the rest of the chain takes its name, is for those who love nature in some of its wildest manifestations * green rain forests and lava deserts, vast mountains and live volcanoes, beaches of black sand, and waterfalls of great height. There are towns on Hawaii that have been swept clean by sudden tidal waves and others that have been buried under slow flowing lava.
Since it's only about half an hour by plane from island to island, you may be tempted to try to see all four major islands in a short time. We think you'll be sorry if you do. Although flying times are short, you can waste most of a day standing in line at the ticket counter, baggage claim, or rental car counter. In the process, you can miss what you came to Hawaii to find * a sense of paradise, a refuge from the storms and stress of daily living, and a wonderful vacation. Hawaii's population is multi-ethnic with no group in the majority. While racial tensions are not entirely absent, Hawaii is usually considered to be a model of racial harmony. Although Hawaiians once ruled the islands, they now make up only about 12 percent of the population. Despite the growth and popularity of Hawaii, the aloha spirit * that special kindness and consideration that allows people to coexist on a small island * is still alive. Another reason to visit, just remember to demonstrate the same. Aloha!