Year-round temperatures typically range from the low 20s to high 20s (Celsius).There are two seasons, dry and rainy. The rainy season runs from November to March, and the dry season is the rest of the year, although there is some rain, especially in the rain forests.June to November is the time for hurricanes. The islands’ valleys, coastal plains, and mountain peaks create microclimates. For example, Hilo gets 450cm of rainfall a year, but Puako, 60 miles from Hilo, gets less than 15cm a year.
When to fly to Hawaii
Prices are high and the resorts are fully booked from mid-December through March and sometimes into April. The last two weeks of December are particularly busy in Hawaii. The summer school holidays brings a lot of families to Hawaii, but you can get better deals on packages and airline and hotel rates than in winter.
Cheap flights to Hawaii are available in the spring and autumn, mid-April to mid-June and September to mid-December, which is also the best weather. However, if you’re coming the last weekend of April, book your reservations early as that is Japan’s Golden Week (four national holidays in one week), and the islands are very busy with Japanese visitors.
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Getting around Hawaii
Oahu has a bus system, and taxis are available on the larger islands, but it can be very expensive taking a taxi for a long distance. You’ll probably want to rent a car, possibly even on Oahu.
Except for Lanai, Hawaiian car-rental rates tend to be reasonable, but petrol prices are high. Traffic on Oahu is heavy; there are approximately 400 cars for every kilometre of road on Oahu. If you do rent a car, make sure to avoid rush hour. Interisland airlines offer several trips a day for travelling from one island to another.
Another option is to go by boat: the Molokai ferry goes back and forth to Maui, and the Lahaina-Lanai Ferry provides service between Maui and Lanai.
Hawaii insider information
The ideal is to visit just one island — find the one that’s right for you and there’ll be plenty to do.
- The Big Island, Hawaii, is for many the true Hawaii with its snow-capped mountains, active volcanoes, and beaches that range in colour from black to green. The eastern side of the island is known for its mist, flower farms, waterfalls, and rainbows. The western side has dry lava lowlands, ranches in the uplands, and the resorts and bustle of Kailua-Kona.
- Maui, the second-largest island, has many of the best resorts in Hawaii. Maui offers a tropical vacation with perfect beaches, a 3.4km volcano mountain, waterfalls, rain forests, abundant marine life, arts and cultural activities, nightlife, and the world’s top surfers at Hookipa Beach.
- Oahu is the most populated island. Honolulu, Waikiki beach, Pearl Harbour, and Diamond Head are here. There are also museums, historic sites, and a great nightlife. Oahu’s terrain alone is an attraction, with mountain ranges, valleys, extinct volcanoes, and dry gulches.
- Kauai is the oldest inhabited island, with cliffs thousands of metres high along its northwestern shore, the Waimean Canyon, jagged mountains, rain forests, and sandy beaches. This is the place for water sports, kayaking, hiking, and bird-watching.
- Put on the map by Bill Gates’ wedding, Lanai is small and not easy to reach, but known for its small-town feel and celebrity appeal. The island is almost completely unspoiled and the main attraction is nature. Activities include snorkelling, scuba diving, hiking, whale-watching, horseback riding, golfing, and talking story with the locals.
- Molokai is the least-developed island and has Hawaii's highest waterfall, the world's tallest sea cliffs, coral reefs, rain forests, and empty beaches. If you’re looking for a beautiful tropical isle with few tourist trappings, this is the island for you.