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Helpful Facts about Hawaii From GLAD Travel

Don't get confused! The Big Island of Hawaii can also be referred to as "Hawaii" or just "Big Island."
Hawaii is full of microclimates. If it's raining and cloudy on one part of an island - chances are it's sunny and hot on another part!
Be aware that maps of Hawaii can be contradictory. Even maps from official sources may not be complete or correct, especially with regards to smaller communities. However, this creates a wonderful opportunity for adventure and will encourage you to start up friendly conversations with the locals!
Did you know? Many islands share cities with the same name. Kailua, Waimea and Wailua can all be found on multiple islands, and the list of duplicates goes on. So be careful when searching for a particular city and make sure you are looking on the right island.
Have fun being confused! Sometimes people refer to the same city or area by different names. An example is Kailua-Kona on the Big Island being referred to as Kona or even Kailua.
Waikiki is not an official city in Hawaii. It is just a commonly used term to refer to a specific part of Honolulu proper. If you see an address with Honolulu, the location may or may not be in Waikiki (but the zip code can help you in figuring this out, Waikiki is 96815).
The Big Island is commonly divided into districts (circulating clock-wise): Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo, Puna, Kau, South Kona, North Kona, South Kohala, North Kohala. Be aware of them because: 1) They aren't cities and 2) You may be directed to them by locals or fellow travelers.
Driving Tip: As a general rule, you can drive around each Hawaiian island in 1 day, except the Big Island (which would take 2 days). That is assuming you don't get stuck in Honolulu rush hour traffic! Yet, it's rarely advisable to try to do this since you will want to stop and enjoy the beauty.....
Driving Tip: If you're driving on Oahu, stay away from Honolulu traffic during weekday rush hour. You'll be wasting valuable hours of beach time waiting in traffic!
Driving Tip: Forget your mainland city driving habits here. Hawaii is more about enjoying the ride rather than rushing about from place to place. Join with the locals in driving with patience, consideration, and giving a friendly wave or smile to fellow drivers!
What are the biggest party towns in Hawaii? Using a mainland version of "partying," the answer would be Waikiki, Oahu and Lahaina or Kihei, Maui. YET, how about spontaneous bonfires with new friends on anonymous beaches? Adventures like this are all around, waiting for the open-minded traveler to discover!
In general, the west sides of all the islands are more dry, hot, and arid. The east sides of the islands tend to be lusher, prone to rain showers, and cooler (think of tropical rainforests).
Surf: In general, the north shores of the islands get larger swells (and swimming is less advisable) during the winter months of Nov - Feb. Swells differ by: 1) season of the year and 2) whether you are on the north-south-east-west shore of an island.
Where is the best scuba diving in Hawaii? Maui! From the west or south coast you can dive the famous Molokini crater or even take a short boat trip for a great dive off the coast of Lanai. Several spots off the west coast of the Big Island rank as the second best scuba diving in HI.
Where is the best hiking in Hawaii? That's a difficult one since ALL the islands have great hiking spots. Probably the most famous, and often touted as one of the world's best hikes, is the 11 mile (one way) Na Pali Trail which starts at the north west corner of Kauai.

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