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Maui, Lanai and Molokai

 

 

 

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Hawaii Local Time


Road to Hana – Maui

The Hana Highway (HI-360) has 620 curves and 59 bridges. The road leads you through flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools and dramatic seascapes. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the lovely views, so get an early start and take your time on your drive.

Historic St. Sophia’s Church marks your arrival into Hana, where the pastures roll right up to the main street. Swim and sunbathe at Hana Beach Park or Hamoa Beach, cited by author James Michener as the most beautiful beach in the Pacific. Snorkel at Waianapanapa State Park, a beautiful black sand beach. Beyond Hana, venture 10 miles south to the outskirts of Haleakala National Park in Kipahulu. There you’ll find the popular Pools of Oheo, where waterfalls spill into tiered pools leading to the sea. View these tranquil natural pools or hike up the Pipiwai Trail to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls.


 

 

 

Molokini – Maui

Molokini is a small, crescent moon-shaped island that is a State Marine Life and Bird Conservation District. Lying only three miles from Maui’s southwestern coast, Molokini spans over 18 acres and rises 160 feet above reef-filled waters, offering visitors snorkeling and diving amongst a kaleidoscope of coral and more than 250 species of tropical fish.

Tours are available from nearby Maalaea Harbor and Lahaina. Early morning is the best time of day to explore this pristine reserve, and whale watching is an added bonus during the winter months. If you’re a scuba or snorkeling enthusiast, a visit to Molokini is a Maui must.


Haleakala National Park – Maui

The park is comprised of over 30,000 acres of public land, has three separate visitors centers and covers a range of natural environments. You can travel atop the highest peaks of Haleakala, hiking above the clouds and horseback riding across otherworldly deserts. As the park stretches out to the coast towards sea level you can even visit lush tropical areas full of waterfalls and streams.

Many visitors and locals wake up early to drive up to the Haleakala Visitor Center (9,740 feet), the best spot to watch the sunrise. On a clear morning, seeing the sunrise from the summit of Haleakala is an unforgettable experience. Even those who’ve witnessed the event many times say they’ve never seen the same sunrise twice. Perhaps just as spectacular are Haleakala’s sunsets and the bright, starry skies revealed at night.

The long, winding road to the summit of Haleakala takes some time to drive up, but is well worth the effort. There are numerous hiking trails that offer solitude and scenic vistas.


 

 

Kaanapali Beach – Maui

With three miles of white sand and crystal clear water, it’s no wonder why Kaanapali Beach was once named America’s Best Beach. Fronting Kaanapali’s hotels and resorts, this former retreat for the royalty of Maui is now a popular getaway for the world.

One of Kaanapali Beach’s most famous attractions is the daily cliff diving ceremony off of the beach’s northernmost cliffs known as Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock. Held every evening at sunset, a cliff diver lights the torches along the cliff, diving off of Black Rock in a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s revered King Kahekili. This memorable ceremony is just one more reason why Kaanapali Beach ranks as one of Maui’s signature beaches.


Iao Valley State Park –  Maui

Towering emerald peaks guard the lush valley floor of Iao Valley State Park. Located in Central Maui just west of Wailuku, this peaceful 4,000-acre, 10-mile long park is home to one of Maui’s most recognizable landmarks, the 1,200-foot Iao Needle. This iconic green-mantled rock outcropping overlooks Iao stream and is an ideal attraction for easy hiking and sightseeing.

Aside from its natural tropical beautiful, sacred Iao Valley has great historical significance. It was here in 1790 at the Battle of Kepaniwai that King Kamehameha I clashed with Maui’s army in his quest to unite the islands. Even with Iao Needle serving as a lookout point, Kamehameha defeated Maui’s forces in a ferocious battle that ultimately changed the course of Hawaiian history.


 

 

Lanai City – Lanai

Just three miles north of the airport, Lanai City was founded in the early 1900’s as a plantation town originally built around Lanai’s booming pineapple industry. It is located in Lanai’s central highlands and, at an elevation of 1,700 feet, is noticeably cooler than coastal areas of the island.

All the shops, restaurants and business of Lanai City are centered around Dole Park. This grassy spot is a popular place for locals to gather, meet and picnic. The towering pines lining the park provide just the right amount of shade on a sunny afternoon.

Check out the Munro Trail which offers spectacular views and the 1,600-foot elevation takes you through a rain forest filled with ohia lehua, ironwood, eucalyptus and pine trees. If you want a great beach then make sure to visit Hulopoe Bay which the title of America’s best beach in 1997. One of the highlights of Hulopoe Bay is its large tide pools located at the eastern side of the bay. Carved out of volcanic rock, these tide pools are well protected, keeping the waters calm for exploring.


Puu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock) – Lanai

On the southern coast of Lanai is picturesque Hulopoe Bay and Lanai’s main boat harbor, Manele Bay. Rising from the sea just between these two bays is the iconic Puu Pehe, or Sweetheart Rock. Besides being a picturesque natural landmark, Puu Pehe is also steeped in Hawaiian legend.

To get to Puu Pehe you can take a short hike from the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay southeast past Hulopoe Beach and the rocky tide pools. Hike up the path along the rocky cliffs for about 15-20 minutes and you’ll soon overlook this Lanai landmark. Sunsets here can be especially romantic with dramatic views of Hulopoe Bay. You may even spot the spinner dolphins that frequent these waters perched atop this scenic lookout.


 

Halawa Valley – Molokai

Hike into the East End’s classic cathedral valley to see Hawaii back in time. It is believed ancient Polynesians settled in lush Halawa Valley as early as 650 AD. With many hidden heiau (places of worship) it’s easy to see why this area, half a mile wide and three to four miles deep, and blessed with beautiful vistas and towering waterfalls, is one of the island’s most historic areas.


Kalaupapa National Historical Park – Molokai

It’s quiet as you ride on your mule along the 2.9-mile trail to Kalaupapa Peninsula. You would be speechless too riding along sheer cliffs overlooking the Pacific, descending from 1,700 feet and with Molokai’s North Shore Pali just to the east – the tallest sea cliffs in the world as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records, measuring 3,600 to 3,900 feet. Three miles, 26 switchbacks and 90 minutes of magnificent views later and you’re back to sea level in the historic town of Kalaupapa, one of the most remote settlements in Hawaii.


 

Papohaku Beach – Molokai

Visit Papohaku Beach (also known as Three Mile Beach) and discover three miles of soft-sands uninterrupted down Molokai’s west end. One of Hawaii’s largest white sand beaches at about 100 yards wide, there’s plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the “Friendly Island” ambiance.

Here you’ll find campsites, indoor and outdoor showers, as well as picnic and restroom facilities. What you won’t find is a lot of foot traffic. There’s plenty of space to enjoy a beautiful view of Oahu. Note that during the winter months, it is best to avoid any dangerous shore break. Please heed all posted safety signs on the beach.


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Hawaii Travel Information and Tips

Staying on Maui
There are a wide range of accommodations on Maui, including high-end resorts, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and rentals. You’ll find resorts and hotels in Kapalua, Kaanapali, Lahaina, Kihei, Makena and Wailea on Maui’s sunny western coast as well as one resort in Hana in east Maui.

Anytime of year is a good time to visit Maui. The average temperature here is between 75-85 F.  Summer, between April and November, is warmer and drier while winter, between December and March, is a bit cooler. Trade winds keep things comfortable year-round. It is generally drier on the western (leeward) side and wetter on the eastern (windward) side.

Traveling on Maui
You can get around Maui by shuttle, tour bus, taxi, or public transportation. But to really experience all that Maui offers you should consider reserving a rental car in advance from the Kahului or Kapalua Airport.

What to Pack
It’s warm in Hawaii, so pack your summer attire. You may want to bring a jacket or sweater for the evenings. Bring warmer clothes if you plan on visiting higher elevations like Haleakala National Park. Suits and ties are very rarely worn here. Bring some casual dress clothes or resort wear if you plan on experiencing Hawaii’s nightlife. You can buy an aloha shirt and flip-flops (or slippers, as the locals call them) when you get here.

Tipping
U.S. standards on tipping apply:
Restaurants: 15-20%. Check to see if “gratuity” is included for large parties
Bar: $.50-$1 US per drink
Housekeeping: $1 US per bed, per night
Luggage porters: $1 US per bag
Doorman: $1 US for calling a taxi
Room Service: 10-15% of the total bill
Taxi: 15% of fare

Getting to Lanai

There is no direct service to Lanai from the continental United States. Instead, fly to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) or Kahului Airport (OGG) in Maui, where you can connect to several local airlines with service to Lanai Airport (LNY). For those flying into Maui, you can travel to Lanai’s Manele Harbor from Maui’s Lahaina Harbor through the Expeditions ferry service. There are 5 round-trips daily. Ferry trips take roughly an hour.

Weather on Lanai

The weather on Lanai is pleasant and drier than other islands. Lanai City sits at nearly 1,700 feet, where the warmest months reach about 72º F so bring a light jacket. Temperatures at Manele and Hulopoe Bay are usually about 10º to 12º higher.

Traveling on Lanai

Lanai has a great Island-wide transportation system offered for a nominal fee that is available through the Four Seasons Resorts, Hotel Lanai and Expedition Ferry (to and from Maui). The island shuttle offers an easy way to get from the airport to the hotels in Lanai City and Hulopoe Bay, the beautiful golf courses, and the Expedition Ferry. The shuttle is convenient and runs frequently. Booking a rental 4-wheel drive for exploring the special sites throughout the island is the best way to discover all that Lanai has offer.

 

Can I use my valid foreign driver’s license to drive in Hawaii?

Yes. Your valid driver’s license is good for one year from the entry date on your passport.

Can I use my cell phone while driving in Hawaii?

No. You may not use any electronic handheld device while driving. This includes phones, cameras and mp3 players. Holding a phone at a stoplight or while paused with the engine running is considered a violation and you will receive a ticket. Fines vary according to island and can be as high as $150.

You may use a Bluetooth headset or hands-free device with your cellphone.

What’s the speed limit in Hawaii?

The speed limit varies from 10 miles per hour (mph) in tiny lanes and 25 in most residential neighborhoods to 60 mph on some freeways.

What should I do if I am in an auto accident?

If you are in a collision, the first step is to call the police at 911 to file a report or to contact emergency fire or ambulance services. Do not leave the scene until after the police are finished. You may need to contact your rental car company.

What are the helmet laws?

• All riders 17 years old and younger must wear a helmet.

• Bicycles– All riders 15 years old and younger must don a helmet.

• Motor Scooters & Motorcycles– Helmets are required for all riders 17 years old or younger.

Does my child need a child safety seat?

Most rental car providers have child safety seats available for rent.

• All children under the age of four must be secured in a Federally-approved child safety seat.

• All children between the ages of four and seven must ride in either a booster seat or a car seat. Children 4’9” or taller or those riding in vehicles with lap-only seat belts in rear seats are exempt.

Weather in Hawaii is very consistent, with only minor changes in temperature throughout the year. There are really only 2 seasons in Hawaii: summer (called Kau in Hawaiian) from May to October and winter (Hooilo) from November to April. The average daytime summer temperature at sea level is 85º F. (29.4 C) while the average daytime winter temperature is 78º (25.6º C). Temperatures at night are approximately 10º F. lower.  The islands are an incredible collection of diverse micro-environments, each with its own unique weather, plants, and animals. As a result of the shielding effect of volcanic mountains and the differences in weather found at various elevations, you can find tropical rain forests, cool alpine regions, arid deserts, and sunny beaches – all within the span of just a few miles.

Water and Surf Conditions

Hawaii’s near-shore water temperatures remain comfortable throughout the year. The average water temperature is 74º F. (23.3 C), with a summer high of 80º F. (26.7º C). Wave action varies dramatically between island coasts and seasons. Summer waters are typically gentle on all beaches. During the winter on many north shore beaches, Pacific storms drive ocean swells towards the islands, creating Hawaii’s legendary big waves.

Wave conditions are often very localized, so if the waves are too big on your beach, you can usually find calmer water at a more sheltered beach. Strong currents can make any beach unsafe at any time during the year, particularly in the winter. Ask your hotel staff or a lifeguard about ocean currents or look for warning flags and posted beach conditions.

Rainfall

Most of the rain falls in the mountains and valleys on the windward (northeastern) side of the islands. It is these passing showers that create Hawaii’s rich, green, tropical environment.

The wettest months are from November to March, but winter rains do not generally disrupt vacation plans, since the weather is very localized. This means that if it is raining where you are, there is almost always a sunny spot to be found around the coast.

Trade Winds

In Hawaii, we are fortunate to enjoy the comfortable weather cooled by the trade winds. Named for the winds that once carried ships around the globe, these gentle breezes keep our island weather just right during most of the year, but can become gusty and dangerous on occasion.

From January through March, the trade winds are less frequent and the islands experience the humid conditions referred to as “Kona weather.” Kona winds is the local term for stormy, rain-bearing winds. Under extreme conditions, Kona winds can cause extensive damage.

Please heed all weather warnings before hiking, swimming, sailing, or participating in any outdoor activities.

Vog

Vog is the local term for “volcanic fog” and it describes the hazy air pollution that occasionally hangs over the islands. Vog is caused when sulfur dioxide and other gasses from Kilauea’s Halemaumau Crater (Big Island of Hawaii) mix with moisture in the air and sunlight. Under extreme conditions—when the volcano is active and the winds carry the fumes north to the rest of the island chain—vog can be hazardous to plants, animals and humans. The most common effects are headaches, watery eyes and breathing difficulties. These effects can be especially pronounced in people with respiratory conditions and young children. It is not advisable to exercise or participate in strenuous outdoor activities when the vog is very heavy. Depending on your personal sensitivity, you may want to learn more about vog before traveling to Hawaii Island and visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Want to know what the vog conditions are around the island? Check your local news weather report.

Not all hazy conditions are caused by vog. If you see a white mist along the coast, it could simply be salt spray hanging in the air. Or if it’s hazy along the mountains in the morning, chances are you’re looking at moisture in the air from the updrafts along the ridges.

Hawaii’s Mountains and Volcanoes

Many visitors are drawn to the natural beauty found in higher elevations. While a light jacket and casual clothes will serve you for most of your trip, you will need warmer clothing if you plan to hike Haleakala on Maui where the temperatures average 40°F- 60°F (5° – 16°C). On Maunakea on Hawaii Island it can get as cold as 12° F (11°C) after sundown. Mountain campsites such as Kokee State Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park can also be extremely chilly so check with park officials before camping.

When you’re in Hawaii, everyday feels like Aloha Friday. Clothing is casual, and except for one or two finer restaurants, jackets are not required for dinner. Men in Hawaii have it easy because aloha shirts (casual buttoned down or collared shirts) are appropriate for just about any occasion. Hawaii’s tropical temperatures range from bikini weather in the summer to a light sweater or jacket in the evening. Comfortable shoes or sandals are fine for most occasions.

Business Aloha

This term refers to the “Downtown Honolulu” look and is appropriate for business functions and better restaurants. Men: aloha shirt, slacks and dress shoes. For women, it generally means aloha or business attire.

Outdoor Wear

If you will be hiking or will require specialty clothing/equipment, consider buying your gear before you arrive as the selection can be limited on certain islands. This is especially important if you will be spending a length of time on the summit of Haleakala or Maunakea, or camping in higher elevations such as Upcountry Maui or Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. See our climate page for more details.

Ocean Activities

If you’re on a boat, bring  sun protection gear and sunscreen. A light jacket is also recommended for wind and rain. Swimsuits are easy to purchase, and scuba suits and gear can be rented.

Sunscreen, Hats and Sunglasses

Hawaii’s proximity to the sun makes for gorgeous tans and nasty sunburns, even on cloudy days. If you want that golden glow, tan slowly with a high SPF sunscreen. Also, protect yourself with a hat and sunglasses.

Golf Attire

Many of the private golf courses in Hawaii require “proper golf attire” which usually means a collared shirt and dress shorts or slacks, no denim, cargo or sports shorts. When in doubt, it’s best to contact the course or pro shop. There is no dress requirement for municipal courses.

Baggage Claim

Honolulu, Oahu

The baggage claim area of the Honolulu International Airport is located on the lower (ground floor) level of the Main Terminal. You can get there on the free Wiki-Wiki (Hawaiian for fast, speedy) Shuttle, or by walking and following the signs. It’s less than a 10-minute stroll if you want to stretch your legs.

Lihue, Kauai; Kahului, Maui; Kaunakakai, Molokai; Lanai City, Lanai; & Hilo and Kona Hawaii

Directions to baggage claim areas are clearly posted. The luggage carousels are located on the ground floors of all terminals and are a short walk away.

Connecting Flights from Honolulu, Oahu

If you are catching a connecting flight from Honolulu to a neighbor island, look at your baggage claim ticket to see if your luggage has been checked through to your final destination. If your baggage claim ticket reads HNL, your luggage will only go as far as Honolulu International Airport. You will need to retrieve your belongings from baggage claim and check-in your baggage for your connecting flight.

The Hawaii airport codes are:

• HNL (Honolulu, Oahu)

• ITO (Hilo, Hawaii)

• KOA (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii)

• LIH (Lihue, Kauai)

• OGG (Kahului, Maui)

• LUP (Kalaupapa Airport)

• LNY (Lanai Airport)

• MKK (Molokai Airport)

• HNM (Hana Airport)

• JHM (Kapalua Airport)

Airport and Arrival Info

Review information about your arrival experience and what to expect when you arrive at any of Hawaii’s ten (10) airports, including ticketing and check-in, arrivals and baggage claim, intra-airport transportation and ground transportation, and driving directions.

Inter island Travel

Help plan your commute to the neighbor islands with these helpful tips.

Civil Defense

Watches and warnings are prepared for the Hawaiian Islands by the National Weather Service Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu. Find out what to do in the event of an extreme weather situation. 

Visitors with Special Needs

The Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB) from the Hawaii State Department of Health has compiled a comprehensive list of Hawaii Traveler Tips for Kauai, Maui and Molokai, Oahu and Hawaii Island that includes transportation options, equipment rentals, service animals and more.

Kauai – Driving Times from Lihue Airport to:

Fern Grotto: 20 minutes

Haena: 1 hr. 15 min

Kapaa: 25 min

Kilauea: 45 min

Poipu/Koloa: 30 min

Princeville: 1 hr

Spouting Horn: 30 min

Wailua Falls: 15 min

Waimea: 45 min

Waimea Canyon: 1 hr. 15 min

Oahu – Driving Times from Waikiki to:

Hanauma Bay: 30 min

Honolulu Int’l Airport: 20 min

Iolani Palace: 15 min

Kailua: 30 min

Ko Olina Resort: 45 min

North Shore: 1 hr

Nuuanu Pali Lookout: 20 min

Pearl Harbor: 30 min

Polynesian Cultural Center: 1 hr

Turtle Bay: 1 hr. 15 min

Waimea Valley: 1 hr.

Maui – Driving Times from Kahului Airport to:

Haleakala: 1 hr. 50 min

Hana: 2 hr. 30 min

Iao Valley:  25 min

Kaanapali: 50 min

Kapalua: 1 hr

Kihei: 25 min

Lahaina: 45 min

Wailea: 35 min

Wailuku: 10 min

Hawaii Island – Driving Times from Kona International Airport to:

Akaka Falls State Park: 2 hrs 10 min.

Hapuna Beach Park: 30 min

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: 3 hrs. 15 min.

Kailua-Kona: 15 min

Kealakekua: 45 min

Keauhou: 25 min

Onizuka Center for International Astronomy: 2 hrs

Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park: 1 hr

Waimea: 45 min

Waipio: 1 hr 30 min

Driving Times from Hilo International Airport to:

Akaka Falls State Park: 30 min

Hapuna Beach Park: 1 hr 45 min

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: 45 min

Kailua-Kona: 2 hrs 30 min

Onizuka Center for International Astronomy: 1 hr

Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park: 3 hrs

Waimea: 1 hr 30 min

Waipio: 1 hr 30 min

Hawaii uses the United States dollar as its currency. Exchanging money in Hawaii is as simple as using an ATM (automated teller machine), however, it’s helpful to exchange some of your currency before you travel so you’ll have money for cab fare and other incidentals.

Recently, U.S. currency has been reissued with new safety features, so there are many different varieties of bills and coins in circulation. U.S. paper bills come in $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations. (Please note that some small stores and fast food outlets in Hawaii will not accept bills over $20.)

U.S. coins include the penny (1 cent), nickel (5 cents), dime (10 cents) and quarter (25 cents). There are also $1 coins but they are not used very often and can be easily mistaken for quarters.

ATMs

Bring your debit card and you can withdraw cash from an ATM. The machine handles the currency exchange for you, and the service fee may be less than a bank. ATMs also accept credit cards for cash advances, but the foreign exchange fees may be higher, so check with your bank prior to traveling.

Banks

If you will be conducting business or making large purchases, many Hawaii banks have international banking divisions.

Shopping & Dining

The majority of stores and restaurants in Hawaii accept cash, debit and credit cards. Checks and travelers checks are accepted at some locations, but it’s best to check with the merchant first. If you are shopping with an international credit card, please check with your financial institution regarding currency exchange rates and international transaction fees.

Tipping

Tips are customary and appreciated for good service. U.S. guidelines are 15-20% on served meals, at least $1 per bag for porters and at least $1 per night for housekeeping.

Bringing money into the United States

If you and your travel companions together are carrying $10,000 or more in cash or other negotiable instruments such as endorsed checks, you must declare it upon arrival. If you do not, it is subject to forfeiture. Your money is not subject to taxation or duty. For more information, download this handy guide for international visitors or click on US Customs and Border Protection.

Hawaii State Tax

Hawaii does not have a sales tax, however we have a General Excise Tax which businesses can pass on to their customers. This GE Tax on goods and services varies by county (island).

Kauai – 4.000 %

Oahu – 4.712 %

Molokai – 4.166%

Lanai – 4.166 %

Maui – 4.166%

Hawaii Island – 4.166%

Hotel Room Tax 

In addition to the 4.712% General Excise Tax, all visitors who stay in hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, inns and timeshares are required to pay a “Transient Accommodations Tax.” This state tax is currently 9.25 percent.

For any person to lawfully marry in the State of Hawaii, a license must be obtained from an authorized agent. Once the license has been issued, there is no waiting period before the marriage can take place. Go to http://hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/vital-records/marriage/index.html for complete details.

Marriage License Information: 808-586-4545