The Hawaiian Islands are all beautiful tropical islands that offer a wide range of outdoor activities, including surfing, hiking, and golfing that make them ideal for incentive trips. They each offer rich cultural heritage and are known for their warm and welcoming people. However, each island has its own unique characteristics and attractions that make them distinct from each other. Below is a brief highlight of each.
Hawaii (also known as the Big Island): The largest and most diverse island, Hawaii offers a range of activities from hiking in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to snorkeling in the clear waters of Kealakekua Bay. It’s also home to some of the world’s best beaches, including Waikoloa Beach and Hapuna Beach.
Hotels: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai; Kona Village, a Rosewood Resort; Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection; the Fairmont Orchid and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, an Autograph Collection
Oahu: Oahu is the most populous of the Hawaiian Islands and is known for its vibrant city life, world-renowned beaches, and its fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, rooted in the values and traditions of the Native Hawaiian people. The island is home to Honolulu, the capital city of Hawaii, and iconic landmarks like Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, and the North Shore.
Hotels: The Halekulani and the Kahala Hotel & Resort, both Leading Hotels of the World and the Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina, among others. The Laylow, an Autograph Collection, is the smallest of the luxury hotels on Andaré with 251 guest rooms and the largest is The Royal Hawaiian with 528 rooms.
Maui: The “Valley Isle,” is known for its stunning beaches, world-class golf courses, and diverse natural landscapes. The island is home to Haleakala National Park, a volcanic crater 10,000 feet above sea level, that is a popular destination for hiking and stargazing. The Road to Hana is a scenic drive that takes one through the island’s lush rainforest, past waterfalls, and along the rugged coastline. Maui also has several world-class golf courses, including the Plantation Course at Kapalua, which hosts the annual PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Hotels: The Ritz-Carlton Maui Kapalua, Montage Kapalua Bay, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, the ANdAZ Maui at Wailea Resort, Ho’olei at Grand Wailea, the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui and the Hotel Wailea Maui, a Relais & Chateau hotel
Lanai: The smallest and most exclusive of the islands, Lanai offers a luxurious escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Visitors can play golf on one of the island’s championship courses or relax on secluded beaches. As Lanai is in the rain shadow of neighboring Molokai, it receives very little rainfall and thus has more rugged terrain than the other islands but it is still a beautiful and unique island with a diverse range of natural landscapes, including stunning beaches, rocky cliffs, and dramatic canyons. The island is home to Hulopoe Bay, a popular snorkeling destination, and the Garden of the Gods, with unique rock formations that resemble a lunar landscape.
Hotels: The Four Seasons Resort Lanai, and 20 minutes inland, the Sensei Lanai – A Four Seasons Resort
Kauai, also known as the “Garden Isle,” is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands and is known for its lush vegetation and stunning natural beauty. Visitors can hike the Kalalau Trail along the stunning Na Pali Coast or kayak down the Wailua River to take in some of the island’s waterfalls. It was on this Hawaiian island that Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark were filmed.
Hotels: 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, Koloa Landing Resort, an Autograph Collection and the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
Molokai: The least developed and most authentic of the islands, Molokai is known for its traditional Hawaiian culture and stunning landscapes. Visitors can explore the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, hike to the Halawa Valley waterfall, or walk along the cliffs of the Kalaupapa Peninsula. There are some small independent hotels on this island, but no luxury brand hotels.
Regardless of which island is selected, there are many activities that groups will enjoy when not spending time on the beautiful beaches. Hiking the many stunning trails of the islands and immersing oneself in the beauty of the islands is a favorite activity. Travelers can explore lush rainforests, hike to cascading waterfalls, or trek through volcanic landscapes. Some of the most popular hikes include the Diamond Head trail on Oahu, the Kalalau Trail on Kauai, and the Haleakala Crater on Maui.
Water sports are also a big draw for visitors to Hawaii. The warm waters and consistent waves make it a perfect place for surfing, snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, and windsurfing. The islands are also known for the opportunity to see humpback whales from December to May.
Those that come to Hawaii to golf will not be disappointed. A wide range of courses cater to players of all skill levels, from beginner to professional, and those who play will take home memories of an unforgettable golf experience from one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The weather in Hawaii is generally warm and tropical, but temperatures do vary depending on the season, altitude, and location within the islands. The temperature in Hawaii usually ranges between 75°F to 85°F (24°C to 29°C) throughout the year, with only a small variation between summer and winter months and the trade winds help to keep summer temperatures comfortable. Summer tends to have less rainfall than winter months which tend to be a bit cooler with more precipitation. During the shoulder seasons, there is less rain, and hotel rates may be slightly lower than during the busier summer season.
The average flight time to the islands is just over 5.5 hours from San Francisco. Typically, non-stop flights are also available from Los Angeles and Seattle. From the East Coast, there are also non-stop flights to Honolulu from New York City, with the flight time being just over 11 hours. Of course, there are many daily flights between islands.
Whether the group is interested in adventure, relaxation, culture, or history, there’s something for everyone in Hawaii. To find sample itineraries and activities, search on Andaré and feel free to reach out to our partner DMC in Hawaii, Amstar DMC.