As you may recall, I don’t live near Hawaii. I live in North Carolina which is about 12 to 15 hours of flight time to Hawaii. Just based on observation, most East Coasters balk at that amount of flying time and opt to find paradise in Florida or the Caribbean. Oh boy! Let me tell you that Hawaii is worth the extra flying time. I’ve been to several Caribbean islands and they are lovely, but I much prefer Hawaii over any of them. The Caribbean Islands have lots to offer, but I think Hawaii offers even more. Here’s why I choose to go to Hawaii over the Caribbean.
1.. The Aloha Spirit
The warmth and friendliness of the people of Hawaii is practically noticeable from the moment you step off the plane. The aloha spirit welcomes you to Hawaii with a sincere kindness. It makes you feel relaxed and at home right away.
Jim of Bargaineering.com is a blog pal and fellow Hawaii addict that lives on the East Coast. So, when I told him I was working on this article, Jim shared these thoughts.
In Hawaii, everyone made us feel like we were at home. I think that in visiting various Caribbean places, people are nice but not to the degree and extent Hawaiians were nice and inviting. The Caribbean was like another nice beach, great weather, but not a place where you felt at home.
There are few things on earth as exciting as the unpredictable shape and force of a volcano. In Hawaii, you are constantly reminded of the islands’ volcanic beginnings. You’ll find many volcanic craters and mountains in Hawaii. On the Big Island you’ll even find Kilauea which is one of the worlds most active volcanoes where you can watch red-hot lava flowing. Beat that Caribbean!
3. The Climate and Terrain Diversity
The volcanic shape of the Hawaiian islands create such diversity of climates and terrain. You’ll never find an island in the Caribbean that has elevations of nearly 14,000 feet above sea level like Hawaii has. The tall volcanic shaped mountains along with the pleasant tradewinds create the windward and leeward contrasts and climates.
In Hawaii, you’ll find rainforest jungles in contrast with fields of dry grasslands and beaches in contrast with snow-capped mountains. Take the Big Island of Hawaii for an example, you’ll find 12 of the earth’s 16 climate zones compactly existing on just one island. All this diversity creates such a feast for the eyes.
If you love to hike like I do, Hawaii is a paradise. Hawaii is has many miles of diverse and rewarding hiking trails. I’ve not found that on any Caribbean island that I’ve visited.
4. The Food
Hawaii is a harmonious melting pot with many ethnic backgrounds. You’ll find the evidence of this melting pot in the local cuisine. As Go Hawaii describes it, “Hawaii Regional Cuisine is a renowned culinary style that fuses American, Asian, European, and Hawaiian dishes together with the freshest local ingredients.” You won’t find many, if any Asian influences in Caribbean cuisine. That’s what sets Hawaii apart. Let me just add that as much hiking as I like to do in Hawaii, I don’t think I’ve ever returned from a Hawaii vacation a pound or two lighter.
5. The Polynesian Culture
I love that Hawaii clings to its Polynesian heritage. The European influence on the Caribbean is much more pronounced.
6. Hawaii feels safer.
In comparison to some Caribbean islands, Hawaii feels leaps and bounds safer. There’s hardly ever been a time that I’ve felt unsafe in Hawaii, but I have experienced some uncomfortable moments in Cozumel and Jamaica for example.
7. The US Dollar
Since many foreign currencies are strong now compared to the US dollar, it makes Hawaii a very good bargain destination. As a US citizen in a tough economy, I like spending my vacation budget to support my own country’s economy.
Finally, I’d like to re-emphasaze that the Caribbean is absolutely lovely. I have certainly enjoyed my vacations and honeymoon there. I just think that Hawaii has much more to offer visitors. Have you been to both? What other comparisons and contrasts did you notice?