Hawaii is often considered a true paradise on Earth! This Pacific island chain located 4,000 km from Los Angeles offers breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture and a relaxing atmosphere that make it a great vacation destination.
Whether you’re drawn to the active volcanoes of Big Island, the beautiful beaches of Maui, the rich history of Oahu or the spectacular scenery of Kauai, there’s something for everyone on these fascinating islands.
In this guide, we invite you to dive into the Hawaiian experience, discovering with us the must-see sites and activities, the local cuisine, accommodation ideas and practical information for your future trip to Hawaii.
How to get to Hawaii from Quebec?
Many international flights to Hawaii depart from Montreal or Toronto, with connections in cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, Los Angeles, Detroit or San Francisco.
During the winter, Air Canada offers direct flights to Hawaii from Toronto (every Friday and Sunday), making travel more convenient and comfortable. Such a flight lasts about 9h30.
The two main airports are Honolulu on Oahu (HNL) and Kahului on Maui (OGG).
How to go to Hawaii with Reward Points
Aeroplan points for flights to Hawaii
The best way to pay for airfare with points to Hawaii is through the Aeroplan program.
There are great opportunities to go to Hawaii next month for as little as 50,000 Aeroplan points and $161.
Or you can get a head start and dream of waves and volcanoes in January 2024 with 35,000 Aeroplan points and $162 per person.
Marriott Bonvoy points for lower cost hotels in Hawaii
Accommodation in Hawaii is very expensive. But with Marriott Bonvoy points, you can save a lot.
This hotel chain has a great presence in the islands and it is easy to choose a budget or more luxurious hotel.
Eight islands to discover
The Hawaiian archipelago consists of eight main islands, which stretch over approximately 2,400 kilometers. Each of these islands has its own distinct topography and characteristics.
Hawai'i (Big Island)
Also known as the Island of Hawaii, Big Island is the largest island in the archipelago and offers an exceptional natural diversity. Travelers come here to explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, with its active volcanoes, incredible hikes and lunar landscapes.
The island is also home to beautiful beaches, coffee farms, impressive waterfalls and the Mauna Kea Observatory for stargazing.
Known as the island of magic, Maui is known for its beautiful golden beaches and surf spots, spectacular sunsets and relaxed atmosphere.
You’ll love exploring the stunning scenery of Hana Road and Haleakalā National Park, home to an extinct volcano. Also on the agenda: whale watching in season, the famous cliffs of the Ka’anapali Peninsula and the many world-class golf courses.
Oahu is the most populated island of Hawaii, as it is home to the state capital, Honolulu. It is famous for Waikiki Beach, with its luxury hotels and high-end boutiques.
The island is also known for its rich history, with sites such as Pearl Harbor and the iconic Diamond Head Crater.
Known as the “Garden Island” because of its lush vegetation, Kauai offers spectacular scenery, especially the Napali Coast, with its steep cliffs and impressive waterfalls.
Among its sites not to be missed: the Waimea Canyon, often called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”.
This quiet island is known for its authentic and unspoiled atmosphere. It is ideal for those seeking solitude and the experience of traditional Hawaiian life.
Molokai is also home to the natural phenomenon of Kalaupapa Cliff, where a leprosarium once stood.
Lanai is a small island known for its upscale resorts, world-class golf courses and secluded beaches. A large part of the island is covered by arid landscapes, but it also offers wooded areas and green valleys.
Some of the things to do on Lanai include watching spinner dolphins play off Hulopoe Bay, discovering the incredible moonscape of Keahiakawelo (“Garden of the Gods”), or visiting the largest preserved ruins of a prehistoric Hawaiian village at Kaunolu Fishing Village.
Known as the forbidden island, Niihau is a private island owned by a local family. It is generally closed to the public, preserving its natural environment and traditional Hawaiian culture.
This deserted island is used primarily for environmental and cultural preservation activities, and is not permanently inhabited.
Getting around Hawaii
Once you arrive in Hawaii, renting a car is the most common choice, as it offers great flexibility to move at your own pace.
The main islands have well-developed highways. Be sure to reserve your vehicle in advance, as demand can be high, especially during peak tourist periods.
Another popular option is the use of local buses, which are affordable and convenient for getting between major cities and attractions.
Finally, some islands also offer boat or helicopter tours, providing a unique perspective on Hawaii’s spectacular scenery.
To travel between the islands of Hawaii, there are several transportation options available:
Air: Hawaii has several airlines that operate scheduled flights between the islands, including Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines and Southwest Airlines. The flights are fast and offer superb aerial views of the islands.
Ferry: Another way to travel between some islands is by ferry. The Hawaiian Ocean Project shipping company operates between Maui and Lana’i, as well as between Maui and Molokai.
Cruise: A more touristic option to discover several islands is to take a cruise in the archipelago. Several companies, including Celebrity Cruises and NCL, offer cruises that include stops on different islands, providing an opportunity to visit multiple destinations without having to worry about transportation between them.
Taste the local cuisine
Hawaiian cuisine is a fusion of Polynesian, Asian and Western flavors, reflecting the cultural diversity of the archipelago.
One of the most iconic dishes is poke, a salad of raw fish marinated in a tasty sauce.
Be sure to try kalua pig, slow-cooked pork in a traditional oven, and loco moco, a dish made of rice, hamburger, egg and brown sauce.
Among the tropical fruits found in profusion in Hawaii: papaya, pineapple and mango.
And of course, don’t forget to try Kona’s coffee, one of the world’s most popular coffees, grown locally on Big Island.
Here are some of the most famous restaurants and bars throughout the archipelago:
Mama’s Fish House (Paia, Maui): Located on Maui’s north shore, this restaurant is famous for its fresh seafood and quaint beachside atmosphere.
Merriman’s (Waimea, Big Island): Founded by renowned chef Peter Merriman, this restaurant offers regional Hawaiian cuisine featuring local and sustainable produce.
Duke’s Waikiki (Honolulu, Oahu): This famous beachfront restaurant and bar pays tribute to Hawaiian surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku.
Lahaina Grill (Lahaina, Maui): Considered one of the best restaurants on Maui, Lahaina Grill offers creative cuisine with a Hawaiian influence.
Kona Brewing Company (Kailua-Kona, Big Island): This Hawaiian brewery is known for its locally brewed craft beers.
Where to sleep?
Hawaii offers a wide range of lodging options to suit all budgets and preferences. If you’re looking for a luxury experience, you’ll find many world-class hotels and resorts with relaxing spas, gourmet restaurants and breathtaking ocean views.
Here are a few renowned establishments to consider when visiting Hawaii:
- Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, on the west coast of Big Island
- The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, in Lahaina, Maui
- Halekulani, in Waikiki, Honolulu
- Fairmont Orchid, Kohala Coast, Big Island
- 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, in Princeville, Kauai
- Kapalua Bay assembly, in Lahaina, Maui
- Prince Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu
If you prefer a more intimate atmosphere, you can opt for vacation rentals or traditional Hawaiian inns, where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and meet other travelers.
Here are some suggestions:
- Hale Ho’o Maha Bed & Breakfast, in Hilo, Big Island
- Volcano Village Lodge, in Volcano, Big Island
- Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono, in Wailuku, Maui
- Manoa Valley Inn, in Honolulu, Oahu
- Bamboo Valley Inn, in Paia, Maui
- Backpackers Vacation Inn and Plantation Village, in Hilo, Big Island
Finally, campsites are also a popular option, especially on the islands of Maui and Kauai, offering picturesque sites close to nature.
For example, Namakanipaio Campground is located near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. On the beautiful island of Kauai, Koke’e State Park is a state park that offers several camping options in the heart of the rainforest.
Some practical information
Climate: Hawaii enjoys a tropical climate year-round, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 29°C. There are two main seasons: summer (May to October) which is generally warmer and drier, and winter (November to April) which is a little cooler with a slight increase in rainfall. However, the climate can vary from one island to another and even from one region to another of each island.
Currency: The official currency in Hawaii is the US dollar (USD). Most establishments accept credit cards, traveler’s checks and cash.
Electrical power: Hawaii uses the same electrical standard as North America, i.e. 120 volts and 60 Hz. The electrical outlets are of type A and B as at home.
Spoken languages : The official language in Hawaii is English. You will also hear other languages such as Hawaiian, Japanese and Tagalog (Filipino).
Time Zone: Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HST)
With this practical information in mind, you’ll be ready to make the most of your trip to Hawaii, adapting to the environment and making the most of this heavenly experience.
In fact, with a credit card like the Scotiabank Visa Infinite* Passport® Card, use points to deduct your accommodation, car rental or airfare expenses!
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When is the best time to visit Hawaii?
The best time to visit Hawaii is from May to October when temperatures are warm and rainfall is light. The high tourist season extends from December to March. Prices are higher and the beaches are more crowded.
What is the best island to visit in Hawaii?
This will vary depending on your preferences, whether you are a couple or a family and what you want to see and do.
Oahu is a vibrant island with a lively nightlife and many tourist attractions. The island of Maui is ideal for nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts. Kauai is known for its beautiful natural scenery and marine life. Finally, the island of Hawaii (Big Island) offers a variety of landscapes, from rainforest to active volcanoes.
Do you have to rent a car in Hawaii?
Yes, it is highly recommended that you rent a car in Hawaii to get around and explore the various attractions on the island. Book your car as soon as possible, in order to have the lowest price and the largest choice of vehicle.
Public transportation is limited and cabs can be expensive. In addition, driving is easy in Hawaii with well-maintained roads. Uber and Lyft are present on all islands, although less frequent in the most remote areas.
What is the traditional food of Hawaii?
Traditional Hawaiian food is a mix of Asian, Polynesian and American dishes.
Popular dishes include poke (a marinated raw fish dish), kalua pig (pork cooked in an earthen oven), loco moco (rice, a ground beef dumpling, and an egg on top), and spam musubi (rice with rolled-up grilled spam that resembles sushi).
What is the time difference between Hawaii and the province of Quebec?
The time difference between Hawaii and Quebec is 6 hours.