If you're planning a trip to Hawaii, you might be asking yourself a lot of questions. Some of these might include what island you should visit, where on the island you should stay, what things you have to do and see, when are the best times to travel, etc. Today, we are going to take a look at Wailea and Honolulu. This will help you understand what each area has to offer and which might be a better fit for you.
There are seven Hawaiian islands. Wailea is on Maui, and Honolulu is on O'ahu. We'll be taking a deeper look into not only what these areas have to offer but also what the islands themselves have to offer. Here is what you need to know about Wailea and Honolulu in this Hawaii travel guide.
Wailea vs. Honolulu: Location
On the Southwestern shore of the island Maui, you'll find Wailea. Wailea is one of the top three resort areas on the island. The other two are Kanapali and Kapalua. In all of these areas, you'll be able to experience fine dining, amazing shopping, beautiful views and beaches, luxurious spas, golfing, and more. Maui is known to be one of the most beautiful Hawaiian islands and has been nicknamed “Heaven on Earth.”
Honolulu is a large area on the island of O'ahu. Situated on the South shore of the island, Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii. O'ahu is the most traveled island of all the Hawaiian islands, with approximately 4.7 million travelers per year. It is a famous location to visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. Its main area for shopping, activities, nightlife, and dining is in Waikiki, which is the eastern part of Honolulu.
Wailea vs. Honolulu: Landscape
In Maui, you'll be able to experience a handful of different landscapes and environments. Maui has mountainous climates, rainforests, and deserts. In Wailea, you will experience more of a desert climate where it is hot, dry, and sunny, perfect for the sunbathers! Wailea is known for its beautiful crescent-shaped beaches, five to be exact, that create a beautiful and serene environment.
Although Honolulu is lined with beaches, this area of O'ahu has a big city feeling. Honolulu is a major hub for military, business, finance, and hospitality. It has a mixture of Western, Asian, and Pacific cultures, making it a very diverse area. Besides the cityscape, Honolulu is known for its lush green landscape. It can be more humid and experience more rainfall, which leads to its lush green areas.
Wailea vs. Honolulu: Cost
Because Wailea is a very popular area to stay, the demand is very high, which leads to expensive hotel stays. The average cost of a hotel room per night is $719. The price of your hotel will vary and be affected by the area, amenities, and dates. The median price for a hotel room in the area is $536. If you're looking for a budget hotel, you can find hotels that average around $365 per night.
Compared to other places in Hawaii, Honolulu is a more reasonable place to stay when it comes to cost. The average cost for a hotel per night is approximately $365. You can find budget hotels for closer to $200 per night, mid-range hotels for $275, and luxury hotels for closer to $500 per night. Since Honolulu is traveled to more often and is much larger than Wailea, there are a lot more options, which makes the demand less and the hotels cheaper.
Wailea vs. Honolulu: Weather
Since Wailea is more of a desert climate, most of the year it is hot, dry, and sunny. May through October, Wailea usually won't even see a single day of rain. Most of its rain will come on the front end of the year, January through April. January averages five days of rain per month, February averages four, March averages three, and April averages two.
The temperature in Wailea is also very stable throughout the year, averaging in the mid-80s January through December. Even when it does rain, it is usually quick to come and go, so visiting this area of Maui should ensure good weather no matter what time of year you decide to visit.
Honolulu receives more rain and has a more humid climate than Wailea. This rain results in the green, luscious landscape that you can enjoy in this area. Throughout the year, Honolulu averages about four and a half days of rain per month, with the least amount of rain in the Summer. So, traveling during June, July, and August are the best months to visit here if you're looking to avoid the rain.
The temperature in Honolulu is very similar to Wailea and stays in the mid-80s throughout the year. So, if you're looking to avoid the Summer crowds, then you'll still get high temperatures during off-seasons. Other months that are good to visit Honolulu include May, September, and October.
Wailea vs. Honolulu: Food
When visiting Hawaii, there are some fun and delicious traditional and local foods that you definitely should try. Today's Hawaiian cuisine is diverse and consists of a mixture of Portuguese, Phillippine, and Japanese cuisine, as many immigrants from these areas settled in Hawaii. Some things you have to try while visiting include spam, loco moco, poke, malasadas, roast pork, and Hawaiian shaved ice. Although many of these items are not unique to Maui but to Hawaii in general, there are some famous places to check out on Maui.
If you're looking for a fun dessert, make sure to stop by Leoda's Pie Shop. At Leoda's, you can find all different kinds of homemade pies that include flavors and sizes. Although Leoda's isn't in Wailea, it's worth the trip to drive and explore. In Wailea, some of the top-rated places you have to try are the Kinaole Grill Food Truck, Kula Bistro, and Nalu's South Shore Grill.
Similar to Wailea, you need to try all the traditional Hawaiian cuisine picks: spam, loco moco, poco, malasadas, roast pork, and Hawaiian shaved ice. One of the most famous places in Honolulu to get malasada is Leonard's Bakery. Serving the area since 1952, Leonard's has perfected these delicious fried donuts.
If you're looking for restaurants, some of the best and top-rated restaurants that you have to try out include Ramen Akatsuki, Tempura Kiki, Sweet E's Cafe, Stripsteak Waikiki, Over Easy, Poke Bar, La Mer, Lucky Belly, Le Crepe Cafe Kailua, and Deck.
Wailea vs. Honolulu: Activities
Water and Beaches
One of the most popular things you can do when staying in Wailea is visit and snorkel Molokini. Molokini is a volcanic crater shaped like a horseshoe that you can see from the southern coastline of Maui. This area is a fish sanctuary, making it the perfect place to see hundreds of beautiful fish up close. If you book a tour to go to Molokini, often tours also include a visit to Turtle Town, which is close by.
Although all of Hawaii's beaches are beautiful, one of Maui's most known and iconic beaches you should visit is Big Beach. This beach also goes by the name of Oneloa Beach or Makena Beach. Over half a mile long, this is a wide beach for you to enjoy the sand and water but still have some privacy from your beach neighbors.
To participate in water sports, paddle boarding is a great option in Wailea, as the waves are usually not large or rough. Rent a board, take a class, or even sign up for a paddle board tour.
Adventure and Explore
If you love to golf, Wailea is home to three amazingly beautiful golf courses: Wailea Emerald, Wailea Gold, and Wailea Blue. When at Wailea Blue, make sure to stop by one of the best Irish bars on the island, Mulligans. When golfing on the Gold course, enjoy an awesome happy hour at Gannon's Restaurant.
One of the best places you can go for some great views is to visit and walk the Wailea coastal trail. The Wailea Oceanfront Boardwalk is a paved walkway for you to enjoy and see all the beautiful beaches of Wailea. The walkway is surrounded by beautiful wildflowers, and it's also a great place to see whales from November through May.
While in Maui, one of the most famous things you can do is the road to Hana. The road to Hana is an incredible drive through one of the most beautiful areas in Maui. You'll see rainforests, waterfalls, black sand beaches, and more. Doing the road to Hana is a full day of adventure, so make sure you give it the time it deserves.
Water and Beaches
One of the most popular and well-known beaches in Hawaii is Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. With high-end shopping, great food and drinks, high-rise hotels, and, of course, a beautiful beach, there is so much to experience here. This is a great place to visit if you have any interest in surfing or learning how to surf.
If you're interested in other water sports besides surfing, visit Sans Souci Beach Park, which is great for paddle boarding and kayaking. The waters at this beach don't have strong currents and they are shallow, making it a safe area for these activities.
Adventure and Explore
While in Honolulu, if you want to see one of the most famous volcanic craters not just in the U.S. but in the world, visit Mt. Leahi, which is also known as Diamond Head. Traveling up 760 feet, you'll be able to see amazing views of Waikiki and O'ahu's south shore. This hike has moderate to hard difficulty, so keep that in mind as you plan.
If you're a history buff, make sure to stop by the Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona memorial. As one of the top U.S. landmarks, experience the award-winning audio tour and learn about the details of what happened at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
If you're traveling with little ones, a trip to the Honolulu Zoo is a great trip to make. With 42 acres, this zoo is home to over 1,200 animals. What originally started as the Hawaiian King's personal bird collection is now the amazing zoo it is today.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Drone Northwest/Shutterstock.com.