Now that I’ve visited the four major islands, I can state that while I would most like to visit Kauai, I would prefer to live on the Big Island. Kauai is tiny and has only one major road around the island. With a population of locals and tourists, we were in constant traffic no matter where we were. However, on the Big Island, I have frequently found myself being the only driver in sight for a half hour at a time. It’s very laid back here and I’m glad I got the opportunity to live on this island, which many people probably overlook.
I’ve finally managed to locate some visitor statistics here, which answers the question I’ve had all summer: how many tourists visit each island? Or in other words, what is the order of island tourism popularity? The linked document is from the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, and gives statistics for the month of August 2013.
Oahu: 486,473 visitors
Maui: 210,350 visitors
Big Island: 128,281 visitors
Kauai: 100,778 visitors
This was the experience of a lifetime. With 3000-foot ocean cliffs and essentially untouched land, seeing the elusive Na Pali coast by helicopter is unforgettable. We did a doors-off tour which was even more exciting.
It’s almost unfair that Kauai has the Na Pali coast and Waimea Canyon, but our second day in Kauai was spent in just as much awe as the first. We overlooked Kalalau Valley at the end of the infamous Kalalau Trail, and did some hiking toward the coast – 6 miles round trip with stunning views at the very end.
The Kalalau Trail has been ranked one of the ten most dangerous trails in the country. 11 miles to Kalalau Valley, hikers traverse multiple valleys and cliff edges over consistently crumbly rock. We did the first two miles to the first beach, where many people have died in the strong ocean currents. One day I hope to return and hike the whole trail.