Updated: Jan 11
Hawaii offers some fantastic scuba diving spots and is loads of fun top-side. Here are our favorite things about a Hawaii scuba diving vacation.
1.The diving in Hawaii is unique
Most of the diving in Hawaii is centered around the islands of Kona, Oahu, Maui and Molokini, Molokai, and Kauai, with many of the most popular dive sites within easy reach of Honolulu on Oahu. Every island has something unique to offer, but what sets Hawaii apart as a great dive destination, is its underwater topography.
This isolated archipelago is volcanic in origin, and the islands continue to evolve and change to this day. No less than six active volcanos subtly shift and alter the landscape, and divers will often spot noticeable changes to the underwater scenery on consecutive visits. Caves and caverns, lava tubes, huge boulders, and other fascinating formations create an exciting underwater playground ripe for exploration.
The marine life is no less interesting, with around 20% of reef fish found only in Hawaiian waters. Shallow coral gardens above steep drop-offs provide a wide range of habitats for all manner of creatures, from dark-dwelling critters to whales and dolphins, manta rays, several types of shark and turtle, and endemic species such as the Hawaiian monk seal. Many dive sites on the outer reefs are teeming with small to medium-sized reef fish, and specialized experiences such as shark cage diving, wreck diving, and blackwater diving are available.
Hawaii is a great destination to practice underwater photography. Check out the Bluewater Photostore for some excellent underwater camera buys.
2. Hawaii is easy to get to
Hawaii couldn't be easier to reach, with direct flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and many other North American cities. Flights from Europe tend to connect in the US, and flights from Asia connect in Japan. Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) on Oahu is the main gateway to the islands, however, Kahului Airport (OGG) on Maui, Allison Onizuka Kona International Airport (KOA) on Kona, and Lihue Airport (LIH) on Kauai also receive international flights.
Hawaii is also a popular cruise ship destination, with most of the large one-way cruises departing from Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, or Vancouver. The transit takes anywhere from 8 to 14 depending on the departure city and itinerary.
Once in the area, interisland flights, ferries, and cruises are readily available depending on where you plan to visit and what you want.
3. The weather in Hawaii is great all year
There is never a bad time to visit Hawaii where the weather is concerned. The tropical climate offers average highs of 80F (27C) year-round, although brief tropical downpours between October and March can catch you out.
Below the waves, conditions are comfortable and pleasant. Water temperatures range between 75 and 80F (24 to 27C), reaching their peak in September. Run-off from tropical storms can affect visibility at certain times.
Already an underwater photographer? Learn more about managing colors underwater.
4. Hawaii is familiar
Hawaii's fascinating culture and luxurious climate make it unique from the rest of the US in so many ways, however, visitors will recognize a few home comforts.
Hawaii uses the US dollar, so there is no need to worry about currency exchange before or after your trip.
And while there are over 100 indigenous languages throughout the islands, English is one of the official languages and is spoken by almost everyone.
Another useful similarity is that Hawaii uses the same electrical plugs as mainland US, with both type A (two flat prongs) and type B (two flat prongs and a rounded earth pin) sockets in use.
As a US state, visitors with a US or Canadian passport don't need a visa or any additional travel documents for entry.
5. Hawaiian culture is amazing
Last but not least, Hawaii boasts an awesome blend of Polynesian and Japanese cultures, embracing traditions, festivals, arts, and gastronomy representative of a diverse range of groups. The food is particularly exotic, with fresh seafood and home-grown fruits and vegetables featuring on most menus. Tantalizing ethnic and native dishes and a wide range of fusion styles give you new and exciting options for every meal.
When not exploring underwater, visitors can learn about Hawaii's complex history at sites such as Bishop Museum, Iolani Palace, and Pearl Harbor. While each island has its traditions and histories, you can be assured of a warm welcome wherever you go.