The good, bad and ugly sides to Hawaii for tourists


The good

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Hainan Island sells itself as 
the Hawaii of Asia
Costa Rica
 is known as the Hawaii of Central America. There are at least three Hawaiis of Europe (the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands) and 
 lays claim to being the Hawaii of Africa.

The wannabes all have a warm climate and a sense of the exotic but none are blessed with as many amazing beaches as their more distinguished doppelgänger.

Head to Waimea Bay on the north shore of Oahu if you can surf – stick to the gentle waves of Waikiki, or the calm waters of Kailua Beach, if you can’t. The latter is a favourite of former United States president, 
Barack Obama
, who was born in Hawaii.

Lumahai Beach on Kauai, aka the Garden Isle, featured in the 1958 film South Pacific, and Polihale Beach is the longest in the archipelago. The pristine 18km strand of sand is framed by soaring cliffs and can only be reached via a bumpy unpaved road that keeps the crowds away. Polihale is situated in the driest part of Kauai and camping is permitted as the area is a designated state park.

Kauai is also a haven for hikers. Topping the bill is Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Waterfalls gush, as do tourists when they glimpse the spectacular Na Pali coastline rising 1,200 metres from the ocean like a scene from a tropical fairy tale.