Hawaii vs. the Caribbean

I recently gave some pointers to help you make the decision of booking a guided tour of Hawaii, planning your entire trip yourself or getting the best of both. However, you may still be wondering whether you should travel to the Hawaiian Islands at all.

There are so many beautiful places in the world that offer white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters and a culture that approaches life at a more relaxed pace. How can you narrow it down to one? When you know you want to visit an island paradise, what is it about Hawaii that will win your heart over destinations like, say, the Caribbean?

Truthfully, both places are equally spectacular in terms of attractions, amenities and ambiance. It’s simply a matter of preference. If you can visit both in your life, go for it!

However, you have to plan one trip at a time, and today we’ll figure out whether your next destination should be Hawaii or the Caribbean.

Let’s take a little bit of time breaking down everything you’ll most likely want to do and see on your vacation, the costs and appeal of these things and the price for travel and lodging. We will delve into the details you need to make a final decision and book a ticket for one destination over another.

Overview of Each Destination

While Hawaii and the Caribbean offer tons of benefits in the forms of beautiful palm trees, sprawling resorts with pools, delicious food, and gracious people, you’ll find each location has its own ambiance that is completely unlike the other.

We’ll dive into this more below, but take note that there are 65 islands in the Caribbean and 6 in Hawaii, so you’ll really need to get familiar with the feel of each island and pay attention to which ones call to you. Let’s take a closer look at how you can narrow down the list.

Can You Get There Easily?

It’s often easier for East Coast travelers to get to the Caribbean and for West Coast vacationers to travel to Hawaii. While you’ll be able to find flights to each destination regardless of where you live, the distance that you will have to travel can greatly affect the price of your plane ticket.

In addition, If you’re an American citizen and don’t want to get a passport, you’ll find easy entry into Hawaii, but you can also visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with no problems.

Regardless of where you choose to go, when it comes time to book, Expedia.com is the best destination for booking your flights with all the major airlines. Find the best rates around:

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What Is Your Budget?

There are often great deals and discounts to be had for tickets to both Hawaii and the Caribbean. When you start comparing prices for both destinations, though, remember to consider the cost of airfare, accommodations, intra- and inter-island transportation, attractions, dining and any activities on your must-do list.

With a total of more than 70 islands to choose from between the two destinations, it’s challenging to compare them all here. Start by brainstorming a list of what you want to do on your vacation, what you want to see and what types of places you’d like to stay in. Loosely prioritize them and look for islands that offer these things for free or cheap.

When Do You Want to Travel?

Take into account that both Hawaii and the Caribbean have off seasons. You’ll find great deals on lodging and transportation during the quiet times and often a more peaceful experience with fewer tourists on the islands.

For Hawaii, you’ll find that it’s busy in the summer and wintertime, while spring and autumn are more low-key. The Caribbean’s hurricane season, from June until November, is something to take note of and consider seriously. You’ll find cheaper prices at this time, but more pleasant weather between the holidays and the U.S.’s Spring Break.

How Much Time Do You Have to Vacation?

If you live near the east coast of the U.S., you’ll be able to easily get to the Caribbean for a weekend excursion. Flights from NYC, for example, take about four to five hours. East coast travelers with an extended period of time dedicated to vacationing can make it to Hawaii and stay for a week’s worth of fun with ease.

The opposite is true for those on the west coast; you’ll be in the air for about five and a half hours flying from L.A. to Honolulu. While it may be easier to escape to Hawaii if you’ve got limited time, it’s great to consider a trip to the Caribbean if you have all the time in the world.

What Do You Want to Do?

There are some similarities between Hawaii and the Caribbean, like stunning ocean landscapes, blue skies, opportunities for water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving, and even exotic food.

However, if you want to take part in a specific activity like hiking up volcanoes, wandering through ancient villages, or trekking through lush rainforests, you’ll need to decide how important this activity is to you and then make a choice.

Hawaii blows the Caribbean away when it comes to viewing volcanoes. In Hawaii, you’ll be able to see the world’s biggest volcano, Mauna Loa, as well as Kilauea, which is the world’s most active volcano.

If you’re interested in walking around some of the oldest cities in the New World, you’ll enjoy visiting the cobblestone streets of cities in the Dominican Republic or the 17th-century abandoned towns in Nassau, Bahamas.

You’ll find great beaches no matter where you travel to in Hawaii or the Caribbean. Both destinations offer sand that comes in a wide spectrum of shades, and the waters of all the islands allow for swimming or just relaxing nearby.

Hawaii takes the cake if you want to hike through your island paradise, as you’ll find incredible mountains, hills, forests, valleys, jungles, lava beds and more to adventure through. It’s also ideal for surfing or viewing ocean wildlife.

Last but not least, if you love music, you’ll find that both destinations offer absolutely fantastic sounds to soothe the soul and enliven the spirit. Do you prefer Hawaiian hula or Jamaican calypso?

Listen to the calling of your heart and make your dream vacation a reality.