Hawaii: Suggested Itinerary

Sip cocktails with hibiscus flowers in your hair!

Day 1: Fly into Kauai airport and transfer to your hotel or deluxe beachfront resort, such as Sheraton Kauai Resort.

Day 2: Visit Koke'e State Park, an extensive natural area, with breathtaking views of the fluted Na Pali coast. At Waimea Canyon, the "Grand Canyon" of the Hawaiian Islands, take in stunning vistas and walk at a leisurely pace along rainforest trails. Search for endemic bird species such as the Kauai Akepa, Elepaio, and Anianaiau. After lunch at Kokee Lodge, continue exploring the area.

Day 3: In the morning visit Kilauea Point, the northernmost tip of Kauai, to see the highest density of nesting albatross on the island, among other bird species. After lunch join a superb local guide and tour the magnificent Limahuli Gardens, a branch of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, to see Hawaii's rare and endangered plant species.

Days 4-7: Move onto Maui, which has many exciting things to offer. Here the best nightlife and shopping can be found at Lahaina, you can go surfing at Honolua Bay for the experts or at Launiupoko Park for beginners, go scuba-diving at Molokini or Lanai Coast, wind-surfing in Hookipa Beach Park, go snorkeling at Kaanapali (Black Rock), enjoy exotic beaches or simply just some tranquil whale watching.

Day 8: Board a catamaran this morning for a whale-watching cruise in prime calving grounds for the Humpback whales that migrate from Alaska each winter. See the magnificent creatures at close range then take a midday flight to Kona. Spend the next two nights at an ocean-front resort. Explore tide pools on the rugged black coast. This evening, enjoy an authentic luau featuring traditional food, music and dance.

Day 9: Enjoy a full-day backcountry excursion to Hualalai Volcano, the third youngest volcano on the Big Island. Discover a surreal landscape of deep craters, lava tubes, and recent lava flows, and observe native plants, birds, and magnificent views.

Day 10: After a leisurely departure, stop at the Manago Hotel in Kealakekua for a typical Hawaiian lunch, en route to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In the afternoon visit Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, the ancient archaeological site, also called the Place of Refuge and Punaluu black sand beach. The botanical and volcanological scenery changes dramatically on the ascent to the park.

Day 11: Tour the world's most active volcano, Kilauea Volcano National Park including Steaming Bluff, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Jaggar Museum, Halemaumau fire pit, and Thurston Lava Tube. Following lunch, descend Chain of Craters Road taking note of the pioneer plants that colonize these huge lava-draped mountainsides.

Day 12: Fly home from here.