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Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

Toronto, Canada
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Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

I'm talking about white sand beaches and turquoise blue, clear waters..

No offence to Hawaii travelers, but the pictures I'm looking at from reviews feature brown sand beaches with dark blue water, with nobody swimming inside of them.

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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1. Re: Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

They are not comparable. If you want gin clear water and white sand, the Pacific Ocean is not for you. Hawaii has many beautiful beaches, and there is good off shore snorkeling at some of them, but they are not like the white sand beaches of the sheltered Caribbean. Hawaiian waters are colder, wilder, and less clear.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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2. Re: Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

I've never been to the Caribbean but do know the beaches here are quite different. One, the water isn't as warm, so the coral formations are completely different. Also the nutrients in the water are almost non-existant which has a lot to do with the color of the water. Plenty of aquamarine colors , deep blue etc.

Most beaches in Hawaii have a slope to them. None go flat right out into the water.

I've never quite figured out why people call the beaches here in Hawaii as white sand. You are right, they are more tan in color. Even some that are black, red and green.

Plenty of people in the water, year round at almost all beaches in Hawaii. You need to find some more and different pictures!!

Santa Monica, CA
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3. Re: Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

Steffie: The Pacific is very different from the Caribbean. Even here on the west coast, the Pacific is a deep blue.

Oahu has some beautiful beaches; long stretches with white sand, but all of the Hawaiian islands are volcanic, coral, or a mix of the two. That will affect the color of the sand. The water is also cooler than the Caribbean, Oahu from mid 70F to low 80's.

Both places have much to offer. Personally, I find snorkeling in Hawaii to be better than the Caribbean (larger fish, more variety) in water that is refreshing. Swimming in the Caribbean is blissfully warm, clear water, but I've seen much smaller fish.

The Caribbean is far more humid than Hawaii (some accommodations on the Hawaiian islands don't even have air conditioning). There are fewer bugs like mosquitos and no-seeums on Hawaiian beaches, too (you may encounter mosquitos in wet forests or by streams and waterfalls, but not nearly the numbers found in the Caribbean).

I'm not sure why your pictures are showing no one swimming; I have trouble taking pictures of pretty beaches without a person being in it!

As to the turquoise water - you can find some of that in shallower coves in Hawaii. I have some pics like that at Kapalua Bay (Maui) and at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island just as examples.

I love both places, but always feel like going to Hawaii is like coming home.

Happy planning.

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4. Re: Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

If white sand beaches and turquoise water are why you go to an island, go to the Caribbean (except in Hurricane season, of course). If you want larger islands with different beaches and sealife as well as more varied scenery, volcanoes, history, hula, and Aloha -- that are all part of the United States --try Hawaii.

We used to go to the Caribbean until we 'discovered' Hawaii 30+ years ago. Now we travel much farther, at greater expense, to say on Maui in Jan. - Feb.

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5. Re: Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

We have been to both locales ...... many times. All through the Caribbean and to every Island in Hawaii numerous times.

The beaches in Hawaii are spectacular. They vary location to location...time of year etc.Snorkeling off the Big Island is some of the best in the world.

Sand texture will vary as well. It amazing to discover all the different beaches on each Island.

One thing that instantly pops to mind that sets Hawaii apart from the Caribbean is the lack of those annoying "no see'ums" that can be an issue throughout the Caribbean. No dealing with those pests in Hawaii.

Not certain of your photo sources....but you may consider the pictures you have seen have been professionally taken and are purposefully not showing an abundance of people in order to enhance or promote a certain tropical getaway theme......

Edited: 22 July 2012, 23:11
New Jersey
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6. Re: Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

I can only compare to the beach at Atlantis Bahamas.

I found the water at Hapuna beach to be the same kind of torqoise color and extremely clear. The main difference was the waves which we did not have at the beach in Atlantis.

Without the waves the clarity and color of the water in the Bahamas is stunning. With the waves it is not as dramatic but still pretty spectacular in my opinion. Given a choice I would choose to swim in the ocean in Hawaii over the caribbean sea. It was much hotter in Atlantis and a bit uncomfortable for me on the beach.

On a very calm day the water looked pretty similar in color and clarity to me.

Island of Hawaii...
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7. Re: Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

I have lived here for 21+ years and I have been to all the islands several times. The only "Carribean-looking" beach I have ever seen in Hawaii is at Hanalei on Kauai.

Big Island, Hawaii
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8. Re: Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

The answer is no. Not even close. I still think many beaches in Hawaii have a lot to recommend them, but if you're looking for white sand and the turquoise water that goes on forever, it's the Caribbean, Seychelles, or Maldives.

Lenexa, Kansas
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9. Re: Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

We have been to many of the islands in the Caribbean and on the Mexico side of the Yucatan Peninsula and to all 4 of the major islands of Hawaii. We recently returned from Costa Rica (on the Pacific side). I think the beaches around Tulum and Playa del Carmen in Mexico can't be beat. However, I really liked the beaches in Hawaii. We didn't find the water too cool to swim. Of course we were there during the summer. We didn't find the rip-tide a problem like it is in Costa Rica. However, there was one beach on Maui that we were not fond of even though it gets great reviews. I found the slope to the water a little difficult when getting out of the water. I also did not like the wind at this beach. I did get a rash on the bottom of my legs while swimming at one beach. It sure itched! On the plus side, Hawaii has EXCELLENT beaches - that's why we are headed back. There are many sandy beaches with great water clarity. I don't like to read reports saying one thing and then finding out something totally different. Trust me on this, you won't go wrong with the beaches in Hawaii.

Omaha, NE
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10. Re: Are the beaches in Hawaii comparable to the Caribbean?

On the Big Island, you won't find those white sand beaches...but no where in Hawaii will you find those sugar-white sand beaches. Other islands, white, yes...but not sugar white like in the Caribbean.

But it all comes down to preference and beaches vary by location. I've been to Florida and Jamaica, and I think I generally prefer Hawaiian beaches overall. I think the water quality is a little better in Hawaii, being so isolated.

I will say, though, that in February, the water on the south shore of Jamaica was almost bathtub warm. Wonderful in February, but maybe not so much in summertime.