Hawaii's residents often remind visitors disappointed by wet weather, “No rain, no rainbows.” That bit of wisdom will never be more apt than in 2021.
As the year began, the coronavirus pandemic continued to cast its shadow across the globe, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still urged Americans to postpone unnecessary travel. For seven months in 2020, visitors to Hawaii were required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, making casual trips impractical. But in October 2020, those restrictions were eased for most of the state: Travelers who passed a Covid-19 screening test could bypass the quarantine, although they were still asked to follow stringent safety protocols throughout their stay. While restrictions will likely ease further as 2021 continues, they won’t go away entirely for a while. The reduction in tourism has had a devastating impact on the Hawaiian economy, spiking unemployment and causing many businesses to close.
So where’s the rainbow? At least initially, crowds will likely remain relatively small, and people who do visit will be able to experience the islands in new ways. Many attractions—particularly the natural ones—got a respite from human impact in 2020.
If you decide to head to Hawaii in 2021, check the latest testing requirements well before your departure, remember to pack that mask, and calibrate your expectations. Here’s how some of Hawaii’s top tourist draws will look different.