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Windward and Leeward: Sides of the Islands

Every Hawaiian island has a leeward side and a windward side. The leeward side faces South or West and is hot, dry, and sunny. The windward side faces North or East and is moderate, lush, and green. There are drawbacks and benefits to both.

Because the leeward side has less rain, it is less green. So, think beach. The windward side is where you'll find the majority of waterfalls and lush jungle. If your vacation is all about the beach, the lee side is for you ... and air conditioning is a real plus.

Since the windward side receives the tradewind flow, it is cooler. If your accommodations do not provide air conditioning, it's because it isn't needed. The windward side offers the best of both worlds. Lovely beaches, warm rivers and thick, lush rainforest. There's more cloud cover and occasional rain, but the majority of the rainfall is at night.

First consider what you want to do, and then determine whether it's the leeward or windward for you. Of course, in Hawaii, the other side of the island is never far away.

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