Hawaii Travel - Get To Know Hawaii Before You Go
Hawaiian Islands - Hawaii Travel Tips
Ah, the Hawaiian Islands.
Each one beautifully unique, yet they all share the same Aloha spirit.
Whether you're looking to visit the Garden Isle of Kaua'i, The Vally Isle of Maui, The Big Island of Hawaii, The Pineapple Isle of Lana'i, The Friendly Isle of Moloka'i or The Gathering Place of O'ahu, you'll find that you'll fall in love with the Hawaiian Islands.
With soft tropical breezes, the sweet fragrances of Island flowers, pristine beaches and breathtaking waterfalls the Islands of Hawaii will relax and renew. You'll find yourself looking at life just a little bit differently after your Hawaiian vacation.
Let me be your guide on this page and you will see Hawaii from a Kamaina's view - a local's view of the Islands!
Kilauea Volcano Eruption - Kilauea Volcano Eruption Started March 6, 2011 and Continues Today
Video news footage of the March 6th Kilauea Volcano eruption is the video that you will find right below this short text section.
The video is from the Associated Press channel at YouTube. In addition to this video you can find many more videos of this eruption and also previous eruptions from many different YouTube channels.
While the eruption is not as active today as it was on March 6th, there is still activity going on and probably will continue for years to come.
You can also watch up to date, live as it is happening video footage from the webcam at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)
at USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Pu'u 'O'o Webcam. You do have to remember that due to ash in the air and the fact that it is updated every 5 minutes so you must be very patient. You will often see just a black screen and sometimes the camera can malfunction but when you do see it clearly and the volcano is active the view is very interesting.
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory This is their main page and from there you can access all of their webcams, images and information about all of Hawaii's Volcanoes. It's a treasure trove of information about the Volcanoes of Hawaii.
Rainbow Over Kauai
Besides keeping Kauai green and lush, quick rain showers allow rainbows to shine. This photo was taken by my friend Chet on 8-13. The large tree on the left is an older mango tree that produces an amazing amount of fruit every year.
Hawaii In All Her Splendor - Hawaiian Videos - When words can't describe the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands--only video can
Forget the frozen Margarita makers and move on up to the Tahiti Frozen Concoction maker.
Perfect for the host who wants to make tropical drinks but doesn't have the know how and also doesn't want to be stuck behind the bar all out and wants to get out an enjoy the party.
This system is so easy to use.
Just place ice in the ice reservoir ( it holds enough for 144 ounces of drinks)
add your favorite ingredients to your pitcher and then with a push of a button you are on your way to making real shaved ice Mojitos, Smoothies, Margaritas, Mudslides, Daiquiris & Coladas.
The real secret is in the ice. Instead of crushed ice that you usually get when you make drinks at home with the Tahiti Frozen Concoction Maker you get true shaved ice just like in the best restaurants and hot clubs.
You also never have to worry about your drinks getting watered down since any water from melted ice in the reservoir gets funneled away into its own compartment.
In addition to 6 settings for different types of drinks you can also choose just blend or just shave so if you want to make Hawaiian shave ice you can.
Your guests will enjoy watching the ice chute moving from pitcher to pitcher as you push the buttons to create each pitcher.
Very highly rated by customers.
Gas Prices are High in Hawaii so......
There are a few ways to be sure that the higher gas prices in Hawaii doesn't empty your wallet.
1. When renting a car, try to get a car with the best mileage possible. Sure having an H2 or a large convertible can be fun cruising around the Islands but when you fill up, you may find yourself spending all your dinner money on gas.
2. Fill up earlier in the morning. When the air is cooler, the gas is more dense. When you purchase gas the density affects how much gas you get per gallon. So cooler air means more gas per gallon. Yes, this is also a tip that you can use at home for your regular full ups.
3. Try to purchase gas away from "touristy" areas. Check gas prices before you at a gas station by checking prices at Hawaii gas prices. If you have access to a computer while you're on vacation give it a quick look the night before you're going to get gas.
4. The Big Island, Kauai, Maui and Oahu all have Costco stores. If your a Costco member, you'll save money by purchasing your gas at Costco.
Kauai - Hawaii's Secret
When people think about Hawaii, many people conjure up images of Diamond Head or Sunset over Waikiki.
Others will think about the Big Island with its volcanic eruptions or Lanai for its pineapple fields.
However, Kauai can be the perfect place for your vacation and it is often considered Hawaii's secret island ( and my personal favorite).
While all the Islands have breathtaking views, waterfall and beautiful beaches, Kauai also has stayed the most relaxed and least commercial of the major Islands so it offers more of a true Hawaii.
On the mainland, people are almost always in a rush, chomp down their food, are stressed at work and often find themselves so wound up that they are ready to break. When it's time to unwind and relax - Kauai is the Island that will take your cares away.
Known as the garden Island, Kauai is lush and green with just as much to see on its interior as near its beaches.
While Kauai may appear small ( and it really is), it has an overabundance of little secret hideaways to see and unique landscapes that can almost take your breath away.
The north shore of Kauai features the Na Pali Kauai coast, perhaps most famous for being the place where South Pacific was filmed and addition to the Thorn Birds, Jurassic Park, Avatar, Throw Momma From the Train, Pirates of the Caribbean and dozens more.
If you would like to learn more about which movies were made on Kauai just visit Film Kauai - Movies Made on Kauai
In the heart of the north shore is beautiful and peaceful Hanalei Bay.
You'll find dozens of celebrities living on Kauai but many of the artists and musicians cluster around Hanalei and you will often run into them while swimming, shopping and touring.
The south shore of Kauai has the breathtaking National Tropical Botanical Gardens, established by Congress to make a permanent preserve for Hawaii's natural beauty. There is also a center on Maui. If you would like to learn more about what you'll see if you visit and how you can help to keep it going strong just visit National Tropical Botanical Gardens
Spouting Horn is a natural lava formation, also on the shore of south Kauai. All of these areas are surrounded by amazing beaches and beautiful waterfalls. Spouting Horn is also a place where you will find many outdoor markets selling trinkets and "touristy" type gifts.
West Kauai is the place to go if you want to learn about Kauai's culture and history. The Captain Cook Monument can be found here, and is placed at the sight where Captain James Cook became the first British explorer to set foot on Hawaii, in 1778.
The Polihale Heiau shrine is said to be the place where Kauai's dead souls go, and it is also on the western side of Kauai. Barking Sands beach is in the Polihale area and as you walk your feet makes sounds just like a dog barking - hence the name Barking Sands.
To get driving directions to Polihale State Park visit Discover Kauai - Official Tourism Site of the County of Kauai
Eastern Kauai is also known as the Coconut Coast - definitely a unique place for any interested tourist to visit.
The beaches on eastern Kauai are a favorite for anyone interested in surfing, or other water sports involving high adventure.
If you are an Elvis fan you probably know that the Coconut Coast was Elvis's favorite spot in the Islands and that he owned a home overlooking the Wailua River.
Kauai is definitely one of Hawaii best kept secrets!
Get Married and Honeymooning in Hawaii
Are you planning a getaway with that very special person and either getting married or honeymooning in the Islands? Or maybe even planning on getting married in Hawaii (oh, so romantic) then you'll want to pay close attention to this section.
Hawaii is a beautiful gift to the American traveler, being free from the hassles of passports, currency exchanges and alien languages that one has to encounter when planning to visit other tropical destinations.
A flight to Hawaii will take approximately 6 hours from most parts of the west coast of US, but the memories you gather from the visit will last you a lifetime, so the long trip is well worth it. You can also fly right into the Island of your choice in many cases, so once your at the airport your tropical vacation begins.
And it isn't just me advocating the exotic island, your favorite stars can't get enough of it's warm tropical weather and spellbinding natural beauty either. Just check the celebrity web sites and you'll see dozens upon dozens of start visiting the Islands with many of them getting married or just honeymooning there. While many celebs visit Hawaii during the summer, you'll find that those who really cherish their privacy visit during the winter when tourism is down. Winter is a great time to do some celebrity watching and you may also luck out and see your favorite musician jamming with the locals at one of the smaller bars or restaurants.
There are many large luxurious hotels on each Island. Many of the larger hotels have moved away from the tropical type décor and have gone to what I call "luxurious but nondescript" as the hotel could be anywhere in the world. I prefer the hotels with a Hawaiian theme, Hawaiian music and Hawaiian entertainment.
Some of the hotels are making a change and going back to what the visitor wants - a Hawaiian themed hotel - so when choosing a hotel to stay at, see if they have redecorated lately and changed their style. Just give them a quick call. You don't want to think that you are going to one style of hotel only to get disappointed when you arrive.
There are also may private resorts and bed & breakfast spots if you are looking for a very quiet escape.
Bed & breakfasts are wonderful choices but many don't feel comfortable having breakfast with the owners or other guests and that is one reason why many stars prefer hotels over bed & breakfasts.
The Four Seasons Lanai at Manele Bay Resort on the island of Lanai is perfect for the lovestruck couple who likes their privacy, apart from being completely secluded it is also a retreat of pristine natural beauty. The resort itself is perched on a pearl white beach which borders a protected marine preserve and features outstanding views of the ocean and Lanai's dramatic coastline. Lanai however, like the other Islands have had a building surge and it is not quite as secluded as it was just a few short years ago.
The Outrigger Royal Kahana on Maui, for instance, located just north of the more expensive hotels on the Kaanapali Resort area and has all the amenities that you want but with a lower price point.
The Hawaiian Islands also have a large variety of inexpensive accommodations for tourists with tighter budgets including bed & breakfasts, hotels, and condominiums a bit away from the beach.
On Wakiki you will find that a hotel right on the beach will be more than double the price of a hotel just 1 block away.
The Island of Maui, compared to the other Islands offers more condominiums than hotels. If you are heading for Kihei move down south for the lower priced accommodations, not only will you find plenty of options here most of them are also located directly opposite the public beaches keeping you close at hand to be able to take a quick swim after touring and right before dinner or before you head out for the day.
Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii have, comparatively lesser options when it comes to hotels and condominium choices however, there are still more than enough to be able to book a room when you want it and you will also find that the Big Island and Kauai are more authentic and down to earth.
Most of the accommodations on Kauai are right on the beach, but if you prefer you can also stay inland in the mountains.
The best time to visit Hawaii is - well anytime of the year, given that the gloriously beautiful weather lasts forever.
There is a rainy season during the winter months, but most of the rain falls during the night. The one huge plus about being in Hawaii during the rainy season and that is the abundance of rainbows. Singles and doubles, you'll see rainbows several times during your stay so always be sure to have your camera on hand.
Just like the rest of the US, the summer months are the warmest with degrees hitting the upper 80's or as the local news teams always say "a high near 90"as they never quite like to say 90 - it just sounds too hot.
The nights usually cool down but there are two weeks or so during September when the trade winds disappear and both days and evenings are quite warm. If you are staying at a hotel more-than-likely you have an air-conditioned room but not all bed & breakfasts do, so you may want to check.
The western and southern regions of the islands, called the the leeward side, have the driest and sunniest conditions with the calmest waters
The peak travel seasons, which is when the hotel and airline fares are higher are between January and March, June and August and during the Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.
Honeymooning or planning on getting married on Kauai?
We suggest that you have award winning Bamboo Moon Video shoot your Kauai stay. Although Bamboo Moon Video has won numerous awards including the Videographer, the Telly and the`Olelo TV awards for his work in children's educational television, their specialty is Weddings On Kauai.
Kauai Wedding Planning and Hawaiian Wedding Designs by Magenta is your one stop Wedding Planning Shop. Magenta's services as a Kauai Wedding Planner and Kauai Wedding Coordinator is known all throughout the Islands and its her special touches that will make your Kauai Wedding special.
To learn more about Kauai Wedding Planning and Kauai Wedding Designs visit Magenta's website at Kauai Island Destination Weddings. Above photo courtesy of Kauai Island Destination Weddings.
And before you ask, no I am not getting paid to write about Kauai Wedding Video or Kauai Island Destination Weddings - my recommendations are straight from the heart.
Going to Maui?
If you are looking for a vacation not easy to forget, plan on taking yours on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.
From breathtaking ocean views to panoramic sunrises high atop Mount Haleakala, Maui is as diverse as its local people and visitors.
And whether you are enjoying relaxing walks through bamboo forests or coasting your bicycle down 10,000 feet of volcano, there are so many things to do and see on Maui.
A little bit of history...
Maui is the second largest island in the chain of eight known as the Hawaiian Islands.
Captain James Cook discovered the islands in 1778 while on his third expedition to Alaska. He was looking for the Northwest Passage that would link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and his visit to the Islands would change them forever.
In 1894, when Sanford Dole was the President of the Republic of Hawaii, the United States made it an official territory in 1900.
Over the next century, sugar established itself as the leading industry and the growing of pineapples a close second.
The island of Lanai was purchased for the sole purpose of growing pineapples and pineapple still continues to be it's main commerce, with tourism catching up.
Towards the end of the 20th century with land prices on the increase and competition from other parts of the world, sugar and pineapples became less profitable.
And while the sugar industry is now all but dead on the islands, pineapples are still grown commercially on Maui and Kauai.
Kauai over the last few years has replaced many of its sugar cane fields for coffee plantation and while you are there be sure to pick some up. It rivals Kona's coffee.
Tourism has become Hawaii's most popular industry and getaway location.
Unless you live on Maui, the only way to get there is by plane or boat. Cruises are great if you have the time, but if you want to get there quick, hop on a jet.
When planning your trip a travel agent can be helpful but now a days most people just go on the internet and book their own travel plans.
Before you plan on visiting the Islands visit the websites of each of the Islands visitor bureaus in addition the the Hawaii visitor bureau & start getting guides and emails sent to you. It takes about 6 months of reading and looking over information to really get to know the Islands before you make your final travel plans.
Depending on your departure location from the US, expect flight time to be a minimum of about six hours, with east coast departures running about 10 hours, not including any layovers.
Do not worry; you will have a few in-flight movies and a little pillow time to make your flight comfortable.
Here's a short list of some stuff you will want to bring. Obviously, you will not bring everything on this list, but you can use it as a guideline when planning your unforgettable Maui vacation - or when vacationing on any of the Islands as prices are higher in Hawaii you may save quite a bit by bringing some of your own necessities.
However, (doesn't there always seem to be a however?) check with your airline to see what the luggage restrictions are and addition cost of baggage. Sometimes it's less expensive to pick up a few things in Hawaii then taking extra baggage.
What I like to, is since I know that I am going to be buying t-shirts and other souvenirs I will often just bring one outfit and purchase the rest there. I leave plenty of free room in my suitcase so even if I buy a lot while I am there, it won't weight me down.
Here is your quick bring along list:
* A hat or cap for sun protection
* Large insulated water jug to keep in the car
* Waterproof sunblock, SPF 50 or higher - one that screens out UVA & UVB rays
* Bathing suits for plenty of swimming
* Shoes, flip flops or throwaway sneakers, reef shoes, hiking shoes
* Digital Camera with extra cards
* Mask, snorkel and fins - or you can pick up an inexpensive set while you are there
* Warm clothes (for the top of Haleakala - it's cold in the early morning and after sunset)
* Shorts and other cool cotton clothing
* Mosquito repellent for hiking and mosquitoes are everywhere, especially if you plan on getting off the beaten path.
Since many airlines charge extra for baggage bring just enough for your trip and assume that you'll probably purchase t-shirts to wear while your there.
Many hotels also give you shampoo and hair conditioner in your room. Check first and if they do you can save some lugging space.
A Little Geography...
The island of Maui is made up of two volcanoes. The largest mountain on the east side of the island is known as Haleakala, or "house of the sun".
The other great mountain on the west side was originally called Pu'u Kuku'i, or "hill of the candlenut tree". That was later changed to West Maui Mountain.
Of the two, West Maui Mountain is the oldest. Streams cut deep into its slopes, which cascade into majestic waterfalls and waterfall are everywhere!.
Hiking can be treacherous in certain areas so if you really want to see deep inland check out one of the helicopter tours, they come complete with music and song to get you in the Aloha spirit.
Haleakala is the youngest mountain. At just over 10,000 feet, the view from the top is breathtaking.
The drive will take a little over two hours, barring any stops or side trips. Bring some warm clothing because it gets cold!
And make sure you leave early enough to catch the sunrise. Nothing else beats it. Be sure to snap a few pictures of the "Silver Sword" plants before you leave.
Silver Swords are native to the island and you will not find this plant anywhere else in the world.
Do NOT take any rocks during your trip to Haleakala as it is an insult to the God's and it is said to bring bad luck to the taker - forever.
Maui is full of places to see and explore. Here are a few to add to your must see list.
Start your Haleakala trip early in the morning. You will want to catch this sunrise to start your day. Bring some warm clothing and hiking equipment.
There are 27 miles of trails on Haleakala so bring plenty of film to capture the incredible views from inside the crater and down into the crater.
There is "Sliding Sands Trail" which descends 2,400 feet and the hike around 3 8/10ths miles each way. The "Halemau'u Trail" is about four miles each way at 1,400 feet. And for the professional hikers, there is "Kaupo Trail" which descends all the way down the mountain.
But you can only access this trail if you are camping, so plan accordingly and be sure to make reservations.
If you are not a hiker don't worry, there is still so much to see when you reach Haleakala that you won't feel as though you missed anything if you don't hike.
And talking about hiking, remember that Haleakala is at 10,000 feet so it's high altitude with less oxygen. You may find that you tire easily when you walk so take it easy. Unless you are very active when you are at the top you probably won't notice the "thinner" air, but if you plan on hiking take is a bit slower than normal.
You will also find that you get a sunburn more quickly at the top so be sure to lather on the sunscreen.
Road To Hanna
The Road to Hana has been dubbed the Crown Jewel of Hawaii and one the most picturesque drives of all the islands.
This two-lane highway with many one-way bridges has been compared to the Garden of Eden.
At certain times some of the road may be in disrepair so plan on slowing all the way down in many areas.
All in all, there are about 600 turns on this winding road filled with lush forests and beautiful cascading waterfalls.
Speed limit on Hana road is a whopping 35 miles per hour (some areas are lower), so do not expect getting anywhere fast.
Banyan Tree Park
Located in Lahaina, this park is a must see. As you look into the park, it appears as though there are many trees, but in reality, it is one tree. This tree is so big it encompasses the entire park. Although it's called a "park" is really just an open area where you can wander around. By designating it as a park it does get donations and aid to keep it up.
Some other sites around the park include the old courthouse, Baldwin House (reported to be the oldest house on the island), and the old prison. It's a great place to enjoy some take out food from of the local food joints. Notice i didn't say restaurants. Restaurants are great for dinner but for a quick lunch take in some good local food at smaller eateries. How do you which ones are the best? Ask your hotel and also look at the lines. Are there many locals eating there? If so, drop on in.
Dragon's Teeth at Kapalua
Located near Kapalua, this lava formation resembling dragon's teeth owe its design to the wind and sea.
During the great lava flows, turbulent winds and ocean waves pushed shards of cooling lava upwards toward the sky, giving the formation its unique dragon teeth shape.
These are just some of the wonderful sites you will experience on your unforgettable Maui vacation. There are plenty of vacation guides covering every aspect, nook and cranny of Maui, so take your time before visiting so that you have a good idea of what you want to do and see, but be sure to leave some time free so that you can visit some of the attractions that may be happening while you are there.
Please To Remove Shoes
You've seen the signs all over Hawaii "Please Remove Your Shoes".
This is so you don't track the red clay dirt into the house or hotel room.
Now you can post these words to your guests with a Hawaiian designed ceramic tile. This item is extremely popular.
This metal vintage looking sign will hold up to the elements on the outside of your home and will look equally nice on the inside of your home.
Beautiful Kauai - The Garden Isle and a Whole Lot More - All photos were taken by Robert Zelkovsky - Thanks Rob for sending them!Click thumbnail to view full-size
How to Tie a Pareo
Ladies no trip to Hawaii is complete without picking up a Pareo. You'll find hundreds of designs to choose from and in all price ranges.
Here is a quick look at how to tie a Pareo and you'll see just how many ways one piece of cloth can be worn.
Activities in Hawaii
- Hawaiian Golf Courses
If you're a golfer either a beginner or pro you'll find hundres of beautiful courses throughout the Islands of Aloha.
- Hawaiian Sport Fishing
Extend your love of fishing to the Hawaiian Islands and go offshort deep sea fishing to catch the big ones.
- Dinner and a Movie
A Luau is the best way to describe a truly sensational feast Hawaiian Style and the outstanding and delightfully entertaining show afterwards.
- The Perfect Guide to Shopping
If it's Hawaiian and you want it, this link will provide you with the best shortcut to locating that perfect something.
- Christian Worship
If you're like me a Sunday morning couldn't be complete without a visit to a church of your choice. Here you'll find many names and address' of Christian churches throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
- Condo Rental
If staying at a hotel doesn't appeal to you then you can rent a beachfront condo while on your stay in Hawaii. Live in a luxurious fully equipped home away from home.
- Polynesian Cultural Center
The Island of Oahu plays host to the world famous Polynesian Cultural Center. This is a place you absolutely must visit while on stay in Hawaii.
Hawaii Travel Tip
Let's face it. Everyone who travels to Hawaii will be using suntan lotion at one time or another. Suntan lotion is a small item and can easily fit into a suitcase using only a small amount of space.
Believe it or not you can purchase the exact kind of suntan lotion you'd want to use in Hawaii at most of your favorite stores right where you live and pay a lot less then you would should you buy it in Hawaii.
The Island of Hawaii
The island of Hawaii is a place to head for if you wish to take long scenic drives with breathtaking views.
Hawaii is an island that is basically formed from hot molten lava and the shifts of the earth's seismic shifts - It also continues to grow larger every year through volcanic activity.
Today Hawaii, or the Big Island has cooled down to become a great vacation destination.
On your trip to the island of Hawaii, you get to see the natural wonders and exotic flavors that Hawaii offers. There are wonderful sights worth visiting and many activities worth doing during your stay on the island of Hawaii. The activities that keep you most occupied while in Hawaii are visits to beaches, volcano visiting and walking.
The adventure loving tourist will love the Kona region of the Big Island where you can go sport fishing in the sea to get some exotic catch. You can also visit the depths of this region with a submarine where you can get some pictures of eels, dolphins and sharks.
If you want first hand adventure, the island of Hawaii offers beautiful snorkeling and scuba diving spots to visit to get as close to the fish of Hawaii.
Another way of visiting the beautiful spots of the island of Hawaii is by horseback riding.
If it is natural wonders you are after in the island of Hawaii, you have to make a visit to Kilauea which is the most active volcano found in the world. Although you may hear about other volcanoes erupting around the world, they often are dormant for hundred's of years, while Kilauea is always considered active.
Kilauea is a part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that is always in a continual state of eruption. If it is heavily erupting while you are there be sure to follow all the safety information that is posted.
Besides all this thrill and excitement, you can also spend some quiet time with the loads of beautiful art found here. The beautiful environment of sloping hills and valleys, waterfalls and the plant life of Hawaii all have a part to play in the music and art of Hawaii. Am music and art is plentiful in Hawaii.
There are many golf courses on the island of Hawaii for golf lovers. These courses are breathtaking and immaculate that promises you the icing of the cake of your vacation in Hawaii. In addition to resort golf courses, Hawaii (as in all the Islands) also have county and local courses which you may be able to use. Just check in advance.
Of course, a trip to the island of Hawaii is not complete without a visit to its beaches. The sand on the beaches here are of varied colors ranging from snow white coral to ink black volcanic rock.
You can head for crowded beaches with children or romantic and secluded parts with your partner and spend some wonderful time on the beaches of the island of Hawaii.
More Beautiful Photos of Kauai - Photos By Rob ZelkovskyClick thumbnail to view full-size
Wailua Falls, Kauai
Often called Fantasy Island Falls, Wailua Falls is a must see stop on your Kauai vacation.
Wailua Falls has been in numerous movies and television shows. And while the photo may show some of its beauty, you really can't appreciate it until you see it up close. As you approach it you can feel its power through the ground and also in the air.
As you walk up to the the falls you can feel the air get a bit cooler and on a hot day it feels soooo good!
I took this photo back around '85.
Hula Girl Dashboard Dancer
Admit it...you wanted to buy that hula girl for your dashboard but you didn't have room in your suitcase.
You can still have that hula girl dancing as you drive.
Come on, you know you want one!
Sunset at Hanalei Bay, Kauai
Right before we started to pack our gear and head home from our day at the beach I looked back towards the ocean and photographed the above shot of Hanalei Bay, Kauai
Useful Information About Hawaii
Hawaii became the 50th state and last state in 1959.
The first people who lived in the Islands that we call Hawaii are the Polynesian people and they settled in around 1000 AD. During the late 18th century to about the middle of the 19 century the Islands that we call Hawaii were once called the Sandwich Islands.
Besides Alaska, Hawaii is the only other state of USA that lies outside the Contiguous United States ( or also known as the "mainland").
Today Hawaii enjoys worldwide fame for its tourism and uniqueness of a blended culture and gorgeous scenery.
Climate of the Hawaiian Islands
Temperature and humidity levels in Hawaii are moderate compared to other continental locations that are on the same longitude with each Island having its own climate variations.
Both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island will often have snow in the winter and if you are lucky enough, you can snow ski or snowboard.without having to dress like you would in the mountains of Utah or Maine. Just a light shirt, pants and sun tan lotion will do fine.
If you know English, you will do fine in Hawaii.
In Hawaii they also have a slang talk called Pigeon or lately called bird. It does take a while to understand it, so you may want to look it up before you travel. When you get there don't try to talk Pigeon to the locals - they really don't care for outsiders (malahini's) to be using their speak.
If you watch the television show Hawaii Five-O then you'll hear a bit of bird, when the locals are talking. Steve McGarrett has also been know to toss around a bit of pigeon.
Honolulu, the capital city and is the most heavily populated. Some people say that if you only see Honolulu then you have not seen Hawaii. Part of me agrees, so if you can try to venture out a bit further. The north side of Hawaii is really a world apart from the "big city".
Each Island has its major city but when you talk about Kauai or the Big Island, the city isn't big and it also isn't tall so you may just drive by and not even notice.
Transportation in Hawaii
Three interstate highways, located on Oahu, run across Hawaii. These have been named H1, H2, and H3. State highways run through the other islands.
One point of useful information about Hawaii is that the roads are mostly narrow and winding, and may may have to stop for livestock as they cross the road in less populated areas.
Traffic can be at sometimes unbearable. So when it is time for you to head back to the airport for your trip home plan on leaving extra early. You can get stuck in traffic 1-2 hours.
Like the rest of the 49 states, Hawaii has its state symbols.
The black-headed Hawaiian Goose is the state bird of Hawai; Humuhumunukunukuapuaa (Reef Triggerfish) is the state fish; Kukui is the state tree; Hawaiian hibiscus is the state flower and the humpback whale is the state mammal.
Above all, of course, is the state flag - the Ka Hae Hawaii which shows off its British influence by the inclusion of the British flag as part of its design.
Some people joke that Hawaii's official color is green - as in the green money that tourists spend when they are visiting as tourism is a big part of Hawaii's economy.
Hawaii has so many different types of food that you may spend a good deal of your time eating.
You can enjoy unique Hawaiian foods as luau delicacies, Kalua pork and teriyaki steak etc.as well as standard American fare available at most restaurants.
Among Asian cuisines, Japanese lead the way, followed by Korean food. You will also find Mexican, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese and other types of foods in Hawaii.
If you are vegan or are into health food - you'll have no problems finding exactly what you are looking for. You may even want to visit some of the farmer's markets to pick up some organic fruits and veggies.
Be sure to try Saimin while you are visiting. Saimin is unique to Hawaii and it is very similar to Japanese udon with a bit of Filipino pancit tossed in.
Each Island prides themselves on having the best Saimin and I think that Hamuras Saimin on 2956 Kress St in Lihue, Kauai has them all beat.
Just remember that it's a small local restaurant so they don't take credit cards. The menu is large and so are the portions.
And when you talk about food you can not leave out Shave ice!
You may have tried "shave ice" on the mainland, but trust me it's not real shave ice. And if they offer adzuki beans for your shave ice - try it - you just may find that you like it as much as the locals - it's ono! (ono means delicious)
Devastation Trail on the Big Island
The first time that we went to Devastation Trail the weather was cloudy and gloomy and almost looked like the picture below. We snapped a few shots but we were using a film camera at the time & didn't realize that our photos were too dark. I just wish that they had digital cameras back then. But I guess it's just another reason to return to the Big Island.
Just Another Day In Paradise
Hawaii Travel Tip
Bringing Your Camera
So, you've got an expensive camera and would really like to keep it in great condition.
You don't need to trash your good camera either with moisture from the forest, on a boat, or sand on a beach. Here's an alternative.
CVS Pharmacy ( it's called Longs Drugs in Hawaii) is located throughout all of Hawaii and sells a great disposable digital camera from $12 up to $20 taking some 25 photos or more. They will print your pictures and even give you a CD with them on it.
Hawaii Travel Tip
Ok. You know you're going to be away and you know you're going to want to share your Hawaiian adventure with friends and family back home.
Why not print out address lables from your computer to those you want to send cards to and also bring along with you some postage stamps to save yourself from having to not only write out the names and addresses on the cards but also having to make a trek to the post office.
Hawaii Travel Tip
Island Style Rice
While in Hawaii you'll notice that almost every dish you order will be accompanied with rice.
White rice is usually what you get and you're going to notice that it comes in what looks like a round ball. That's because it's given out by way of an ice scream scoop.
And it's sticky rice, unlike the fluffy rice you get at home. Put some soy sauce on it with some black pepper and you'll really enjoy it. I found that sticky rice complimented every meal.
Vacations are exciting and we all want to share.
Here is your chance to tell us which Islands you are going to visit, any special sights that you would like to see and even why you choose Hawaii.