A volcanic island chain in the Pacific

Hawaii is an unofficial U.S. state and one of the worlds most popular tourist destinations. With over 8.9 million visitors in 2016 however this isolated volcanic archipelago in the Central Pacific only has around 1.4 million residents and the islands are dependent on tourism as the primary economy.

The islands are renowned for their rugged landscapes, hot lava flows, high cliffs, magical waterfalls, remote pools, tropical foliage, great surfing and beaches with different coloured sands. Of the 6 main islands: Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, and Lānaʻi are the most popular. Honolulu, Hawaii’s biggest city and capital  is on Oahu. This is where you'll find Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbour's all the world war 11 memorabilia.

Many modern researchers believe that Hawaii was first populated no later than the 2nd century CE by people of Polynesian origin who they believe came from from Tahiti. There is no accounting for genetic links to Alaskan Natives, the travels of Tamil sailors or that the Polynesians travelled widely across the Pacific and most likely traded with tribes of America's west coast.

Although there is a report that the Spaniard Juan Gaetano Western accidentally encountered Hawaii, real contact began with Captain James Cook in 1778. He discovered a real paradise on earth, the people were strong and welcoming until they encountered the Europeans true nature. As more Europeans arrived and began exploiting the islands, they bought diseases that wiped out most of the indigenous population and took the land as they saw fit. Yet the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi was sovereign until 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown by resident American and European capitalists and landholders.

Hawaii remained an independent republic until August 12, 1898 when collusion between the occupiers and the US government made the islands an occupied territory of the United States. Hawaii was classified as a U.S. state on August 21, 1959 although the process was undertaken without the consent of the indigenous people. In other words, the Islands of Hawaii were stolen, but not only that, their traditions were almost completely eradicated by the church and politicians.

What to do in Hawaii?

You can hang about on Ohau to enjoy a blend of modern comforts with a little island flavour. See all the wartime memorabilia and hang out on Waikiki beach or your hotel pool. Apart from the ruins of an ancient heiau at Kaupo Beach on O‘ahu, there's not much to see of the original Hawaii beyond a few traces of indigenous forest and the ocean.

Indigenous Hawaii has almost totally been destroyed as much of what there was was mad of wood that has long decayed. But located in the Kahanu Gardens on Maui, you can see the remains of Piʻilanihale Heiau. This is now a national historic landmark believed to be the largest ancient temple in the Hawaiian Islands. You'll find it on the Hāna Highway near Hāna.

The volcanic activity on the Big Island is awesome and Ka Lae (south point) is believed to be the site of one of the earliest Hawaiian settlements. Ka Lae is a rugged area where converging ocean current meet and is said to be spectacular. Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on Big Island is a mock up Hawaiian village so you have to get off Ohau to enjoy a little more authenticity.

For a more rich experience while visiting the magical Big Island take a walk on the King’s Trail, check out the petroglyphs, visit a heiau, and imagine yourself on the island before all the shoreline development and increased population pressures of modern life today.  If you are interested in the mysteries, most have been cooked up to tweak the tourists imagination, but the islands still hold secrets to be discovered as at Nu`alolo Kai, Na Pali, Kauai Island.


3 comments to Hawaii

  • Jess

    Hawaii residents often times complain about the islands’ high cost of living. When compared to the continental United States, the differences are indeed stunning. Everyday things, such as groceries, cost an average of 30 percent more in Hawaii than on the Mainland. One might think that this is due to high shipping costs (since most of the food available in the islands is brought here on ships and airplanes). But this is not the main reason. Shipment is only a minor factor, adding perhaps no more than five percent to the retail price of food. A much bigger factor is the need for grocers to maintain larger inventories in order to keep things on the shelves at all times. (Grocers on the Mainland are much closer to the food source). Also, retailers here pay a lot more for the use of land and buildings than on the Mainland. Another factor is Hawaii’s four percent excise tax, which adds on to the total cost of things.

  • Jame

    Must see – Waterfall-draped mountains encircle Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. The winding Hanalei River feeds wetlands that are home to five endangered water birds: the koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck), the ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coot), the ‘alae‘ula (Hawaiian moorhen), the ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt), and the nēnē (Hawaiian goose).

  • Britni

    To really experience all that Hawaii offers, you should consider renting a car. Reserve your rental vehicles in advance because quantities can be limited on some islands.

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