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Hawaii, sandy beaches, sky-blue waters and palm tree-lined shores, amazing volcanoes and glorious sunsets are some of the things that probably come to mind when you think of Hawaii for a holiday.
Hawaii is known for its tropical climate, unique topography and natural environment, as well as its multicultural population. It is a paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which has more than its share of pristine beaches, stunning sunsets, towering waterfalls and reefs teeming with colourfull fish. Hawaii is different, unique, special and unforgettable. What sets these islands apart from the rest of the world is its native culture, the Hawaiian culture. A culture, that is filled with fascinating customs, music, legends, traditions and values.
All of the Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanic activity, which means that the islands are actually the tips of huge mountains underneath the ocean that were born from gigantic eruptions. Starting from northwest and going down to the southeast, each volcano is progressively younger. The oldest one in the northwest of the island chain was formed about 80 million years ago. The volcanoes on the southernmost island, the Big Island of Hawaii, are still active today and the creation of new land can be witnessed there on many days of the year.
The earliest settlements in the Hawaiian Islands are generally believed to have been made by Polynesians who travelled to Hawaii using large double-hulled canoes. They brought with them pigs, dogs, chickens, taro, sweet potatoes, coconut, banana, sugarcane and other plants and animals.
There are numerous accounts of possible landings by Europeans, Chinese and Spanish long before the arrival of Captain Cook, however, none of these have been documented with certainty until January 18, 1778 when Captain James Cook and his crew, while attempting to discover the Northwest Passage between Alaska and Asia, were surprised to find the Hawaiian islands so far north in the Pacific. He named them the "Sandwich Islands", after the fourth Earl of Sandwich. After the discovery by Cook other Europeans and Americans came to the Sandwich Islands.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Oahu. Four years later, on September 2, 1945, Japan signed its unconditional surrender on the USS Battleship Missouri, which still rests in Pearl Harbor today.
Hawaii is now one of the 50 states of the United States. It is the newest of the states (it joined the union in 1959) and it is the only U.S. state that is an island archipelago.
Hawaii is home to a rich and diverse culture, which is expressed in (among other things) language, music, art, theatre, dance, film, cuisine, and its numerous festivals. At the core of each is the spirit of aloha which is gracefully conveyed in a painter’s brush stroke of the fluid arc of a hula dancer’s hands, or in the soft rhythm of a slack key guitar. What makes the Polynesian islands truly unique as a whole is the impact of Hawaiian music, to celebrate this Hawaii holds various music festivals including the Big Island Slack Key Guitar Festival, Moloka'i Music Festival, and the Hawaii International Jazz Festival. The beauty of Hawaii is also inspirational to many artists, the sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, and majestic volcanoes feature as subjects in many of the popular paintings.
The Hawaiians' love for their art, tradition and culture can be seen in various festivals celebrated for the introduction and cultivation of Hawaiian art and culture.
Merrie Monarch Hula Festival – an annual week-long celebration for which the Hawaiians really take time to prepare for. The festival involves art exhibits, craft fairs, performances, demonstrations, parades showing off the rich culture of Hawaii, and the Hula competition, which lasts for days. Classes and demonstrations are held by Hula instructors and studios to teach the hula and the significance of the chants and the dance movements.
Aloha Festival - celebrated across the islands of Hawaii (Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and the Big Island) originally started as Aloha Week in the 1940s, but over the years this has developed into a two-month long festival and is one of the largest and oldest of the Hawaiian celebrations.
Lei Day - this celebration started on 1st May 1928, everyone is encouraged to wear a lei. Some of the highlights are Lei-making demonstrations, exhibits, and lei-making competitions. Just like any other Hawaiian festival, Lei Day is not complete without the hula.
Kamehameha Festival - established during the 1800s as part of the Kamehameha Day celebration and a commemoration of Hawaii's unifier and first king, Kamehameha. The event includes Hawaiian chant competitions, food and cultural presentations, and craft-making sessions.
Formerly known as the Sandwich Islands, Hawaii is the world's longest and most isolated island chain. It spans the distance of 1,523 miles (2,451 km) from the Big Island of Hawaii in the southeast to the Kure Atoll in the northwest. Hawaii is the furthest from any landmass in the world, it is located in the Central Pacific Ocean; 2,390 miles (3,850 km) from California and 3,850 miles (6,195 km) from Japan.
The state of Hawaii is named after the largest island that is located in the south of the archipelago. There eight main Hawaiian Islands located at the South eastern end of the island chain which are Oahu, which has the state capital of Honolulu, Hawaii (Big Island), Maui, Lanai, Kauai, Kahoolawe, Niihau and Molokai. Toward the northwest of the archipelago, there are a further 124 islands known as the North Western Hawaiian Islands which are uninhabited, reefs, shoals and atolls.
Islands of Hawaii
Kauai – Northernmost and oldest island in the chain which is graced with dramatic and natural beauty, it’s a great place for romantic escapades and out-door adventures. You could visit Waimea Canyon, "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific," explore the beaches of Coconut Coast like Poipu Beach Park, take a boat ride and marvel at the towering cliffs of the Napali Coast or navigate the Wailua River (Hawaii’s only navigable river).
Oahu - Home to the state capital and the majority of Hawaii's population, Oahu is a vibrant mix of natural and cultural wonders with the modern arts, entertainment and amenities of the 21st century. See the pro surfers ride big winter waves of the legendary North Shore the birthplace of big wave surfing, relive American history at the memorials and museums of Pearl Harbor, or soak up the sun and take a surfing lesson on Waikiki Beach.
Molokai - Almost half of its population is of Native Hawaiian roots, it has preserved its connection to the past and its love for the outdoors. Step back in time to the sleepy town of Kaunakakai, view the verdant flora in Halawa Valley, or learn about the works of Saint Damien at Kalaupapa National Historical Park.
Lanai - Without a single trafficlight it is a true island getaway for luxury, privacy and romance away from the crowds. See the rock formations at Keahiakawelo, take a 4-wheel drive amongst the pine trees along the Munro Trail, visit Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods) or visit Hulopoe Bay, which was once named America’s Best Beach.
Maui - Hawaii’s second largest island, which is home to some of the best beaches in the world and a great location to watch the wales in the winter. You can wake up early to catch the Haleakala sunrise, stroll through the historic town of Lahaina, or take the long and winding road to Hana to see the spectacular scenery.
Hawaii - Hawaii's Big Island is larger than all of its other islands combined, it is vast enough to hold 11 of the world’s 13 climactic zones from sandy beaches to snow-capped mountains. You can see the waterfalls on the Hamakua Coast, the rain forests and botanical gardens in Hilo, explore the calm and clear water off Kona, or visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and view Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes.
Cities, Towns and Villages in Hawaii
Hawaii has so many of interesting cities. Just a few of them are:
Honolulu, Oahu - the most populated city in Hawaii and home to the iconic Waikiki Beach and its high-energy resort area. The city and county of Honolulu extends from the western edge of the Honolulu International Airport to Makapuu Point on the eastern tip of the island, the Koolau Mountain Range and the Pacific Ocean provide natural borders on the north and south.
Kailua, Oahu - the fourth-largest city in Hawaii mostly residential and on Oahu’s eastern shore. Oahu is home to Kailua Beach Park, which is a three-mile long strip of light beige sand with gentle surf, a large grassy area with picnic tables and restrooms and not a hotel in sight. The waves are usually too small for surfing, but it’s an ideal place for beginners to practice.
Hilo, Hawaii’s Big Island - built during the early 19th century and filled with historic buildings like the Lyman Museum and Mission House. Spend a day in Downtown Hilo and experience the local culture and aloha spirit of the people of Hawaii Island. Downtown Hilo is Hawaii Island’s biggest small town featuring centuries-old wooden storefronts housing a variety of sophisticated galleries, shops, restaurants and cultural sites. Most visitors discover Hilo while visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Hilo also has its share of beaches. The curved stretch of sand that lines Hilo Bay draws families to swim in the sheltered waters and beginner surfers to get their “board legs” in the usually gentle swells.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii’s Big Island - is a lively seaside town in the heart of the sunny Kona Coast. Once a sleepy fishing village and a retreat for Hawaiian royalty, Kailua-Kona is now a destination for affordable accommodations, great shopping, dining and learning about Hawaii’s rich culture. Stay in a vacation condo for rent in Kailua-Kona to experience Hawaii Island style.
Keaau, Hawaii’s Big Island - is located in the eastern part of the Big Island, the town is surrounded by an Ohia forest and nearby are black-sand beaches. Vacation Rural Houses to rent in Keaau.
Volcano, Hawaii’s Big Island - Volcano Village, one of the most picturesque place in all of the United States, is located within 1 mile from the entrance of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on the South East part of the Big Island of Hawaii, about 97 miles from Kailua-Kona and 28 miles from Hilo.t This majestic area features a tropical forest filled with lush foliage including such unique plants as Ohia trees with bright red Lehua Blossoms and Hapu'u tree ferns. lacin all of the United States, an it is definitely magical. Rent a vacation accommodation in Volcano village and explore the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where you can find two active volcanoes: Kïlauea and Mauna Loa; the world’s actives and the world’s biggest ones respectively.
Kahului, Maui – the islands largest population and home to Kahului International Airport, Maui is also a major cruise ship port. There are a string of windswept beaches east of the airport that attract surfers and windsurfers from around the world.
Kihei, MauiKihei, Maui - 10th largest city in Hawaii, mostly residential. From December till April this is a great spot to see the sight of the humpback whales breaching right offshore. The South Kihei Road separates most of the properties from the three family-friendly Kamaole Beach Parks. From north to south, the beaches are locally known as "Kam 1," "Kam 2" and "Kam 3". Kam 3 is the largest park, with picnic tables, showers and restrooms surrounding a large grassy play area, while Kam 1 boasts the widest and longest beach. All three beaches have lifeguards and free parking. Most of the homes on Kihei are condos and many are available for vacation rentals.
Lahaina, Maui - as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. In the 19th century, Lahaina was the center of the global whaling industry with many sailing ships anchored in at its waterfront; today a score of pleasure craft make their home there. Vacation Condo to rent in Lahaina.
Peahi, Maui - locally known as "Jaws", because its waves are considered the most difficult to ride. They are so large that surfers are towed out using jet-skis to get them up to speed to be able to catch the waves. Locals say that the night prior to what they call a “big wave day.” the surf around Jaws emits a distinctive roaring sound. Beginners would be wise to find a comfortable spot and just watch the show.
Outdoor. Hawaii offers so many outdoor activities including trekking, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding , even skiing or snowboarding is possible to practice in Hawaii. Mauna Kea (“White Mountain” in Hawaiian) is a 13,796 feet (4,205 meters) volcanic mountain whose summit sometimes gets a skiable mantle of snow, there are no lifts or a resort but a road goes to the summit, skiers need a 4x4 drive vehicle to get to the summit.
Water Sports. Hawaii is a great place if you like water sports, especially surfing, with some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many adventures awaiting you including boating, scuba diving, sailing, diving, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, wake boarding, kite surfing, windsurfing, parasailing to name just a few.
Fishing. The Hawaiian waters are beautiful and there are many wonderful areas to be found with some exploring. Fishing from piers, jetties, the shore and streams is very popular among locals. The Kona Coast on Hawaii Island is well known for its big-game fishing, anglers fly in from all over the world for high-stakes tournaments or just a low-key time with friends. In August Kona is the home of the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, the “Grandfather of all Big Game Fishing Tournaments.”
Visitors can take a deep-sea charter from Honokohau Harbor just north of Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona) in search of marlin, mahimahi, ono and ahi.
There are many varieties of fish to be caught in Hawaii including:
Hogfish, Blue marlin, Black (silver) marlin, Sailfish, Swordfish' Needlefish, Yellowfin tuna, Albacore, Mountain bass, Skipjack tuna, Bigeye scad, Squirrelfish, Mullet, Sailfin tang, Moana kali, Milkfish, Bigeye tuna, Beardfish, Squirrelfish snapper, Bigeye scad, Seale's grouper, Octopus, Shortnose spearfsh, Black striped wrasse, Halfbeak, Amberjack, Barracuda, Unicornfish, Von Siebold's snapper, Rainbow Runner, Kawakawa, Japanese Barracuda, Yellow-eyed surgeon, White saddle goatfish, Gray damselfish, Leatherback, Razor wrasse, Dolphin fish, Small dolphin fish, Black & brown surgeon, Bluelined surgeon, Sardine, Ocean sunfish, Flyingfish, Sargent major damsel, Convict tang, Manybar goatfish, Threadfin, Porgy, Orange spot wrasse, Rudderfish, Trumpetfish, Large headed scorpion, Bluelined leather jacket' Bonefish, Wahoo, Moonfish, Pink snaper, ackerel scad, Flounder, Achilles tang, Dussumier's surgeon, Gaimard's parrotfish, Kona crab, Bigeye tuna, Hawkfish, Rose colored wrasse, Pomfret, Ualu, White eel, Argus grouper, Mangrove, Purpleback flying squid, Striped marlin, Blue striped snapper, Black tail snapper, Squirrelfish, Brigham's snapper, Gray jobfish (snapper), Spiny lobster, Slipper lobster, Parrotfish, Thick-lipped trevally, Threadfin jack, Mullet (Chaptall's), Cardinal fish, Oilfish, White/Samoan goatfish.
Golf. Hawaii has more than 70 amazing golf courses to choose from, it attracts so many golfers from around the world because of its breath-taking scenery, unforgettable signature holes and championship calibre course designs, from greens lined with volcanic rough to stunning seaside water hazards.
The Islands and their golf courses:
Hawaii’s Big Island - Nicknamed “Golf Capital of Hawaii” because of the world-renowned Kohala Coast resorts of Waikoloa, Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea. Hawaii has the finest assortment of independent (non-resort-affiliated) daily fee courses in Hawaii with lush green fairways set amongst black volcanic rock, there are 16 publicly accessible golf courses that are spread throughout the Big Island.
Oahu - Home to over 40 golf courses, which include five private clubs and nine military courses. There are 29 courses easily accessible to visitors at 25 different venues that range from the very first golf course built on the islands (in 1898) - the Moanalua Golf Club’s nine-hole hill-and-dale affair, which operates on a semi-private basis to golf resorts that play host to the PGA.
Maui - This Magic Island is well known for its beautiful golf courses. Maui has two distinct areas where most of the holiday rental accommodation and golf resorts are situated. West Maui which offers 36 holes at both the Kaanapali Beach Resort and the Kapalua Resort and South Maui, which lies in the wake of Haleakala and is home to two resorts, Wailea (54 holes) and Makena (36 holes). Four other Maui courses are located between Wailuku and Pukalani.
Kauai - Home to nine courses at seven golf venues, three major resorts are Princeville on the spectacular North Shore, which offers 45 holes at two locations (Prince & Makai), Kauai Lagoons’ 36 holes (Kiele & Mokihana) nestled near the Lihue airport, and the 18-hole Poipu Bay Golf Course along Kauai’s southern coastline. Independent daily fee golf courses can be found in Poipu at Kiahuna Golf Course and in Lihue at the Puakea Golf Course.
Lanai – Home to the The Experience at Koele, an 18-hole championship course designed by legends Greg Norman and Ted Robinson where the signature 17th hole drops magnificently into a valley more than 60 metres below the tee-box. Jack Nicklaus created one of his most famous masterpieces along the southern coast, The Challenge at Manele. Set along sea cliffs, this target-style course offers unsurpassed views of the Pacific Ocean. Both courses consistently rank among the best in the world by travel publications and guides.
Molokai - Home to the lovely Ironwood Hills Golf Course, a nine-hole public track built in 1928, you are welcome to just show up for a tee time. There are no golf pros, not even a clubhouse, just 2,800 metres of upcountry pasture with superb views.
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