Hawaii has so many places to explore, things to do, sights to see it can be bewildering to plan your trip with so much vying for your attention. So let’s get on with the process of planning trip. Searching out the best deals and planning your dream vacation to Hawaii should be half the fun.
Citizens of all countries must have (1) a valid passport that expires at least 6 months later than the scheduled end of their visit to the U.S., and (2) a tourist visa, which may be obtained without charge from any U.S. consulate. International
visitors traveling on visas to the United States will be photographed and fingerprinted on arrival at Customs in airports and on cruise ships in a program created by the Department of Homeland Security called US-VISIT.
Unless you’re arriving from an area known to be suffering from an epidemic (particularly cholera or yellow fever), inoculations or vaccinations are not required for entry into the United States.
A CULTURAL RENAISSANCE
A conch shell sounds, a young man in a bright feather cape chants, torchlight flickers at sunset on Waikiki Beach, and hula dancers begin telling their graceful centuries-old stories.
It’s a cultural scene out of the past come to life once again— for Hawaii is enjoying a renaissance of hula, chant, and other aspects of its ancient culture.
The biggest, longest, and most elaborate celebrations of Hawaiian culture are the Aloha Festivals, which encompass more than 500 cultural events from August to October. “Our goal is to teach and share our culture,” says Gloriann Akau, who manages the Big Island’s Aloha Festivals. “In 1946, after the war, Hawaiians needed an identity. We were lost and needed to regroup. When we started to celebrate our culture, we began to feel proud. We have a wonderful culture that had been buried for a number of years. This brought it out again. Self-esteem is more important than making a lot of money.”
WHEN TO GO
Most visitors don’t visit Hawaii when the weather’s best in the islands; rather, they come when it’s at its worst everywhere else. Thus, the high season when prices are up and resorts are often booked to capacity is generally from mid December through March or mid April. The last 2 weeks of December, in particular, are the prime time for travel to Hawaii. If you’re planning a holiday trip, make your reservations as early as possible, expect crowds, and prepare to pay top dollar for accommodations, car rentals, and airfare.
The off season, when the best rates are available and the islands are less crowded, is spring (mid-Apr to mid-June) and fall (Sept to mid-Dec) a paradox because these are the best seasons to be in Hawaii, in terms of reliably great weather. If you’re looking to save money, or if you just want to avoid the crowds, this is the time to visit. Hotel rates and airfares tend to be significantly lower, and good packages are often available.
Plan your itinerary and places to visit.
- Seeing Waikiki Beach: Waikiki Historic Trail, a 2-mile trail marked with bronzed surfboards. Be sure to catch the sunset
- Visiting Pearl Harbor & Honolulu’s Chinatown
- Exploring the North Shore & the Polynesian Cultural Center
- Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay & Visiting Sea Life Park
- Hiking a Rainforest , Glimpsing Historic Honolulu & Experiencing Hawaiian Culture
- Relaxing at Kailua Beach
- Shopping & Museum Hopping
Big island of Hawaii
- Enjoying a Morning Sail & Afternoon Drive to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Exploring an Active Volcano
- Touring Old Hawaii: Hilo Town ,Akaka Falls ,Waipio Valley & Cowboy Country
- Stepping Back in Time on the Kohala Coast
- Seeing Mauna Kea
- Seeing Kapalua Beach
- Going Up a 10,000-Foot Volcano & Down Again: head up to the 10,000-foot dormant volcano, Haleakala. You can hike in the crater , speed down the mountain on a bicycle, or just wander about the national park.
- Spending a Day in Heavenly Hana
- Sailing to Lanai
- Hiking in a Tropical Valley & Venturing into Paradise
- Seeing Moomomi Dunes: Archaeology Heaven
- Riding a Mule to Kalaupapa
- Seeing Hulopoe Bay
- Touring the Island in a Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicle
- Hiking (or Driving) the Munro Trail
- Horseback Riding & Taking a Trip Back in Time
- Seeing Kauai from the Air on a Helicopter Tour
- Hiking Kokee State Park & Waimea Canyon
- Indulging in a Spa Day
Do You Have to Speak Hawaiian in Hawaii?
Almost everyone here speaks English. But many folks in Hawaii now speak Hawaiian as well. All visitors will hear the words aloha and mahalo (thank you). If you’ve just arrived, you’re a malihini. Someone who’s been here a long time is a kamaaina. When you finish a job or your meal, you are pau (finished). On Friday it’s pau hana, work finished. You eat pupu (Hawaii’s version of hors d’oeuvres) when you go pau hana.
The Hawaiian alphabet, created by the New England missionaries, has only 12 letters: the five regular vowels (a, e, i, o, and u) and seven consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p, and w). The vowels are pronounced in the Roman fashion: that is, ah, ay, ee, oh, and oo (as in “too”)—not ay, ee, eye, oh, and you, as in English. For example, huhu is pronounced who-who. Most vowels are sounded separately, though some are pronounced together, as in Kalakaua: Kah-lah-cow-ah.
Below are some basic Hawaiian words that you’ll often hear in Hawaii and see throughout this book. For a more complete list of Hawaiian words, go to www.geocities.com/~olelo/hltableofcontents.html or www.hisurf.com/hawaiian/dictionary.html.
alii Hawaiian royalty
aloha greeting or farewell
hale house or building
heiau Hawaiian temple or place of worship
kahuna priest or expert
kapa tapa, bark cloth
kapu taboo, forbidden
kupuna respected elder
lanai porch or veranda
mahalo thank you
makai a direction, toward the sea
mana spirit power
mauka a direction, toward the mountains
muumuu loose-fitting gown or dress
paniolo Hawaiian cowboy(s)
Hawaii on the Web
Listed below are some of the most useful Hawaii websites.
• Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau: www.gohawaii.com
• Hawaii State Vacation Planner: www.hshawaii.com
• The Hawaiian Language Website: www.geocities.com/~olelo
• Planet Hawaii: www.planet-hawaii.com
• Oahu Visitors Bureau: www.visit-oahu.com
• Big Island’s Kohala Coast Resort Association: www.kohalacoastresorts.com
• Big Island Visitors Bureau: www.bigisland.org
• Maui Visitors Bureau: www.visitmaui.com
• Maui Net: www.maui.net
• Maui Island Currents (arts and culture): www.islandcurrents.com
• Molokai Visitors Association: www.molokai-hawaii.com
• Lanai Visitors Bureau: www.visitlanai.net
• Kauai Visitors Bureau: www.kauaivisitorsbureau.org
• Kauai’s Poipu Beach Resort Association: www.poipu-beach.org
For more information please go to Frommer’s Travel.