When I was young and sometimes feeling lazy, daydreaming or just ask for things I’m not allowed to do, I often heard this respond: Oooo and maybe you want to go to Hawaii.

When I heard this for the first time I didn’t really know what it means except that it sounded like heaven on the earth, a place that is so beautiful and yet so unreachable. Later I read in the encyclopedia and find out that this place is a normal country where normal people live, except for the fact that was tremendously beautiful and it was difficult to go, the flights were expensive… Still, I don’t know why the saying wasn’t about Bali or Caribbean for example. 

Today you can find cheap flights, you can read about the country, book online from a travel agency and easily organize your trip and not to mention how time-saving it is. In short with one click you’ll just have to prove you’re not a robot these days. In those days you had to prove that you’re a human. 

Few facts about Hawaii

No wonder that a lot of people ask if Hawaii is in the US. This country and the people are so unique by their culture and traditions that comparing to some other US states, like New York, can be a little bit hard to get the connection. Hawaii is the 50th state of the United States with a population of 1,428,683 (2017) with Honolulu as a capital. Although Hawaii enjoys the tropical climate and the temperatures are just wonderful all year round, 26-28 C most of the time, still there is snow even in paradise.

The state bird of Hawaii is the goose Nene. Endemic (or native and only found in Hawaii) to this islands, the survival of this bird was in question because she was hunted by the other animals and as a result, the number of these species was quite reduced. Today as a result of the conservation efforts this endangered bird survival is under control.

Hawaiian culture and traditions

In the beginning, I’d like to welcome you with one big cheerful Hello in Hawaiian. Aloha to you all! In everyday life to greet someone in Hawaii you say Aloha which means Hello or Goodbye usually followed by a kiss on the cheek. Aloha represents much more than just a common greeting in Hawaii. The Aloha spirit is in the essence of the Hawaiian culture representing the coordination between the mind and the heart and it’s expressed in all cultural forms.

One of the most recognizable symbols deeply embedded in the Hawaiian culture is the beautiful and truly captivating Hula dance. There are two types of Hula dance, one more traditional and the other with a more modern interpretation. Watching those gentle rhythmic movements of the women dancing by the ocean barefooted followed by the traditional sound of the drums it’s pure satisfaction. Experiencing Hula is one of the must-do activities in Hawaii. Hula can be seen in the various events held in Hawaii and at the live performances in the Hotels or Resorts where you can attempt free hula dancing lessons as well. Have fun!

Every celebration is held so people can get together and share their best wishes as always accompanied by food and dance. Luau is Hawaiian way of celebrating special and memorable occasions in our lives like weddings and birthdays. There is no such thing as an event without music and dance and Luau is always followed by the delightful performances of the Hula dance. The flower Lei is an appropriate gift for birthdays and similar celebrations.

We should always be respectful of the locals’ culture.

You’ve probably already noticed that Hawaiian women look so beautiful wearing fresh flowers in their long gorgeous black hairs. Well, that has it’s meaning too. Wearing a flower in her left ear it means she is taken while wearing a flower in her right ear it means she is available. Please be careful not to mix up those flowers. If you aren’t sure just ask. No one would like to experience one of those moments when approaching a woman and then in the next minute to be introduced to her boyfriend or her husband. This is very useful and good for any culture. A symbol like this would certainly help men stop wondering if the woman they are interested in is available or not.

Dress casually and leave your shoes outside the door when visiting a local home. This is common for many countries and includes bringing a present or food as well. Speaking of shoes, I probably won’t wear any shoes in Hawaii. One of the reasons I want to go is because I prefer sandals and even better it’s paradise island so I’ll probably be barefooted most of the time.

Ask before you plan to take photos, especially of the locals.

There are a few traditional Hawaiian dishes that anyone should know if visiting Hawaii. Laulau, one of the most common Hawaiian dishes is prepared with meat, fish, pork or beef, wrapped in luau lives. Another well-known dish is poi prepared by mashing the cooked corm of the taro plant. For the desired consistency you can add more or less water during the preparation or at the end. Lomi-lomi is a fresh salad prepared with salmon, tomato, and vegetables. Poke is a raw fish salad. Kālua describes a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu or underground oven and dishes prepared in this way are commonly served at luau gatherings and events.

Beaches and safety

Hawaii has much to offer for your vacation to be a memorable one. These islands are most famous and known for the astonishing white, red and black sandy beaches. This means that activities like swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling and whale watching can be best experienced on these tremendous Hawaiian islands.

The Hawaiian turtles and the cute face animals endemic to Hawaii, the monk seals are protected under the Endangered Species Act. You should be respectful to the animals in Hawaii especially of the turtles and monk seals. Touching, riding or using flashlights near the turtles is not allowed. Always watch for the signs on the beach, they also show you if there are any turtle nests for you to be more cautious not to damage any. If you encounter a monk seal in Hawaii is recommended not to play, feed or provoke the animal in any way and always to observe from a distance.

When visiting islands in general, as a responsible tourist and a person, everyone should be respectful of the environment including the sea and the land. This will include: disposing of your trash properly, not to take anything from the ocean and not to touch corals, they are too fragile, and finally, you should use biodegradable cosmetics.

What I like about Hawaii is that the plastic bags are forbidden by law. It’s recommended to bring your own reusable bag when shopping since the businesses won’t offer you a plastic bag at checkout. Although it’s very eco-friendly not to use plastic bags it can be pretty irritating though while you’re there chilling on the beach and in the same time plastic bags flying all over the place and not to mention that they are dangerous for the turtles too as they can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and choke.

The next great thing in Hawaii is that on the beaches and in the state parks smoking is forbidden. Not only that it’s very cool not to smoke, but the cigarette butts consist a very toxic chemical and when they’re in the water can damage and kill marine life. They also can be very dangerous if they are left in the sand, especially for the kids while they are playing in the sand.

When you say Hawaii, I have an instant flash picture in my head, ”lying on the beach on the warm sand, under the palm trees, eating something delicious, drinking cocktails…” Well, how many of you know that the surfboard was actually invented in Hawaii and inventions exist from the necessity. I was there once swimming in big waves and thought then that if surfboard wasn’t invented that I probably would. In short, you simply need a surfboard on the big waves. So, logically speaking, the ‘’windsurfing capital of the world’’ – Hookipa Beach Park will be where else if not in Hawaii.

In general, when visiting a place that you’re not too familiar with, it’s always a good idea to explore in a company or to tell someone where are you going, even if you travel alone. No matter how good swimmer are you one of the things that we all have to be more informed about is how to react in certain situations and in big waves when we are in the ocean. Before you go in Hawaii, preparing to chill, swim, snorkel read everything about the surroundings and the beaches, inform yourself about the risks and get the best advice on everything you should know to make your vacation on Hawaii the best one in your life. Always stay informed about Hawaii Beach Safety.