What to know about Hawaii before you visit, Honolulu, Hawaii
Reviews > North America > United States > Honolulu > What to know about Hawaii before you visit
Many people are surprised to learn that Hawai‘i actually consists of 137 islands stretching across more than 6,400 square miles in the North Pacific Ocean. The eight major islands commonly referred to as the Hawaiian Islands are Ni‘ihau, Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Moloka‘i, Läna‘i, Kaho‘olawe, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawai‘i.
Hawai‘i was first inhabited by voyaging Polynesian settlers sometime between the 3rd and 7th centuries as they made their trek eastward from the South Pacific across the vast uncharted seas. However, Hawai‘i was unknown to Westerners until 1778 when British Captain James Cook discovered the islands.
Today, Hawai‘i is a modern, cosmopolitan, diverse, multi-cultural society. It is home to 1.2 million residents and welcomed nearly 7 million visitors in 2004. No other state is so closely associated with its native heritage, ancient traditions, and ethnic diversity. Notably, it is the only state with its own language, music, and dance.
Some of the more revered traditions are the Aloha Spirit hospitality, the dancing of hula, the everyday attire of aloha shirts and flower print dresses, the giving of a fresh flower lei for greetings and celebrations, and feasting at a lü‘au.
Especially popular with residents and visitors alike is the outdoor-inspired, tropical lifestyle and the spectacular year-round weather, averaging a sunny 77 degrees and marked by cooling trade winds.
Hawai‘i became the 50th state on August 21, 1959. The state flower is the yellow hibiscus; the state bird, nënë or Hawaiian goose; the state tree, kukui or Candlenut; the state song, Hawai‘i Pono‘ï; and the state seal and motto, Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘äina i ka pono, which translates in Hawaiian to, “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”
Honolulu, the state capitol, is located on the island of O‘ahu, home to nearly three-quarters of Hawai‘i’s residents and the destination for most visitor arrivals.
Things about Honolulu you may be interested in
Read about Honolulu in our travel-guide
Explore the volcanos of Maui, HIThe World's Best Island
Recommended Honolulu Guide
The Hawaii Maritime Center is another building on the shore and hosts Hawaii's seafaring past with exhibits from ancient times to 19th century, the replica Polynesian canoe Hokulea being one of them. When you say Honolulu you don’t actually think about fine arts, but much to some tourists’ surprise there are plenty examples on display in the Academy of Arts. Some of the greatest artists have some works on display: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Monet, just to name a few and there are also some great depictions of Hawaii and ancient Chinese ceramics and bronzes. Besides fine arts you can view exhibits of genuine Polynesian... Read more »
Recent reviews for Honolulu
Paradise on Earth - Feb 22, 2006, by travelgrove-editor
Hawaii, everyone first thinks of it as the island of paradise and it is! The warmth of the islands invites you to start off by taking in a deep breathe of the fresh air, admire the cascading waterfalls, crystal clear waters, lush mountains,... Read more »
Aloha Festivals and a lot more - Mar 6, 2008, by lindamura
Guess which state has its own language, music and dance. As much as anything, it’s perpetuating these unique qualities that make Hawaii such an appealing and intriguing destination to the rest of the world. Art and culture is... Read more »
Welcome to Hawaii! - Mar 5, 2008, by lindamura
Your Pacific Paradise. Aloha! Hawai'i. Hawaii, everyone first thinks of it as the island of paradise and it is! The warmth of the islands invites you to start off by taking in a deep breathe of the fresh air, admire the cascading... Read more »
The World's Best Island - Mar 6, 2008, by lindamura
Many people come to Hawaii thinking you can travel between the islands by ferry. In fact, it’s only possible in "Maui Nui" – a family of five islands that once ago were one. Molokai, Lanai, Molokini and Kahoolawe lie... Read more »
Explore the volcanos of Maui, HI - Jul 28, 2007, by lindamura
A spectacular dormant volcano, 10,023-foot Haleakala erupted five million years ago to create the 279-square-mile island now called Maui and is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands located midway between Oahu and Hawaii. The island... Read more »
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