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
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Recommended Honolulu Guide
Honolulu Zoo is a primary zoological institution and Waikiki Aquarium is a functional laboratory for marine biology. It is a marine aquarium which is third oldest in the US. It is home to over 3055 organisms from 464 species of marine animals and plants. There are several gardens in Honolulu which are worth seeing: Liliuokalani Botanical Garden, Foster Botanical Garden and Walker Estate. Lyon Arboretum is a botanical garden which is located on the upper part of Manoa Valley. The Ala Moana Centre is the biggest shopping mall of Hawaii and 14th biggest one in the US. It has over 290 restaurants and shops including boutiques from leading... Read more »
Recent reviews for Honolulu
The perfect vacation on Hawaii - Mar 6, 2008, by lindamura
So much of Hawaii's appeal is tied to aloha, affection and love, it’s surprising to find there’s no word in the Hawaiian language for romance. Hard to believe, too, because if ever a destination inspired romance, it’s... Read more »
Travel adventures in Hawaii - Dec 6, 2009, by islandhopper
Adventure Travel Hawaii is a really great web guide for people interested in travel to, and outdoor activities in Hawaii. The listings provide detailed descriptions, photos, and links. They have listings on all sorts of tours, activities,... 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 »
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 »
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 »
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