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
Aloha Tower is the lighthouse which still welcomes vessels to Honolulu. With 10 stories, 184 feet of height in addition to 40 feet of flag mast, this tower has remained the tallest structure of Hawaii for more than 40 years. Diamond Head is a volcanic tuff cone on O’ahu which is known as Laahi to the Hawaiians. The Hanauma Bay is one of the marine embayment formed in a crater or volcanic cone. The bay is popular for its abundance of the green sea turtles known as Honu and parrotfish. ‘Iolani Palace is situated in the capital district of Honolulu downtown and is the single most royal palace utilized as official residence of the reigning... Read more »
Recent reviews for Honolulu
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 »
Snorkeling and jetski in Honolulu - Nov 24, 2009, by MadSuh
Visiting Honolulu is in many ways very much similar to visiting other large cities. Honolulu is a large city with traffic, tall building, and all the pros and cons of a large metropolitan area. I enjoyed Honolulu, but of course the rest of... Read more »
Maui is the best - Mar 6, 2008, by lindamura
Maui the magical island that has been named 'Best Island in the World' time and time again. Crystal waters, golden beaches, beautiful scenery, tropical breezes, swaying palms, award-winning cuisine and world class resorts just to name a few... Read more »
Kayak and hiking on Molokai - Mar 6, 2008, by lindamura
Outdoor explorers, eco-seekers, ocean adventurers – welcome to Molokai – an island that’s unequivocally “Hawaiian By Nature”. A sign at the airport - “Slow Down, This is Molokai!”- is your first... 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 »
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