Frequently Asked Questions about Hawaii
more about Hawaii's history, culture, people, places, and things through answers to
frequently asked questions about Hawaii and Hawaii related topics! Below are
answers to frequently asked questions that we receive from our web site users.
What does the word Hawaii mean?
Hawaii is the name of the largest of the Hawaiian islands (also known as the Big
Island) and is the name of the 50th State in the USA which is a collection of 8
islands Hawaii, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kohoolawe,
Oahu, Kauai, and Ni'ihau. Many believe the name Hawaii was adapted from
the name Hawaiki, the name for a mythical homeland of all Polynesians. Others believe it
is a variation of a South Pacific island Raiatea, which was called Havaii at the time of
How were the Hawaiian Islands
formed? How many volcanoes are in Hawaii? How many islands are in Hawaii?
The Hawaiian islands are very different land forms from the Mainland USA. Hawaii was
formed when a molten 'hot spot' weakened the Earths crust until it broke open and
molten lava started pumping out. That one 'hot spot' stays in the same place as the
Pacific Tectonic Plate moves slowly northeast towards Japan and has created all of the
Hawaiian Islands. There are actually 132 islands (8 major islands and 124 smaller islands,
reefs, atolls and shoals) in the Hawaiian Island Chain that have been created by that one
hot spot over hundreds of millions of years. The chain runs 1,600 miles (2,560 kilometers)
from the oldest formation, the Kure Atoll in the northwest, to the Big Island of
Hawaii in the southeast. Eight main islands are considered part of the State of Hawaii:
Ni'ihau, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Koho'olawe, Oahu, the Big Island of Hawaii. Ni'ihau
and Koho'olawe are very tiny islands and are not accessable to the public without
permission. Kauai, the oldest of the main accessable island and it began forming
almost 6 million years ago, and stopped erupting only 4.2 million years ago!
were each of the Hawaiian Islands created?
Scientists estimate the islands were formed:
Kauai: between 3.8-5.6 million years ago.
Oahu: Waianae between 2.7-3.4 million years ago.
Oahu: Koolau between 2.2-2.5 million years ago.
Molokai: West 1.8 million years ago.
Molokai: East between 1.3-1.5 million years ago.
Maui: West between 1.15-1.3 million years ago.
Maui: Haleakala 0.8 million years ago.
Hawaii: Kohala Mt. less than 1 million years ago.
Hawaii: Pu'u Wa'awa'a 0.4 million years ago.
What is the total length of the
coast line for the state of Hawaii ?
General Coastline 664 statute miles and this includes lengths of general outline of
seacoast not including Niihau or Molokai which we did not find information on.
Hawaii, Big Island
Kahoolawe 29 miles
Data per the Hawaii County Databook 1995
What is each islands nick name
and why is it called that?
Hawaii - The Big Island because it
is the largest of all the islands.
Kauai - The Garden Island because
it is the wettest and greenest of all the islands.
Lanai - The Pineapple Island
because it was a private island once owed by Dole to grow pineapples.
Maui- The Valley Island because it
has two mountain masses separated by a valley.
Oahu - The Gathering Place because about 3/4 of Hawaii's people live on this
Molokai - The Most Hawaiian Island because per capita it has the most
people of Hawaiian ancestry living on it. Molokai is also known as the Friendly Island due
to the hospitality it's residents typically extend to visitors.
Kahoolawe - The Uninhibited Island because it is so small and offers very
little resources to inhabit it. It was used as a bombing target by the US until 1994.
Niihau - The Forbidden Island because it is a privately owned island and
only invited guests are allowed on it.
What is the official state
flower for Hawaii as well as the official flower for each of the Hawaiian Islands?
The official State flower for Hawaii is the endemic Yellow Hibiscus hibiscus
brackenridgei, known as the pua aloalo.
Hawaii - Red Ohia
Kauai - The Mokihana Berry
Lanai - Kaunaoa, a yellow and
orange air plant
Maui- Pink Lokelani aka Pink Rose
Oahu - Yellow Ilima
Molokai - Kukui Blossom
Kahoolawe - Hinahina
Niihau - rather than a real flower White Pupu Shells which are only found
on the shores of Niihau are their official "flower".
high are the volcanoes?
All of the Hawaiian Islands are made from several volcanoes ranging from a few feet above
sea level to the tallest volcano in the islands, Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii
which stands 13,796 ft above sea level (plus another 18,000 feet below sea level!).
Another tall volcano located on the Big Island is Mauna Loa which stands 13,680 ft.
Because of erosion (after a million years of rain, wind and waves) some volcano craters
are only a hundred feet above sea level. (Thats about as tall as a coconut tree)
Hanauma Bay had 1/3 of its' volcanic crater fall into the ocean during an earthquake and
filled with sea water. Now it is a popular snorkeling spot on Oahu, a marine preserve
teeming with sea life. The lowest crater has to be Molokini. A small island south of
nearby Maui, Molokini rises a mere 45 ft at its' highest and forms a thin crescent shaped
island excellent for snorkeling and diving.
Do volcanoes usually erupt in Hawaii? How often do
There is currently one island that is volcanically active, Hawaii also known as the Big
Island. Mauna Loa is an active volcano on the Big Island. Kilauea has been erupting
non-stop since 1989, but it isnt shooting magma up in the air all that time as you
might imagine. Currently the most visible molten rock flows from Kilauea Caldera at
Puu oo vent where most of the magma flows through lava tubes and abruptly
meets the ocean creating new land. Within the last decade another vent spewing molten lava
was discovered 20 miles South of the Big Island. Its called Loihi Sea Mount and is
still under water. Unfortunately none of us will live the 10,000 years to see it become an
hot is the lava in Hawaii?
This is kind of a trick question. Magma is molten rock below the Earth's surface, and lava
is molten rock that flows freely on the surface. Since lava is actually melted rock the
temperatures are extremely hot and very depending on the geological composition of magma.
To give you a general idea, lava that's hot enough to flow is about 2000-5000 degrees
Does taking lava really give you bad luck?
You might be tempted to take some lava home from your Hawaiian vacation as prized
keepsakes but beware that this will anger Pele the Hawaiian volcano goddess.
Pele is probably the most well known of the legendary Hawaiian demigods. She creates and
destroys with fire. Pele has a quick temper and takes offenses seriously. There are
several traditions concerning Pele, the best known of these is about lava rocks. Since
Pele created the islands the lava rock is like her flesh or a piece of her. Its said
that misfortune will befall anyone who removes lava rock away from Hawaii. This also
includes black sand, which is pulverized lava rock. There is a large display at the Hawaii
Volcanoes National Park of lava rocks sent back to Hawaii by visitors who have had bad
luck since taking them home. Letters of apology also on display accompanied the rocks
begging Pele for forgiveness.
If you would like to return lava rock you have taken from
any Hawaiian Island you can return it to Pele by mailing it to: Headquarters,
Volcanoes National Park, Volcano, HI 96785
big is Hawaii? How many mountains are there? Are there many beaches?
The state of Hawaii is 6,427 square miles. Only Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut are
smaller. There are many, many mountains in Hawaii. Volcanoes, which have eroded into lush
green mountains created all of Hawaii. Everywhere you can go you can see beautiful
waterfalls, peaks, and valleys. The islands have snow capped mountains, deep canyons, lush
rainforest, and many miles of beautiful beaches. The Islands are surrounded by water and
are subject to wave erosion. Having waves crashing against the shores for thousands of
years has created beaches all around the islands.
do some beaches in Hawaii have black, green, gray, or red sand?
In Hawaii there are white sand, black sand, gray sand, green sand, and red sand
beaches, but not all types of sand are found on each island. The color depends on what the
sand was created from. In Hawaii the term black sand beach is used only for beaches with a
high concentration of grains of black volcanic glass. The black volcanic glass is created
by molten lava flows entering the cool ocean causing the glassy rinds to shatter. True
black sand beaches are only found in a few locations on the Big Island. There are beaches
on the Big Island and the other Hawaiian Islands that appear black in color but they only
have a small percent, a small pocket, or trace amounts of black volcanic glass and they
are not true black sand beaches.
Green sand beaches are created from grains of a semi-precious gem called olivine. White
sand beaches are created from bits of shells, calcareous algae, sea urchins, and coral.
Gray sand beaches are created from gray basalt. Red sand beaches are created from grains
of sand that are high in iron content. When the iron oxidizes it turns red. The beaches
range from powdery soft to sharp shards depending on the erosion that occurs in the area.
far is Hawaii from the USA? What is the time difference in Hawaii?
Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States of America in 1959. It is
located about 2,160 miles from California, which would be the closest state on the
Mainland USA to Hawaii. Hawaii is about 6,000 miles from Washington, DC. Hawaii is in it's
own time zone called Hawaii Standard Time (HST). HST is 3 hours BEHIND Pacific Standard
Time and 6 hours BEHIND Eastern Standard Time in the Spring & Summer. Deduct an hour
for Daylight Savings during the Fall and Winter.
What is the climate in Hawaii? Does it snow in
Because the Hawaiian Islands have lots of different environments (rainforest, beach,
desert) there are lots of different climates. In places like Waikiki, Kailua-Kona, Kihei,
and other beach towns it is nice and warm almost all year round. The rain forest region is
located up in the mountains where the rain clouds collect after the moisture evaporates.
This region is cooler and wetter due to the rain and tree coverage. This is also where you
will find lots of waterfalls! The desert regions are very hot and dry and you can even
find cactus growing, there is very little rain. On the Big Island fields of lava from past
eruptions look like huge parking lots. Not much grows in this area, there are miles and
miles of nothing but black lava. This region is very hot and dry. The summit of the taller
mountains are very cold with high winds year round. The summits (top) of the tallest
mountains in the islands do get snow in the winter. There are three mountains that get
snow, Mauna Kea (13,796 ft) and Mauna Loa (13,680 ft) on the Big Island and Mt. Haleakala
(10,023 ft) on Maui. Because these mountains are so tall it will snow on these summits and
at the same time be sunny and 80 degrees at the beach. Mauna Kea is actually the tallest
mountain in the world when measured from the sea floor to the summit.
it really hot in Hawaii? What is the average temperature?
It does get hot sometimes but there usually is a nice breeze blowing from the Northeast,
called 'the trade winds,' which keeps everyone cool when the sun is hot. Hawaii is located
close to the equator so the sun is very strong. When the trade winds dont blow it
can get very hot and humid. This doesnt happen very often though. It averages in the
high 80s during the day and high 70s during the night in the summer. It
averages in the high 70s during the day and low 70s during the night in the
winter. It is a very comfortable year round range of 66-88 degrees F (78 degree avg.) We
are able to wear shorts all year long, but in the winter we may have to put on pants or a
light jacket in the evening.
What is the highest & lowest temperatures
recorded in Hawaii?
Highest recorded temperature: 100 degrees in Pahala Hawaii in April 1931
Lowest recorded temperature: 12 degrees on the summit of the volcano Mauna Kea in May 1979
do rainbows happen, anyway? Can you see rainbows every day in Hawaii?
A rainbow forms when raindrops falling through the air separate white sunlight into a
spectrum. It is seen usually in the sky opposite to the sun and also in the spray from
waterfalls. When the sunlight enters a raindrop it is refracted, or bent, and reflected
from the back surface of the drop in such a way that the viewer sees light appear as a
spectrum of colors! The colors can be seen, however, only when the angle of reflection
between the sun, the drop of water, and the observer's line of vision is between 40° and
42°. We see a lot of double rainbows in Hawaii. In the brightest or primary rainbow,
often the only one seen, the colors are arranged with the red outside. Above the perfect
bow is a secondary bow, in which the colors are arranged in reverse order; this bow is
dimmer, because of a double reflection within the drops. You will often see rainbows while
in Hawaii and that also means it does rain: usually light rain in the mountain areas. From
Waikiki look skyward for rainbows toward Manoa Valley or downtown Honolulu early in the
day. As the sun rises higher, rainbows will appear lower in the sky or even low to the
ground. It is probably possible to see a rainbow every day somewhere in the islands. If it
is sprinkling and sunny out at the same time that is when a rainbow is visible. Depending
on the position of the sun and how much rain is falling the rainbow may appear as a
partial rainbow, a full sky rainbow, a really fat rainbow with wide bands of color, and
even a double rainbow where two rainbows appear at the same time.
Is the Pacific Ocean cold?
Compared to the Atlantic Ocean the Pacific Ocean is very warm. The average temperature of
the waters around the Hawaiian islands is 78 degrees year round. But Hawaii actually has
the coldest waters in the Indo-Pacific region. Other waters in the Pacific must be like
taking a bath!
the ocean really as blue as it appears in the photos on your web site?
YES! The ocean water is blue because of microscopic red algae (plants). The red algae
absorb the red/orange color in sunlight, so we see mostly blue. Depending on how deep the
ocean is it can appear in many beautiful shades of blue. In the shallow waters yellow-ish
sand reflects light to make the ocean appear turquoise green! (Blue + Yellow = Green)
How big are waves in Hawaii? How big was the
BIGGEST wave in Hawaii?
Hawaiian waves are measured from the back, so a 6ft wave in California is equivalent to a
3ft wave in Hawaii. The largest waves are in the winter time on the North sides of the
islands. During the winter months the waves on the North shores range 4 to 40 feet. During
the summer months the North shores range 1 to 3 feet. On the South shores the waves range
3 to 15 feet in the summer and 1-3 feet in the winter. The size of the waves is determined
by the way the islands were formed and by storms that occur in the Pacific Ocean.
Earthquakes in Japan and Alaska can cause huge Tsunamis (some call them tidal waves)
in Hawaii. The energy of the earthquake travels through the ocean and can create waves
taller than a 16 story building! (That's 160 feet!) When these occur many people are
killed or injured and buildings and homes are destroyed. The last Tsunami that hit Hawaii
was in the 1970s. In the wintertime we do get large waves that are generated by
storms in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. On the North Shores of the Hawaiian Islands the
waves range from 0-40 feet in the winter with occasional 50 foot waves if there is a big
storm in the Pacific Ocean. The largest surfed wave on Oahu happened only a few years ago
at 55 feet!
Did you ever go surfing naked?
Surfing naked was done prior to 1820s. The native Hawaiians normally didnt
wear much for clothing, like Native American Indians. The clothing they wore was made from
the bark of a tree and didnt make a good bathing suit. So, when the men surfed they
would remove their tree bark clothing and surf naked. Once the Catholic missionaries
arrived from Massachusetts they convinced the Hawaiians that being naked was evil, so the
practice of surfing naked was stopped. Today, public nudity is illegal, so we do not surf
Yes, lots of girls and women surf. Surfing was invented in Hawaii over 200 years ago and
people from all around the world have been enjoying it ever since.
Do you see dolphins?
Weve seen dolphins from shore several times. They jump and flip around in the air,
spinning up out of the water. We have also been swimming with the dolphins at Dolphin
Quest lagoon on the Big Island at the Hilton Waikoloa. We fed fish to them, kissed them,
and learned a lot of interesting things about them. Two neat things we learned were that
their bellies feels like the ridges on a record album and it turns pink when they are
happy! There is a bay on the Big Island and Lanai where wild dolphins often go for morning
swims. If you encounter wild dolphins do not touch or feed them. You could infect them
with harmful germs and they could bite you trying to defend themselves from your
aggressive moves. Just swim with your hands to your side and enjoy the moment!
there a lot of sharks in the oceans around Hawaii?
There are several types of sharks in the oceans around Hawaii. Hawaii only has a few
reports of shark bites a year but no deaths due to them in a long time. Sharks do not hunt
down humans to eat them. When a there is a shark bite reported it is usually by a surfer
or a boogie board rider. When the shark looks up at the people on their boards it only can
see a silhouette of it. Like, if you were to open your eyes underwater and look up. Things
look dark against the bright light coming into the water. The shape of a surfer looks like
the shape of a seal; the board is long and shaped similarly to a seal, the surfer paddles
the board with his arms and looks like a seal flapping its flippers. Boogie board riders
look like big turtles because their board looks similar to the shape of a turtle shell and
the board riders arms and legs stick out and flap around like a turtles arms and legs.
Sharks eat seals and turtles so thats why they may chomp into the human wave riders
by accident. Once they get a bite of a human they usually let go because we're thin and
bony not blubbery like they were looking for. Also humans usually fight back. When a shark
bites into you are supposed to punch it in its snout. This part is very sensitive
and it will let go!
What can you see whales doing when you whale
Humpback whales come from Alaska to Hawaii in December every year to give birth to their
calves in the warmer waters of Hawaii as well as to mate. You are able to spot whales from
land at several lookouts around the islands. You usually just see a spray of water blast
up when the whales surface to breathe air. Whales breathe oxygen from the air like humans
do, unlike fish which absorb oxygen from the ocean water and can NOT breath out of the
ocean. Sometimes the whales lift their tails or flukes out of the water or slap their
flipper on the surface. Whales also just pop their head out of the water which is called a
eye spy. Sometimes if you are really lucky the whales will jump out of the water and land
on their side, this is called breaching. Maui is known to have the largest transient
population during Humpback whale season and also has the most frequent sightings. If you
see a whale while out on a boat keep in mind that it's illegal to approach a whale closer
than 500 feet(166yds). Often on Maui whale watching boat tours they cut their engines and
float in whale territory and the whales will come right up to the boat to investigate. It
is OK if the whales approach you, just do not touch or feed the whales because this can
pass harmful germs to the whales. You can see whales around any of the islands between the
end of December and the end of April.
kinds of animals live in Hawaii?
Hawaii has 8,800 native species found only in Hawaii. Sadly, most of the animals that are
only found in Hawaii are endangered. Being isolated on these islands has allowed any
animals that made it here to evolve in unique ways. Hawaiian Monk Seals and Hawaiian Green
Sea Turtles are endangered species. The Hawaii state bird is the Nene Goose and they are
also endangered species. Hawaii once had lots of different non-flying birds only found in
the Hawaiian Islands. Many of the first native birds that evolved in the islands were
ground dwellers and they had no predators to need to fly from on their isolated island
home. Once the rats made it to the island on the canoes of first Hawaiian settlers then
they began to eat the birds eggs, then the birds. The early native Hawaiians also hunted
the flightless birds as a food source. To help save the birds people introduced mongoose
to eat the rats. Unfortunately the mongoose are diurnal, which means they hunt during the
day, and the rats are nocturnal, which means they hunt at night, so now Hawaii has both
wild mongoose and rats. Other animals that were introduced to Hawaii by early merchant
ships visiting Hawaii are deer, goats, and wild pigs with big tusks. These animals were
brought so the sailors on merchant ships could have fresh meat when they came the
islands. Many citrus fruit trees were also brought to Hawaii by merchant ships so the
sailors could have fresh fruits that would combat scurvy while they were in the Hawaiian
Islands. There aren't any squirrels, chipmunks, or snakes in Hawaii. If snakes ever made
it to Hawaii they would slither up trees to birds nests and would kill off the remaining
native birds in the islands. Brown Tree Snakes are responsible for this in Guam where
there are no longer birds on the island.
What kinds of fruits can I see growing by the
roadside in Hawaii?
You will find a variety of island fruits growing on roadside farms, along rainforest
trails, and in residential yards. Fruits like papaya, pineapple, coconut, macadamia nut,
coffee, mountain apple, guava, avocado, mango, oranges, lemon, lime, lychee, grapefruit,
star fruit, pomello, bananas, passion fruit, pomegranate, taro, breadfruit, strawberry
guava, and more! You may be tempted to stop and pick some growing on the side of the road.
Please do not trespass onto someones farm or private property to try to sample fresh
growing island treats. Hefty fines can be imposed if you are caught doing so, especially
from commercial farms and pineapple fields. If you go hiking and know what youre
looking for you can find refreshing treats growing along mountain trails. If you collect
or purchase fresh fruits please note they can only be taken outside of the Hawaiian
Islands if they are agriculturally inspected. If you would like to take fresh island
pineapple or papaya home with you there are vendors at the island airports that sell
pre-inspected fresh fruits in handy carry cases ideal for taking a back a bit of paradise
many people live in Hawaii?
In 1998 the State of Hawaii reported 1,193,001 people live in the state of Hawaii. The
city and county of Honolulu is the home to the majority of residents with 872,478 calling
it home. Almost 7 million additional people visit the islands each year. In 1998 the state
of Hawaii reported the ethnicity breakdown of Hawaii's residents as: Caucasian 22%;
Hawaiian/part Hawaiian 21%; Japanese 18%; Filipino 13%; Chinese 3%; Black 1%; Hispanic
origin 7.3%. Less than 1% of Hawaii's population is pure Hawaiian, meaning they are
descendants from peoples who populated the Hawaiian islands prior to 1776, before contact
What is the tallest building in Hawaii?
Aloha tower is 10 stories tall (184 feet, 2 inches, topped by a 40-foot flagstaff). For
four decades the Aloha Tower was the tallest building in all of Hawaii. The tallest
building in the state of Hawaii is now the First Hawaiian Center located within blocks of
the Aloha Tower in the Historic Downtown Honolulu/Business district. The First Hawaiian Center
was completed in 1996 towering at 438 feet and is the first building in Hawaii to exceed
high do the palm trees get?
Palm trees can grow to 80 feet, about 8 stories on a building. On Kauai, Molokai, and
Lanai there are laws that no building can be taller than the tallest palm tree on the
island. This keeps these islands looking very natural and not like a big city.
How much green do you see all day?
Lots! There are plants, flowers, and trees inside and outside. The mountains are very
green from the rain forest that covers them. In the city there are beautiful flowering
trees, palm trees, and lots of ground flowers. Lots of people are very creative with
beautiful trees, plants, and nicely groomed lawns in their yards. In office buildings
there are great arrangements of tropical flowers, mini palm trees, and even indoor
waterfalls! Being in a tropical environment is very beautiful and relaxing.
they have Christmas in Hawaii?
Yes, Mele Kalikimaka (Meh-lay Kah-lee-kee-mah-kah) is how you say Merry Christmas in
Hawaiian. We have our live-cut Christmas trees shipped in from Washington state and
Alaska. Santa is at the mall to find out what is on everyones wish list. Lots of
businesses and tall buildings put up holiday lights. It really puts us in the holiday
spirit to drive around and look at all the decorations.
Is it fun living/do you like living in Hawaii?
We LOVE living in Hawaii! It is very fun to explore and learn about. It is very different
from where we grew up in Massachusetts. We have seen and done so many amazing things. We
are very happy we moved here and do not plan to ever move from the islands.
family is thinking of going to Hawaii, what are some very nice places to go?
Each of the Hawaiian Islands are very beautiful and have lots of fun and unusual things to
see and do. We recommend visiting them all! There are great ways to enjoy nature, go
shopping, learn about different cultures, and just relax. We recommend that your entire
family look at our web site and write down the activities that seem fun to you. Then
everyone sit down and talk about your choices and what you all would have fun doing
What is the significance behind what ear a flower
is worn behind?
If you are married or "taken" the flower should be worn behind your left ear. An
easy way to remember this is it is the flower is worn on the same side as a wedding ring
is worn. If you are single the flower should be worn behind the right ear.
I was to have leis at my wedding who would get them? What is the symbolism behind this
Leis are given any time as a symbol of love and/or appreciation. At some Hawaiian weddings
the parents of the groom adorn the bride with a lei and the parents of the bride adorn the
groom with a lei as a symbol of welcoming them into the family. Sometimes rather than the
parents, the bride and groom adorn each other as the ceremony begins as a symbol of their
love for one another. Wedding guests do not typically bring leis to give to the bride and
Leis are also worn by the parents of the bride and groom and the wedding party rather than
having them wear corsages and boutonnieres. At some weddings the bride and groom also
provide the minister a lei to wear either because the minister is either a close friend or
because they want the minister to be wearing a lei for their photos. Some brides and
grooms also elect to adorn all wedding guests with fresh flower, silk flower, or shell
leis to add a full island flair and as a keepsake from the wedding. Having everyone in
leis makes for excellent photos and people really seem to get into the aloha spirit and
"hang loose" when they are wearing a lei!
There really is no set rule on having leis at your wedding; it is all personal preference.
The suggestions we offer on our "Hawaii Weddings Anywhere" advise are just
suggestions to spark ideas. Take what interests you and incorporate it into your wedding.
On my recent visit to Hawaii I stopped at a small
roadside store and they were selling food items I would like some assistance identifying.
There were small sealed clear bags filled with shriveled red ball like items, and others
with shriveled up strips of something. What are these?
It sounds like you saw packages of seed snacks. Seed snacks are made from dried fruit
seeds like prunes, mango, papaya, pineapple, coconut, cherries, lemon, strawberries, etc.
Many seed snacks are available plain or with a coating of Li Hing powder to add a tangy
zip. Some of the seed snacks are an acquired taste, like li hing mui (dried prune with li
hing powder), which is probably the shriveled red ball like snack you saw. Seed snacks are
very popular with island locals and are hard to find outside of Hawaii. Seed snacks are
the most requested items ordered from our Island Gift Shop by people who used to live in
can I find an authentic luau?
This is a question we hear quite frequently. The word luau means Hawaiian feast. The
food is a main feature of every luau, and is accompanied with Hawaiian and Polynesian song
and dance. A non-commercial luau would likely be in someones back yard, at the
beach, or in the park with some barbecue food and some ukulele music, probably playing
volleyball or just sitting around talking story. This may sound like your last summertime
party because thats what a luau is
a gathering of friends and family! The
traditional luau that is put on for visitors usually has a crowd of up to eight hundred
people with "Hawaiian style food" and an entertaining Polynesian review. Some
allow you to join in on Hawaiian games and crafts, as well as explore cultural exhibits.
Many display the removal of the Kalua pig from the `imu (underground oven) where the pig
was cooking for a day. The feast is normally buffet style with many local food favorites
of tender pig, teriyaki beef, mahi-mahi (fish), chicken longrice (it looks like bait, but
it's rice noodles in chicken broth with chicken pieces), white rice, poi, sweet potato,
rolls, pineapple, and either coconut cake or haupia (coconut pudding). Commercial luaus
are held on each island.
Is the Polynesian Cultural Center worth it, or a
The Polynesian Cultural Center is both worth it, and a "tourist trap."
You will see ancient style villages, crafts and tools along with demonstrations from each
of the seven isles of Polynesia whos people came to inhabit these islands from AD500
to the 1700s. You wont see Hawaiis people living in a little grass
shack, Honolulu has all of the modern conveniences of an average city. If you wish to see
ancient Polynesian life you will enjoy the Polynesian Cultural Center. There also is a
great Imax movie, and an elaborate river parade. The crowd is pretty large there and the
lu'au is nothing special, its not like going to the others. You eat a Hawaii buffet
in a pavilion. The entertaining night show is later in the evening at their outdoor
auditorium and is the best. Everything told to you is also said in Japanese and that can
be distracting, and the cheap seats are a bit far from the stage. To see it
all, you spend seven to nine hours of your time here, including round-trip transportation.
Its about an hour from The Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie to
type of nightlife is available in Hawaii?
The Waikiki area of Oahu, the Kona area of the Big Island, and the Lahaina area of Maui
all offer a variety of nighttime entertainment for adults. There are unique cocktail
shows, bars, dance clubs, "mens clubs", sunset cruises, and a wide
selection of restaurants. Some dance clubs are for 18 year olds and older. Other clubs are
for those 21 years old and over. There are also family oriented activities like star
gazing adventures, laser tag, magic shows, movies, and other unique dinner shows. Oahu has
the most evening activity options.
I recently went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation
on Oahu and was disappointed that there was no tour of the pineapple cannery. How come?
Since the pineapple agriculture boom in the 1920s Hawaii has been known as the place
where pineapples are grown. What many people do not realize is that due to the high cost
of land in Hawaii it is no longer profitable to grow pineapple to be used for consumption
outside of Hawaii. The last of the canneries on Oahu closed in the 1990s and as far
as we are aware of there is only one remaining pineapple cannery in the islands and it is
located on the island of Maui. You will still find fields of pineapples growing around the
islands. These will be primarily sold to island residents and island restaurants. Very few
pineapples are actually shipped outside Hawaii. They can be special ordered but they are
very expensive, averaging about $25 for a 4lb pineapple. That same pineapple is only $3 at
a local farmers market. When the pineapples are shipped outside Hawaii they have to be
picked fresh, examined for bugs, pass agricultural inspection, and then express shipped to
the customer. The best way to enjoy a delicious sweet juicy Hawaii pineapple is while IN
I just show up in Hawaii with my camping gear and sleep on the beach?
Camping in Hawaii is a great way to enjoy Hawaiis natural beauty to the fullest. You
can set up camp by the ocean or even hike to remote areas of the island like lush valleys
and hidden coves. However, you can not just show up and put up a tent anywhere. If you
plan to stay at a State or County Park or Campground you will are required to apply for a
camping permit prior to your arrival. Park rangers will be checking it to ensure the
permit is for the park and dates listed. Permit applications must be received at least 7
days before the event and no earlier than 1 year in advance. The maximum length of stay
allowable under each permit at any one park is 5 consecutive nights. Another camping
permit for the same park can be issued to any adult covered under a previous permit only
after 30 days have elapsed. Some parks also offer cabins for rent. For more information on
camping areas and permits please call the Division of State Parks: (Oahu) 808 587-0300,
(Hawaii- The Big Island) 808 974-6200, (Maui) 808 984-8109, (Kauai) 808 274-3444.
Is there a Hawaii Five-O museum in Hawaii?
Although Hawaii Five-O was the longest running police series in history, highlighting
Hawaii and all it's beauty from 1968-1980, there is not a museum in the islands. If you
are a big fan of the show and are planning to visit Hawaii you can still check out
locations shown in many of the episodes. The show was shot exclusively in the islands,
with only a few exceptions. The most comprehensive Hawaii Five-O web site is located at: http://www.mjq.net/fiveo/ with
details on almost every episode. Another great Hawaii Five-O web site is http://www.hawaiifive0.org/ . There
is now a Jack Lord memorial on the island of Oahu in the Kahala Mall just outside Macy's.
For information on the memorial visit http://www.hawaiifive0.org/statue.shtml
there Sandalwood in Hawaii? I love the smell of it, I thought it was Hawaiian.
For a long time, until about 1800, Sandalwood trees were plentiful in parts of Hawaii.
Because this fragrant wood was a very valuable commodity in Asia it was harvested in the
Hawaiian Islands to the point of near extinction and is among 199 threatened or endangered
plant species in Hawaii. For the most part there is little evidence left by the massive
clear-cutting of sandalwood. There are huge pits that were dug in the shape and dimensions
of ships hulls. These pits were used to measure the capacity for transport of the
sandalwood. Native Hawaiians endured back braking labor to harvest the sandalwood. They
would cut the trees with hand tools, drag them by hand to lay in the hull pits, then once
the pit was full they dragged the trees more than ten miles over rough terrain to waiting
ships in the harbor. As you can imagine this was a very treacherous job and many men died
in the process. Tiring of the work conditions, the laborers took to uprooting seedlings so
that their children would not have to grow up to suffer the same torturous fate.
From a luau show, it seems like the original
Hawaiians are from Tahiti - is that true? It is believed the first Hawaiians migrated
from the Marquesas between 0-500 A.D. using double hulled canoes and navigating using the
stars. Tahiti is another Polynesian Island located near Marquesas. Polynesia means many
islands and refers to: Ellice Islands, New Zealand (Aoterroa), Tonga, Samoa, Easter Island
(Rapa Nui), Marquesas, Tuamotu, Society Islands (Tihati), Cook Islands, and Hawaii. If you
ever visit the Island of Oahu in Hawaii the Polynesian Cultural Center allows you to
discover first hand the many interesting cultures of Polynesia.
I bring my dog with me on my Hawaiian vacation? Hawaii is a rabies free state, and to
insure it stays that way strict regulations regulate bringing domestic pets into the
islands. Dogs brought into Hawaii need to either spend 120 days in confinement in the
Hawaii State Quarantine or can have an electronic microchip implanted 90-365 days prior to
arrival in Hawaii and spend 30 days in confinement. For most visitors bringing their pet
along is not an option. If you plan to spend several months in Hawaii then it would be
Do I need bring a change of clothes to the beach
or can I walk around in my bathing suit? You can actually walk barefoot and shirtless
in the streets and into island stores. Most stores on the mainland post the No
shoes, no shirt no service policy right on the door for health and safety reasons.
Well, here in Hawaii its more of a laid back beach community attitude. If its
hot and youre driving along enjoying the breeze with your tee shirt off and you
decide to go into a 7-11 for an iced tea, you can just walk right in. People wont
even look twice
unless youre a female! In that case even just a bikini is okay.
Personally, I dont want to pick up any foot fungus or stub my toe so I always wear
shoes. The sun can be very strong so a tee shirt or cover up is also recommended when not
on the beach.
much money should I bring on my Hawaiian vacation?
There are endless options of ways to enjoy your time in Hawaii so it really depends on
your interests, expectations, and available funds. Although it costs quite a bit for
airfare and hotel for a Hawaiian vacation you do not have to go into debt to have fun.
There are many low cost and free ways to explore and enjoy your stay in paradise. The key
is to get the most for your money while making your dream Hawaiian vacation come true.
Hiking is a no or low cost activity that can take you to the parts of Hawaii you have been
dreaming of like lush rainforests, along shorelines overlooking the turquoise blue ocean,
through volcanic fields, and even into extinct volcanoes. Take time to check out and smell
all the beautiful flora and fauna found in Hawaii. There are Botanical Gardens and/or
Arboretums on each island allowing you to view a wide variety of species easily in one
location. Visit a coffee, pineapple, or macadamia nut farm to see how your favorite island
treats are grown and processed. Expand your mind by visiting some of the many cultural and
historical museums in the islands. With an average year round air and water temperature of
75 degrees F you can enjoy several days at the beach getting a sun tan, snorkeling,
learning to surf, kayaking, boogie boarding, or body surfing. Plan a romantic adventure
where you pack a picnic, drive the coast until you find an uninhabited beach, then enjoy
lunch, a swim, a stroll along the shore, and build sand castles. There are some activities
with higher priced admission fees which are worth the cost if it is something you have
always wanted to do, like skydiving or flying in a helicopter to see flowing lava on the
Big Island. It costs about $50 a day to rent a car but you can spend days site seeing by
car so it is also a good value for the money. Use our web site to explore your options and
make note of adventures you want to enjoy. Once you know what you want to do you are able
to determine how much money you will need to bring. Account for up to $50 per person per
day for meals.
Do you know if I can listen to any of the Hawaiian
radio stations over the Internet? With the amazing progress available because of
computers you are able to enjoy listening to radio stations in Hawaii no matter where in
the world you are! Weve created a resource of several island radio stations that
allow you to listen in live using the Internet. Some will even allow you to email song
requests! This is also a good resource to research stations to listen to while in the
Hawaiian Islands. Browse the station options as well as the styles of music each plays at www.alohafriends.com/radio.html
am staying on Maui but will be flying into Honolulu Airport on the morning of my last day
then connecting to another flight home in the afternoon. Will I have time to take a cab to
see the Arizona Memorial before my flight departs? The Arizona Memorial at Pearl
Harbor is about a 25 minute cab ride from the Honolulu Airport and costs about $25-$30 one
way. Since the recent release of the Pearl Harbor movie the lines to get into the Arizona
Museum and Memorial have been long. There is free admission to the museum and the shuttle
boat to the memorial. Tickets are handed out for the free boat shuttle over to the
memorial on a first come first served basis, and if the tickets are all given out those
without tickets are able to view the Arizona Memorial Museum, but not able to go over to
the actual Memorial. If you are able to get to Pearl Harbor no later than 9am you should
have no problem acquiring boat shuttle tickets, visit the museum and memorial, and get
back to the airport by 2pm. We highly recommend checking in yourself and your luggage with
your departing airline prior to going to Pearl Harbor so when you return to the airport
you only need to go directly to the boarding gate and wait to board. If you get done with
the Arizona Memorial early and are leaving on a Wednesday, Saturday, or Sunday the famous
Aloha Stadium swap meet is a short bus ride away from the Arizona Memorial and is open
until 2pm on these 3 days. The swap meet is a great place to pick up island snacks and
souvenirs at good prices.
I am having a Hawaii theme baby shower for my
sister and would like to know how the ancient Hawaiian women handled pregnancy and child
The mother's diet during pregnancy was regulated from the fourth month. She would eat
greens and herbs to build up her baby's body and stayed away from salty foods. After the
sixth month she would cut back on her diet so that the baby does not gain too much weight
because a large baby causes a difficult birth.
When the contractions began it was declared the day of confinement for the pregnant woman.
Her many relatives gathered and she was encouraged to walk around until the pain became
intense. She then took a kneeling position with both knees apart. No Hawaiian woman dared
scream in pain while giving birth or she would be shamed in front of her family. During
the birth the Kahuna Ho-Ohanau, which is like a modern day midwife, examined and assisted
the mother-to-be during the birth. If the baby was in the wrong position he oiled his
hands with kukui oil and manipulated it. During the birth the Kahuna Ho-Ohanau would send
someone to the beach to get morning glory leaves which some was given to the mother to eat
and others were rubbed on her abdomen. After delivery the placenta was washed and buried
under a tree and the mother was given warm broth with herbs and her abdomen was wrapped
with tapa cloth.
The birth of a child of Alii (high chief) was similar but also entailed elaborate
ceremonies. Each island had sacred birthstones which were used for Alii births. The
pregnant Alii gave birth by leaning against the reclining birthing stones and were
surround by 36 stones on which sat the royal midwives. If the baby was a girl her cord was
cut at the birthing stone location. If the child was a boy he was taken to a heiau
(temple) where the Kahuna Ho-Ohanau cut the cord with a bamboo knife, made offerings of
pig, coconut and tapa cloth, and a special prayer was said. After birth, Alii
children were then taken back to the house and a wet nurse was chosen as the royal
childs "kahu", who took great care in feeding the royal child. A special
drum was then sounded to announce the royal birth.
was snorkeling in Hawaii on my recent vacation and encountered something weird Im
hoping you can help identify. On the ocean floor was something black shaped like a giant
sausage about a foot long with sand on it. I touched it with my finger and it didnt
seem like a rock but it didnt move or swim away. Was this a giant slug of some
What we believe you encountered was a sea cucumber known as loli in Hawaiian.
These creatures are members of the Echinoderm phylum (spiny skinned animals) and are
relatives of sea urchins, sea stars, and sand dollars. There are over 900 varieties of sea
cucumbers found all over the World ranging from 1 inch to 39 inches long and in a variety
of colors. Sea cucumbers are known as the recyclers of the reef and are very important in
maintaining a healthy marine environment. They eat with feeding tentacles that come out
from one end of their body and look like slim noodles with a blossom of grippers on the
end. The feeding tentacles grip bits of sand and pull them into the digestive system where
all the bits of decaying plant and animal matter in the sand are digested. When they poop,
they actually poop out cleaned recycled sand. They do not have a skeleton and support
their body by retaining seawater. Without a restrictive skeleton they can even change
their size by taking in or letting out seawater. Sea cucumbers do not have eyes but are
aware of their surroundings by detecting chemicals in the water. They have hundreds of
suction cup feet which they use to suck in water and detect chemicals, to move around
with, and to hold themselves in place. It is important not to pick up a sea cucumber
because when they are pulled from their hold on the sea floor or rock their suction cup
feet are often ripped off their body which can be harmful to the creature. Its
harmful to remove them from the ocean because they can not breathe oxygen from air and
they often squirt out the water used to support their body due to the atmospheric pressure
and lack of skeleton. Sea cucumbers do not have much to defend themselves. When attacked
they will either release their suction cup feet hold and float off in the current, or some
can eject part of their digestive tract which is very sticky and will often foul attacks
by other sea creatures. There are lots of fascinating creatures found in the waters of Hawaii
What exactly is in those fancy island drinks they
serve at luaus?
The three most popular island drinks served at luaus are the Mai Tai, Blue Hawaii, and
Chi-chi. These are all easy to make and you can enjoy them wherever in the world you are!
Mai Tai There are a lot of variations on this basic recipe for a Hawaiian favorite.
A word to the wise, dont have one mai tai after another, with almost 4oz. of liquor
and that fruity flavor you might be dancing a hula to the pounding in your head!
2 oz. light rum - 1 oz. Triple sec orange liquor - 1 tbsp. Orgest almond liquor or almond
flavored syrup - 1 tbsp. Grenadine - 1 tbsp. lime juice - 1 dash 151 proof rum or dark rum
Shake ingredients (except the dark rum) and strain into a large glass about 1/3 full with
crushed ice. Decorate with a maraschino cherry speared to a wedge of fresh pineapple. Top
with a dash of dark rum for that reddish color, or for sure inebriation 151 proof rum. Put
an orchid in each drink for the full Hawaiian effect.
1 oz light rum - 2 oz pineapple juice - 1 oz Blue Curacao - 1 oz Cream of coconut - 1
slice pineapple - 1 cherry
Blend light rum, blue Caracas, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut with one cup of ice
in an electric blender at high speed. Pour contents into a highball glass. Decorate with
the slice of pineapple and a cherry.
1 1/2 oz vodka - 4 oz pineapple juice - 1 oz cream of coconut - 1 slice pineapple - 1
Blend vodka, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut with one cup of ice in an electric
blender at a high speed. Pour into a wineglass, decorate with the slice of pineapple and
the cherry, and serve.
If you are planning a luau you can mix up some tropical drinks for sure-fire hit! You can
also decorate your guests with silk flower leis and grass skirts! Always be
akamai (smart), dont drink and drive or serve drinks to minors.
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