If you pronounce Hawaii properly it’s Hawai-i with a double-i, that sounds like the mating call of a colourful and rare bird – sweet, light and darn seductive. So I followed it. Graciously invited by
I had never been to the islands before. The box in my mind that contained “Hawaii” was mostly filled with Tikki cups and orchid petals, yet I sensed there would be much more to discover. In my defence, Hawaii seems to be one of those many destinations that you think you have an idea of, but really you don’t. Well, what can I say? I wasn’t entirely wrong about the flowers, but luckily the box is so much bigger than that. It’s hardly a box at all, if that makes any sense. So my journey wasn’t just a trip full of adventure, beauty and warmth, it also worked as a reminder to myself: see the world and unbox your thinking.
I’ll stop it now and get real: “The Aloha State” is the youngest of the 50 US states, but the history of Hawaii already started around 1500 years ago, when Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands arrived via canoe, miraculously guided by the stars. Hawaiians are still very proud of those skills and you can’t blame them – it’s pretty cool to not have to stare at a machine but into the skies to know where to go. Hawaii in general is capable of a lot of stuff, like the little wild child sister that already knows so much more than her older brothers. Her looks are fresh, but her spirit is old and hanging out with her will make you happy, a little bit wiser, and most importantly of all: deaf to the ticking clocks of the main land. You are far away and it’s awesome!
None of the eight islands and multiple smaller archipelagos are like the other, so there is a lot for you to unbox and discover. The long journey will surely be rewarded, and if you are open and curious you will meet wonderful and very diverse people, climb up volcanoes, breathe in the scent of the rainforest, enjoy some really good coffee and food and have the time of your life!
In an ideal world you’d be able to take a chunk of time off to see at least 2 or 3 of the islands and not be rushed, but even the little glimpse I had already made me fall hard and I’m more than happy to tell you why. So without further ado, here are my top 10 reasons to visit the Aloha State!
1. The love of Storytelling
Since I was little, I loved to listen to stories and eventually started writing my own as soon as I got to master the magic of the alphabet. Thus comes as no surprise that I dig the Hawaiian love for storytelling. If you hang out with the locals you will pretty soon be mesmerized by their myths and even the greatest rationalist may find themselves imagining Pele, the Hawaiian fire goddess, holding sway over the volcanoes, angrily spitting lava at one of her unfaithful lovers. It’s just the most perfect scenery for all kinds of stories and an important part of Hawaiian culture, transmitted via word, mouth or in a very fun way in the form of
If you are looking for an authentic place to do so, I highly recommend
2. Your own personal adventure movie
Being in Hawaii’s nature feels like being in your own adventure movie; you almost wouldn’t be surprised if a very muddy Bruce Willis were to jump down from one of the velvety green mountains, or if the crooked rock in front of you suddenly turned into a dinosaur. So much adventure is awaiting you on all of the islands, here is some inspiration to begin with:
3. The great hospitality
It may take a while to get to Hawaii, but you can really look forward to being welcomed warmly. The warmth of “aloha” culture will draw you in pretty quickly. On our very first night when we arrived at
Waking up to the sound of the ocean and a big, fruity breakfast in good local company also helps. Mahalo!
Outrigger Reef Resort Waikīkī
4. So much water. And sand.
This is a no-brainer. Hawaii is an island state and the Pacific ocean is gorgeous; it’s not a
5. The most scenic views
Speaking of epic, we need to talk about all the views that Hawaii offers You. If you stay
Grand Naniloa Hotel, Hilo
And there is so much more stunning scenery to be viewed by looking down. The area around Hawaii’s
Volcano National Park
6. The company of the sun
Another favorite was the view down from
7. All the colors
Something I already looked forward to when packing for Hawaii were all the colors that I was expecting to see, and luckily that assumption was right. The islands can pull off color for real and do their nickname “rainbow state” justice*. Mother nature drapes herself in her Sunday’s best on a daily basis and many of the locals actually wear all those crazy, colorful patterns that you might be expecting here – not just tourists. I loved the vibrant buzz of Honolulu’s famous district
*Hawaii has the most occurring rainbows of all the states; the weather conditions here are perfect rainbow material.
8. …and all the flowers
Splendid flowers grow all around the islands and making hand-crafted costumes and necklaces out of them is an important part of Hawaiian culture – and creates some real fine art. There are different techniques and styles for various occasions and regions, no necklace is like another. Welcome garlands are often made out of orchids, mostly white or pink; if you have received one of these you are supposed to always wear it when your host is around, or risk being considered rude. What I really loved was that the Hawaiians think it’s important to give the flowers back to nature after they have died, so at the end of your stay take your flower necklace apart (remove the strings so as not to pollute the environment!) and throw the petals into the ocean. It’s a beautiful way of thinking.
9. The diversity
Check out the
10. The Food. And the coffee
If you are familiar with the latest food trends, you may have heard of
Self-grown veggies and Kona coffee at the Mill House
Mill House, Maui
If you are unsure which islands to pick I’d definitely recommend the tour we did, because it gave me an excellent overview and made me understand the differences in between islands. I would really love to check out the other five too, so the next trip is already on my radar. You can find a lot of good information
Have fun exploring and Thank You to Hawaii Tourism Europe, who sponsored my trip to share my experience.