Hawaii Travel Tips For A Great Holiday

May 18, 2008 by  
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Do: Jump in the water! Hawaii’s location in the path of the warm tradewinds gives the water a year round temperature of 74°F – the same as a gently cool bath. There are snorkeling opportunities galore, and hundreds of colorful tropical fish and sea plants to discover. It’s an excellent place to scuba dive, and to learn how to surf in the place where surfing was invented. (Don’t be put off by the occasional sensational shark-attack story; the odds are less than one in a million.)

Don’t: Overpack. Hawaii is a casual place, full of sand and nature hikes. Unless you’re planning to attend specific upscale events, limit yourself to one or two dressy items. Wear comfortable sandals, and expect that your clothes will come back filled with sand and bits of local flora. Anything you forget or run out of will be easily available for purchase locally.

Make sure to: Visit one of the many educational sites. The Hawaiian islands have enjoyed a rich history, from ancient Polynesian village life to European migration to today’s film industry, and there are specialized tours, museums, and cultural centers to showcase each aspect. Pearl Harbor is a moving memorial and worth a day of its own.

Remember: Wear sunscreen. Even on the occasional cloudy day, the sun reflecting off that clear blue water is significantly stronger than it is on the Mainland. SmartShield, Sawyer, and Off! make spray-on waterproof sunscreen that doubles as insect repellent.

Beware of:


Pickpockets and scams. As with any tourist-oriented place in the world, there will always be scavengers trying to take advantage of the unwary traveler. Keep your money and ID in a moneybelt under your clothes, your valuables locked in the hotel safe, and your common sense turned on.

Always: Be gracious to the local people. They are sharing their beautiful home with you, and they will have to live with whatever you leave behind.

With children: The beach is an endless source of playtime inspiration. If they’re going swimming, be sure to check the local tidal conditions. Ask for a report from your hotel, or search for your beach on one of the many “surf report” websites.

For romance:

Hawaiian sunsets – and sunrises – are like no other. There are wonderful vantage points to watch the view with your beloved, from the heights of Haleakala to the hidden coves of Na Pali Coast State Park. Pick up the book “The Best Places to Kiss in Hawaii” to find that perfect spot.

Retire to: One of the many cruises available between the islands. You can enjoy a 3 night cruise that stops at each island, and have all of your accommodations and excursions planned and handled by experts. Honolulu has excellent medical care available, as do most of the cruise ships, so you can vacation with peace of mind.

Most of all: Relax. You’re on vacation in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth. Take the time to simply rest and enjoy it.

A Hawaii Vacation on Kauai

May 18, 2008 by  
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The northernmost inhabited island of Hawaii is Kauai, the “Garden Island.” Nestled between spectacular waterfalls, stunning cliffs, and mist-shrouded mountains, some of the most rare and beautiful species on Earth call this small island home. While the more famous hot spots of Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, and Kona draw more visitors, Kauai boasts unspoiled tropical rain forests, quiet soft sand beaches, and a well-preserved heritage of Polynesian culture. This is the best way to experience the intriguingly foreign and comfortably familiar at once, and to explore a tropical paradise virtually untouched by time.

Kauai experiences the mildest of tropical weather, keeping a pleasant and stable temperature throughout the year, and offers the most diverse geography in the archipelago. From an arid desert to tropical rain, cool forested elevations and warm sandy beaches, Kauai has something new to explore around every corner. Under the waves, Kauai is one of the top scuba diving locations in the islands. Whales, dolphins, tropical fish, and sea life of all kinds gather here, swimming in the wild rather than in captive shows.

Don’t let the quiet, untouched setting fool you; Kauai has pockets of shopping, activities, tours, and helicopter rides that compete with the best Oahu has to offer. There are a full range of accommodations available as well, including hotel resorts, private villas, vacation rental condos, and bed & breakfasts. Rental cars or tours can take you to the island’s sight-seeing destination.

A wide range of activities can keep you busy throughout your vacation. There are over a dozen golf courses that cater to every budget and taste, some of which offer spectacular views of the ocean and terrain. Helicopter tours can show you the hidden, inaccessible parts of the island. Scuba divers can find beautiful sites at almost any depth, and can arrange for night dives, cave dives, and tours; you can also earn your license if you’re a first-time diver. For the adventurous angler, charter a boat for some deep-sea fishing. Land-bound visitors can enjoy horseback riding, camping, surfing, whale watching, and a host of other adventures.

If relaxation is your Hawaiian goal, there are abundant offerings for spas, yoga, pilates, and massage. The traditional Hawaiian massage style, Lomi Lomi, incorporates long, slow strokes and a gentle rocking motion that will lull you into a heavenly sleep; the practitioners must receive more training than anywhere else in the United States, and practice their art in the most beautiful settings. It’s an experience not to be missed.

Hawaii Cruises – Vacations Like No Other

May 18, 2008 by  
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Hawaii is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world, served by every major cruise line. And it’s no wonder why – the islands are a beautiful tropical paradise, with excellent weather year round, few natural disasters, excellent infrastructure, English-speaking locals, and a culture that’s just different enough to be intriguing, and just like home enough to be comforting. Tourism has been a major force in the Hawaiian economy since the turn of the twentieth century, and the plethora of resorts, excursions, sight-seeing locations, and spas are top notch.

There are two popular methods for cruising Hawaii: inter-island cruises or mainland to island cruises. The former are often short, two to three night affairs, often done as prelude or capstone to a land-based vacation on the island proper. Mainland to island cruises may be as short as 7 nights or as long as a month, originating from ports as diverse as Ensanada, San Diego, Los Angeles, Aukland, Sydney, Vancouver, Tahiti, and of course, Hawaii itself. You can cruise round trip or one way, depending upon the length of time you have available.

Inter-island cruising is a beautiful way to experience more of the islands while you’re on a longer Hawaiian vacation. Once you’ve rested and explored all the sights on the island you’ve selected for your land stay, simply board the ship and let it take you to the highlights of the rest of the archipelago. Watching the islands fade into the sunset horizon is an experience not to be missed.

If you’re cruising to or from the mainland on a “repositioning” cruise, expect to spend at least four days at sea – it’s a long haul across the Pacific Ocean. This is the best time to explore the ship and experience the spa, pool, fitness center, non-stop dining, and just relaxing in the sun with a good book and a cold drink. Honeymooners might particularly appreciate having time to themselves for a few day before arriving at the islands and throwing themselves into the activities.

On a two-week cruise you’ll visit six or seven ports of call, especially on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii (“The Big Island.”) Shore excursions range from helicopter sight-seeing rides, nature hikes, and snorkeling in Hawaii to surfing, luaus, and educational outings like Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu. You can swim with dolphins or visit the spa in a top-end luxury resort. Take a hula dancing lesson, ride a catamaran, peer into the mouth of a sacred volcano, or watch annual whale migrations. Of course, the best shore excursion of them all might simply be a day spent relaxing on the world-famous white sand beaches.

Hawaii Vacation Rentals – A Cheap And Beautiful Vacation

May 18, 2008 by  
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The cheapest way to travel is always to do as the locals do.

In Hawaii, a thriving business of vacation rentals offers visitors the option of renting not a hotel room, but an apartment. These are often 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom condos, rented out for most of the year while the owner lives on the mainland. They range from heart-of-the-city penthouses to quiet suburban flats, and from ocean-front to cul-de-sac. Higher-end units may come with a maid service and beach access.

The nightly rates can beat hotels even for very short stays, and offer far more space for a larger family or travel group.

For longer stays, renting an apartment or condo is the only way to live without breaking the budget. Specialized rental services will find you a condo on Waikiki for the summer, or a duplex in Maui for Spring Break. Truly budget-minded travelers can check independent listings in newspapers or on Craigslist, though caveat emptor applies.

Vacation rental apartments are often located outside of the downtown core or off the tourist trail, giving you a quieter and more laid-back vacation experience, and the feeling of “living” in the place.

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Pick up a local newspaper to find night spots and cultural events meant for the locals; you’ll find that they’re cheaper, more intimate, and often a better experience than the Hollywood-style tourist versions.

Aside from price, the privacy and self-catering opportunity that renting a condo offers may be more appealing than is the centralized convenience of a hotel resort. Having your own kitchen opens up a world of shopping in local markets and browsing through fresh local produce, at a far more reasonable price than you’d pay in restaurants. You might never see your neighbors, or you might be invited to a neighborhood barbecue around the pool.

Combine your condo with a rental car and you’ll be free to explore a beautiful island on your own terms and schedule, for a lower cost than organized tours. For larger families this may be the only economical option for sight-seeing. Especially for those with young children, you’ll appreciate being able to start and end your activity whenever you wish. Even single travelers can enjoy the luxury of watching a slow sunset in a tiny, forgotten cove far from the buzz of tourists.

Hawaii – Your Perfect Honeymoon Destination

May 18, 2008 by  
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Honeymooning in a tropical island paradise is a dream of romance and luxury. These three itineraries will let you design the getaway you desire at a price that meets your needs. Customizing and discussing your honeymoon, as you did your wedding, is what makes it a truly special, perfect event.

Simple Romance

Walking along the beach at sunset with your new partner in life – what could be better? Spending private time without the frills will both save your nest egg and allow you to concentrate on what’s truly important: each other.

Arrive and depart via a low-cost, no-frills air carrier such as JetStar International or WestJet. Then instead of a hotel, you can rent a one-bedroom condo for often a lower price than a hotel of comparable quality. Get a unit near the beach to avoid the transportation costs and hassle of getting to and from that sunset stroll, or for an even quieter vacation find a beach-front unit in one of the little towns outside the main resort areas. Shop at local market for fresh local produce, and dine in for the evening. Splurge on an evening out at a luau.

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Exotic Excursion

Sooth away the wedding jitters with a honeymoon that’s equal parts relaxation and fun. Balance your alone-time with a few sight-seeing trips around this tropical island paradise.

Stay at one of the many beach-front resorts. Most have an ocean view available, and you can spend an evening drinking in the sunset on the balcony with your new spouse. During the day, do an organized tour or nature hike, or learn to surf with a group class. For the less adventurous, the hotels have fabulous spa treatments and shopping opportunities available.

A great alternative is to take a cruise from the mainland. In two or three week packages you can leave from most major cities on the US and Canadian west coast, or from Australia or New Zealand. After a day or two at sea, the ship will guide you around each of the islands, stopping into port for shore excursions into each beautiful island. The rest of the time you can enjoy pampering, luxury, fine dining, and time to yourselves under the stars.

Lap of Luxury

A once in a lifetime wedding deserves a once in a lifetime honeymoon with your beloved. Hawaii has a full range of services to cater to your hearts’ desires.

Top end resorts are strewn across the island chain, and offer the ultimate in convenience and service. If what you’re seeking is a little more privacy, there are ocean-front villas that include all the services you want.

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Some include a personal chef, masseuse, tour guide, chauffeur, or yoga instructor. Your champagne wishes can be fulfilled at the top surf&turf restaurants in the world. Pack a day full of catamaran cruises, sight-seeing helicopter rides, golf games, and private surfing lessons, or relax in the luxury of a private sunset dinner cruise.

Four Must See Educational Attractions in Oahu

May 18, 2008 by  
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A trip to Hawaii doesn’t have to be just a book on the beach and a lazy day in the waves. There are a wide variety of attractions for the whole family.

Here are our top picks for fun, moving, and educational activities on the island of Oahu:

1) Pearl Harbor Memorial. The attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 11, 1941, the “day that will live in infamy,” led directly to America’s involvement in World War II. In the attack, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Arizona sank to the bottom of the harbor, where it remains today as a memorial to the lives lost. Guided tours are available, and a film of the actual event plays regularly in the museum. For a truly moving and quiet moment, stand above the steady drips of oil that still bubble upward from the sunken ship. Flowers always float on the gentle waves.

2) Polynesian Cultural Center. Before Captain James Cook and the first Europeans arrived, Hawaii was already a rich and vibrant community. This recreated village brings the native culture back to life, and offers visitors everything from native craft-making demonstrations to an extravagant luau and dinner show. The center is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving native Hawaiian traditions and to providing educational opportunities to nearby Brigham Young University students.

3) Ecological Nature Tours. Hawaii is home to tremendous biodiversity and a large number of species of plants and animals that exist nowhere else on earth. There are now a wide range of tour options available for exploring the hidden corners of the island and learning about the native flora and fauna, as well as island history. Some tours will include archaeological sites of ancient villages, historical sites, and even movie locations such as Jurassic Park. The more adventurous visitors can choose a hiking tour, or take a private van for a more relaxing experience.

Submarine Adventures. Experience Oahu from the fish’s point of view – without scuba gear. The underwater version of a nature tour is experienced in submarines specially designed for the purpose. They dive off the coast of the island and tour through reefs, schooling fish, and wrecks of ships and airplanes. The tours are narrated by guides who point out and explain the local marine life, as well as the geological history and formation of the island. These adventures last about an hour and a half, and can often be combined with a dinner cruise

Oahu Hawaii, The Birthplace of Surfing, Still Shreds

May 18, 2008 by  
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On the island of Oahu, the ancient Polynesian people used their surfing skills to get to market with their fish catch, gain status in the community, and even to mark royalty. The best boards made of the best woods were reserved for the king, and the royal family had their own private beaches. King Kamehameha was noted as a fantastic surfer. When Captain James Cook and his crew arrived at the islands in 1778, they saw people surfing on large, heavy boards and described it in amazed, glowing accounts.

Today the island’s beaches boast nearly one hundred fifty surfing spots, ranging from the gentle waves of central Honolulu’s Queen’s to the immense and dangerous swells of the North Shore’s Banzai Pipeline. Surfing shops, teachers, lessons, and classes line the shores of the island to take advantage of these pristine conditions. Learning surfing in its birthplace can be an experience bordering on religious, even for the timid on the smallest curls. One of the appeals of Oahu is the wide range of options it offers to surfers of all levels of expertise.

For the pros, Oahu is the site of some of the biggest and most renowned surfing competitions. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the world’s top championship for big-wave surfing, is held on Oahu’s vaunted North Shore. The first event is the ODP Pro, held at Alii Beach in Waimea Bay. Sunset Beach hosts the second event for men, the O’neil World Cup of Surfing, while the Roxy Pro for women is held at Sunset Beach. For the final women’s event the competitors move to Maui for the Billabong Pro at Honolua bay. The Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters is the final men’s event, held at the Banzai Pipeline – one of the most dangerous surfing spots on Earth.

Also held in Waimea Bay on the North Shore is the Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, which is only held when the waves are twenty feet or higher, usually in mid-winter.

Though prizes run most often in the $10,000-$250,000 range, these competitions can net up to $815,000 for the champion – not to mention the corporate sponsorships, promotions, and even TV and movie work.

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More importantly, they test the skill, balance, and sheer athleticism of thousands of surfers every year, and give spectators a chance to see the Sport of Kings played in a truly spectacular, breathtaking setting. 

History of the Hawaiian Hula Dance

May 18, 2008 by  
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Hula dance is a form of storytelling, expression, religious practice, and art that stretches back to ancient times.

Ancient Times – Hula Kahiko

The ancient origins of hula dance are shrouded in mystery and mythology. In a pre-literate society, an oral history was preserved through this music and dance, and it was used as a form of prayer. Often it was also used as amusement, celebration, and performance. The traditional musical instruments were gourds, drums, rattles and sticks, many made from gourds. Songs or ritualized chants tell stories of history, mythology, and morality, across all phases of life and the range of human emotion. There were many different “types” of hula, such as the Dance for the Chief, the Dance with Bamboo Pipes, the Dance as an Image, and others.

Monarchy – Hula ‘auana

During the monarchy period from 1810 through 1898, hula was derided by foreign Calvinist missionaries as a lewd and pagan practice. King Kamehameha II banned the art at the missionaries’ request, but enforced the ban only halfheartedly and continued to personally support it. Outside influence on the dance forms changed them drastically. The costumes changed as well, from merely to traditional bark-cloth skirts and leis to including tops and less revealing cloth skirts. European musical forms and harmonies were introduced.

Late Monarchy and Republic – Hula Ku’i

As the monarchy began to more openly support hula, a new form emerged. This combined poetry with chanting, dance, and a more limited selection of musical instruments. In particular, the ipu gourd-drum was prevalent. Religion remained a strong component of the dance.

Twentieth Century – Hula ‘auana / ku’i

Hula came to the world’s attention on the silver screen. Growing external influence combined many hula movements with other types of dance movements, solidifying this fusion as its own style. The dance’s sensual elements were emphasized and its vocabulary limited to those movements that looked compelling on film and in tourist performances, rather than those that carried meaning. Melodic music, as opposed to traditional drumming and chanting, rose in prominence. Hula became largely secularized, though a few traditional practitioners kept the older knowledge alive.

A resurgence of interest in the ancient hula forms has produced a tremendous respect for the Hawaiian dance community elders. The Hula Preservation Society has dedicated thousands of hours to filming and recording the songs and dances of elderly practitioners. These hula masters learned the dances from their grandparents, preserving the monarchy-era dances in living memory. These newly discovered and re-created ancient dances, called ai kahiko, are modern attempts to return the hula to its more spiritual roots and to preserve the oral histories they expressed.

The NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii

May 18, 2008 by  
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Every year since 1980 the NFL has held its annual all star game at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. This game is the pinnacle of the sport of NFL football, and every player wants to be a part of it. The game itself is quite the spectacle, and knowing that the game is to be played in Hawaii is reason enough for NFL players to want to come.

The NFL is made up of two conferences. The NFC and the AFC pit the players with the most votes against one another in this match up of the NFL’s best. The votes are given by fans, coaches and the media, and the players gladly join in with all of the festivities. These events are the highlight of the week for many of the participants because it allows them to get close to the stars of the game. Shaking hands with Brett Favre is a real possibility at the Pro Bowl Autograph sessions.

This game is a real event for native Hawaiians as well as it allows them to see the best that the NFL has to offer. Such stars as Walter Payton, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Randy Moss, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and hundreds of others have played in front of the 50,000 fans that pack Aloha Stadium every year.

The game itself is actually the final part of a week of celebrations and events. The players often will set up and sign autographs as well as the ever popular NFL cheerleaders. There are also parties throughout the area for the Pro Bowl participants and their fans.

 

With the pristine beaches of Oahu only a stone’s throw away, the players of the NFL love to get voted to the Pro Bowl teams. The game is held about a week after the Super Bowl and is the final game of the NFL season.

The NFL Pro Bowl is very exciting for the fans as well. The best players are on the field and the game is usually a scoring fest. The teams regularly score lots of points, and the game is almost always close. This makes for an exciting NFL game, and the fans love it.

When you look at the past MVP’s of the Pro Bowl games, it reads like a who’s who of NFL football. Carson Palmer, Derrick Brooks, Peyton Manning, and Marc Bulger are the last four lucky winners of the MVP award. Not a bad group of guys to have on your football team, and certainly a lot of fun to watch.

The Pro Bowl will once again be held in Aloha Stadium in 2009, and it should be a great game. If you have never treated yourself to an NFL football game, this would be a wonderful way to see your first one. Come to Hawaii, enjoy some great football, and Hawaii to boot. The game is only half the fun!

Five Great Places to Visit in Honolulu and Surrounding Areas

May 18, 2008 by  
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Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, is one of the most interesting places to visit. There are many different things that you can do in Honolulu on your vacation to this great city. Surrounding this great city are a number of attractions as well. Here are five great places to visit during your stay.

Visit the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum while you are in Honolulu. This is located in Kalihi, and it houses some of the most legendary Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts in the world. The statues, tools and other visions from the ancient history of Hawaii are on prominent display and are worth your time while visiting in Hawaii. As you observe the way Hawaii once lived, it is almost a spiritual experience. The history and feel of the island are very clearly felt as you observe these old artifacts.

Chinatown is another fantastic place to visit. The food alone in this thriving Mecca of downtown Honolulu is worth the visit. The incredible variety of foods and aromas in this little piece of Asian culture will have your stomach grumbling the minute you walk down the street. Chinese, Vietnamese, and other great cuisine are available for you to sample in Chinatown. You can also find Lei shops, noodle markets, fish stands, and keepsakes of any kind. Chinatown is thriving and one of the true melting pot cities in the world. The diversity of the cultures in Hawaii are on proud display in Chinatown.

Another wonderful place to visit is the Iolani Palace. This is the last official home of Hawaiian royalty. The impressive stairway and incredible chandeliers are breathtaking as you move through the historical halls and rooms of the palace. This is the last place that Royalty in Hawaii lived, and you can see the incredible riches as you tour the grounds. The crown jewels are a must see as well.

In Manoa Valley, you want to visit Lyon Arboretum. This is a wonderful place to observe the flora of the island, as well as various palms and spices that are indigenous to the island. This is one place that will leave you relaxed after visiting. This is situated at the base of Koolau mountain, and the walls rise up before your eyes. This is an incredible sight and one you will remember forever.

Finally, Waikiki Aquarium is a must see in Hawaii. This incredible aquarium will allow you to rub elbows with the sea life of the island up close and personal. From sharks to skates to seals, the Aquarium is a wonderful get away. This place lets you see the dangerous and the beautiful that exists below the surface of Hawaii’s pristine oceans.

While there are literally thousands of places in Hawaii to visit, these five places are all popular and with good reason. Each of them allows a visitor to truly experience the history and culture of Hawaii, both modern and ancient.

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