In the north-central Pacific Ocean lies a small archipelago – Hawaii. Although it is extremely popular with tourists from all over the world, however, for many Poles it is still an unfulfilled dream. Are they really worth visiting and what else do they hide besides popular tourist attractions? Hawaiian vacations are often described as paradise on earth, but is that really the case? We decided to check it out to better understand both sides of the story! Hawaiian vacations – paradise on earth or victim of the tourist boom?

Table of Contents:

Geography and climate

Hawaii is a small state as the only one completely located on islands. In total, it consists of as many as 137 islands, but it is 8 of them that are considered major tourist attractions: Hawai’i, Maui, Kaho’olawe, Lāna’i, Moloka’i, O’ahu, Kaua’i and Ni’ihau. Each is a volcanic island formed by the movements of tectonic plates beneath the Pacific Ocean. It is also home to one of the most active volcanoes, Kilauea. It occupies more than 13% of the island’s surface, and its last eruption took place three years ago. According to local people’s beliefs, it is the seat of the goddess Pele. Each volcanic eruption is considered a manifestation of her anger.

The islands’ location makes it summer practically all year round. The temperature very rarely drops below 20 degrees Celsius even at night. In addition, there is high humidity, which has a huge impact on Hawaii’s flora and fauna.

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A mecca for surfers

Hawaii is the youngest of all 50 US states. After losing their independence, they were officially annexed to the United States in 1959. Its capital is Honolulu, a modern city that has undoubtedly influenced the development of the entire state. This is where one of the most famous beaches in the world – Waikiki – is located. Surfing competitions are held there every year, as it is famous for some of the best conditions for the sport. There’s a reason why Hawaii itself is also called the mecca of surfers. A statue of Duke Kahanamoku, the inventor of modern surfing, also towers over the beach.

Hawaii - a mecca for surfers
Photo: Depositphotos

Hawaii’s history and culture

The very history of this remarkable archipelago goes all the way back to the year 300. It is estimated that this is when the first settlements of Polynesian settlers appeared there. Europeans discovered it almost 1,500 years later. British traveler James Cook arrived there in 1778 and originally named the islands the Sandwich Islands in honor of his sponsor. Since then, there has been rapid economic and cultural development. More travelers, merchants and whalers began to arrive there. Initially, Hawaii was a Kingdom and later changed to the Republic of Hawaii. To this day, it is home to the only palace lying within the entire United States. Iolani Palace was for many years the seat of the reigning monarchy. Today it serves as a museum where we can learn about the culture and customs of Hawaiian royalty.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

Hawaii’s perverse history culminated in 1941 with the Japanese raid on the American bases located at Pearl Harbor. This initiated the US entry into World War II. To this day, he considers the attack unprecedented. It resulted in the deaths of hundreds of U.S. soldiers and civilians, which today is commemorated by the USS Arizona memorial. It is a symbol of the death of 1102 sailors who died on the battleship of the same name. The Arizona Memorial was built over a sunken shipwreck, and under the glass floor in the center of the museum you can see the decks from which the oil called “tears of the Arizona” still oozes. Millions of tourists from all over the world visit this place every year, and it is definitely one of the most important points to visit while in Hawaii.

Life of local residents

Hawaii as a whole has a population of 1.3 million, half a million less than is found in Warsaw. There are an estimated 66,000 indigenous people there. Some of them reside on the island of Ni’ihau, or the so-called “Ni’ihau Island. “Forbidden Island”, which can only be reached by showing a special invitation. It is a private area, owned by one family for many generations. They speak Hawaiian and cherish old customs. Out of curiosity, there is no electricity, no stores and no running water, however, as they claim, they are 100 percent self-sufficient.

Hawaii - inhabitants
Photo: Depositphotos

Undoubtedly, however, the other islands are under strong American influence. On the island of O’ahu, naval soldiers, including many women, can be found at every turn. Hawaiian was even banned for nearly 40 years to force residents to learn and communicate in English. Relatively recently, the Hawaiian language has returned to favor, and today indigenous people try to cultivate it at every turn.

Aloha means love

Perhaps the most popular phrase in the Hawaiian language is the famous “aloha.” In simple translation, it means “welcome.” It comes from the ancient Polynesian word “alofa” meaning love. And indeed in Hawaii, love can be felt everywhere, if only in the way people greet each other. Hawaiians do it in a unique way, approaching the other person at a short distance. They believe that in this way they can exchange energy and get to know each other’s feelings. This is the origin of the archipelago’s less official name, Aloha State, or State of Love.

Economy and tourism

Both the location and the extraordinary culture of Hawaii make it visited by millions of Americans every year. They take a liking to these unusual islands especially during the Christmas-New Year period, when the temperature on land drops well below zero. Every year, celebrities known from the front pages of newspapers spend the holidays here: Rihanna, Oprah Winfrey and Clint Eastwood. They are particularly fond of the island of Maui called paradise on earth. It is famous not only for its unique vegetation, delicious Hawaiian cuisine, volcanic cliffs, but above all for the most beautiful beaches in the world. These are what make tourists eager to return to the same places.

On Maui, we can also see almost meter-long green sea turtles that lay their eggs here. They are under strict protection and it is forbidden to touch them. However, even this does not deter those willing to look at them from afar.

Tourist attractions

Although Hawaii is famous for its fertile soils, where residents grow pineapples, papayas or avocados that are exported to Europe, tourism is the main economic driver there. Hawaii is famous for its numerous national parks, most of which have paid admission. Even after landing in Honolulu, it’s worth a trip to Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, where the famous Instagram photos originated. Another attraction on O’ahu Island is undoubtedly the extinct Diamond Head volcano, which has become an unofficial symbol of the state.

Hawaii - tourist attractions
Photo: Depositphotos

While in Hawaii, a visit to the island of Kauai is also a must. You can only get there by air by booking a helicopter flight. There is the Na Pali coast considered one of the wonders of nature. To enter there, you need to buy a ticket at a price of about 153 zloty. As you trek, you can see how the green cliffs drop directly into the ocean. Unusual vegetation, numerous waterfalls and wild animals make the place look as if man had never reached it. Of interest, many films have been shot there, including. “Jurassic Park. In addition, the park is adjacent to Waimea Canyon called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Tourism in Hawaii varies greatly as does the appearance of each island. You can go surfing, trekking, snorkeling or diving with sharks there.

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Ecology and environmental protection

Hawaiians highly value ecology and environmental protection, which is why many places are off-limits to tourists. One of them is Haiku Stairs, or stairs to heaven. They are already badly damaged by numerous hurricanes as well, which most residents see as the perfect excuse to remove them altogether. Native Hawaiians want their lands to remain as natural as possible without human interference. Accordingly, they also want to become completely self-sufficient in the near future, generating green geothermal energy from 5 active volcanoes.

However, that’s not all. In Hawaii, there is a ban on sunscreens and sun creams that are not environmentally friendly. They recommend using only natural cosmetics that will not threaten their ecosystem. In 2018, Hawaii officially became the first and only country in the world to enact a bill banning the sale of products containing sunscreens harmful to coral reefs.

Hawaii is also a place free of advertising on the streets. It is one of four U.S. states where the erection of billboards is prohibited. This ensures that views are not compromised by unnecessary ads. Ecology in Hawaii has been a priority of the site for years.

Hawaii – one of the most visited destinations

Local authorities and representatives of the Hawaiian people want to limit the flow of tourists to the region in the near future. An estimated 10 million visitors flock to the islands each year, eager to see these remarkable sites. With airline connections becoming more accessible, the number is growing every year. A round-trip ticket from Warsaw costs about 4,000 zlotys, and can also be purchased cheaper by taking advantage of numerous promotions.

In order to prevent this, while not giving up on the impact of tourism on the economy, Hawaiians plan to completely change their current approach. It is estimated that the most money is left on the islands by those tourists who are coming there for the first time, so marketing efforts are now geared toward them. In addition, the archipelago is expected to become less accessible to everyone by raising prices. This will then attract only those tourists who can afford luxury at the highest level.

Hawaii - inhabitants
Photo: Depositphotos

Poles in Hawaii

Currently, Hawaii has the largest Asian population. There are few jobs on the islands, so most of the people who come there are on contracts and work in rotation. Among them are also Poles. It is estimated that fewer than 14,000 live there. There are also quite a few people who emigrated to this beautiful archipelago many years ago and can no longer imagine living elsewhere. On Facebook you can also find a group called “Poles in Hawaii,” from which you can learn about customs on the islands and learn about places less known by tourists. So if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii it’s definitely worth a look.

The only such place on earth

Hawaii is not only about beautiful sights, but also about extraordinary people who are famous for their hospitality and kindness. Hawaiians love to cuddle and you can feel it at every turn! Although commercialism is increasingly creeping in there and many tourists return from there disappointed (and certainly poorer, as it is the most expensive state in the US) it is still worth flying there. The magic and atmosphere of an archipelago 4,000 kilometers from the nearest land are indescribable. It’s the only place on earth where you’ll learn how to hula dance, where you’ll always find perfect surfing conditions and where you’ll get a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

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