Founded by Polynesians over 1000 years ago, Hawaii has seen a lot of changes over the centuries. It was a kingdom until Western influence led to its monarchy being overthrown and enforced westernization. In 1898 it was made a territory, and then finally in 1959 it became an official state.
The Big Island is one of the most active volcanic islands in the world. It is home to numerous volcanoes, with Kilauea and Mauna Loa being particularly notable. It also has vast stretches of black lava rock, which contrast dramatically with bright green areas of vegetation that have either started to grow back, or are lucky enough not to have been buried by a lava flow in recent times.
There are plenty of places to visit on the Big Island to experience a more natural Hawaii. For example, the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park explains the island’s eruptive history and allows you to venture right into the lava fields. The park is also famous for its stunning sunrises and sunsets, which can be enjoyed from the peak of Haleakala, a dormant volcano that provides spectacular views.
If you’re looking for an activity that will get your heart racing, you can take to the skies on a parasail, which gives you a bird’s eye view of the gorgeous landscape below you. It’s a great way to get the most out of your trip, and it will leave you with some amazing memories for life.
Laniakea Beach on the North Shore of Oahu is renowned for being the best place to see sea turtles sunbathing and swimming on the shore. However, it is important to remember that these animals are endangered, and it’s not good to approach them too close. Keep at least 6 feet away from the turtles and don’t try to touch or ‘ride’ them.
Oahu is a huge and beautiful island, and a good way to experience it is by hiking. There are many trails to choose from, but the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is a great choice because it’s not as busy as some of the others. This 2 mile round trip hike has a slight incline, but is worth it for the stunning views.
In the 19th century, the island gained fame for its prime agricultural land, and sugar plantations become a major economic force. Kamehameha I united the Hawaiian Islands, and in 1819 his son Liholiho defied the kapu (taboo) of men and women eating separately at a feast, which ended up leading to its abolition. The Royal Hawaiian Band, a popular musical group created by King Kamehameha III, originated at this time too.
When leprosy arrived on the island in the 17th century, King Kamehameha sent those affected to Kalaupapa on the northwest corner of Molokai, where they lived in isolation until their deaths. The village is now a national historic park, and it acts as an important memorial to the victims of Hansen’s disease and to raise awareness about the disease.