Hawaii – Things to know, Photo spots & Travel Guide for a holiday (USA)

Categories: Travel reports, North America, USA, Hawaii

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,600 kilometers from the U.S. mainland, is the 50th u.S. state: Hawaii. For many, the epitome of the South Seas
And in fact, the islands exude a unique flair and enchant you very quickly with the famous Aloha charm. Each of the six main islands – Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Big Island – has its own personality, nature and sights and offers different activities to all tastes.


Things to know about Hawaii

Hawaii is located at the other end of the world, i.e. the time difference from Germany is almost half a day. Hawaii follows the Hawaii Standard Time, which means: Western European time -10 hours. Germany is +1 hour ahead of Western European time. That’s why Hawaii is 11 hours behind Germany. By the way, there is no daylight saving time in Hawaii – on the last Sunday of March and on the last Sunday of October, an hour is added to the 11 hours.

Good news: You can travel to Hawaii at any time of the year,because the average temperatures usually range between 24°C and 31°C all year round – a dream 🙂 Between April and November (summer) it is warm and dry, while from December to March (winter) it is slightly cooler. If you don’t want to miss a whale watching on the coasts of Hawaii, you should travel from January to early April, because there is the highest chance of seeing which ones – although the whale season goes from the end of December to the beginning of May.

As a German citizen, you need an ESTA visa,which you can apply for online in advance. Entering the data on the Internet is very fast and the only things you need for the application are a valid passport as well as a credit card or a Paypal account to pay the fee of currently 14 US dollars. In order to be on the safe side, you should look at the relevant pages of the Foreign Office in advance during each trip.

The currency in Hawaii, like the rest of the US, is the US dollar. In the run-up to our trips, we usually pre-order the money online from Travelex and then pick it up at the airport – so you completely save the commission fees and secure a good online exchange rate. And best of all, if you find a cheaper total price (in Germany) at an exchange/bank, you will be reimbursed the difference as part of a price promise.

Hawaii is an expensive destination – you should definitely take that into account when planning your holiday. However, you can save a lot, especially with accommodation, if you can do some research online beforehand and if necessary you can do without a 5-star luxury hotel. Hawaii belongs to the USA, so the big American supermarket chains such as Walmart, Target, K-Mart etc. are located here. We basically found the prices for food perfectly in order. This is not great different from the rest of the US. Of course, the typical, healthy products, such as fruit, vegetables, cheese, yoghurt etc., are very expensive and fast food relatively cheap, but if you pay attention to it when shopping, you can even beat one or the other bargain here. It is definitely worth registering with the Member Cards offered in the supermarkets (just ask at the Info Points). As a result, many standard products can often save half.

The island of Oahu

Oahu is also known as the Heart of Hawaii. The third largest Hawaiian island is home to the state capital of Hawaii, Honolulu, and the majority of Hawaii’s population lives here. The island is the economic center of Hawaii and is the most famous of the Hawaiian islands.

On a discovery tour over Oahu, you’will find the bustling Honolulu, the tourist center of Waikiki, relaxed surf towns, impressive waterfalls, phenomenal views, secluded beaches, and impressive craters, hiking trails and snorkelspots. The climate of Oahu differs depending on which side of the island you are on: While the north and east have lush vegetation and it rains frequently here, it is much drier in the south and west. The two formative mountain ranges of Oahus are called Waianae and Koolau. The highest elevation is Mount Kaala with 1,225 meters. By the way, there is no ferry connection from Oahu to the neighbouring islands, so you always have to use one of the flights from Honolulu Airport.

All travel oreports from the island of Oahu

The island of Kauai

Kauai is the fourth largest island in Hawaii and is known as Garden Island. The name is no coincidence: the oldest and northernmost island of the Hawaiian chain is surrounded by emerald valleys, mountains and rugged cliffs. In between you will find tropical rainforests, many rivers and beautiful waterfalls. Whether on land, on water or from the air – Kauai is a feast for the eyes from every perspective.

On the island, there is one of the rainiest points on earth, with the 1,569-metre-high Waialeale. The Napali Coast coastal mountain range and Waimea Canyon are the island’s most famous landmarks. To this day, by the way, no building can be built higher than a palm tree. There are no ferry connections to the neighbouring islands.

All travelogues from the island of Kauia

The island of Maui

Maui, also known as Valley Isle, is the second largest island in Hawaii. The island is known for its world-famous beaches, surf spots, the sacred Iao Valley, the sighting of migratory humpback whales (during the winter months), the 50-mile panoramic road to Hana, and the magnificent sunrises and sunsets from Haleakala National Park. Ferries depart from the small village of Lahaina to the neighbouring island of Lanai.

All travelogues from the island of Maui

The island of Big Island

The island of Hawaii is the youngest and largest island in the Hawaiian chain. The nickname ‘Big Island’ is due to the fact that the island is almost twice the size of all other Hawaiian islands combined. On the other hand, this avoids the fact that the island is not confused with the entire island chain.

On Big Island, you can cross four different climate zones around the world – from the wet tropics to the cold steppe. The power of nature can be felt on Every corner of Big Island – be it the active volcanoes with flowing lava in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the snow-capped heights of Mauna Kea, the lush valleys of the Hamakua coast or the deep black sandy beaches of Punaluu. There is much to see, discover and experience here. Due to the size of the island, one should not underestimate the distances and bring enough time.

All travelogues from Big Island

The Meaning of the Word “Aloha”

At the statue of the Duke at Waikiki Beach there is a small sign explaining the famous word ALOHA a little more with a quote from him. Aloha is a Hawaiian word and means “friendship,” “love,” “affection,” “love,” “compassion,” “kindness,” or “sympathy.” Most of the time it is used for greetings and farewells – after a few days on the islands you use it automatically. We have heard of the Aloha Spirit many times… it’s about the hospitality of the Hawaiians, which we’ve also experienced. It is not for nothing that Hawaii is also referred to as Aloha State.

The Hawaiian alphabet

Did you know that the Hawaiian alphabet consists of only 12 letters? Together with the Okina (head-standing high-point), it is considered one of the shortest alphabets in the world. We like the language insanely well and it kind of sounds like Hawaii: sun, beach, sea, hula dances, flower chains and ukulele music. Unfortunately, the language is increasingly being supplanted by English, although you can hear some Hawaiian words in between. And you can’t get past the ‘Hang loose’ or Shaka hand sign, which means “cool” or “all right” anyway.

Hawaiian Alphabet, Language, Hawaii, USA

The Hawaiian Alphabet

Flight connections from Germany

Hawaii is located at the other end of the world. Therefore, you have to be aware if you want to go to Hawaii: The journey there takes a long time – you have to take about 20 to 24 hours including a stopover.

There is no direct flight from Germany, but the route is simply too long. You can decide here whether you want to make a stopover in the USA, Canada, China or Japan – maybe that is still quite easy to link with a short sightseeing stop. Here are two examples to illustrate flight times a little better:

Frankfurt – Seattle (10.5 hours) + Seattle – Honolulu (6.5 hours)
Frankfurt – Tokyo (11.5 hours) + Tokyo – Honolulu (6.5 hours)

Flight Connections Hawaii, USA, Travel Report

Flight connections to Hawaii

Car rental in Hawaii

Road trips are worthwhile on all four major islands, so we would definitely recommend to take a rental car for the time on site. So you are independent and have enough freedom to make your day the way you want. We have always booked our rental cars through billiger-mietwagen.de, as we have gained very good experience with the supplier so far and you can see directly what is insured with us. On all four Hawaiian islands we usually had a mid-size SUV and paid about 40 euros per day including full insurance.

In the city and in County Honolulu there is a very well organized public transport in the form of buses: TheBus. Waikiki also offers the typical hop-on hop-off tours, which are particularly popular with Asian tourists, such as the Waikiki trolley.

Hotels in Hawaii

Hawaii is the busty state of the USA with the highest cost of living and is also considered for holidaymakers as a rather exclusive destination. Of course, you will also find one or the other cheap hotel, but in general the prices for hotels in Hawaii are quite high – not least because of Hawaii’s reputation as a wedding or honeymoon location. There are many luxury hotels and resorts where prices of 500 euros per night are not uncommon. Also the hotels with a direct beach location in Waikiki are very expensive. It is worth comparing the prices on the Internet, if necessary to switch to the well-known 2nd row or to book certain specials (5=4 etc.). The largest offer of hotels is definitely the island of Oahu, followed by Maui. Alternatively, you can also look around hostels, apartments, bed & breadfasts, Airbnb etc.

Hawaii hotel deals on Expedia.de

Diving in Hawaii

The underwater world of Hawaii is very special due to its volcanic origin. Here you will find rugged rock formations of cold lava with caves and many hard corals. In our opinion, however, biodiversity is far from comparable to that of the Indo-Pacific, but there are also some very nice things to experience in Hawaii that can be experienced while diving. A highlight that you can experience here under water is a night dive with mantas. But also the chants of the humpback whales,which you hear under water, fascinated us here very much.

Top 10 Things to Do in Hawaii

The Hawaiian islands all have a lot to offer. Even though we have been there twice for 2 weeks, we feel like we haven’t seen everything yet. In other reports and in broadcasts we always find new things that we would like to explore. Here are our top 10 sights to see anyway:

Honolulu & Waikiki Beach

Honolulu is the only “real” big city in Hawaii and is considered a melting pot of cultures. In the capital of the state of Hawaii, you can visit the historic downtown, relax on Waikiki Beach, go shopping on Kalakaua Avenue or experience the breathtaking nature. It definitely doesn’t get boring here.

Our travelogues of Honolulu & Waikiki

Pearl Harbor Memorial

Pearl Harbor is a military port and headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet in Oahu, Japan, best known for its attack by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941, during World War II. Today’s memorial includes the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine, the USS Missouri Battleship and the Pacific Aviation Museum.

Pearl Harbor Memorial

The Koko Crater Railway Trail

Koko Crater Railway Trail: Certainly one of the most strenuous hiking trails on Oahu, but it’s worth every step on the 1,048 railway sleepers. After all, once you have reached the top, you have a fantastic view of the surroundings, the blue water and Hanauma Bay.

Koko Crater – A hike on the old railway tracks

Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay

Once a volcanic crater that has since been extinct and flooded by waves, Hanauma Bay is now one of the most popular tourist spots on the island, especially when it comes to snorkeling. The beach of the bay is beautifully landscaped with a large green meadow and many palm trees.

Hanauma Bay – One of the most beautiful snorkeling spots on Oahu

Diamond Head Crater

The most beautiful view you can have of Honolulu, the ocean and the mountain ranges is from the viewpoint of Diamond Head Crater. The 30- to 45-minute hiking trail goes up serpentine and at the end the ascent continues up steep stairs, through an illuminated tunnel, over a spiral staircase and through military bunkers.

The view from Diamond Head Crater

Der Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

In the truest sense of the word THE hot spot on Big Island. The 1,348 km2 area of the National Park includes extensive lava fields from various episodes and is home to the active volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa. A hike to an actively flowing lava flow should not be missed – a unique adventure.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park