There's nowhere else quite like it
There's nowhere else quite like it
While relaxing on golden beaches and taking in the natural sites is certainly a really big part of any Hawaiian vacation, there is so much more to Hawaii than rest and relaxation. This is a land that is rich in a very unique cultural heritage. Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park is probably the place which gives you the most ‘bang for your buck’ as far as historical significance is concerned. Here you can see a vast menagerie of finely crafted ancient idols, for which Hawaii is fabled, as well as the ruins of temples and historical villages.
Oahu is also home to the Hanuama Bay marine sanctuary, one of the world’s best snorkeling spots. Here, visitors can explore a now extinct volcano crater and see the exotic tropical reefs and fish which have reclaimed the area.
For those of us who are completely enamored by sea life, a visit to the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu is an absolute must. One of America’s oldest aquariums, Waikiki has upward of 3,500 different species on display, both local and from further afield. Some of the more exciting residents of this aquarium are the monk seal, giant octopus, zebra shark and even the giant clam! Waikiki Aquarium runs educational classes and fun activities for children on a daily basis. Remember though, that these should be booked in advance as they have a tendency to become booked out during the tourist season.
The Maui Ocean Centre is also worth checking out. The largest tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere, the Centre features outdoor and indoor displays where visitors can explore 60 interactive habitats and meet countless species of exotic tropical fish which are native to the region.
One awesome natural spectacle which absolutely must not be missed on a Hawaiian vacation is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This is where the mighty Mauna Loa, the world’s largest (land-based) volcano resides. This huge natural structure stands nearly 14,000 feet tall, the second tallest peak in the state of Hawaii.
While Mauna Loa is undeniably massive, the most spectacular volcano in the National Park has got to be Mount Kilauea. While less than a third of the height of Mauna Loa, Kilauea still erupts on a regular basis, oozing lava into the nearby sea. If they time their visit just right, lucky tourists can witness this natural spectacle and marvel at the awesome power of nature as part of a group tour.
Volcano and geology enthusiasts should ensure that they make the time to pay a visit to the Thomas A. Jagger Museum which details everything you could ever possibly have wanted to know about volcanoes. In addition to all sorts of remarkable geography facts, the Jagger Museum also gives insights into local culture and traditions, with particular respect paid to Pele, the region’s ancient volcano Goddess.
Hawaii has no shortage of interesting museums which will appeal to a broad range of tastes and interests. The Whaler Village Museum offers a look back to the 1800s, when Hawaii was a hot spot for whaling activity. The Pacific Tsunami Museum gives insights into the natural disasters, both historic and recent, which have ravaged the State of Hawaii.
For those with a taste for caffeine, a visit to the Kona Coffee Museum and Farm offers a novel look at one of the world’s favourite drinks and the journey it takes from the ground to the cup. If you’re in search of something a bit more ‘out of this world’, then a trip to the Ellison S Onizuka Space Centre features all sorts of space-related exhibits, from a hunk of moon rock to a fully interactive rocket propulsion exhibit – hours of fun for all of you budding space cadets!