The Island of Hawaii, also called the Big Island or Hawaii Island (to reduce confusion with the state of Hawaii) is a volcanic island in the North Pacific Ocean. It is larger than all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined and is the largest island in the US and is still growing! Hawaii is said to have been named for Hawaiʻiloa, the legendary Polynesian navigator who first discovered it. Other accounts attribute the name to the legendary realm of Hawaiki, a place from which the Polynesians originated, the place where they go in the afterlife, the realm of the gods and goddesses.
As with all the islands in the state of Hawaii, the Big Island is a tourist hotspot because of its natural beauty, tropical climate and beautiful waters and waves. As the largest of all the islands it has some of the most modern tourist facilities and services in the state. Modernization has not affected its natural beauty; however, as even on the Big Island it is easy to get lost in the tropical surroundings. As many people consider visiting Hawaii for the first time, they may wonder where to start. Here are several suggestions:
1. Sunbathing and Swimming – Naturally, the tropical island offers the best in relaxing on the beach or swimming in the azure waters. A Hawaiian vacation is the definition of going to the beach. Although the Big Island is relatively new (1000 years old) it offers several glorious beaches. Anaeho’omalu Beach is white and has very little surf with good swimming and snorkeling. Hapuna Beach is a “classic hawaiian beach” and is great for everything sun-related — it also has covered pavilions, restrooms, grassy areas, and palm trees. Kauna’oa Beach has been voted “The best beach in the world” twice by Conde-Nash Traveller, but get there by 9:00am as access is limited to 30 passes at a time. Punalu′u Black Sand Beach is unique because of its black sand and it is a popular nesting ground for large sea turtles. Make sure you visit at least one of these beaches during your stay.
2. Whale Watching – Whale watching is an extremely popular activity in Hawaii. People want to see nature, and the whale is a significant symbol of the marine life experience. Scientists estimate that two-thirds of the humpback whale population (in the North Pacific) visits the Islands each winter. Hawaii’s whale watching season takes place from late November to mid-April. There are numerous whale watching excursions throughout the state, many of which guarantee sightings and provide expert narration to heighten the experience. You′ll want to bring your camera and lots of film and have your camera ready; you never know when or where a humpback might show.
3. Helicopter Tours – The helicopter tours on the Big Island are extremely safe, professional and reasonably priced. For a little bit less than the cost of a luxury suite, you can tour the island from above. The breath may catch as the scenery unfolds below these state-of-the-art vertical air machines. Experience the sensation of flying above the tropical canopy and witnessing the beauty of the waterfalls, wildlife and wide blue sky. Watch as the endless lava flow bubbles into the ocean and creates acres of new landmass. The Hawaiian helicopter tour is an activity unique to this location and is considered a life-changing event by many who experience it.
4. The Hawaiian Luau – A luau is a Hawaiian feast. It may feature local foods such as poi, kalua pig, poke, lomi salmon, opihi, haupia, and beer. Bonfires, Hawaiian music and hula dancing are traditional entertainments. In Hawaii, “luau″ and “party” are often the same, resulting in graduation, wedding and birthday luaus. This means there are plenty of events to choose from. An evening of culture and celebration, Hawaiian-style, is a fine addition to your holiday itinerary.
5. The Lomilomi Massage – The Lomilomi, meaning “massage” in the Hawaiian language, is the word used today to describe Hawaiian massage. Traditionally called lomi meaning “to rub, press, squeeze, massage; to work in and out, as the claws of a contented cat″. Lomilomi is a holistic healing tradition beyond simple massage. Lomilomi practitioners use the palms, forearms, fingers, knuckles, elbows, knees, feet, even sticks and stones. Traditionally in ancient Hawaii lomilomi was practiced in four contexts: As a healing practice, as a luxury and an aid to digestion, as restorative massage within the family and by ʻōlohe lua (masters of the Hawaiian martial arts). As it has a deep history and holistic approach, this unique is form of relaxation unique to the region.
These are just a few of the most popular tourist activities on the Big Island. If none of these are to taste, perhaps strike up a conversation with a local and ask them what they recommend. There are any number of adventures waiting for you on Hawaii.
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