Aloha from Hawaii, still open for tourism despite Kilauea’s current, effusive outburst!
There has been considerable coverage of Kilauea’s ongoing eruption on the island of Hawaii, and some of it is inaccurate. According to the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, the Kilauea activity is limited to the Summit and a very small part of the island of Hawaii – less than 10 square miles. All flights into Hawai‘i Island are operating normally, and all accommodations, activities and attractions throughout Hawai‘i Island are open, except those in the area affected by the volcanic activity in the Puna District.
We are all concerned for people affected by the natural phenomena, but it’s important to note that it is safe to visit the island of Hawaii and all the other Hawaii Islands. Tourism is essential to the Hawaiian economy, so don’t be scared to take your vacation in this island paradise!
For the most up-to-date information, please check: hawaiitourismauthority.org/news/special-alert/
What can you do in Hawaii? Whether your a traditional traveller, want only the newest experiences or fit somewhere in between, you can take in fantastic cuisine, lively culture and vivid nature.
Indulge in Comfort Foods
THE TRADITIONAL ROUTE: Helena’s Hawaiian Food (Oahu). Go for the cuisine’s longtime favourites (laulau, imu-cooked kalua pig, lomi salmon, etc.) done right, and Helena’s famed smoky, tender, bone-in pipi kaula. Hamura Saimin (Kauai). Order the largest-size serving of one of the best bowls of the simple, savoury Hawaii-born noodle soup and comfort food fave there is.
THE MODERN TAKE: The Pig and the Lady (Oahu). The menu here is ever creative and ever-changing, serving owner-chef Andrew Le and his family’s inspired, boundless exploration of Vietnamese cuisine. Mud Hen Water (Oahu). Come for owner-chef Ed Kenney’s mischievously inventive and tasty modern interpretations of Hawaii comfort eats straight out of his youth.
SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN: TINROOF (Maui). The bowl meals here are owner-chef Sheldon Simeon’s inspired, modern-traditional bridging of the kaukau-tin meals (“kaukau” is Hawaii pidgin for “food”) once devoured by sugar plantation field labourers. Suisan Fish Market (island of Hawaii). Go for its impressive menu of traditional and wisely experimental poke varieties.
Hula & Festivals!
THE TRADITIONAL ROUTE: Merrie Monarch Festival (island of Hawaii). The world’s longest-running hula competition is also its most prestigious – halau hula compete only by coveted invitation, and competition is streamed live worldwide. Prince Lot Hula Festival (Oahu). The world’s oldest and largest non-competitive hula showcase now takes place on the lawn of Iolani Palace.
THE MODERN TAKE: Ku Mai Ka Hula (Maui). Tickets for this 13-year-old contest are easier to get than Merrie Monarch Festival entry, but competition among invited halau hula is no less fierce and joyful to watch. Kauai Mokihana Festival. Kumu hula (hula teachers) with halau competing here are encouraged to use newer oli (chants) and non-traditional hula implements.
SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN: Molokai Ka Hula Piko. This hula and community festival, honouring oral traditions calling Molokai the birthplace of hula, also hosts lectures, panels and excursions related to Hawaiian cultural topics. Eo E Emalani I Alakai (Kauai) honours, through hula and modern reenactment, the journey of Hawaii’s Queen Emma to Kauai’s forested Kokee area.
Experience Nature Like You’ve Never Seen
THE TRADITIONAL ROUTE: Na Ala Hele Trail System (all islands). Hiking, plain and simple, legal and eco-friendly, is what this public trail and access system within state-owned natural areas is all about. National Park Service in Hawaii (Maui, Molokai, Oahu, the island of Hawaii). Choose from eight diverse NPS-managed parks, monuments, sites and trails to explore on four islands.
THE MODERN TAKE: Rappel Maui (Maui). Guides from this outdoor adventure company will have you descending 30- to 50-foot rainforest waterfalls as cool, mountain-stream water rushes by Kipu Ranch Adventures, Princeville Ranch Adventures & Outfitters Kauai (Kauai). Adventure awaits as you off-road through distinct trails while enjoying the sights and sounds of lush tropical forests and cascading waterfalls. Or, take the longest zip line ride with Outfitters Kauai.
SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN: Paepae o Heeia (Oahu). Participate in this nonprofit’s volunteer preservation and restoration of Heeia Fishpond, constructed by Hawaiians more than 800 years ago. Hawaii Forest and Trail (island of Hawaii). Specializing in guided small-group nature tours into the scenic, rarely visited or little-seen locations often closed to the public. And birding tours!
Check out one of these Hawaiian Culture Tours
THE TRADITIONAL ROUTE: Iolani Palace (Oahu). Guided tours of the home of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs, King Kalakaua and sister Queen Liliuokalani, share the stories and artefacts of their lives there. Kauai Museum. Housed in a century-old structure built as the island’s first library, artifacts here highlight the histories and cultures of Kauai and Niihau.
THE MODERN TAKE: Celebration of the Arts (Maui). A weekend of workshops, panels, demos, film screenings and more led by Hawaiian cultural practitioners, artisans and kumu (teachers) discuss the culture’s past, present and future. Hawaii International Film Festival (Oahu, island of Hawaii). Go for the largest annual slate of Hawaii-made films addressing local topics.
SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN: Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Its vast collection of historic and scientific Polynesian and Hawaiian cultural artifacts blends modern interactive and traditional exhibitions. Imiloa Astronomy Center (island of Hawaii). Hands-on displays connect early Hawaiian studies of the cosmos and modern astronomy conducted on Maunakea volcano.
With content from Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)