Art has played an important part of Hawaiian history, from fine art to paintings, prints, glass art, sculpture and more.
With the Hawaiian region consisting of more than 130 islands, there are many different forms and styles of art, some of which are more modern while others date back to pre-European settlement times.
Art prior to the arrival of James Cook in 1778 is similar in style to other Pacific Islanders and includes wood carvings, petroglyphs, tattoos, feather work and bark cloth. If you are lucky enough and in the market, you may even find local artists who still create such works selling their art to tourists.
Take a moment to explore the colours and the way light and shadows are encompassed in the artworks. The use of ivory for carvings is a popular background for artworks, while the inspiration behind many pieces is easy to find, just take a simple step out into the stunning natural landscape.
Each island provides a different artistic experience for the traveller and you will find art galleries at Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii.
The most popular of these include the largest museum in Hawaii, the Bishop Museum on Oahu; the Lahaina Heritage Museum in Maui’s well known whaling town; and the Kauai Museum – a cultural sanctuary for art of Native Hawaiians.
Explore the history of Hawaii through its many colourful and distinct styles of art.
If you want to experience truly Hawaiian food, make sure you visit the local cafes and taste the tempting foods available from street merchants.
While you might find the names of some of the foods a little bit hard to pronounce, the distinct flavours will not disappoint.
The cuisine of this stunning region is a mixture of many different cultures, from American and Chinese, to Polynesian and Portuguese. Many years ago, the food of Hawaii had to be shipped from the US, but as the area grew to become a popular tourist destination, it also became more popular for the people to grow their own ingredients. This not only made sure visitors were getting the freshest ingredients, it also guaranteed a local taste and allowed residents to create a new variety of recipes.
Perhaps the most well known Hawaiian food, and a base for many recipes, is Taro, which has been the staple food on the island for many years. The perfect accompaniment, you will find Taro with every traditional Hawaiian meal.
In 1991, 12 Hawaiian chefs were so confident in their abilities they established the Hawaii Regional Cuisine, a movement which blends the island’s diverse cultural flavours with food from around the world. The movement is experienced at various restaurants across the region and includes the freshest ingredients – including local fruits, vegetables, fish and beef.
So while visiting Hawaii, be sure to grab yourself a Kalua Pig, a Lau Lau or a Loco Moco and feast away!
Island Vintage Coffee in O'ahu offers some really delicious all day breakfast options. If you're in Waikiki, search them out, it will be worth it, we guarantee.
Hawaii is known for a variety of music, from the traditional folk music, to the more modern styles such as rock, reggae and hip hop.
Typically, Hawaiian music is a blend of more modern influences with traditional chanting, a result of visitors to the island bringing various instruments with them in the 1800s, including the violin, guitar, ukulele, flute and piano. These instruments were mixed with chants and hymns to create a sound that will leave you enchanted.
Hawaiian music has also seen the adaptation of guitar sound to produce some very distinct sounds and styles, in particular the slack key and the steel guitar. The relaxing and intimate sounds of the slack key guitar are highly sought by musicians around the world; while the steel guitar (a sound created by using a steel object to slide along the strings), has proved particularly popular in the country music scene.
The Hawaiian people celebrate their unique musical stylings with a number of music festivals each year, proving a great time to visit and the perfect opportunity to learn more about the musical culture of the country.
The Merrie Monarch Hula Festival brings together hula groups from all over the world with a focus on music and dance together. The Big Island Slack Key Guitar Festival, the Gabby Pahinui/Atta Isaacs Slack Key Festival and the Steel Guitar Association Festival celebrate the country’s guitar stylings, while the Moloka’i Music Festival held during Aloha Week features many local and celebrity artists.
At some point in your lives you would have done or seen the Hula dance – imagine seeing it in its country of Origin, being performed by the experts, the locals themselves!
The moves of the Hula are a shining example of the country’s beauty. The soft movements and enchanting music represent the deep spirituality of the locals and Hawaiians trust in the belief that the first hula was performed by a God or Goddess. Performed at a range of celebrations, the hand and body movements within each song tell a story and the hypnotic music is composed of chants.
There are many styles of Hula, with the most common being the Hula Kahiko and the Hula Auana. The Hula Kahiko is the ancient hula which evolved long before Western culture, while the Hula Auana is more modern, developed in the 19th Century.
See the women dancers in their wrapped dresses, adorned with necklaces, bracelets and anklets; while the men stand proud in their loincloth and accessories – many of which are made from animal bone or teeth. And don’t forget the ever enticing leis.
Hawaii celebrates the Hula with a range of festivals throughout the year, particularly the Merri Monarch Festival which is held every Spring.
But the Hula isn’t the only cultural dance you can experience here. You will also be treated to dances from Tahiti, New Zealand and a range of other Pacific islands.
ALOHA - HELLO, GOODBYE, I LOVE YOU!
Indigo skies and crystal clear waters are what you can expect from America’s most southern state, Hawaii. Set amongst an exotic natural landscape with a temperate tropical climate and heralded as the surfing Mecca of the world, Hawaii is a multi-faceted destination, unlike any other.
Aloha is Hawaii's traditional greeting for Hello and Goodbye, which comes from the Proto-Polynesian word alofa, meaning love, compassion and mercy. These values are ingrained in the warm and friendly locals who live throughout eight mountainous islands, all of which offer a flotilla of activities for every style and taste. One of the official languages is English, so communicating and travelling around the region is sublimely effortless. Whether you are looking for an adventure like skydiving and swimming with the sharks off the shores of O'ahu; or just wanting to relax with a snorkel or a massage at a beach side spa; Hawaii has it all.
The most visited island in Hawaii is O'ahu, home to the State’s most populated area and capital, Honolulu - famous for its surf beaches and vibrant city atmosphere. Approximately 4.5 million visitors holiday in Honolulu every single year and in 2012 it was voted the Travellers Choice winner as one of the Top 25 Beach Destinations in the world. O'ahu also includes some of the world's most beautiful world heritage sites, set among an array of pristine white sandy beaches, lush rainforests and natural wildlife. Take a trip to the island of Maui by sea plane and you will understand why it has been voted "Best Island" for seventeen years running and why the island has Hollywood's elite film producers and television script writers coming back again and again.
After sunset, why not tantalise your tastebuds with the states regional dishes, creatively blending international cuisine with Hawaii's culturally diverse, ethnic flavours. Snorkelling, kayaking, horseback riding, ethereal beaches, culinary and cultural sensations are just some of the highlights of your trip. A Hawaiian experience will inspire your imagination, awaken your senses, invigorate your soul and leave you with pleasurable memories that last a lifetime.