Honolulu may fill you with images of steel drums, grass skirts and flower gardens, but Hawaii’s capital city has so much more to offer. Here, you get to meet the real Hawaii, packed with history, idyllic beaches, food, culture and the unbeatable Hawaiian hospitality. Amble through Chinatown, admire Victorian buildings, gaze at the Aloha Tower – Honolulu is crammed with things to see and do. One thing is certain: you won’t ever want to leave. Honoluluis located on the island ofOahu, one of Hawaii’s eight main islands. For centuries, the archipelago of Hawaii was left to its own tropical devices, before being “discovered” by Captain Cook in 1778. In Cook’s wake came missionaries and settlers looking to optimise on the islands’ rich earth and in the mid-19th to 20th Century, there was a greater demand for labour. Immigrant workers came from the Philippines, Japan, Korea, China, Puerto Rico and Portugal. Against the odds, Hawaii has not forgotten its roots, although modern Hawaii has undoubtedly been heavily influenced by an array of cultures from across the globe. Hawaii is the newest State in the USA, having joined in the 1950s. The only US state in Oceania and the only island state –Hawaii’schilled vibe and brilliant sunshine are unbeatable, making it the perfect place for an escape from daily life.
Direct flights to Honolulu will bring you to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), formerly known as Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii’s largest international airport.
Hawaii enjoys a tropical climate, and temperatures hover between 20 and 30°C all year round. Although Hawaii experiences the odd tropical shower throughout the year, the wettest months are November – April. Hawaii is a popular holiday for Americans, who can get there relatively cheaply and easily, so if you are looking for cheap flights to Honolulu, avoid Spring Break, and plan your trip in May – July when the weather is warm and humid, or September – November, when the climate is still pleasantly warm and relatively dry, but there are fewer tourists.
Honolulu is famous for its beaches which offer fantastic surf. In fact, in the winter, professional surfers flock to Hawaii to get some training in. Beach lovers will be spoilt for choice on their trip to Honolulu – so don’t hit one beach and stay there for the duration – make sure you take the time to explore the glorious coastline. During the 19th Century, Waikiki Beach was a retreat for the royal family - today, countless tourists flock to Waikiki for its incredible scenery, soft golden sand and immense surf. Despite being lined with resorts and high-rise hotels, the beach maintains its former majesty – so relax, enjoy people watching to the sound of hula troupes, and maybe even catch a wave or two. Sunset beach is famous for its surf, but it’s not always ideal for amateur surfers: in the winter, the crashing waves make a spectacular sight, but it’s advisable that you sit on the beach and watch if you’re not a proficient surfer. Come the summertime, however, the beach is manned by lifeguards and the gentler waves are great fun for swimmers and surfers alike. As its name implies, Sunset Beach is at its most beautiful at the end of the day, when you can sit on the golden sand, palm tree-lined beach and watch the sun dip below the horizon. With so many beaches to explore, you could spend your entire trip to Honolulu getting acquainted with the pristine sands and rolling surf. Before you take the plunge, however, make sure it is safe to do so. Most beaches, such as Waimea Bay, are great for swimming and snorkelling in the summer, but produce vast, 30-foot waves in the winter.
Honolulu is packed with ancient and modern history, each piece forming part of the city’s rich cultural tapestry. In 1941, Pearl Harbour was attacked, killing 1,102 sailors and prompting the US to join WWII. Honolulu is home to the U.S.S Arizona Memorial, one of the most visited WWII memorials in the United States. There are usually long queues to get in (so try to arrive early), but the poignant memorial is worth the wait. Familiarise yourself with the horrific events of the day before being transported by the Navy to the offshore monument, which hovers over the sunken U.S.S Arizona, where you can pay your respects. Tours run from 8.00 a.m. until 15.00 p.m. – book your tickets online and collect them an hour before your tour. A trip to the world’s best Polynesian anthropological museum will give you a valuable insight into Hawaii’s culture and history. The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 to honour a descendant of the Kamehameha dynasty, the Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. The museum originally exhibited Hawaiian and royal pieces, but today it represents the history of Polynesia. You can book online in advance to avoid queues and get cheaper tickets. The exquisite architecture of ‘Iolana Palace belies Hawaii’s turbulent history. The palace was built in 1882 by King David Kalakaua and was a symbol of Hawaii’s prosperity and ambition. However, in 1893, the royal family were overthrown; two years after the coup, King David’s sister, Lili ‘Uokalani was convicted of treason and imprisoned in the castle. Later, the palace became the capitol of the republic, before being abandoned and left to ruin in 1969. The vast structure has since been returned to its former glory and today it serves as a poignant reminder of Hawaii’s past.
Honolulu’s cuisine represents Hawaii’s history; prior to contact with Europe and America, dishes were made from local fish and pork cooked in earth ovens, pineapples, yams, coconut and sugarcane. As more people migrated to Hawaii, they brought with them their traditional food and new food types; Captain George Vancouver brought cattle to the islands in 1793, introducing beef to Hawaiian cuisine. Today, classic Hawaiian food still centres around fresh produce, but many dishes have a twist – you will see a tropical take on the Korean Kimchi, the Japanese Bento and Sashimi, spicy Puerto Rican casseroles, Filipino bean and pea dishes, and Cantonese stir-fries. As one may expect from America’s only island state, seafood (with an Asian twist) is a must-try and widely available in high-end restaurants and from Honolulu’s iconic shrimp trucks. For most of the 20th Century, local Hawaiian food was this mishmash of cultures, until 1991, when some of Hawaii’s most acclaimed chefs created Hawaii Regional Cuisine – a way of cooking the used only the freshest local ingredients for the real taste of Hawaii. Whether you are sipping a cup of Kona (the famous coffee grown in Hawaii) as you watch pro surfers on monster waves, you are dining on the finest seafood freshly caught and served with local ingredients, or you are enjoying a cocktail and shrimp on the beach as you watch the sun go down, the food in Honolulu is so varied and so fresh, that you are sure to discover your perfect dish. If you are planning the trip of a lifetime, Travangelo can help you to find cheap flights to Honolulu.