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Die Napali Küste auf Kauai, Bild: Alexander Demyanenko

Hawaii – an archipelago of fire and water born

Hawaii is much more than just the fiftieth state in the USA. Hawaii is not only separated from the American mainland by the vastness of the Pacific Ocean – this archipelago is a world of its own. With a unique charm and an unbroken appeal among holidaymakers. It is a paradise on hot ground, because in the depths it seethes. These islands are built on the embers of volcanoes. Some of the giants are rather mild-mannered, others are still letting off steam. Like the Kilauea Crater on the Big Island, where the fire goddess is particularly angry and sometimes even brings air traffic to a standstill.

Hawaii, Waikiki Beach Oahu
Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Oahu, Image: aines/shutterstock

The first stop on a trip to the Hawaiian archipelago always begins on Oahu with one of the most famous beaches in the world: Waikiki in Honolulu. There is hardly a more beautiful postcard motif in the exotic regions of our globe. With a curved bay against the backdrop of the Diomond Head crater.

Quite involuntarily and fatefully, Hawaii made history during the Second World War. The Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbor military base led to a new dimension of escalation between the powers. On a city tour you can visit the historic place today. A round trip to the islands of Hawaii leads to picturesque villages, healing springs and very old churches. And to interesting and open-minded residents. The accompanying singing to the hula dance and the vehemence of the drum beats tell of the legends of Polynesia.

Kauai is one of the most wondrous islands in the world. With the steep slopes of the Na Pali coast, fascinating flora and fauna, with the mighty Mount Waialeale and with an annual rainfall of up to twelve meters. This is undoubtedly a world record.

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Hawaii Botanical Garden in Kaneohe, Oahu
The Botanical Garden in Kaneohe, Oahu, Image: Shane Myers Photography / shutterstock

Mauna Kea is the highest mountain in Hawaii and, at 4205 meters, an important peak of the scientists who built their largest observatories in the world here. The view of the stars there is from the snow in winter, because the giant then treats itself to a white dress for three months.

Anyone who comes to Hawaii can look forward to a very special attitude to life of the people of this distant archipelago. And on the obligatory wreath of flowers, which was once intended as a gift for the gods. The lei is the traditional structure of plants and flowers, and it is intended to express the reverence and love of the hosts towards the guests from another world. In the past, they were mainly dedicated to the artistic symbol of an umbilical cord between mother and child and the goddess of dance.

The island of Maui should definitely be visited as part of a Hawaii round trip. Also because of the unique natural landscape that presents itself at the foot of the extinct volcano Haleakala. The national park there is called the “House of the Sun” and once served as a shelter for the writer Mark Twain . In his memoirs, he noted that his camping in the open air on Maui was the “most sublime spectacle” that would accompany him throughout his life.

Update April 2024: In August 2023, there was a major fire on Maui with 99 deaths. Even today, several thousand islanders live in emergency shelters and hotels. Nevertheless, the island is open to tourists again. This is necessary for financial reasons, but causes criticism from many residents.

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It is still a mystery to scientists where the indigenous people of the archipelago came from and when they settled Hawaii. The legendary navigator James Cook was probably right when he did not attribute a country to the Polynesians as their homeland, but only the infinity of the sea. And so Hawaii is born of water and fire – a grandiose vacation destination in all seasons.