Introducing Hawai'i (The Big Island)
Hawai'i is an embarrassment of riches. One is tempted to spout superlatives till you shudder under their weight, but that can’t capture an experience of the ‘Orchid Isle.’ Consider:
Hawai'i is twice as big as the other islands combined. Among its five volcanoes are two of the earth’s largest, and its most active - Kilauea, in the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. But what you’ll remember is the awe of standing in a surreal lava wasteland as, hopefully, glowing magma pours over cliffs into a boiling ocean – earth in the making. Hawai'i, so big and so tall, contains nearly every one of earth’s ecological zones. This translates into a full quiver’s worth of adventures: sunbathing on white-sand beaches, snorkeling coral reefs, riding horses over rangelands, traipsing through rain forests, and stargazing from subarctic mountaintops.
Hawai'i, birthplace of Kamehameha – Hawaii’s great ruler – has well-preserved cultural sites, from ancient stone heiau (temples) to sacred places of refuge. Even if you struggle to pronounce their names, the shimmering mana (spiritual essence) of these places will pierce your heart.
Finally, Hawai'i is as socially diverse as O'ahu, but with none of Honolulu’s big-city edge. Hawai'i holds the state’s second city – Hilo – along with ‘hang-loose, brah’ towns, Native Hawaiian communities, beach resorts and working-class subdivisions. Which means, with luck, you’ll find the best souvenir – encounters with locals that bring to life the complexity of the ‘real’ Hawaii.
It’s not called the Big Island for nothing.
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Last updated: Feb 25, 2010
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