What should tourists avoid in Honolulu

What you should and shouldn't do in Hawaii!

By Larissa Königs | April 17, 2019, 12:20 p.m.

Hawaii is a dream destination for many people around the world - including our editor Larissa Königs. She made her dream come true and was on the road in Hawaii for two weeks. She saw a lot of beautiful things, but also made a few mistakes. Here she reveals her tips.

Definitely …

Get up early

Hawaii is on the other side of the world and an eleven hour time difference leads to a lot of jet lag. When it is 10 p.m. in Germany, it is 9 a.m. in Honolulu - time to get up. Accordingly, it is completely normal to be wide awake at 3 a.m. in the first few days. Now, of course, you can try to fight jet lag and stay awake in bed for a reasonable time.

Or you can use the advantage over the numerous American and Japanese tourists: popular beaches are not yet overcrowded early in the morning, hiking trails are to yourself and the sunrise is worthwhile both on the beach and from the mountain top.

Include the Big Island in your planning

Many who travel to Hawaii skip the largest island, the Big Island. The flower island Maui or Ohau with the capital Honolulu are too tempting. The Big Island is definitely worth a visit: There is an incredible variety of beautiful beaches and dense rainforest to volcanoes and mountains. The small towns of Hilo and Kona, each with an airport, are also worth a visit. In addition, the island is much less crowded than e.g. Ohau. There are no interstates (American highways) here. If you want to get an authentic insight into Hawaii away from the tourists, the Big Island is the right place for you.

Push yourself to the limit on the “Koko Crater Trail”

There are numerous hiking trails in Hawaii, of all difficulty levels. But as is so often the case, the most demanding routes are most worthwhile. The "Koko Crater Trail" on Ohau is the best example of this. It's not so much a hiking trail as it is a strenuous workout. In fact, you run up more than 1000 "steps" here. The path leads over a now unused railroad track to the top of the mountain. The “steps” are the distances between the wooden planks between the old rails and are sometimes more, sometimes less well preserved.

The slope increases extremely with the number of steps, at the end you feel reminded of climbing a wide ladder. In addition, there is a point where the rails lead over a chasm several meters deep - here you should definitely be free from giddiness and wear non-slip shoes. Does that all sound uninviting? Correct. But the view from the summit over the island makes up for all the exertion.

Pro tip: Gather enough strength for the descent, which is almost as challenging.

No way …

Do without all-wheel drive in a rental car

Yes, my companion and I initially thought that we could save ourselves that. All-wheel drive, who needs something like that? After all, we don't want to drive through the desert, we just want to get into parking spaces. So we rented a small but stylish car and drove off. But on the very first day, on the way to a remote dream beach, we painfully became aware of our mistake.

The road hardly deserves this name, it was rather a gravel path with more potholes and rocks than a straight stretch. It took us 30 minutes to travel 1500 meters; more than 10 km / h was impossible. The end of the story: A big scratch in the car and the vow to pay attention to practicality instead of comfort in the next rental car.

Underestimate the Mauna Kea

At 4,205 meters, Mauna Kea is not only the highest mountain in Hawaii, but is also considered by many to be the highest mountain in the world. This is correct if one does not start from the surface of the sea but from the foot of the mountain. It lies at the bottom of the ocean at Mauna Kea. From here to the summit it is even 10,203 meters. Either way, Mauna Kea is a real mountain - and one shouldn't underestimate it, otherwise there is a risk of dangerous altitude sickness.

Also interesting: How to get altitude sickness - and how to avoid it

The air becomes thinner with increasing altitude: the oxygen pressure decreases and the lungs can absorb less oxygen while breathing. Starting at around 2,500 meters, the brain and other body tissues can suffer from an insufficient supply of oxygen. Vacationers who climb the mountain too quickly without the necessary breaks are particularly at risk. This can happen quickly, especially with Mauna Kea, because you can drive to the summit in a suitable car.

Therefore, vacationers should note the following: There is a base station with a parking lot about halfway to the summit. It is best to make a stop here. A short walk will help you acclimatize and show that the air is already thinner here. Then slowly continue uphill - also because of the gravel path - and take breaks if there are signs of altitude sickness (e.g. headache, nausea or increased pulse) and turn back in an emergency. Don't put your health at risk!

Drive to Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay is a "must see" in many travel guides. But the problem is that this bay in particular has changed massively in recent years. In the past it was considered ideal for snorkeling and diving, but today most of the corals are faded and dead. The reason is also the large tourist rush, which unfortunately and incomprehensibly continues to this day. Because not only do holidaymakers have to pay seven dollars to enter here, it is also overcrowded and you can no longer feel much of paradise.

Conclusion: You should save yourself this bay and instead explore the even less famous beaches on the other side of Oahu. It's worth more, I promise!

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