Hawaii Information

The Big Island is the largest island located in the state of Hawaii.  With an area of 4,028 square miles, it is larger than all the other Hawaiian Islands combined, and the 3rd largest island in Polynesia.  It has the most active volcano in the world located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, as well as the largest mountain in the world in volume (Mauna Loa) and the tallest mountain in the world (Mauna Kea) as measured from its base on the sea floor to its peak.


Hawai’i is named after Hawai’iloa, the legendary Polynesian navigator who first discovered it.  Captain James Cook, the English explorer and navigator who was the first European captain to discover the islands, called them the “Sandwich Islands” after his patron, the Earl of Sandwich.  Cook was killed on the Big Island at Kealakekua Bay on February 14, 1779 in a melee after the theft of a ship. Considered the greatest king of the Hawaiian people, King Kamehameha united most of the warring Hawaiian Islands under his rule in 1795.  He gave the kingdom and island chain the name of his native island of Hawai’i.  During his reign, he moved to the royal court in Oahu, but eventually returned to live out his life in Kailua-Kona.


Hawaii has a rich, diverse cultural makeup, mainly of immigrants from Polynesia, Japan, China, Philippines, Europe, and North America.  Hawaiians are known for having a lot of national pride, in everything from the food to art and philosophy brought together by various cultural histories.
“The Aloha Spirit” is prevalent throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and represents how Hawaiians approach their daily lives: with compassion, sympathy, kindness, and grace.  Hawaiians are also very family focused, often sharing their homes and lives with extended families and close friends.
The Big Island is separated into 6 distinct regions: East Hawaii (Hilo), West Hawaii (Kona), Kohala, Hamakua, Puna, and Ka’u.  Hilo is the capital and the largest city on the Big Island.  It has much more precipitation than the Kona side, and is home to many waterfalls and rainforest.  However, the main town and tourist destination is on the west coast at Kailua-Kona and Kohala.  There are hotels, resorts, and rental properties conveniently located to the water-based attractions in the area.

Hawaiian Language

Hawaiian, along with English, is an official language of the state of Hawaii. The Hawaiian language or “Olelo Hawaii” is one of the oldest living languages in the world. Since the introduction of the Westerner into Hawaii in 1778, the number of people who speak Hawaiian fluently has dropped dramatically. Today, only about 1% of the people who live in Hawaii speak its native tongue. Although most people in Hawaii speak English as their primary language, almost all who live on the Islands will know these Hawaiian sayings.

Hawaii Fun Facts

  • Hawaii is the most isolated population center on the face of the earth. Hawaii is 2,390 miles from California, 3,850 miles from Japan; 4,900 miles from China; and 5,280 miles from Philippines.
  • More than one-third of the world's commercial supply of pineapples comes from Hawaii
  • From east to west Hawaii is the widest state in the United States
  • The Hawaiian Islands are the projecting tops of the biggest mountain range in the world.
  • There are no racial or ethnic majorities in Hawaii.  Everyone is a minority. Caucasians (Haoles) constitute about 34% Japanese-American about 32%, Filipino-American about 16% and Chinese-American about 5%. It is very difficult to determine racial identification as most of the population has some mixture of ethnicities.
  • Hawaii is the only state that grows coffee.
  • There are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet
    • Vowels: A, E, I, O, U
    • Consonants: H, K, L, M, N, P, W
  • There are four counties in Hawaii (Kauai; city and county of Honolulu; Maui; and Hawaii). Each city has a mayor and council in charge.
  • The wind blows east to west in Hawaii. The highest recorded temperature is 96'F (Honolulu Airport), but temperatures over 92' F generally occur only once or twice a year. The lowest temperature (under 3000 feet altitude) is 56' F. Temperatures under 60'F may occur but rarely more than once a year. Average daytime temp. (July) is 82'F. Average daytime temperature in January is 72' F.
  • lolani Palace on the Island of Oahu is the only royal palace in the United States.

Common Phrases