Practical Travel Info/Safety
Photo: PHOTO: Bodyboarding is just as popular - if not more - than surfing in Hawaii. (photo via Mike van Dalen/Flickr)
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when anticipating travel to Hawai'i in 2022 is to follow the state's requirements for COVID-19 vaccination and testing when entering from the Mainland, as well as the protocols outlined by each county. Not only is it the right thing to do, there has been at least once instance where visitors were arrested for forging vaccine proof.
Visitors should also maintain vigilance when engaging in the following activities in Hawai'i:
Hikers should stay on designated trails, be sure not to enter areas marked off-limits, and not hike beyond their ability. The state spends significant money and resources each year rescuing hikers who are stuck or injured, and visitors who wish to hike should stick to trails that match their experience.
Visitors should take care when swimming in areas without lifeguards, and should pay attention to the condition warning flags posted along many beaches. The Pacific often appears calmer than it really is, and strong surf, currents and undertows can sweep inexperienced swimmers out to sea.
Much of Hawai'i's ocean life is protected by federal and state law; many species have minimum distances for safe viewing
. Visitors wishing to view wildlife should not attempt to feed or interact with wildlife, and maintain adequate distance so that the animal would proceed as though humans are not present. The fines can be steep
for violators, and ignorance of the law isn't an excuse.
Visiting Cultural Sites
A common cultural site in Hawai'i is heiau
, or temples built by pre-contact Native Hawaiians. When visiting these sites or other ruins, it's important not to touch or climb on the rocks and structures. Visitors should also not leave offerings of leaves, rocks, or other items (without following Native Hawaiian cultural protocols, such offerings are simply garbage, which is considered a desecration; they also consume state resources for their disposal).
Visitors should also avoid seeking out "secret" spots promoted in some guide books or by word of mouth. When in doubt, check with the Visitor's Bureau for each island - many "secret" spots are not promoted by the Visitors Bureaus or reputable tour companies for reasons of safety, environmental impact, or cultural sensitivity.
Hawai'i has a wealth of beautiful sites and spectacular vistas - visitors should follow the Hawaiian concept of pono
(behavior that is correct, appropriate, respectful) by only visiting areas that are ready for
and have invited
It should also be noted that smoking is prohibited on all of Hawai'i's beaches and in state parks.
Check out the Hawaii Tourism Authority's page on Traveling Responsibly
in the Islands of Hawai'i.