Last Updated: 13th Nov 2013

<p><img src="http://downloads.contiki.com/contikipedia/north_america/mattyvcontiki/hawaii5.jpg" class="rightwise" title="hawaii sunset" alt="hawaii sunset" /></p> <p>Hawaii is the 50th state of the <a href="/contikipedia/articles/usa">United States of America</a> and is made up of a group of islands, the most populated being Oahu. The Hawaiian Islands where settled and conquered by Kamehameha the Great, the King of the Polynesians, and have become world-famous and a popular holiday destination.</p> <p>Agriculture and tourism play a major role in the commerce of Hawaii. Sugar cane, coffee, oranges, papaya, pineapples and a whole host of other fruits and flowers are grown .</p> <p>Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in the southeast of the island Kilauea Volcano is the focus of the Park and is the most active volcano in the world. Unlike many other Volcanoes in the world, Kilauea can be viewed from up close as the lava cascades down its slopes to the Pacific Ocean.</p> <p>Due its variety of elevations ranging from sea level along the coast to the mountains, Hawaii supports a diverse ecosystem ranging from lush, green, tropical canyons to even snow on the peaks of some of its mountains and even desert-like landscapes.</p> <p><img src="http://downloads.contiki.com/contikipedia/north_america/mattyvcontiki/hawaii6.jpg" class="rightwise" title="hawaii surfboards" alt="hawaii surfboards" /></p> <h2>Honolulu</h2> <p>Located on the island of Oahu, and focused around Waikiki Beach, Honolulu is the capital of the group of islands that make up the Hawaiian island group and is a world-class tourist destination that is a mix of the ultimate in luxury and scenery combined with the traditions of its Polynesian heritage. Honolulu has grown to become not only the largest city in Hawaii, but with almost 1 million people calling it home, it is also one of the largest cities in the United States.</p> <h2>Sights and Attractions</h2> <p>Hawaii isn&#8217;t all about beaches and surfing&#8230;.</p> <h3>Polynesian Cultural Centre</h3> <p>The Polynesian Cultural Centre <a href="http://www.polynesia.com/"target="_blank">(official site)</a> is one of the most visited attractions in Hawaii. Here you can experience 7 different Polynesian island villages with demonstrations of arts, crafts and cultural handiwork followed by a night time dinner and luau.</p> <p><img src="http://downloads.contiki.com/contikipedia/north_america/mattyvcontiki/hawaii8.jpg" class="rightwise" title="hawaii diving" alt="hawaii diving" /></p> <h3>Pearl Harbour and the Arizona Memorial</h3> <p>&#8216;Honolulu&#8217; is a Polynesian word meaning &#8216;protected harbour&#8217; and the area was claimed by Russia, Great Britain and France before it became part of the <span class="caps">USA</span> in 1900, later becoming the US Naval base for the Pacific. The &#8216;day that will live in infamy&#8217; began at Honolulu’s Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941 when the US Naval facilities there wee bombed initiating the US entry into World War II in the Pacific. Pay tribute to the thousands of soldiers who died in the infamous attack on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbour and visit the <span class="caps">USS</span> Arizona Memorial <a href="http://www.nps.gov/usar/"target="_blank">(official site)</a>.</p> <h2>Shopping</h2> <p>The International Marketplace <a href="http://www.internationalmarketplacewaikiki.com"target="_blank">(official site)</a> at Waikiki is an absolute must for souvenir shoppers! A huge selection on Hawaiian crafts set in an outdoor Polynesian Village where you can bargain and barter for almost anything and everything.</p> <h2>Beaches and Activities</h2> <p>Hawaii is famous for it&#8217;s beaches, blue water and surfing&#8230;and for good reason&#8230;.</p> <h3>Beaches</h3> <p>Naturally, Waikiki is the best known beach in Hawaii and was a favourite of Hawaiian royalty for centuries. Other great beaches include Hanauma Bay (the best snorkeling on Oahu) Makapuu for surfing and also Sandy Beach.</p> <h3>Circle Island Tour</h3> <p>Experience the spectacular scenery of the island of Oahu on this full day 190 km (120 mile) narrated tour including visits to Hanauma Bay, Waimea Falls Park and Pali Lookout.</p> <h2>Food and Drink</h2> <h3>Paradise Cove Luau</h3> <p>Paradise Cove Luau <a href="http://www.paradisecovehawaii.com/"target="_blank">(official site)</a> is fantastic. You can enjoy and all-you-can-eat Hawaiian buffet dinner at a beautiful secluded beach 55 km outside of Honolulu (transport is provided) with activities before dinner and a spectacular show during dinner.</p> <h3>Dukes Canoe Club</h3> <p>Dukes Waikiki <a href="http://www.dukeswaikiki.com/"target="_blank">(official site)</a> is home to the legendary Barefoot Bar and Dukes Canoe Club and is located in the Outrigger Waikiki. The whole place has great atmosphere, food and drinks…and it&#8217;s right on the beach!</p>