Much like traveling to a foreign country, Hawaii has a culture of its own that can be very different from the mainland. Follow these guidelines to ensure that you get the most authentic Hawaiian experience (and you’re always invited back).
“Mahalo for removing your slippah’s, but no take mo bettah ones when you leave” - take off your shoes when entering someone’s home
Defer to the locals - They were here first, and deserve the respect. No negotiations please. And keep an eye out for stink eye (translates to: “You are infringing on my birthright, it would be best if you leave immediately). If you’re out catching waves, you’re always the last in line.
Respect the Ocean - This one is SERIOUS! Never turn your back to waves. Wet rocks = waves coming soon! Don’t walk on the coral. Sleeper waves are a real thing, and currents get stronger at night. Basically, treat the ocean with awe, respect and a little fear.
Take care of the animals - While I know you want to ride a dolphin, or surf a turtle, keep a respectful distance (you’re not Nemo). Look but don’t touch.
Aloha - The word means love and hello (and so much more). When greeting people, show love by avoiding handshakes. A kiss on the cheek, or a bro-hug is a customary greeting.
Is everyone related? - One way to show respect to your elders is by referring to them as “Auntie” or “Uncle”. This is usually reserved for the 2nd or 3rd meeting, but goes a long way.
Flower Bling - If you are presented with a lei, always accept and wear it with gratitude. Never take the lei off in the presence of the person who gave it to you.
Drive like a local - Feel like taking in the sights and sounds on a short road trip around the island? Great, but be mindful of local drivers that may get stuck behind your leisurely pace. They seen it already...pull-over. Also, “No Honking, this ain’t the mainland”.
Kapu - This can mean sacred, private, but most importantly “KEEP OUT”. Respect all of the MANY sacred historical and religious sites. Never climb on or remove rocks from these areas.
Malama Da Aina (“Love and respect the land”) - Help keep Hawaii beautiful and alive. Pack it in - Pack it out. Careful where you go “she-she” (i.e. freshwater ponds). Unless disposed of appropriately, everything ends up in the ocean.