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How to Navigate Through Traffic in Honolulu

Typical traffic in Honolulu on a weekday.

Busy hour traffic in Honolulu.

How is Traffic in Honolulu?

Wondering if there is traffic in Honolulu? Unfortunately, there is a lot. Visiting Hawaii can definitely be a vacation dream come true. But the Aloha State’s largest city, Honolulu, is a busy, vibrant metropolitan area. And it has many of the attributes of America’s largest cities, including rush hour traffic.

One national survey has rated Honolulu only behind New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area in terms of traffic congestion. There are a number of reasons for this. It includes lack of highway options, Honolulu’s high population density and lack of public transportation alternatives.

Luckily for cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Honolulu, most tourists are not deterred by rush hour traffic. And neither should you if you, particularly if know how to best deal with it. Regardless if you are renting a car, taking a taxi or riding on public transportation, here are some tips that you can help you spend less time on the road. And by doing so, spend more time doing on what you came to Honolulu, Hawaii for.

Drive in the Opposite Direction of Heavy Traffic on H-1

Staying in Waikiki as most tourists staying in Honolulu do? If so, you’re in luck. You’ll generally be driving outside the city in the morning on Honolulu’s major freeway, the H-1.  As a result, you’re going opposite the flow of the heaviest traffic. But when you’re returning to your Waikiki hotel, try to return before 3:00 pm or after 7:00 pm. This is the afternoon rush hour on H-1. But as you get closer into the city, traffic does not favor one direction over another.

Be An Early Bird

Regardless where you are going, get up early and head out as soon as you can to avoid the morning rush hour. This will not only get you where you want to go faster. But also when you arrive at your destination, it will also tend to be less crowded.

Take Along A Good GPS

If you plan to rent a car, a GPS could be a useful tool while driving in Honolulu. Some of the newer fully featured GPS will not only give you directions. But they can also tell you about traffic conditions and how to avoid them. As they are pretty compact, you can bring it along with you or you can rent one from most rental car companies.

Visit Honolulu During the Summer

Traffic in Honolulu tends to be less congested during the summers. This is because schools and colleges are out during this time. So there is less traffic on the roads during this time, especially during rush hours.

Visit Attractions by Tour Buses

There are numerous tours companies that will conveniently pick you up at your hotel. They’ll take you to major attraction such as the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Diamond Head Crater and more. Then, they’ll take back to your hotel. Even though you might still be stuck in traffic, at least you’re not doing the driving. So when you get to your destination, you’ll be in a better state of mind to enjoy it.

Hawaii Fun Facts

One of the Hawaii fun facts about Waikiki Beach is that much of its sand came from California.

Get some Hawaii fun facts here.

Some Hawaii Fun Facts

Need to learn about some interesting Hawaii fun facts? If so, please read on. Hawaii is a very small state in the country. It also has very little land mass when one compares it to other countries in the world. Despite that, the Hawaiian Islands is a worldwide leader in an amazingly large number of areas. Furthermore, it stands unique from other states in the US. The Aloha State’s leadership and uniqueness in such areas constitute our list of Hawaii fun facts.

Areas of Hawaii’s Worldwide Leadership

  • Being nearly 2,400 miles from the nearest continental land mass, Hawaii has the most remote population on earth.
  • Spanning over 1,500 miles, the Hawaiian Islands is the world’s longest island chain.
  • Hawaii’s Kilauea is the most active volcano in the world and has been continually erupting for the over 30 years.
  • Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii is the world’s tallest mountain when measured from its base on the ocean floor at 33,476 feet.
  • Haleakalā on Maui is the world’s largest dormant volcano, forming more than 75% of the island.
  • Kilauea Iki on the Big Island of Hawaii is the world’s most active volcano.
  • Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii, by volume, is the world’s most massive volcano.
  • Molokai’s north shore has the world’s tallest sea cliffs measuring more than 3,000 feet high.
  • Mauna Kea on Big Island of Hawaii houses the world’s biggest telescope.
  • The Big Island of Hawaii leads the world in harvesting macadamia nuts and orchids.

Areas of Hawaii’s Uniqueness Compared to Other States

  • Hawaii is the only state in the country that grows coffee, cocoa and vanilla beans.
  • Ka Lae or South Point on the Big Island, is the southernmost point in the United States.
  • Covering over 1,500 miles, Hawaii is the widest state in the United States.
  • Hawaii is the only state in the nation with its own time zone, Hawaiian Standard Time.
  • Hawaii is the only state in the nation with a tropical rain forest.
  • Iolani Palace on the island of Oahu is the only royal palace in the country.
  • Hawaii is the only state comprised entirely of islands.
  • Unlike other states, Caucasians are a minority in Hawaii. In fact, every race and ethnicity is a minority in Hawaii.
  • Hawaii is the only state that honors a king when it celebrates every June 11 as King Kamehameha Day.

Popular Hawaiian Flowers

One of the more popular Hawaiian flowers

King protea flower, one of the many popular Hawaiian flowers.

Are Hawaiian Flowers Truly Hawaiian?

Hawaiian flowers, whether their form, always make for a special gift of Aloha. Hawaii’s climate, fertile soil, clean air and abundance of rainfall make it ideal for flowers to thrive.  Hawaii has a diverse range of flowers of all kinds. But there is a universal commonality for almost all of them. And that is: almost all of them are not originally from Hawaii. They were, at some time, brought into Hawaii. Here, they have found themselves an ideal home. This is a sampling of some of the most popular Hawaiian flowers.

Protea

The protea was originally introduced into Maui in the mid-1980s. It came from South Africa as well as from Australia. These are unusually looking, but stunningly beautiful, flowers with brightly colored stamens and pistils. People know them for their ability to last a long time in a vase or even when they are dried. And because of that, they have become a very popular flower.

Bird of Paradise

This popular ornamental plant is originally from South Africa. It’s so called because its brightly colored and ornate flower resembles a bird from a tropical area. Although it does not share a close resemblance, it is a relative of the banana. This plant is very popular in Hawaii. And you can find it growing and thriving in the homes of many local residents.

Another one of the many Hawaiian flowers

Heliconia.

Heliconia

This popular ornamental plant is related to the bird of paradise and the banana. But it is originally from South and Central America. The plant is sturdy and can last a long time after they are cut and displayed in vases. It can also grow up to 6 feet tall. Like the bird of paradise, you can find a number of the 22 species growing in the yards of many local residents.

Another one of the many Hawaiian flowers

Anthurium.

Anthurium

This plant with its waxy and glossy flower came to Hawaii in the late 1800. It actually is from, of all places, England. It can last very long in a vase, making it very popular as a flower arrangement. While the flower can last a relatively long time, the plant needs a lot of water. It also requires protection from the sun and wind. The anthurium is one of Hawaii’s biggest export flowers.

Pikake

This fragrant flower, otherwise known as the jasmine, is a very popular flower in Hawaii, particularly for lei-making. The plant is originally from India. In Hawaii, people use its buds, rather than the bloomed flowers, to make leis. Typically, lei-makers combine a number of pikake strands into a lei. The greater the number of odd numbered strands indicates how important the recipient is. In Hawaii, pikake leis are usually given to female prom dates.

Ginger, one of the popular Hawaiian flowers.

Ginger.

Ginger

This is another fragrant flower with a lovely lingering scent used in lei making. The plant is originally from eastern India. As they are very delicate, lei-makers need much skill to make leis from the ginger plant. They do not last very long and because of the effort required to make them into leis. As a result, those who receive them in the form of leis can well appreciate their transitory beauty.

The Road to Hana

A sight along the road to Hana.

Seaside view along the road to Hana.

The road to Hana is one of the most picturesque drives you can take in Hawaii. Perhaps it could also be one of the most scenic drives in the world. The Hana Highway takes you to the idyllic town of Hana on the island of Maui. The approximately 64 mile journey from Kahului to Hana can take 2 ½ hours, provided you don’t stop along the way. But you should stop by as many places as you can. This is because the when driving to Hana, the goal should not be the destination, but the journey.

Things to See Along the Road to Hana

Plan on making your sure-to-be memorable trip a whole day affair. This is because there are a lot of things to see. Additionally, most of the road will be narrow and winding with more than 600 curves. There are 59 bridges along the way. But 46 of them can only be traversed by cars going in the same direction. The highway is also on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Waterfalls

There are many interesting and scenic stops that you should see on the Hana Highway. You can visit one of innumerable secluded waterfalls in a lush tropical setting. The abundant rainfall along the northern slopes of Haleakala creates these memorable waterfalls. Here are some of the more notable ones. You can find Twin Falls at Mile Marker 2, Upper Waikani Falls or the Three Bears at Mile Marker 19. There are also Hanawai Falls at Mile Marker 24 and Wailua Falls at Mile Marker 45.

Wayside Parks

There are a number of quiet and beautiful public roadside areas. The Kaumahina, Wailua Valley and the Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Parks are examples. Stop at any one of these parks to take a break from your drive. Here, you can also enjoy some of Maui’s best places for leisurely strolls and relaxation. In addition to waterfalls and parks, there are numerous scenic lookout spots as well as roadside stands. At these places, you can sample exotic fruits and other locally made food products.

More things to see on the road to Hana.

View from a scenic lookout along the road to Hana.

Gardens and Arboretums

Other very notable places to stop include the Garden of Eden Arboretum and the Keanae Arboretum. Here, you can see a large number of native plants and farm crops on display. You should also stop by the Kahanu Garden which is a part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Once a sugar plantation and pasture, the garden now showcases Hawaiian plants, history and culture. The area is also home to the Pi’ilanihale Heiau or temple, one of the largest in all of Polynesia.

The Town of Hana

Once you get to the town of Hana, take the time to explore its sights and attractions. One of the things you definitely do is to head out to Wai’anapanapa State Park. It features the black sand beach, Pa’iloa. You can also visit the Wai’anapanapa freshwater caves which are good examples of anchialine pools. Anchialine pools are landlocked bodies of water with a subterranean connection to the ocean. Such pools are unique to places where there are aquifers within lava coastal bedrock.

Another must see place in Hana is the rustic and inventory-crammed Hasegawa General Store. The store sells almost anything and everything to the local Hana residents and visitors. It has been a long-time part of the island’s lore and culture.

Kipahulu

Don’t plan on just stopping in Hana. There is still much to see beyond this town. In Kipahulu, stop by the Palapala Ho’omau Church. At this place, you can visit the grave of one of America’s most famous aviators, Charles Lindbergh. In his latter years, Lindbergh and his wife lived in this part of Maui on a half time basis. He loved it so much he wanted to be buried here when he died in 1974.

Another very famous attraction in the Kipahulu area is the Ohe’o Gulch or Seven Sacred Pools. Here, you can find waterfalls, picturesque freshwater swimming pools, forest trails, waterfalls and a historic heiau. This area, stretching down from Haleakala’s summit, was added to Haleakala National Park in 1969.

Another attraction on the road to Hana

Seven Sacred Pools in Kipahulu.