Hawaiian Words to Learn

hawaiian flower

For the most part, English is very common throughout Hawaii and the Polynesian Islands. After all, Hawaii is one of the 50 United States of America.

But there are some locals on the island that still use Hawaiian words and terms. This means you will want to learn these Hawaiian words before you travel to the islands.

9 Hawaiian Words to Learn

1) Aloha

You will hear residents of the islands say “aloha” as both a greeting and as a farewell. That’s right, “aloha” is both “hello” and “goodbye” in Hawaii. It can be confusing but in context you will understand whether it is a greeting or farewell.

2) Mahalo

“Mahalo” is the Hawaiian word for “thank you”. You will use this word at your hotel and at almost every tourist attraction or restaurant you visit during your time on the Polynesian Islands. Assuming you are polite of course 🙂

3) Kokua

If you need help or assistance with something, you need “kokua”. You might ask for directions or something similar and use the term to one of the locals. Be sure to say “mahalo” after someone provides kokua for you!

4) Pono

“Pono” is the Hawaiian version of “cool” or “awesome”. The younger residents of the islands are more likely to use this term than the older ones. You might also hear this term often from local surfers on Oahu.

5) Ohana

The term “ohana” means family in Hawaii. Family is very important in the Polynesian Islands and you will often hear locals in Hawaii discussing their ohana with great love and pride.

6) Ono

“Ono” means delicious or yummy. You will probably have some ono food at one or two local restaurants in Hawaii during your vacation to the islands.

7) Keiki

The term “keiki” is used for children. You will see many keiki on the islands during your time in Hawaii.

8) Pau

“Pau” means done or finished. If a server at a restaurant wants to take your empty plates or glassware you can say “pau” and he or she will know it is OK to take them from you.

9) Lei

The lei is the traditional Hawaii neckwear you often receive at the airport after your plane lands on the island.

Tourism in Oahu

pearl harbor

There are some tourist activities necessary for any vacation in Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands. Tourists must try out local food and experience the culture of the Polynesians and experience a luau. I also recommend learning to surf (or at least trying to J).

Then, of course, there are the hundreds of beautiful beaches to enjoy and explore. This is true of all of the Hawaiian Islands.

However, this post focuses on some of the amazing tourist attractions in Oahu Island. Oahu is a Hawaiian Island and home to Honolulu.

No trip to Hawaii is complete without a stop at this historic island in the Pacific Ocean and there are many attractions for visitors to see:

#1. Pearl Harbor

History buffs must visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial in Oahu. This site is one of the most-visited World War II memorials in the entire world. The location is the final resting place of over 1,000 American soldiers who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

There is a visitor center and offshore monument and fairy rides to the monument where visitors can pay their respects to the brave soldiers from that historic day.

#2. Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is the most popular of all of the beaches in Hawaii and it is one of the most beautiful places on the entire Earth in my opinion. The sand and the ocean are breathtaking and the waves are some of the best for surfing in all of Hawaii. There are also several local shops and restaurants to enjoy along the coast.

#3. Sunset Beach

If you want to see how the top surfers do it, then Sunset Beach is the place to go. Do not surf these waves yourself if you are an amateur or just learning but watch the local surfers and professional visitors tackle some of the most amazing surfing waves in the world on Sunset Beach.

These are just three of the very best tourist attractions in Oahu but there is so much more to do on the island. The restaurants are delicious and the shops feature handmade craftsmanship for sale from local artists that live on the island.


Aloha! Welcome to Adventures in Polynesia …

This is my travel blog about my time spent living in Polynesia. I want to share some of the history of the area, tourist attractions, local culture and more! I hope you visit this blog often to hear about all of my adventures!