Big Island Snorkling Tours Blog

14 Strange Habits Every Hawaii Local Will Defend To The Death


Here’s a fun article by Megan Shute for Only In Your State on some Hawaii habits.  Join us on one of our snorkel or manta ray tours to add to your bucket list!

  1. We eat a lot of Spam.

This quintessential canned ham product manufactured in Minnesota was introduced to the islands during the 1940s, and has become a wildly popular staple food across the islands. We use it in tons of different items, including the very popular Musubi dish.

  1. We call the 48 contiguous states “the mainland”.

It’s just what we do, and yes, we’re used to the weird looks we get from anyone who doesn’t live in Hawaii… But it makes sense to us, since we live on a collection of islands.

  1. Hawaii locals break out their sweaters as soon as the temperature drops below 75 degrees.

When you’re used to sunny skies and temperatures hovering around 85 degrees, anything colder makes you feel as though you’re going to freeze… even if you’ve ever lived in the American Midwest, or anywhere else frigid most of the year, by Hawaiian standards. We’re completely acclimated to beautiful weather.

  1. Anyone who lives on Oahu, we plan all of our afternoon activities around rush hour so we won’t have to be on H-1 headed west between 3 and 7 p.m.

Traffic in the Honolulu metropolitan area is the second worst in the country, second only to Los Angeles…. At least the views are pretty, right? It makes being stuck on the freeway slightly more palatable when you can gaze at the gorgeous scenery outside.

  1. We also talk about distance not in miles, but in the time it takes to get to our destination.

When you factor in traffic, road construction, and slow speed limits, it doesn’t make sense to talk about driving times in distance. My favorite beach on Oahu, for example, is only 30 miles from my house, but easily takes me an hour to get there. You can have to plan for all contingencies when enjoying a day out.

  1. We automatically start spelling out our street name whenever giving our address to someone over the phone.

It’s a reflex, really, because we all know that if the person on the other end isn’t from Hawaii, they won’t understand otherwise. We’ll have to spell it out so that they understand exactly what we’re talking about.

  1. Call flip-flops slippahs.

We know best, since all we own are slippers (and maybe a pair of hiking boots.) They’re easy to slip on and off, so the name fits. And who doesn’t own a pair of flip flops in HawaiI?

  1. Hug everyone they meet upon saying goodbye.

It might be the Aloha spirit, but hugging is common, even if you just met someone. Mainlanders get pretty freaked out about it, though. But relax and give in, and enjoy a little bit of Aloha while you’re here! It’s one of the most charming aspects of living in Hawaii.

  1. Locals refuse to use their car horns.

It not only disturbs the peace, but it’s just plain rude. Have some Aloha spirit, man. What’s the hurry? The islands are a peaceful, beautiful place. Haven’t you ever heard of Island Time?

  1. Dessert is the most important meal… ever.

Hawaii locals certainly love our shave ice, malasadas, ice cream mochi and haupia pie. Something sweet is always welcome. And there are so many opportunities to enjoy something sweet and delicious.

  1. Geckos make the best roommates.

Not only are geckos adorable, but they eat up all of those unwanted bugs that somehow make their way into your home, despite how often you clean your house. So kick back, relax, and say hello to your new friend Larry.

  1. Use the terms “mauka” and “makai” instead of traditional cardinal

Meaning “towards the mountain,” and “towards the sea,” respectively, our directions are easier than north, south, east, and west. They’re more descriptive and easier to understand no matter where you are on the islands.

  1. Referring to almost everyone you know as your aunties, uncles, and cousins.

In Hawaii, everyone is Ohana, even if you may not be related by blood. Living the same life, on the same waters, and under the same one. It promotes strong community bonds, and it feels good.

  1. Waking up before dawn to witness a quintessential Hawaiian sunrise.

You simply won’t understand until you’ve welcomed the day on a deserted beach, or at the summit of your favorite local hike. The colors of the Hawaiian sky are absolutely unforgettable. You’ll see colors you’ve never seen before when you catch a sunrise or sunset on the islands.




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