Hawaii Protest

Do Local Residents in Hawaii Hate Tourists? (From a Local)

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Wondering if Local Residents in Hawaii Hate Tourists?

No, the majority of Hawaii’s local residents absolutely do not hate tourists.

Local Residents love that you are interested in the culture that makes Hawaii unique and wonderful. But over time have developed a lot of sensitivities that run deeper than just travelers visiting the islands.

As local residents ourselves, we understand both sides and have seen developments in tourism in positive and negative ways.

Here are some of the reasons why local residents may feel protective over Hawaii and why they may be wary of you as a traveler in 2023.

Priced Out Of Paradise: Outside Developers Are Pushing Locals Out

You won’t remember a time when Hawaii wasn’t on everyone’s bucket list. Since Hawaii became a part of the United States, it has become a top place to visit. 

Hawaii is one of the most popular places in the US to visit. While not all local residents in Hawaii hate tourist, it is important to be mindful of Hawaii's historic background.

A common sentiment amongst local residents is that more land and establishments cater to the tourism industry. This may seem to take precedence over the people who have lived in Hawaii their entire lives.

Since Hawaii has limited land, local businesses and resident’s homes are being taken over. We have seen our favorite local businesses shut down since they can’t hold up against outside businesses coming into Hawaii.

What makes Hawaii so special are the people who live in it. Unfortunately, local residents are being pushed out because of the effects that tourism has had on the islands.

Not All Tourists Understand Hawaii’s Culture And Values

Hawaii has cultural traditions and values that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Hawaii is a part of the US, but it is also so different because of its historical roots. 

A common question for visitors to Hawaii is: "do local residents in Hawaii hate tourists?" While most local residents do not hate tourists, there are many ways to be more respectful when visiting Hawaii.

Because Hawaii is so small, the local community takes care of this land and its people before anything else. This may lead to the belief that local residents in Hawaii hate tourists or outsiders; however, this is not necessarily true.

Here are some pillar values that we cherish to carry on the aloha spirit:

  • Laulima = all hands working together
  • Ho’ihi = respect for the island and each other
  • Kuleana = sense of responsibility and accountability
  • Kuleana = sense of responsibility and accountability for the land and people
  • Pono = righteousness (You often hear the mantra, “live pono” from locals)

Not all tourists understand the core values that locals embody on a daily basis. Though tourists are not the only ones at fault here.

Many tourism establishments aren’t local. So they don’t understand Hawaii’s cultural traditions and what they mean to us. 

If you truly understand the values of Hawaii, you can have a deeper appreciation for your time spent here.

Not All Tourists Are Respectful Of The Land And Wildlife In Hawaii

We all know that Hawaii is an amazing place to be surrounded by natural beauty. But Hawaii also has cultures and traditions that run into the land itself.

Throughout the history of Hawaii, Native Hawaiians believed that the land had its own spirit and identity. This means that you should treat it with respect and care.

We as people have a responsibility to care for the land that gives us a home and the wildlife that protects our ecosystems. Of course, local residents in Hawaii will hate tourists, and even other locals, who do not respect Hawaii’s wildlife or lands.

Learn more about how to be mindful of Hawaii’s wildlife here!

A common question for visitors to Hawaii is: "do local residents in Hawaii hate tourists?" While most local residents do not hate tourists, there are many ways to be more respectful when visiting Hawaii.

Unfortunately, Hawaii has to pay for the consequences of tourism. With coral reefs depleting, constant littering, and unclean beaches, the island and wildlife can’t keep up with the number of people coming in. 

Hawaii’s destinations are an experience of a lifetime. But the islands aren’t an amusement park to do whatever you want.

We need to avoid leaving a damaging carbon footprint, so people can continue visiting Hawaii.

Stolen Lives On Stolen Land: Tourism Feeds Into The Dark History Of Hawaii Colonization

You’d never think that a place as beautiful as Hawaii would have such a dark history attached to it. Before becoming a part of the United States, Native Hawaiians built their own unique values and traditions to keep the islands at peace.

That all changed once European settlers came to Hawaii and claimed the land for themselves. In 1893, Americans and Europeans came together to overthrow the Hawaiian Monarchy, with Queen Liliuokalani being the last reigning monarch.

After being overthrown, Hawaiians faced marginalization, lost political power, and were banned from speaking Hawaiian or dancing hula. Outsiders took land out of their own interests, and this is still happening today with tourism at the forefront. 

Hawaii colonization is a very sensitive topic, which may lead to the conception that local residents in Hawaii hate tourists. Local residents feel that tourists don’t understand how the dark history of Hawaii still weighs heavily on the community.

How To Stay Mindful When Traveling To Hawaii?

The goal isn’t to keep travelers away. We want everyone all over the world to understand how amazing the islands are and the beautiful culture they hold.

A common question for visitors to Hawaii is: "do local residents in Hawaii hate tourists?" While most local residents do not hate tourists, there are many ways to be more respectful when visiting Hawaii.

The goal is for local residents and travelers to coexist in harmony. Here are some tips on how you can stay mindful if you are visiting Hawaii for the first time.

 1. Educate Yourself To Understand Hawaii’s Culture

You should do your best to educate yourself before and during your vacation, and this article is a great first step!

This is your opportunity to embody the Native Hawaiian culture during your time here. Hawaiian culture is so significant that it’s even engrained in our education systems!

There are many historical locations that you can visit for free to immerse yourself in during your trip to Hawaii.

Here are some great options to experience the culture of Hawaii:

A common question for visitors to Hawaii is: "do local residents in Hawaii hate tourists?" While most local residents do not hate tourists, there are many ways to be more respectful when visiting Hawaii.
Iolani Palace on Oahu

Seeing through the lens of local residents allows you to have a more authentic experience in Hawaii. You can take back home what you learned and implement aloha spirit in your everyday life.

Check out more tours to experience during your stay in Hawaii!

2. Don’t Take Anything From The Land

Since you must have ho’ihi (respect) for the land, you don’t ever want to take anything from the islands. We know it can be tempting to bring a little memento home with you like shells, coral, and plants.

But if everyone who visited took something back from Hawaii, there would eventually be nothing left. We have to do our best to preserve the islands so visitors can keep coming back and local residents can still have a home.

A common question for visitors to Hawaii is: "do local residents in Hawaii hate tourists?" While most local residents do not hate tourists, there are many ways to be more respectful when visiting Hawaii.

A better practice would be to take as many photos as you can! You can still have Hawaii memories to hold onto forever while leaving it untouched for future travelers.

If you must have a physical memento, instead of picking up shells, we recommend collecting sea glass off of Hawaii beaches! They are absolutely beautiful and come in so many different colors and sizes.

Don’t forget to check out the gift shops scattered around the island for some local items to take home!

Stay Up To Date With Hawaii’s Rules And Guidelines

You’d be surprised by the laws placed in Hawaii. While they may seem a little quirky, they are put in place to keep you safe.

When traveling to Hawaii, it is important to understand the local rules.

Here are a few rules and regulations that are more uncommon, but you should be aware of if you are planning to travel here:

  • You must be 21 years old or older to buy and smoke any sort of tobacco products
  • It’s illegal to smoke with keiki (children) on board vehicles
  • Don’t text while using crosswalks
  • No trespassing on private or government land that’s not for the public
    • Note: If you see a sign that says “kapu” it means that the land is sacred to Native Hawaiians and you must not trespass out of respect.
  • Do not touch the sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals, or frankly any wildlife
  • It’s illegal to take, break, or damage any reef or coral from Hawaii
  • There are restrictions on what you can and cannot take home from Hawaii 
  • You must use reef-safe sunscreen in Hawaii

Also, Take Note Of The Unwritten Rules Followed By Locals

Above are legal rules that you must follow while visiting Hawaii. But there are also some unspoken traditions or “rules” that you want to keep in mind.

It is important to understand the local rules when visiting Hawaii.

Here are some universal Hawaii traditions and unspoken rules that you should know:

  • Always take off your shoes before entering someone’s home
  • Know surf etiquette
    • Be respectful and safe, don’t cut anyone off or hog the waves, and stay out of the way to avoid collisions.
    • As we are both surfers in Hawaii, we see many beginners putting themselves in danger by charging waves that are too big. Know your limits.
  • Respect your kupuna (elders)
  • Be aware of safety concerns when sightseeing
  • Kindly accept and cherish a lei

Look To Support Local Businesses

It is always a good thing to support local businesses whenever you can while in Hawaii. You will help the local residents of Hawaii while getting the most authentic experience.

Hawaii puts on amazing events throughout the entire year to shop for local businesses. Some of the most well-known foodie Instagram accounts for Hawaii will post about locally run events and restaurants.

A common question for visitors to Hawaii is: "do local residents in Hawaii hate tourists?" While most local residents do not hate tourists, there are many ways to be more respectful when visiting Hawaii.

There are also some staple old-school restaurants that have stood the test of time. They have so much nostalgia when it comes to remembering what Hawaii was like in the past.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Shige’s Saimin Stand in Oahu
  • Waiola Shave Ice in Oahu
  • Sam Sato’s in Maui
  • Tasaka Guri Guri Shop in Maui
  • Two Ladies Kitchen in Big Island
  • Wailua Shave Ice in Kauai
Hawaii is one of the most sought-after destinations to visit. Embark on an amazing experience that can't be found anywhere else in the world.


Don’t know which island to visit? Check out our
Hawaii Destinations Guide!

Do Local Residents in Hawaii Hate Tourists? Mindful Tips FAQs

What Is The Difference Between A Native Hawaiian And A Local Resident Of Hawaii?

Native Hawaiians are people who are of Native Hawaiian ethnicity and have Native Hawaiian blood in them. Local residents are people who reside in Hawaii as they were either born, raised, or currently live there.

Not all local residents are Native Hawaiian, because Hawaii is a melting pot of different ethnicities that have immigrated to the islands during the plantation era.

The best way to make sure you don’t mix up Native Hawaiians and local residents is to just call everyone locals or kama’aina (child of the land).

What Is The Story Behind The Open Lei For Pregnant People?

In general, it is given to hope for a safe delivery for your child, but it has a great story for the reason it is open. Native Hawaiian culture puts intention and meaning into everything they do.

A common question for visitors to Hawaii is: "do local residents in Hawaii hate tourists?" While most local residents do not hate tourists, there are many ways to be more respectful when visiting Hawaii.

They traditionally give pregnant people an open lei as it symbolizes an unbreached birth for your child to come safely. 

Can I Take A Pineapple Home From Hawaii?

A common question for visitors to Hawaii is: "do local residents in Hawaii hate tourists?" While most local residents do not hate tourists, there are many ways to be more respectful when visiting Hawaii.

Yes – you can take home a pineapple from Hawaii.

You want to make sure that there are no bugs or holes that could bring unwanted agriculture out of Hawaii, but the airports will check your bags to ensure everything is alright to fly home.

It’s a great souvenir to bring home for your friends and family to try! 

Pro Tip: Save the leafy top to grow your very own pineapple at home!

Why Is Hula Important To Hawaii?

Hula is much more than a dance for entertainment. Every movement in hula represents the telling of stories, legends, and prophecies of Hawaii, while also connecting with the spirits and ancestors of Hawaii. Hula keeps the culture alive in Hawaii with traditions passed down for centuries!

A common question for visitors to Hawaii is: "do local residents in Hawaii hate tourists?" While most local residents do not hate tourists, there are many ways to be more respectful when visiting Hawaii.

Looking for free things to do while on Oahu? The Royal Hawaiian Center on Oahu showcases free cultural performances throughout the week.

Closing Thoughts: Do Local Residents In Hawaii Hate Tourists? Mindful Tips For Travel In 2023

Local residents in Hawaii don’t hate tourists, but they constantly see resources go to growing tourism instead of to the problems they face every day. You can do your part as a traveler by showing respect and empathy to local residents who call Hawaii their home.

Through different activities, you can learn so much more about the history of the islands and the mo’olelo (legends and stories) that are never forgotten. By following these mindful tips when you visit, you can help to change the narrative and bring harmony back into Hawaii.

Hawaii Vacation Planning Guide

Should I Rent A Car In Hawaii?

Absolutely – In order to make the most of your time in Hawaii, renting a car is highly recommended. We personally like to rent with Discover Cars as they have the best rates!

What Is The Best Way To Book My Hawaii Accommodations?

For hotels, booking.com is the best way to book your Hawaii accommodations. They offer many perks like free cancellation, transparent pricing without hidden fees, and a great rewards program.

Should I Buy Travel Insurance?

Yes – Traveling to Hawaii is a huge financial investment that you’ll want to protect. The best way to compare travel insurance packages from different companies is through Visitors Coverage. Baseline coverage for Hawaii travel insurance ranges from $5-$15 USD per day.

What Is The Best Site To Buy Flights To Hawaii?

The best flight deals to Hawaii can be found on WayAway.

What Do I Pack For Hawaii?

Check out our Ultimate Hawaii Dress Code Guide to get insider knowledge on what you need to pack for Hawaii!

Is It Better To Book A Tour Package Or Adventure On Your Own?

It really depends on the traveler. Viator is the best place to book all types of Hawaii tours and activities from individual bookings to multi-day tour packages.

When Is The Cheapest Time To Travel To Hawaii?

During the off-season months from April to May and September to November. There are fewer visitors around these times.

Is Hawaii Safe To Travel To?

Yes – Overall Hawaii is a safe place to travel to, especially if you are staying in the touristy areas. Your main safety concern should be with the oceans or hiking trails in Hawaii.