Common Hawaiian Phrases to Learn For Your Vacation


No matter the destination, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local language of the place you’re visiting on vacation. Not only will this make it easier to understand signs and announcements, but it also means you’ll be able to handle basic conversation with the people you meet, even if it’s just saying hello and thank you.

Many people across the Hawaiian islands speak English, but if you’re planning a holiday somewhere in Hawaii like Kauai then learning some common words and phrases can be very useful. It also allows you to immerse yourself more in the culture of the island you’re staying on, and show local people that you’re making the effort to appreciate their language and way of life.

You don’t need to spend hours pouring over grammar and vocabulary, but it’s easy to get to grips with greetings and useful words for items you might need while you’re away. To get you started, here are some common Hawaiian words and phrases to learn for your next vacation to the state.

Hawaiian Greetings

Greetings are some of the most useful phrases to memorize when it comes to learning a new language for a vacation. Here are some of the best Hawaiian greetings to use on your vacation.

Aloha - Hello, goodbye, state of mind
Pronounced: Ah-LO-hah

Mahalo - Thank you
Pronounced: Mah-hAh-loh

Aloha kakahiaka - Good morning
Pronounced: Ah-LO-hah kah-kah-hee-ah-kah

A hui hou - Until next time/Until we meet again
Pronounced: Ah-hoo-wee-ho-oo-uu

E komo mai - Welcome
Pronounced: Eh koh-moh my-ee

Aloha Surfboards

Basic Hawaiian Words

As well as learning common greetings, being able to recognize basic Hawaiian words is also really useful when you’re visiting one of the islands in the state. Here are some that we think will come in handy during your stay.

Wahine - Woman
Kāne - Man
‘Ohana - Family
Heiau - Religious temple
Lei - Flower or leave garnet worn around neck or head
‘Ōpala - Trash
Wai - Fresh water
Kai - Sea water
Honu – Green sea turtle
Pua - Flower
Moa - Chicken
Pua’a - Pig or pork
Poke - Cubed raw fish
Pupu - Appetizer
Pau Hana - Happy hour

Hawaiian Sea Turtle

Useful Phrases in Hawaiian

Finally, here are some of the other useful phrases in Hawaiian that we think you might need to learn before your holiday.

Aloha wau iā ‘oe - I love you
Pronounced: Ah-lo-ha va-oo ee-YAH 'oh-weh

Mauka or Makai - towards the mountain
Pronounced: Mau-ka or ma-ka-eye

A’ole pilika or He mea ‘iki - no problem
Pronounced: Ah-oh-leh pee-lee-kee-yah

Pono – Doing what is right
Pronounced: Po-nOh

​​‘Ono grinds – Delicious food
Pronounced: Oh-no grinds

Tourists in Hawaii


If you’re visiting islands in Hawaii then you should definitely get comfortable with saying ‘Aloha!’ or ‘Mahalo!’ as these are two words that you’ll hear thrown around in all kinds of situations. Unless you’re in a particularly remote part of one of the islands, you should always be able to find someone that speaks your language, but it’s still good to learn useful words and phrases to help you around while you’re away.

If you’re planning a vacation to a Hawaiian island and Kauai has caught your eye, Pure Kauai offers an exclusive range of villas that are perfect for a luxurious trip away. Browse our collection here or get in touch and talk to our team to find out more.

Published on Wednesday, November 16, 2022