There are so many reasons to visit Hawaii year-round, but none quite as unique as the solar phenomenon of Lahaina Noon.
Without getting too scientific about it, Hawaii is placed in an advantageous area of the Earth that makes it closest to the sun’s rays, allowing for a bizarre sight twice each year during the summer months.
During Lahaina Noon, anything standing straight off the the ground won’t be able to find a shadow anywhere around it, making it seem almost unreal. As the sun passes overhead, its rays shine directly onto the ground at no angle.
In the native Hawaiian language, the phrase “kau ka lā lolo” roughly translates to “the sun rests on the brains”. The ancient Hawaiians believed that when their shadow disappeared, it would enter their head. This was considered a ‘mana’ or blessing of power to the native people.
The mysticism of it all still leaves visitors in awe today. Some even make the long trip to the islands just to be able to see it.
As the Hawaiian islands are located on a subsolar point of the Earth and the rest of the United States is too far north to experience this natural wonder, it’s the only state in the country where this happens.
Though it’s never happening exactly at the same place and time, it can be observed in different areas throughout Hawaii during the months of May and July. Lahaina Noon happens just before summer solstice.
Spectators will have the chance to catch it on the Big Island from July 23 to 25 this year if they plan accordingly. For everyone else, they’ll have to run their coordinates through NASA’s solar calculator. Playing around with dates in May and June when solar altitude is at 90, you’re able to see if and when the phenomenon can be experienced in your specific area.
Artist Isamu Noguchi created ‘Sky Gate‘, an installation in Hawaii to capture this event in a fantastic way. On most days, the swirly structure, located right by City Hall, casts various misshapen shadows during the day. During Lahaina Noon, however, the structure casts a most perfect shadow, allowing viewers to take in the anomaly in all its glory.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.