There certainly are perks associated with living on a beautiful tropical island paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but there are also some risks that come with the territory. From giant centipedes and cockroaches to hurricanes and volcanic eruptions, here are 15 of the biggest risks associated with life in Hawaii, and how to help you be prepared.
1. Giant cockroaches invading your home.
The cockroaches in Hawaii are huge, and absolutely terrifying. We suggest always having a can of Raid at the ready – and maybe making your spouse, roommate, child or dog the designated bug killer in your house.
2. Being wiped out by a giant wave while having your photo taken.
It’s hard to resist the urge to have your photograph taken in front of a stunning Hawaiian beach, but unfortunately, being toppled over by a large wave is a risk you’ll have to take for that perfect Instagram shot.
3. Falling ill due to the disastrous effects of the vog.
Vog, or volcanic smog, wafts over from the Big Island, and is killer on the sinuses. We’re talking severe allergy symptoms and sinus headaches. Your best defense while the vog is thick is to stay inside and make sure to keep taking those allergy meds.
4. Being trampled by a mob of tourists.
This may be a long shot, but I would still tend to avoid areas that tourists flock to if you like your personal space.
5. Traffic accidents as the result of driving through anything more than a light rain.
With near-perfect weather year round, many people who live in Hawaii somehow forget how to drive when the sky is producing anything more than a light drizzle.
6. Getting stranded or lost on the top of a mountain – or the middle of a jungle.
Hiking is a favorite activity among locals and tourists alike, though anyone can easily get lost on a trail if they aren’t closely following trail markers. We suggest sticking to popular trails until you are more experienced, and always packing more water than you think you’ll need.
7. Being attacked by a shark, or stung by a jellyfish.
While few people in Hawaii are actually attacked by sharks, being stung by a jellyfish is a very real risk. Always check beach reports after a full moon, as that’s when the jellyfish are closest to shore – trust me, it’s not a fun experience.
8. Heart attack brought on by grocery store prices.
There is no doubt about it – the cost of living in paradise is astronomical, and if you just moved here, the prices you’ll find at grocery stores will make your head spin: $8 for a gallon of milk?
9. Heat exhaustion is a very real risk in Hawaii.
Similarly, dehydration and sun poisoning are also major risks associated with visiting or living in Hawaii.
10. All-powerful hurricanes.
Hurricanes are common among the Hawaiian Islands – in fact, there was a time last summer when there were three developing hurricanes off the coast of Hawaii at the same time. Unfortunately, being prepared is the only defense against an impending hurricane.
11. Being impaled by a rock while cliff jumping.
Many people who visit Hawaii believe that they are completely safe cliff jumping – but the ocean is in control, and a sudden shift in the tide could cause you to impale yourself on a rock. Please, only go cliff jumping if you are extremely knowledgeable in the ocean currents of the area, and are a strong swimmer.
12. Volcanic eruptions destroying your home.
That’s why there’s such a thing as lava insurance in Hawaii.
13. Finding that a centipede has found its way inside your house.
Centipedes in Hawaii are no joke. They can grow to be up to 12 inches long, and an inch in width. Be careful, because these little menaces attack, they tend to travel in pairs, and if you want to kill one, you’ll need some good scissors, because just stomping on them will not work. Oh, and make sure to kill the centipede outside – the scent a dying centipede gives off attracts more centipedes to the area.
14. Dangerous bacteria from freshwater making you sick.
Leptospira, a dangerous bacteria, is most commonly found in freshwater ponds throughout Hawaii. The bacteria can cause leptospirosis when coming in contact with your eyes, nose, mouth or broken skin, and exhibits mild to severe flu-like symptoms.
15. Getting hit in the head by a falling coconut.
Death by falling coconut may sound silly, but rumor has it that a supposed expert claimed in 2002 that falling coconuts kill approximately 150 people around the world each year.