Tourism

Say ‘Aloha’ to the Hawaiian Islands and take a trip that gives back

James Harrison

The Hawaiian Islands are a dream destination for international travelers looking to re-explore the world and absorb the culture, history, and beauty of one of the Pacific Oceans’ most unique locations.

Upon arrival, tourists can enjoy the amazing food and a rich array of natural beauties, like the gorgeous white sandy beaches, stunning waterfalls, and incredible volcanos the islands have to offer.

Hawaii of course lets tourists experience the unique welcoming Aloha spirit of the locals that is found nowhere else. Here travelers can experience one of the most important values for native Hawaiians and Hawaii locals; the idea of malama aina, or to take care of the land. This special relationship between the natural beauty of the islands and the vibrant culture of the locals grows stronger every time you malama (give back).

By giving back to the land, the wildlife, the ocean, the community, the earth, and even to the fishpond, people in Hawaii become part of a virtuous circle that enriches everything and everyone, and that includes the experiences of visitors.

There’s more than one way to learn about the native traditions used to work the land, and tourists can engage with the many ways that locals help keep Hawaii more sustainable for generations to come.

Here are the incredible islands of Hawaii and how your clients can experience the beauty while helping locals to keep Hawaii more sustainable.

Kauai

Kauai is Hawaii’s fourth largest island and is sometimes called the “Garden Island” (something tourists will realise why once they’ve arrived). Guests can experience a farm tour in the beautiful, green Hanalei taro fields to see how kalo (taro), an important Hawaiian root starch, is cultivated.

Farmer Lyndsey Haraguchi Nakayama demonstrates taro planting | Hawaii Tourism Authority / @hbgoodie

Travelers can visit the south shore of Kauai, which is home to Kauai Coffee, a working coffee plantation where tourists can stroll through the coffee orchard, talk to the friendly guides, look at the gift shop and sample the exclusive line of estate-grown Hawaiian coffees.

Coffee farm host gives a tour to visitors | Hawaii Tourism Authority / Ben Ono

Travelers can get in touch with the island’s nature by visiting Hawaii’s largest botanical gardens; the National Tropical Botanical Garden has three sites on Kauai: Allerton Garden and McBryde Garden just west of the charming town of Koloa, and Limahuli Garden on the island’s North Shore.

Allerton Garden | Hawaii Tourism Authority / Ben Ono

Get there at the right time of year and tourists can go on a whale-watching tour between December and May, or spot some of the 1,200 endangered Hawaiian monk seals swimming in Kauai’s waters on Poipu Beach.

Hawaiian Monk Seal | Hawaii Tourism Authority / Pierce M Myers Photography

Oahu

In Oahu, tourists can learn the spirit of malama with farm tours that teach travelers about the farm-to-table process that is such a vital part of Hawaiian regional cuisine. Become amazed at any, or all, of Honolulu’s Botanical Gardens’ five diverse sites on Oahu. From December through May go whale watching off Oahu’s southern coast and catch a glimpse of a majestic kohola, or humpback whale, when the gentle giants swim to the warm Hawaiian waters every year for the breeding season.

Makapuu Lighthouse Trail Sign On Humpback Sanctuary | Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson

Lanai

Lanai is more than just the luxurious resorts around the island. In fact, much of the island looks the same way it did hundreds of years ago. Wide open plains dotted with Cook pine trees give Central Lanai a more rustic feel than the other Hawaiian Islands, and there are other off-the-beaten-path spots that can take your clients back in time.

Palawai Road Curve | Hawaii Tourism Authority / Pierce M Myers Photography

Take a journey to the Kanepuu Preserve on the west side of the island for a self-guided tour that features 48 species of endemic Hawaiian plants. A visit to Kanepuu Preserve is a unique opportunity to view rare plant species like the local hibiscus mau hau hele and trees like the lama, a native ebony in this area protected by the Nature Conservancy.

Maui

Also known as “The Valley Isle,” Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island and is well known for its amazing beaches, the sacred Iao Valley, and views of migrating humpback whales during winter months.

Take a drive to upcountry Maui and enjoy the fields of sweet lavender, stroll among the vibrant protea in Kula, visit a goat dairy or even enjoy some Maui-made wines and spirits. Walk through the Kula Botanical Garden and see the wide array of indigenous plants, waterfalls, ponds, and a beautiful panoramic view of the valley and west Maui mountains.

Little girl pets goats | Hawaii Tourism Authority / Daeja Fallas

Continue to the 9,100-metre summit of Haleakala and possibly meet Maui’s state bird, the endangered nene (Hawaiian goose), or stumble upon a Haleakala silversword, a rare and beautiful succulent that shimmers in the light of dawn.

Silversword plants on the slopes of Haleakala | Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson
Couple at the summit of Haleakal | Hawaii Tourism Authority
Nene | Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau / Kirk Lee Aeder

Molokai

One of the smaller islands among the archipelago, Molokai is only 61 kilometres long and 16 kilometres across. This smaller island remains true to its island roots, with a high percentage of the population being Native Hawaiians who continue to preserve their rural lifestyle.

East Molokai | Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson

See how the locals work the land with a farm tour at Purdy’s Natural Macadamia Nut Farm in Central Molokai and see why Hawaii is the world’s leading producer of macadamia nuts.

Get in touch with land by visiting the Nature Conservancy’s two sites on Molokai: the Moomomi Preserve on the northwest coast and the Kamakou Preserve in the mountainous rainforests to the east and really see environmental preservation in action.

The Kamakou Preserve covers nearly 2,774 acres and is home to more than 250 rare Hawaiian plants, 219 of which can be found nowhere else. Tread the 3-mile round-trip on the narrow Kamakou boardwalk through unspoiled rain forest.

Culture hike with guide | Hawaii Tourism Authority / Blake Bronstad

Island Of Hawaii

The island of Hawaii is the youngest and largest of the islands in the archipelago, coming in at nearly twice the size of all the other islands combined.

Tourists are blessed to be able to learn about the local ecosystem of the island of Hawaii and experience its unique beauty in so many ways. Learn about efforts to protect and rehabilitate native bird species and other wildlife at the Hawaii Wildlife Centre’s Hoopulauma Science and Discovery Centre. Take a tour and learn about renewable energy, sustainability and emerging technology at the Natural Energy Laboratory through the Friends of NELHA group. To help restore native plantlife, travellers can take a tree planting tour with Hawaiian Legacy Tours, where lucky tourists can help plant a Koa tree.

Visitors replant koa trees in reforestation project | Hawaii Tourism Authority / Heather Goodman

Get out there and malama

The Hawaiian islands are all easy to travel between and there is so much to explore on each individual island.

So, tell your clients to get out there and malama because their first international holiday after a long time of border closures should be one that gives back to a community so desperate to have them.



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