Hawaiian cowboys and cowgirls welcome visitors in 2020. A honey scrub is a massage in Waikiki you won’t forget.
Exotic Hawaii tourism woke up to new treats in 2020.
What is the best Hawaiian Island to visit in 2020? Hawaii Tourism United States (HTUSA) released the 2020 Hawaii trend report today.
The report names hotels you don’t find anywhere else, Hawaiian restaurants, Volleyball at the beach to swimming with the sharks. How to stay fit while on vacation in Hawaii? A new gym in Waikiki may be the answer, and it’s on a rooftop overlooking Waikiki Beach.
Meetings in Hawaii? There are brand new developments in hotels with new concepts in Hawaiian meetings. The Hawaii Convention Center is now marketed directly by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau – and it means a new Hawaii marketing approach.
The all-new luxury lifestyle resort Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection will open in January on the island of Hawaii following a property-wide reimagination and renovation. The resort will open with contemporary guest rooms and suites, five private bungalow residences, five restaurants and lounges, three distinct pools, and a signature spa and wellness haven, as well as the property’s Kainalu active-pursuits program, Living Culture program and interactive Holoholo Kids Circle. Call (808) 885-6622, or visit aubergeresorts.com/maunalani.
Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach named one of Hawaii‘s top 10 resorts in Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s 2019 Reader’s Choice Awards, recently unveiled its new, expansive ballroom featuring wellness-centered menus and programming inspired by Hawaii’s rich culture. Now the third-largest meeting and event space in Waikiki, the resort’s 12,000-square-foot ballroom features state-of-the-art technology and distinctive eco-conscious design. The multifunctional space can host up to 1,100 guests for a variety of events, including global conferences, lavish galas and weddings. alohilani.com
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa is offering a special package for groups arriving between January 4 and March 31. When booking either a minimum of 10 rooms and a catered event, or a minimum of 20 rooms, groups can receive one room upgrade, one complimentary VIP welcome amenity, no resort fee, complimentary lei greeting, and complimentary Wi-Fi in all guest rooms. Planners will need to mention “OVB What’s New” when booking to receive the offer. The package is subject to availability and blackout dates may apply. aulani.com
The new Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani luxury boutique hotel welcomed its first guests in October. Featuring 284 rooms and four suites, the completely reimagined multimillion-dollar property is situated directly across Kalia Road from its iconic sister hotel Halekulani. Incorporating Hawaii’s culture and the philosophy of Halekulani, Halepuna Waikiki, according to its management team, is “a refined retreat in the heart of Waikiki where Hawaiian traditions, warm and engaging service, and fine design enrich every guest room, dining experience and amenity. With the meaning of its Hawaiian name being “House of Welcoming Waters,” the Halepuna Waikiki incorporates calming, water-inspired design features throughout the property. halepuna.com
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort’s Tapa Tower is currently undergoing extensive renovation of its guestrooms, suites and corridors, and will debut as the Tapa Collection upon its reopening. The property’s reimagined rooms, according to the hotel, will feature “palettes combining the beauty and power of the Pacific Ocean with the natural materials and patterns found in Hawaii’s treasured tapa cloth. Corridor carpeting will resemble the ebb and flow of the Waikiki shoreline as it draws guests toward the spacious, newly renovated rooms.” Each room will feature modern furnishings matched with textiles and wall art honoring the Hawaiian culture’s connection to the land and sea, and the distinctive patterns of tapa. Guestroom categories will continue to include ocean view rooms, junior suites, one-bedroom suites and Tapa Family Rooms, the last of these a spacious layout with two queen beds and a king bed. tapacollection.com
To mark its 10th anniversary, the Trump International Hotel Waikiki is offering a new, limited-time anniversary package Celebrating 10 Years of Trump Waikiki. The package includes accommodations for either a one-, two- or three-bedroom suite; a bottle of champagne with Trump logo keepsake champagne flute glasses; a 60-minute Trump Customized Massage treatment for two at The Spa at Trump; and private chauffeured round-trip ground transportation from the airport. The package may be reserved for stays from now through March 31. The promo code is 10YR. trumpwaikiki.com
The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Waikiki Beach recently debuted its new signature treatment Pilialoha. The 80-minute treatment begins with an olena and wild lehua honey scrub and includes a lomilomi massage infused with wildflower essences. Warm pohaku (stone) and fresh awa (kava) lotion are applied to align the pulses and release neck tension. The treatment concludes with a mark applied to the chest (over the heart) and wrist using fresh-cut olena root marking the end of the treatment. The Ritz-Carlton Spa is located in the Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach. ritzcarlton.com/waikiki
The Vive Hotel Waikiki recently unveiled “Flowers, Surf, & Aloha: A Story Told in 15 Floors,” a special art collaboration with POW!WOW! Hawaii featuring the work of Hawaii artists Kamea Hadar, Jeff Gress and Luke DeKneef. The collection features 15 original hand-painted art pieces, displayed across the hotel’s 15 floors, celebrating Hawaii flora, Waikiki’s surf breaks and the meaning of aloha. vivehotelwaikiki.com
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa recently completed the second phase of its property-wide transformation with a multimillion-dollar renovation of its lobby. Renovations include a new lobby bar and café, lounge and reception area, situated in an open-air setting bringing the outdoors inside. An expansive lanai and viewing deck offers panoramic views of Kaanapali Beach. A new family game room is also part of the lower lobby level. The resort completed the renovation of its 508 guestrooms and suites in July 2018. marriott.com/hnmsi
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa recently unveiled its new lobby bar, naming it The Sandbar. The venue features an expansive lanai and viewing deck with panoramic views of Puu Kekaa (aka Black Rock) and Kaanapali Beach. The new lobby bar and café were designed to be the epicenter of the resort’s gathering space and aims to offer a local-inspired food and beverage experience. The morning menu features coffee and breakfast bites, while an evening menu offers pupu (appetizers), cocktails, craft beers, and wines. An adjacent lobby lounge offers communal seating for socializing, ocean views and nightly live entertainment. marriott.com/hnmsi
Aqua-Aston Hospitality hotel properties Aston Kaanapali Shores and Aston Maui Hill welcome residents and visitors to experience Talk Story, a gathering with local community leaders an opportunity to learn about Hawaii, inspired by Hawaiian oratory traditions and led by a Hawaiian culture expert. Available by request, the interactive events incorporate traditional Hawaiian greetings, chanting and instruments. Also recently launched, Aqua-Aston’s The Green Room sponsorship is a speaker series presented by the Maui arts and ecology organization The Merwin Conservancy aimed at fostering a reverence for language, imagination and nature via a series of Hawaii arts and ecology salons. Speakers in the series include renowned Hawaiian scholars and U.S. Poet Laureates, with salons presented in December, January and March. aquaaston.com/
Kaanapali Beach Hotel’s recently introduced waa (canoe) paddling tour offers guests an opportunity to venture beyond Kaanapali Beach’s Puu Kekaa (aka Black Rock) to learn about Maui from both above and beneath the surface of the ocean, and from a Hawaiian perspective. During the winter months, tour guests can also enjoy whale watching as they paddle, with beach alakai (guides) assisting canoe passengers as they view the giant marine mammals from a safe distance. kbhmaui.com/packages/waa-canoe-paddle-tour
Kaanapali Beach Hotel has partnered with Waikiki Brewing Company to begin serving KBH Hefe, a new craft brew exclusive to the hotel. The hotel team describes the brew as an “unfiltered, cloudy, golden wheat beer with a light and airy taste, and full. kbhmaui.com/
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa is offering its guests a special opportunity to experience whale-watching season with its seasonal package Kohola in Kaanapali. Available for travel dates between now and April 12, the package includes newly-renovated, deluxe oceanfront accommodations; an outrigger canoe whale-watching experience for two guests with Kaanapali Surf Club; two mai tai cocktails from the resort’s new lobby bar, The Sandbar; an educational whale talk at the resort’s Hawaiian Marine Life Hale led by a marine naturalist from Maui Ocean Center; and a welcome amenity, including a 3-ounce tin of Raw Elements reef-safe sunscreen and the resort’s signature mango bread. Daily rate starts at $499, with a minimum three-night stay required. Call (866) 716-8140 and mention rate code YX1, or visit marriott.com/hnmsi.
Wailea Beach Resort will debut its Oceanfront Sundeck Collection in early 2020, featuring 33 ground-floor rooms with extended decks and furnished outdoor living spaces, some located steps from the ocean’s edge. The Oceanfront Sundeck Collection and Sunsets adult pool bar are the most recent enhancements to the resort following its 2016 transformation. marriott.com/hotels/travel/hnmmc-wailea-beach-resort-marriott-maui/
The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa’s new Stellar Maui’d Under the Stars wedding experience begins with the wedding couple gathered with friend and family at the top of the hotel’s rooftop for stargazing from the property’s telescopes. The intimate ceremony continues with an artist capturing the moment on canvas, a musician soloist playing traditional Hawaiian music, and everyone in attendance offered lei. The aisle for the ceremony is strung with flower petals, and the bride gave a bouquet of flowers. The couple has a choice of a bottle of sparkling wine or two Starry Night vodka-infused wine cocktails. And on the couple’s request, the resort will also provide an officiant. The Stellar Maui’d Under the Stars wedding package starts at $10,500. Call (808) 667-4430, email [email protected], or visit hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/hawaii/hyatt-regency-maui-resort-and-spa/oggrm.
The Four Seasons Resort Lanai’s Sweetheart Rock luxury spa suite experience celebrates the iconic island of Lanai landmark Puupehe, also known as Sweetheart Rock, overlooking the Hulopo‘e Bay marine reserve and Pacific Ocean. The experience begins with the Hawanawana Spa’s Salts of the Earth body scrub, followed by a 90-minute Oceanic Stone lomilomi massage tailored to guest preferences, and scalp and foot masks for top-to-toe relaxation. The experience may be enjoyed in one of the spa’s couple’s suites, and followed with a hike to Puupehe to welcome the sunrise or sunset together. On a clear day, guests may even be able to see Maui, Kahoolawe or Oahu from Puupehe’s lookout. The 120-minute Sweetheart Rocks experience is priced at $830 for two. fourseasons.com/lanai/spa/
Four Seasons Resort Lanai’s new Island Romance Retreat for couples offers side-by-side ANDA Vital Nutrient Gua Sha facials, with additional treatments including breathing and balancing rituals, a therapeutic full-body massage, and a comforting light wrap and foot treatment – all featuring signature Gua Sha elements. Post-treatment, couples can continue to relax with a mineral bath in their guest room, and five sachets of Mineral Wellness Soak with Eucalyptus and a deluxe-size Fuz Balm as gifts. The 150-minute Island Romance Retreat is priced at $1,200 for two. fourseasons.com/lanai/spa/
Located in Kapaa on Kauai’s east shore, the new oceanfront Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort is now open following a multimillion-dollar renovation of the former Courtyard by Marriott Kauai at Coconut Beach. Guests are invited to stay in one of the resort’s 314 redesigned guest rooms, dine at its oceanfront restaurants, and enjoy firepits surrounding the resort’s modern infinity pool. Call (808) 822-3455, or visit marriott.com/hotels/travel/lihsk-sheraton-kauai-coconut-beach-resort.
Koa Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach recently introduced its new Endangered Kauai package, highlighted by a dolphin-safe charter sail along Kauai’s breathtaking Napali Coast. Guests reserving the package also receive complimentary reef-safe sunscreen and a reusable water bottle. In support of Hawaii marine life and individuals devoting their time toward protecting them, the resort is also donating 5 percent of all booking fees for the Endangered Kauai package to the nonprofit Kauai Surfrider Foundation. Call (877) 276-0768, or visit meritagecollection.com/koa-kea.
Sunday Club is a new brunch experience at Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach’s new Longboard Club open to hotel guests and the public. Club guests are invited to enjoy the venue’s indoor/outdoor amenities, all-inclusive brunch pupu from Executive Chef David Lukela, beats by big wave pro surfer/turntablist DJ KK, and after-brunch access to the club’s heated saltwater infinity pool. alohilani.com
Halekulani Bakery & Restaurant at Halepuna Waikiki features a range of fresh-baked artisan breads, pastries, cakes and coffees. A chocolate-viewing kitchen allows guests to observe the daily creation of the eatery’s delicacies, including its signature dragée chocolate macadamia nut pearls. Open for all-day dining, the restaurant features a menu focused on locally-sourced ingredients and service in a relaxed setting. In addition to indoor seating, outdoor lanai seating is available for diners opting for grab-and-go food. Halekulani Bakery & Restaurant is located across the street from the Halekulani hotel on Kalia Road. halepuna.com/bakery
KoHana Distillers, the Oahu-based boutique distillery of KoHana Hawaiian Agricole Rum, has introduced its newest rum KoHana Koa, billed as the world’s first spirit aged in barrels made of native Hawaii koa wood. The inaugural batch of 437 bottles of KoHana Koa (each 375ml) is available exclusively at the distiller’s KoHana Tasting Room. The first 50 bottles of the new spirit are individually numbered and packaged in koa wood boxes. Bottles 51 through 437 are numbered with a commemorative koa wood medallion. kohanarum.com
The recently opened Mugen restaurant offers Japanese-French cuisine with a focus on high-quality ingredients curated from around the globe by the restaurant’s culinary team, led by Executive Chef Jason Yamaguchi. Dining at Mugen – a Japanese word meaning “infinity” – is, according to the restaurant’s team, “an intimate and unforgettable experience, much like stepping into a beautiful home – an inviting ambiance, filled with personal touches and memorable interactions with the chefs.” espaciowaikiki.com/dining-at-mugen/
Tiki Bar & Grill at Kaanapali Beach Hotel recently introduced new menu items and expanded the wine and cocktail list at its Tiki Terrace to feature wines from Italy, France and Spain. The dining menu additions include a Beyond BurgerTM, new bowl options, and new pupu, including kalua pig nachos, fish tacos and fried zucchini. The menu also includes more gluten-free and vegetarian options. All of the eatery’s food items are served in reusable baskets to reduce waste and raise sustainability awareness. In addition to its expanded wine list, Tiki Bar also has a new collection of tropical cocktails, including the Mamaki Old Fashioned, a combination of Hawaii‑sourced mamaki tea, Redemption Whiskey, fresh-squeezed lemon, falernum liqueur and bitters. Mocktail creations at Tiki Bar include the Lime in a Coco, Mango Season and Goodie Guri. kbhmaui.com/dining/tiki-bar
Surfclub Tacos recently opened for business in the north shore Maui surf town of Paia, offering a menu of taco classics crafted with local and organic ingredients, including ulu and fresh fish. Head Chef Jeremy Hannon’s menu features multiple taco options, including chili lime lobster, pollo verde, al pastor, beef ranchero, local shrimp and fresh catch, as well as vegetarian options like cauliflower and batata (sweet potato). Surfclub Tacos’ tortilla chips are prepared fresh and served with the eatery’s homemade Surfclub salsa. The design of the restaurant was inspired by Paia’s town and country surroundings with an aim toward embracing the area’s surf vibe. surfclub.com
ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach’s rooftop fitness deck by Island Club and Spa recently introduced an outdoor aerial yoga experience through a partnership with Hawaii AntiGravity® Aerial Fitness studio The Hang Out. Classes on the deck now take on a new perspective with panoramic views of Waikiki. Indoor classes available in 2020 will include a restorative class and an Arrival Session for guests to stretch and invert after a long flight. alohilaniresort.com
Bike Hawaii recently introduced a solar powered bike tour to its lineup of eBike tours of Honolulu’s Koolau mountain rainforests. The 250-watt electric-assist mountain bike eases the tour’s 5-mile uphill climb before the road’s eventual descent. Bike Hawaii also recently introduced a full-day private Koolau Waterfall Hike and Kamehame Ridge combination tour, which covers the scenic vistas of two privately-owned Oahu properties. bikehawaii.com
Bishop Museum is presenting its new original exhibit “Mai Kinohi Mai: Surfing in Hawaii,” now through May 3, in its Castle Memorial Building. Utilizing the museum’s research and collections in partnership with the local surfing community, the exhibit explores surfing’s history and ongoing technical and cultural developments, which have made the sport an international phenomenon. Highlights of the exhibit include displays of the oldest traditional Hawaiian surfboards alongside surfboards belonging to legendary surfers like Duke Kahanamoku. Interactive display teach visitors about surf forecasting, and archival photos and rare memorabilia at the exhibit share surfing’s roots in traditional Hawaiian culture and influence on modern Hawaii culture. bishopmuseum.org
The Hawaii Forest & Trail Hilo Chocolate & Waterfalls Tour is great for families as they learn about Hilo’s rich heritage on the way to a working cacao farm. At the farm, guests embark on an interactive tree-to-chocolate adventure that includes harvesting cacao pods, learning about the fermentation process and of course, chocolate tastings in the comfort of the Chocolate Bar. After everyone has their fill of chocolate, the adventure continues with an exclusive swim under a 120-ft waterfall. Hilo Chocolate & Waterfalls adventure includes light snacks and lunch. Cost is $149 per person with children 12 and under at $124. Gear provided includes walking sticks, daypacks and rain ponchos. Pickups from select Hilo locations.
Hawaii Forest & Trail takes guests on a journey to the west side of Oahu where Hawaiian varietals of sugarcane are grown for Ko Hana Rum Distillery on the Sunset & Rum Tasting Tour. Tour the distillery, stroll through a garden of native Hawaiian sugar cane and visit the rum tasting bar. The adventure continues to an exclusive access forest at an elevation of 2,400 feet, where guests experience sweeping views of the west side of Oahu, while learning about history and culture of Hawaii from highly qualified Hawaii Forest & Trail naturalist guides. After a short, family-friendly hike through the forest, relax and enjoy island fresh appetizers in the glow of a beautiful Hawaiian sunset. Cost is $159 per person, with children 12 years and younger at $134. The adventure includes an exclusive access property fee, locally inspired appetizers and beverages. Gear provided includes walking sticks, day packs, rain jackets and sunscreen. Pickups from select Waikiki and Ko Olina locations.
Hawaii Forest & Trail gives guests in insider look at the iconic North Shore, home of Oahu’s big surf, on the North Shore Waterfall & Adventure Tour. Swim in a waterfall, hit the beach, enjoy lunch from a North Shore Shrimp Truck, learn about aquaculture at Loko Ea (Hawaiian Fishpond) and visit Haleiwa Town for island-style boutique shopping. Cost is $159 per person with children 12 and under $134 and includes a locally inspired lunch, water and snacks. Gear provided includes walking sticks, day packs, rain jackets and sunscreen. For a complete menu of Hawaii Forest & Trail multi-island adventures or for more information visit hawaii-forest.com.
The Polynesian Cultural Center recently announced the launching of its new Alii Luau show featuring “‘Onipaa”, a tribute to Hawaii’s last ruling monarch Queen Liliuokalani. The new luau will debut in the spring, replacing the center’s current show. polynesia.com
Royal Star Hawaii recently launched its Grand Circle Island and Haleiwa Deluxe Bus Tour, a nine-hour journey including stops at some of Oahu’s most scenic and historic spots such as Leahi (aka Diamond Head State Monument), Hanauma Bay State Park, the Halona Blowhole, Nuuanu Pali Lookout, Byodo-In Temple Hawaii, Tropical Farms of Hawaii, and several North Shore area beaches. royalstarhawaii.com
Star of Honolulu recently revamped the Polynesian Journey live show on its Pacific Star Sunset Buffet & Show dinner cruise. The new Polynesian Journey show visits the islands of Polynesia through new songs, costumes and choreography. starofhonolulu.com
Waikiki Beach Activities and Mermaid Republic recently partnered to launch a new introductory scuba diving program for guests with little or no prior scuba diving skills. The partnership’s Try Scuba Diving program will be offered daily at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort with start times at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. All tours begin with a 10- to 15-minute fundamental briefing in shallow water to get participants comfortable with breathing underwater and basic scuba diving skills. The tour then guides guests on a first scuba at the resort’s Duke Kahanamoku Beach. The hourlong experience includes all necessary equipment and free GoPro videos utilizing provided underwater props. Call (808) 265-5107, email [email protected], or visit waikikibeachactivities.com.
Ala Moana Center, the world’s largest open-air shopping center, recently introduced three new tenants to its growing collection of more than 350 stores and restaurants. The shopping, dining and entertainment center’s new tenants are Gianvito Rossi, Hervé Chapelier and Morphe. Ala Moana Center also welcomed Alexander McQueen, Dior Café, Dior Men’s, Hope & Henry and Valextra in 2019. alamoanacenter.com
International Market Place invites shoppers to celebrate Fukubukuro, a popular annual Japanese shopping event where merchandise-filled “lucky bags” (the English translation of the Japanese word fukubukuro) are sold at half-off full retail value. The bags will be available at participating retailers while supplies last. On February 1, shoppers are invited to welcome the Lunar New Year at the International Market Place’s free, family-welcoming Chinese New Year festivities, which will include lion dance performances and traditional Chinese calligraphy. The center is open every day, including holidays, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. shopinternationalmarketplace.com
Get out on the water with Hawaii’s winter-season kohola (humpback whales) on Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Whale Watch, offering adventures now through April. Led by a Cousteau-trained naturalist on a 12-passenger private boat, the whale watch offers guests insight into humpback whale biology and social behaviors, with opportunities to listen to whale songs using an underwater hydrophone. Transportation, digital photography and refreshments are included. Tours, open to adults and children at $139 per passenger, run from 12:15 to 3 p.m., Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Call (808) 665-7292, or visit ritzcarlton.com/kapalua.
Whale Tales is an annual four-day event on Maui bringing together marine experts and thousands of residents and visitors from around the world for talks, receptions and whale watches. Since 2006, scientists, photographers, filmmakers and conservationists from around the world have joined the Whale Trust research team on Maui annually to collaborate and share with the public their newly-acquired humpback whale knowledge. Since its inception, Whale Tales has raised more than $725,000 for whale research and shared knowledge with countless individuals, including local schoolchildren. All proceeds raised by the event are distributed to selected beneficiary organizations and students to support whale research in Hawaii through the Whale Tales Beneficiaries Program. This year’s 14th annual Whale Tales happens February 14-17. whaletales.org
Wailea Village recently opened in Maui’s Wailea Resort area. With more than 90 percent of its shops comprised of locally-owned small businesses, the new shopping center offers travelers an opportunity to experience and bring home mementos made on Maui emphasizing local, casual, creative and artful offerings. Shops at Wailea Village retailers include Akamai Coffee, Paper Garden, Kohola Gallery, Droplets., The Bikini Market, HUE Interior Design and Decor, Sabado Art Gallery and Boutique, Manoliʻs Pizza Company, Wailea Blue Course Pro Shop, Snorkel Bobʻs, and WaterLily Maui. thewaileavillage.com
Atlantis Adventures on Oahu recently introduced its Majestic Sunset Cocktail Cruise, offering guests a chance to enjoy a beautiful Hawaii sunset from the sea. The 150-foot Majestic vessel offers three decks (two of them air conditioned), panoramic windows to enjoy views of Oahu’s south shore, a complimentary spread of seasonal appetizers, and a full-service bar and lounge. The Majestic Sunset Cocktail Cruise experience is offered at 5:15 and 6 p.m. during the spring and summer. atlantisadventures.com
Tasting Kauai recently launched two new tours for foodies visiting the island. Its Kauai Happy Hour Tour spotlights cocktails and food pairings highlighting the island’s unique flavors. Foodies looking for a more hands-on tour experience can opt for the company’s Kauai Cooking Class Tour, guided by a local chef, which visits a local farmers market to gather and learn about local ingredients. Cooking experience is not needed. Call (808) 278-2912, or visit tastingkauai.com.
Kauai Safaris invites guest to jump on one of its open-air safari trucks to explore the beautiful 105-acre Kilohana Plantation. Guests will taste and learn about the fruits and vegetables grown on the plantation, interact with family-friendly farm animals, and stroll the rainforest of Kahuna Nui Valley. Guests on the tour also enjoy farm-to-table cocktails made with award-winning Kōloa Rum Company rum. Call (808) 652-4707, or visit kauaisafaris.com.
Discover one of Kauai’s hidden waterfall gems at the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s McBryde Garden on its new Wailele Tour. Guest on the tour explore McBryde Garden’s scenic Lawai Valley landscapes, tropical rainforest, Waihulili Falls, and Canoe Garden, the last of these populated by botanical treasures introduced by early area settlers. The tour concludes at a garden hale (house) for some knowledge of the area’s history and Hawaiian culture. Call (808) 742-2623, or visit NTBG.org.
The Lodge at Kukuiula’s new Huakai Intensives adventure program is led by professional experts who guide guests in a variety of traditional Hawaiian activities from surfing to crossbow hunting. Each experience is customized with one-on-one instruction, offering participants the tools and educational experience necessary to become experts in their chosen activity. Call (866) 901-5204, or visit lodgeatkukuiula.com/intensives.
On Kayak Kauai’s new Whale Watch and Snorkel Tour, guests guide a sea kayak along the south shore coast of Poipu, experiencing the scenic area that is home to Spouting Horn, Lawai Valley, Nōmilu Pond and the cove of Wahiawa. By kayak, guests paddle sea paths taken by early Polynesians and whaling captains, from Koloa to Port Allen. The Poipu Whale Watch and Snorkel by Sea Kayak is offered from October through April. Call (808) 826-9844, or visit kayakkauai.com/whale-watch-by-sea-kayak.
On Kauai ATV’s Makauwahi Cave Tour, guests are invited to see mankind’s impact on a fragile ecosystem and become a part of preserving native endangered species and Hawaiian culture. The tour visits Kauai’s fossil-rich, limestone Makauwahi Cave, which has attracted archaeologists and visitors from around the world. Guests learn about the history of the cave’s ecosystem gleaned from fossils and artifacts found by scientists, stroll through a tortoise ranch and visit a thousand-year forest populated by Native Hawaiian plants. The tour also visits Kauai movie-production sites and shares the history of sugar plantations in Hawaii. A portion of the tour’s proceeds support the Makauwahi Cave Reserve. Call (808) 742-2734, or visit kauaiatv.com.
FESTIVAL AND EVENTS
The Waimea Ocean Film Festival, set for January 1-8, will screen more than 70 films, as well as host filmmaker Q&A sessions, presentations and panel discussions highlighting a diversity of ocean-related topics, including the ocean experience, ocean environment, island culture, inspirational stories and tales of epic ocean adventures. Film festival-related events will be held at several locations – from January 1-4 in Waimea, at the Fairmont Orchid resort, and at the Mauna Kea Beach Resort, before moving to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, January 5-8. Call (808) 961-8796, or visit www.waimeaoceanfilm.org.
The 27th annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is set for February 1 in Waimea town, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The town-wide celebration showcases the annual blooming of its historic cherry trees and the Japanese tradition of viewing and appreciating the transient beauty of their flowers, or hanami. Festival attendees enjoy Japanese and multicultural live performances, as well as colorful craft fairs and hands-on demonstrations exploring bonsai, origami, a traditional tea ceremony and mochi pounding. Free shuttle transportation between most festival venues is provided by Roberts Hawaii. Walking is also encouraged. The festival is organized by the County of Hawaii Department of Parks and Recreation. Call (808) 961-8796, or visit facebook.com/Waimea-Cherry-Blossom-Heritage-Festival- 195555713803758.
Presented by the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences (HIMELE) and the Ke Kula Mele Hawaii School of Hawaiian Music, the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival annually brings together legendary steel guitarists for a celebration of the instrument and its music. Set for February 7-9 at the Mauna Lani Auberge Resorts Collection Hawaii resort, the three-day festival features performances, presentations, instructional workshops, jam sessions and school visitations focused on the Hawaiian steel guitar and its importance in Hawaiian music. hawaiisteelguitarfestival.com
The 28th annual Panaewa Stampede Rodeo, happening February 15-17, will spotlight three days of Hawaii-style rodeo at the Panaewa Equestrian Center, just outside of Hilo. The event welcomes paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys and cowgirls) and spectators to experience competitive rodeo skills born of the island’s deep ranching history and still practiced today. The event features bull riding, calf roping, bronco bustin’, barrel racing and a trio of unique-to-Hawaii events. The rodeo will also feature a rodeo clown, professional announcer, food and craft booths, leather- and saddle-making exhibits, and a culture and history display tent highlighting the island of Hawaiʻi’s and state’s paniolo history. hawaiirodeostampede.com
The Pacific Whale Foundation recently announced the schedule for its 40th anniversary Maui Whale Festival, with events happening throughout February. The nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation’s signature annual fundraising and outreach event, Maui Whale Festival brings resident and visitors together in celebration of the annual return of Hawaii’s humpback whales, who journey 3,000 miles to our waters each fall from their North Pacific feeding grounds to mate, give birth and care for their young calves. One of Maui’s longest-running events, the Maui Whale Festival offers multiple opportunities for sightings of Hawaii’s largest annual visitors. The Run & Walk for Whales, set for February 1, marks the festival’s official kickoff and is one of Maui’s largest and most scenic run-and-walk events, offering multiple courses for different skill levels. The run-and-walk will be followed by a courtyard celebration featuring music by Hawaii reggae musician Marty Dread, a breakfast, prizes and medals. pacificwhale.org/cruises/
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