When I travel I typically seek to immerse myself in the culture and the landscape of the place I’m visiting as much as possible. This is not to say I don’t visit touristic sites. I mean you can’t go to Rio and not visit Christo the Redeemer! With that being said these type of experiences are not typically the most memorable parts of mine, or most vacations. In fact my visit to the famous statue would be but a blip in my memory, if it weren’t for the fact the clouds parted and a cheer went up from the crowd who had all been standing there devices in hand waiting for the perfect picture. That too lost it’s novelty after the 5th or 6th time.
Many of us travellers are seeking out those once in a lifetime experiences that leave an indelible mark on our hearts and our souls and become burned into our memories. They bond us with each other and the greater world. Sometimes they even shift us into a higher state of consciousness. Hawaii has a plethora of potential for these once in a lifetime type memories. Here are 5 I think are particularly special:
5. Submarine around Kona
I love this Atlantis Submarine tour in part because it’s an adventure activity that is family-friendly and suitable across the generations. In the submarine you can enjoy amazing views without even getting into a wetsuit or learning to scuba dive. Grandma and Grandpa can come too! How many times in life will you get to ride in a submarine?! And the submarine provides incredible sights, boasting views of 96% of the island that most people don’t see…from the ocean’s surface to the sea floor.
4. Night snorkeling with manatees
There are definitely plenty of wonderful snorkeling activities but this one is unique. Mantas may reach up to a ton in weight but they move elegantly and it’s a beautiful sight. Just after sunset, spotlights illuminate the water in specific areas where mantas are know to feed. Tiny plankton are drawn to the lights, thereby attracting the mantas that feed on them. Under the lights, the mantas but on quite a show. Mantas may reach up to a ton in weight but they glide and dance effortlessly through the water. While the animals are being observed in their natural environment, choose a Hawaii Ocean Watch Preferred activity provider to ensure you are supporting practices of the highest ecological standards. If you are a diver that can also be arranged.
3. Experience the mule ride on Molokai
Perhaps one of Hawaii’s most unique tours on one of the least visited Hawaiian Islands, Molokai’s mule ride down steep sea cliffs to the Kalaupapa Peninsula made the bucket lists of even our most veteran Hawaii visitors. Now a National Historic Park, the isolated 4 ½ square-mile peninsula was once a former colony for Hansen’s disease (leprosy) patients. Father Damien, now a Saint, famously worked within the community, lifting spirits from the time of his arrival in 1873 until he succumbed to Hansen’s disease himself in 1889. The area is still home to former patients who’ve chosen to remain after the close of the center in 1969. The only way to see the sights up close now—unless you charter a private plane—is on foot or by mule. The three-mile trail descends along the 1,700-foot cliffs with 26 sharp switchbacks, a tough route that the mules make a lot easier. A privately-operated mule tour includes the required permits to visit the Kalaupapa community and related historic sites. The round-trip tour by mule takes about 7 ½ hours.
2. Maunakea sunrise tour
Catching a sunrise or sunset from a different vantage point is typically unforgettable. With this experience you can do both with the added bonus of soaking up some local culture! This adventure experience is a newer one and will give you plenty of Insta-worthy photo opportunities. The journey to Maunakea, the tallest volcano on the planet will allow you to witness the star-filled night sky on the way before watching the sunrise amidst a morning sky filled with gorgeous shades of orange, purple and red. You will have to give up some precious ‘z’s; you will be picked up in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle at 2am and your guide will share information on ancient folklore, as well as cultural and scientific significance of the mountain on the way. You should dress warm but you will be given a parka at the summit where you will be standing amidst the world’s largest collection of research telescopes to take in the sunrise. Doesn’t this sound amazing?! FYI for safety and altitude related reasons only ages 16 and up can partake in this experience.
1. Active Volcano Tour
Get it while it’s hot. Trips to see Kilauea Volcano are prefaced with the warning that you might not see actual active lava, guides are saying the current lava flow is the most dramatic they’ve seen in the last three decades. You can actually hike to the active lava flow and watch it erupt from the volcano. Amazing! I would recommend that you get a guide. If you choose to so you will be taken on a four-mile hike across lava flows looking for outbreaks while tracking down molten lava so you can see the most current active eruption sites. You can watch the steam plumes created by the lava reach the water while you are enjoying a picnic lunch. This isn’t the end of it! Your day will be capped off by a visit to nearby winery for a tour and tasting and a BBW before heading back to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to watch the eruption activity at sunset.
Which one of these adventures would you like to partake in? I’d pick any of them! If you’d like me create a fully personalized itinerary combining these and other activities for your next Hawaii trip please do get in touch.Hawaii