Arriving Airline Flights: Home City to Kona, Hawaii, Big Island
Departing Airline Flights: Maui to Home City
Day One: Saturday-January 17, 2015: Arrive Kona, Hawaii, Big Island
Arrive in your gateway city to the Hawaiian Islands, Kona, Hawaii, Big Island where you will be greeted with a traditional Hawaiian lei. You will be met at the baggage claim by Sally Bell, who will assist with your transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy and adjust to the time change. We will meet each other at our Welcome Breakfast tomorrow morning before we depart for our daily activities.
Day Two: Sunday-January 18, 2015: Welcome Breakfast at hotel and Kaloko-Honokōhau Tour. Free afternoon for individual excursion from our hotel
After a night’s rest, we will enjoy a private Welcome Breakfast at our hotel. Meet Patrick McMillan and your fellow ETV Endowment travelers before we begin our exciting excursion to one of Hawaii’s many natural wonders.
A national park ranger will meet us at the entrance and take us on the tour of the park. Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park offers the chance to enjoy the culture and natural history of Hawaii. The natural features of Kaloko-Honokōhau are connected with the park’s archeological and cultural features. The park’s wetlands make up some of the Big Island’s finest. They are remnants of a once thriving aquaculture system. The park has many important natural features that help us understand the story of the park and its past use. The coral reef, anchialine pools, tide pools and wetland bird habitats are easily accessible. From tiny red shrimp grazing on algae in the anchialine ponds to the majestic humpback whales crossing the deep blue Pacific waters, creatures both large and small can be found inhabiting the land and sea of this park.
We will return to hotel for a ½ day at leisure. You may wish to sign up for individual excursions - perhaps a whale or dolphin watch, snorkeling or you may choose to relax at the hotel.
Meals Included: B
Day Three: Monday-January 19, 2015: Free morning and evening Mauna Kea Summit tour
You will have a free morning to enjoy the amenities of the hotel. You can also schedule a whale or dolphin watch or a snorkeling tour.
The drive to the summit of Mauna Kea is one you’ll never forget. It will be hard to believe you’re in Hawaii as you climb to 13,796 feet above sea level. Once at the summit, we are afforded spectacular views of the horizon: Haleakalā on Maui, Mauna Loa and Hualālai and Mauna Kea’s world-class array of telescopes. Mauna Kea is the world’s tallest mountain, rising more than 32,000 feet from the ocean floor to its summit, which is considered by many Hawaiians to be the most sacred place in all the islands. In your hooded parka, you’ll stand in awe at both nature’s sublime creation and man’s astonishing technological achievements. Starting out from our hotel in Kona, we travel up the coast over desolate lava flows for about a half-hour before proceeding up the rolling pasturelands on the flanks of Mauna Kea. Turning onto the Saddle Road that traverses the island between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, you’ll see a dramatic and diverse landscape of ranchland, sub-alpine dryforest and rainforest (with striking features such as cinder cones, lava flows, lava tubes and kīpuka).
We arrive at our private dinner at Mauna Kea - Humuula Trail approximately 2 hours before sunset for a hot, picnic dinner served family style. After dinner and with your parka in hand, we’ll make the 45-minute drive to the summit. As we make our way up, you’ll be fascinated by our Interpretive Guide’s interpretation of Hawaii’s remarkable natural, cultural and geologic history. After sunset we descend to the Visitor’s Information Station at 9,000 feet in elevation. Here we set up our own telescope and have a star gazing party. Wrapped warmly in our parkas and enjoying hot beverages and cookies, we will marvel at the brilliance of the Hawaiian night sky. Our Interpretive Guide will share with us stories of the observable universe and offer a personal and educational look at the heavens. We return to our hotel after our tour. Meals Included: B, D
Day Four: Tuesday-January 20, 2015: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Day
This is a tour unlike any other. Spend the day exploring the unique geography of Hawaii’s “Big Island”. A visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will inform you about the seismic activity that’s been a constant on the Big Island and the culture that sprang up around it. You’ll see Mauna Loa, the world’s largest volcano, and Kīlauea, the world’s most active volcano. You’ll also see other dormant volcanoes, lava beds and steam vents while discovering the legends meant to explain these natural phenomena. While there is no guarantee of a red-hot lava flow sighting, you may see a smoldering crater or a steam vent. By the tour’s end, you’ll know exactly how and why volcanoes occur. You’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy some unique scenery along the way. While in the park, we will take a short, easy hike through the Thurston Lava Tube. We will drive along the beautiful Hāmākua coast and stop for a walk on the loop trail at majestic Akaka Falls. (Easy, approx. ½ mile) Our drive will take us through lush tropical vegetation to scenic vista points overlooking the cascading Kahuna Falls and the free-falling Akaka Falls, which plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge. Meals Included: B, L
Day Five: Wednesday-January 21, 2015: Maui Air Transfer and ‘Īao Valley and Lahaina Town
Today we fly to Maui to continue our tour.
Upon arrival we travel to ‘Īao Valley, through Wailuku, the county seat of Maui’s government. Visit Wailuku and explore the charming wooden storefronts around Market Street, showcasing dozens of family businesses, many of which have been in continuous operation for generations. These off-the-beaten-path “Mom and Pops” are home to local favorite shops, restaurants and bakeries.
We will continue on to ‘Īao Valley. Towering emerald peaks guard the lush valley floor of ‘Īao Valley State Park. Located in Central Maui just west of Wailuku, this peaceful 4,000-acre, 10-mile long park is home to one of Maui's most recognizable landmarks, the 1,200-foot ‘Īao Needle. This iconic green-mantled rock outcropping overlooks ‘Īao Stream and is an ideal attraction for easy hiking and sightseeing. Aside from its natural tropical beauty, sacred ‘Īao Valley has great historical significance. It was here in 1790 at the Battle of Kepaniwai that King Kamehameha I clashed with Maui's army in his quest to unite the islands. Even with ‘Īao Needle serving as a lookout point, Kamehameha defeated Maui's forces in a ferocious battle that ultimately changed the course of Hawaiian history.
We will travel along the coastline into old Lahaina Town. Today, Lahaina is on the National Register of Historic Places. You can still get a feel for old Lahaina as you stroll down lively Front Street and visit historic stops on the Lahaina Historic Trail. Approximately 55 acres of old Lahaina have been set aside as historic districts. Meals Included: B
Day Six: Thursday-January 22, 2015: Road to Hana Nature Touring
Along Maui's rugged eastern coastline is the peaceful town of Hana, considered one of the last unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers. The legendary road to Hana consists of narrow one-lane bridges, hairpin turns and incredible island views. The Hana Highway (HI-360) has 620 curves and 59 bridges. The road leads you through flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools and dramatic seascapes. We will make a few nature stops and enjoy the lovely views on one of Maui’s most scenic drives. Historic St. Sophia’s Church marks your arrival into Hana, where the pastures roll right up to the main street. We will enjoy some free time in the Hana area before our return to our Maui hotel. Meals Included: B
Note: This is a winding road that we will travel in small vans. Be prepared for curves.
Day Seven: Friday-June 23, 2015: Haleakalā National Park Day Tour and Farewell Luau Dinner and Show
After breakfast on your own at our hotel, our morning begins as we board our motor coach to Haleakalā National Park. Enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of Maui. The beauty of the Upcountry area will take your breath away. Haleakalā, the "House of the Sun", is spellbinding and is the world's largest dormant volcano. Its crater measures 3,000 feet in depth, 7.5 miles long, 2.5 miles in width and 21 miles in circumference. Stretching across Maui’s southern and eastern coastline, Haleakalā National Park is home to Maui's highest peak. Rising 10,023 feet above sea level, Haleakalā's graceful slopes can be seen from just about any point on the island. Legend has it that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on Haleakala’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last even longer.
You’ll discover more endangered species here than any other park in the National Park Service. You may even spot a Nene (Hawaiian goose) or a blooming ahinahina plant (silversword) on your visit. We will stop to enjoy lunch and tour Kula Botanical Garden, which is located on the slopes of Haleakalā and encompasses eight acres of colorful and unique plants, amazing rock formations, a covered bridge, waterfalls, koi pond, aviary and other attractions including a carved tiki exhibit. There are hundreds of varieties of plants for you to enjoy and photograph. Plants are labeled with their botanical name, common name and country of origin.
Are you ready to do the Hula? Tonight we enjoy an authentic Hawaiian Luau with Drums of the Pacific. At 5:15 pm, we will meet at the Luau Gardens at the back entrance of hotel. It’s our final night, and we’re all going to say “Aloha” with a traditional Hawaiian party where you’ll be doing the hula and enjoying traditional Hawaiian foods, music, entertainment and gracious island hospitality. A wonderful way to end an ETV Endowment adventure in Hawaii!
Meals Included: L, D
The national park service is contemplating limiting visitation to Haleakala. Should that occur before this tour, we will substitute another tour for this day.
Day Eight: Saturday-June 24, 2015: Free Morning with individual transfers to Maui Airport
Your final day in Hawaii is free to sleep in or sign up for a morning tour of your choice or enjoy the beach, pool and amenities of your Maui resort. If your flight has a late departure time, you may wish to book a snorkeling trip. It has been a fun tour of our nation’s 50th state, one that truly shows how diverse our great country is. Have a safe flight home! Meals Included: B