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Archive for the Category "Best Hawaii Hiking Trails"

Waterfalls & Gardens on Hawaii Island Aug 07



Umauma Falls

Umauma Falls

World Botanical Gardens and Umauma Falls  is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Hawai’i, and a must to include on your list of things to do while visiting Hawaii Island Visitors Bureau and to experience Hawaii’s Natural Beauty. Visitors can experience this beautiful garden by car and on foot. Drive to view exotic palms, banana, kukui and hala trees en route to the spectacular triple-tiered Umauma Falls. Along the way you wind through hau, hibiscus and native Hawaiian plants to the lush Rainforest Walk  that grow along the Honopueo Stream and grims with tropical plants such as ginger, heliconia, green and red jade vine and bamboo. Rainbow Gardens filled with orchids, bromeliads, palms, ti, cinnamon, allspice, the pencil tree and other tropical species. Allow time during your visit to see the adjacent Arboreteum and the Children’s Maze to wander around at your own pace.

The guided tour of the gardens takes approximately 2 hours with horticulturist and Garden Director Dr. Lanny Neel, every Monday and Thursday or by appointment with catered lunch or bring a picnic lunch.

Enjoy the gardens via Segway Tour  or through the air by zipline

Call (808) 963-5427 to schedule your guided tour- Reservations are required or 1-888-947-4753

Directions : From Kona: Take Hwy 19 through Waimea south to Mile Marker 16 and turn right at the sign.  From Hilo: Take Hwy 19 north to Mile Marker 16- left at the sign.

World Botanical Gardens & Umauma Falls  Hours  Open Daily 9am – 5:30pm

To get started planning your visit to Hawaii  contact  Linda Dancer  Hawaii Master Destination Specialist

via  Email  Direct Line 828-256-1520   Toll Free 1-888-811-1888 ext 331

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge-Kaua’i Dec 12
Kilauea Lighthouse

Kilauea Lighthouse

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kaua’i  changed the days it is open to the public in 2014 – so make sure before you plan your itinerary when visiting the north shore of Kaua’i that you make note of these changes so you will not be disappointed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reduced the days Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is open to the public from seven days a week to five days a week – specifically Tuesday – Saturday  from 1000am – 400pm except most major holidays.

Due to declining budgets, the department felt this move necessary to be able to continue necessary work on the sanctuary – this change was to be evaluated at the end of a one year trial period – so will post later if this changes again.

The Kilauea refuge was established to preserve and enhance seabird nesting colonies and is home to some of the largest populations of nesting seabirds found in the Hawaiian Islands. Visitors often have the opportunity to view spinner dolphins and monk seals, native Hawaiian coastal plants and the Hawaiian state bird the endangered Nene Goose. Probably most well known is the historic Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse which sits on the northernmost point of Kaua’i  allowing visitors to view a piece of history as well as the many bird colonies on the cliffs.

For information on booking your trip to Kaua’i contact Linda Dancer Kaua’i Master Destination Specialist.

Direct Line 828-256-1520 Toll Free 1-888-811-1888 ext 331 Email

Exploring Maui’s Hana Coast Aug 30

Road to Hana

The beautiful Maui town of Hana is isolated from the rest of Maui by geography and can only be accessed by a short flight into the small airport or most often  by driving the “Road to Hana”, the destination is lovely, but the journey along the Road to Hana is such an experience one should not miss when you visit Maui.  Few drives throughout the Hawaiian islands are as beautiful as the Road to Hana, complete with black sand beach,waterfalls,cliffs,rainforest and incredible ocean views.
To get to Hana, one must travel  Highway 36/ which turns into Highway 360(Hana Highway) which is a 52-mile two-lane road with over 200 hairpin turns and cross over about 50 bridges-expect the trip to take about three hours from Kahului so allow a full day for this adventure. One of the first stops along the Road to Hana is Paia, a former mill town that is today a surfer spot with several restaurants,galleries and shops
At Mile Marker 2, a great stop is  Twin Falls  (Twin Falls Fruit Stand is your landmark)

Waianapanapa Beach

I suggest you take a picnic lunch if you are driving  the Road to Hana and stop at Mile Marker 32 at Waianapanapa State Park and Beach -A beautiful black lava-sand beach, a great contrast  to the surrounding ocean and lush rainforest. Here visitors will find picnic pavillions, restrooms, walking trails and a fruit stand. Careful-this beach is more for photo opportunities than swimming, the surf on the east side is rough and can be unforgiving. Spend some extra time after lunch and walk down to the Waianapanape Caves and learn about the tragic end of Princess Popoalaea’s life as she hid in the cave. Just past the town of Hana you will find Hamoa Beach, one of the best beaches on Maui.

Oheo Gulch

 Continue on for about 10 miles further to Kipahulu area where you will find Oheo Gulch, home to the Seven Sacred Pools a series of cascading waterfalls that make for an incredible swimming hole( the water temperature is normally a little chilly). Please be advised that the pools can change with the weather as they are filled by rainwater from the mountain above. Sometimes placid fed by graceful waterfalls, but with heavy rains on the mountain the gorge can turn into a dangerous muddy torrent and should be avoided. If you have allowed enough time (about 2-2.5 hours) before you leave the park, a beautiful hike along the Pipiwai Trail through a bamboo forest up to the Waimoku Waterfall is so worth the effort.
 Although Kipahulu  is actually part of the Haleakala National Park and may not look like that big of a distance on the map, the summit of Haleakala and Kipahula area  are not near each other and it is not a good idea to try to visit both on the same day.
** Just beyond this point  you will find the grave site of Charles Lindbergh at the Kipahulu Point Light Station.

Regardless of whether you choose to drive the Road to Hana yourself, or let someone else do the driving such as the tour that I took with Valley Isle Exursions so you can enjoy the amazing scenery along the way, just do it. Having done it both ways, I must say I enjoyed the day I spent with Valley Isle Excursions much more, I was able to relax and just take in the scenery that I missed before driving and trying to keep up with mile markers and landmarks.

Some pointers for driving the Road to Hana :     
* Be sure and take something if you get car sick
* Remember if you want to swim in the Seven Sacred Pools or visit any of the beaches to bring your swimsuit, a change of clothes and beach towels.
* I suggest maybe taking an old pair of sneakers that you do not mind getting dirty so you can hike to the waterfalls and other sites along the way
* Don’t forget  sunscreen, mosquito repellent and I normally take a small cooler of bottled water
* Very few options for getting gasoline in your car  so make sure you start out with a full tank of gas-Fill up in Hana before heading on to Oheo Gulch – the gas station closes early
* Get an early start, you won’t be as rushed, I always leave my resort by around 6:00am or so to try to beat the traffic as much as possible
* There are some road side stands to purchase fresh fruits and local crafts but vendors rarely have change for large bills or operate on the honor system so I try to take one dollar bills for this reason
* Start  your trip back to your resort before dark, I really would not suggest you drive the Road to Hana at night
With a little pre planning your trip on the Road to Hana will be something you remember forever. The Road to Hana is all about what lies just beyond the next curve in the road!
Contact: Linda Dancer   Email: Direct Line:828-256-1520  Toll Free 1-888-811-1888 ext 331
Diamond Head State Monument – O’ahu Aug 02

Diamond Head

Visitors have been flocking to Waikiki Beach  for years, and all the while Diamond Head State Monument stands guard and leads visitors to the shores of O’ahu, but long before this crater became Diamond Head this pronounced seaward summit with deeply eroded ridges was known as Le’ahi. Early history says that Hi’iaka the sister of the fire goddess Pele, gave  Le’ahi its name because the summit resembled the forehead of the fish, it is also said that it is named for the navigational fires that were lit along the summit to assist canoes traveling along the shoreline. Today the Diamond Head light built in 1917, provides a visual aid for navigation. So where did the name Diamond Head come from ? Western explorers  and traders visited in the late 1700’s and mistook the calcite crystals in the rocks on the slopes of the crater for diamonds, thus the nickname Diamond Head came to be the common name.
The broad, saucer shaped crater covers 350 acres with its width being greater than its height.  It is believed the crater was created about 300,000 years ago during a single,brief eruption. Years of erosion and being weathered by rain, wind and pounding by the sea has caused a coral reef to form and protect the seaward slopes of the crater. One of the best ways to see Diamond Head is from the air , I took this shot from the air when I did the Island Seaplane Tour of O’ahu, a wonderful way to see the entire crater.
 In addition to flight tours, another great way to experience Diamond Head is to take the historic trail to the summit that was built in 1908 as part of the U.S. Army Coastal Artillery defense system. From the trailhead to the summit of the crater  you will cover 0.7 miles (1.1km) one way and climb 560 feet from the crater floor. The trail follows uneven and steep terraine so please be careful, and proper footwear is a must. Portions of the trail involve steep stairways, go through long, dark tunnels, so I suggest you take along a small flashlight, but most important pay attention and take your time along the trail.  It is always hot  so sunsreen and lots of water are recommended. Allow 1.5  – 2 hours for a safe and unrushed round-trip hike and take time to take in the surroundings.
Le’ahi is a fragile resource, by staying on the trails and not taking shortcuts you save plants and reduce erosion.    
Le’ahi (Diamond Head) is the most recognized landmark in Hawai’i and was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1968.
For further information about Diamond Head State Monument :
Department of Land & Natural Resources / Diision of State Parks
1151 Punchbowl Street,Room 310,Honolulu, Hawai’i 96809
Phone: (808) 587-0300
For information about book your vacation to O’ahu :
Contact: Linda Dancer   Direct Line:  (828) 256-1520   Toll Free: 1-888-811-1888 ext 331
Kayaking on Kaua’i Jul 19

 Being the oldest inhabited island in the Hawaiian Island chain has given  Kaua’i  the distinction of being the only Hawaiian Island with navigable rivers. Kaua’i has had more time for wind and water erosion to deepen and widen cracks into streams and streams into rivers.  Rivers are navigable but given Kaua’i  is a small island  the rivers are rather short in length, with no rapids and perfect for Kayakers of all levels, even beginners.

In addition to navigable rivers Kaua’i also has beautiful coastline for advanced paddlers along the Napali Coastline (best done in the summer months when the seas are at their calmest). National Geographic Adventure has ranked kayaking Napali Coast second on its list of America’s Best 100 adventures for two years in a row, second only to the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Tours run May through September, ocean conditions permitting, during winter months sea kayaking tours operate on the South Shore, still beautiful but not as dramatic as the Napali Coastline.

  There are several kayak tour and kayak rental companies on Kaua’i but if you are traveling to Kaua’i during peak summer and holiday seasons, making your reservations at least a couple of weeks is suggested. For the most part the tour operators are open year round, most offer tours Monday through Saturday, very limited are available on Sunday.  Regardless of the tour you book  you will need to take your swimsuit,sunscreen, a hat, bug repellant (some of the kayak tours also include tours on private lands), water shoes (sport sandals,aqaua socks or old tennis shoes) and motion sickness tablets if you are sea kayaking. Tour operators offer tours on the Hule’ia, Wailua and Hanalei Rivers with guided tours that also combine hikes to waterfalls, explore famous movie sites and the Hule’ia National Wildlife Refuge.  Tours that operate on the Hanalei River (designated an American Heritage River) pass by Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge and many taro farms, the Hanalei River ends at Hanalei Bay as an estuary.

The majority of the tour companies use two person sit-on-top style kayaks, so you share the work with someone  so be sure you sharpen your communication skills, because the nickname for two person canoes on the river is “divorce boats”. In addition many of the tour companies offer alternative adventure tours such as zipline, down hill cycling and standup paddle boarding and even swimming at the base of a remote waterfall.

If you just want to kayak on your own, then I suggest the Hanalei River, I feel the most scenic seen from the kayak, no trails to hike but the most convenient of all is there is a kayak rental company right on the river, no having to haul kayaks on top of your car. Be sure and check water conditions  at before you head out.

Several of my favorite Kayak Tour Operators on Kaua’i:

Outfitters Kaua’i – 2827A Poipu Road-Poipu Beach, Kaua’i 96756  (808) 742-9667

Kayak Kaua’i – 1 mile past Hanalei Bridge, Hanalei Hi 96714 (808) 826-9844 /  second location on Kuhio Highway in Kapaa for Wailua River Tours

Napali Kayak 5-5075 Kuhio Hwy – (Next to Postcards Cafe)  Hanalei, HI 96714 (808) 826-6900  – focuses on sea kayaking

Contact: Linda Dancer  Email  Direct Line (828) 256-1520 /Toll Free 1-888-811-1888 ext 331


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Moloka’i May 03

Hotel Moloka'i

Stressed out? Need to unwind? Then I suggest you spend a few hours in one of the hammocks at Hotel Moloka’i overlooking Kamiloloa Beach,
the gentle trade breezes will remind you that you definitely are in a special place.  Although there are some rentals available, the last few times I have visited Moloka’i, Hotel Moloka’i was  my home away from home.  The Polynesian village of  two story bungalows give you all the creature comforts of home, while allowing you space to unplug from the stress of day to day activities, but don’t panic WIFI is available at the bar. Yahoo! Travel featured Hotel Moloka’i in their series on 10 amazing undiscovered islands.  Full service hotel with a restaurant, concierge service, an amazing gift shop and swimming pool.
You will not find the hustle and bustle of some of the other Hawaiian Islands, this has earned Moloka’i several nicknames such as Hawaiian by Nature and “old style Hawaii”, the birthplace of Hula but one thing for sure, with more native Hawaiians living on Moloka’i still than on any other island, you will feel the history of the island, especially when you visit Halawa Valley, Kalaupapa National Historic Park and the Ali’i Fishponds (the oldest dates to 13th century).

Saint Damien

On October 11,2009 Father Damien was elevated to sainthood by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, that event alone brought attention to this small Hawaii Island.  Quarantined for life (from 1873 till his death) in Kalaupapa to care for patients diagnosed with Hansen’s disease(leprosy). Father Damien helped build houses, an orphanage,church  and many other functions. Saint Damien’s Feast Day is celebrated on May 10th, worldwide by Catholic Churches in his honor. Two of the churches he built remain today St. Joseph of Kamalo and Our Lady of Seven Sorrows of Kalua’aha (still hosts weekly Sunday Services). Today the Kalaupapa Peninsula is a U.S. National Historical Park, you can view it from the lookout above, one-day pre-arranged visits can be done by flying in, hike or mule-ride down 1,700 feet of the highest sea cliffs on earth (be prepared to be amazed) the trail is 2.9 miles with 26 switchbacks – amazing,spiritual,breathtaking – it left me speechless. Once you reach the bottom you will be met by your guide with Damien Tours who will take  you through the peninsula. Plan carefully the park is not open on Sunday. By the time you leave the Mule Barn, you will know your mules name and be trained by company owner Buzzy Sproat, Hawaii’s resident mule expert.

 The island of Moloka’i is working on sustainable crops and opportunities. One great example of this  is  Coffees of Hawai’i a working 660-acre coffee in central Moloka’i, and yes this signature drink is as good as it looks . Visitors can tour the farm with a buggy ride through the plantation  and sip several flavors of coffee. In addition tours into the Halawa Valley introduce you to taro cultivation, truly a engineering marvel the way the agricultural systems were put in place hundreds of years ago is amazing, but it allowed people to flourish in the small stream-fed valley. Nene geese(Hawai’i’s endangered state bird) have also been released are are successfully reproducing in the wild on Moloka’i. Work is also being done to restore some of the ancient fishponds.


Beautiful Beaches

There are several beautiful beaches on Moloka’i – you can get camping permits for Papohaku Beach Park and One Ali’i Beach Park from the  City & County Parks Department (808) 553-3204  or  but be advised that not all of Moloka’i beaces have restroom facilities.  Other activities that can be found on Moloka’i include  snorkeling and diving (south shore is home to Hawai’i’s longest continuous fringing reef, whale watch during whale season, deep-sea fish  and even play a round of golf at Ironwood Hills Golf Course.  Shopping in downtown Kaunakakai  you will find a little bit of everything , but you will not find any name brand stores , but all the basic necessities  of groceries,hardware,pharmacy,gourmet wine, art gallery, and local arts and crafts and the world famous Kanemitsu Bakery.

Having been blessed to visit each of the Hawaiian Islands many times, I always enjoy my time on Moloka’i, it is a spiritual retreat and heals the soul, it is easy to be transported back to a simpler time in Hawaiian History.   If you do not have time to stay on Moloka’i at least take the Moloka’i Princess Ferry  across the channel from Maui, takes about 90 minutes, one ferry in the morning and one late afternoon,rental cars can be reserved in advance. If you want to visit Kalaupapa , I would plan to spend a couple nights on island .
Hotel Moloka’i – 1300 Kamehameha V Hwy, Kaunakakai, Hawaii 96748   Phone (808) 553-5347
Contact Linda Dancer   Email   Toll Free 1-888-811-1888 ext 331

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Lana’i -unlike any other Hawaiian Island Apr 12

Dole Park

What you won’t find on the island of Lana’i are traffic lights and major touristy crowds-you will however find solitude and amazing natural beauty.
Once known as the Pineapple Island because James Dole purchased the entire island in 1922 and Dole Plantation Pineapple was canned and shipped to mainland U.S. and at its peak Lana’i produced 75% of the world’s pineapple. Dole brought in workers to harvest the pineapple,resulting in a plantation camp in the flat lands that is now known as Lana’i City.
Even though pineapple is no longer harvested on Lana’i, Pineapple Isle is still very fitting nickname for this island, because the Pineapple – the universal symbol of hospitality is on display throughout the amazing resorts on Lana’i.

Four Seasons Manele Bay

The Four Seasons at Manele Bay overlooks Hulopo’e Bay a marine sanctuary. Guest rooms with amazing views,five ethnic gardens that flow throughout the resort, and a wide crescent shaped beach to satisfy any beach lover- This resort has several amazing wedding venues

The Four Seasons Lodge at Ko’ele  is located amongst the Cook pines  over looking Lana’i City , the 102-room lodge has the stately presence of an English manor,the wide veranda beckons you to come and sit awhile and just breath in the fresh air, the breathtaking manicured gardens, ponds, oriental gazebo and an orchid lover’s greenhouse-  several amazing wedding venues.

In town  Hotel Lana’i , which has been welcoming guest since 1923, has been remodeled , touches such as Hawaiian Quilts, comfortable furniture and Lana’i City Grille with a wonderful menu, and live music on Friday nights. Located  on a knoll overlooking Lana’i City,a moderately priced resort to call home for your stay on Lana’i. Take time to explore local artist Mike Carroll’s art gallery, funky little shops like DIS N DAT SHOP and the museum explaining the Pineapple era on Lana’i.

Sweetheart Rock

For such a small island Lana’i  has so many activities to offer visitors:
 Championship golf  at The Challenge at Manele (a Jack Nicklaus signature course) and The Experience at Ko’ele (designed by Greg Norman) both are ranked consistently among the best courses in the world. Distinctly different  but  both  have amazing beauty and take advantage of their natural surroundings to the fullest.
Enjoy the challenge of hiking or mountain biking the 7 mile, one lane dirt road, rustic Munro Trail (named for George Munro a naturalist from New Zealand that arrived to the island in 1890)- your payoff arriving to the top of Mount Lana’ihale, the highest peak on Lana’i at 3,368 feet.
Pu’u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)  is about  150 feet offshore between Manele Bay and Hulopo’e Bay, a natural wonder, a wonderful place to  hike and enjoy with a loved one.
The Garden of the Gods is a geological masterpiece , formed by centuries of wind erosion, one might think they landed on the moon, the color shadings of red,purple,sienna are truly extraordinary, located about a mile and a half northwest of Kanepu’u  Preserve, I suggest to reserve a Jeep Wrangler early to best enjoy this breath taking natural wonder.
Hulopo’e Bay – for most of the year( except winter months)  the best place on island  to snorkel, protected bay  with many tide pools carved out of volcano rock by crashing waves – beach park has picnic tables, grills, restrooms and showers,  so great beach day  for guest stay at Hotel Lana’i.


 Hawaii Western Adventurs   offers  unique opportunities  such as  the 15-acre Lana’i Pines Sporting Clays (trap,skeet,compact sporting or porting clays that mimic pheasants and rabbits) – The 14 -station solar powered sporting clay course is amazing, you drive between the stations on a golf cart , the scenery is amazing and the course is said to be one of the most challenging in the world, but at the same time the safest and best designed in the Pacific. Amazing views of Maui and Moloka’i across the channel.In addition to Sporting Clays, they also offer horseback riding, ATV Tours, archery and air rifle, hunting, custom and group events.
So when you are trying to decide where to go for your honeymoon , special anniversary or  to escape the rat race of everyday life take a serious look at Lana’i  a wonderful island to unplug from everything, but so much to see and do , one thing you could never be on Lana’i is bored.
Direct line (828) 256-1520  or Toll Free 1-888-811-1888 ext 331

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Hawai’i Island – Outdoor Science Classroom Feb 28


Visitors have always been drawn to Hawai’i (The Big Island) because  of world class resorts, championship golf courses, big game  fishing , waterfalls and so much more, but many do not realize the island is also an amazing outdoor science classroom. Hawai’i Island has something amazing around every bend in the road with science adventures in the areas of Oceanography/Marine Science, Volcanoes and Volcanology, Astronomy, Geography/Biology/Natural History, Aquaculture/Agriculture and Renewable Energy Resources.  Regardless of where you are staying on the island  there are a multitude of places to visit, coded maps to help you locate some of the sites and there are several tour operators that specialize in these areas of exploration as well. Easy access to many of these areas of interest  would make this a wonderful island for families to make their family vacation a wonderful opportunity to learn,so much more exciting than a school class room. Nothing compares to seeing the steam escaping from a volcano, going down into a lava tube and seeing the turtles swimming in a tide pool. The Manta Ray Experience  by far is one of the unique experiences of my life.Dolphin Quest program at the Hilton Waikokoa Village Resort gives visitors the opportunity to interact with dolphins through several programs led by marine mammal experts.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Most people have seen a fiery eruption or red hot lava flow from at least Kilauea, even if just on The Weather Channel,  but Volcanoes National Park actually features two of the world’s most active volcanoes Kilauea and Maunaloa. Within the 500 square mile park visitors  can see the process of volcanoes over the last 70 million years,calderas, pit craters,cinder cones,dried lava lakes,sulfurous cracks and fissures,lava tubes (Thurston being the most famous). Home to the legendary Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. Visitors will enjoy their visit to the park so much more if they take time to visit the Visitor’s Center first for a quick course in geology, natural history, park layout and safety.You will want to also visit the Observatory, Jaggar Museum perched on Kilauea Crater, and the Thurston Lava Tube, all located on the 11 mile Crater Rim Drive. The park is so big you’ll want to drive but be sure and get out along the way and hike some of the 150 miles of marked trails — Park rangers will also advise you if any active lava flows are accessible during your visit. For the latest eruption updates and geneal park info or call (808) 985-6000.

Fish Ponds

Aquaculture  and agriculture have always been an important part in the live of native Hawaiians, especially ancient Hawaiian Fishponds such as those at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel, Waikoloa Beach Marriott, Kaloko Honokohau National Park and the recently renovated Keauhou Resort Heiau project are great examples of fishponds. There are also several land-based farms  that are so interesting  such  as Hawaii Vanilla, Kona Coffee Farms,Hamakua  Mushrooms and the festive Hilo Farmers Market  is one of the best open markets in Hawai’i where you can sample and purchase wonderful fresh local produce, fresh flowers for your room during your visit, have a fresh fruit smoothie or purchase hand crafted items. Hawai’i AgVentures operated by the Big Island Farm Bureau offers a variety of family farm tours. If you are into Renewable Energy Resources  you might want to visit Kahua Ranch in North Kahala in addition to other tours they also provide their own power with wind turbines  or you can contact them  (808) 882-4646. Being blessed with lots of sunshine and strong trade winds Hawai’i Island has the potential to be an international showcase for alternative renewable energy resource exploration.


Polynesians  used the stars to guide their voyages around the Pacific  and ultimately to discover the Hawaiian Islands, so how fitting that Astronomy would also be such an important part of the opportunities of discovery available on Hawai’i Island. Located 13,796 feet high on the summit of Maunakea, you will find 13 astronomical observatories and is considered the world’s best observing site. Beginning with the first telescope in 1968, several groundbreaking discoveries have been made from the various telescopes, there are are more in the plans to be added in the future,making this the home of some of the largest telescopes in the world. For sure a visit to the summit would be a highlight of your visit to Hawai’i Island – I suggest you take a tour such as Mauna Kea Summit Adventures  or Hawai’i Forest & Trail as the weather conditions can be unpredictable and severe.  ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai’i   in Hilo  is another wonderful opportunity to learn about the 13 observatories located on Maunakea plus a full-dome, state of the art planetarium, plus 3-D presentations of data collected from the Subaru Telescope – plus several unique experiences that tie Native Hawaiian Culture and lanuguage to today’s astronomical discoveries. Located at the University of Hawai’i Hilo Science and Technology Park     contact them (808) 969-9700 , also  a wonderful cafe and gift shop.

For more information on booking your Hawai’i Island Vacation  or any of the tours mentioned in this blog post:

Contact Linda Dancer Hawaii Master Destination Specialist    Toll Free   1-888-811-1888 est 331

Direct Line (828) 256-1520 or by Email


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Koloa Heritage Trail Feb 22

Spouting Horn

Most visitors that  plan a trip to the beautiful island of Kaua’i will at some point probably  hear about  Spouting Horn  but many will not realize that this incredible show by Mother Nature is actually part of the Koloa Heritage Trail  ( Ka ala hele waiwai ho’oilina o Koloa) that introduces visitors to five millions years of exploration of natural history, archaeology, culture and the history of the Koloa District of Kauai and its people, which to most people means the south shore of Kaua’i.
In ancient times land was divided  by Hawaiians into pie-shaped wedges called ahupua’a that run from the mountain to the ocean. The Koloa Heritage Trail travels through four ahupua’a – from east to west they are: Maha’ulepu, Pa’a, Weliweli and Koloa. The  sugar cane industry helped to put the ahupua’a of Koloa on the map, Po’ipu(meaning waves crashing)  is part of the Koloa ahupua’a.
 Without a doubt, the most popular or well known stop along the Koloa Heritage Trail is the first stop  Spouting Horn Park, a stop on most every  tour around the island, and most visitors  will try their luck at getting a really good shot of a high plume of water shooting into the air if they are patient enough.  Known to ancient Hawaiians  as puhi (blowhole or to blow) these natural blowholes are created by the constant pounding of waves that eventually erode caves in the softer rock along the shoreline and wear a hole through the topmost layer, thus allowing incoming waves to generate a fountain up to around 60 feet high into the air, so  keep your eye on the waves as they come to shore.

Plantation Gardens Restaurant

There are  fourteen stops along the Koloa Heritage Trail  including: Prince Kuhio Birthplace & Park (Hawai’i is the only state in the union to have had a monarchy and so much of the history and culture that is Hawai’i is based upon this monarchy), Hanaka’ape Bay & Koloa Landing,Pa’u a Laka (Moir Gardens)**,Kihahouna Heiau(an ancient Hawaiian temple),Po’ipu Beach Park,Keoneloa Bay,Makawehi & Pa’a Dunes, Pu’uwanawana Volcanic Cone, Hapa Road,Koloa Jodo Mission,Sugar Monument,Yamamoto Store & Koloa Hotel, and Koloa Missionary Church.  Each stop along the way  a significant cultural,historical or geological site that is part of the history of Kaua’i. Visitors can explore the Koloa Heritage Trail by  walking  or  by bicycle there are route maps for each.
For more information or to make a donation:
Many sponsors and volunteers conceptualized and prepared this historic journey through Koloa. If you are as touched as I to explore this historical trail,feel free to make a donation toward trail and monument maintenance. The Po’ipu Beach Foundation is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization, so donations would be tax-deductible within the allowance of the law.
Ka Ala Hele Waiwai Ho’oilina o Koloa -c/o Po’ipu Beach Foundation-P.O. Box 730, Koloa, HI 96756
Phone (808) 742-7444- Email
**Treat yourself to dinner or at least dessert at the Plantation Gardens Restaurant in the middle of Moir Gardens at Kiahuna Plantation.
Linda Dancer – Kaua’i Master Destination Specialist   Phone (828) 256-1520

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Ali’i Kula Lavender – Maui Jan 18

Ali'i Kula Lavender

Take a deep breath – exhale !  Again — if you smell the earthy/sweet essence of Lavender, you must be at  Ali’i Kula Lavender nestled at 4000 feet elevation on the slopes of Haleakala crater on the beautiful island of Maui.  True, Lavender is not native to Maui, the dream of Ali’i Chang   to bring Sustainable Aloha to the World more than came true.  Lavender  offers  a feeling of serenity and peace and being so versatile is used in lotions,candles,food, perfumes and aromatherapy.  With over 55,000  lavender plants blooming over 10 acres, Ali’i Kula Lavender  offers the first and only Lavender walking tour on Maui, a visit to the retail store is a must  as well ( my favorite product as an avid gardener )is  Organic Lavender Gardener Lotion – keeps mosquitoes and flies away,you smell good while gardening and the smell of lavender keeps you from being stressed out thinking about how much you have yet to complete on your to do list. Daily walking tours educate visitors on lavender as well as other incredible flora and fauna like hydrangea, bird of paradise and others.

ALi’i Kula Lavender offers several tours, private tea parties and gatherings and private lavender estate weddings (the gazebos shown in these photos are two of the preferred locations),the views from here amazing.  Group rates for private functions can be arranged such as walking tours,Royal Tea Service,Wreath Making Tour and  Lavender Gourmet Lunch Baskets for the group can be arranged as well ( groups are a minimum of ten people) My group experienced yummy Lavender tea and scones during our visit.

Weddings at Ali’i Kula Lavender are a magical affair, for more information email , as a world class Lavender Estate, wedding flowers could not be any fresher . A dedicated  wedding team is available on the farm to help with all of the details .
Ali’i Kula Lavender – 1100 Waipoli Road, Kula,Hawaii 96790    MAUI
Phone  (808) 250-1463 Website  Groups
Contact  Linda Dancer  Email  or phone (828) 256-1520

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