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Archive for the Category "National Trust for Historical Preservation"

Hawaii’s National Parks Nov 13

Visiting Hawaii’s National Parks gives visitors the opportunity to blend history and culture into their itinerary. These national parks, monuments and historical sites allow visitors to explore, learn and get inspired.

On Hawai’i Island, visitors can walk in the footsteps of King Kamehameha the Great at Puukuhola Heiau, the largest restored heiau (temple)in Hawaii, visit Pu’uhonua O Honaunau and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park


Pu’uhonua O Honaunau

Visitors, especially history buffs visiting O’ahu will enjoy a visit to Pearl Harbor, the only naval base in the United States designated a National Historical Landmark. Pearl Harbor honors its history with four museums: the USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park and the Pacific Aviation Museum.

     Arizona Memorial

Arizona Memorial

Visitors to Maui rise very early in the morning to witness a magnificent sunrise on Haleakala the island’s highest peak. Haleakala National Park is comprised of more than 30,000 acres of public land and covers a range of natural environments and is home to many endangered species. This is also the home of the famous sunrise downhill bike ride experience.



Kalaupapa National Historical Park is located on the island of Molokai and is accessible only by the mule ride, hiking tour or air from Kalaupapa’s small commuter airport. The park was once a place of refuge for Hansen’s Disease patients and remains one of the most remote settlements in Hawaii.

Kalaupapa National Park

Kalaupapa National Park


For more information on visiting Hawaii’s National Parks or to plan your trip to the Hawaiian Islands contact Linda Dancer – Hawaii Master Destination Specialist.

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





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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

Hawaii Royalty – Places to visit on O’ahu Dec 05

Unfortunately, sad to say that many visitors to Hawaii do not realize that Hawaii’s rich history includes Hawaiian Royalty. There are many sites throughout the islands where one can learn about this rich history, O’ahu is the home of many of these royal sites.

Probably, the grandest and most well known is the Iolani Palace,  where visitors are invited to take a step into Hawaii’s past-  guided and audio tours are available – Open Tuesday through Saturday – Reservations are suggested as tours are limited in size and number – 1-808-522-0832  – The Palace is located at 364 South King Street – Iolani Palace(completed in 1882) chronicles the reign of  King David Kalakaua and his wife Queen Kapiolani , and later Queen Liliuokalani. King Kalakaua and his queen traveled the world, bringing home tokens of esteem and affection from heads of state around the world.  The story of Hawaii’s Kingdom is told through portraits, show pieces such as the Grand Staircase made from Koa wood (said to be the largest such structure in the world) , visitors are asked to wear booties over their shoes as they move from room to room on magnificently restored Douglas fir floors, the dining room is set as if waiting for guests to arrive for state dinner. One sad fact in Hawaii’s royal history is that the Hawaiian monarch was overthrown in 1893, and the new provisional government could not wait to toss the treasures of the king and his queen, but luckily the Friends of the Palace organization have searched the world trying to acquire as many of the original artifacts as possible and restore the Palace to her original glory for visitors from around the world to see.

Nearby the Iolani Palace, you will find Washington Place, the home of Queen Liliuokalani before she ascended to the thrown in 1891, she wrote of her home in her book “Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen “.

Mauna Ala -(fragrant mountain)  after Albert’s death, Kamehameha IV ordered a new mausoleum to house his son, the royal grounds are very close to Summer Palace – Mauna Ala is the final resting place of the Who’s who of Hawaiian Royalty.  Mauna Ala Royal Mausoleum is located 2261 Nuuanu Ave., Honolulu   – Open 8am-4pm – Monday-Friday

My personal favorite of all the Royal Residences by far is Queen Emma’s Summer Palace – a graceful home set against the lush backdrop of Nuuanu Valley. Sadly, the palace had fallen into disrepair and almost became a baseball field, but luckily the  Daughters of Hawaii intervened in 1915 turned the home into the showplace it is today. The palace is located about three miles from downtown, filled with beautiful artifacts including some originals to Queen Emma and her husband King Kamehameha IV and was used  to escape from Honolulu’s heat in the summer. The saddest thing for me and always brings me to tears is the beautiful cradle in which the king and queen’s son, Prince Albert slept (who sadly passed away at the sweet age of four) they say the bedroom where the cradle sits overlooks the Royal Mausoleum below where the child is buried, as a mother, I just always feel the grief Queen Emma must have felt over the death of her young son, but the peace of being able to look below to his final resting place. Queen Emma’s Summer Palace is located 2913 Pali Highway, Honolulu (808) 595-3167

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum  one of the best places in all of Hawaii to be introduced to Royal bloodlines, culture, and the rich history of the Kingdom of Hawaii – located 1525 Bernice Street (808) 847-3511

For more information or to book your visit to O’ahu Contact: Linda Dancer

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



Kauai’s Kilohana Plantation Apr 18

Visitors to Kilohana Plantation are offered a glimpse into Kauai’s agricultural history.  Built by Gaylord Parke Wilcox in 1935, the 16,000 square foot tudor style mansion was thought to be one of the most beautiful in all of Hawaii with lavish grounds and furniture, a reflection of the prosperity brought by sugar. Once sugarcane was king on Kauai and covered  large plantations of land throughout the island. The mansion was severely damaged by Hurricane Iwa in 1983, but has been completely restored, rooms that once served as the family homestead are now repurposed as a gift shop, galleries, a lounge and award winning Gaylord’s Restaurant.

Kilohana Plantation was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1974 and named a State of Hawaii Historic Landmark in 1993.

Kauai Plantation Railway  takes you on a 40-minute tour of the 105 acre Historic Kilohana Sugar Plantation – the Conductor-Narrator will introduce you to herds of Wild Pigs, Goats and Sheep – feed them if you wish, you will also see Cattle and Clydesdales. Travel through fields of fruit orchards, fields including pineapples and learn about Kauai’s agriculture history. Combined with a hike into the enchanted Kahuna Nui Valley – see amazing floral canopies, tropical forest, feed wild peacocks and play on rope swings.  Enjoy your gourmet deli lunch under the shade of Norfolk Pine Trees.

Luau Kalamaku (Kauai’s Only Theatrical Luau) is now offered at the plantation on Tuesday evenings – or  for added romance reserve the Plantation Owner’s Evening  where you will be greeted with a fresh floral lei and champagne.

Koloa Rum Company established in 2009 has won numerous awards – tasting room and company store.

I encourage you to take time to visit Kilohana Plantation during your visit to the island of Kauai  and take a glimpse of Kauai’s past.

Kilohana Plantation is located on Route 50, 1.4 miles north of Lihue- (808) 245-5608

For more information on Kilohana Plantation or booking your visit to Kauai, contact Linda Dancer 

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


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Show The Honu some Aloha Apr 11

 Honu (Hawaii Green Sea Turtles) have been basking on Hawaii beaches since the late 1990s, visitors including myself have been drawn to them when they happen upon them during their visit to the islands. Honu have become part of the identity of the islands and hold a special place in the minds and hearts of the people of Hawaii.  Once nearly wiped out in the 1960s, conservation efforts throughout the islands over the last few years has helped the species on the road to recovery.

Did you know this about Honu? 

**  The name Green Sea Turtles is not for the color of its shell -but from the color of its internal body fat-tinted green from primarily vegetarian diet

**  Most Honu live to be 60-70 years old, weight up to about 350 pounds, and grow to more than 36 inches long

**  Can swim in short bursts up to 20 MPH when fleeing a potential predator

**  Typically found at shallow depths 0-20 feet during the day  / diving to 35-50 feet  at night to rest

Protect the Honu by following these NOAA viewing guidelines:  

** Keep a six feet respectful distance at all times – do not crowd, touch or chase

** Never feed sea turtles

** Keep your eyes open for turtles when boating or jet skiing

** Discard trash carefully, especially fishing line – protect their environment by picking up trash you might find in the water or on the beach

** Do not try to push a sea turtle back into the water or pour water on it – They do not need a helping hand from humans.


For more information about Honu:    to volunteer or learn more – a nonprofit organization

To get started booking your trip to the Hawaiian Islands to see the Green Sea Turtles contact Linda Dancer 

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


Remember:  Sea Turtles are protected by International,Federal and State Laws.  

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Some of my favorite locals Nov 22
Kauai Roosters

Kauai Roosters


I can still remember my first visit to Kaua’i and was amazed to find so many roosters. I like most visitors wondered why in the world this beautiful tropical island had so many colorful roosters, and being from the country found it so funny to hear one crowing in the morning.  The debate goes on about just how the roosters became so predominate on Kaua’i, but one of the theories associates Hurricane Iniki which hit Kaua’i in 1992 and decimated several chicken farms thus when the coops were destroyed the chickens and roosters were left to roam freely. There are no real natural predators to the roosters on the islands, for some reason the mongooses that keep them at bay on most of the other islands  just did not like Kaua’i. Most return visitors to Kaua’i just accept them as part of the local culture and hardly notice them anymore, and they do take care of the insect population in part as well.


Nene Geese

Nene Geese



 The Nene (pronounced NayNay)  is the Hawai’i State Bird – a land bird and a variety of the Hawaiian Goose-found in some of the harshest of Hawaiian locations it has adapted itself to the lava rock and barren areas like in the Volcano National Park where I photographed this pair- Hunting and wild animals took its toll on the birds and all but destroyed the species until they were named as endangered species and protected by law in 1949 and the restoration project began to build the numbers back up throughout the islands. Both male and female have the same color of plumage a golden buff  color with  black head and distinct diagonal furrows that run the length of their neck.


Monk Seal

Unlike most seals that prefer their home to be in frigid waters, the Hawaiian Monk Seal is a rare exception that makes its home in the warm waters     around Hawaii. Getting its name from the folds of its skin that somewhat resembles a monk’s cowl, and habitually they are found alone or in very small groups. I think they just have the sweetest faces. The Hawaiian name for the monk seal is “llio holo I ka uaua which translated means – dog that runs in rough water. Due to their declining numbers caused by their coastal habitats being disturbed as humans occupy more and more coastline  several resorts  such as Grand Hyatt Kaua’i have partnered with Monk Seal Watch Program as well as the Waikiki Aquarium house a couple to educate the public. Today they are an endangered species but unfortunately their numbers continue to decline. The Monk Seal Foundation and other organizations work tirelessly as well to educate visitors and locals alike.




Other than the whales that visit the islands  from late December through April and the pods of spinner dolphins found throughout the islands, probably one of the most photographed locals is the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle (honu) such as the one I was lucky enough to catch sun bathing on the North Shore of Oahu. Considered a “Threatened Species”, the number of turtles found throughout the islands is increasing. This increase has occurred primarily through the mission of several organizations such as Malama na Honu, a non profit 501(c)(3) corportation with over 60 active volunteers that try to educate both locals and public alike. Honu guardian volunteers are on the beach every day to do their part to protect these beautiful creatures.



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





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Updated : King Kamehameha (Kona Beach Hotel) is now a Courtyard by Marriott Sep 20

New Lobby

Former visitors  to Hawaii Island might know this lovely hotel as just  King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, but being re-branded recently as a Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, this one of a kind hotel located on the only whitesand beach in Kona has even more to offer to repeat or first time visitors. Starting with the arrival experience (shown here with bright new lobby) the design team given the task of making over this resort from top to bottom truly out did themselves, winning an Award of Honor by The American Society of Interior Designers. The new blending of colors and textures add a level of luxury to this resort .

Kailua Bay

Overlooking picturesque Kailua Bay, the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel has been the headquarters for the world class IRONMAN World Championship and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament for many years. With so many dining options on property such as Honu’s on the Beach and Billfish Poolside Bar & Grille, swimming pool, full service spa, award winning Island Breeze Luau, great location for watersports such as stand up paddle boarding, and being within walking distance of so many histoical sites and shopping, visitors have everything at thier fingertips should they choose not to leave their resort.

Ahu'ena Heiau

Kona Beach Hotel is located on one of the most historic and important sites in all of Hawaii, as it was the place King Kamehameha the Great established his royal residence adjacent to the current location of the hotel that bears his name. He built the Ahu’ena Heiau during his reign, he dedicated to Lono the Hawaiian God of peace, agriculture and prosperity, (on the register of National Historic Landmarks as one of Hawaii’s most important historic sites). Kamehameha the Great chose to live and conduct official affairs of government on Hawaii Island, until his passing on May 8, 1819. Visitors to Kona Beach Hotel have the opportunity to see many historical artifacts and cultural items that depict 18th Century Hawaiian Life.
Looking for a location for your destination wedding in Hawaii? Kona Beach Hotel would be a wonderful choice whether your dream is to have your wedding on the beach, in the gardens or the historic King Kamehameha’s ceremonial site, with a dedicated team of event specialists you can be sure your special day will be perfect. Rated one of the Top 10 Wedding Worthy Hotels  in Hawaiian Weddings on any budget – for more wedding information contact the catering manager
Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel/75-5660 Palani Road/Kailua-Kona,HI 96740
Contact: Linda Dancer  Direct Line: 828-256-1520 Toll Free: 1-888-811-1888 ext 331

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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
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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Waimea Plantation Cottages Mar 08

Plantation Cottages

Originally built in the early 1900’s, the  Waimea Plantation Cottages  have been completely restored  and updated with all the modern conveniences of home, including a full kitchen and decorated with period furniture of mahogany, rattan and wicker. Each cottage offers a private lanai or generous veranda  for relaxing as you plan your next days activities.

Ranked #1 Romantic Cottage by Sunset Magazine, the Waimea Plantation Cottages offer privacy in a historic setting and  since there are  1,2,3 bedroom cottages and several specialty plantation homes, this is also an excellent choice  for  destination weddings, family reunions and other larger groups.

Located on the quiet west side of the island of Kaua’i  the resort was once a working sugarcane plantation, many of the ironwood, keawe and banyan trees are from the original plantation days and as shown here make amazing natural backdrops to group activities  and  destination weddings.

Destination Weddings

A short drive away you will find Historic Waimea Town – on the National Trust for Historic Preservation and also listed in the New York Times #1 Bestseller list   1,000  Places to See Before You Die – A Travelers Life List by Patricia Shultz – so lots of reasons to check out Historic Waimea Town while staying at Waimea Plantation Cottages.

Resort amenities include: a day spa,beach, art gallery,coin-operated laundry,movie theater nearby, restaurant and bar, meeting space, museum, beach volley court,yoga platform,swimming pool, banquet room, gift shop,shuffleboard and more.
Other Services Offered: Activity Desk,dry cleaning,event,banquet and destination wedding planning, baby sitting, yoga classes, private chef, wellness programs  and many more.
If  you are looking for a resort that is more relaxed and a throwback to a gentler time  Waimea Plantation Cottages would be a perfect choice for you.  The wonderful staff at Waimea Plantation Cottages invite you to take a step back in time, stretch out in one of the shady hammocks and  recharge your batteries. Relax — You are on Vacation!
Waimea Plantation Cottages
9400 Kaumualii Highway, Waimea, Kauai,HI 96796  (808) 338-1625
Contact Linda Dancer   Kauai Destination Specialist   Email
Direct Line 828-256-1520 or Toll Free 1-888-811-1888 ext 331

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