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What Makes the Big Island Activities and Big Island Tours So Special?

What Makes the Big Island Activities and Big Island Tours So Special?

Hawaii's Largest Selection of Activities

The Big Island delivers primordial experiences, and these experiences translate easily into Big Island tours and Big Island activities as you will shortly see.  There are many things that make the Big Island so special and this all begins with the volcanic activity that began millenniums ago and still occurs to this day. 

You can sense the island emerging from a rupture in the ocean floor. The elements have been continuously at work over eons to dismantle and refurbish the landscape and, in recent times, impact its inhabitants. Unmerciful ocean waves. Torrential rains. Massive amounts of crushed rock. Rock surfaces that gave way and formed rivers and streams. Lava flowing on lava. No other Hawaiian island offers the Big Island’s diversity and range of landscapes and climates.

Kauai and Ni’ihau came first. Then, less than a million years ago, Hawai’i emerged. Kilauea and Mauna Loa went to work making the BigIsland even bigger. All the while seeds struggled to colonize volcanic rock. Marine creatures sought havens and homes in the ocean. Animals floated in with debris. Lucky (or perhaps unlucky) birds blew off course and onshore with storms. An amazing range of climates and landscapes made survival of the species both possible and yet unpredictable.

The Big Island actually inherited 10 of the planets 15 climatic zones. Climate and weather together probably are more diverse than any other chunk of land in the world. Weather patterns set the stage for activities and tours throughout the island. Kona and Kohala, for example, have clear mornings and afternoon clouds created by thermal heating. Most of the infrequent rainfall comes in summer afternoons or evenings.

Hilo has earned the title of the wettest city in the nation. Most rains fall at night. Day-time showers are short. But that makes Hilo really green – a haven for tropical plants, a mecca of waterfalls. In complete contrast, the Kohala resort area is very dry. Sunshine is almost guaranteed. But a combination of air heating up over lava fields and air flowing in from the ocean creates breezy afternoons. The Kona side also has the calmest, clearest water. Hence watersports are unmatched on the island.

The Big Island is a paradise for bird species and bird lovers. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park has been (and hopefully still is) a place for birders to see `Oma`o, `Apapane, `Amakihi, `Elepaio, `Io (Hawaiian Hawk) and the White-tailed Tropicbird and the Nene (Hawaiian Goose) on roadsides. ‘Apapane birds flourished in what became Volcano Park. Their crimson feathers with black details on wings and tails were easy to spot among ‘öhi‘a trees, sipping nectar from the lehua blossoms and emitting trills, whistles, clicks and squeaks.

Like other forest birds that once filled the islands with the trills and peeps, habitat loss and climate change forced the ‘Apapane  to move to higher elevations. Some of the best locations to see upland and grassland birds at these higher elevations are difficult to reach, like Pu`u La`au, a good location to see the Pueo (Hawaiian Owl) and the forest birds, Palila, `Amakihi, `Elepaio, and possibly even the `Akiapola`au. Forestbirds can be seen more easily in the Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge, but only on weekends and holidays, with permission.

Almost everyone has seen images of double-hulled canoes propelled by sails landing somewhere in the Hawaiian Islands. For reasons unknown, in about the fifth century AD these masters of celestial navigation left the Marquesas Islands, 2500 miles away. They arrived at the most isolated island chain in the world. No edible plants or animals awaited them. Their own taro and local fish sustained them. Five hundred years later colonists arrived from Tahiti. Contact with and memories of Tahiti had vanished by the time Captain Cook arrived in 1778.

By the end of the 18th century, the Big Island’s Kamehameha the Great had conquered the other islands. Hawaii was in disarray. Captain George Vancouver brought long-horned cattle to Kamehameha as a gift in 1793. Fierce wild herds of the cattle hid in valleys and canyons. To shoot them, Kamehameha hired a gutsy New Englander, John Parker, who had jumped ship near the Big Island and married Kamehameha the Great’s grand-daughter. Parker kept the best of them and, in 1847, founded Parker Ranch. Today, on one of the nation's oldest, most historic and largest (125,000 acres!) ranches, Hawaii’s cowboys (Paniolos) tend to nearly 250 horses and over 35,000 cattle and provide horseback rides.

Visiting just a few places can reveal a great deal about the Big Island’s distinctiveness. In Hilo, the Earth Heritage exhibit in the Lyman Museum displays key feature of Hawaiian geology, plant, animal and fish life as well as Hawaiian history. Ancient Hawaiians lived under a very strict set of sacred laws that even their Ali’i or royalty were obligated to obey. Punishment for breaking one of these laws (kapu) was death. The only means to escape was to reach what was called the Pu'uhonua or Place of Refuge. The Pu'uhonua o Honaunau NationalHistorical Park is the largest of the surviving places of refuge. Maintained by the National Park Service, there is a small fee to enter the Park.

Past history is all around the Big Island and offers marvelous adventures. Waipi'o Valley, for example, is steeped in the history and culture ofHawaii and also is one of the most beautiful places in the world. On both sides of the valley, cliffs reach almost 2000 feet with hundreds of cascading waterfalls, including fabulous Hi'ilawe.

The size and diversity of the Big Island are great assets for visitors. The two sides of the Big Island are quite different and always seem to be changing. Beaches seem to shift to other locations. Nature engulfs trails. The Kona side has the sunshine and the calmest, clearest water inHawaii. Water sports are unmatched. It has the best beaches. Just above Kailua-Kona lies a beautiful ‘oh’a cloud forest on a mountain that creates its own rain through convection.

Above Kailua-Kona is the “artist community” of Holualoa and small farmers growing coffee and offering tours. In addition to visiting theKona Coffee Living History Farm, Coffee lovers will want to visit Greenwell Farms before heading to Kealakekua Bay where history resides in the Place of Refuge and the Captain Cook Monument (1874). Spinner dolphins and lots of fish inhabit the crystal clear waters around the monument that are a favorite snorkeling spot on the Big Island. Not easy to get to, this snorkeling spot is a favorite of kayakers and the destination of several very popular trips by both large and small boats.

The beaches on the Kona side of the island are among the best in Hawaii. The water is clear and warm and often calm, thanks to the shape of the island and prevailing current. As for beaches, Hapuna Beach is unsurpassed with Mauna Kea Beach a close second. WaialeaBeachManini’owali, Makalawena, Makole’a Beach, Old Kona Airport Beach Park, Kahalu’u Beach Park, Kiholo Bay, Kahalu’u andHonaunau all include attractions for snorkelers. Beautiful beaches on the south coast, like Honomalino BayRoad to the SeaGreen Sand Beach and Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, including secluded black sand beaches, will delight and surprise visitors.

Waters on the Kona side of the Big Island, calm, clear and teaming with fish, definitely have many of the best beaches and offer some of the best snorkeling in the state, but also be sure to check out Kealakekua Bay near Captain Cook Monument, Pu’uhonua o HanaunauPapawai BayMahukona, and Puako. Divers will want to try Kohala beaches such as Kapa’a Beach Park and Mahukona. The Kona side also has sunset or nighttime snorkeling with manta rays, watching the graceful creatures roll, glide and feed.

Kona also is most famous for big game fishing. Waters off the Kona coast drop to great depths very quickly. Kona’s waters are home to every billfish found in the Pacific: blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin, sailfish, shortbill spearfish and broadbill swordfish. In addition to blue marlin, visitors catch ahi tuna, ono, spearfish, mahi mahi and more. Big blues of all sizes are available year-round.  Like manta ray snorkeling, most boats leave from Honokohau Harbor, just a little north of Kona, troll nonstop and most passengers are novices. Another way to see coral reefs and just about everything beneath Kona’s coastal waters is by submarine.

In contrast to the Kona side, the Hilo side has green abundance, and adjoins Kilauea. Northward from Hilo are a very scenic route to AkakaFalls, the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, the nature paths of Botanical World and its ziplining, and the marvelous Hamakua Coast leading to Waipi’o Valley. Six miles deep and the largest of seven valleys on the windward side of the Kohala Mountains, tours by wagon and horseback are the best ways to get down to and see the beauties of Waipio Valley.

Especially in recent times, the Big Island of Hawaii is famous for its Kilauea Volcano. In 1983 Kilauea started an eruption that continued to 2018. One of the most active volcanoes in the world, Kilauea also is the most invisible. You can’t see it from anywhere on the island. Many people think of it as part of Mauna Loa. But Mauna Loa is a separate volcano, the second youngest and second-most active volcano on the Big Island. Mauna Loa should be much more famous. It is also the largest volcano on the face of the earth, covering the entire southwest part of the island. Most people don’t know that Mauna Loa has erupted at least once every decade.

Kilauea’s recent eruption has been a vivid reminder that the Big Island was formed entirely by volcanic activity. Three of the island’s five volcanoes are still active, one is extinct and one dormant. Kilauea Volcano, on the south-east side of the Big Island, has been erupting nearly continuously since 1983, destroying the town of Kalapana in 1990 and Vacationland Hawaii more recently. An earthquake in May 2018, measuring 6.9 on the Richter Scale, caused nearly 2,000 residents to be evacuated from the Leilani Estates subdivision and surrounding area.

Extinct Kohala Volcano, oldest of the volcanoes on the Big Island, emerged from the sea more than 500,000 years ago. Over 200,000 years ago an enormous landslide removed the volcano's northeast flank forming the amazing sea cliffs that every visitor should see. Kohala’s two much larger neighbors, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, have buried the southern part of the volcano.

Dormant Mauna Kea (which in Hawaiian means "White Mountain" because of snow in its summit), tallest of Hawaii's volcanoes, in fact is the tallest mountain in the world if measured from the floor of the ocean to its summit. The famous summit of Mauna Kea is home to 13 world-class telescopes and numerous observatories, including the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy. One of the best places on earth to view the heavens, trips to the summit to view sunset on the stars are a special treat. 90% of all the stars visible from the earth can be seen from the summit of Mauna Kea.

Hualalai, on the western side of the Big Island of Hawaii, is the third youngest and third-most active volcano on the island. The mountain has not seen significant volcanic activity since the 1700s. Six different vents erupted lava, two of which produced lava flows that reached the sea. The Kona International Airport is built atop one of the lava flows that reached the sea. Businesses, homes, and roads have been built on the slopes and flows of Hualalai.

Along with Mauna Loa, Kilauea forms part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. As a result of recent eruptions, sections of the park closed but now have reopened, including the Kilauea Visitor Center, back country trails and camp sites. There is no more active lava in the park. The lava lake in Halemaumau Crater has completely drained. Halemaumau itself, however, has grown.

Established more than 100 years ago, as the 13th US national park, the park is full of historical significance, volcanic wonders, Hawaiian petroglyphs, walk-through lava tubes, lava trails, giant pits, luscious rain forests, plenty of wildlife and offers marvelous vistas. The entirety of the Chain of Craters Road with its scenic viewpoints can be driven.  Crater Rim Drive and Chain of Craters Road make visiting the park easy by car.

Visit Steam Vents, Sulphur Banks, Kilauea Iki Overlook, Pu?u Pua?i Overlook and other sightseeing. At the Steam Vents, rain that has seeped into the ground is heated by Kilauea and comes out as steam. A nearby path leads to the Sulphur Banks where hydrogen sulphide gas and steam form sulphur deposits on the ground. Past Kilauea Overlook is Jagger Museum and the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. The road leads to Kilauea Iki Overlook (“little Kilauea”), Thurston Lava Tube, Pu’u Pua’i Overlook, and Devastation Trail, worth a short walk.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park contains some of the island’s best hiking, including Keanakako'i Crater and guided hikes like the Pu’u Kahuku Trail where the earliest Hawaiians lived in native forests and worked on ranches. Chain of Craters Road leads 19 miles to the shore, with a turnoff to Hilina Pali Lookout and a great view of the shoreline. Another great view opens up at the Holei Pali Lookout near mile marker 15. A mile further on is the Pu’u Loa Petroglyph Trail, the largest petroglyph field in Hawaii.

The Most Popular Activities and Tours on the Big Island

ATV Tours. ATV tours are a fun way to explore beautiful but difficult to access places such as the wild forests and cliffs on the Kohala coast. These tours typically take you on a 10+ mile drive through private lands with stops on the way at scenic points, historic sites, and waterfalls.

Helicopter Tours. The Big Island includes, and often hides, many of its awe-inspiring wonders that are difficult or impossible to see except from the air and hovering over them. In the past volcano + Hamakua coast Helicopter Tours activity and buy discounted tickets" href="https://www.tombarefoot.com/activities/cat/helicopter-tours/15">helicopter tours have been the most popular. The best places to see waterfalls and dramatic cliffs on the BigIsland are on the north (Kohala) and east (Hilo + Hamakua) side of the island to Waipi’o valley and its cliffs and waterfalls.

Horseback Riding. Several ranches around Waimea offer opportunities to explore their pastures with spectacular views of the coastline and peaks. Rides also are offered along the ridge and floor of Waipi’o Valley.

Luau Shows. A Luau show is a memorable way to experience local food, Hawaiian and Polynesian culture and entertainment at a Kohala resort.

Scenic Tours and Ziplining. Scenic tours on the Big Island reveal places that you might otherwise miss. Some of these tours also include ziplining experiences high above scenic ravines, jungles, meadows, and forests.

Snorkeling and Swimming with Dolphins. Hawaii is famous for its warm tropical waters and diverse marine life. Waters around the Big Island are teeming with tropical fish of every size and color and snorkeling is the perfect way to explore this beautiful underwater world that includes swimming with the dolphins.

Helicopter Tours

Mother Nature and history have made the Big Island an incredibly diverse collection of fantastic sights by helicopter: volcanic landscapes, black sand beaches, jagged cliffs, tropical rain forests, waterfalls and rivers, and very dramatic landscape changes from windward to leeward sides.

Most of the excited chatter about the Big Island’s helicopter tours understandably has focused on Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Kilauea volcano, before and after its eruption. Within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s more than 330,000 acres, Kilauea had been erupting since January 3, 1983, producing 250,000–650,000 cubic yards of lava per day. Beginning in May, 2018, however, the lava lake that existed inside Halema‘uma‘u crater disappeared and lava flows from Pu?u ?O?o crater ceased. As a result there is no molten lava or lava glow to see anywhere in or out of the park or from the air.

The Park still remains a unique collection of volcanic vistas from a helicopter that you can’t see any other way. In addition to the incredible new forms of landscape in the Park on the southeast side of the Big Island, there are other fantastic sights up north over the Kohala and Waikoloa areas and Hamakua with its beautiful shorelines. In less than an hour, from a helicopter you can view the awesome beauty of the Kohala Mountains and the deep winding valleys of Waimanu, Pololu and Waipio.

Visitors also can combine helicopter and land tours that include some of the most unique and beautiful landscapes on the Big Island. TheWaikoloa-Kohala Coast is a favorite for seacliffs, valleys, waterfalls, and can include the option of landing near a gorgeous 1200-ft. waterfall on the Kohala Coast. Departing from Hilo, you can fly over Hualalai, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and then take a land tour that includes the black sand beach of Punalu'u.

For another combination of experiences, fly to Hilo, visit the historic downtown and its museums and landmarks before heading north to Botanical World Adventures for ziplining through the rainforest or a fun Segway tour through tropical gardens. At the northern tip of the island, a helicopter and land tour can last as long as 8 hours and even include a swim beneath a waterfall and a walk along a historic forest trail.

Leaving from Honokohau Marina, a few miles north of Kailua-Kona, you can head south for a swim with the dolphins and snorkeling atKealakekua Bay, Honaunau, Ho’okena Beach and Kahalu?u Bay. The water is almost always calm and has exceptional visibility most of the year in Honaunau bay, often referred to as the “City of Refuge” (Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park). Often you can see pods of dolphins swimming close to shore.

You can hike down into Kealakekua Bay to the Capt. Cook monument for the marvelous snorkeling. But the distance is 1.9 miles from your car to water entry points and over 1300′ in elevation. After snorkeling you have to hike up again. A better option might be one of several tour operators that will take you on a morning or afternoon snorkeling cruise to Kealakekua Bay. These cruises take between 3 hours and half a day and provide cultural, nature and historical information pertaining to Kealakekua Bay.

Explore the majestic Kona coastline while you sail through the rich history of this sacred island on board the Noa Noa,  a 50-foot sailing catamaran.  Venture to “secret spots” to snorkel lush coral gardens.  Watch for tropical fish, turtles, dolphins, manta rays and whales (seasonal).  Delight in tropical fruit platters, pastries, a deli-style lunch and an exotic cocktail from the full bar.  Enjoy the cool island breezes from the shaded cabin or suspended over the ocean in a trampoline net on the morning, afternoon and sunset adventures.

Ever dreamed of swimming with free dolphins in their natural habitat?  Or swimming with manta rays at night?  Manta rays have a wing span of up to 16 feet in length. They feed primarily on plankton which is attracted to light. Snorkeling at sunset or in moonlight with mantas is unlike any other snorkeling experience. The difference between a snorkeling and diving tour to see mantas is that on a snorkeling tour you will stay near the water surface, probably holding on to a flotation device that also has lights attached to it to attract plankton and thus the manta rays. If you go on a diving tour, you would be sitting on the ocean floor and see the manta rays looking up.

Manta village located off the coast from of the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa in Keauhou, about 7 miles south of Kona, offshore of the Kona International Airport, and near Waikoloa village and Kawaihae harbor are the best manta snorkeling and diving locations. 

Luaus

A Luau is a traditional Hawaiian party including food and a Polynesian show with music, dance and stories. The history of the Luau traces back to the year 1819 when King Kamehameha II removed the religious law mandating that men and women ate their meals separately. Soon afterwards the king performed the symbolic act of eating together with women, thus holding the first Luau.

The Big Island has many choices of Luaus. Each location has its own very special scenery, entertainment and dining experience that combine the lighting of torches, blowing conch shells, and Polynesian dances. One of the most unique combinations of experiences is a submarine journey to view coral reefs followed by a luau. Choices of Luaus on the Big Island include: The Island Breeze Luau at the Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel; The Royal Kona Luau at the Royal Kona Resort; and the Sunset Luau at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

Sightseeing Tours

Hilo was virtually destroyed by a tsunami in 1946. The Pacific Tsunami Museum covers Hilo’s history and the nature of tsunamis in detail through exhibits, photography and artifacts. Just 8.5 miles north of Hilo, visit Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden on the Hamakua Coast, more than 2000 species of tropical plants in a beautiful 40-acre garden with waterfalls overlooking Onomea Bay.

All day tours from Hilo to Volcano National Park have included stops at Rainbow Falls, Kilauea Iki and the Kealakomo Overlooks along scenic Chain of Craters Road,  and then through lush Puna and its black sand beach to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory, the famous Big Island Candies, and the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens on the outskirts of historic Hilo. The Lyman Museum in Hilo is where you can learn all about Hawaiian geology, plant and animal life and contains an exceptional collection of historic artifacts.

The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens in Hilo features over 2,000 species of tropical plants all inside a 40-acre valley. Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo & Botanical Gardens includes over 100 types of palm and many varieties of vireya (tropical rhododendron), bamboo, orchids, and bromeliads. There also is a small native forest of trees and plants and an agro-forest of edible varieties. The Nani Mau gardens cover 20 acres and include an anthurium grove, a Japanese-style bell tower, a botanical museum, a butterfly house, a European garden, a fruit orchard, a ginger garden, a hibiscus garden, Japanese gardens, an orchid display, palms and coconut trees, and a water garden.

Some short (two-hour) tours start in Botanical World Gardens north of Hilo and combine zipline, Segway and tours of the Hamakua Coast. The World Botanical Gardens are commercial botanical gardens with a 100 ft on-property waterfall, the Kama?e?e Falls. The gardens are situated on 300 acres of former sugarcane fields on the Big Island and are home to a 10-acres maze and many specialized garden areas.

Near Waimea town, the Parker Ranch Visitor Center houses the Parker Ranch Museum which displays items that have been used throughout six generations of Parker family history. The paniolo (cowboy) tradition in North Kohala began here in 1809 when John Parker, a 19-year-old New England sailor, jumped ship and rounded up wild cows for King Kamehameha. Two historic homes are on the ranch include the 8,000-square-foot Victorian home, Puuopelu, with a fine art gallery, and Mana Hale, a New England saltbox built from koa wood over 140 years ago.

From the Waimea-Parker Ranch tours head on scenic Kohala Mountain Road (250) to Hawi and then on to the Pololu Valley Lookout. Hapuna Beach off Hwy 19, Pauko/Malama Petroglyph Trail of ancient Hawaiian lava carvings, back on Hwy. 19 to Mauna Lani Bay Hotel for a stroll, the fishpond at ‘Anaeho’omalu Beach and on to Kailua-Kona, Kamakahonu Beach where the Ironman Triathlon starts every year, and the museum in the Hulihe’e Palace along Ali’i Drive.

The Big Island can be seen in an all-day Grand Circle Tour covering 260 miles or in various sections that include Kailua-Kona town, coffee plantations, Kealakekua Bay overlook, Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, VolcanoesNational Park, Hilo and surroundings, the Hamakua Coast toWaipioValley, Waimea and the Parker Ranch, and the Kohala Coast. It’s important to know the distances between sightseeing destinations. The drive from Kona to Hilo takes about 3 hours. Hilo to Volcano is about a 45 minute drive.

South Kohala Coast sightseeing extends from Kailua-Kona to Mauna Kea Beach and the beaches and resorts along the way, perhaps all the way up North Kohala to Hawi and Kap’au and the end of the highway at Polulu Valley Lookout, returning via the Kohala Mountain Road and Waimea and then back via the Mamalahoa Highway is a very full-day trip. Other  tours cover Kailua-Kona south to Kealakekua Bay and Place of Refuge (Pu’uhonua o Hanaunau, then the Painted Church and the Paleaku Peace Gardens provide very special experiences, unique to Hawaii (including the snorkeling at the Captain Cook Monument). Some tours of only one destination, like one to the 13,800ft. summit of Maua Kea, are all-day trips because they leave from Kailua-Kona and require a long drive to the mountain and back.

Air Tours (fixed wing airplanes)

Big Island terrain -- remote lush valleys, hidden waterfalls, and five volcanoes at different stages of life and death -- is largely inaccessible by land vehicle or even on foot. It is perfect for small craft planes in expert hands making eco-friendly tours that offer countless photo ops. Knowledgeable pilots share their wealth of cultural lore, geography, and historical facts while flying from Kona Airport over the waterfall-laced Hamakua Coast, the west shore’s pristine white-sand beaches, over the north coast jungles and dramatic sea cliffs of Kohala.

ATV

Easy to operate, ATVs are one of the best ways to see coastal scenery, waterfalls, a ranch or the vicinity (not really the rim) of Waipi’o Valley and its black sand beach, the tallest single-drop waterfall in the state, Hiilawe Falls, a lava tube, and much more. Ride along the beautiful Kohala coastline, cruise through a 220-acre ranch on a variety of terrains, and elsewhere on the Big Island.

Horseback Riding

Depending on the kind of type of riding and terrain that you’re looking for, the Big Island provides excellent choices of rides in and on the upper edge of Waipi’o Valley and on working ranches. Rides provide spectacular panoramic views of mountains and coastlines and lush pastures dotted with grazing sheep and cattle. Canter, trot or walk, there also are nose-to-tail walking rides.

Rides ranging from 1½ to 4 hours are safe, fun, and full of Aloha spirit, cover miles of beautiful ranch lands and no riding experience is necessary. First-timers are as welcome as experienced horsemen. Experience an unforgettable open range ride on a 12,000-acre working cattle and sheep ranch in North Kohala that stretches from rain forest to the ocean. Ride on another 8,500-acre ranch located on the western slope of the Kohala Mountains, 3000 feet above sea level, that provides a marvelous variety of landscapes.

Experienced guides from will take you on an unforgettable horseback journey in Waipi’o Valley on jungle trails, across fresh water streams, past taro fields and magnificent waterfalls, revealing incredible vistas.

From rides in either North Kohala or Waipi’o Valley, head for Waimea and the Parker Ranch Visitor Center that houses the Parker Ranch Museum which displays items that have been used through six generations of Parker family history. The paniolo (cowboy) tradition in North Kohala began here in 1809 when John Parker, a 19-year-old New England sailor, jumped ship and rounded up wild cows for King Kamehameha.

Dinner Cruises

A memorable 3-hour dinner cruise begins at the Kailua Pier for a 12-mile journey down the Kona coastline to the Captain Cook Monument, home of spinner dolphins, turtles, and manta rays. In addition to the Ahu’ena Heiau, located on a small artificial island across fromKamakahonuBeach and King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua. The Ahu'ena Heiau was built by King Kamehameha I (1812) to honor Lono, the god of fertility and served as the king's refuge and home for the last years of his life. In addition to providing ambience and relaxation, the dinner cruise provides explanations of coastal history and geography.

Fishing

Kona is famous for its big game fishing. Its waters drop to great depths quickly and, thanks to freshwater springs, the harbor is flushed clean every day. Fish are plentiful year-round but most numerous in the summer. Striped and blue marlin are most talked about but the waters teeming with fish include speedy ono (wahoo), mahi mahi (dorado), ahi (yellowfin tuna), and spearfish. Most boats leave from Honokohau Harbor just north of Kona and troll nonstop for a half-day or full-day. The size of boats range from 25-60 feet.

In addition, for people who just want to take their tackle box to places where fish are abundant, the Big Island also offers Keahou Harbor (full of eels, angelfish, manini, yellow tang, and more), Anaeho’omalu Bay near Waikoloa (barracuda, mahi mahi, and triggerfish), Spencer Beach Park, and Kona's old airport.

Hiking

The Big Island has an abundance of very diverse hiking possibilities. Many of the best one have been in and around Volcanoes National Parkbut you’ll have to check on the current conditions at Devastation Trail, Pu’u Loa Petroglyph Trail, Thurston Lava Tube, Kilauea Iki, Napau Crater Trail, Crater and Rim Trail.

The Kohala, Hawi and Hilo areas have wonderful hiking trails and nature areas that are easily accessible on hiking tours and also by tours that combine helicopter flights, hiking and perhaps even a swim under a waterfall. The Hilo area and northward is a favorite for hikes and touring that combine tropical vegetation, waterfalls, coastal scenery, and historic landmarks.

The other best hikes on the BigIsland include: PololuValley in North Kohala, Kiholo Bay, beach hiking at Makalawena Beach, around KeakakekuaBay, WaimanuValley, KalopaState Park, the Puna Trail to Ha’ena Beach, and the hike to Papakolea Green Sand Beach. Some hiking trails, like Makahi Trail, up Hualalai through cloud forest, don’t show up on maps. Some “hikes” only take about ten minutes to get to an idyllic waterfall, like Wai’ale Falls, or 20 minutes to get to a dip in a beautiful tidepool, Leleiwi, both of which are near Hilo.



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One thing is certain; if you live long enough you're going to get old! There is no question that your world slows up a bit and some lifestyle changes are essential.

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Quick and accurate diagnosis of an infectious disease like 2019-nCoV is critical to manage current and future outbreaks. As the number of people in China and elsewhere that are infected with the novel coronavirus (which is now called 2019-nCoV) grows, a great many labs and commercial entities in China, S.

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The following are the 9 worthwhile things to do in Hawaii in no specific order of importance:

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The home of the Paniolo or Hawaiian cowboy, Parker Ranch in Waimea is the birthplace of ranching and the cowboy lifestyle in the Aloha State.

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Things to know about the Maui Zipline Tours before you make a booking:Do you have any health or medical problems?Generally speaking if you are in good health taking a zipline tour will not be an issue.

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A few decades ago a small group of activists in Hawaii decided that it was time to revive the Hawaiian language, for Hawaiians to relearn their native language and Hawaiian to be included in traditional schools.

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So you're trying to decide where to have your wedding. Keep this in mind. Of the top twenty locations in the United States to have your wedding, only Austin Texas provides a better price value than Hawaii.

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In past times there were two ways for visitors to discover one of Hawaii’s most unique experiences, Kalaupapa National Historical Park, the former leprosy colony, intentionally hidden from the outside world on Kalaupapa Peninsula on the small island of Molokai.

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The Hawaiians were masters of a self-sustaining and self-replicating ecosystem in ways that could only be envied by modern-day environmentalists. No where can this be seen and demonstrated better than in their use of the Hawaiian fishponds that were built throughout the islands of Hawaii between 1000 and 800 years ago.

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Mauna Loa, the world's largest mountain and volcano, is about 600,000-1,000,000 years old. Although not erupting as frequently as its younger neighbor Kilauea, it is also one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

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The Battleship Missouri Memorial is located just a ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial. Visitors have a unique and immersive historical experience that spans the sinking of USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor and Imperial Japan’s formal surrender aboard the USS Missouriin Tokyo Bay.

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Although it is obviously impossible to predict the weather for any particular Big Island beach on any given day in the future, it is possible to provide you with a generalization for usual weather patterns as they exist on the Big Island at different parts of the year.

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The Big Island offers a marvelous array of options for visitors just looking for scenic strolls or for hiking excursions for a full-day or part of one.

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Birders in the U.S. and around the world should know that Hawaii’s birds consist of the greatest variety and examples of adaptation anywhere in the world.

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Every island in Hawaii is blessed with beautiful beaches which are found on all the shorelines. Every beach, much like a fingerprint, is entirely different.

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There has been much discussion in recent years regarding pollution of the planet and particularly the pollution that is caused directly by humans. There is much evidence for this claim and it is undeniably true that with the excessive burning of fossil fuels found within our earths crust that we are, at least to some degree, effecting the global weather.

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Tom Barefoot’s Tours has been really happy to help young adults, their parents and grandparents to vacation together in Hawaii. We all know that multigenerational travel is a growing trend, but our staff experiences special gratification by bringing several generations together and helping them to select just the right activities and tours.

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Hawaii has its own unique cannabis history. The Hawaiian language term for cannabis is pakalolo (crazy or numbing tobacco). This term first appeared in a Hawaiian newspaper as early as 1842.

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Charles Lindbergh traveled the world in his lifetime. He could have chosen any place on the planet as his final resting place. The place he chose was Hana -- a remote settlement on the eastern coast of Maui.

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The health of coral reefs is more important than most people realize. Not only are coral reefs essential to healthy coastlines but also to healthy coastal economies, literally supporting thousands of businesses.

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The health of coral reefs is more important than most people realize. Not only are coral reefs essential to healthy coastlines but also to healthy coastal economies, literally supporting thousands of businesses.

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In recent years there has been considerable news in Hawaii, the mainland and also internationally regarding the lava flows that are covering the Puna and adjacent districts of the Big Island.

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Sustainable Tourism is defined by the United Nations World Tourism Organization as tourism that takes into account its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts.

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Award-winning journalist and editor, Susan Casey, is a lover of oceans and marine life. She is the author of three bestsellers including one about America’s great white sharks.

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Just about everyone that knows anything about Maui has heard the name Haleakala. The “House of the Sun” has the highest peak on Maui (10,000+ ft.

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The location of Father Damien's Leper Colony was chosen because of its remoteness. Leprosy, or Hansen's Disease, was communicable and it was important that those infected by it would be separate from others in society.

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A few decades ago a small group of activists in Hawaii decided that it was time to revive the Hawaiian language, for Hawaiians to relearn their native language and Hawaiian to be included in traditional schools.

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Maui and Lanai have more snorkeling sites within easy reach than any other Hawaiian island. There is snorkeling for every snorkeler, no matter experience, age, fitness or any other factor.

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Full-Face snorkel masks are in the news in Hawaii. This is a new innovation in snorkel masks that has become increasingly popular since its inception and availability to the public in 2014.

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There are few things that visitors to Hawaii enjoy more than putting on their fins and heading for the warm ocean waters surrounding Hawaii’s islands.

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Having the envious mission of customizing experiences in Hawaii for clients and guests, wedding and special event planners know that each beach on each Hawaiian island is very different, visually and in the feelings and spirit that they communicate.

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Of the eight major islands in Hawaii, six of them have airports: Big Island, Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Lanai. You are likely aware of the major airports on each island such as Honolulu International Airport, Lihue Airport, Kahului Airport and Kona International Airport but there are a number of much small commuter type airports that are interspersed among the islands.

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This is a story of failure. This is also a story of success. Whether the balance tips in favor of success or failure is a subjective decision and you can decide.

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Adventure travel is one of the most popular segments of the travel industry. In recent years there has been tremendous global growth in adventure travel.

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Nothing will bring shivers down your spine faster than the site of an 8 inch centipede (in Hawaii, they can actually reach a foot in length). When you see one it is always startling as they are seemingly there for a moment and then they are gone.

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Of the various types of volcanoes found on the Earth, the least destructive of them are the Shield Volcanoes such as the ones found in Hawaii. These volcanoes are primarily made of basalt, which in its fluid state is less viscous or sticky and as an analogy it flows more like water than like honey.

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Not that you would want to, but if you did want to enter into a world of confusion, just bring up the concept of climatic zones in Hawaii. As you are well aware, the planet has a multitude of different climates.

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While Hawaii is a crossroads for international and especially Asia Pacific travel, the number of visitors from China annually is small, less than 1% of arrivals in Hawaii.

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More than just helping visitors to enjoy Hawaii’s attractions on land, on water and under water, and in the air, Tom Barefoot’s Tours is committed to preserving and protecting nature’s bounty in the state.

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Hawaii is a hot place, not just the temperature at the beach but even moreso the real estate market. Sellers usually receive multiple bids on their property.

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Honolulu has the dubious distinction of being the third-most expensive city in the US to buy a home, behind San Francisco and Boston. Buyers have been paying a median of $684 per square foot to buy a 1,000-square-foot home in Honolulu.

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Who can we believe when it comes to real estate projections? Is the real estate market poised to explode or is the bubble about to burst? Let’s try to put some of the most important drivers of Hawaii’s real estate market in perspective, starting with population projections and forecasts of non-resident real estate buyers.

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Well, it's not necessarily the most sought-after or desirable list to find yourself on, but Hawaii finds itself at the very top of the list of states in the union with the most endangered species.

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In 2018, an eruption of the Kilauea volcano changed the island of Hawaii forever. From May through August, large lava flows covered land southeast of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park destroying over 700 homes and devastating residential areas in the Puna District.

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Extremely rich soil from heavy rainfall and a mild year-round climate has made Hawaii a prime agriculture state. The state is home to approximately 3,600 crop farms and 1,100 livestock farms.

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At Tom Barefoot’s Tours, we consider ourselves stewards of corals in Hawaii as well as the state’s tropical fish. The reasons are deeper and well-beyond simply business self-interest since Tom Barefoot’s Tours offers so many snorkeling, scuba, snuba and other tours in Hawaii’s waters that depend on the health of coral.

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January 15, 2016 was a date that people will remember. Surfing history was in the making. The place was the surf break of Jaws on the North Shore of Maui.

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Recently Gov. David Ige presented Hawaii’s annual State of the State address. He discussed commitments to boosting preschool education, housing and tax relief for families.

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Our Hawaii video articles previously covered Gov. Ige’s recent state-of-the-state in which he affirmed that easing Hawaii’s high cost of living would be a central objective of the 2020 legislative session.

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Hawaii deservedly is viewed by the rest of the world as “paradise”. Even so people living in the islands, and their business and community leadership, are well aware of the fact that Hawaii faces some significant economic and human problems.

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One of the main reasons that people love to visit Hawaii is its geographic and topographic diversity. This diversity helps to explain the unpredictability of the weather from place to place.

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Oahu will have the strictest single-use plastics ban in the state based on a controversial bill passed recently by the Honolulu City Council. Faced with the daunting prospect of getting rid of huge stocks of plastics containers, many food industry leaders opposed the measure.

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Honolulu airport is one of 20 airports in the nation where the US government has instituted passenger screening for the Corona virus. Keep in mind however that this screening procedure was set up in 2005, and not specifically in response to this virus.

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Shortly after returning to Japan from Hawaii, in early February, a Japanese man was hospitalized with a high fever. He was then diagnosed with pneumonia and ultimately tested positive for COVID-19 – the latest name for Coronavirus.

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The islands of Hawaii have a large number of Federal and state historic sites, many of which are worth visiting. The state is home to 33 sites that are part of the US National Historic Landmark program.

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The water temperatures on beaches in Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island attract visitors any time of year.

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Private property was unknown to ancient Hawaiians. They created a very complex system of land division. Central to this system was that all land was controlled by the highest chief or king.

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One of the most amazing experiences a visitor could have on a visit to Hawaii would be to go on an ocean swim with wild Manta Rays. Actually, the only Hawaiian island that operates this type of tour on a daily basis is the Big Island and these tours are offered off the Kona Coastline.

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Sea turtles ('honu' in Hawaiian) are one of the most interesting forms of sea life to be found in the waters of Hawaii These sea turtles, which are primarily the 'Pacific Green Turtles' are found on all the Hawaiian Islands and in fact are directly related to species of turtles that are found throughout the entire planet.

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Questions about sharks and shark attacks are some of the most frequently asked questions people ask regarding their upcoming trips to Hawaii. Although the minds image of such horrific attacks are prominent in ones imagination the reality is that these happen very infrequently and in fact they actually happen less frequently over the course of a year worldwide than do deaths associated with taking 'Selfies'.

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According to statistics compiled by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), Hawaii’s hotels finished 2019 with the nation’s top hotel rate and revenue per available room (RevPar).

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Have you ever seen a beach with green sand? Well you have a chance to do so if you are going to bevisiting the Big Island. Actually you are going to have to really want to see it because it is located off the main road and down a very bumpy dirt road which leads to 'South Point' which is the very furthest point south on the Big Island as well as being the very furthest point south in Hawaii and for that matter the very furthest point south in the United States.

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Just as reliable as Old Faithful at Yellowstone Park, the mysterious Box Jellyfish of Hawaii will arrive on its shores between 8 and 12 days after each full moon.

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Goats, just like pigs, were not endemic to Hawaii, and were brought in by humans presumably to provide a source of food. Each in tern rapidly turned wild when allowed or encouraged to roam and the consequence today is that the land of Hawaii is rapidly being ravaged and destroyed by both animals.

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Honolua Bay is roughly half of the Honolua-Mokule’ia Bay Marine life Conservation District. (See article on MLCDs) Most of the Bay is usually quite well protected unless winter swells roll straight in and conditions can change rapidly.

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This is a question that comes up quite regularly with regard to helicopter tours on Maui. Obviously weather can be very different on alternate days but in what ways will it really affect your flight.

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Anyone who wants to enjoy Big Island Activities and Big Island Tours certainly prefers to be blessed with a day of perfect Hawaiian weather. On most days in Hawaii, the weather cooperates beautifully, but sometimes can be unpredictable.

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When you come to Hawaii you almost certainly will attend the famous Hawaiian feast called a luau. This is a celebratory feast of epic proportions in which hundreds of people gather together to essentially eat, drink and be merry.

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Maui County (which includes the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai) has a unique geography that allows the activity industry to offer a unique set of Maui activities and Maui tours.

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Generally speaking, you could not be on a better island to enjoy great weather than Kauai.  Consequently, enjoying Kauai activities and Kauai tours is as good as it gets as well.

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Everybody knows that biking down the slopes of Haleakala is a big industry on Maui, but do you know how it began. I do, and it has been a curiosity to see how it has adjusted, morphed and grown over the course of years.

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Visitors to the Big Island are always concerned about how the volcanic activity will effect their Big Island Activities and Big Island Tours. Although it is impossible to predict nature, we are providing you here with a chronicle of past volcanic events in hopes that this will give you an over view of one of the most continuous dramatic geologic events in recent years.

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Shore divers on any island should have at least some knowledge of Hawaiian weather. The more the better. In fact, for the purpose of choosing the proper dive site for the day, shore divers need to know a lot about how to interpret not only winds but currents, waves and tides.

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One of the reasons you are undoubtedly coming to Maui is because of the great weather here.  Another reason you are probably coming to Maui is to enjoy some of the great Maui activities and Maui tours we have here.

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One of the biggest concerns visitors to Oahu have is how the weather might effect the Oahu activities and Oahu tours they reserve.  Some people think they should wait until the day before an event (or even the day of the event) to make reservations to assure themselves of having the best weather possible.

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Hawaii has weathered major landfalls from only two tropical storms and two hurricanes since 1959. Even though hurricanes don’t often directly hit land, however, they can and do cause damage.

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Coral reefs in Hawaii comprise over 80% of U.S. coral reefs. Hawaiian reefs possess some of the most abundant levels of marine species in the world. These reefs shelter over 700 species of fish, 400 species of algae and over 2000 species of invertebrates.

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We all know that Hawaii is a very unique place. In addition to its volcanic origin and diversity of beauty and attractions, the islands attract visitors because of their geographic isolation.

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This is an extremely personal call since each type of boat is very different. Keep in mind that you will be going to see the very same areas but the issue being discussed is simply regarding the type of vessel you will be taking.

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Plant life in Hawaii works hand in hand with the geology of these islands to not only keep expanding the Hawaii footprint with new land being made by the volcanoes but nature also does its best to regenerate this barren rock into beautiful forests.

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Like Dorothy would say in the Wizard of Oz,'we're not in Kansas anymore'. That is the way that all visitors should view their relationship with the beautiful oceans that surround Hawaii.

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West of Princeville, on Kauai’s North shore, Hanalei and its surroundings offer one of the most unforgettable places to visit in Hawaii. Hanalei has fully recovered from the torrential rainfall and flooding it experienced in April 2018 and stores and restaurants are open for business.

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Most people heading for Waimea Canyon pass through Waimea rather quickly to get to Kauai's version of the Grand Canyon. Seeing the canyon, 10 miles wide and 3000 feet deep, is one of Hawaii’s greatest experiences.

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More than 10 million visitors came to the Islands in 2019, setting a new all-time high according to year-end data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

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The Pacific Ocean waters just offshore from Kona on the Big Island are the habitat of an amazing variety of big game fish. In Kona’s waters you can catch everything from mahimahi to wahoo to skipjack and yellowfin tuna.

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Some folks on the mainland may suddenly discover that they may have a lace bug problem in their flower garden. At first, it’s not easy to figure out because these garden pests are only about 1/8 of an inch long.

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Billionaire Larry Ellison, the tech industry titan, already owns 98% of the former Pineapple Isle. Now he wants to buy Lanai’s power plant and grid from Hawaiian Electric.

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Newcomers to Hawaii are often completely perplexed by Hawaiian words and are simply just stumped to the point that they can't even possibly make a guess as to how to pronounce a word.

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There are many fish that can be caught in the waters off Hawaii but one of the favorites for sport fisherman and gourmet chefs alike is the Mahi Mahi. These fish are fun to catch and fun to eat.

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Few visitors think about visiting wineries when planning vacations in Hawaii. They don’t know what they’re missing. One of the most special destinations in the islands happens to be MauiWine on Maui’s Ulupalakua Ranch.

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Located in Central Maui, just west of Wailuku, towering peaks guard the lush valley floor of Iao Valley State Park. This 4,000-acre, 10-mile long park is home to one of Hawaii’s and Maui's great landmarks -- the 1,200-foot high Iao Needle.

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A leisurely two-hour walking tour will take you through Lahaina’s historic highlights. But there is much to see, and even more to learn to appreciate Lahaina’s rich history.

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So why is Maui considered the world's Mecca for windsurfing? It's true that there are many places on the planet that windsurfing is possible and many places where it is continuously enjoyed.

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If you'd like to see what one of the original Hawaiian inhabitants looks like, take a look at the photo of the Monk Seal below! The original human Hawaiians arrived in Hawaii from the South Pacific Islands about 1600 years ago, the Monk Seal arrived in Hawaii about 4 million years ago.

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Waves of Polynesians from remote Pacific islands settled on Molokai eons ago. Europeans arrived at least 700 years later. The island began to be developed in the late 1880s.

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Each of Hawaii's 400-plus species of fish has its own unique role in the nearshore environment and seeks out a different habitat. Some fish are at home in sandy bottom areas, others in boulder-strewn waters off rocky shorelines.

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Located near the summit of Kīlauea Volcano off Crater Rim Drive, Nahuku and its lush rainforest trail have been popular features in the park. An eruption from Kīlauea 550 years ago produced vigorous streams of lava, and the long, hollow tunnel was left behind when the molten rock drained away.

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Easy to find, just south of Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport, Kaloko Honokohau National Historical Park is one of the best places in Hawaii to learn about the survival of early Hawaiian settlement on the Kona coast.

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Everyone’s favorite things to see and do on Oahu probably include snorkeling and mingling with sealife in the turquoise waters of Hanauma Bay and strolling down the long beautiful arc of sand at Kailua Beach.

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The glider rides are fantastic! They are fun and they are very different. As far as seeing large portions of Oahu from the air...........this won't be in the cards.

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Over the next year Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) will try to root out illegal vacation rentals (VRs). Everyone knows, of course including the city, that over the years illegal VRs have proliferated on Oahu, in spite of a three-decades-old ban.

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The first people to come to Hawaii were the Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands, arriving on the islands sometime between 300 A.D. and 600 A.D. A second wave of Polynesian settlers came circa 1000.

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Almost every day there’s another announcement from community leaders in Hawaii about initiatives to protect the state’s environment. Just recently, the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu announced its elimination of the sale of all single-use plastics on its campus.

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The Hawaiian islands have a fascinating history of polo that goes back to the reign of King David Kalākaua, the kingdom’s Merrie Monarch. The first polo match in Hawaii was held in 1880 in Palama, a neighborhood of Honolulu.

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Hawaii has a $100 million tuna industry. Hawaii’s fishing industry is governed and managed by federal law and members of Congress are trying to figure out how to improve federal law governing the management of U.

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There is a long history in Hawaii of English being taught in Hawaii’s schools. In 1862 Kamehameha IV addressing the Kingdom’s legislature said: “… it is important to change all Hawaii’s schools to English speaking schools, and I once again put this forth to all.

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Previous video articles by Tom Barefoot’s Tours have discussed the importance of residents and visitors using reef-safe sunscreens to protect coral reefs around Hawaii.

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It’s always good to share news about successful efforts in Hawaii to preserve, restore and enhance the environment. The latest news is about an initiative that has returned about a half-million native trees to deforested Hawaii ranch lands over the last decade.

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No one should be surprised that Paradise has a housing shortage, especially on Oahu which has about 40% of future housing needs. According to recent projections, Hawaii will need an additional 65,000 housing units statewide by 2025.

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On Hawaii's Big Island protests by Native Hawaiians have flared for years against the construction of an 18-story telescope atop the volcano Mauna Kea.

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Oahu has more than 100 miles of coastline and 100 beaches. Visitors to many of these beaches generally find excellent possibilities for swimming, diving, snorkeling, bodyboarding, surfing, and fishing.

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When I first came to Hawaii in the early 70's and worked in a major hotel I was surprised at the number of tourists who would call housekeeping to come and remove a gecko they may have found on their wall or on their window screen.

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The simple answer is......there are certain things you have to do at least once! You're coming all the way to Hawaii, would you not go to a luau? Would you not jump in the ocean? So yes, you'll have to go see the sunrise or you'll feel you missed out.

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If you are concerned about sharks in Hawaii, you have good precedent to be concerned. Over the past couple of centuries of history regarding shark attacks there has been plenty of evidence confirming attacks have taken place and people have lost their lives.

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Well this is the question every angler wants to know. As usual, as every fisherman will tell you, your fishing 'juju' always depends on the 'day' and yes, 'luck', 'karma' and 'having your good deeds rewarded'.

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Stand Up Paddling (SUP) is perhaps the single best exercise available to you in Hawaii to provide you with optimal physical conditioning. You may want to give this a try while you are here to see what all the rage is about as SUP has gone 'off the charts' in its popularity.

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The Mauna Kea Access Road, which leads to Mauna Kea’s summit on the Island of Hawaii, was closed indefinitely by the state on July 15, 2019. The purpose of the closure was so equipment could be moved into place for the start of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) construction project.

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On every Hawaiian island visitors can enjoy an amazing variety of private, semi-private and group surfing lessons and venues. Surfing locations and experiences on each island and even parts of each island all differ.

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Most people will overlook the value of taking a helicopter flight of Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island when they first arrive on the island.

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Sandalwood has always been one of the most enjoyable fragrances to be used in spa treatments the world over. Its likability is almost universal.

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Hawaiians believe that a person’s spiritual essence (mana) resides within their bones (iwi). Following death, a persons's bones or iwi were considered sacred because within the bones resided a person's mana.

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We all know that Hawaii is a very unique place. In addition to its volcanic origin and diversity of beauty and attractions, the islands attract visitors because of their geographic isolation.

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The legendary surfing nirvana on the north shore of Maui, 3 miles east of Paia, received its suitably scary nickname from three surfers in 1975. The nickname came from the film “Jaws” and the unpredictability of a shark attack.

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Parasailing wasn't introduced as an activity in Hawaii until the early 1980's. It was popular from the start but it was operated in a completely different manner in those days.

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Located 18 miles from Kauai, across the Kaulakahi Channel, Niihau is the oldest of the inhabited Hawaiian islands. It is also the least changed. The people of Niihau speak Hawaiian as their primary language and Niihauans still fish and hunt for their main staples of food.

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An important part of the job of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is to overcome preconceived notions about Hawaii that discourage tourism. Tourism is too important (21% of the state’s economy) for Hawaii’s image as a vacation destination to be mainly a place where mom and dad or grandma go, although their importance for Hawaii's tourism cannot be overstated.

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An important part of the job of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is to overcome preconceived notions about Hawaii that discourage tourism. Tourism is too important (21% of the state’s economy) for Hawaii’s image as a vacation destination to be mainly a place where mom and dad or grandma go, although their importance for Hawaii's tourism cannot be overstated.

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As is true of most life forms who find themselves introduced to the Hawaiian Islands, wild or feral pigs like it here, they thrive here and they are multiplying in great numbers here.

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Introduced into the Hawaiian Islands by Polynesians,leis were constructed of flowers,leaves,shells,seeds,nuts,feathers and even the teeth of animals. According to the history of the Hawaiian lei, ancient Hawaiians wore leis for adornment and, in some instances, beautification.

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Perhaps the ultimate symbol of Hawaiian culture known throughout the world is the Hawaiian flower lei. For decades Hawaiian visitors have been greeted at the airport with the gift of a flower lei placed ceremoniously around their neck and shoulders accompanied by a kiss.

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Ukuleles suddenly appearing or arriving in Hawaii is a small but really interesting part of the history of the state.A British clipper ship named the SS Ravenscrag arrived in Honolulu on Aug 23, 1879, from the island of Madeira, Portugal.

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Of all the aspects of Hawaiian culture that are known in mainland America and other countries perhaps the one most notable icon is the Hula Skirt. Everyone has seen the cheesy or 'camp' car dashboard attachment of a hula girl with skirt that moves side by side as the car moves and turns with the traffic.

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The Garden Island is full of beauty, hiking adventures and challenges. The oldest island in Hawaii, its incredible landscape includes Mt. Waialeale, the wettest spot on earth and, as legend says, the home of Menehune, pygmies that were highly skilled stone workers.

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The next Hawaiian island is being formed right now and is expected to make its debut on the world stage in (perhaps) tens of thousands of years. The island already even has a name, Lo'ihi.

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First of all, let’s define a zipline. A zipline consists of a suspended cable with a sliding pulley. Ziplines usually are made of a stainless-steel cable mounted between two points on an incline.

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Could there be any doubt that dolphins love to have a good time. Being animals at the top tier of intelligence in the animal kingdom the dolphin often spends its spare time simply frolicking and having fun.

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The very largest of the Marlins are the Blue Marlins and of all the possible trophy fish found anywhere in the world, this is the prize! Yes, they are found in large numbers throughout the islands of Hawaii but they, and related species, are found throughout the tropical and subtropical oceans of the world.

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We are still learning fascinating facts about the origins, culture and spread of Polynesians. First of all Polynesians include Samoans, Tongans, Cook Islanders, Tahitians, Hawaiians and other indigenous people throughout the Pacific region.

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Possibly the most colorful bark found on any tree in the world can be found in Hawaii and it is referred to as the Rainbow Eucalyptus. Originally coming from the Philippines this beautiful tree can now be seen in various places in Hawaii and is most famously found on the Hana Highway where a beautiful stand of trees can be seen just off the roadside.

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Thanks to the Hawaii State Division of Forestry, the Napali Forest Reserve area is managed as a wilderness. A rich variety of native plant species thrive in the Reserve and along its trails.

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The islands of Hawaii are one of the largest resort destinations in the United States and this is not because of their spectacular beauty alone but also of course because of the fabulous weather found here.

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Hōkūleʻa -- Star of Gladness – has a unique and inspirational place in Hawaii’s history. Double-hulled sailing canoes brought the first Polynesians to Hawaii.

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Many life forms have in various ways found their way over vast distances to the Hawaiian Islands and then have evolved and adapted to the conditions they found here.

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The Big Island is located south of the Tropic of Cancer. The sun's rays, this close to the equator are much more intense than many Hawaii visitors are used to.

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The Taro plant is a staple of the Native Hawaiian diet. But taro is much more, so much more that it is central to Hawaiian culture. Hawaiians believe that the taro plant is sacred.

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Water temperature is a constant concern for people coming to visit Hawaii. This is one of the most asked questions we receive from Hawaii visitors prior to their arrival.

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Retiring at the age of 40 in Hawaii certainly sounds wonderful – that is, for those who qualify. However, according to a recent analysis by Seattle-based Redfin Corp, candidates need to have a household income of about $185,000 per year and managed to save about $80,000 per year for their almost 20 years in the workforce.

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The mongoose was deliberately brought from India to the islands of Oahu, Maui and Molokai in 1883 to assist with the rat problem that existed in the sugar plantations.

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In most places chickens are in cages but in Hawaii there is a large population of feral chickens who live in the wild. This is true of all islands but to a larger extent on the island of Kauai where it is speculated that large quantities of birds were loosed from their cages during both hurricanes Iwa and Iniki and have been wandering in the wild ever since.

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Since day one the islands of Hawaii have been a magnet for all sorts of life forms that could make the long journey from anywhere else on the planet to the islands.

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An estimated 600,000 tons of abandoned netting gear – ‘ghost nets’ -- finds its way into the oceans every year. The United Nations estimates that some 380,000 marine mammals are killed every year by either ingesting or being caught in derelict fishing gear.

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The Big Island is coffee drinkers’ paradise. The vast majority of the hundreds of coffee farms in Hawaii are on the Big Island. Other islands also have sizeable coffee operations.

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Tours & activities account for about 10% of global travel spending annually. Increasingly travelers are seeking out activities and tours that exactly fit the experiences that they want, their values, physical capabilities, and other personal needs and preferences.

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Tours & activities account for about 10% of global travel spending annually. Increasingly travelers around the world and in Hawaii are seeking out activities and tours that exactly fit the experiences that they want, their values, physical capabilities, and other personal needs and preferences.

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Most basically a travel agency and its travel agents sell travel products and services on behalf of suppliers such as airlines, steamship companies, railways, bus companies, car rental firms, hotels and sightseeing operators.

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For the professional surfer, the famous Vans Triple Crown of Surfing on the North Shore of Oahu is one of the most sought-after surfing competition titles in the world.

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The ancient art of fire dancing that shows up in the history of luaus began hundreds of years ago by the people of Polynesia. Although it’s not possible to pin-point exactly where in the 4,000 square miles of Polynesia fire dancing began, it is believed that the Maori people of New Zealand actually were the first pioneers in the long evolution of the fire dance from its origins with “poi.

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Every Hawaiian island is unique and very different from the others. Partly because of these differences, each island in Hawaii offers special and unusual activities and tours.

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Americans take less vacation time than they did in decades past and want to make the most of their vacation days. They are doing a great deal of online travel research.

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Waimea Canyon, often referred to as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” is a mile wide, more than 3,600-feet deep and 14 miles long. Quite small by comparison to the Grand Canyon in Arizona (277 miles long and 6,000 feet deep), Waimea Canyon provides panoramic vistas, deep valley gorges and, in combination with Kokee State Park, great hiking options.

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Walking on the soft white sand of a beautiful beach in Hawaii is what we all dream about. Are we aware how truly amazing this exercise is for us however?

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The accolades are endless regarding the beauty of the Na Pali Coastline on the North Shore of Kauai. Why do so many people think this is the most beautiful piece of coast line they have ever seen? It is because this is the most beautiful piece of coastline they have ever seen.

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Travel publications these days all have articles on the topic of wellness travel. Basically wellness travel to any destination is for the purpose of rejuvenation.

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So many of the things we observe about whales and their behavior are a mystery to us. Explanations about many topics regarding whales are simply conjecture or best case likelihoods but in reality are only good guesses.

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Humpback whales are found in every ocean in the world. Their Latin name, Megaptera novaeangliae ("big wing of New England") refers to giant pectoral fins which can grow up to 16 feet long.

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Every Hawaiian island is different and they all have special activities that are unusual and well suited for that particular island.  There are special Maui activities and Maui tours that fit the bill for this island as well.

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In the following list provided by Tom Barefoot's Tours, you will see the most popular categories of Kauai activities and Kauai tours based upon popularity.

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Maui has snorkel spots all around the island. There are plenty of places where you will find both fish and coral formations. What you may not find so easily is good access to your snorkel location, and a safe place to snorkel.

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Yes there are literally hundreds of Oahu activities and Oahu tours that are available on the island.  What many people don't realize is that Oahu has some really unique tours that you simply wouldn't expect.

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As we do on each of the islands, we will give you a ranking here of the 10 most popular Maui activities and Maui tours.  This is important information for you, particularly on Maui, because, the activities that are most popular are also the ones that book up first.

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Kauai Tours and Kauai Activities are very different than those found on the other Hawaiian islands.  The primary reason for this has to do with the geography of the island of Kauai.

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Since the mid nineteen hundreds the highest mountains on the Big Island and Maui have been the homes of some of the most expensive and sophisticated observatories on the planet.

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Horses became important in Hawaii, and in Kauai, as a result of the introduction of cattle to the islands. In 1793, Captain George Vancouver brought the first cattle to the Big Island.

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Hawaii is lucky enough to have three islands where you can take a submarine ride. Atlantis Submarines operates from Waikiki Beach on Oahu, from Kailua-Kona on the Big Island and from Lahaina on Maui! If you haven't taken one of these adventures you are missing out and here is why.

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Where ever you come from you are most certainly familiar with the mosquito. Perhaps unpleasantly familiar. Not only do they cause bites and itchy welts on the skin but they can occasionally be a carrier of various diseases such as Malaria, Dengue Fever or Zika.

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So, most people will determine which month they will visit Hawaii based upon vacations and time off work, time off from school or weather conditions in their local regions.

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First of all, let's define a breach. A breach is often considered to have occurred when a whale launches above the ocean's surface with over 40% of its body completely out of the water.

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Diamond Head Crater is perhaps the most recognized geologic formation in the Hawaiian Islands. With the most recognized beach in Hawaii at its base (Waikiki Beach) it is no wonder that Diamond head is such an iconic feature.

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Each of the Hawaiian Islands of Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island, will generally have a couple of companies that will offer a 'doors off' flight.

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There is no question that of all the helicopters flown in Hawaii, the A-Star helicopter and its newer cousin, the ECO-Star, are the aircraft of choice used by most helicopter touring companies on Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.

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The chances of swimming with dolphins while you're on Maui are less then they are on the islands of Oahu or Hawaii. The big reason why it is not likely that you will actually be able to get into the water and swim with dolphins on Maui is that in order to do so on a regular basis, you need to be able to predict exactly where they will be.

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There is something exciting about seeing a shipwreck. It's intriguing and somehow mysterious. The huge tanker that is wrecked on the eastern coast of Lanai makes a visit there all that more exciting.

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People are always curious to know about the dangerous creatures we have here in Hawaii like poisonous snakes and poisonous insects. There are of course no poisonous snakes in Hawaii but the fact is that considering the quantities of species that live in Hawaii we actually have relatively few animals or insects that can do you significant harm.

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Related Islands

Big Island Activities and Big Island Tours are found everywhere on the Big Island.  The Big Island of Hawaii is the largest and newest island in the island chain.

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