21586
Hawaii

Best of Hawaii: Oahu, Big Island and Maui

Join locals to explore Hawaii with an insider’s perspective, learning about unique island ecosystems, exploring Volcanoes National Park and snorkeling colorful reefs in Lanai!
Rating (4.93)
Program No. 21586RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
3,749
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9 days
8 nights
20 meals
8 B 5 L 7 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Introductions
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
D
Waikiki Resort Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have checked in with the hotel front desk, come to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where dinner and introductions will take place. If you arrive late, please ask the hotel front desk for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet welcome dinner with beverage options including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Introductions. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead as we begin to explore Hawaii from an insider’s perspective. This Road Scholar program is designed for students of lifelong learning who may be first-time visitors as well as those returning to a place they love. Please read the daily schedule carefully to understand what is included. There is a limited amount of free time so that we can cover as much as possible. If you have special interests that are not part of the Road Scholar program, we recommend making plans to arrive early and/or stay on after its conclusion. Road Scholar Travel Services can assist you in making such plans.

DAY
2
Orientation, USS Arizona, Spirit of Aloha
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
B,L,D
Waikiki Resort Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off buses; driving about 30 miles throughout the day, approximately 1 hour depending upon traffic. Walking approximately 2 miles throughout the day; getting on/off a Navy operated shuttle boat. Boat rides may be cancelled by the Navy in the event of high winds and/or strong water currents. Walking through National Monument complex. Note: Bags are not permitted and may be stored for a fee at the baggage storage center.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant, the breakfast buffet includes choices such as eggs, pancakes, fruit including pineapple, oatmeal, breads, muffins, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Orientation. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Travel and transfers for field trips will be via bus and/or van depending on local conditions and schedules at the time of the program. What we will be able to experience during field trips can also be affected by local conditions in this dynamically active and often changing environment. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We will board a bus and transfer to Pearl Harbor for a field trip to the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument — home of the USS Arizona Memorial. At the Visitors Center complex, we’ll view an introductory historical film, then ride a Navy-operated shuttle boat to the USS Arizona Memorial. As this is a place for quiet contemplation, guides are not permitted, so we have arranged the next best thing - self-directed exploration with audio narration. From the National Park Service: “The Arizona was bombed on December 7, 1941, about 15 minutes into the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, killing 1,177 sailors and marines on board. Today she rests where she fell, just off the coast of Ford Island.” The memorial honors her crew and other service members and civilians who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor: 2,335 sailors, soldiers, and marines as well as 68 civilians.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals and order from a select menu; iced tea and water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll return to the hotel in the mid-afternoon for free time before going out to dinner.

Dinner: We'll walk to a nearby restaurant for a delicious plated meal; nonalcoholic beverages included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We will be joined by members of a local Hawaiian cultural organization who will share the “spirit of Aloha” in a performance and enlighten us about its resonance in past and present life in Hawaii. Through Hawaiian music, hula, use of Hawaiian vocabulary, and an introduction to Hawaiian values and traditions, we’ll gain a better understanding of the foundations of Hawaiian culture and begin to understand what makes Hawaii unique and definitely not “just another tropical location.”

DAY
3
Life After Contact, East Shore, Heeia Ahupuaa, Fishpond
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
B,L,D
Waikiki Resort Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; driving about 50 miles, approximately 2 hours including stops. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; some uneven terrain, dirt trails.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In the hotel meeting room, we’ll be joined by a local expert who will teach us about Hawaiian history and culture “post-contact” – since the arrival of Captain Cook and other Westerners. The discussion adds to the cultural context for our time in Hawaii and includes the growing importance of olelo Hawaii (Hawaiian language) as a carrier of Hawaiian culture, “Hawaiian world view,” and cultural pride. We’ll then board a bus and set out on a field trip that will take us around Oahu's spectacular east shore as we head for the windward side of Oahu along a coastal road with stunning views of the ocean and the Koolau Mountains of Oahu. This scenic route takes us by Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, and Halona Blowhole. Our focus on windward Oahu will be how today’s Hawaiians are supporting their cultural and spiritual practices through environmental restoration and by breathing life into cultural practices that exemplify a lifestyle respectful of kanaka (people), aina (land), and kupuna (ancestors). We’ll learn about restoration of agricultural wetlands for the local community as we explore an agricultural farm and see cultivation of native plants and traditional foods such as taro.

Lunch: At a scenic local state park, choose what you like from the buffet with local-style foods such as pua'a kalua (roast pig) and lomi lomi salmon (tomato and salmon salad).

Afternoon: Our next field trip will take us to a Hawaiian fishpond built 600-800 years ago - one of the few remaining from what was once a plentiful resource. This technologically advanced form of aquaculture was unique to Hawaii. The stone wall arcs more than a mile out into the water, completely surrounding the pond. The complex construction regulates both the flow and salinity of the water for optimum results. Scientists have estimated that it took hundreds and possibly thousands of people working for years to complete it. En route back to Waikiki, we’ll drive through historic Honolulu, passing Aliiolani Hale (the judiciary), Mission Houses Museum, Kawaiahao Church, the State Capitol, Washington Place (home of Liliuokalani, the last queen of Hawaii), Iolani Palace, and St. Andrew's Cathedral.

Dinner: At a popular Waikiki restaurant with beautiful views, we'll have a plated meal with nonalcoholic beverages included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for morning check-out and transfer for our flight to Hilo.

DAY
4
Fly to Hilo, Imiloa Astronomy Center, Island Formation
Hilo, Big Island of Hawaii
B,L,D
Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel

Activity note: Flight from Honolulu to Hilo approximately 1 hour. Getting on/off a bus; driving approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 1 mile; paved surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will have a morning check out and transfer via bus to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport for our flight to Hilo, Big Island of Hawaii. Upon our arrival in Hilo, we will board a bus and ride to the Imiloa Astronomy Center for lunch.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we will have a buffet meal with nonalcoholic beverages; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll take a docent-led walking tour of the Imiloa Astronomy Center, which is situated on nine verdant acres in the Science and Technology Park of the University of Hawaii at Hilo. We’ll focus on exploration of the planetarium and exhibition complex that links early Polynesian navigation history and knowledge of the night skies, today’s renaissance of Hawaiian culture and wayfinding, and contemporary developments in astronomy occurring on nearby Mauna Loa.

Dinner: In Hilo Hawaiian's private meeting room, we’ll order from a select menu including salad, entrée, and dessert; beverage choices include nonalcoholic drinks. Other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: In the hotel meeting room, a local expert will join us for a class on the Geologic Formation and Evolution of the Hawaiian islands.

DAY
5
Free Time, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hilo, Big Island of Hawaii
B,D
Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus, driving about 50 miles, approximately 2 hours total with multiple stops; Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; varied terrain; some areas can be wet and slippery.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant, the breakfast buffet includes choices such as eggs, pancakes, fruit including pineapple, oatmeal, breads, muffins, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Free time. This block of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Wednesday is a big market day at the Hilo Farmers Market with more than 200 local farmers, artisans, crafters, retailers, and food vendors.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You might also like to check out food choices at the Farmers Market.

Afternoon: We will regroup at an announced time and place and set out via bus for a field trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. From the National Park Service: “Hawaii Volcanoes National Park displays the results of at least 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution in the Hawaiian Island-Emperor Seamount chain — processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems and a distinct human culture.” With a local expert, we’ll make multiple stops determined by the evolving conditions of this fascinating geologically active area. We’ll also stop at the Kilauea Visitor Center where an expert will introduce exhibits on how plant and animal life arrived, ecosystems including the rain forest, and of course volcanoes.

Dinner: At the Volcano House Restaurant within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, we’ll order from a select menu with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. There are amazing views of the Kilauea caldera.

Evening: After dinner, we will ride back to our hotel in Hilo. Prepare for morning check-out and transfer for our flight to Maui.

DAY
6
Fly to Maui, Maui Pineapple Farm
Kaanapali, HI (Island of Maui)
B,L
Royal Lahaina Resort

Activity note: Morning check-out and transfer to airport. The flight to Maui is about 40 minutes. Getting on/off a bus; driving about 50 miles throughout the day, approximately 1.5 hours including stops. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day and standing; some uneven terrain, dirt trails.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out in the early morning and transfer via bus to Hilo Airport for our flight to Maui. Upon arrival in Maui, we’ll hop aboard a bus for a privileged visit to a local pineapple farm. Long associated with Hawaii, pineapple plantations used to be large and numerous throughout the islands, but for reasons we’ll share during the field trip, they are now almost entirely gone. With a local expert, we’ll see field operations first hand. We'll also learn about the growing cycle of pineapples and cultivation techniques. And we’ll taste fresh pineapple!

Lunch: We’ll drive to a nearby restaurant for a meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll proceed to our resort in Kaanapali on Maui's scenic west side and check in mid-afternoon. En route, the Group Leader will tell us about free time opportunities for tonight and tomorrow. As we get close to the hotel, we’ll drive through historic Lahaina, point out sites of interest, and give you the lay of the land to help you get a better sense of distance and how you might like to spend your free time.

Dinner: Take this opportunity to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to take a walk along the beach or into town where there are galleries, restaurants, and live music.

DAY
7
Free Time, Marine Life Presentation
Kaanapali, HI (Island of Maui)
B,D
Royal Lahaina Resort

Breakfast: In the resort’s Royal Ocean Terrace, choose what you like from the extensive breakfast buffet that includes choices such as eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, other griddle delights, cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, toast station, milk, juices including pineapple and local favorite POG (Passion-Orange-Guava), coffee, hot tea, water.

Morning: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You might like to hang out at world-famous Kaanapali Beach right in front of the hotel or explore the local Kaanapali/Lahaina area independently. We will provide vouchers for entrance to several Lahaina museums. Lahaina was a longtime residence of kings and chiefs of Maui, and served as the capital of the united kingdom of Hawaii from 1820-1845. It was also a key port for the whaling industry as well as a center of missionary activities. Today, this is some of the most expensive real estate in the islands. Don’t miss the massive banyan tree! Planted in 1873 to honor the 50th anniversary of the first Protestant mission in Lahaina, it’s now the largest banyan in the U.S., standing more than 60 feet high with 16 major trunks, a circumference of 1/4 mile and shading 2/3 of an acre!

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time. Continue your independent explorations or just relax.

Dinner: At the resort's Royal Ocean Terrace, we will have a plated meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a marine biologist for a presentation on Hawaii’s marine life in preparation for tomorrow's snorkeling adventure.

DAY
8
Lanai Snorkel, Luau, Music & Fire Dance
Kaanapali, HI (Island of Maui)
B,L,D
Royal Lahaina Resort

Activity note: Early rising for field trip. Getting on/off vehicles; driving about 10 miles, approximately 1/2 hour driving. Getting on/off a boat; those who wish to snorkel must be competent swimmers; life guards onboard. Those susceptible to motion sickness should consider appropriate remedies.

Breakfast: We’ll drive to the harbor and board our vessel for the day where we’ll have a choice of light fare such as fresh fruit, pastries, juice, coffee, water.

Morning: We’ll spend the morning with the ocean vessel staff at the pier and then embark with other passengers on a snorkeling field trip and wild dolphin watch. Local naturalists will lead us as we see why Lanai has been rated as a top snorkeling spots in the world, and where we will be able to explore a coral reef that is home to abundant fish and other marine life. Wild dolphins are often found year-round in these waters so we will be on the lookout for spinner, spotted, and bottlenose dolphins. From December-April, we’ll also look for the migratory humpback whales that visit each year.

Lunch: Aboard the vessel, choose what you like from choices such as grilled chicken, hot dogs, garden burgers, veggie salad, soda, juice, water.

Afternoon: Our field trip will continue until mid-afternoon when we will return to the harbor and then the hotel. The remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: At the resort, we’ll enjoy a luau in an oceanfront setting where the pua’a kalua (baked pig) is taken out of the imu (underground oven) — the centerpiece of an elaborate, multi-course buffet of traditional island fare; open bar (tropical and standard cocktails, beer, wine), juices, soft drinks, coffee, tea, water included. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll enjoy live music as we dine, culminating in a performance of music, song, and dance conjuring myths and stories from throughout Polynesia that ends with a spectacular fire-knife-dance finale. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
9
Program Concludes
Kaanapali, HI (Island of Maui)
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys. Aloha and a hui hou!






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