Scientists love to remind us that the Big Island gets bigger every day. You’ll see the glowing bubble and splat of lava that proves their point. But the wonderful paradox of this fierce volcanic dot in the Pacific is how lush greenery and rich human history coexist. From our hotel home bases, we’ll go deep into remote valleys where farmers cultivate taro and experience the surprising sweep of “cowboy country.” Our walks take us into vivid botanical gardens…to a skyscraper-high waterfall…and into a sacred refuge where islanders could escape the wrath of a king. The locavore food scene is really exciting here, and you’ll have chances to eat in some of the many great restaurants and cafés. There’s also great shopping in Hilo Town and time to relax on the beach or by the pool. From the heights of Volcanoes National Park all the way down into the clear blue waters where you can snorkel with sea turtles, we’ll offer you in-depth insights to help you appreciate all the miracles of life on the Big Island.
We stay in Volcanoes National Park (3 nights) as our base for exploring the fantastic waterfalls, volcanoes and lava formations of the island. We’ll take an up-close look at volcanic forces as we enter the Thurston Lava Tube. We’ll also pay a visit to a state-of-the-art planetarium where we explore the connections between Hawaiian cultural traditions and astronomy.
DAYS 4-7 - HAPUNA / KONA
We make our way across the island to Kohala Coast (3 nights), where we get a taste for the laidback Hawaiian culture with visits to the farmer’s market and shops. We’ll enjoy a Hawaiian cowboy cookout at a working sheep and cattle ranch in this landscape that varies drastically from our visits earlier in the week. We’ll walk through coffee fields at one of the island’s finest plantations followed by a tasting of the legendary Kona brew. To wrap up our time on the Big Island, we’ll board a catamaran and hit the water for a day of sun and snorkeling.
Starting Point:Hilo – 10:00 am – Hilo hotel lobby
Ending Point:Kohala Coast – – Westin Hapuna Beach hotel lobby
Why Choose Classic Journeys
We believe in creating authentic connections by immersing you into the history and culture of a people and place. So we find the most well-connected local guides who share their relationships and knowledge with us. And with them, we handcraft walking tours in cinematic settings that allow you to see the world on foot and at eye level.
It's why Travel + Leisure magazine has named Classic Journeys as the #1 World's Best Tour Operator multiple times, and the editors of T+L say, "Classic Journeys provides unbeatable access to experiences around the globe." Here's what that access means for you every time you travel with us.
- Experience the world on foot and at eye level. Each day, join your guide on the most cinematic footpaths in the region.
- Exceptional full-time local guides who become your well-connected friend. Our amazing guides are with you throughout each day of the tour, share their lifelong connections as well as engaging anecdotes about the history and culture of the region.
- Small groups that provide you unrivaled access. An average of fewer than 10 guests per departure means we can offer you special access to sites like Stonehenge so you experience the stone circle when it's closed to the general public, a guided visit to Zion Narrows that other companies cannot arrange because of larger group sizes, and vineyard walks with a count and countess in Tuscany.
- Award-winning hotels are waiting for you at the end of every day. Luxuriate in the finest and most distinctive accommodations in the region you're exploring, including rainforest lodges, 16th century villas, and award-winning properties that show up on World's Best and Gold lists.
- Eat like (and with) the locals. Food is a foolproof way into the hearts, homes and history of the places you visit with us. From gourmet picnics to coveted local restaurants, our meals offer you opportunities to explore native food traditions and fine dining.
- Handcrafted itineraries with all activities included. With our long-term friendships, we know our walking tour regions more personally than anyone else. So you get thoughtfully curated itineraries that combine explorations of the villages, organic farms, archeological sites and the people who know them best.
- Sustainable travel that supports the places you're visiting. We put our local currency into the pockets of the people who live where we travel. It's your guarantee that you'll have authentic, up-close experiences on your trip. Best of all, our person-to-person approach helps sustain their ways of life.
Dates & Prices
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Select our “Family Departure” to travel with other families.
- 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 5 dinners
- Full-time experienced guide(s) who are with you throughout the trip and handle behind-the-scenes logistics
- Admissions to historic sites and other scheduled events as noted in the detailed daily itinerary
- Gratuities for hotels, meals, and baggage
- All land transportation during the trip
Above & Beyond Benefits
Privileged Access Events
- One-of-a-kind access to remarkable people, places and activities arranged just for you.
- When your group arrives, we whisk you and your bags to your room immediately. No waiting – no tipping.