Discovering Hidden Hawaii

January 8- 15, 2023 • 8 Days • $4290

Make plans for a wintertime getaway and join us as we “hang loose” under the tropical sun on the Hawaiian Islands of Hawaii (The Big Island) and Maui!

NOTE: Hawaii will be a small group van tour for 2023 and is now full at 12 travelers.

Optional Oahu Extension

January 15-18, 2023 • 4 Days • $1675

Walks and activities include a walk in Honolulu with an excellent route that passes historic points of interest such as the State Capitol, China Town, and Iolani Palace; a walk on Diamond Head Crater, a famous Oahu landmark; an excursion to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor; and a new Oahu circle tour taking us away from Waikiki and Honolulu to see and walk the hidden side of Oahu.

Highlights of Hawaii Video

See below for the daily itinerary.

Tour Type: Classic Curated

Most travelers are attracted to the sun-drenched beaches of Waikiki and Maui, soaking in the alluring tropical climate of “the Islands.” Our Adventure in Hawaii, on the other hand, offers an intriguing search for Old Hawaii with a series of walks and activities that tantalize the senses with the true spirit of the Islands. Come see the real Hawaii never featured on 7-day/6-night travel specials!

We’ll be visiting some of our favorite island haunts, including:

  • Place of Refuge–an achingly beautiful corner of the Kona coast that served as a place for Hawaiians to escape the harsh Kapu system of justice.
  • Volcanoes National Park—it’s hard to describe the feeling of walking across the steam-venting floor of Kilauea Iki Crater!
  • Hilo Highlights—including the Farmer’s Market, Tsunami Museum, Rainbow Falls, and nearby Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.
  • Maui—whale watching at its best!  Seeing these majestic creatures is always a highlight especially during peak whale watching season!  We also offer a stroll through the lovely resort of Ka’anapali and historic Lahaina.
  • Optional Oahu Extension – explore the highlights of Oahu, with stops at Diamond Head, Honolulu, Waikiki and more!

Hidden Hawaii


  • All land travel as outlined
  • 1 inter-island flight from the Big Island of Hawaii to Maui
  • 7 nights at superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 10 meals: all breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners as denoted (BLD)
  • 4 walks
  • Fees for walking credits (for those collecting AVA credit)
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • All tipping for coach drivers and guides (except for optional excursions)
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $1325

Activities/Visits to:

  • Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, the Place of Refuge (Big Island)
  • Tour of a coffee plantation on the Kona Coast (Big Island)
  • Pu’ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site (Big Island)
  • Hilo Farmer’s Market Tour (Big Island)
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)
  • Pacific Tsunami Museum (Big Island)
  • Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden (Big Island)
  • Whale Watching Charter (Maui)
  • More fun stops than we can list!

Optional Excursions:

  • Kealakekua Bay Swim and Snorkel (Big Island) – Day 1
  • Snorkeling with Manta Rays (Big Island) – Day 2
  • Old Lahaina Luau (Maui) – Day 6
  • Free day options on Maui – Day 7

Oahu Extension


  • All land travel as outlined
  • 1 inter-island flight from Maui to Oahu
  • 3 nights at superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • All breakfasts
  • 3 walks
  • Fees for walking credits (for those collecting AVA credit)
  • WAI guide service throughout
  • All tipping for coach drivers and guides
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. Single rooms are available for a supplement of $397

Activities/Visits to:

  • Diamond Head Crater State Monument
  • World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (Pearl Harbor)
  • Hidden Oahu Walk and Excursion
  • More fun stops than we can list!

“The Volcanoes Nat’l Park and Lanai Island Hike were brilliant…Russ and Judy were excellent guides; they kept us well informed and [were] very flexible when problems arose.”

-Jeff F; Cheshire, England

“Our guides, Russ and Judy, were among the best I’ve ever had – on any trip. Well-organized, thoughtful, considerate, calm and unflustered when faced with last-minute changes. Very nice people.”

-Colleen B; Laytonsville, MD

 “WAI guides were excellent. Did an outstanding job…Quite an experience. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for a very interesting view of the Hawaiian Islands.”

-Bill F; Silver Spring, MD

“Russ and Judy are great guides, very attentive to detail and making sure everyone is having fun. They do a great job of letting us know what to expect on our walks.”

-Betty P; Silver Spring, MD

“Russ and Judy are great. Look forward to traveling with them again.”

-Bob & Nancy I; Etters, PA

“Russ and Judy are wonderful – keep everything “even keel”…Volcanoes Nat’l Park Craters walk was awesome…Day trip (optional) to Molokai was so interesting – a piece of Hawaii history I didn’t know that much about.”

-Carol W; Medford, OR

“Leaders did a great job in knowing where everyone was, while we were on the trail. Superb leadership…Everything exceeded my expectations.”

-Joan V; Baltimore, MD


  • Hidden Hawaii: 1 inter-island flight from Hawaii to Maui; Oahu Extension: 1 inter-island flight from Maui to Oahu

  • Superior tourist class or better hotel accommodations

  • Hidden Hawaii: 10 meals: All breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners; Oahu Extension: 3 meals: All breakfasts

  • Hidden Hawaii: 4 walk routes; Oahu Extension: 3 walk routes

  • Basic transportation in 40+ pax motorcoaches

Discounts available. See Daily Itinerary for more details on activities included.

View Daily Itinerary

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

About Adventure Pace

Important Info

Your Guides

Scott Isom 

Scott has had a passion for the outdoors ever since his childhood days spent exploring the waterfalls and outstanding hiking trails of the Columbia River Gorge with his family. Scott has led tours on all 7 continents and is WAI’s busiest guide and on-site Adventure planner. Scott will be leading the Discovering Hidden Hawaii tour with one other lucky member of the WAI team.


Click on each day for more details.

Discovering Hidden Hawaii

Your Discovering Hidden Hawaii walking adventure begins with a flight from the mainland (not included) to the Kona Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii. Upon arrival, you can easily arrange your own transfer by taxi to our starting hotel, where the balance of the day is free to enjoy the South Sea ambiance from our lodgings overlooking the Pacific. Because travelers arrive from the mainland throughout the day, the only group activity planned is a Welcome Reception this evening.

Optional Excursion–Kealakekua Bay Swim and Snorkel: For those who arrive a day early into Kona, consider joining us today for an optional morning Swim & Snorkel Trip. This 4-hour adventure takes us south along the coast of the Big Island to Kealakekua Bay where we enjoy world-class snorkeling and learn about the fate of famous English mariner, Captain James Cook. Snacks (fresh fruit), drinks, guiding services, and snorkeling gear are all included in this excursion. Estimated price: $150 per person

We begin our Hawaiian Adventure with a fascinating exploration of the Kona coast that includes a visit to the dreamy, palm-studded seascapes of the Place of Refuge, so named because it served as a sanctuary for Hawaiians attempting to escape the harsh justice of the Kapu system.

On the return trip, we visit a coffee plantation to learn firsthand how famous Kona beans are grown, and sample some of the famous island java. The afternoon is free to enjoy the balmy climes of the Kona coast from our hotel.

Optional Excursion–Snorkeling with Manta Rays: An evening snorkeling amongst the giant manta rays of Hawaii may be one of the most fascinating wildlife experiences you ever have. This unique aquatic adventure offers a safe and up-close encounter with these massive “birds of the ocean” whose wingspans can be anywhere from 15-25 feet. After a short 5-minute boat ride from Keahou Harbor, you’ll spend about 30-40 minutes in the water with the manta rays.

A modified surfboard with handles serves as an underwater platform that you and fellow manta-watchers hold onto while a qualified guide shares the fascinating story of these gentle giants.  Beneath you the mantas barrel-roll in illuminated waters flapping their wings in what looks like a slow-motion dance as they feed on plankton-rich waters. While manta sightings aren’t completely guaranteed, the 92% success rate give an indication that your chances are good. Snorkels, masks, and wetsuits are provided as part of the cost of this optional, along with water and Hawaiian juices. Estimated price: $150 per person

Day 3 – Jan 10: Kailua-Kona – Hilo (BLD)
Pu’ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site Walk – 2 km, rated 1C
Puu Huluhulu Walk – 2 km, rated 1C

We transition between two Hawaiian worlds today, the dry side on the West to the wet side on the East. But first, we visit Pu’ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site where a different kind of transition can be contemplated, from traditional Hawaiian culture, history, and religion to Hawaii’s current place in the 21st century world.

At this remote corner of the Big Island, above the Kohala Coast, we connect with King Kamehameha, the dominant personality in Hawaiian history. This heiau (temple) was built in 1790 at the order of Kamehameha during a time of great conflict in Hawaii’s history. After sanctifying Pu’ukoholā Heiau with a human sacrifice, Kamehameha continued his quest to conquer the islands, a feat he accomplished 20 years later for first time in the history of the islands.

From Pu’ukoholā Heiau, we continue further north to the even more isolated Hawaiian village of Hawi. Here lunch is served at one of the islands oldest and most respected restaurants.

From Hawi, we point the bus towards the highest road on the Big Island. The Saddle Road passes between Hawaii’s two geological giants, Mauna Kea (13,796 feet) and Mauna Loa (13,680 feet). Measured from the ocean floor, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on the planet at 33,500 feet.

Before we reach the summit of the highway, however, we stop for another short walk at Puu Huluhulu, a cinder cone along the Saddle Road. This short nature trail offers a surprising amount of diversity with opportunities to see birds, great views of Mauna Kea, and a variety of plants, an oasis of life in the middle of otherwise barren lava flows.

We finish the day in Hilo on the Big Island’s wet side.

Volcanoes Nat’l Park Craters Walk – 10 km, rated 3D

We start our morning with a unique breakfast and food tour at Hilo Farmers Market, rated one of the top markets in the U.S.! Following our morning market meandering we tread across one of the most massive and active volcanoes on the planet! Due to the much-publicized eruptions of 2018, we will be adjusting our route here. Our intended trail is one of our worldwide favorites! It travels through the gently sloping lavascape of Kilauea, enjoying caldera views, steam-vented craters, and lava tubes. Volcano and post-volcano walk activities will be planned as we approach our departure date and are subject to change based on volcanic conditions.  When possible, past visits have usually offered some form of lava viewing, an unpredictable and rare opportunity to witness 2000°+ F, red-hot lava from a close, but safe, distance.

Hilo Walk – 5 km, rated 1B

Our last morning on the Big Island begins with a pleasant stroll through Lili’uokalani Gardens, named after Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, continuing along Hilo’s waterfront to the Pacific Tsunami Museum. Following a fascinating, and fortunately harmless, tidal wave of information at the museum, we proceed by bus to the lush wonderland of the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden for a resplendent rainforest ramble. A quick photo stop at Rainbow Falls on our way back to lunch in Hilo sets the stage for our late afternoon flight across the water to The Valley Isle of Maui, where we transfer to our beautiful beach hotel in Ka’anapali for the first evening of a three-night stay.

Lahaina Missionaries & Whalers Walk – 8 km, rated 1B

A morning stroll begins in the beautiful beach resort community of Ka’anapali where a brief taxi ride connects us with the second half of the walk in Lahaina. Before Hawaii’s annexation by the United States, Lahaina was the Royal Capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, as well as the center of the global whaling industry. Clashes here in the 19th century between whalers and missionaries, who had diametrically opposing objectives for the local population, could be severe and violent, but peace now reigns supreme in this sunny, oceanfront community on the west end of Maui.

Lahaina Roads is the deep channel between Maui and neighboring Lanai where humpback whales arrive from Alaska during winter months to mate and deliver their young. The afternoon activity is a fun whale cruise into the “Lahaina Roads” in low-to-the-water mega zodiac boats.

Optional Excursion–Old Lahaina Luau: Following free time in Lahaina, our optional evening event is the Old Lahaina Luau, an authentic evening of traditional Hawaiian food, music, and dance in a unique beachfront setting! Estimated price: $220 per person

No trip to Hawaii would be complete without a little “hang loose” time. We take a break today from our usually full WAI itinerary in favor of letting you call the shots. Soak up some rays on the beach; shop ’til you drop; enjoy a chance to snorkel; join an excursion to see the view from atop Haleakala, the massive volcano that forms most of Maui; or book a drive on the famous Road to Hana. The concierge at our hotel will be happy to help make your plans or give you more ideas for enjoying Maui. Later this evening, we enjoy a fun and relaxing Farewell Dinner together at our hotel.

Additional options for your free time today include:

Molokai Excursion – Another option for this free day is to visit the rarely seen island of Molokai.

To book your visit to Molokai, you will work directly with a local tour guide that will arrange for you to fly to the Molokai peninsula of Kalaupapa, made famous by Belgian priest Saint Damien, who devoted himself to improving the lives of lepers banished to Molokai as outcasts in the 19th century. Upon arrival on the island, the guide company leads a tour of this isolated settlement, now a National Historic Park and home to the remaining residents of the leprosy colony.

NOTE:  Travelers who wish to book this excursion should make their arrangements as soon as possible as only 100 tourists are allowed to visit Molokai each day.  While many tour companies claim to offer this excursion, there are only two tour companies that are authorized by the National Park Service to lead Molokai tours.

The one we can suggest is The Molokai Mule Ride Company.  For information on their services, visit their web site at or contact them via email at [email protected] or phone at 808-567-6088.  Travelers should make all arrangements directly with this company.

While Walking Adventures guides will do their best to assist with your transfer to the airport on the morning of your Molokai excursion, we are not responsible for any portion of the Molokai visit and any questions or concerns should be directed to your island tour operator.

Kawenaokeao is our hotel’s cultural center and offers a wide variety of activities (many of them at no cost) including Hula lessons, lei making, and storytelling.  For information or to book an event, visit their website or call 808-667-0161.  Advance sign up is required.

Hale Huaka’i is our hotel’s ocean activity center.  Here, hotel staff offer a range of fun activities such as canoe paddle tours, stand up paddle boarding lessons, snorkeling tours, surfing and conch shell blowing.  For information or to book an event go to their website or call 808-667-0134.  Beach equipment is also available for rent from the ocean activity center.

Clearly, there are unlimited ways to spend your time in Maui.  If you’d like suggestions or need assistance with booking excursions throughout the island, Alihilani Guest Services at our hotel – the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel – is happy to assist.  Go to their website or call 808-667-0129.

As we explored the history, culture, and scenery of the Islands, wintertime blues have been replaced by the Aloha spirit of Hawaii! After breakfast this morning, we say goodbye to travel pals and return to the wintertime climes of North America, refreshed and renewed by our tropical walking adventure in Hawaii!

Oahu Extension

Honolulu Capital Walk – 10 km, rated 2B

We fly from Maui this morning to the main island of Oahu.

In 1845, King Kamehameha III moved the capital of Hawaii from Lahaina, on Maui, to Honolulu, transforming it into a modern city. The next hundred years were hard on Honolulu and Hawaiian sovereignty; in 1893, the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown; in 1898, the islands were annexed by the United States; in 1900, the city endured a major fire; and in 1941, the Japanese devasted Oahu with the attack on Pearl Harbor. The walk through Honolulu offers an on-the-ground opportunity to enhance, or challenge, your understanding of Hawaii, passing several significant sites including the State Capitol, Courthouse, Iolani Palace, King Kamehameha statue, plus a fun wander through China Town.

Perched on the east edge of Waikiki Beach, our hotel allows access to the sights of Waikiki but provides a welcome respite of neighboring green spaces of the Honolulu Zoo and seaside Sans Souci State Recreational Park. After freshening up at our strategically located hotel, enjoy exploring the many options for dinner on your own tonight!

Diamond Head Walk – 8/12 km, rated 3C

This morning’s walk takes us along the coast from our hotel to nearby Diamond Head Crater for a classic climb to the top of Diamond Head offering iconic views up and down the coast, and over the Pacific. Prized by the U.S. military because of the 360 degree sweep it offered artillery, this ancient volcano is now a state park, and one of the “must dos” for active visitors to Oahu.

After lunch on our own, the afternoon highlight is a somber visit to Pearl Harbor, site of the December 7, 1941 attack by Japan that prompted the U.S. to enter World War II. With an excellent film, followed by a visit to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, suspended artfully above the final resting place of more than 900 sailors and Marines, few places, and few experiences, have the ability to transport visitors back to this tumultuous time in world history like Pearl Harbor.

Oahu Circle Island Tour Walk – 4 to 5 km, rated 2B

We spend our final full day on Oahu experiencing many of the best sites on Oahu. En route to Waimea Valley on the north shore, we stop to explore Hanauma Bay, walk along Sandy Beach, and visit Byodo-In Temple.

After a brief lunch stop (included), we arrive in Waimea Valley, known as the Valley of Kings because of the many Kahuna (prophets and healers) class that made it their home. Finally, we stop for a visit at the Dole Plantation to learn about the critical role the pineapple has had in Hawaii’s economy.

We return to our hotel for one more evening free to explore the multi-textured food and shopping opportunities along Waikiki Beach.

We return home today from a mid-winter break in the Islands! This most-isolated land mass on the planet has a spellbinding story to tell. The story, the unique Polynesian culture, and seemingly perpetual sunshine give it a special allure, a warm Aloha spirit that invites us to return!

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

To register, a non-refundable $300 deposit is required to hold your spot. A final payment is due 90 days before departure and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

Please follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

With help from local experts and walking guides, these itineraries are crafted with extensive on-site planning by WAI tour planners.

When planning Classic Curated Tours, our objective is to capture the essence of a destination—the history, culture, and natural wonders unique to that part of the world. We then build activities and walks that take us inside these characteristics.

Yes, these tours are educational, but they are also interactive and immersive; walking gets us off the bus and penetrates local cultures to not only see, but also touch, smell, and feel these special spaces.

Along the way, interactions with locals amplify the experience by sharing insights into the magic of that particular location.

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Walks that are oriented more towards education may take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion.

If you have questions about your ability to participate, please contact our office at [email protected].

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented on the table below:


1. Minimal hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: <200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 1000-2000 feet.


A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).

Three optional excursions are available during this Adventure: Kealakekua Bay Swim and Snorkel, Snorkeling with Manta Rays, and the Old Lahaina Luau. If you would like to participate in any of these excursions, we have limited space available. To guarantee your place, please sign up at the time you register.

Travelers on the Hidden Hawaii only fly into the Kona International Airport (airport code KOA) on Hawaii’s Big Island and depart from the Maui International Airport (airport code OGG) at Kahului. Travelers continuing on the Oahu Extension will depart from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (airport code HNL) in Honolulu.

One inter-island flight is included in the Hidden Hawaii program and one inter-island flight is included in the Oahu Extension.

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in an Adventure Advice PDF by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. This is now especially true in the era of COVID-19, which is typically treated like any other illness for travel insurance purposes. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provide air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance. (NOTE: WAI receives no commission or financial remuneration from World Travel Inc.).

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Betins
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape has caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 12 participants, in which case registered participants would receive a 100% refund of payments received.

This refund policy contains one exclusion. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Though it is rare, unforeseen circumstances can force us to cancel a tour. In cases where supplier’s non-refundable policies are imposed, WAI attempts to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible, but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.

WAI has relaxed our policies and currently require no mitigation procedures (current WAI Coronavirus Policy). Of course, all participants must comply with the requirements and restrictions of the countries and states we visit.

According to Governor Ige, the state of Hawaii dropped the ‘Safe Travels’ program for domestic U.S. travelers at midnight on March 25, 2022. Governor Ige has also announced the indoor mask mandate has ended as of March 26, 2022. Masks may still be required on public transportation, such as buses, and within Hawaii’s airports.

That now means domestic travelers to Hawaii will no longer need to fill out online forms via Safe Travels, no longer have to worry about QR codes, no longer have to provide proof of vaccination, and ultimately, there won’t be any additional requirements or restrictions to fly to Hawaii on a domestic flight.

WAI will notify travelers of any updates to entry requirements in advance of the tour.

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome email and initial invoice notifying you of your tour balance and due date. All payments for the tour or optional services/excursions can now be made online.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

A final payment is due 90 days before departure (October 10, 2022) and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

Around 2-3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

Take a few minutes to peruse this unique, Hidden Hawaii itinerary.  After the holiday season, an Adventure in the tropical climes of the Islands may be the best way to walk off some of that holiday cheer and bridge winter’s gap between Yuletide joy and the promise of spring. If you’d like to see the real Hawaii, the one that most people never see, join us for this unforgettable Walking Adventure program next winter!

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Hidden Hawaii 2023