Christmas in Hidden Hawaii
Projected dates – December 5-15, 2021 • 11 Days • Price to be determined
Make plans for a Yuletide getaway and join us as we “hang loose” under the tropical sun of Hawaii!
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 sightseeing excursions 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:
- Valley of the Kings—some of the wildest, most exotic trails in the Islands are here in the remote Waipio Valley.
- Volcanoes National Park—it’s hard to describe the feeling of walking across the 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.
- Oahu – explore the highlights of Oahu, with stops at Diamond Head, Honolulu, Waikiki and more!
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with finalized dates and pricing will be made available!
- All land travel as outlined
- 2 inter-island flights, from the Big Island of Hawaii to Maui, and from Maui to Oahu
- 10 nights at superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
- 13 meals: all breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners as denoted (BLD)
- 7 walks
- Fees for walking credits (for those collecting AVA credit)
- WAI guide service throughout
- 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 to be announced.
- Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, the Place of Refuge (Big Island)
- Tour of a coffee plantation on the Kona Coast (Big Island)
- Waipio Valley – Valley of the Kings (Big Island)
- Akaka Falls State Park (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)
- 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!
- Kealakekua Bay Swim and Snorkel (Big Island) – Day 1
- Old Lahaina Luau (Maui) – Day 6
“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
Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5
Click on each day for more details.
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with finalized dates and pricing will be made available!
DAY 1-Dec 5: Arrive Kailua-Kona, 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.
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. Lunch, light snacks, drinks, guiding services, and snorkeling gear are all included in this excursion. Estimated price: $125 per person
DAY 2-Dec 6: Activities from Kailua-Kona (B)
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.
DAY 3-Dec 7: Kailua-Kona – Hilo (BLD)
Valley of the Kings Walk – 5 km, rated 1C
On our way to the Hilo side of the Big Island, we experience a royally memorable walk in the Valley of the Kings. Set in a verdant and remote tropical wonderland, this trek along the valley floor offers black sand beaches, towering cliffs, lush vegetation, a funky and remote community of taro growers, along with a couple of shallow stream crossings—on foot! After this hike, we satisfy our hunger with lunch, plus a famous hot malasada (deep-fried Portuguese-Hawaiian pastry!) at the Tex Drive-In. Later this afternoon, we drink in classic waterfall-in-paradise views of Akaka Falls on a short loop hike before arriving at our Hilo hotel, where we check-in and share a dinner together.
DAY 4-Dec 8: Activities from Hilo (B)
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.
DAY 5-Dec 9: Hilo – Ka’anapali, Maui (B)
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.
DAY 6-Dec 10: Activities from Ka’anapali (B)
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.
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: $140 per person
DAY 7-Dec 11: Activities in Ka’anapali area (BD)
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 last 16 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 www.muleride.com 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.
Hale Ho’okipa 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 https://www.kbhmaui.com/local-area/maui-recreational-activities 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, https://www.kbhmaui.com/local-area/hale-huakai or call 808-667-0120. 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, the concierge desk at our hotel – the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel – is happy to assist. The concierge can be reached at [email protected] or call 808-667-0120 and ask to be connected to the concierge.
DAY 8-Dec 12: Depart Maui for Waikiki, Oahu (B)
Diamond Head Walk – 12 km, rated 3C
We fly from Maui this morning to the main island of Oahu. 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. The walk of the afternoon takes us along the coast 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. Returning to our strategically located hotel, freshen up and enjoy exploring the many options for dinner on your own tonight!
DAY 9-Dec 13: Activities in Honolulu area (B)
Honolulu Capital Walk – 10 km, rated 2B
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. 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.
DAY 10-Dec 14: Activities on windward side (B)
Hidden Oahu Walk – distance and rating TBA
Our planning team has scouted out a 5 to 8-hour experience on the windward side of the island that includes a brand-new walk route combined with a fun local food/culture stop! After two days of enjoying Oahu’s classic attractions, today we’re looking for Hidden Oahu!
Potential highlights include:
- Hanauma Bay
- Sandy Beach
- Byodo-In Temple
- Waimea Valley
- And more!
We return home mid to late afternoon with one more evening free to explore the multi-textured food and shopping opportunities along Waikiki Beach.
DAY 11-Dec 15: Depart from Oahu (B)
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!
Click on each heading for more details.
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
If pricing or dates are not yet available for a tour, you can express interest by hitting the Join the List button on the right-hand side of this webpage. Getting your name on this list gives you priority notification when dates are finalized and pricing is ready. You’ll receive an email a week before the completed brochure is posted on our website and registration is open to the public.
To register, a transferable $200 deposit is required to hold your spot. This amount is non-refundable; however, up until 60 days before departure, it can be transferred to a different tour. A final payment is due 60 days before departure and you will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance.
An email with critical information on flight arrangements will be sent soon after registration, with important details about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review the Flight Arrangements email.
Please follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.
What's a Classic Curated Tour?
With help from local experts and walking guides, these itineraries are hand-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 touch, smell, and feel these special spaces.
Along the way, local walking guides 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. 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. Because these are group walks, the success of the walks is predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness in order to ensure that we are walking at a somewhat similar pace. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office.
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 below:
1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 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).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.
How is airfare arranged?
Travelers will fly into the Kona International Airport (airport code KOA) on Hawaii’s Big Island and depart from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (airport code HNL) in Honolulu. Airfare to and from the start point is not included in the package price, though two inter-island flights are included in the program. 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 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. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email: [email protected] -OR- call 503-434-6401). For those of you who purchase airfare through Laura, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the squaremouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.
Other options include:
- 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). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.
Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 12 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received. This refund policy contains one exclusion related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Unforeseen circumstances linked to the virus can force us to cancel a tour. Due to these supplier’s non-refundable policies, WAI intends 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.
View our full Coronavirus FAQ for more details.
COVID-19 Policies and Procedures
The Our Approach to Fun but Prudent Travel document identifies and explains Covid-19 mitigation policies and procedures WAI is using as a starting point for our 2021 tours. Because the knowledge base about COVID-19 changes daily, we review these policies and procedures on an ongoing basis, and will, of course, notify travelers on tour of updates as we approach the departure date of your tour.
Contact our office with any questions at 360.260.9393 or [email protected].
COVID-19 Travel Waiver
During this age of COVID-19, WAI evaluates worldwide reports and conditions on an ongoing basis. Please read our COVID-19 Policies and Procedures document before signing the COVID-19 Travel Waiver. Participation in this tour requires your signature on the COVID-19 Travel Waiver.
Contact our office with any questions at 360.260.9393 or [email protected].
Two optional excursions are available during this Adventure: Kealakekua Bay Swim and Snorkel, and the Old Lahaina Luau. If you would like to participate in either of these excursions, we have limited space available. To guarantee your place, please let us know your decision at the time you register.
What happens next?
Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome email and initial invoice notifying you of your tour balance and due date. You will be able to make that payment online or over the phone as well. Any other payments necessary for optional services or one-off decisions can also be made this way.
An email with critical information on flight arrangements will be sent soon after registration, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review the Flight Arrangements email.
About 10 weeks before departure, you will receive a final statement reminder about the final tour payment, which is due 60 days before departure. Around 2-3 two weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with all the 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, Christmas in Hidden Hawaii itinerary. An Adventure in the tropical climes of the Islands just before Christmas may be the best way to walk off some of that Thanksgiving largesse and get in the mood for the holiday cheer and Yuletide joy to come. If you’d like to see the real Hawaii, the one that most people never see, join us for this unforgettable Walking Adventure program this winter!