Experience the unique cultural and natural beauty within Hawai‘i’s national parks by joining expert biologists, naturalists and cultural interpreters who will share their extensive knowledge and perspectives of this remarkable place. Meet with park rangers to learn more about the work being done to protect vulnerable ecosystems and endangered animals and plants which are found nowhere else on earth. Access locations that are off the beaten path and not readily accessible to the general public. Leave with a greater appreciation of the islands, their natural and cultural history and the ongoing challenges to preserve this unique biodiversity.
October 14-22, 2023 with optional trip extension October 22-24, 2023
Base trip is 9 days/8 nights with optional trip extension 2 days/2 nights
Minimum/Maximum: 12 guests/18 guests
- Travel across four of the islands that make up the breathtaking island chain of Hawai‘i and experience all eight national park units in the state
- Hike Devastation Trail and explore a 500-year-old lava tube with an expert volcanologist in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
- Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve to experience the extraordinary intersection of Hawaiian culture and conservation
- Spot endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles at the incredible Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach and hear how NPCA is protecting precious marine habitats from climate change
- Receive expert knowledge from Native Hawaiian guides as you gaze upon ancient settlements and get a behind-the-scenes look at why these historical sites deserve to be protected
- Take a trip back in time when you visit the National Historic Site where Kamehameha the Great constructed the heiau (a place of worship) that helped him unite the Hawaiian Archipelago
Day 1: October 14 - Hilo to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i: Arrive late afternoon in Hilo on Hawai‘i Island and meet your NPCA hosts and trip leader in the lobby of the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. Once the entire group has met, we’ll drive to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. We’ll check-in at the historic Volcano House, the only hotel located within the vast boundaries of the national park. Enjoy a group welcome dinner in the Rim Restaurant overlooking the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater of the volcano and learn how NPCA is protecting this cherished and sacred place. Volcano House (D)
Day 2: October 15 - Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i:
After breakfast, head out to explore the wonders of the youngest of Hawai‘i’s main islands. Spend the day exploring Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park with an expert volcanologist. Drive through the Steam Vents area, then visit the overlook into Kīlauea Caldera. Continue onto Devastation Trail, which was formed in 1959 as a result of an eruption from the Kīlauea Iki crater. Walk through the surrounding 200-year-old forest which was buried by ashes and see how much (or how little) growth has come back. Walk through a lush rainforest to Nāhuku (Thurston) Lava Tube before exploring on your own before a group dinner.
Volcano House (B, L, D)
Day 3: October 16 - Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i:
After breakfast, an expert guide will take you on a hike through a native rainforest down to the floor of Kīlauea caldera and back, a distance of 1.5 miles. View the park’s efforts on non-native plant eradication and see how well the native pa‘iniu (lily) and endemic ferns are coming back. There is an optional 0.5-mile detour via Sandalwood Trail, which includes passing active steam vents enroute back to the Volcano House hotel. After the hike, everyone will have time to have lunch and rest or explore before we travel in vans to traverse the 20-mile long Chain of Craters Road—an extraordinary scenic route through some of the park’s recent eruptive activity. We still stop along the way to see notable remnants from these eruptions, including a walk to the Pu‘uloa Petroglyphs, before heading to the spectacular coast, learning about NPCA’s efforts to save magnificent views like these from the threat of haze pollution. We will have dinner at a local restaurant in Volcano Village.
Volcano House (B, L, D)
Day 4: October 17 - Volcano to Kona, Hawai‘i: Today, we will head out by bus to Kona. We will stop at Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach. If we’re lucky you may see the endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles sunning themselves on the warm volcanic black sand. Here, your NPCA expert guide will share how they’re protecting precious marine habitats from the detrimental effects of ocean warming and sea level rise. We will stop for lunch in Na‘alehu, the southernmost town on Hawai‘i Island (and the United States). After lunch, we will continue to Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau (Place of Refuge) National Historical Park, which contains one of the most sacred heiau in the islands. After our visit, we will continue to Kona and check into the hotel. Dinner is on your own this evening, either at the hotel or one of the many local restaurants within walking distance. Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha Hotel (B, L)
Day 5: October 18 - Kaloku-Honokōhau National Park & Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Hawai‘i:
Today we will learn about Hawaiian culture from Native Hawaiian experts. First, we will visit Kaloko-Honokōhau National Park. The park protects the site of an ancient Hawaiian settlement, encompassing portions of five different ahupua‘a (traditional Hawaiian land divisions, typically extending from the mountains to the sea). Learn from a native Hawaiian cultural expert about the resources within the park, such as loko i‘a (fishponds), kahua (house site platforms) and ki‘i pōhaku (petroglyphs). Next, we continue on to Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site. This fortress-like heiau was constructed by Kamehameha the Great between 1790 and 1791. You’ll also learn about NPCA’s commitment to secure critical protections for extraordinary cultural sites like the ones you’ll encounter on this day. We will enjoy a picnic lunch at a nearby beach, and then spend some time with local community members who are working to preserve and incorporate cultural practices in their communities. The group will enjoy dinner this evening at a local restaurant.
Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 6: October 19 – Moloka‘i:
After breakfast this morning, the group will check out of the hotel and proceed to Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport to board a short charter flight to the island of Moloka‘i, where you have a rare opportunity to visit Kalaupapa National Historical Park. Surrounded by the tallest sea cliffs in the world (measuring 3,600 to 3,900 feet), Kalaupapa is home to a former Hansen’s Disease (also known as Leprosy) settlement to which the Hawaiian government exiled more than 7,000 persons with the disease from 1866 until the 1940s. An expert guide will lead you on your tour, which includes a picnic lunch. The group will board another chartered flight in the late afternoon to Kapalua Airport on Maui. Upon arrival, a private shuttle will transfer you to the hotel to check-in. The remainder of your evening is unscheduled, and dinner is on your own.
Royal Lahaina Resort (B, L) Please note Kalaupapa is tentative as of summer 2022 due to COVID-19 related closures. If the park does not open, we will visit other areas on Moloka‘i.
Day 7: October 20 – Free Day in Maui: Enjoy breakfast before heading out to explore the island at your leisure. Your trip leader will be available to make suggestions of things to see and do. A popular option is to take the shuttle to Lahaina where you can learn about the colorful past of this old whaling town and its history as the first capital of Hawai‘i via the Lahaina Restoration Foundation’s self-guided walking tour. Lunch is on your own. The group will gather in the evening to board a private shuttle to the Old Lahaina Lūʻau for dinner and a fabulous Polynesian show. A private shuttle will be available to bring you back to the hotel. Royal Lahaina Resort (B, D)
Day 8: October 21 – Haleakalā, Maui: This morning, we will depart on a field trip to Haleakalā National Park, an International Biosphere Reserve. Towering over the island of Maui at 10,023 feet above sea level, Haleakalā Crater is the place for an amazing range of landscapes—and skyscapes. The name Haleakalā means “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian Legend. While taking in the breathtaking views, you’ll learn how NPCA is protecting endangered and vulnerable species in Haleakalā, a park with significant climate concern. After a visit to the summit and the visitor’s center, we will head down to Kula where we will enjoy lunch. Next stop: ‘Īao Valley State Park—a lush green valley and a sacred site to the Hawaiian people. It is the historic location of a fierce battle between Maui warriors and the army of Kamehameha the Great. A Hawaiian Cultural expert will share their knowledge of the valley. We will return to the hotel to freshen up before gathering to depart for our final group dinner together at a local restaurant. Royal Lahaina Resort (B, D)
Day 9: October 22 - Departure Day – Base Trip: Enjoy breakfast at your leisure and check out of the hotel. You may store your luggage with the bell desk if your flight departs later in the day. Your trip leader will be able to assist you in setting up airport transfers.
Optional Trip Extension
Day 9: October 22 - Maui to O‘ahu & Pearl Harbor: If you have selected to participate in the additional two days on O‘ahu, you will check out of your room after breakfast and depart via private shuttle for Kahului airport to catch a flight to O‘ahu. Upon arrival on O‘ahu, we will drive to Pearl Harbor National Memorial, stopping for lunch along the way. At the Memorial, we’ll learn about the events on and surrounding December 7, 1941, the “date which will live in infamy”, when a surprise air attack by the Japanese plunged the United States into World War II. At the visitor’s center, we’ll learn about the history and events which led up to the attack, then watch a short film. Afterwards, we’ll board a U.S. Navy vessel to take us to the memorial built over the USS Arizona, which is the final resting place for over 900 sailors and Marines. After your visit, we will take our private shuttle to Waikīkī and check into the hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore Waikīkī and dinner is on your own. Queen Kapiolani Hotel (B, L)
Day 10: October 23 – Hono‘uli‘uli, O‘ahu: This morning after breakfast, we will visit the Hono‘uli‘uli Education Center at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. Hono‘uli‘uli National Historic Site preserves the history of the largest and longest-used confinement site during World War II. The U.S. Army ran the camp, the camp held approximately 400 internees and 4,000 prisoners of war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Designated by President Obama, NPCA and their supporters spent many years advocating for the preservation of Hono‘uli‘uli to reside under National Park Service management. We will have lunch at a local restaurant and enjoy a presentation from the National Park Service on the developments of the new Hono‘uli‘uli National Historic Site. The group will have free time until our farewell dinner in the hotel restaurant overlooking Diamond Head and Waikīkī Beach. Queen Kapiolani Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 11: October 24 - Departure Day: Enjoy breakfast at your leisure and check out of the hotel. Store your luggage with the bell desk if your flight departs later in the day. Your trip leader will be able to assist you in setting up airport transfers.
Please note: This itinerary is subject to change based on weather conditions and park closures related to COVID-19.
NPCA TRAVEL ELIGIBILITY: NPCA is the only independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advocacy on behalf of the National Park System. Over 70% of our funding comes from donations from individuals like you. NPCA trips are an exclusive NPCA member benefit. One traveler per group must be an NPCA member to participate in an NPCA trip. An annual membership starts at $15 per person. Please make dues payable to NPCA by check or credit card at npca.org.
TRAVEL SAFE WITH NPCA: Your safety is our top priority. NPCA has worked diligently with each of our travel partners to develop important safety measures for all our trips. As guidelines and protocols evolve, we are committed to creating flexible options for those interested in rescheduling or booking new travel. For more information, check out our COVID-19 Travel Update.
MORE INFORMATION: For full details on this trip, including inclusions, exclusions, accommodations, terms and safety protocols, please download the detailed trip brochure.
MAKING RESERVATIONS: To secure your space on this NPCA trip, please contact our Educational Travel Program team at 1.800.628.7275 or email the Travel Program at email@example.com.
TRAVEL PROTECTION: We strongly recommend purchasing important optional travel insurance that will cover you for a variety of travel-related contingencies, such as trip cancellation, interruption, and/or delay; baggage loss, theft, damage or delay; accident and/or sickness medical expenses; accidental death; as well as evacuation/repatriation coverage. Please note that a Pre-Existing Condition waiver is available if you purchase the policy within 21 days of making your initial trip payment. Also consider the optional “Cancel for any Reason” protection. All questions regarding the plan’s coverage should be directed to Travel Insurance Select through USI Affinity at 1-800-937-1387 or by visiting their website.
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- $7,650 per person double occupancy; $1,735 single supplement
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