Island of Hawaiʻi – Summer is almost here and the natural beauty and warmth of Hawaiʻi await your arrival. The island of Hawaiʻi is ramping up for a busy travel season filled with one-of-a-kind events and experiences.In addition to its sandy beaches, clear blue waters and lush tropical rainforests, the island of Hawaiʻi offers experiences for visitors wanting to embrace the concept of mālama kuʻu home (“caring for my beloved home”). Visit the Queens’ Marketplace for music, food, shopping, regular performances of live hula and more. Take your island of Hawai’i vacation to new heights with Paradise Helicopters air tours soaring above active and long extinct volcanoes and craters, emerald valleys, diverse landscapes, and white and black sand beaches. For a memorable sunrise experience, check out dolphins frolicking at Hilton Waikoloa Village’s open-to-the-ocean saltwater lagoon. And finally, to maximize your Hawaiʻi Island experience, travel and visit pono (righteously) by participating in volunteer or other sustainable travel offerings giving back to the island’s landscape and surrounding ocean.
Read on for a complete list of exciting happenings on the island of Hawaiʻi. We look forward to seeing you soon!
UPCOMING EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES
The Hawaiʻi Kuauli Pacific & Asia Cultural Festival offers three days of fashion, food, cultural expressions, a hula hō’ike (hula show), a fireknife competition, a culinary event and more. Set for the Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, from June 10 through 12, the festival focuses on raising awareness of Hawai’i’s cultural heritage. For more information, visit www.hikuauli.com.
Bring your beach chairs and coolers to Laʻiʻōpua 2020’s Ola ka Lāhui, a talk story and cultural activity gathering on the lānai (porch) of Laʻiʻōpua 2020 in Kailua-Kona, happening June 25, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. The event’s name, Ola ka Lāhui (meaning “the nation lives on”), reflects its intent to share the ʻike (knowledge) and moʻolelo (stories) of Hawaiʻi for future generations. Participants can join cultural artisans in demonstrations of treasured traditions. An hourlong talk-story session will feature kūpuna (elders), island historians, storytellers and artisans sharing their manaʻo (insight) on Hawaiʻi’s history, arts and traditions. For more information, visit www.laiopua.org.
Each year, the small town of Kapaʻau on the northernmost tip of the island of Hawaiʻi hosts the Kohala Reunion. Founded in 2000 by a group of Kohala residents who enjoyed talking about the good old days, this year’s event is set for July 2 through 4 at the Kamehameha Park Complex. Kohala Reunion honors generations of residents from the area, celebrates the Kohala area, and perpetuates the community’s values, traditions and way of life. For more information, visit www.northkohala.org.
Set for Independence Day from noon to 8 p.m., Queens’ Marketplace’s free, open to the public Fourth of July celebration will feature live entertainment from local musicians, face painting, popcorn, cotton candy and lots of family-friendly activities throughout the day, culminating with a spectacular fireworks display over Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, call 808-886-8822 or visit www.queensmarketplace.com/events.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is debuting new food and beverage programs this spring and summer, including a new Spirits Passport program launching in May featuring exclusive Mauna Kea-labeled spirits available at all dining and beverage outlets on property. Mauna Kea-label tequila-based cocktails will be available at the Hau Tree beach bar and cafe, and Mauna Kea-label American whiskey-based cocktails will be on the menu at the property’s iconic Copper Bar. In the months ahead, guests will also be able to enjoy several hotel Icons of Wine dinners, featuring selections from winery partners such as Jaga, Louis Jadot, Antinori and more, as well as a new series of Winemaker Events with partners including Senses Wines, Thomas Rivers Brown, Kim Crawford, Neal Family Vineyards and many more. For more information, visit www.maunakearesort.com.
Locally owned helicopter company Paradise Helicopters is bringing back its most popular island of Hawai’i tour. The hourlong Doors-Off Lava and Rainforests Adventure takes guests past Kīlauea volcano, enormous craters, otherworldly landscapes and some of the newest black-sand beaches on Earth. The tour departs from Hilo on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and starts at $474 per guest. Paradise Helicopters is celebrating the return of the tour with a limited-time $50 discount. Guests can also opt for a Green Your Seat upgrade. Paradise Helicopters offers carbon-neutral flights offset by the replanting of native and endemic trees in Hawaiʻi. For more information, visit www.paradisecopters.com or call toll-free 866-876-7422.
Dolphin Quest at Hilton Waikoloa Village’s new Sunrise Splash experience offers participants an opportunity to witness the Dolphin Quest dolphin ʻohana (family) frolicking at sunrise in the resort’s expansive, open-to-the-ocean saltwater lagoon. Participants also get to learn about the spectacular animals while watching them up-close beachside and engage with a marine-mammal specialist. Sessions typically last about 10 minutes and participants are encouraged to bring their cameras. The Sunrise Splash experience is currently available Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 a.m., with hours and days subject to change. For more information, call 808-987-3434.
New activities at Royal Kona Resort offer guests opportunities to experience Hawai’i’s rich culture. Offered several times throughout the week, they include lessons on playing ʻukulele, dancing hula and making fragrant flower lei. Reservations are required due to limited space. An activity schedule and sign-up list is available at the resort’s front desk. For more information and room reservations, call 800-222-5642 or visit www.royalkona.com.
Learn how to make your very own pua kalaunu (crown flower) lei from start to finish at the Queens’ Marketplace’s Coronation Pavilion every first Friday of the month, from 6 to 7 p.m. The pua kalaunu was Kingdom of Hawai’i monarch Queen Liliʻuokalani’s favorite blossom and was thought to resemble the royal crown, a distinction which also gave the flower its English-language name. Lessons are limited to 15 participants and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit www.queensmarketplace.com/events.
Learn how to play the ʻukulele with Uncle Ronnie every Monday, from 6 to 7 p.m., in the Coronation Pavilion at Queens’ Marketplace. ʻUkulele and sheet music are provided, and classes are limited to nine participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Lesson participants are eligible to receive 10% off a HUG ʻukulele at Da Big Bags, located across from the pavilion. For more information, call 808-886-8822 or visit www.queensmarketplace.com/events.
Enjoy a complimentary hourlong hula show every Wednesday, from 6 to 7 p.m., in the Coronation Pavilion at Queens’ Marketplace. Weekly performances by local hula hālau (hula schools) feature hula kahiko (traditional hula) and hula ‘auana (modern hula). Experience the dancers showcase of hula and chant in the pavilion’s outdoor setting. For more information, call 808-886-8822 or visit www.queensmarketplace.com/events.
Discover Hawaiʻi Island’s best musicians in genres ranging from Hawaiian and island-style to rock, jazz and blues at Queens’ Marketplace. Arrive for the shopping but stick around for the music, happening every third Saturday of the month at 6 p.m. in the marketplace’s Coronation Pavilion. For more information, call 808-886-8822 or visit www.queensmarketplace.com/events.
TRAVEL PONO
The phrase mālama ‘āina (“to care for the land”) reflects Mauna Lani Auberge Resorts Collection’s mission to protect, preserve and respect the island of Hawaiʻi. The resort believes it is its kuleana (responsibility) to nurture and sustain the island’s lands for the community and future generations. Mauna Lani recently partnered with Māla’ai, a school garden program in nearby Waimea, to responsibly and sustainably cultivate and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables in the resort’s on-property garden, Hoʻōla. With its name meaning “to give life to,” Hoʻōla provides purposeful, hands-on opportunities for Mauna Lani guests wishing to become involved with the garden. For inquiries, contact salina.johnson@aubergeresorts.com. To learn more about Māla’ai, visit www.malaai.org.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s new partnership with Hawaiʻi Land Trust focuses on Māhukona, an area north of the hotel’s property within the island’s Kohala district spanning the coastline of six ahupuaʻa (land divisions). Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is giving a portion of donation proceeds to  help support the preservation of land at Māhukona and the practice of celestial navigation and open-ocean voyaging. Also within the area, local nonprofit Nā Kālai Waʻa hosts and cares for navigation-related cultural sites and utilizes the sailing canoe Makaliʻi to teach aspiring navigators how to sail. For more information, visit www.maunakeabeachhotel.com.
In partnership with Hawaiʻi Land Trust, the award-winning Mauna Kea and Hapuna golf courses on the Kohala Coast recently underwent an extensive sustainability analysis to implement best management practices designed to reduce both courses’ water consumption and downward run-off of fertilizer into the ocean. Collectively, the measures taken are positives for the environment and help create healthy surroundings for Hawai’i’s state bird, the threatened nēnē goose, flocks of which can often be found grazing in and around the golf course fairways. For more information, visit https://online.fliphtml5.com/etzxb/aqdz/#p=1.
Paradise Helicopters, a locally owned helicopter company, is offering guests opportunities to both experience and protect the beauty of the island of Hawai’i’s natural landscapes. The company’s Mālama Charters provides exclusive landing opportunities paired with a native tree-planting experience and educational tour. Flights depart from multiple locations on the island of Hawaiʻi. For more information, visit www.paradisecopters.com or call toll-free 866-876-7422.
Hawaii Forest & Trail recently announced the launch its Maunakea Summit and Stars Giveback Experience. Guests participating in the company’s newest voluntourism opportunity learn about the critical Waikoloa Dry Forest habitat while on an interpretive walk and giveback experience, collecting native seeds to be used for future plantings restoring native dominant forests. Guests finish their experience with a  sunset dinner at the summit of Maunakea volcano and private telescope stargazing led by interpretive guides. A donation of $20 per guest to The Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative is included in the tour price to assist the nonprofit’s efforts perpetuating conservation work. The Maunakea Summit and Stars Giveback Experience is offered only on Wednesdays. For more information, visit www.hawaii-forest.com or call 808-331-8505.
KUDOS/ACCOLADES
A venerated Hawaiian cultural icon, the late Edith Kanakaʻole was designated on March 30, 2022 as an honoree of the 2023 American Women Quarters, a program of the United States Mint. The American Women Quarters Program features coins with reverse (tails) designs emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of prominent American women from ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse backgrounds. Kumu hula, composer, chanter, and a key influence in the Hawaiian renaissance, Kanakaʻole’s moʻolelo (stories) served to rescue aspects of Hawaiian history, customs, and traditions that were disappearing due to the cultural bigotry of the time. For more information about the Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation, which perpetuates Kanakaʻole’s legacy, visit https://www.edithkanakaolefoundation.org/. For more information about the other 2023 honorees, visit https://www.usmint.gov/news/press-releases/united-states-mint-announces-2023-american-women-quarters-program-honorees.
ACCOMMODATIONS
Volcano Village Estates’ recent upgrades to its property includes two new hot tubs for the exclusive use of guests in its Pele Bungalow — which sleeps four —and Pineapple ʻOhana Cottage — which sleeps two. Two other hot tubs are available for the enjoyment of all guests. In addition, Volcano Village Estates now offers in-room Hawaiʻi-inspired massages, a new business-meeting space, bookings for group events, and several elopement and affordable wedding packages. For more information, visit https://volcanovillageestates.com/.