Surfing, snorkeling, sailing, and hiking up volcanoes—the most epic outdoor activities you can do in Hawaii! We will explore from the top of the Big Island’s parched volcanoes down to its verdant rainforests. We’ll swim with manta rays, exotic fish, and sea turtles, and we’ll learn how to help protect Hawaii’s fragile reef ecosystems. Hawaiin families will teach us local customs, and we’ll give back to their communities with an afternoon of service projects. We’ll hike to thundering waterfalls and get up close and personal with wild dolphins!
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18 Daysview dates and prices
Arrive: Kona, HI (KOA)
Depart: Kona, HI (KOA)
Snorkel and learn reef ecology in Kahalu’u Bay
We’ll begin our Hawaiian adventure in Kahalu’u Bay, where we’ll discuss reef ecology with marine biologists. We’ll study different types of coral and exotic fish, along with reef etiquette to help protect the fragile ecosystems in the bay. We’ll swim and snorkel alongside large populations of brightly colored marine life (parrotfish, peacock bass, eels, goat fish, and more) in Kahalu’u Beach Park. The water is shallow, allowing the sunlight reaches all the way to the floor and creating incredibly abundant coral and sea-life. By the end of our second day, we’ll be PADI-certified in snorkeling. Hawaiian sea turtles are known to frequent the area, so keep an eye out for them!
Surf the Kona coast and night snorkel with manta rays
You can’t visit Hawaii without learning its favorite pastime. Throughout our trip, we’ll have three different days of professional surf instruction on the Kona coast, back at Kahalu’u Beach Park. This area is extremely well-suited for beginner surfers: A barrier rock wall shelters the cove, keeping the waves gentle. In the afternoons, we’ll relax on the white sands of the nearby Hapuna Beach, regularly voted one of the best beaches in the world. One night will be dedicated to a Kona specialty: snorkeling with manta rays! These gentle rays do not have sharp teeth or tail stingers, and we’ll get to float above and with them as they feed on plankton and glide in the lit-up water below. This is sure to be a huge highlight of the trip. When it’s time to dry out, we’ll tour Sunshower Farms to learn more about sustainable coffee agriculture.
Sail the Kohala coast
It’s time to harness the tradewinds for a day on the Kohala coast. We’ll learn how to sail a catamaran, including safety at sea, knot-tying, trimming sails, and more. As we sail, we’re likely to cruise alongside spinner and bottlenose dolphins and maybe even false killer whales! We’ll take snorkeling breaks, joining the sea turtles for a swim in the cool Pacific waters. The stony coral colonies here are part of a semi-contiguous system, making it one of the longest reefs in Hawaii.
Hike in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
Explore Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, home to the famous Kilauea and Mauna Loa, for two days. Kilauea, meaning “much spreading,” is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and we’ll get up close and personal with a hike around the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater! (According to Hawaiian mythology, Halemaʻumaʻu is the home to Pele, goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes.) Because of Kilauea’s continuous activity, the nearby landscape is largely barren, with a few endemic species thriving. We’ll partner with the nonprofit organization Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park to help remove invasive species, like ginger, to help protect the fragile ecosystem surrounding the volcanoes.
Hike to Green Sands Beach
Officially known as Papakolea Beach, we’ll hike to this secluded, green sand beach on the southern tip of the Big Island. Part of the base of Mauna Loa, the bright green olivine crystals making up the beach were formed during an eruption about 49,000 years ago. (Olivine is a Hawaiian mineral found in its volcanoes’ lava.) After a meadowlands hike down to this geologic oddity, we’ll splash around and cool off in the gorgeous teal water.
Hike to waterfalls and learn to outrigger canoe
Two days in the historic town of Hilo bring many more adventures! We’ll hike to the 80-foot-tall, 100-foot-wide Rainbow Falls, officially known as Waianuenue. On sunny days, dazzling rainbows dance around the area as the water plunges over a lava cave and into the river below. As short and wide as Rainbow Falls is, our next stop, ʻAkaka Falls, is tall and narrow. Towering at 422 feet, ʻAkaka is surrounded by lush rainforest; you’ll pass by wild orchids and bamboo groves on your way in. To top off our trip to Hilo, we’ll partner with a local club and learn the ancient sport of outrigger canoeing!
Zipline in ʻAkaka Falls State Park
After spending so much time at sea level, we’ll get a whole new bird’s eye view from the ziplines back in ʻAkaka Falls State Park. Seven ziplines offer different breathtaking views, with one of them flying over the 250-foot KoleKole waterfall!
Explore Waipio Valley through cultural immersion
Get ready to engage in the rich Hawaiian culture in Waipio Valley for three days. Meaning “curved water,” Waipio is home to 3,000-foot-tall cliffs and waterfalls up to 1,500 feet high. It’s situated about 2,000 feet below the surrounding peaks; in fact, the road leading to Waipio is one of the steepest in the United States! We’ll hike the steep and zigzagging Muliwai Trail for a rewarding view of the valley. You’ll stay with a local family on their farm, help cook traditional meals, and learn local customs. Often called the “Valley of the Kings,” Waipio was once home to many Hawaiian Ali’i (kings) and is steeped with fascinating history. We’ll give back to this community by participating in clean-up and trail work projects.
Dates and Prices
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Approximate service hours: 7
Included in Tuition:
- All meals
- All lodging, group gear, and technical gear
- All guided activities
Not Included in Tuition:
- Personal gear and clothing
- Optional trip protection
The coolest thing was when we went to Mauna Kea and looked at the stars in our sleeping bags. Bold Earth was an amazing experience, and I got to try things I never would have otherwise.
I had a lot of favorite parts: surfing, snorkeling, riding the catamaran with the dolphins, stargazing, Waimanu Valley, the lava tubes, Rainbow Falls… I enjoyed pretty much everything! It’s such a cool experience to do stuff that you can’t with your family.
Bold Earth has fabulous leaders, and this trip was in a great location where my daughter made good friends. The trip leaders handled all issues very responsibly. Alex and Casey were a ton of fun, according to Jillian. They never failed to keep Jillian entertained and were very good listeners. They were always trying new things and getting out of their comfort zones. It’s the experience of a lifetime.