Travel Channel’s “The Trip: 2015” showcased the incredible diversity and unique vacation experiences of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Lanai, and Hawaii, the Big Island in the one-hour episode which premiered on Jan. 26. The following guest post reveals the surprising facts they uncovered while filming the special.
There are some things one has come to expect of Hawaii, such as otherworldly waterfalls, unrivaled beaches and ideal surf conditions, just to name a few. Then, there are the things you discover upon arrival: the genuine friendliness of the people, the fact that there is an active volcano … and that snow and sand can coexist on Hawaii Island! But there are some things that are intrinsic to an authentic Hawaiian experience, which manage to escape even the most well-intentioned itinerary or frequent visitor’s zeitgeist. To discover the true spirit of Hawaii, here are five things you must see, do and taste.
Explore a Royal Palace
Hawaii boasts three majestic palaces on Oahu and Hawaii Island: Hulihee Palace, Queen Emma Summer Palace, and Iolani Palace. These royal residences and beloved summer homes have been designated National Historic Landmarks and lovingly restored into beautiful museums that you can explore today.
Indulge in a Chocolate Tasting
Hawaii is the only place in the US where cacao beans can grow. Indulge your sweet tooth in one of the following chocolate tours and tastings:
- Madre Chocolate created the state’s first bean-to-bar chocolate in Kailua, Oahu, just a 20-minute drive from Honolulu, and offers unique flavors ranging from Hibiscus to Salt-and-Pepper, which is made with mesquite-smoked Hawaiian sea salt and locally foraged pink peppercorns.
- For those that prefer a little spice in their chocolate, Manoa Chocolate Hawaii on Oahu offers bars with locally-grown ghost peppers. Maui Lavender chocolates and other delicious flavors are featured in its intimate tours.
- The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, located in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island, is famous for its signature chocolates that are hand-poured and shaped into beautiful plumeria flowers.
- On the island of Kauai, Garden Island Chocolate boasts an all-you-can-eat tasting experience with over 20 types of chocolates including samples with fresh coconut meat and local honey. A two-hour guided education adventure is offered for those interested in all things chocolate.
Swim with Green Sea Turtles
Snorkel in Olowalu Reef on Maui and you may come face-to-face with a majestic green sea turtle. Patient snorkelers may stumble upon a green sea turtle “cleaning station.” It’s when turtles congregate in a coral reef and wait as hungry fish crowd around, cleaning and eating the algae off the turtles’ shells. Feel free to admire from afar, but note that touching or feeding turtles is prohibited.
Kohola, or humpback whales, return to Hawaii for breeding season from December to May. You can see these 45-ton, graceful creatures on a boat tour or from the shallow Auau Channel between West Maui, Lanai and Molokai. The whales, native to the Hawaiian waters, are believed by some to be aumakua, or family guardians, and are treated with great respect.
Order the Eland
Hawaii has been known to import the majority of its food, but a growing trend in dining continues to focus on the local and sustainable. One exotic local protein landing on menus across Kauai and Maui is Eland, an antelope raised sustainably on Niihau. Celebrated Hawaii chefs Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi have already given it their seal of approval – both serve it at their namesake restaurants.
- by Travel Channel
If you missed last week’s special, catch “The Trip: 2015″ when it re-airs February 4, 5, and 16 on Travel Channel, or watch the full episode here. Also, be sure to enter for your chance to win a $100,000 trip to Hawaii!