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Hawaii Travel

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Things to Do for Free on Kauai

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com
Kilauea Point Lighthouse

Like most everything in life, the best things to enjoy about Kauai are free - or at least pretty affordable.

Kauai is called Hawaii's "Island of Discovery" and popularly referred to as "the Garden Island" - both for good reason. Kauai's landscape is an enticing, exciting playground for lovers of the environment, outdoor adventure, and Polynesian culture.

Check out these twelve enjoyable and interesting ways for visitors to experience and enjoy Kauai for free (or nearly free).

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2014 LPGA LOTTE Championship Next Week on Oahu

Tuesday April 8, 2014

Photo courtesy of LOTTE Championship
2013 LOTTE Championship Winner Suzann Pettersen

For the third year in a row the top women golfers in the world are returning to Hawaii next week for a tournament at the beautiful Ko Olina Golf Club located within the Ko Olina Resort & Marina on Oahu's Leeward Coast.

The $1.7 million LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf is a four day, full 144 player field event beginning on Wednesday, April 16 and concluding on Saturday, April 19. Norway's Suzann Pettersen is the 2013 defending champion and everyone is hoping that her health allows her to return to defend her title.Most of the current top 20 money earners on the LPGA Tour are expected to play. Oahu's own Michelle Wie, fresh off her second place finish in the Kraft Nabisco Championship will be attempting to win for the first time since her victory in the 2010 CN Canadian Women's Open.

If you are on the island of Oahu this week, this is a great chance to see one of the few professional golf tournaments that will be held in Hawaii this year.

For those of us who can't be there live, we can still see lots of great Hawaii scenery since the tournament will be televised by the Golf Channel as follows:

Apr 16: 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. EST
Apr 17: 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. EST
Apr 18: 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. EST
Apr 19: 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. EST

LOTTE is an industrial conglomerate in Korea and Japan employing more than 60,000 people. They are engaged in such diverse industries as candy manufacturing, beverages, hotels, fast food, retail, financial services, heavy chemicals, electronics, IT, construction, publishing, and entertainment. J Golf is the the LPGA's television rights holder in Korea and is distributed to 8 million homes in Korea.

The Ko Olina Resort & Marina is home to Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa, the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa and one of Hawaii's top luaus, the Paradise Cove Luau.

You can read more about the tournament on their website.

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Upcoming Events on Hawaii Island, the Big Island, in 2014

Wednesday April 2, 2014

Now that spring has officially arrived there are many exciting events taking place on each of the Hawaiian Islands. Some of the most exciting events take place on Hawaii Island, the Big Island. Let's take a look at some of the events taking place over the next several months.

Big Island Bees Tours
Big Island Bees, the premier producer of pure and organic Hawaiian honey on Hawaii Island, will begin offering free morning tours of beehives located at its facility immediately off Napoopoo Road in West Hawaii. Accompanied by an experienced beekeeper, guests will be safely located behind a screened fence for close-up observations of bee colonies, with an opportunity to learn and ask questions about bees, beekeeping, and honey production. Tours, which can accommodate up to 20 guests at a time, begin at 9:30 a.m. For more information, visit their website.

Big Island Jazz & Blues Festival
From June 6 to 8, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel will host a wonderful celebration of music at the third annual Big Island Jazz & Blues Festival. The experience begins on Friday, June 6, with a VIP meet and greet at the Kaunaoa Bar & Grill, followed by the festival main event on Saturday, June 7 on the North Pointe Luau Grounds. The festival line-up includes performances by Grammy Award winner Skip Martin, The Iguanas from New Orleans, and saxophone legend Donald Harrison. The festival concludes with a lavish brunch at Manta Pavilion & Wine Bar, accompanied by live jazz and blues entertainment. For more information, call (866) 977-4589 or visit their website.

Hawaii Food & Wine Festival
Waikoloa Beach Resort will host the kick-off event for the 2014 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival (HFWF) on Friday, August 29, 2014. Co-chaired by award-winning chefs, Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi, HFWF will launch its fourth annual event with an opening gala in partnership with Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and Hilton Waikoloa Village. Held across the state, the week-long festival, for the first time with events on Hawaii Island, is Hawaii's leading epicurean event with more than 80 celebrity chefs and winemakers participating in exclusive dining experiences, cooking demonstrations and cultural excursions that feature the islands' local beef, produce, and seafood.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Those looking to give back to the aina (land) are invited to help protect Hawaii's fragile ecosystem from invasive, non-native plants through Stewardship at the Summit at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The program is offered from May through June on select Fridays and Saturdays beginning at 9:00 a.m. through noon. The May program will run on May 9, 17, 23 and 30 and the June sessions will be held on June 6, 13, 20, and 27. Interested volunteers are asked to meet at Kilauea Visitor Center at 9:00 a.m. and wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Recommended attire and refreshments include a hat, rain-gear, garden gloves, snacks and water. Tools will be provided. There is no cost to participate but park entrance fees apply. For more information, visit their website.

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Tsunami Advisory in Hawaii

Wednesday April 2, 2014

A tsunami advisory has been issued for all of the Hawaiian Islands following yesterday's 8.2 earthquake off the coast of Chile.

At this time, while many beaches will be closed this morning, the impact on the islands appears that it will be confined primarily to differing currents and perhaps some higher surf. Civil defense authorities are advising everyone to stay our of the water and away from shorelines, streams and harbors this morning and until further notice.

The most destructive tsunami's ever to effect Hawaii occurred on April 1, 1946 causing extensive damage especially in the Hilo area of Hawaii Island. No such damage is expected from yesterday's earthquake and associated tsunami.

One of the best places to keep in touch with what is taking place in Hawaii is by watching Hawaii News Now and their live coverage from Hawaii.

You can also check out our Guide to Webcams, Streaming Video and Other Live Video Sources in Hawaii.

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Mu'umu'u Heaven in Kailua, Oahu

Monday March 31, 2014

photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com
Mu'umu'u Heaven

Oahu is known as a shopper's paradise. Visitors from around the world flock to the high end stores on Kalakaua Avenue - Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Coach, Gucci etc. Major renovations to the Royal Hawaiian Center in recent years have resulted in a more upscale shopping experience. Ala Moana Center is the world's largest outdoor shopping center.

I have to admit that I was surprised to learn that another top shopping destination is a boutique in Kailua on Oahu's eastern shore. The boutique is called Mu'umu'u Heaven and its patrons have included the President and his family and well as several top Hollywood stars.

Owned and operated by Deb and Eric Mascia, Mu'umu'u Heaven sells one-of-a-kind designer dresses and tops created from old mu'umu'u's. The resulting dresses are amazingly beautiful creations that any woman would be proud to wear to the finest functions. The boutique also sells artwork and household products, all created from recycled and re-purposed materials. In addition, for the man in the family you'll find a special collection of vintage aloha shirts selected by aloha shirt expert Dale Hope.

Learn more about Mu'umu'u Heaven.

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Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens

Wednesday March 26, 2014

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com
White Bengal Tiger named Namaste at the Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo

Situated about 4 miles south of Hilo, off of Highway 11 (Stainback Highway), this 12 acre zoo is the only tropical rainforest zoo in the United States. The grounds are filled with tropical palms, orchids, clumping bamboos and tropical rhododendrons.

The Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens is home to more than 80 animal species including the endangered nene (Hawaii state bird), Namaste, a white Bengal Tiger, giant anteaters, two-toed sloths, lemurs, and spider monkeys. Best of all, admission is free.

Come with me on a visit to the Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens.

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Kipu Ranch Adventures Ranch & Mountain Tour on Kauai

Thursday March 20, 2014

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com
Kipu Ranch is a Working Cattle Ranch on the Island of Kauai

For years I had wanted to explore the Kipu Ranch area of Kauai, but I knew that it's private property with no public access. Then I learned that a company called Kipu Ranch Adventures offers daily ATV tours of a portion of this area owned by the ranch. I jumped on the opportunity.

I admit that I was worried about riding on an ATV, but my concerns were quickly relieved when I realized that Kipu Ranch Adventures uses 2 passenger 660cc Yamaha Rhinos. It's an ATV that drives like a car. Bucket seats and a steering wheel makes this Rhino simple to drive and safer than a normal ATV.

Read my full review of a 3 Hour Kipu Ranch Adventures Ranch/Mountain Tour and then view the 24 photos in our Kipu Ranch Adventures Ranch Tour Photo Gallery.

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Hilo Farmers Market

Thursday March 20, 2014
Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com
Hilo Farmers Market

If it's Wednesday or Saturday, the place to be on Hawaii's Big Island is the Hilo Farmers Market located at the corner of Mamo and Kamehameha Ave. in downtown Hilo.

Popular with island visitors and even more popular with locals, the Hilo Farmers Market features over 100 local farmers and vendors selling a wide assortment of merchandise.

Whether you're looking for to sample some great Big Island fruit and vegetables or find a special souvenir of your Big Island visit, the Hilo Farmers Market is a must see when you're on the Big Island.

Check out our Hilo Farmers Market photo feature.

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Celebrate the Irish in You on Oahu

Tuesday March 11, 2014

St. Patrick's Day 2014 is rapidly approaching and if plan on visiting Oahu on March 17, 2014, there are some great ways that you can celebrate the Irish in you on the island of Oahu.

While, at first glance, it may seem a bit odd to celebrate St. Patrick's Day on Oahu, it really is not so strange when you realize that some of Hawaii's most prominent citizens over the past 235 years have been of Irish descent. We need to remember that the first Europeans to arrive in Hawaii did so on British ships, many of which had crew from Ireland.

Today there are thousands of people who live in Hawaii who claim a blood connection to the Emerald Isle and hundreds of thousands of annual visitors of Irish blood from the mainland USA and abroad.

So, if you're planning to be on Oahu at the end of next month, check out our guide to St. Patrick's Day 2014 on Oahu.

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Make Your Plans to Attend This Year's Duke Kahanamoku Beach Challenge

Monday March 10, 2014

Photo Courtesy of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Duke Kahanamoku Beach Challenge - Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

If your plans take you to Oahu in the middle of April, mark your calendar to attend one of the island's most fun events, the Duke Kahanamoku Beach Challenge.

Now it is 29th year, this annual event takes place at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort and is not only entertaining, but also provides visitors with a great opportunity to learn a bit about Hawaiian culture by observing some of the games and sports of the ancient Hawaiians, many of which are still practiced today either in their ancient form or with a slightly modern twist.

Best of all, the Duke Kahanamoku Beach Challenge is free and all are invited to attend the event, the highlight of which is double-hulled canoe races offshore but easily visible from the beach.

For more details check out our feature on the 29th Annual Duke Kahanamoku Beach Challenge.

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