Up to 19 passengers sit comfortably on North Shore Catamaran Charters' 40-foot sailing vessel, the Ho’O Nanea, which Captain Don Germain steers along Oahu’s scenic shores. The catamaran’s name means “to pass the time in ease and comfort,” an apt phrase, as guests will find the day quickly and serenely passes when they’re onboard. North Shore can charter the boat for snorkeling adventures in Waimea Bay or for romantic BYOB sunset sails.
Hawaii’s lush beauty is too abundant to be experienced solely on foot, which is why Botanical World offers up-close-and-personal views of the Big Island's meticulously kept botanical gardens with services including ziplines and Segway tours. Segway riders speed past swaths of exotic plants, trees, and scenic waterfalls as they explore the garden's meandering pathways during self-guided or guide-guided tours. Elevated zipline trips, meanwhile, send guests soaring over the Hanapueo Streams falls, showing off trees’ receding hairlines as well as stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the nearby Mauna Kea volcano.
Elsewhere in the garden, guests can explore the arboretum, which houses a sampling of Hawaii's vast array of trees, whereas the paved quarter-mile Rainbow Walk contains a cactus garden, perennial plants, and a wall of orchids. Adventurous young ones can attempt to navigate the world's second-largest permanently-planted maze, covering a space as large as a football field.
Barbers Point Flight School's instructors are airline pilots who share a common goal: to help their students and tour groups discover the joys of flight. Propellers roaring, their Cessna aircraft soar above Oahu during demo flights, which mark the first step toward FAA certification. Students can also enroll in personalized training courses covering subjects such as turbine engines and long-range navigation.
As the third largest Hawaiian Island, Oahu provides a sprawling backdrop for the flight school's tours and lessons. Passengers can look out over the towering cityscapes of Honolulu and the winding coastlines of Mamala Bay before returning safely back to Earth. Back on the ground, Barbers Point Flight School visitors can explore the onsite NAS museum sprinkled with decommissioned fighter jets and fossilized airline meals.
Explore coastal caves and rock formations. Walk past active lava flows and tubes. Paddle through schools of tropical fish against the underwater landscape of a reef. These outdoor adventures make up the daily commute for the five guides who helm Hawaii Pack and Paddle. In addition to belonging to the same family, these guides—each certified lifeguards trained in first aid and CPR—share a passion for the untamed splendor of Hawaii's outdoors. It's a passion they bestow upon others during 10 organized tours that challenge participants to kayak, snorkel, and embark on day or night hikes.
As a fully-insured kayak and snorkel-tour company, Hawaii Pack and Paddle sometimes leads forays into little-seen areas, such as the rugged Keauhou Bay or the cave where high-school senior Tiffany keeps her diary. Some tours lead adventurers through the lava flows and jungles of Volcanoes National Park, along the shore of Punaluu Black Sand Beach, or past the waterfalls and ridges of Waipi'o. Other tours focus on special topics such as spear-fishing and underwater geological exploration. Alternatively, multi-day tours may blend several outdoor activities or include overnight camping. On each excursion, guides elucidate facts about the local ecosystem and its ties to Hawaii's cultural history, and they often train participants in one of their favorite skills: marine-life identification.
Oahu endears itself to both visitors and locals with its truly breathtaking scenery. The Ko'olau Mountain Range slopes across the island with rolling green hills and steep peaks that overlook Kailua Bay. Off the sandy shore, the ocean plays host to an array of aquatic wildlife, such as sea turtles, dolphins, exotic fish, and kayakers. The last of these creatures comes from Twogood Kayaks, whose trained naturalists lead tours through the area's brilliant turquoise waters and offshore islets filled with natural coves and 12 species of seabirds.
In addition to garnering a reputation for making and selling some of the swiftest kayaks over the past 30 years, the staffers also train the next generation of competitors during camps and clinics.
At Hiking Hawaii Cafe, good friends and avid hikers Crystal Evans and Fabio Vilela prepare globally inspired food packed with nutrition. They bake their own granola in-house and infuse bowls of açaí, berries, honey, and banana with guarana, giving diners enough energy to recharge batteries with their fingertips. Artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes accent a couscous salad, and the flavors of prosciutto, fig, arugula, and brie meld in the spanish panini. Patrons also can sip coffee and smoothies while surfing the Internet. When Crystal and Fabio aren't in the café, they lead groups on hiking excursions to find cliffside views of the ocean or stories-high waterfalls.
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