Aerial view of Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. (photo via Art Wager/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
As tourists begin returning to Hawaii’s shores in increasing numbers, the islands are announcing a variety of new offerings including hotels, restaurants, cultural experiences, and events.
O’ahu in particular has just released a rundown of what’s new in the destination and the intriguing options underscore the broader travel industry’s increasing focus on supporting locals and giving back to destinations. In O’ahu that includes agro-tourism opportunities, ways to support local indigenous artisans, learning about local cultural traditions, and helping with regenerative environmental efforts.
Here’s a closer look at some of the options for O’ahu visitors.
Ho’okela Hawaiian Heritage and Culture Center at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa
The Hawaiian Music Perpetuation Society is presenting Mahina Na Mana Wahine: A Women’s Empowerment Month Kani Ka Pill and Special Guests Presentation Series at the Ho’okela Hawaiian Heritage and Culture Center at the hotel.
The events in the series will be held over several Fridays in March. Admission is free.
International Market Place
On the first Thursday of every month, the public is invited to visit the International Market Place for musical performances by Hawaii’s world-renowned Royal Hawaiian Band. Established in 1836 by King Kamehameha III, the band holds the unique distinction of being the only one in the United States with a royal legacy.
Royal Hawaiian Center
As a sacred and storied place of Hawaiian culture, Royal Hawaiian at Helumoa honors its heritage by offering visitors and residents complimentary cultural classes, including lei making, lau hala (pandanus leaf) weaving, ukulele lessons and beginner hula classes. There are also performances by local hula and male practitioners throughout the week.
Waikiki Beach Walk
Waikiki Beach Walk’s Ka Lei Hula offers complimentary hula practice on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. for residents and visitors. Pre-registration is available at EventBrite.com.
Agro-tourism and Environmental Regeneration
In addition to its legendary beaches, O’ahu offers a rich variety of agro-tourism—from lush tropical fruit farms to working cattle ranches. The agro-tourism options give visitors the opportunity to experience the island’s agricultural heritage first-hand. What’s more, with the growing focus around the world on sustainable and locally sourced food, agro-tourism has played an essential role in O’ahu’s tourism industry.
Hawaii Farm Bureau O’ahu Farmers’ Markets
There are weekly farmers’ markets in a variety of locations including: at Mililani High School on Sundays from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., at Neal S. Blaisdell Center on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. and at Kailua Town Center on Thursdays from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Aerial view of Kualoa Point and Mokoli’i at Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii, USA (PB57photos / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Kahuku Farm offers a unique and immersive agricultural experience on the North Shore of Oahu. Visitors can explore the 4,000-acre farm, which has been family owned and operated for more than 100 years. Tours take guests through the fields of crops such as bananas, papayas, and coffee, as well as exotic fruits like dragonfruit and lychee.
Along the way, guests can learn about sustainable farming practices. The farm also offers a delicious farm-to-table lunch made with ingredients grown on the property.
Turtle Bay Resort’s Kuilima Farm, located inland of North Shore O’ahu, provides fresh produce served at all restaurants on the resort property. Guests of Turtle Bay Resort can take a walking tour of the farm and learn about the Hawaiian land division system and farming techniques. Additional activities include a native Hawaiian plant scavenger hunt and sampling farm-fresh goodies and fruits.
Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve
Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve recently launched a Koa tree planting experience that allows visitors to help with reforestation efforts by planting native koa trees on the ranch’s property. Through their reforestation efforts, visitors can help increase the reserve’s biodiversity of native species and positively influence its entire ecosystem for years to come.
North Shore Stables
Volunteer opportunities are also an option when visiting Hawaii. At North Shore Stables this includes planting and farming work to help restore native Hawaii shoreline plants to a mile of beach-front coastline. Volunteers weed and clear coastal areas of invasive species and replant native plants that build san dunes, prevent erosion and protect against sea level rise.
Supporting local and indigenous artisans across O’ahu is a powerful way to promote sustainability and cultural preservation while visiting Hawaii. From traditional Hawaiian crafts like weaving and carving to modern art forms like jewelry making, there’s a diverse community of artisans in O’ahu. Here are some of the places you can visit them.
Supporting Local Artists
Aloha Home Market
Aloha Home market features jewelry makers, clothing designers and food vendors in a pop-up market.
House of Mana Up at Royal Hawaiian Center
The House of Mana Up at Royal Hawaiian Center showcases local brands and products including fashion, food, beauty and home goods. Each item has been carefully curated to reflect the spirit and culture of the islands with a focus on locally sourced and sustainably made products.
Malama Hawaii Makers Market at Royal Hawaiian Center
Shop a curated collection of unique works from Hawaiian artists and designers. The items here range from resin artwork on native wood to hand-crafted jewelry.
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