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  • Writer's pictureHighlands Ranch Travel

Finding the Spirit of Hawaii

Venture across the Hawaiian Islands to gain an appreciation of their storied histories.

As you inhale plumeria-scented breezes and step from white sands into turquoise waters, it may seem as if you’ve discovered the essence of Hawaii. Yet this chain of Pacific islands inspires far beyond its natural beauty. Let us create lasting connections to paradise as we introduce you to the cultural experiences that represent the true heart and soul of Hawaii.

Royal Retreats

Tucked along Pali Highway in Oahu’s lush interior is the former summer retreat of Queen Emma Naea and her husband, King Kamehameha IV. The 19th-century Queen Emma Summer Palace, also known as Hanaiakamalama, displays a collection of her majesty’s treasures, along with memorabilia, furnishings and antiques once owned by the royal family. Indulge in more royal history at the Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu, home to Hawaii’s last two monarchs and admired for its well-preserved interior featuring a koa staircase, ornate furniture and royal portraits.


Historic Museums

On Oahu, journey through the realms of life and legends in the Hawaiian Hall and stroll the Na Ulu Kaiwiula Native Hawaiian Garden during an exploration of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Venture even farther off the beaten path on the island of Kauai as you enter the lava rock structure that houses the Kauai Museum, uncovering island history and viewing works created by local artists and artisans.



To truly embrace the spirit of Hawaii, just look up: the night sky sparkles with star clusters and nebulae that have inspired centuries of legends and storytelling. Enter the planetarium at the Imiloa Astronomy Center for a real-time view of the galaxy through the imaging telescopes at the Maunakea Visitor Center, or let us secure you a spot in the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa’s rooftop astronomy program, where you’ll scan the heavens via a 14-inch reflector telescope called “The Edge” — located more than nine stories high.



The rich volcanic soil found on the island of Hawaii lends itself to pure Kona coffee, grown at plantations found along the island’s lava-lined western coast. Visit these fertile orchards to see how they go from bean to cup, or explore the many coffee farms found on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Molokai. On the windward side of Oahu, Manoa Chocolate produces dark chocolate at its bean-to-bar factory, celebrated for its depth of flavor and complexity. Let us reserve your spot on the factory tour, or stop by the tasting room to savor samples of this sweet, locally made treat.


Performance Art

Long a part of Hawaii’s culture, hula tells a story and is often accompanied by drumming and chants. Learn to sway your hips and move your hands in time to the drum beat in a hula lesson at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kaanapali. Inspired by the music of Hawaii? Get your own handcrafted ukulele at Kamaka Ukulele on Oahu, where you can also enjoy a factory tour.


Cultural Sites

Pay your respects to Pele, the volcano goddess, with a front-row seat to the magnificent natural displays at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park is home to several sites that honor and preserve unique culture, including the sacred Puu Loa Petroglyph Field, which features more than 23,000 petroglyphs.


When you explore the islands of Hawaii and gain more insight into the revered culture, the enduring spirit of aloha is sure to remain with you long after your return.

From volcanic landscapes holding messages from the past to a night sky full of stories in the stars, each encounter reveals fascinating new experiences that will create memories for years to come.


Getting There...

Contact us to plan your culture-rich Hawaii vacation!

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