On this Wednesday January 26, 2022, episode of the Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast, Aloha Bruce offers suggestions for Off the Beaten Path Towns to Visit in Hawaii, some Hawaii Covid news, including Maui’s new requirement of proof of a booster shot to be considered “fully vaccinated” for places like restaurants, bars, and gyms. Bruce notes that this does not include the Hawaii Safe Travels Program, but Governor Ige has expressed interest in implementing the requirement statewide.
Bruce also mentions Hawaii’s high gas prices (about a dollar more per gallon than the mainland average), and how that may affect your plans to get a rental vehicle on a Hawaii vacation.
For the Restaurant of the Week, Bruce offers Brick Fire Tavern, a relatively new pizza restaurant in the retail/dining corridor of Kaimuki in Honolulu. Bruce was craving meatballs, he said, which were delicious. They followed with a Marguerita-style pizza with a perfect crust. He mentions some other non-pizza selections and notes that everything was terrific.
Bruce moves the topic to the Malama Hawaii program that seeks to promote regenerative tourism that promotes the conservation and preservation of Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources. There are programs available that provide for a free night’s stay at various properties if visitors volunteer for community projects like tree planting and beach cleanups.
The Sustainable Hotel Package at the Waikiki Prince Hotel is noted as exceptional. Bruce offers details about the hotel’s program, including beach cleanups. Bruce says that he sees more and more discarded facemasks along with his daily Ka Iwi Coast hikes. He also mentions the Kualoa Ranch Malama Experience, a 2-hour “eco-adventure” that’s great for kids to learn about traditional Hawaiian methods of sustainability and taro farming. Bruce notes that the Hawaii Tourism Authority has a list of Hawaii hotels and resorts that participate in the Malama Hawaii program.
The discussion turns to Off the Beaten Path Towns to Visit in Hawaii, and how supporting businesses there can help with sustainability efforts. Bruce first mentions a self-guided tour in the old sugar town of Koloa on Kauai, the Koloa Heritage Trail. It features many local foods and products and a monthly food truck and live music event.
Bruce moves on to discuss Off the Beaten Path Towns such as Hawaii Haleiwa Town on Oahu’s North Shore, where the surfing, art, and restaurant communities are thriving far from the bustle of Waikiki and Honolulu. On the Big Island, Holualoa in “coffee country” is a great small town for local shopping. Bruce says Makawao in Upcountry Maui features Hawaii’s paniolo (cowboy) culture, and he mentions the popular Komodo Store there that offers deliciously baked and fried treats. Bruce suggests taking a horseback tour in Makawao and mentions the annual Makawao Rodeo.
Bruce circles back to Heeia on Oahu, a tiny town on Kaneohe Bay. There is a small boat harbor, Heeia Pier, home to Heeia General Store (a beloved local eatery with sophisticated but affordable selections. Bruce also notes that Heeia is home to an 800-year-old native Hawaiian fishpond. “It’s really an amazing experience,” Bruce says, noting that the HAT Cultural Tour features the historic location.
“Experiencing Hawaii’s small towns is a great way to immerse yourself in Hawaii’s island culture.”