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The “paniolo,” or Hawaiian cowboy, trotted into the spotlight recently as Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) honored four landmark ranches on the islands.
During its 2015 Tourism Legacy Awards ceremony, HTA singled out ranches that perpetuate the heritage of the paniolo, who trace their Hawaiian history back to the early 1800s. Each year, the annual awards pay tribute to people, companies or organizations that present visitors with meaningful and authentic experiences.
Following is a look at the four award recipients and what each offers clients.
Kipu Ranch, KauaiOnce a sugar plantation, this 3,000-acre working cattle ranch runs from the Huleia River to the top of Mt. Haupu. Its stunning scenery has set the backdrop for movies such as “Jurassic Park” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” During ATV rides and 4x4 jungle tours, guests will see filming sites, waterfalls and wildlife while enjoying dramatic views.
Kualoa Ranch, OahuSince 1850, many generations have watched over this 4,000-acre family-owned ranch. As Kualoa share its natural and cultural bounty with visitors, it presents the history of the area and its recreational blessings. Activities include horseback riding, hiking, ATV rides, ziplining, movie-site tours and water activities at a private beach.
Parker Ranch, Hawaii IslandThis 250,000-acre Waimea ranch dates back to the 1850s. Clients can learn about its unique past during self-guided tours of its two well-preserved family homes. The ranch store sells Hawaii-made clothes, food, gifts, boots, belts and logo wear. At its rodeos on July 4 and Labor Day, locals and visitors cheer for modern-day paniolo in action.
Ulupalakua Ranch, MauiWith 18,000 acres, Ulupalakua was a dominant sugar plantation in the mid-1800s. Today, it upholds the traditions of agriculture and ranching. Among its visitor lures is the tasting room at Maui Wine, which crafts varietals from its own crops. Visitors can channel some paniolo pride during a horseback ride across the slopes of Ulupalakua, one of Hawaii’s great ranches.