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For most travelers, the word Hawaii conjures up images of beaches, hula girls, mai tais and sun-drenched hotels. But sometimes, what you expect least is what you remember most.
While Hawaii’s famous activities and attractions never fail to please, the destination’s riches are as diverse as the people who live there. Following are five Hawaii surprises to write home about.
Chocolate-Making ClassOahu-based Madre Chocolate presents classes in chocolate- and truffle-making. After taking part in a chocolate tasting, clients learn how to make their own bar, customizing it with their choice of fruits, nuts and spices.
Madre also offers classes in which guests can savor chocolate paired with wine, whiskey, rum and even tequila. Madre’s locations include Chinatown in downtown Honolulu; and Kailua on Oahu’s Windward Coast.
High Tea Recalling a turn-of-the-century Hawaii tradition, a few hotels serve high tea imbued with aloha spirit.
On Oahu, Moana Surfrider’s beachfront veranda sets the stage for island-inspired teas such as ohelo berry and mango, plus finger sandwiches and sweets. Halekulani’s afternoon spread boasts international brews and fresh-baked pastries. And on Maui, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua pairs teas with tropical treats such as pineapple scones.
Polo MatchesHooves fly and mallets swing on Sunday afternoons at the Hawaii Polo Club. Flanking a beautiful beach on Oahu’s North Shore, the field features action between teams from around the world.
Adding to the fun is a pony parade, half-time skydiving exhibitions, food and drinks for sale and post-game parties with a live band. The club also offers guided seaside horseback rides and two-hour polo lessons.
Seaside SkatingWhen it’s time to get out of the ocean at the end of the afternoon, roller skating provides an alternative activity by the sea. The Maui Inline Hockey Association’s scenic outdoor rink stands just a stone’s throw from the water.
Skate rentals at $5 per pair come with helmets, wrist guards and elbow and knee pads. Public skating takes place on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Look for it in Kalama Park in Kihei, a town in west Maui.
SnowOn Hawaii Island, a drive from the beach to a snowy peak takes less than two hours. The destination: Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano. The snowy peak is at its prime from January through March, but the snow often lingers longer due to chilly temperatures.
The best way to enjoy this Hawaii novelty — complete with spectacular views — is with Hawaii Forest & Trail. Its tour guides pass out parkas and keep clients comfy at up to13,796 feet above the sea.