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Pearl Harbor and BeyondThe Tomlinson family launched Home of the Brave Tours in 1991 in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Inspired by first hand accounts of Pearl Harbor survivors, this is the only tour that visits Oahu’s battlefield sites attacked on December 7, 1941. Visits to military installations that most people never see and fascinating stories about the attack and aftermath fill the day. The tour visits Valor in the Pacific Visitor Center and USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Army Barracks, Fort Shafter, Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery, and the Home of the Brave Museum, a private collection filled with artifacts donated by U.S. military veterans and their families.
Customized Cultural ExplorationsKaren and Andrew Lockwood of Pacific Island Institute (PII) design unique tours that explore the culture, history, and natural environments of destinations through local perspectives and immersive experiences with experts. PII can create customized guided experiences on Oahu. Adventures might include a visit to an ancient Hawaiian fishpond to help rebuild a wall; a nature hike that examines native plants and invasive species; a snorkeling adventure with a marine biologist that explores the impact of global warming; and visit to a cacao farm and artisanal chocolate maker. Guided visits to important cultural sites such as Manoa Heritage Center can also be arranged.
Surf with a ProCarol Philips of North Shore Surf Girls, a pioneer of big wave bodyboarding for women, offers a variety of surfing experiences. Seven-day, six-night customizable Surf Camps can include surfing and surf lessons, kayaking, Waimea Valley hikes, yoga, massage, and excursions to Waikiki. Accommodations include private condominiums on the grounds of Turtle Bay Resort. While the company’s teachers are all women, North Shore Surf Girls welcomes men, women, and children to all surf experiences and classes.
Secrets of ChinatownTravelers can explore Honolulu’s Chinatown—historic immigrant gateway, cutting edge arts district, and culinary hotspot—with Ed Korybski of Hanai Tours. The History & Food Tour is a three-hour storytelling and dining excursion from Iolani Palace through Chinatown. The adventure includes sampling food at five different restaurants as Ed shares stories that helped shape downtown and Chinatown’s former red light district. Each food sampling matches the story’s theme, creating an authentic and enriching journey. The restaurants reflect the cuisines of the many immigrant groups who flocked to Chinatown while the story topics range from Hawaii’s royal family and WWII, to Native Hawaiian interactions with explorers.
Hidden North Shore AdventureOahu’s fabled North Shore, one of the world’s top surfing spots, is also home to pristine mountains, forests, and valleys. Keola Ryan of North Shore Eco Tours offers small group, land-based adventures that interpret the natural environment through the lens of Hawaiian cultural perspectives, values, and practices. The company has two hiking adventures, Huakai Nui (Big Adventure) and Huakai Iki (Little Adventure), and an ATV off-road expedition, Puaa Maiki (The Piglet), all on private lands. The adventures showcase Oahu’s incredible terrain, breathtaking vistas, and quiet freshwater pools as the guide shares the history, language, and stories of Hawaii’s natural environment.
Eat Like a LocalFrom plate lunches to malasadas, Oahu’s diverse food scene comes to life with Aloha Plate Food Tours, a new venture of Lanai Tabura, winner of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” in 2013, and Bruce Fisher of Hawaii Aloha Travel. Both the Local Food Tour and the Hawaiian Style Food Tour visit restaurants, drive-ins, and food trucks that only locals know and feature many culinary traditions of the islands: Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and Japanese. These unique food and cultural experiences include visits to towns where popular foods originated and the stories behind beloved Hawaiian dishes.