Rushing waterfalls and soaring volcanic peaks, fascinating heritage and stunning beaches—Maui is the ultimate tropical paradise. With dynamic trip leaders and a National Geographic expert, capture the island’s natural wonders on camera; get up close to fascinating marine life on snorkeling, surfing, and boating excursions; and lend a hand with service projects to help preserve the island’s delicate ecosystems.
Our program begins on Maui’s western shore at Lahaina, near one of the island’s top snorkeling spots. Here we’ll settle into oceanfront tents, our home away from home for the next five nights. Dive into turquoise waters on a daylong snorkeling and dolphin-watching excursion; and visit the Maui Ocean Center, where we’ll have the opportunity to help on-site marine biologists care for native sea turtle and shark species. Explore the village of Lahaina—once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, then a whaling port, and now an artsy enclave—to learn about the island’s past and present from local farmers and shopkeepers.
Venture to the island’s northern shores for an unforgettable hike to ancient lava flows, capped off with a thrilling zip-line adventure through the jungle canopy. Set off on foot into the West Maui Mountains in search of mysterious petroglyphs and secret waterfalls, along the way learning about the sustainable power generated by wind turbines installed on the mountain ridge. Visit a botanical garden in the lush ‘Īao Valley; then take a surfing lesson, riding Pacific waves across calm, shallow waters.
Enjoy a day in south Maui, where we’ll picnic on the sandy Big Beach, snorkel with sea turtles, and gaze out over Molokini crater—a volcano submerged in the water. Try a Hawaiian meal of poke and other local specialties, and visit a working sugar factory to see how raw cane is transformed into sweetener.
Pack up camp and take a drive along the world-famous road to Hāna, making several stops en route to our destination. Splash in waterfalls and swimming holes and enjoy fresh fruit smoothies; visit a black-sand beach to seek out green sea turtles; and get your hands dirty while farming a patch of taro—an important staple in traditional Hawaiian cooking. Before continuing on our journey, we’ll enjoy a seaside picnic with views of professional kite boarders racing along the waves at Ho‘okipa.
Upon arrival at our campsite in Hāna, go hiking through the surrounding bamboo forests and past century-old banyan trees to a stunning waterfall. Go for a dip in the pool at the base of the cascade and refuel with a picnic lunch. In the evenings, gaze up at the stars alongside astronomers, who will share traditional Hawaiian navigation techniques.
Travel inland to the heart of the island and settle into a small town near the base of the Haleakalā volcano, where traditional ranching and farming still thrive. Step into the cowboy boots of a Hawaiian paniolo, joining in on the action at a local rodeo. Pay a visit to the Surfing Goat Dairy, and sample some of the award-winning goat cheeses made by this unique creamery. Wake up early for an unforgettable sunrise from the top of Haleakalā Crater, soaring 10,000 feet above sea level. On our final evening, we’ll celebrate and reflect on our experiences over a bonfire and barbecue with local Hawaiians.