Ultimate Hawaii: Service, Adventure and Discovery
$6,995 + Airfare +$500 Intra Trip Flight
Jun 29 – Jul 20, Jul 21 – Aug 11
Session 2, Session 4
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
9, 10, 11, 12
|Places we visit:||
Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island
|Optional group flight there:||
LAX to Honolulu
|Optional group flight back:||
Kona to LAX
This summer discover all four of the main Hawaiian Islands! Experience bustling and vibrant Oahu, enjoy meaningful service projects in beautiful Maui, relax and discover the dramatic landscape of lush Kauai, and explore active volcanoes and become a certified reef teacher on the Big Island!
Our time on the islands will involve plenty of exploration and adventure with a variety of service projects mixed in, including working with animals, children, and marine life.
Visit the Boys and Girls Club in Honolulu and run a program for the children involving sports, arts and crafts, or anything else we can dream up! This provides the opportunity to bond with the children and gain more insight into BGCH’s mission of inspiring the local Hawaiian youth.
In Maui, help heal rescued animals who’ve found a new life in Hawaii on a beautiful farm sanctuary. You will also learn about Hawaii’s indigenous and endangered plants at the local botanical garden.
On the Big Island, experience hands-on learning while working closely with marine biologists on important projects all focused on the ocean. Snorkel, survey reefs, collect ocean data, and become overall educated about reef ecology. After three days of our marine biology project, you’ll officially become a certified reef teacher!
Plenty of adventure will complement our service projects. Swim in secret waterfalls, sail alongside pods of dolphins, gaze at an active volcano glowing at night, snorkel with giant manta rays, take a surf lesson and much more on this incredible journey to discover the best of Hawaii!
- Earn up to 40 hours of community service
- Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and watch an active volcano glow in the evening
- Snorkel with manta rays at night
- Kayak and hike to a secret waterfall and reward yourself with a refreshing swim
- Enjoy a scenic ride as you cruise on a catamaran along the world famous Napali Coast and watch hundreds of dolphins as they swim alongside you
- Learn about reef ecology and become a certified reef teacher
- Discover and explore Waimea Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, on Kauai
- Snorkel with vibrant marine life at the biodiverse Molokini Crater
- Learn to surf on the famous shores of Waikiki Beach
- Try your hand at sea kayaking
- Learn to hula and enjoy a traditional Hawaiian feast at an authentic Hawaiian luau
- Take a step back in time and visit Pearl Harbor Memorial
- Hike through lava tunnels to the top of Diamond Head Crater for stunning coastal views
- Spend time with playing with the local children of Oahu
- Zipline through lush jungle
On This Program You Will:
DAYS 1-4: Aloha Waikiki
Oahu is the perfect island for a little bit of adventure! We will take a surf lesson on the famous shores of Waikiki with professional instructors who will have you riding waves in no time. Our hotel is just steps away from the beach, so we will have plenty of time to relax, swim, and enjoy some quality time in the summer sun! For a truly unique experience, we’ll hike through a lava tunnel to the top of Diamond Head Crater for breathtaking views of the island.
No visit to Oahu would be complete without a journey to the past in order to pay respects at the USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor Memorials. Accessible only by boat, this memorial is one of several sites in Hawaii commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor and honoring those who lost their lives as well as the few remaining survivors.
Our time in Oahu will be made even more special with a visit to the Boys and Girls Club in Honolulu. While here, we will run a program for the children involving sports, arts and crafts, or anything else we can dream up! This provides the opportunity to bond with the children and gain more insight into BGCH’s mission of inspiring the local Hawaiian youth.
DAYS 5-11: Maui
Maui is truly a Hawaiian paradise with pristine white sand beaches, colorful coral reefs, lush vegetation, and turquoise ocean. Our hotel is right across the street from some of the best beaches on the island! We can hop over any time we like for beach volleyball, relaxation, and a refreshing swim.
In Maui we will spend time at a farm sanctuary that is home to a variety of rescued animals, including giant tortoise, llamas, horses, and more! In addition to our work with these animals, we will partner with the local botanical garden to learn about the delicate flora on the islands. There are 1,000 species of flowering plants that are native to the Hawaiian islands and many of these endemic plants have been driven to extinction due to human influence. Working with the botanical garden allows us to do our part to reverse this and participate in the proliferation of endemic Hawaiian plants.
We will also address the global trash crisis that is polluting our oceans. In 2017, TFT groups in Hawaii alone cleared over 500 pounds of trash from Maui’s delicate shores.
Our service work will be complemented with plenty of fun activities, including snorkeling in the famous Molokini Crater, zip lining through the jungle, scuba diving (optional), and learning to hula from a professional hula dancer.
There will also be an optional excursion to catch the sunrise from the top of Haleakala Volcano and bike down through the clouds. For those who don’t feel comfortable biking, don’t worry, there is the option to ride down in a vehicle too
Days 12-14: The Garden Island of Kauai
Kauai is often considered the most beautiful of the Hawaiian Islands. Known as the Garden Island for its lush vegetation, this island is home to thousands of waterfalls, pristine beaches, an abundance of marine life, and the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” Waimea Canyon. During our time here we will explore everything this island has to offer and discover why it is often compared to Jurassic Park!
We’ll enjoy sailing on a catamaran to swim and snorkel along the Napali Coast, one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines. The dramatic cliffs jutting out of the turquoise water, scattered with waterfalls and caves, is something you will never forget! Pods of dolphins are guaranteed to accompany you as you gaze across this stunning coast.
We will also take a trip through Waimea Canyon, where we will stop at the best lookout spots for photo opportunities and to admire the breathtaking views.
Kauai is a perfect island for adventures, so we will paddle kayaks down a peaceful river to enjoy the views before hiking through the jungle to a secret waterfall where we can enjoy a refreshing swim!
Days 15-22:The Biggest Adventures on the Big Island!
Our last stop on our Hawaiian journey is the Big Island! This island has an abundance of healthy coral, exotic marine life, and plenty of sea turtles! We will participate in a hands-on service project working closely with marine biologists for two days and at the end of our project, we will be certified reef instructors! We’ll snorkel, collect ocean data, survey reefs, and educate others about Hawaii’s marine life.
We’ll have plenty of adventures on the Big Island! Take a day trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to wander through lava tubes, hike the rim of an active volcano, and watch lava glow as the sun sets! We’ll sail out to the Captain Cook Monument for some world class snorkeling and even snorkel at night with giant manta rays. Learn more about Hawaiian history and spend a morning at the City of Refuge, which once served as a safe haven for those escaping a death sentence.
We will also have the option to take a journey to the top of 13,000 ft Mauna Kea for incredible star gazing through some of the world’s most powerful telescopes!
Our time in Hawaii will be topped off with an authentic Hawaiian luau, complete with amazing performances and delicious food! We’ll celebrate the past three weeks and reminisce about our incredible adventures under the Hawaiian sun.
What kind of teen typically participates in this program? What are the requirements to join?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
This program is only for students who are currently in 9th through 12th grade and approximately 14-18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means we do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities. We prefer to select smaller, family run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
In Maui we stay at a comfortable condo right across from the beach in sunny Kihei. In Oahu we stay at a great hotel right in the center of vibrant Waikiki that is walking distance to all of the shops, restaurants, and best of all, just a few blocks from Waikiki Beach! In Kauai our hotel is in the charming local town Kapaa, right on the beach. There is a boardwalk we can bike along as well as plenty of boutique shops and restaurants to explore. On the Big Island we stay at a family owned hotel in Kona. The location is right next to a small bay, perfect for swimming and right in the heart of Kona’s many shops. There are swimming pools at all four of our hotels, perfect for cooling off after a fun day spent under the sun!
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for a program.
Do most travelers go by themselves?
Yes, in fact, over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new BFFs on another TFT program the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students like most about this program?
Students love the insight they gain from experiencing the “real Hawaii” off the tourist track. Having the opportunity to learn more about the marine life and participate in a meaningful project to protect an endangered species, as well as spend time with the local children, are just some of the highlights of this program.
What is unique about this program?
Having a wide variety of service projects allows students to explore different types of service and gain a deeper connection with Hawaiian culture. Working with animals, children, marine life, and the gardens are the perfect way to students to discover the many ways they can give back to the beautiful state of Hawaii.
In addition to the service component, students love the exciting mix of activities that make each day a new adventure!
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts and dinners, chaperones and guides, program related activities, program related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not Included (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, visas and visa application fees, beverages other than filtered water at meals, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not program related, such as movies, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters, as well as personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this program’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the program starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on programs that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
Who are the counselors on the program?
The Trip Director for every program is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the program fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Programs may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
Group size is important! A smaller group size provides unique opportunities that a large group cannot accommodate. Think of your favorite local restaurant; could it easily accommodate a group of 50 teens? Probably not! Our group sizes average between 14 to 21 students, which means that we are able to comfortably use local transport, enjoy local restaurants, and have a more authentic experience overall! A smaller group size also eliminates the likelihood of cliques, meaning that our groups all tend to bond as a cohesive unit. We guarantee that you’ll have enough people to meet some new best friends, but not so many that you feel like “just a number” or lost in a crowd.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Most of our programs are designed specifically so that participants can combine them with other programs. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
What is the food like on this program?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
The food in Hawaii involves plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and of course, seafood! Some typical foods we will have the chance to try are Poke bowls, Acai bowls, poi, and breadfruit.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group nearly always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time on each island. A lifeguard certified counselor will be supervising the students any time they are involved in water activities.
What kind of Visa do you need for this program?
If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.