Our 9-day tour of the “Land of Aloha” features some of these islands’ most beautiful and breathtaking destinations — along with behind-the-scenes tours of world-famous observatories.
Sky & Telescope offers you a chance to experience the astronomical and natural wonders of Hawai‘i from April 18 to 26, 2022. Accompanied by S&T's Observing Editor Diana Hannikainen you’ll marvel at the impressive volcanoes on Maui and the Big Island, luxuriate in the tropical waters, wiggle your toes on Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, keep watch at sunset for the elusive “green flash,” and spend two evenings stargazing with local amateur astronomers.
This tour’s itinerary also offers opportunities to explore the colorful towns of Lahina, Hilo, and Kailua on your own. And you’ll have the option to extend your stay with a 3-day visit to Kaua‘i, the Garden Island. Perhaps best of all, our itinerary also includes special access to professional observatories atop Haleakalā on Maui and on the world-renowned summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai‘i.
With so many adventurous travelers eager to visit exciting destinations around the world, this tour is certain to fill up soon. Space is limited for this remarkable tour, so get ready to pack your bags — and your binoculars — for an unforgettable trip.
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Click below to learn all about the tour:
- Itinerary for our 9-day tour of Maui and Hawai‘i
- Itinerary for our optional 4-day post-trip tour of Kaua‘i
- Pricing & Terms
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE HAWAI‘I TOUR
This beautiful island is dominated by the towering presence of Haleakalā, the enormous shield volcano that occupies about 75% of the island. Rising 10,023 feet (3,056 meters) above sea level, Haleakalā (“House of the Sun”) offers breathtaking views from its summit. But few realize that this mountain is also home to an amazing assortment of professional observatories, including the U.S. Air Force’s 3.6-m AEOS telescope (seen below, which the tour is scheduled to visit) and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope — the world’s largest telescope dedicated to solar studies. While on Maui, we’ll do some stargazing on the slopes of Haleakalā with local amateur astronomers and watch for the green flash while relaxing at our seaside hotel.
The largest town on the Big Island is the gateway to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, an otherworldly place where ground still heaves with subterranean activity and occasionally gushes forth with eruptive fury. To the north of Hilo is beautiful ‘Akaka Falls, which cascades over a verdant precipice and tumbles 442 feet to the ground below. Several professional observatories are headquartered in Hilo, and at ʻImiloa Astronomy Center we’ll enjoy both a private planetarium show and a presentation about the interplay of Hawaiian culture and astronomical discovery.
Although Hilo is often cloudy, the western side of Hawai‘i features pleasant weather that’s almost always sunny. From our centrally located hotel, we’ll enjoy a group dinner overlooking the ocean. And this will be our starting point for an ascent to the summit of Mauna Kea, meaning “white mountain” because of its snowy cap during winter. Gradually rising to a towering 13,803 feet (4,207 m) above sea level, Mauna Kea is home to 13 observatory facilities. We’ll visit these behemoths — including a behind-the-scenes tour inside one of them — and then linger at the summit to take in a spectacular sunset.
Royal Lahaina Resort, Lahaina, Maui (3 nights)
Nestled on an exclusive half-mile stretch of Kāʻanapali Beach, the Royal Lahaina Resort is located within the Kāʻanapali Resort complex. Guests can enjoy dining at the full-service restaurant, an ice cream parlor, and a coffee shop. The resort features Hawaiian and Polynesian arts and crafts — you can even take a class in making leis from flowers and puka shells.
Volcano House Hotel, Volcano, Hawai‘i(2 nights)
The only hotel located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is perched on the rim of Kilauea’s Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The historic Volcano House Hotel has long captured the imagination of visitors from all over the world with its iconic location, rich cultural legacy, and warm Hawaiian hospitality. Drawing upon a storied history dating back to 1846, this property has been re-imagined for a new era with updated rooms, a restaurant and lounge serving Pacific Rim fare, and retail shops.
King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Kona, Hawai‘i (3 nights)
Now part of the Courtyard by Marriott family, this newly renovated beachfront hotel features brand-new guest rooms and suites, complete with new island-inspired décor, modern amenities, spacious lanais, and sparkling ocean views. Beyond the new rooms, relax beside the infinity pool, reserve a private cabana with ocean views, or rent a kayak and explore the turquoise waters of Kailua Bay. Dozens of shops, restaurants, and attractions are just a short walk away.
Kaua‘i Beach Resort, Kaua‘i (3 nights with optional post-trip extension)
Situated on the eastern coast of Kauai, this recently renovated beachfront resort provides a relaxing, upscale experience. The rooms are comfortable, with a casual tropical theme, and the oceanfront grounds are beautifully landscaped. Highlights include the sand-bottom pool (complete with a 12-foot-high waterfall), the evening’s torch-lighting ceremony, and the Naupaka Terrace restaurant. The beach fronts a rocky ocean, but it’s perfect for a long stroll. Lydgate State Beach Park and the Puakea Golf Course are both a short drive away.
Itinerary for Skies and Natural Wonders of Hawai‘i 2022 Main Tour
|Date||Itinerary at a Glance||Accommodation||Meals|
|Monday, April 18||Arrival in Maui, welcome lūʻau||Royal Lahaina Resort||D|
|Tuesday, April 19||Haleakalā National Park||Royal Lahaina Resort||B,L,D|
|Wednesaday, April 20||Snorkel Cruise / Polynesian Wayfinding||Royal Lahaina Resort||B,L|
|Thursday, April 21||Maui to Hilo; ‘Akaka Falls||Volcano House Hotel||B,L|
|Friday, April 22||Hawai‘i Volcanoes Natl. Park||Volcano House Hotel||B,L,D|
|Saturday, April 23||Hilo to Kona, Black Sand Beach||King Kamehameha Hotel||B,L,D|
|Sunday, April 24||Mauna Kea summit||King Kamehameha Hotel||B|
|Monday, April 25||Kona sightseeing||King Kamehameha Hotel||B,D|
|Tuesday, April 26||Depart for home (or Kaua‘i)||—||B|
Monday, April 18 — Arrival in Maui; Welcome lū‘au
Depart from your home on a flight to Kahului, Maui. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel. Tonight we’ll enjoy welcome lū‘au dinner complete with Mai Tai cocktails, music, and hula.
Royal Lahaina Resort (D)
Tuesday, April 19 — Haleakalā National Park and Observatory
After breakfast, we’ll ascend Haleakalā, the dormant shield volcano that towers 10,023 feet above sea level and is visible from just about every point on Maui. At the summit, we’ll explore Haleakalā National Park, recognized as an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations. Here there are more endangered species than in any other U.S. national park, including plants and animals indigenous to Hawai‘i like the endemic ‘āhinahina (silversword) and the nene (Hawaiian goose).
The mountain’s summit is home to the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) and a group of Defense Department telescopic facilities known as the Maui Space Surveillance Complex. If permissions are granted, we’ll visit one of the DoD installations. After leaving the summit and having dinner at a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy some casual stargazing at a lower altitude with the Haleakalā Amateur Astronomers Club.
Royal Lahaina Resort (B, L, D)
Wednesday, April 20 — Snorkel Cruise / Polynesian Wayfinding
This morning we embark on a snorkel cruise to the mostly uninhabited coast of the island of Lana‘i, regarded as one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world. Sail the scenic coastline in the company of dolphins and possibly a humpback whale. Explore a dazzling coral reef, home to abundant sea life, as we have lunch aboard the cruise vessel. After the cruise ends, enjoy some free time in Lahaina Town.
Then gather for an afternoon lecture by a Polynesian navigator who participated on the Mālama Honua – Worldwide Voyage of the Hōkūle‘a Polynesian Voyaging Canoe. During the voyage, over 245 participating crew members helped to sail the canoe and connect with more than 100,000 people worldwide. Afterward we’ll have a non-hosted reception to look for the elusive “green flash” — a meteorological optical phenomenon that sometimes occurs at sunset. Cap off the day with dinner on your own at a local restaurant.
Royal Lahaina Resort (B, L)
Thursday, April 21 — Maui to Hilo; ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center; ʻAkaka Falls
After breakfast and check-out, we’ll fly from Maui to Hilo on the Big Island. We’ll visit the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center for a private planetarium showing and a lecture on Hawaiian language and astronomy. Learn about early Polynesian nighttime navigation, history, wayfinding, and scientific developments on Hawaiʻi Island.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit ʻAkaka Falls State Park and its 422-foot-tall waterfall — taller than either Niagara or Victoria Falls, and one of the most impressive and accessible on the island. Enjoy the paved nature walk down to see the falls, and don’t forget to look for the smaller 100-foot Kahuna Falls nearby. Dinner at the hotel on your own.
Volcano House Hotel (B, L)
Friday, April 22 — Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
Today we get an in-depth survey of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Biosphere Site. Witness how Madame Pele (the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire) has created new land as our exclusive geologist guide leads us through an exploration of one of the world’s most exciting national parks — and one that encompasses two of the world’s most active volcanoes: Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Lunch follows at Volcano House’s Rim Restaurant, which overlooks Halema‘uma‘u Crater. This afternoon, continue our tour of the park with a Native Hawaiian cultural guide, who will share traditional knowledge and interpretation of this sacred place. Evening dinner at the Rim Restaurant.
Volcano House Hotel (B, L, D)
Saturday, April 23 — Hilo to Kona, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach
Hilo and Kona lie on opposite sides of the Big Island, and after breakfast and check-out we’ll head toward Kona via the scenic southern route. Our first stop is Nā‘ālehu Village, the southernmost town in the United States. After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll visit Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach to look for the endangered Hawaiian honu (green sea turtles).
After arriving in Kona and hotel check-in, in the evening we’ll gather for an exclusive guest lecture about the Native Hawaiian protests over telescope construction on Mauna Kea. Learn about the perspectives of Native Hawaiian practitioners and scientists, the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope, and other observatories located on the mountain before our departure the next day. Enjoy a non-hosted reception to look for the green flash before our group dinner overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
King Kamehameha Hotel – Courtyard by Marriott (B, L, D)
Sunday, April 24 — Mauna Kea (or Kona)
After breakfast, you’ll have the morning free to explore Kona and have lunch on your own. Then gather in the afternoon for a briefing before departing for Mauna Kea. Although it erupted approximately 4,000 years ago, this massive shield volcano now lies dormant.
With an altitude of 13,803 feet (4,207 m) above sea level, Mauna Kea’s summit is home to 13 observatories that study the universe at optical, infrared, and submillimeter wavelengths. The summit of the mountain was considered sacred in ancient Hawai‘i and forbidden to all but the highest-ranking chiefs and priests. We’ll stop at Onizuka Visitor Center to get acclimatized to the altitude and hear a presentation about Mauna Kea. Then we’ll tour the mountain’s summit and see the interior of one observatory (permission pending). We’ll witness the breathtaking sunset from the summit before returning to the hotel.
King Kamehameha Hotel – Courtyard by Marriott (B)
Monday , April 25 — Kona Coffee Farm / Cloud Forest Sanctuary
Your morning is free to enjoy the resort or to take an excursion to the Mountain Thunder Coffee Farm and Cloud Forest Sanctuary. Hawai‘i is the only state in the US that grows coffee. The high elevation, rainfall, moderate temperature, sunshine, and volcanic soil of Kona produce unrivaled conditions to grow coffee. Learn how beans are grown, hand-harvested, dried, and roasted. The Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary is an accessible cloud forest located directly above the Kona coast at an elevation of 3,000 feet. The 70-acre sanctuary is home to native plants and more than 100 varieties of bamboo (!) as well as endemic and exotic birds.
This evening enjoy a hosted reception to look one last time for the green flash before a farewell dinner overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Join us for private stargazing with the West Hawai‘i Astronomy Club on the lower slopes of Mauna Kea.
King Kamehameha Hotel – Courtyard by Marriott (B, D)
Tuesday, April 26 — Depart for Home (or for Kaua‘i)
Breakfast is at the hotel. After check-out, we’ll transfer to Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport either for your flight home (those headed to the East Coast arrive home the next day) or to continue to Kaua‘i for the optional 4-day post-tour extension. (B)
OPTIONAL POST-TOUR EXTENSION TO KAUA‘I — THE “GARDEN ISLAND”
Itinerary for Post-Tour Extension to Kaua‘i
|Date||Itinerary at a Glance||Accommodation||Meals|
|Tuesday, April 26||Allerton Gardens||Kaua‘i Beach Resort||B|
|Wednesday, April 27||Waimea Canyon||Kaua‘i Beach Resort||B,L|
|Thursday, April 28||Pineapple Farm||Kaua‘i Beach Resort||B,D|
|Friday, April 29||Depart for home||—||B|
Tuesday, April 26 — Arrive in Kaua‘i
This morning depart for Kona International Airport (KOA) on an included inter-island flight to Kaua‘i. Drop off your bags at hotel, and then have lunch on own. We’ll gather in the afternoon for a visit to the beautiful Allerton Gardens. Located on the south shore of Kaua‘i, this paradise has been transformed through time by a Hawaiian Queen, a sugar-plantation owner, and most recently by an artist and architect. After our return to the hotel, enjoy dinner on own.
Kaua‘i Beach Resort (B)
Wednesday, April 27 — Waimea Canyon
After breakfast, we’ll depart for Waimea Canyon, the geologically spectacular “Grand Canyon” of Hawaiʻi. First we visit Koke‘e State Park and the Koke‘e Museum. You’ll experience the island’s beauty and natural history, including stops to view Waimea Canyon’s incredible erosional valleys from several vantage points. A counterpart to Arizona’s Grand Canyon, Waimea is spectacular for its beauty alone. It is a mile wide, 14 miles long, and 3,600 feet deep. Today we’ll have a picnic lunch before returning to the hotel. Then enjoy dinner on your own.
Kaua‘i Beach Resort (B,L)
Thursday, April 28 — Pineapple Farm
This morning we visit a pineapple farm! Walk through the pineapple fields, learn the history of the farm and pineapple in the islands, and how exactly to grow a pineapple. Harvest a small pineapple from the field, and sample a taste of a freshly harvested fruit. After our return to the hotel, your afternoon is free. But come back to the hotel in time for the group’s farewell dinner.
Kaua‘i Beach Resort (B,D)
Friday, April 29 — Homeward bound
Breakfast is at the hotel. After check-out, we’ll transfer to Lihue Airport (LIH) for your flight home. Those headed to the East Coast arrive home the next day. (B)
- Inter-island flight from Kahului, Maui, to Hilo, Hawai‘i
- Private group transfers from airport to hotel and to airport on return
- Accommodation in 3- and 4-star hotels
- English-speaking Tour Director exclusive to Sky & Telescope group
- Sky & Telescope astronomy director
- Expert guest speakers on April 21st and April 23rd
- Exclusive geologist guide on April 22nd
- Land transport by private motor coach
- All meals as indicated on the itinerary, including special welcome and farewell meals
- Bottled water during outings
- Baggage handling
- Tips to local guides, drivers, service charges and taxes
- Entrance fees on itinerary excursions and visits
- Customized luggage tags and name tags with Sky & Telescope logo
- Pre-trip planning information and resources
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- Round-trip air transportation between your point of origin and Hawai‘i
- Excess-baggage fees
- Room service, meals, and snacks not specified in the itinerary
- Alcoholic beverages, aside from those included in the welcome and farewell dinners and hosted reception
- Personal items such as laundry, email, and telephone calls
- Travel and medical insurance
- Medical expenses and COVID-19 testing, if applicable
- Tip for the Tour Director is at participant’s discretion
|PRICING (PER PERSON)||DOUBLE||SINGLE SUPPLEMENT|
|Main Tour on Maui & Hawai‘i (April 18-26, 2022)||$7,990||$1,990|
|Post-Trip Extension on Kaua‘i (April 26-29, 2022)||$3,100||$990|
PAYMENTS & TERMS
Note: Pricing is based on standard capacities on vehicles and at restaurants, hotels, and other venues and does not include any costs that may be incurred by any capacity limitations that may be imposed due to COVID-19 or any other reason. All tour prices are based on costs in effect at the time of posting. As such, prices listed here are subject to change. Royal Adventures and/or AAS Sky Publishing LLC will inform participants of any changes prior to departure.
- To make a reservation: A reservation request can be submitted by completing this form. Reservations are recorded and acknowledged in order of receipt. Royal Adventures (CST #2009579-40) handles all invoicing.
- Deposits: An advance payment of US$1,000 per person, along with US$250 per person for the post-trip extension, if applicable, is required to secure your reservation. Please make your check payable to "Royal Adventures" and mail to: Royal Adventures, 9 Crow Canyon Court, Suite 205, San Ramon, CA 94583. Initial deposits may be charged to a credit card; however, a 3% fee will be added. All subsequent payments must be made by check. Final payment (by check only) is due by January 5, 2022.
- Cancellations and Refunds: Deposits are fully refundable until January 5, 2022. Cancellations received after January 5, 2022, are subject to a 100% penalty (no refund) of all deposits and payments, regardless of the booking date. Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Royal Adventures. There are no refunds for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features.
- Itinerary: The itinerary is subject to change at the discretion of Sky & Telescope and Royal Adventures. All tour prices are based on costs and U.S. dollar exchange rates in effect at the time of posting. As such, prices listed here are subject to change. In particular, any increases in the fares for in-tour transportation, security, and/or fuel surcharges will be paid by the participants. Sky & Telescope and/or Royal Adventures will inform clients of any changes prior to departure.
- Tour size: This tour, exclusively designed for AAS Sky Publishing LLC, is limited to 34 participants based upon double occupancy. The minimum group size for the main program is 15, and the minimum size for the optional Kauai post-tour extension is 8. Should the minimum group number not be met, we reserve the right to levy a small-group surcharge.
- Travel insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance including “Cancel for Any Reason” because the cancellation penalty listed in the brochure will apply. Trip-cancellation insurance can be purchased through our recommended provider, Travel Insured International; click here to get a quote or call 800-243-3174 and mention Royal Adventures #53140. Most insurance plans need to be purchased within 14 days of paying the initial deposit in order to waive preexisting medical conditions as well as to purchase “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance. Neither AAS Sky Publishing LLC nor Royal Adventures accept liability for any airline-cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a non-refundable airline ticket or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for the tour.
- Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information presented here. Royal Adventures, AAS Sky Publishing, LLC, and Sky & Telescope are not responsible for errors in or damages resulting from use of the information contained herein. Information contained here is subject to change.
- Responsibility Statement: Royal Adventures (CST #2009579-40), its owners, and employees act only as agents for the various independent suppliers and contractors providing transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant, and other services connected with this tour. Such travel and services are subject to the terms and conditions under which such accommodations, services, and transportation are offered or provided; AAS Sky Publishing LLC and Royal Adventures and their respective employees, agents, representatives, and assigns accept no liability therefor. AAS Sky Publishing LLC and Royal Adventures assume no liability for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or other irregularity which may be caused by the defect of any aircraft or vehicle or the negligence or default of any company or person engaged in carrying out or performing any of the services involved. Additionally, responsibility is not accepted for losses, injury, damages, or expenses of any kind due to sickness, epidemics, pandemics, weather, strikes, local laws, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, acts of nature, quarantine, force majeure, animal or insect bites, or other such causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws of the country in which they are provided. AAS Sky Publishing LLC and Royal Adventures reserve the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their sole judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of the tour participants. AAS Sky Publishing LLC and/or Royal Adventures shall not be deemed to be in breach of these terms and conditions or otherwise be liable to you, and shall not provide any refund, by reason of delay in performance, or by nonperformance, of any of our obligations hereunder to the extent that any such delay or non-performance is due to any force majeure event. A force majeure event, in relation to this tour, shall mean any circumstances beyond our control, including, but without limitation, to acts of God, explosion, flood, forceful wind, fire or accident, war or threat of war declared or undeclared, acts of terrorism, sabotage, insurrection, riots, strikes, civil disturbance, sickness, epidemics, pandemics, quarantines, government intervention or other unforeseeable events. Limitations on travel arising from the COVID-19 pandemic shall be considered a force majeure event. If this tour is affected by a force majeure event, AAS Sky Publishing and Royal Adventures shall be entitled to, and may in their sole and absolute discretion, vary, cancel or postpone any itinerary or arrangement in relation to this trip. The right is also reserved to decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the tour or to substitute another qualified leader or special guest. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. The price of the program is given in good faith based on current tariffs and rates and is subject to change. Any tariff, exchange rate, security surcharge or fuel increases will be passed on to participants. Neither AAS Sky Publishing LLC nor Royal Adventures accepts the liability for any airline-cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable airline ticket. The air ticket when issued shall constitute the sole contract between the passenger and the airline concerned. As part of the consideration and right to participate in this tour, each participant will be asked to sign a liability release, an assumption of risk, and a hold-harmless agreement.
- Questions: Please contact Royal Adventures at email@example.com or call 800-453-4754 or 925-820-6260 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time).
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