Nene goose in kalo field
Authentic Hawaii
February 7 – 12, 2017
Take a journey through the Big Island of Hawaii with the San Diego Zoo.


+ airfare// per person, double occupancy
+ airfare// per person, double occupancy

Experience Hawaii beyond the leis and luaus with this exclusive exploration of the Big Island’s natural wonders. Marvel at the dramatic landscape of Waipio Valley, see the glowing lava against the night sky at Volcanoes National Park, and view the sunset from above the clouds on the summit of Mauna Kea. Explore the San Diego Zoo’s Keahou Bird Conservation Center and Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge to seek out some of the rarest birds on the planet.

Big Island, Hawaii beach landscape

February 7—Arrive in Hilo and Liliuokalani  Gardens

Arrive at the Hilo Airport on the Big Island of Hawaii. Meet your guide and transfer to your lodging at the Thomas Guard House on Reed’s Island. Take an evening walk through the Liliuokalani  Gardens. Following the garden tour, join your fellow travelers for an optional dinner at Hilo Bay Café.


February 8—Akaka Falls, Honolii Beach & Carlsmith Beach Park, Welcome Dinner

Tour Akaka Falls State Park, Honolii Beach, and Carlsmith Beach Park. Take an ocean swim and perhaps see a Hawaiian green sea turtle! Later, return to the Thomas Guard House for a home-cooked dinner, prepared by a local chef.


February 9 —Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge & Mauna Kea

Visit Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, which contains some of the finest remaining Hawaiian mountain rain forest and a unique variety of native birds and plants. Mid-afternoon, depart for an optional excursion to Mauna Kea—the world’s highest volcano. For those not participating in the Mauna Kea excursion, you can relax at the house, explore downtown Hilo, or enjoy the local spa. 

February 10—Keahou Bird Conservation Center and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Visit the Keahou Bird Conservation Center (KBCC). Created in partnership with San Diego Zoo Global, the KBCC aids in the recovery of Hawaii’s most threatened native forest birds, such as the alala, kiwikiu, and palila. Next, head to Volcanoes National Park to experience dramatic volcanic landscapes. Walk through Kīpuka Puaulu, or Bird Park, to look for native birds and koa trees. Stop at the Kīlauea Visitor’s Center and the Jaggar Museum, built on the edge of the Kīlauea Cauldera, for a breathtaking panoramic view of the Halemaumau Crater. Hike the Kīlauea Iki trail or opt for a scenic drive along the Chain of Craters Road. Enjoy dinner from a scenic location overlooking the crater.


February 11—Waipio Valley, Tropical Botanical Garden

Immerse yourself in the dramatic landscape of Waipio Valley, including Hiilawe Falls. Continue to Kalopa Natural Forest State Park for a rain forest walk and picnic lunch. Tour the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. This evening, enjoy a special Hawaiian Cultural & Music Presentation followed by a farewell banquet.


February 12—Depart Hilo

After breakfast, one of your guides will accompany you to Hilo Airport for your departure. 


Please call our tour operator,



email them here


Joop Kuhn holding baby penguins


Joop Kuhn, Animal Care Manager

Joop (pronounced Yopi) Kuhn, Animal Care Manager for the San Diego Zoo’s Bird Department, has 34 years of experience with avian species. Joop graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Biology and entered the zookeeping field at SeaWorld, where he cared for a large penguin colony. His penguin expertise has taken him to the wilds of Antarctica and South Africa. Joop is a cofounder of the Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program, and his insight into the efforts to save many of Hawaii's most endangered birds will provide a firsthand, behind-the-scenes experience for the travelers who join him on this tour. 


Our travel experts are here to help!

Fill out the form below, or give us a call at


I prefer to be contacted via