Every time I set foot on the islands of Hawaiʻi, it feels as though the universe is giving me a big bear hug. Immediately I’m overcome with calm and drawn outward. Over multiple trips crossing the Pacific to my travel Shangri-La, I’ve come to realize this feeling is the spirit of Aloha, permeating from every local and every landscape.
According to local lore, the peaceful and pioneering spark in my soul draws me to the spirit of Puaʻa. In an unique Expedia and Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority partnership leading vacation dreamers to Discover Your Aloha using videos and facial recognition technology, let’s explore through the eyes of Puaʻa.
To learn more about Pua’a’s adventurous spirit, I interviewed Bre-Ann Kristofer who is an Expedia Local Expert Concierge and has lived in Hawaiʻi for over a decade. She has explored every island many times over and was a finalist for global concierge of the year.
Trish Friesen: First, tell me a bit about Puaʻa.
Bre-Ann Kristofer: As Hawaiʻi’s adventure-loving aloha guide, Puaʻa’s hoofs are happiest outdoors when they are covered in dirt and sand. This guide, also known as “The Pioneer” drools at the prospect of an outing—especially those that involve a connection with the land and sea.
TF: What’s your personal take on how visitors can best experience the Hawaiian Islands?
BK: Based on my island-hopping travels everywhere from volcanoes to lavender farms, I’ve learned that Hawaiʻi is best explored from ma uka to ma kai or mountain to sea. While I love basking in the sun and swimming as much as the next, there are so many adventures beyond the beach.
TF: What are some of your favorite activities on different islands?
BK: *Hawaiʻi. Starting on the Island of Hawaiʻi, the viewpoints can’t be beat from any point on the biggest and tallest landmass in the archipelago. One must-stop that I love is Pololū Valley Outlook. This panorama at the cusp of verdant cliffs is a keen reminder why we need to preserve the raw beauty of Hawaiʻi and planet Earth.
*Oʻahu. On Oʻahu, I like to “hang ten” and connect with the sea through surf. Here, channel Duke Kahanamoku, the “father of surfing” and “ambassador of Aloha,” to find out why the icon was so hooked on wave-riding. Whether you learn to glide on the ocean at Waikīkī Beach, or in a quiet cove near Ko Olina, the warm water will turn you into a lifetime island enthusiast.
*Lānaʻi. Sundown is stunning on every island, yet one of the most beautiful spots to savor the moment at Pu’u Pehe (or Sweetheart Rock) on Lānaʻi. In this sacred place, a short hike leads to a lava-dusted ridge offering unobstructed views of the sun tumbling into the horizon.
P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for pods of spinner dolphins dancing in the day’s last light.
TF: What island do you recommend for the most varied adventures?
BK: The Island of Hawaiʻi. Home to many of the world’s microclimates, adventures in almost every type of terrain are primed for modern-day pioneers. Start your discovery along the island’s circle-like Belt Road, which leads to hundreds of sights from volcanic fields to broiling lava flows to black sand beaches to botanical gardens. Or, pull off the main route to discover a network of unnamed byways leading to sea turtles basking in the sun (look but don’t touch!), or molten basalt as it extends the island’s footprint.
Viewfinder Tip: Book heaps of Hawaiʻi adventures from surf lessons to helicopter tours via Expedia Things To Do.
TF: What two islands are ideal to explore as a pair?
Bre-Ann: Maui and Lānaʻi mingle well. Sitting only a stone’s throw apart, a quick ferry connects the pair. While Maui is known for its sweeping beaches, resort clusters, and lush jungles, Lānaʻi is shrouded in more mystery. The former Dole plantation (once producing 75 percent of the world’s pineapples) is now focused on tourism with activities such as horseback-riding, off-road treks, and golf catering to the wide-open landscape. In addition to adventure, Lānaʻi is also synonymous with luxury—the exclusive Four Seasons Resort Lanai graces its southern shore.
Need more Hawaiʻi in your life? Head to Expedia’s Discover Your Aloha microsite for essential planning tools, and an interactive video that offers itinerary suggestions based on your reactions to the footage! And, don’t miss the tips from the other Aloha guides, ʻIwa and Heʻe.
What is your ideal way to experience Hawaiʻi?
Bre-Ann Kristofer is an Expedia Local Expert Concierge, has lived in Hawaii for over a decade, has explored every island many times over and was a finalist for global concierge of the year.