Having tested the market since opening for
business this summer, tour operator Hina Adventures is refining its
product line as it refocuses its business on customized itineraries
designed to provide visitors to Oahu with a unique introduction to
the island's culture and lifestyle.
That might mean a
visit to a taro farm where clients help in the harvest, a tour to
one of the ancient fish ponds still found along Oahu's windward
coast, or an escorted hike into the island's lush
what people were calling us about," said Ena Sroat, who along with
partner Uluwehi Hopkins opened for business this past August. "So
we rethought our business plan and have come up with something that
allows us to serve both visitors and the local community. This is
about giving a cultural context to a visit to Hawaii."
Hopkins and Sroat
are both Oahu-born and -bred women who share a passion for Hawaii
and its host culture. Uluwehi, who is part Hawaiian, is pursuing a
graduate degree in Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaii.
Ena, a university-trained historian, is a fourth-generation
islander and knows Oahu intimately as a hiker.
Both of them lead
Hina Adventures tours.
"We named our
company after the goddess Hina because she is representative of so
many important aspects of Hawaiian culture," Sroat said. "She was
linked to agriculture and fishing and the coral reef as moon
goddess, since the Hawaiian worked with a lunar calendar. She is
also a patron of the healing arts."
Adventures fits into the broad category of ecotourism, it does so
in a culturally authentic Hawaiian context. The focus is on
authenticity and a first-person experience of Hawaii.
Sroat and Hopkins
said Hina's offerings are ideal for couples, families and extended
families and emphasize the affordability of their
A family of four
with one teenager and one child under 12 could pay as little as
$357 for a six-hour private tour.
Even a more
involved Cultural Day Tour is priced at $175 for adults and $150
for children ages 12 and younger. Tour prices, which include
Waikiki hotel pick-up, vary according to passenger count (the
company van holds 12 passengers, but larger groups also can be
accommodated) and tour options selected. Generous commissions are
offered for agent bookings.
company's focus is on custom tours, it is continuing its popular
Night Sky Tour, with the evening spent under the night sky on
Kahala Beach, with storytelling and talks on the star-based
navigational techniques that brought Polynesians to the
Pickups start at
6:30 p.m., with a 9:30 p.m. return. The evening is priced at $58,
with children under 12 discounted 15%.
call (888) 933-4452 or visit www.hinaadventures.com.
To contact reporter Allan Seiden, send e-mail to [email protected].