The Hawaiian word "Mālama" means to give back. These 12 hotels offer some serious Mālama for its guests.
Visiting Hawaii is a dream come true for a lot of people. What’s better than roadside waterfalls, swimming among turtles, mantas, and dolphins, and sipping a tropical cocktail while watching the sunset? These tantalizing experiences have encouraged people to visit Hawaii for decades, and now these experiences are encouraging visitors to give back to this special destination. Through the Mālama Hawaii program, guests are encouraged to connect with the land and the people of Hawaii. Mālama means to “give back,” and through the program, visitors who volunteer can receive perks from participating hotels including free stays, resort credits, free car rentals, and more. “The most powerful aspect of Hawaii is not our incredible natural beauty or rich culture; it’s the deep relationship between the two,” muses the team at Mālama Hawaii. “When you learn to love Hawaii the way we do, not only do you help us perpetuate all that we hold dear, but you get to experience what it’s like to have a connection with this remarkable place.” Volunteering during a Hawaii vacation isn’t just about educating visitors during their visit, it’s about creating a lasting connection with the people and the ‘āina (land). Hawaii has, in many ways, already been ravaged by colonialism, and these programs allow visitors to both restore the old ways of Hawaii while also ensuring there is a Hawaii for future generaitons to enjoy. Putting hands in the ground and planting a tree may not seem like a lot, but it creates a lasting kuleana (responsibility) in those who put it there. It gives visitors, especially their keiki (children), an opportunity to watch something grow over time. Here are 12 Hawaii hotels that allow guests to give back through Hawaii voluntourism and the Mālama Hawaii program.
LGBTQ+ locals share their favorite spots off the beaten path.
Hawaiian culture has always had a deep appreciation of the fluidity of gender and sexuality. Ancient islanders understood that people were made up of both male and female qualities and didn’t assign a gender binary to anyone. The Hawaiian language doesn’t even have gender pronouns like “he” or “she,” and, in the past, same-sex (Aikane) relationships between High Chiefs and talented men were not just common but revered. When Captain James Cook arrived in Hawaii in the late 18th century, he wrote detailed journal entries about the Aikane and the Mahu, or transgender members of the community. In Polynesian culture, Mahu embodies the ideal of spiritual duality and is viewed as a special and revered third sex. Mahu were also traditionally the keepers of local history and genealogy, giving them a sacred place in the community. All of this changed in 1820 when Christian missionaries arrived in Hawaii to impose their strict evangelical views on what they saw as the hell-bound islanders. Mahu culture went underground, and Aikane ceased to exist. Two hundred years later, Indigenous Hawaiian people are shining a light on the island’s LGBTQ+ friendly past, and “the rainbow state” is increasingly becoming a hot spot for LGBTQ+ travel, buoyed by the islands’ two annual pride events. While there aren’t as many queer-specific spaces in Hawaii as in, say, West Hollywood, many of the state’s businesses are queer-friendly, and more are popping up every day. Here, we talked to a number of out and proud Hawaiians about their favorite LGBTQ+ friendly beaches, hotels, restaurants, and stores on the island.
Get the most out of your Hawaii vacation with the best things to do in Oahu.
To fully appreciate the multi-faceted paradise that is Hawaii would take a lifetime–but that doesn’t mean its mystical, fragrant beauty can’t be experienced in a week. The most populous of the eight Hawaii islands, Oahu is a good place to start. From the crashing surf breaks of the North Shore to the tangy sweetness of the Lilikoi fruit gracing menus, majestic volcano ranges, and azure-hued bays where Hawaiian sea turtle, manta rays, dolphins, and monk seals happily inhabit, there is much to love about this idyllic urban island. These are the best things to do in Oahu, Hawaii. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT OAHU?No matter what time of year you visit, Hawaii will be warm and inviting. Spring is an excellent choice, summer tends to be hotter and rainier with more placid seas, while winter blesses visitors with dry, cooler weather and occasional seasonal swells. Check out the latest COVID protocol and updates for travel to Oahu here.
Beyond its beaches, Hawaii is a paradise for the adventurous looking for that next thrill.
Hawaii’s natural environment and rich culture make it the perfect place for epic adventures. Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or after-dark dive or you prefer to disconnect and take an inner journey instead, Hawaii offers exhilarating adventures for all ages, interests, and skill levels. INSIDER TIP While tourists still refer to Hawaii Island as “Big Island,” Hawaiians continue to push for the use of its official name, the Island of Hawaii/Hawaii Island. (We use “Big Island” as means to simplify readers’ searches, but hope to expose our audience to the importance and cultural significance of the Ōlelo Hawai‘i language and the official island names.)
The Big Island of Hawaii is a land of fire, ice, and wonder.
By far the largest Hawaiian Island in the archipelago, Hawaii Island, a.k.a. “the Big Island,” is known the world over for its active volcanoes, diverse flora and fauna, crystal clear water, and spectacular beaches. While tourists still refer to Hawaii Island as “Big Island,” Hawaiians continue to push for the use of its official name, the Island of Hawaii/Hawaii Island. (We use “Big Island” as means to simplify readers’ searches, but hope to expose our audience to the importance and cultural significance of the Ōlelo Hawai‘i language and the official island names.) There are so many things to do on the Big Island that it’s hard to fit everything into a weeklong vacation. But if you have to choose a few, here are the must-do things when you visit the Big Island. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE BIG ISLAND?No matter what time of year you visit, Hawaii Island will be warm and inviting. Summer tends to be hotter and rainier with more placid seas, while winter blesses visitors with dry, cooler weather and occasional seasonal swells. Check out the latest COVID protocol and updates for travel to Hawaii’s Big Island here.