Aloha! The Travel Guys Explore Hawaii!

One of Mark’s favorite destinations on the planet, Hawaii has found itself on the Sports Leisure itinerary many times over the years.  Unfortunately, many of us Californians have already been there, forcing Mark to seek out the island’s most unique reasons to come back.  Today, we’ll highlight just a few of these reasons on today’s episode of The Travel Guys!

Steelgrass Chocolate Farm on Kauai

Like all of our guests today, the folks over at Steelgrass Chocolate Farm are in it for the long haul.  Their goal is to provide a sustainable, eco-friendly product that both nourishes the soul and helps support their local community.  How are they doing this, you ask?  Well, by growing chocolate of course!  More specifically, they’re working towards a community chocolate co-op, where all their neighbors can get together, grow some cacao plants and reap the rewards together.  For the time being, this is a work in progress.  In the meantime, the Lydgate family is helping to fund the project by providing unique tours of their farm.  The tour starts with a walk through their gardens, tasting many of the delicious fruits native to Kauai, and ends with a surprisingly informative chocolate tasting.  Here, you’ll learn the ins, outs and upsidedowns of cacao plants, chocolate making and yes, chocolate tasting.  To give you an idea of the wide-variety of flavours available to the chocolate connesseiur, our group managed to come up with flavours like smokey, marshmallow, woody, citrous, nutty and more!  None of these flavours are added, they’re all produced by the cacao nut itself!
You can check out the Lydgate’s Chocolate farm over at www.steelgrass.org.

Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm

Seahorses are one of the most incredible creatures on the planet.  Unfortunately, many people agree, making them quite desirable for home aquariums.  This is unfortunate because while these delicate creatures can survive up to 5 years in the wild, they often only last a few months in an aquarium environment.  So what do you do when your little buddy dies?  Why you flush him and get a new one, of course!  Here’s the unfortunate part: you’ve now taken 2 seahorses directly from the wild reefs, bringing the overall seahorse population that much closer to extinction.  The folks over at Ocean Rider are doing there best to change all this by pioneering the art of raising seahorses in captivity.  Not only are their seahorses not taken from the wild, but they’re also bred and groomed for aquarium life, making them much more harty pets than their wild brethren.  In fact, Ocean Rider seahorses are reported to live up to 12 years or more!

You’ll learn all these things and more when you take the fantastic tour given right on the farm in Hawaii.  The tour guides are awesome, the facts are interesting (did you know it’s the MALE seahorses that cary and deliver the babies…up to 600 at a time!), and you even get to hold you’re very own seahorse at the end.  This tour is a definite must if you find yourself on the “Big Island.”  Not headed that way anytime soon?  You can also purchase your very own set of seahorses directly from Ocean Rider at www.seahorse.com.  All proceeds go directly to the farm and help support this amazing project to save the seahorses!

Hawaiian Vanilla

Featured on several cooking shows, newspapers and magazines, Hawaiian Vanilla is no stranger to media attention; and for good reason!  Jim Reddekopp and his family offer one of the most unique experiences on the island with their fantastic vanilla tastings, lunches and tours.  We recently enjoyed their vanilla lunch as part of our REAL Hawaii tour with Sports Leisure Vacations.  Our meal was incredible, with the Hawaiian rain coming down in the background, the Reddekopp children as our servers (such perfect young gentleman!) and Tracy’s fantastic homecooking to top it all off.  We’re not entirely sure how she comes up with so many different ways to use vanilla, but we certainly hope she never stops.  We recommend the vanilla lemonade, it’ll change your life.

To learn more about the Reddekopp’s farm, their tours or to view some of their other vanilla products (lotions, lip balms, scents, spices and more!), just head on over to www.hawaiianvanilla.com!

Jon from PackingLight.net talks luggage

With today’s ever-rising luggage fees, packing light and using the right luggage is more important than ever.  This is particularly the case on those long flights…say to Hawaii for instance.  Jon joins us today to talk all things luggage, including what you should be using and how you should be filling it.  You can check out all of luggage we mention and more at packinglight.net’s luggage store!

REAL Hawaii with Sports Leisure Vacations

It’s shameless plug time here at The Travel Guys, and we’d like to take this opportunity to invite you check out our REAL Hawaii tour for 2011.  Mark has created a unique itinerary featuring these off-the-beaten-track attractions and more!  This truly is a Hawaiian tour for all of you out there who have already been and want to go back or for those of you who just want to check out the islands without all the tourist traps.  Whether you visit them with us or on your own, however, we give each of these stops our highest recommendation.

Just a few photos from this year’s tour!

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2 Responses

  1. Donnie says:

    Lucky you travel to Hawaii with Sports…as I said before, this lil’ ol’ lady GREW UP in the islands, and have never been to many of the places that Mark & Ryan have taken our group.

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