SOFT ADVENTURE | HAWAII
Native Guide Hawaii gives
clients an insider’s tour of
Hawaii Island’s Puna coast
out, let Costa know in advance so that he can
tweak the tour to suit their tastes.
“Our tours are very flexible,” he said.
“Because the tours are private, I’m open to
suggestions — and if it’s possible, I try to
make it happen.” ■
THE DETAILS: Native Guide Hawaii (808-982-
7575, www.nativeguidehawaii.com). Tours cost
$300 for one person. Parties of two or more are
$150 per person. Commission: 10 percent on
parties of six or more.
Warren Costa (left)
provides insight into
Hawaii’s geology and
To read about
NATIVE GUIDE HAWAII
WITH 11 DIFFERENT CLIMATE ZONES
supporting unique ecosystems, Hawaii Island —
the new, official name for the Big Island — has
the ability to lure even the laziest of travelers
off their beach chairs and to the far corners
of the island for a taste of adventure. That, at
least, was my experience during my recent
Kona getaway when I uncharacteristically left
the infinity pool at the Four Seasons Resort
Hualalai to spend the day exploring the Puna
coastline with Native Guide Hawaii.
Owned and operated by Warren Costa,
Native Guide Hawaii offers four prearranged
tours, from bird-watching along waterfalls to
hiking in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park,
in addition to customized tours of the island.
Costa guides his guests through the history,
geology and folklore of the region from the
perspective of a Hilo native — one with an extensive background in archeology and botany.
“I cover all kinds of subjects, from biology
and local culture to the geology of the Hawai-
ian islands,” said Costa. “Guests will get a more
realistic view of Hawaii from a person who not
only lives here but is actually from here.”
After stopping for a hearty breakfast at
Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea on the way
from Kona, I caught up with Costa at a desig-
nated meeting spot in Hilo. We then hopped
in his van to drive through the small bohe-
mian town of Pahoa to Kalapana, which was
buried in the 1990 Kilauea Volcano lava flow.
Kalapana, formerly a fishing village, serves
as a home to only the hardiest of residents,
who live without water or power in the path
of an active volcano. In fact, a five-year-old
Kalapana home was destroyed last summer
and another home in the neighborhood was
engulfed by lava earlier this year.
Costa explained the characteristics of
the different types of lava — pahoehoe and
aa — and noted signs of life sprouting out
from some of the older lava rocks. I followed him into the lava zone, the top crust
of lava crunching like snow beneath my feet,
as he regaled me with stories about Pele, the
Hawaiian volcano goddess.
We then drove to the Star of the Sea Painted
Church, which had been relocated in 1990 to
avoid the advancing lava flow. Costa pointed
out the Stations of the Cross written in Hawai-
ian and told me the story of Father Damien,
Puna’s first priest, who famously assisted
patients suffering from Hansen’s disease.
QFS;CPPLJOH;BU;(SBOE;8BJMFB$50 Ca$h Booking Bonus