A new Hawaiian tour company has found a sweet way to recycle former sugar fields: Send tourists tubing down the irrigation ditches.
In April alone, about 1,200 people took the two-mile trip through tropical foliage at the old Lihue Plantation in Hanamaulu on the island of Kauai, said Kelley Cars- well-Haneberg, general manager of Kauai Backcountry Adventures. The trip is scenic, not adventurous.
"It's a pretty leisurely pace," Carswell-Haneberg said, with a couple of "mellow rapids." The average speed is a family-friendly 2 mph. Among the riders since the trips began in January have been a 5-year-old boy and an 83-year-old woman.
A note to the claustrophobic: You'll float through several tunnels, one of which is more than half a mile long and takes eight minutes or more to pass through.
The three-hour tour includes about an hour on the water; a picnic lunch; time to splash in a swimming hole; and a 40-minute van or Jeep-style trip with scenic overlooks of the Wailua Valley, where part of "Jurassic Park" was filmed.
The cost is $88.54 per person. Participants must be at least 5 years old.
Last month Kauai Backcountry Adventures began ATV tours of the historic plantation, which dates to the 19th century and stopped producing sugar in 2000.
The 3 1/2-hour trip also includes a picnic and swim but goes farther into the mountains than the tubing tour. Riders must be 16 or older, although younger children may be able to ride with rangers, Cars- well-Haneberg said. The cost is $140.63 per person.
The tubing tour runs several times a day, the ATV tour twice a day.
Reservations are recommended at least a week ahead during the busy summer season. (888) 270-0555, www.kauaibackcountry.com.