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Big Island Bohemia

Special Travel Issue | Hawaii

Well Off the Beaten Tourist Track, Hawaii's Stunning Waipio Valley Offers a No-Frills Alternative--Especially If You're Into Adventure and Ancient Spirits

March 30, 2003|Joe Glickman | Joe Glickman is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is the author of "To the Top: Reaching for America's 50 State Summits" (NorthWord Press), to be published this spring.

Where to eat: The best lunch spot in Honokaa is Simply Natural on Mamane Street, 775-0119. Good soups, sandwiches, ice cream and Kona coffee. $8 to $16.

The best evening eatery is the Cafe Il Mondo, 45-3626-A Mamane St., Honokaa, 775-7711. After a few days in the valley, the pizzas, which are pretty good, taste nearly sublime. $20.

Guided tours: There are several guide services that will ferry you in and out of the valley. The Waipio Valley Shuttle, 775-7121, www.waipiovalleytour.com, offers 90-minute tours in four-wheel drive vans starting at the Waipio Valley Artworks, 48-5416 Kukuihaele Road, Kukuihaele, 775-0958 or (800) 492-4746, fax 775-0551, www.waipiovalleyartworks.com. $40 for adults, $20 for children under 11. The tiny town of Kukuihaele is located a few miles outside Waipio Valley Lookout.

Waipio Valley Wagon Tours, 775-9518, fax 775-9318, www.waipiovalleywagon tours.com, provides 90-minute tours that depart four times a day (Monday through Saturday) from the Last Chance Store, 5300 Kukuihaele Road, Kukuihaele, 775-9222, fax 775-8058. $40 for adults, $20 for children 4 to 12.

For a more equestrian experience, try Waipio Naalapa Stables, 775-0419, fax 775-9318, www.naalapastables.com, which arranges 2 1/2-hour tours at the Waipio Valley Artworks. $75.

Waipio On Horseback and Taro Farm, (877) 775-7291, waipio.homestead.com, offers tours from the Last Chance Store to the valley floor. $75 for adults, $65 for children 8 to 12.

For a terrific tour of the rim of the valley, stop by Hawaiian Walkways, 45-3674 Mamane St., Honokaa, 775-0372 or (800) 457-7759, fax 775-1332, www.hawaiianwalkways.com. On hikes led by knowledgeable naturalist Hugh Montgomery (or one of his staff), you'll learn about the flora, fauna and folklore of the area. A half-day hike, including lunch, is $95 for adults and $75 for children 8 and under.

For more information: Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, 2270 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 801, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815; (800) GO-HAWAII (464-2924), fax (808) 924-0290, www.gohawaii.com.

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