Anthology Marketing Group
Jourdyn Kaarre
Senior Account Supervisor
(808) 544-3081

July 17, 2014


The notion of “green travel” comes effortlessly on Hawaii, the Big Island, where preserving natural environments, continuing sustainable practices, and educating visitors about volunteer opportunities to give back to the community alongside local residents are part of the island’s lifestyle. Here are several eco-friendly options and ongoing volun-tourism projects on Hawaii Island that promote responsible travel.

To help keep Kailua Bay’s ocean environment as pristine and natural as possible, Atlantis Submarines operates a battery-powered submarine that emits no pollutants and descends to explore the sea floor at depths of more than 100 feet, without any impact on the coral reefs and marine life. Guests get an educational, first-hand look at the island’s underwater world and witness tropical fish and marine life in their habitats.

Located in close proximity to Kona International Airport, Friends of NELHA (Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority) offers tours of NELHA’s facilities and select campus sites. Visitors will learn about how natural, sustainable energy is generated from cold, deep-sea water pumped through pipes from 3,000 feet below the surface, and used for example, in aquaculture farming of abalone. In addition to the abalone tour, Friends of NELHA’s Grand Tour also includes a visit to the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) Tower, and a tour of Kampachi (yellowtail fish) Farms. 

In July 2014, The Shops at Mauna Lani announced the installation of the island’s first “Direct Current Fast Charger” (DCFC) for electric vehicles. The fast-charging station at The Shops supports both major charging standards, CHAdeMO and SAE Combo, and allows drivers to charge their electric vehicles to 80% battery capacity in as little as 30 minutes.  

In addition to tour operators and retail establishments, Hawaii Island’s hotels and condominium resorts are helping visitors to be environmentally friendly. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu has partnered with Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods (HLH) to plant up to 500,000 legacy koa trees in a 2,700-acre, sustainable rainforest located above Umikoa Village. For $40 per tree, resort guests can meet a HLH representative at the on-property learning kiosk and plant their seedling into a small tray, which is then taken to the forest for planting in the ground. Guests will receive a certificate with GPS coordinates to track the growth of their tree online. 

Aston Hotels & Resorts offers Hawaii Island guests another unique way to participate with HLH, offsetting their carbon foot print. Starting at $212 per night, the “Leave a Legacy with Aston” package allows guests staying at Aston Kona by the Sea, Aston Shores at Waikoloa or Aston Waikoloa Colony Villas to visit HLH and plant their own trees in the forest in celebration of an event, to honor an individual, or memorialize a loved one. Valid through December 31, 2015, blackout dates and restrictions may apply.

With the help of Hawaii Energy, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Kohala Coast have recently completed the installation of new LED lighting, which will conserve an estimated 1.6 million kilowatt hours annually. Mauna Kea Resort has been recognized as an “Approved Healthy Destination” by the Institute for Healthy Destination Accreditation (IHDA) based on its best practices, including its No Na Mamo (for our future generations) green program, recreational facilities, and healthy dining options.

Visitors seeking to get their hands dirty and give back to the aina (land) can volunteer in a few different ways. On designated dates throughout the year, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers its “Stewardship at the Summit” program, which allows participants to remove invasive Himalayan ginger from park trails. Guests of Kalani, a non-profit educational village and retreat center in Pahoa, offers visitors long-term volunteer programs that can include landscaping more than 120 acres, propagating plants for garden projects and community plant exchanges, and also growing produce used in Kalani’s kitchen. Additionally, Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) offers regular volunteer opportunities at, such as assisting with reforestation efforts on Maunakea.

Big Island Visitors Bureau (BIVB) is a chapter of Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Hawaii’s tourism marketing agency for North America. For more information about Hawaii, the Big Island, visit or call 1-800-GOHAWAII.