*VOYAGES Hawaii Student Travel is the leader in adventure education and experiential learning for teenagers. Fun, fascinating, educational and life-changing, learn about our world by exploring the most diverse natural outdoor classroom on Earth: Hawaii's Big Island.
VOYAGES Hawaii Student Travel offers so much more than a typical Hawaii teen tour. Join us for this epic adventure in outdoor education and experiential learning. Our programs promote learning through experience, learning by doing. Through travel, adventure and hands-on study of earth sciences, biodiversity, history, language and culture, we learn about the world, and our place in it.
And have incredible amounts of FUN along the way!
*VOYAGES is the educational arm of Explore-The-Big-Island.com, offering
Student Travel ● Teen Adventure Tours ● Outdoor Education ● Hawaii Day Camp ● Experiential Education
With supportive leadership and thoughtful guidance, VOYAGES participants (age 13+) embark on a great adventure, each day offering something new. Together we explore the fascinating sites that are unique to Hawaii's Big Island, and reveal many of its mysteries. Students are challenged to consider an ever broadening perspective about our world and their role in it. VOYAGES Student Travel will open your eyes to new possibilities as you begin planning your future.
For high-school students in particular, this program can make an outstanding Senior Project. Ask us for suggestions and how we can help.
The Big Island is a treasure trove of natural wonders, with everything from tropical rainforest to arid desert, from high alpine and polar tundra to warm ocean waters, with beaches of white, black and even green sand. The list of Hawaii's endemic species is seemingly endless; plants, animals, birds, marine life, insects, and other life forms that exist only in Hawaii.
This level of diversity in nature is unique to Hawaii's Big Island. In addition to being the most remote place on the planet, no other place on Earth offers such remarkable natural diversity, such breadth of opportunities for discovery and learning.
In fact Hawaii Island is often considered a microcosm (or miniature) of Earth. Pretty cool. Kinda makes you want to come explore, right? Imagine that's you hanging out at the remote Papakolea Green Sand Beach, below:
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” -Aristotle
Education can be fun! Especially when combined with time in nature. Outdoor experiential education is the essence of VOYAGES. Experiential learning is the future of learning, a process of "learning by doing" that motivates curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. There is no better place for this to happen than the extraordinary natural classroom of Hawaii's Big Island. Students will learn from the experience and from each other, as they work together in support toward a common goal.
The remarkable water clarity in this part of the Pacific Ocean makes it possible to easily observe and interact with an abundance of life beneath the surface. Students will snorkel and swim in the ocean to identify an incredible variety of marine life in its natural environment.
We will locate and swim with Spinner and Bottlenose dolphins in the open ocean (not in a pool or an enclosure) learning about the diet, sleep patterns, echolocation and other behavior of these remarkable ocean mammals. We will come within inches of Manta Rays, swimming with them as they feed on plankton.
In addition to dolphins and manta rays, participants will enjoy a variety of colorful corals and thousands of species of colorful tropical fish, green sea turtles, and perhaps even whales. Even if you’ve never snorkeled, we’ll help you learn and make it a fun experience.
By studying the volcanoes, participants in Hawaii student travel discover first-hand how the island (and indeed our planet) was formed. Active volcanoes help us study the history of Earth from the perspective of actually witnessing its birth.
We will explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and visit each of the Big Island volcanoes to understand how the volcanoes and the location of the island have determined why this area is so biologically rich and diverse.
Our journey will take us across a giant lava lake that recently splashed and oozed with the liquid lava from Kilauea. We will venture deep into lush volcanic valleys that have been carved by time. Watch as the landscape and climate change dramatically when we move from the sun drenched beaches, up to cool grassy highlands, then lush farmland and thick forest, and ultimately even high alpine polar tundra on the summit of Mauna Kea Volcano, the tallest mountain on earth.
Discover how the mineral composition in different types of lava leads to the formation of green and black sand beaches. For a real adventure, we will hike from the southern tip of the Big Island to a remote beach made entirely of green sand.
When we visit breathtaking waterfalls in a tropical rainforest jungle, we will discuss the significance of the rainforest habitat on our planet’s very survival. We will also learn how countless species of endemic and indigenous plants and animals have evolved in such an isolated place. As students document a variety of interesting plants, insects, birds and land animals, we consider why so many unique species are already extinct.
Hawaii Island also offers a remarkable human story and history of an ancient land. Feel the aura of the Polynesian ancestors who arrived more than a thousand years ago as you walk through ancient villages, and see other well-preserved pieces of their past.
Everywhere there is rich evidence of native culture. Our group will explore historic sites and temples, lending insight into their ancient way of life. We will learn about Hawaiian beliefs, customs and heritage, and the impact of colonialism.
It is here that Kamehameha the Great established his kingdom, uniting all the islands under one rule. It is also here that Captain James Cook landed in 1778 as the first westerner to interact with the native population. Nothing will ever be the same. And while we can’t go back, we can learn much from the past.
Participating in VOYAGES Hawaii Student Travel offers a truly unique experience in outdoor education and hands-on science, with a Hawaiian teen adventure tour all rolled into one.
Participants are greeted upon arrival at the airport in Kailua-Kona and transported to our comfortable island home. Refreshments of fresh tropical fruit and snacks await. We begin with an orientation period that includes introductions, group games and teambuilding.
Each day begins with an early morning group activity, followed by a delicious island breakfast. Then it's off to explore, with new discoveries beyond your wildest imaginings. From Kona to Hilo, from Hawi to Southpoint, an exciting journey unfolds as we explore, adventure and learn about our amazing world.
As the day winds down, join your friends relaxing on the beach to enjoy a Big Island sunset. Sunsets here are truly out of this world! Upon returning to our residence, all participants share in household responsibilities, including meal preparation and cleanup. Following dinner, served on the lanai (porch) of our Big Island home, group discussions reviewing the day's events, games and personal journaling close out the day.
To better prepare students for life through high school and beyond, participation in VOYAGES Hawaii Student Travel will stimulate critical thinking, promote leadership growth, and motivate students to be positive stewards of the earth. This program will change your life!
Hawaii Spring Break
Big Island Summer Camp
March 24 - March 31
April 7 - April 14
June 16 - June 23
*20% tuition discount for applications received by 12/31/17.
(Full payment due 1/15/18 to qualify for discount)
We also develop custom programs to cater to the specific interests of your own private group. We design fun, experiential, outdoor adventures for schools and private groups. Substantial discounts for groups of 6 or more. Contact us to receive more information for your group, OR to inquire about scholarships and discounts for referrals.
Beginning in November, 2017, Student Travel adventures are available in a new day-camp format. Most Hawaii camp programs only serve keiki up to age 12. Teens need their own adventures! With that in mind, we are excited to offer a daily selection of tours designed exclusively for teens. Each day of the week we travel to different parts of the island, offering fun, exciting and educational Big Island adventures to small groups of teens age 13+, for as little as $99/day.
Private customized family adventure tours are also available. Contact us with questions or for more information.
Please help us support low-income students who would be unable to participate in this valuable program without your generous support. Your tax-deductible donation allows us to provide quality educational programs to a diverse population of students without regard to their ability to pay. Any amount helps. Thank you in advance for your support!
Quality leadership ensures a safe and successful experience for each participant. Meet your Big Island guide.
Questions? Contact us here.
(Emily B., program participant)
“This has been everything I hoped for and more. I know this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I will never forget it. The student travel experience far exceeded my expectations. I learned so much and had a lot of fun in the process!
“I learned a lot about how the island was made which helped me to understand how the earth was created. I also loved that we immersed ourselves into the culture and got a chance to learn about not only ancient times but also the traditions that continue today.
“Learning about the whale migration was really interesting. I was blown away by the fact that dolphins turn off half their brain to make it think they are asleep so that they can constantly swim and come up for air.
“I liked that we had such a small group because I feel like we all got so much closer and learned a lot about each other in the process. I definitely think that other students should do this because it’s unlike any other experience. Most people go to Hawai’i for the nice beaches and sunny weather for a getaway vacation. Very few actually go to learn about the habitats and the creation of the islands which can help people understand how the earth was created. It’s a once in a life time experience!”
(Jayde R., program participant)
“I learned so much! The different kinds of lava (pahoehoe and a’a’) and how they are formed and the different eruptions.
“I also learned about the animals, manta rays, dolphins, wild pigs, and sea turtles. Getting to see all those made it so much better. The Manta Ray night diving was just breath taking. Not only seeing those creatures up close but learning their bodies and how they feed and how the dive teams track them. Getting to see wild animals like that so up close and personal was just amazing.
“I learned that the native people on the island still are very traditional and still practice things that they did hundreds of years ago. Though they may not still live day to day by those ways, they still cherish them deeply.
“I loved all the hiking we did. Between the dry lava and the rainforests, the different climates that Hawai’i has on such a small island is hard to wrap my brain around.
“Fun Fact: Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain/volcano in the world....from the sea floor that is. I'm glad that I can say I got to build a snowman in Hawai’i at the top of this beautiful mountain. Personally I never even thought there would be snow in Hawai’i but what do you know, there is!
“I do believe VOYAGES student travel is something other students should do. Most students won’t ever go to Hawai’i and I think that the things we learned are better understood without a text book, more hands on.”
(Debbie P., parent)
"Thank you for giving our daughter and her friends the experience of a lifetime! They had the best experience we could have hoped for."