Story originally appeared on www.hiltongrandvacations.com.
Wanderlust-fueled travelers, itching to explore destinations that offer far-flung feelings and awe-inducing vistas, often look toward Hawaii — Maui, to be exact. Named the “world’s best island” for 20 consecutive years, Maui is no stranger to hosting travelers from far and wide.
However, there’s a new travel style changing the way visitors experience the crown jewel of the Pacific: Malama Hawaii.
In Hawaiian, malama means to “take care of,” and the goal of the trending “malama vacation” is to combine travel with giving back. Through mindful volunteerism, visitors reduce the impact of their travels, thereby helping to sustain and protect the destination for generations to come. The result is a vacation experience synonymous with the very essence of Hawaiian culture: to strengthen the relationship between people and the aina (land).
“We have a responsibility to maintain and regenerate the spirit of the land – everybody can participate in this if they allow the culture to survive. Otherwise, Hawaii would just be another name on the map with no meaning.”
— Edwin “Ed” Lindsey, renowned conservationist and former president, Maui Cultural Lands
Travelers planning a trip to Maui can choose from various malama experiences that leave this beloved island better than when they arrived. So check out this list and add a little Malama Hawaii to your itinerary on your next Maui vacation.
Malama Hawaii: Maui Edition
Become a Honu Hero with Maui Ocean Center Beach Cleanups
Have Fun, Get Dirty and Learn Lots with Maui Cultural Lands
As a nonprofit organization, Maui Cultural Lands has a mission to stabilize, protect and restore Hawaiian cultural resources, and its success depends on volunteers. Participants begin their day at 9:00 a.m., enjoying a botanical walk and learning about Hawaiian medicinal plants before digging in to remove invasive species. The day wraps up with a cultural science and history walk and talk.
Beyond giving back, volunteers can expect to reconnect their spirits to the aina (land) by practicing Hawaiian cultural values through aina-based education.
Protect Cultural and Natural Resources at Olowalu Cultural Reserve
Engage Your Spiritual Connection to the Land with Hawaii Land Trust
Hawaii Land Trust offers various volunteer opportunities on Oahu, Kauai and Maui, where visitors can volunteer at Waihe‘e Coastal Dunes & Wetland Refuge or the Nu‘u Refuge. Participants assist with restoration and conservation projects, land stewardship activities, and assist with special events and office administration, depending on their interest or skill set.
However, if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves at the Waihe‘e Coastal Dunes & Wetland Refuge, you’re in for a memorable experience. At the start of each volunteer session, the group gathers around an ahu, or altar, built to allow for the regenerative flow of energy from the sun.
Here, you’ll share a moment as a group, opening conversations and sharing and setting intentions for the day ahead. It’s in these shared moments that you can begin to understand aloha as a native Hawaiian essence.
Get-Up-Close-and-Personal with History with Lahaina Restoration Foundation
DIY Malama with Redline Rafting
Redline Rafting’s easy and convenient malama program makes doing your part on Maui a no-brainer. Just head to the designated location from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. daily and look for the gray trucks that say “Malama Hawaii” on the tailgate. Then, grab a reusable trash bag and trash grabber from the back of the truck, and you’re ready to go.
On this self-guided cleanup, you clean where you choose, whether it’s the beach, boat ramp or street side. The goal is to fill one bag and then be on your way.
Insider Tip: Remember to snap a selfie with your filled bag, and tag Redliner Rafting on Instagram for discounted activity tour tickets.