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Sustainable Travel in Hawaii

Hilary Sheinbaum, Contributor

1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

Sustainability is a buzzword these days, but the concept of sustainable travel effortlessly aligns with some destinations. Case in point is Hawaii, whose whole ethos and cultural foundation is about the respect for the land. Sustainable travel is more important than ever to protect our environment. Anyone who doesn’t believe in climate change should have stepped outside in July, the hottest month on record in history. Whereas sustainable travel previously meant cutting back on creature comforts and an elevated experience, luckily that’s totally out of date. Sustainable travel, especially sustainable travel in Hawaii, is considerably more chic now than ever before. The bonus is that these initiatives benefit the local communities and conserve them, too. So these are notable travel companies, who deserve kudos for creating sustainable travel in Hawaii.

Royal Suite Bedroom, 1 Hotel
The Royal Suite bedroom at 1 Hotels Hanalei Bay.

The 1 Hotel Hanalei

Where there’s 1 Hotel, chic travelers will follow. Recently 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay in Kauai opened in one of the most unspoiled parts of Hawaii. All around, 1 Hotels are known for their sustainable practices. The resort on Kauai is no different. The hotel utilizes green roofs, waste diversion, and global carbon offset projects to neutralize emissions. And, it’s on track to becoming LEED certified.

The Lobby Building at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

The flora in Hawaii is unbelievable. What’s more impressive? In partnership with Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, The Four Seasons Hualalai has planted more than 50,000 indigenous koa trees. Conservation efforts also include energy-efficient guest room controls and a recycling program (not to mention elimination of single-use plastics). Enjoy the delicious menus filled with 75% or more ingredients sourced from local farmers between lounging in the sun.

A bird’s eye view of The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua.

The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua

In between sipping chilled wines at the pool and a round of golf, travelers can give back while on vacation. The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua guests are invited to volunteer in beach clean-ups or native seed planting. They can also choose to e-bike, hike, or snorkel, and learn about Hawaii’s eco-system. Speaking of the local environment, sustainable ingredients are sourced and naturally, the seafood is sourced from the surrounding area.

The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui 

Not all sustainable travel needs to break the bank. Case in point, the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui. In terms of food, disposable containers on the property are all biodegradable. To-go boxes are made from recycled paperboard and other resources, and the utensils are made from potatoes. Impressively, most reach the majority of decomposition in two months. Separately, the resort’s reforestation initiative helps provide education about the island’s ecosystem and restore the native forests on Haleakalā’s slopes. At the hotel, guests can plant trees upcountry or koa seeds that will be transported to the mountain. Time to get to gardening.

Hawaiian Airlines has several sustainable campaigns in practice.

A Shoutout to the Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines is at the forefront of eco-tourism. They have a passion for “Travel Pono” (traveling responsibly) and “malama” (care for our Earth). The airline recently announced its plans to purchase 50 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel over five years. Not only that, Mananalu is available in all premium cabins across the airline, as a substitute for plastic water bottles. Sound familiar? It’s celebrity Jason Mamoa’s water company. (The goal is to replace 284,000 plastic bottles each year.) Drink up.

Princess Cruises sustainably travels through the Hawaiian Islands.

Even the Cruises are in the Game

We don’t cover cruises often, but in terms of sustainable travel in Hawaii, Princess Cruises in Hawaii deserves an honorable mention. Hear us out: cruises are absolutely making a comeback in 2023. And, they’re becoming better for the planet in the process. With excursions from seven to 33 days, cruise Hawaii with environmental responsibility. (On sometime routes you’ll visit other islands in the Pacific Ocean too.) Several cultural programs immerse travelers into the local communities on land. Meanwhile, on the ocean, the boats adhere to special parameters for recycling, waste, use of plastics and so much more. Keep the bad stuff out of our oceans. Happy (sustainable) travels.

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