Surf, snorkel and hike your way through Hawaii on this 16-day adventure in the Aloha State!

This 2 week summer program offers you an enriching and inspiring experience in Hawaii. It combines service-learning, conservation volunteer projects with adventure travel, and heaps of fun in the sun and sea. Discover Hawaii’s fascinating ocean, mountain landscape and explore volcanoes, waterfalls and beaches.

Snorkeling with manta rays is only possible in a few places in the world, and Hawaii is one of them! This end-of-program activity follows after a trip packed with surf lessons, service projects, island exploration and yoga sessions. Ready to fully immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture? You'll also dive into the importance of its traditions, from making beautiful leis to learning the steps of the Hula.

Who is this Summer Program for?

This summer program is perfect for high school graduates, college students and graduates, and gap year students, ideally 18 to 22 years old.


  • Snorkel the reefs of Kona and have a close encounter with manta rays
  • Immerse in Hawaiian culture learning Hula, making leis, and the heritage and history of Hawaii
  • Surf lessons in the birth place of surfing
  • Rewarding conservation projects in the forest of Hawaii’s Big Island, working on protecting and encouraging native flora and fauna whilst learning about the history and heritage of the earth to Hawaiian culture
  • Learn from local non-profits how to organically aid in the restoration and conservation of local ecosystems
  • Check out the Akaka and Rainbow Falls
  • Yoga and meditation in Hilo, amongst the breathtaking, natural beauty of the northeast side of the Big Island
  • Hike the Volcano National Park and watch the sunset
  • Explore the botanical gardens and Coconut Island near Hilo
  • Very personalized small group experience, maximum of 13 participants

**This is a guide to what you can expect to do on Program. The order in which the activities occur might vary**

Day 1-2. Aloha, Hawai’i

Aloha! On arrival to Kona, you will be met by your program instructors. After a comprehensive program briefing, we’ll immerse ourselves in the epic nature surrounding our new home base.

Our days will be spent hiking the local tracks for panoramic views, exploring the town and its exotic fruits and veggies, and getting to know our fellow participants. We’ve got a week of sun, sea and sand to get us started!

Day 3-4. Surf Camp in Kona

It’s time to get your surf camp underway! We’ll spend two days learning the basics, so that we can feel comfortable in the water. Can you consider yourself to truly understand the culture of Hawaii if you don’t get on a board and walk the walk? Or more aptly, surf the surf? We’ll learn to laugh at ourselves as we no-doubt tumble into the turquoise waters and we’ll learn to trust ourselves as we slowly develop the skills and strengths needed to
master this graceful art. 

Our afternoons here will see us walking local tracks to secluded beach spots, and making the most of the chilled out sunshine vibe that this Western Hawaii town has to offer.

Day 5-7. Cultural Immersion & Volcano National Park

We’re taking a trip down south and east a little way to the small town of Pahala. This area is known for its black sand beaches and abundant wilderness, fueled by the warm sunny days and nightly rainfall that is common on this side of the island.

On one of our first days spent here we’ll be learning all about Hawaiian culture and traditions as well as getting active and taking in the landscape. From making beautiful and delicate leis from the local trees to exploring the vast Volcano National Park, it’ll be an eye opening and inspiring few days in this South East town.

Day 8-11. Fishpond Restoration, Waterfalls & Yoga in Hilo

Next, we head to the eastern side of the island, with its rainforests and lush green landscape. It’s a much different vibe and energy than the sunny side of Kona, and we’ll spend our days exploring Coconut Island, the Shipman's trail, Akaka Falls, and we’ve scheduled a yoga session for the evening to allow for relaxation and to end your day present and fulfilled.

We’ve also been given an incredible opportunity to get out into the water with a locally run community organization that focus’ on fishpond restoration and ocean conservation in Hilo. We’ll be working alongside experts learning about the marine ecosystem and how to protect and encourage sea life in these beautiful pockets of the ocean that surround Hilo. We’ll get to learn about sustainable fishing techniques as well as testing our own skills and trying our hand at throwing fishing nets.

Day 12-13. Aunty K and Camping

In Waiema, we will roll up our sleeves for a couple of days and get involved in the efforts of a non-profit while learning all about the legends and land from Aunty K! This hands-on non-profit was founded for research and educational purposes to discover and understand how Hawaiians sustained rain-fed intensive farming for centuries; and how it may inform our current efforts to live sustainably.

Day 14-16. Swimming with Manta Rays & Program Wrap

After some rewarding work, we get back at our Kona base for our last few days on Hawai’i Island. Time to test our newfound skills on a surfboard maybe or just catch up on rest and reflection after what has been an incredible adventure in Hawaii. On one of our last afternoons, we’ll get to take a local charter boat out to snorkel in special places with manta rays! Being up close with these gentle creatures is the experience of a lifetime.

Sadly, the time has come to begin processing the epic experiences that the last 16 days have taken us on. We are sure that you will reflect on how amazing it was to have a chance to take a break from everything, learn about ourselves, but also prioritize time to experience and have gratitude for our own beautiful and historic culture and environment.


*Each week there will be some designated free time so that you can catch up on email, laundry, rest, and explore independently with others in the group.
**Pacific Discovery reserves the right to alter and/or change the order of the itinerary, the focus of the projects or the activities themselves due to dates, availability, and safety precautions.

For full program details, please request the information booklet


This gap year program is perfect for high school graduates, college students and graduates, and non-students, ideally 17-22 years old. This program is suitable for anyone of average fitness with an enthusiasm for the outdoors, conservation and new experiences.

The program is a shared group experience. We expect you to join the program with an open mind and a willingness to work together with your group mates to make the program an amazing experience for the whole group. Additionally, the program will be as much about the inner journey of personal growth and learning about yourself as it is about what you will experience in the outer physical journey. We expect you to be open to learning and challenging your ideas and assumptions.


Our accommodation will be a mix of camping (tents supplied) and comfortable, clean hostels and lodges. Laundry and Wi-Fi facilities will be available most days, except during the weeks in the field on the volunteer projects and on expeditions. Accommodation is diverse, comfortable and carefully chosen to fit our needs.


Meals are fresh, tasty, healthy and varied. Special dietary requirements and vegetarians are catered for. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the program cost. Any snacks are at an additional cost, which we recommend budgeting around $15 per day for.

Food preparation responsibilities are shared by all students. It’s fun, social and often a highlight. An average day on program would consist of the following:

  • Breakfast: cereal, milk, oatmeal, pancake mix, bread, peanut butter, local fruits, cinnamon rolls, granola bars, and eggs
  • Lunch: sandwiches or wraps (PB&J, turkey, hummus, veggies) salad, leftovers from dinner, fruit, mac and cheese, rice poke bowls
  • Dinner: hot dogs, veggie burgers, salad, chili, corn bread, roasted potatoes, corn and bean salad, rice, curry, poke bowls

Camping meals will be adjusted to the cooking equipment at hand

Program Tuition Includes

  • All in-program travel and transport
  • All accommodation
  • All meals
  • All expeditions, activities, excursions, entry fees and adventure travel as described in the itinerary
  • Experienced Program Instructors and local guides
  • Environmental education and volunteering projects
  • Experiential core curriculum that pushes students to reflect and ask questions of themselves - working towards a deeper understanding of their values, identity, passions and purpose
  • Individual mentorship from program instructors, supporting you in your personal goals for the program
  • Informal lectures from resident experts on conservation and eco-tourism
  • 1- to 3-week optional extensions if you wish to continue traveling independently after the program
  • Pre-departure booklet with all information you need in one place to prepare for the program
  • 24/7 emergency contact number for students and parents
  • Global medical rescue and political evacuation insurance
  • Instructors have 24/7 access to a physician and a psychologist for advice and support
  • Pacific Discovery T-shirt

Summer Dates 17 Jul - 31 Jul, 2024
Duration 15 days
Program Tuition $5,950 USD Estimated Flight Cost $1,200 USD
Availability Open
Group Size 13 Students & 2 Instructors Ages 15-17 ideal Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement Vaccination Strongly Recommended
Optional College Credit No Start/Finish Kona, Hawai’i (Big Island)