Spring has sprung, summer is closer than we think, Coachella has come and gone, and the sweet promise of hot heat lingers. With the season of bloom upon us, we aren’t only proposing you drop everything and get away, we are suggesting you choose to do so in a way that is ethical and environmentally sounds. What follows is a brief guide to Honolulu, including what to do and what not to do.
DO: Stay at The Surfjack
A summary of The Surfjack: It is a laid-back haven for any young person looking to take it easy, connect, and relax. A magical hotel with elevated decor that is equal parts art-forward and cheeky, it is easy to feel like you’ve found your true home upon walking in. They have live music every night at their property restaurant Mahina & Suns (more on them later), and will project films right above the pool most evenings. As if this wasn’t enough to make you want to stay there as soon as possible, we have a Hotel Tour of this property on the horizon.
Don’t: Use chemical Sunscreen
Fun fact I learned while exploring Honolulu with Aqua-Aston – the SPF in your sunscreen is most likely damaging the coral reef. And, just to be clear, if a product you are putting on your body is killing the coral reef, how great can it be for your skin? Luckily, I was introduced to the wonderful folks behind Raw Elements and got to learn more about their sunscreen. The certified all natural, organic, non-GMO formula smells divine and applies smoothly – its earthy scent and creamy consistency makes it a welcome departure from its chemical counterparts. I can’t imagine using any other SPF at this point and I think it is safe to say I am not the only one – hotels around Honolulu, including The Surfjack, are stocking Raw Elements, thus shifting the already booming tourism industry to being a bit more mindful.
DO: Eat farm-to-table and start at Mahina & Suns
A huge part of sustainable travel boils down to your dining choices. Honolulu’s restaurant scene is particularly vibrant, thanks to Ed Kenney, the head chef and mastermind behind Mahina & Sons, Town, Mud Hen Water, and Kaimuki Superette. His partnership with MA’O Farms, a local farm and social enterprise that is empowering rural communities, ensures that all of the food sourced in his restaurants are farm-to-table fresh.
Don’t: Trample the precious wildlife at Hanauma Bay
Okay, in full transparency, I almost wrote don’t visit Hanauma Bay. That would be atrocious of me to suggest, as it is a breathtaking part of Honolulu that deserves love and shine. But, what I learned during my time in Honolulu is that the overwhelming foot traffic – and subsequent ocean traffic aka tourists snorkeling – is harmful to the coral reef. Tons of clumsy feet (hey, snorkeling takes a moment to get the hang of), makes for wilted and decaying coral reef. When the health of the coral reef declines, the overall health of the ocean ecosystem declines.
DO: Visit Chinatown and shop at Barrio Vintage
Having recently committed myself to minimizing my fast fashion purchases and instead working towards purchasing sustainable, thoughtfully-made clothing (take all of my money, Reformation), I have picked up a pretty intense vintage habit. Stumbling upon Barrio Vintage was a beautiful surprise. The curation of the store is incredible – there was 90s Betsey Johnson and there was 70s nightgowns and there was everything in-between. The price point was accessible – I bought two dresses and a scarf for $90. The staff was super helpful. I often find myself wistfully reminiscing on my time spent in Honolulu, dreaming of coming back to Barrio Vintage. Luckily, they have an Etsy shop that makes my dream a reality. Shop here.