We had a wonderful day. I loved seeing these ancient sites that gave a glimpse of how people lived in this region in the 12th century, but also how people live in these same sites today. We arrived in the first village on market day and got to sample some local food products and other wares. Our guide was very knowledgable and enthusiastic about sharing local history and customs. We had free time at each of the sites to wander, take pictures and shop. In the village where we stopped for lunch, she described some of the local restaurants so that each couple could choose for themselves. She also suggested the option of buying sausage, cheese, bread and wine in the market place so we could picnic when we stopped for lunch, which one couple did. The local sausage, I think called "senta", was really good. And try the local liqueur (ratafia)-potent stuff - although I preferred the crema de ratafia myself. The countryside is beautiful and these ancient villages are fascinating. The guide was delightful. I think this trip offered good value for money and the opportunity to personalize the experience a little bit. I would absolutely recommend this tour. Also make sure to check out the Palacia de Musica opposite the company's office. The building is gorgeous and I hear the acoustics are fabulous. Lots of different kinds of musical and dance programs are offered there, also some shopping an a cafe.
Our guide, Eugene, was an excellent tour guide, providing a wealth of information about island culture, flora and fauna, as well as the volcanos. We didn't get to see active lava flow, but did view an open pit in the crater in the daytime and returned after dark to see the glow it emits. The hike in Volcano National Park was interesting and there was flexibility both about the length of the hike and the option to stay at the visitors' center for those who didn't choose to join. The meals provided were very good picnic style meals. It was a very long day, but well worth the effort.
This was the best luau show I've ever seen. The hosts showed us the "unveiling" of the pig roasted in traditional island style and described the process. And it was delicious! The rest of the meal was pretty good too. I enjoyed the fresh fish and the chicken especially. The show was great! I really liked that they showed dance styles from various Polynesian cultures and the fire dancer at the end was spectacular. I heard later that he wins annual competitions in Honolulu every year. One thing to note was that I found that had we waited and booked through Expedia at our hotel, we would have gotten closer reserved seating. We had booked ahead through Viator to ensure we could go when we wanted to. I don't know if you can work out a similar priority seating arrangement. We had really good seats anyway and could see all the action. Got some great pictures, too.
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