• United States of America
    • Hawaii
2 - 12 weeks
General grants/scholarships, Payment plans, 529 Plan eligibility
Health & Safety

Program Details

Backpacking Sightseeing Surfing
Fall Spring Summer
Hostel Lodge
Primary Language
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
All in-country land transport and travel (not flights); All accommodation; 3 meals a day (excluding snacks); All activities, excursions, entry fees and adventure travel as described in the itinerary; Service learning projects in conservation and community development; Informal lectures from resident experts on history, culture, development issues; Experienced Pacific Discovery Program Instructors and local guides; Online image library for your program.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Equipment Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance
Apr 30, 2023
Aug 12, 2022
62 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Experience epic surf, golden beaches, the aloha spirit, rewarding volunteer projects and active volcanoes on this gap year program in Hawaii!
There is an endless list of things to do in Hawaii. From learning to smash open coconuts, mastering the Hawaiian language and making beautiful leis, to stargazing on top of a dormant volcano and heading out to one of only four green sand beaches in the world. Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture as you discover its fascinating ocean and mountain landscape and explore the incredible jungle, volcanoes, and beaches.

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Pacific Discovery.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

We understand that we have a long way to go in achieving the diversity we strive for among our students, staff, and partners. We are committed to fostering a more diverse and inclusive organization, and we recognize that this requires time, effort, and resources. At Pacific Discovery, we deeply value diversity, equity, and social justice, and we are dedicated to creating educational experiences that reflect and promote these values. Our program curriculum incorporates social justice education and encourages students to explore their own identities. To further support these efforts, we offer a 'Diverse Voices' Scholarship.

LGBTQIA+ Support

All of our Pacific Discovery programs are LGBTQIA+ friendly, and our operations team have attended CIS Abroad's LGBTQ+ Allyship Training, to ensure we’re doing what we can to support this community. We provide an open and non judgemental space for students to explore who they are at this pivotal time of their life, and in our admissions process we seek information not only on a student's gender, but their pronouns and gender identity. We’re aware of the differing cultural perspectives of LQBTQIA in the countries that we visit, and can direct students to a semester location where they’ll feel the most comfortable. Operationally we ensure that our instructors use inclusive language and can facilitate conversations with students around their identity, and discuss the rooming situations with LGBTQIA+ students.

Neurodivergent Support

Our programs are designed to support students with a wide range of neurodiverse conditions while following our essential eligibility criteria. For students needing extra help, we provide personalized wellness plans . These plans include coping strategies, care protocols, and specific requirements to help them engage effectively in the program. Our instructors have access to mental health first aid resources and are well-prepared to offer strong support to students with these needs.

Accessibility Support

Our programs offer a variety of physical activities, including hiking, surfing, rafting, and mountain biking. We make sure to accommodate students with diverse needs such as asthma, diabetes, and chronic medical conditions, while working within the infrastructure of the host country and our program schedules. We're mindful of the varying levels of accessibility in the countries we visit and can help students choose a semester location where they feel most at ease.



Sustainability is one of the 6 core components of each Pacific Discovery program, where we educate students about the local and global environmental issues, how to travel sustainably, and have them think deeply about their impact and what they can do in their daily lives to affect change.

We recently embarked on a Net Positive Benefit project where we are qualifying what impacts our groups have on the local communities, taking into consideration carbon emissions +/- social impacts +/- conservation impacts +/- community impacts. On our programs, students engage with non-profit organisations such as Litter Intelligence, Scholars of Sustenance, Ulu Mau puanui, Llama Pack project where they directly work for a better future - planting trees, eradicating invasive weed species, helping local communities and food banks.

Ethical Impact

We make a conscious decision to partner with host communities and suppliers who are passionate about our students' participation and involvement with them being of a positive benefit to the community. We want our presence to enable positive sustainable growth for our partners and this mantra is ingrained in the fabric of our programs.

Program Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture learning Hula, native food making and the heritage and history of Hawaii from local residents
  • Surf lessons based in Oahu
  • Learn about conservation and sustainable living from a local non-profit
  • Hike through Volcano National Park and watch the lava glow from a crater after sunset
  • Snorkel with majestic manta rays in the reefs of Kona

Popular Programs

Hawaii Summer Program

Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture for 4 weeks. Discover Hawaii’s fascinating ocean and mountain landscape and explore incredible jungles, volcanoes and beaches. Gain skills with lessons in sustainability, conservation, and the environment as well as hiking, surfing, and snorkeling. Join us for a journey in Hawaii and an inspiring summer of exploration!

Hawaii Summer Program

This 6-week mini semester program offers you an enriching and inspiring experience in tropical Hawaii. Hawaii consists of eight islands, which are all unique in their own way. Your days will be as varied as the islands you visit, with a fusion of hands-on volunteer work, surfing, snorkeling, cultural immersion and, of course, non-stop adventure!

Program Reviews

4.67 Rating
based on 21 reviews
  • 5 rating 76.19%
  • 4 rating 19.05%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 4.76%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.35
  • Support 4.65
  • Fun 4.75
  • Value 4.65
  • Safety 4.55
Showing 1 - 8 of 21 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

Hawaii 4 week program

I highly recommend this trip, the two group leaders I had were absolutely fantastic. I learned and grew more in 4 weeks than I ever thought was possible! This program helped me center my focus for what I wanted to do to make change in the world, and also opened my eyes to another culture. Through the hands on aspects and the immersive learning opportunities I gained prospective and respect of others and learned many valuable lessons that I use in everyday life. The memories I made in the last 4 weeks will forever be part of me.

  • Friends
  • Adventure
  • Education
67 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Semester

Whenever anybody asks me how my semester was in Hawaii, I always tell them that it was one of the most fulfilling and incredible things I have ever done- and I can't think of a statement that better describes my experience with Pacific Discovery. During the 10 weeks I spent in Hawaii, I met people that I will be friends with for the rest of my life, saw things that are indescribably beautiful, laughed uncontrollably, stepped out of my comfort zone, found endless support in times of struggle, discovered my potential, grew as a person, soaked up the sun, pushed myself more and more every single day, danced under the orange sky as the sun was setting, went on some crazy adventures, and created memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

No day is the same on a PD program, but that's a huge part fo what makes it such an amazing experience. The programs are incredibly well thought out, and the detailed itinerary allows students to make the absolute most out of their time on the program. The program is set up in a way that allows students to have the time and space to grow independently, but at the same time, grow their people skills, learn how to collaborate with others effectively, and have an amazing and supportive group around them 24/7. I truly learned something new every day, and grew more than I was ever expecting to.

Looking back on my semester with Pacific Discovery, I can truly see how it changed my life. Everything about my semester was absolutely magical, and I could not recommend Pacific Discovery enough.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
It sounds cliché, but really try to push yourself out of your comfort zone every day, and never turn down the opportunity to try something new. The more you try, the more you'll learn- and you'll create some pretty incredible memories along the way!
99 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Experience

I was prepared to go to college, prior to the pandemic. After I elected to take a gap year amid the program, I selected Pacific Discovery’s Hawaii/Western US the program for the Spring of 2021. In the words of one of my friends from the program, the trip was “what we never knew we needed.” Throughout the 70 days, we visited Hawaii, Arizona, Utah, & briefly Colorado. Trip highlights included surfing, cliff jumping, peaking Mauna Kea, mountain biking, hiking, paddle board & silk yoga, and rock climbing. Even more memorable than the activities were the service projects & cultural immersion. We learned so much about Hawaiian culture, sustainable agriculture & farming, and being aware of our personal environmental impacts. I particularly enjoyed how much control students have throughout the program. While everyday has structured activities & the instructors take the lead for most aspects of the trip, students have large roles in the decision-making processes. In particular, we meal-planned & cooked together nearly every night which was intimidating at first but soon became some of the most memorable aspects of the trip. In addition, there was a perfect amount of free time or “rest & relaxation” days to both provide days of rest for students, but also provide time for activities that weren’t on the itinerary (such as hiking, paddle boarding, zip-lining, skiing, biking, soaking in hot springs, etc). One of the best aspects of the trip was self-led week. We were given the ability to chose, for six days, what areas to visit, where to stay, what to do, meal planning & everything about the trip. For our self-led week, we were tasked with getting from Sedona, AZ to Moab, UT. For the six days we were able to visit Grand Canyon, Zion, & Durango, CO—some of the best memories of the trip. Pacific Discovery did an excellent job selecting wonderful instructors (shoutout Jon & Lucy), providing meaningful & thought-provoking weekly curriculum regarding life-applicable lessons such as environment, communication, values, humanitarianism, etc, and providing us with service projects & cultural immersion experiences that educated & inspired us (especially in Hawaii). Our group became extremely close with each other & our instructors, and the relationships I’ve created on program are some of the best aspects of this trip. If you’re reading this, and wondering whether or not to take a gap year (and if so take this trip), I would highly encourage you to. Coming from someone who wasn’t planning on taking a gap year, this was by far the highlight of my gap year, and to be honest, one of the highlights and best times of life. Jump in feet first, be prepared to get out of your comfort zone, enjoy life-changing experiences, and mature/grow immensely over the course of the trip.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Rock climbing & mountain biking were definitely some of the most challenging but rewarding (and slightly nerve-racking) activities in the program, but with the great support of our group, we were able to persevere & really enjoy those experiences.
114 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Pacific discovery Hawaii western us

The pacific discovery program that I attended was so memorable and could not have been better. It was kind of funny how we originally had to where masks when we were first getting to know each other because after the first 5 days when we started taking our masks off it was the same time that we started to bond. It’s almost as if the masks got taken off after we learned about each other. I actually liked doing the hard conservation work out in Hawaii first. Not just because it got it out of the way, but because it provided a great way to bond. The tours of the beaches, volcanoes, and snorkeling sites, as well as the surf camp provided such fun. Camping every now and then also helped us bond. Hawaii was also a great place to traveled since it has its own culture. The west provided a lot of fun as well. The views seen after completing them provided memorable moments. Arches and canyonlands NPs were much more glorious than expected. Self led week was my favorite part not just because we got to pick what to do, but because Zion, the Grand Canyon, and Durango were all so much fun. I’ll definitely ride a bike at Zion again someday and do the same hike. Not just to get a great view bu to remember this trip. It was cool ending it in the cold snow at park city after starting everything in the heat. The core sessions done provided deep thought and help my mind grow. To everyone who looks at this program I would say go for it you will never forget it

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I got a concussion while we were surfing. I was so sad and annoyed thinking that it would all be downhill from here, but the people on the program keep me feeling happy and staying involved. After eleven long days of being out of the loop I rejoined everyone and some people provided me with hugs
112 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Pacific Discovery— Living Life to the Fullest

I took a Pacific Discovery gap year and it turned my entire year around. My peers in the group are some of the most supportive people I have ever met, and they helped me grow in ways I didn’t even know were possible. My instructors always approached the program with a positive attitude and taught me to have a growth mindset in whatever we do. Each day was a new adventure and I loved the diversity of activities we got to experience. I took up things like surfing, rock climbing, hiking, biking, and so much more during this trip and it felt so rewarding to face my limits head on with the people who I can now call my family.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
My most nerve-racking moment was hiking Angels Landing at Zion National Park. 2 members of my group took me by the hand (literally) and helped me face my fears and make it to the summit. It was really a beautiful moment to be a part of and I’m so grateful for my PD family who made it possible for me to do this and it ended up being one of my favorite days of the trip!
114 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Pacific Discovery Hawaii and Western US

This program allowed me to push myself to my boundaries to see what I can really do. You’ll find that you can do a lot more than you think you can if you just give it a shot. It’s also a beautiful thing to live with the same people 24/7 for 10 weeks. The deep relationships you build and the things you learn about yourself are life changing. Additionally challenging yourself to try new things and adjust on the fly really allows you to grow for the future. I learned how to cook new meals and be creative on the trip as well!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Learn to be comfortable with discomfort on this trip. You learn a lot about yourself by going outside your comfort zone.
106 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Pacific Discovery Changed My Life

Pacific Discovery program completely exceeded my expectations in every way. Not only did I get extremely close with the people in my group, I also met many other inspiring people through conservation work and other activities. This program allowed me to push myself in ways I had never done before and when I accomplished something I felt immensely proud of myself. I was able to recenter and ground myself in my values, who I want to be, and what I want to put out into the world. I’ll never forget this experience and the people that I met on Pacific Discovery.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
My most nerve-racking moment was right before I jumped off a 45 feet cliff into the ocean. I was so scared and had never done anything like it before. I ended up not thinking and just running off the platform without warning anyone because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
108 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Growth, experiences and stories

I am so glad I did this. It truly changed my life, how I view things, and how I operate. I am extremely grateful to be able to do this program. I got so many unique and cool experiences and I now have some really crazy stories. I feel like a much more well rounded person after this. This will be something that I hold on to for the rest of my life. If I could give my self a year ago any advice it would be to take the risk and go on this trip. I met so many new close friends, experiences life changing things, and truly grew and transformed.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would advise a future traveler to come with an open mind, go with the flow, and be spontaneous.
109 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers