• United States of America
    • Hawaii
4 - 12 weeks
Program Tags
Adventure Travel College Credit Conservation Cultural Immersion Hands-On Learning Volunteer Abroad Wilderness Yoga Retreats

Program Details

Animal Viewing Camping City Exploring Hiking Remote Exploring Snorkeling Surfing Swimming Trekking
Academic Year Summer
Hostel Hotel Lodge Tent
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
Oct 18, 2022
Apr 04, 2021
18 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Experience epic surf, golden beaches, the aloha spirit and active volcanoes on this gap year program in Hawaii!

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!

There is an endless list of things to do in Hawaii. From learning to smash open coconuts 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.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Learn from local non-profits how to organically aid in the restoration and conservation of local ecosystems.
  • Immerse in Hawaiian culture learning native food making techniques and the heritage and history of Hawaii.
  • Surf lessons based in Kona, the sunny district on Hawai’i Island.
  • Yoga and meditation in Hilo, amongst the breath-taking, the natural beauty of the northeast side of the Big Island.
  • Hike the Volcano National Park and watch the sunset.

Program Reviews

4.63 Rating
based on 8 reviews
  • 5 rating 62.5%
  • 4 rating 37.5%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.4
  • Support 4.25
  • Fun 5
  • Value 4.4
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Instructor Experience

As an instructor I was seeking an opportunity to assist in the growth of others while additionally immersing myself in other cultural opportunities through experiential learning along side students. One thing I really look for in an organization is communication and support from headquarters. I have felt Pacific Discovery has allowed me the ability to have a major say in how we handle what happens on the ground as they value our perspective and what is best for the larger group to thrive. My experience with headquarters has been great as they have been a great support system which allows ample check in, while also providing space and trust in you.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Getting to experience Mauna Kea watching the sunset and star gazing 13,803 ft up was unreal. It was such a wonderful time to be one with nature, reflect and share in such an incredible experience with such beautiful people. We got to experience snow...who would have thought we would have experienced a snowball fight in Hawaii!!!
32 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Hawaii Minimester

I went on their Hawaii Minimester course this year and it was one of the most unique and fun experiences of my life. Pacific Discovery are committed to having their students fully immerse themselves in the culture in a way that someone travelling independently would not have the opportunity to. Our days were action packed and we all enjoyed ourselves in activities such as surfing, lei making, hiking, snorkelling and more. Although there were instances where Pacific Discovery was not hugely supportive and though there are things I would change about the program, I am truly thankful for the experience that has been provided to me.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Taro, I had no idea what it was before coming to Hawaii.
31 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing community & experiential education

From learning the art of cutting open a coconut, a proper surf board stance, hiking up Coconut Creek, enjoying a private manta ray tour, or looking at the stars at the top of the volcano of Mauna Kea, I can think of dozens of magical moments these past 4 weeks that were elevated by the support and community of my fellow peers and the Pacific Discovery team. All while prioritizing safety, Pacific Discovery has given my group a rare opportunity of true cultural immersion: daily fun experiential education peppered with moments of deeply personal growth.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My trip leaders Jackie and Annie show me daily how much they care with their compassion and patience with our group. Despite handling planning complicated logistics for our fun-filled days, my trip leaders always prioritize our safety and emotional well-being. Whenever I’ve needed to talk, they have been there for me. My advice for future PD students is to feel empowered to ask for help, since my trip leaders have proven us time and time again that they are here for us no matter what we are going through.
36 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My Gap Year Experience

Coming from the UK I was nervous about travelling over 8000 miles away to travel with a group of new people. However, it has ended up being one of the most positive and exciting experiences I’ve had so far. The program perfectly balanced hard work and volunteering with deep cultural immersion and a ton of fun activities. Highlights have included surf camp, finding the only snow in Hawaii and snorkelling with manarays. The experience was made by the amazing group of people and leaders that I travelled with. Everyone was open and welcoming and eager to learn and experience the trip. There have been ups and downs in the group but all in all the experiences have brought us closer together. I would highly recommend

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Cliff diving at the southern most point in the US. The cliff was 40ft and had a tiny ladder up the side.
37 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Hawaii Minimester

I’ve have really enjoyed my time on this program. I feel like I have learned a lot about myself and others, as well as the culture and history of the Hawaiian islands. We have had the opportunity to experience some incredible moments, such as snorkeling, cliff jumping, stargazing at Mauna Kea, surfing, and much more. In addition to the fun and exciting activities we have experienced, we have also had multiple opportunities to engage in various service projects which has been incredibly rewarding. I’m so grateful for having the opportunity to go on this trip, and I feel I have grown so much through the experience.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
During our second week in Hawaii we stopped at a fruit stand where I got the chance to try Guanabana which is my new favorite fruit!
35 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Hawaii Minimester

This experience has really helped push me outside of my comfort zone and has overall been very rewarding. You learn many important life skills, meet many amazing people, and become very close with the other members of your group. There are definitely some challenging experiences that you will surely encounter (like camping in the rain), but I now feel more confident dealing with these obstacles. This program is a lot of fun and is a great option for people looking for an amazing experience during their gap year.

What was your funniest moment?
When I tried to chug almond milk and I choked on it
30 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome, adventurous trip to Hawaii

Got to meet really interesting people and learn about Hawaiian history and culture. Also got to do lots of thrilling activities like cliff jumping off a 40 ft cliff, surfing, swimming with manta rays, sharks, sea turtles and much more. I loved the kids on my program, everyone was so kind, smart, funny and adventurous. There was one student who was very disrespectful and unkind to the group and many of the people we met and the student was removed from the program eventually. Other than that one challenge, the majority of the trip was wonderful!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish made with smashed tarp root. Cool consistency, but flavor was not my favorite.
36 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience!!

This gap year has been an amazing experience! With covid 19 almost everything I had planned for this year was canceled but this has been an amazing experience because of the people and places we have met and travels too. Our group instructors have been so helpful, alway making sure we are having a great time with our operators. My favorite thing that we have done so far was the sunset atop Maunakea. The colors were so vibrant and the stars afterwards were mind blowing. My other favorite thing was the manta ray dive, they came so close which really emphasized the massive size to the animals

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would want to tell them that there will be times where you are uncomfortable but those are the moments that will help shape you and continue to grow with your group mates
37 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers