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Monday, January 21, 2019

Luxury Travel Docs Honors Keko Adventure Tours with the HEAT Award for Epitomizing Healthy Excursions And Travel

Luxury Travel Docs awards the HEAT award to Keko Adventure Tours on Kauai Island, Hawaii! The HEAT award is given to those individuals or companies that demonstrate excellence in Healthy Excursions And Travel!

The one thing we have always believed is that Hawaii has some of the friendliest and kindest people anywhere. LTD spent the day with Eben Manini and Ernesto Guerra of Keko Adventure Tours on Kauai island, Hawaii. Spending time with Eben and Ernesto clearly shows what healthy adventures are all about, but you probably wouldn't realize how meaningful their adventures have been.

Ernesto Guerra and Eben Manini of Keko Adventure Tours in front of Heiaus at Lydgate Park


Ernesto Guerra has a very meaningful story about how he founded Keko Adventure Tours that we would like to share with you.  Five years before we met him, he was a sales manager for one of the most successful car dealerships in the US. One day he opened one of those suspect emails from a cousin with a story about a boy who raised funds for others, he decided to follow the link and found out about Watercan Canada now called Wateraid. At the time they were looking for volunteers who wanted to raise funds and climb Mountain Kilimanjaro.  He sent his application, received a call back and started raising funds while promoting clean water and hygiene. When he talked to the director and owner of the car dealership about taking his 2 week vacation plus another 7 days, upper management said it was impossible and not to mention it again. This experience was unsettling because Ernesto was very moved by this cause and felt that he was not being afforded the same ability to fundraise and pursue his passions as others in the organization.  Of course this made him feel that he was only a number, and after 13 years as part of the organization, he quit his job to pursue his own passions and help those less fortunate than him. After climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, he continued to travel the world doing social development work with other organizations such as “TECHO,” building emergency homes for people leaving in squalid environments and “CEDO,” working with students at a school in Cambodia.  These travels were very meaningful to Ernesto and he decided that his future would involve giving back to others.


When he came to Kauai for first time in 2014 he visited a friend and went hiking in Waimea Canyon, experiencing striking natural beauty. He decided to share this little paradise on Earth with the rest of the world.  Ernesto is one who enjoys what he promotes! One day having lunch in the Canyon he met someone through hiking, and shared his love of the Island, Eben. 
When he met Eben, he was amazed by the passion he had for the Island, not only respecting it but that it represented the true meaning of "Aloha." Many people in Hawaii are very territorial, jealous, and guarded about Howlies (people not native of the land).  Eben's welcoming ways, knowledge about plants, the island's history, its people, and traditions made Ernesto even more certain of his decision to move to Kauai and make others appreciate the healthy and meaningful things he was discovering.  Eben was not just a local to Ernesto, but embodied the tradition that Hawaiians are part of the land.  

Ernesto became a student of the land and learned what the true meaning of "Aloha" is by keeping his eyes, ears and heart open to learn about the culture, the people and the land. 



Enjoy looking at the Mimosa Pudica -- an Amazing Plant that closes when you touch it!





Starting a company in Kauai, especially an activity company is very difficult,  especially for someone coming from the outside. A three month application process turns into a year, because of Hawaiian loyalty and unease about outsiders - that they call "Howlies", even if you may have a better product. 

When Ernesto started Keko Adventure Tours, he and Eben wanted to share the beauty, the history, and a glimpse of what makes the Island so special. They focus on activities that are healthy, safe and will allow you to learn along about what surrounds you. They always aim to understand the land, and not just take a walk on a trail.  


Ernesto wants all of you to know: "Our guests are our priority and we always want them to feel they take something back with them...more than just a picture -- a little piece of Aloha.  We take pride on what we do. We are tour guides, and this is what we do in our own lives. We want to share our beautiful land with our guests.  What we provide is not just an activity but a genuine intention to make everyone feel like family and friends."

Orchids are Everywhere!

It isn't easy starting a company in Kauai, especially when you are considered a "Howlie."  Ernesto experienced many delays in permitting, but now his company is thriving.  He continues to personally run the day-to-day operations.  While Ernesto may own Keko Adventure Tours he considers the five members of the company to be one team, all working toward the same goal of sharing the meaning of "Aloha" with travelers like you.  

 A unique experience that embodies the beauty of the land

Keko Adventures' most popular tour is the downhill cycling experience with many reviews saying just what we are saying here:  The team is dedicated to you having a unique experience that embodies not only the beauty of the land, but also a deep understanding of the land and its people. You can book this online directly with them or through the concierge at your hotel.  

Our day was only a small sampling of the adventures to experience on the island of Kauai.  Keko Adventures schedules custom trips if you should desire one.  Hiking in groups are arranged for cruise ship passengers.  Kauai is our favorite island because of the beautiful and peaceful landscapes, and we decided to go hiking for the day. Of course when walking through the rainforest, we expect mud and drizzle, but this year has been exceptionally rainy on Kauai with some areas having nearly 800 inches of rain.

A unique experience that embodies the beauty of the land

We learned e about filming on Kauai such as Jurassic Park






Melaleuca trees also known as punk trees or paperbark tea trees were part of reforesting of Kauai

Listen to this video to see if you can hear the Velociraptor!







We drove by many movie sights including where John Wayne filmed Donovan's Reef, Jurassic Park 1 and 2.  Throughout the day we learned even more about filming on Kauai, such as the inspiration behind Avatar, where James Cameron flew his film crew into the interior of Kauai to experience the rainforest. They remained there for 10 days each time, hopefully inspiring the fantasy landscapes that were part of the final movie.
James Cameron flew his film crew into the interior of Kauai to experience the rainforest

James Cameron flew his film crew into the interior of Kauai to experience the rainforest

The trails were mildly challenging, not due to the terrain or incline, but because of mud! Because of recent rain, and hiking activity, the trails were muddy to say the least. Of course mud makes for wet and slippery conditions. We made it in one piece and will fondly remember almost losing our shoes to the mud bog many times! But the reward was beautiful vistas, waterfalls, amazing vegetation and flora, an opportunity to taste thimbleberries but the greatest reward was meeting Eben and Ernesto.

The trails were mildly challenging, not due to the terrain or incline, but because of mud!

The trails were mildly challenging, not due to the terrain or incline, but because of mud!

At the end of our day we stopped for lunch at Lydgate Park to enjoy freshly made sandwiches and local Hawaiian chips and fruit sodas, which really hit the spot. However as you look around the park there are more than just people enjoying the outdoors, wild chickens or birds...we see many large stones that are seemingly arranged as landscaping.  Eben and Ernesto tell us they actually date from 1000 years ago and are Heiaus which are ancient Hawaiian temples.  WOW what a day!

Lunch at Lydgate Park to enjoy freshly made sandwiches and local Hawaiian chips and fruit sodas

Red-crested cardinals are very friendly!


What a meaningful day spent with Keko Adventure Tours at www.kekokauai.com and when you travel to Kauai, reach out to them for not only healthy adventures but meaningful adventures too!  Ernesto continues to give back to the community by donating his time to local causes with Eben and by donating profits to meaningful causes, such as Wateraid.  Again, we are proud to award the HEAT award to Keko Adventure Tours on Kauai Island, Hawaii!  The HEAT award is given to those individuals or companies that demonstrate excellence in Healthy Excursions And Travel!

We always recommend a good set of binoculars for adventure tours like we had the pleasure of enjoying with Keko Adventure Tours!  Ours were out often on this hike!  Click the photo below to learn more:



Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen!


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