I wasnʻt paid for my time at Kualoa Ranch today, but I also didnʻt have to pay. Part of the process of being employed at the ranch is acting as what they call, a “mystery shopper”. The whole concept is to have the new guy (me) play tourist for a day and do at least four of the activities they offer, while being undercover. At the end of the day, I filled out a survey based on the staffʻs hospitality, friendliness and knowledge in their respective departments. All seriousness aside, I had a blast! My day began with a Jungle Excursion in a squeaky old Swedish military six-wheeled jeep, up the Kualoa mountain and over a few streams into Hakipuʻu (the next land division over). The guide was very knowledgeable and I was impressed with his Hawaiian word pronunciation 🙂
Each tour was about an hour long with fifteen minutes of a break in between, providing just enough time to go to the loo, but I had to hurry to my next activity; these guys run groups like clock work.
That is Kaʻaʻawa Valley. No houses, no buildings, no nothing! Beauty at its finest!
Later in the day, I learned that the ranchʻs entire property was worth somewhere between two to four billion dollars, and all the filming explains most of it! After the bus ride, I had a buffet lunch (that wasnʻt too shabby), took a little nap on a picnic table, and headed to the stables.
As a little girl, Iʻve always loved motorized vehicles and today was my first time on a real ATV bike; I was thrilled. If you ever get the chance to go to the ranch, I highly recommend you do this excursion.
Itʻs easier than it looks, and it takes you into Kaʻaʻawa Valley where the Jungle & Movie tours cannot go. Plus, itʻs such an adrenaline rush! Kamaʻāina (locals) have discounted rates at the ranch, and it is definitely worth the money to experience that side of the island. Being a tourist is pau and though it was fun while it lasted, tomorrow is day one of a two-day orientation. Tomorrow I started getting paid for this dream job 🙂
*all original photos. pls do not take without permission.