Sunday, September 21, 2003

Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi Hawaii’s
Back yard

Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi

Pure Kauai is spot
for fun and fitness

With Pure Kauai, getting in shape is pure fun.

Los Angeles resident Rebecca Tabacco, 39, booked a 10-day escape with the Princeville-based firm which wound up being an inspiring journey to discovering the joys of good health. Her program included a "living foods" diet of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and daily activities such as yoga, hiking, weight training, surfing and massage.

Recalls Pure Kauai guide Daniel Garcia: "One day she started to cry and said, 'I feel so in touch with my body again! I can't believe I let myself go.' She lost eight pounds while she was here and another 20 pounds upon her return home through good eating habits and exercise."

Valerie Waters, a 41-year-old personal trainer from Malibu, Calif., took to surfing during her Pure Kauai trip, challenging the waves every other day at Hanalei Bay and Rock Quarry on the North Shore. Garcia says Waters is now an avid wave rider on her side of the Pacific.

All of Kauai becomes a gymnasium when booking a stay with Pure Kauai, a company that emphasizes wellness as a way for travelers to recharge their spirits.

Hong Kong barristers Vandanna and Ray Pierce, age 40 and 50, respectively, spent six weeks with Pure Kauai on a program that included kayaking, martial arts, Pilates and swimming.

"Being active in beautiful settings definitely provided them with stress relief," said Garcia. "Vandanna lost approximately 20 pounds and looked like a new woman; she had to go shopping before she left to get clothes that fit her! Ray lost about 15 pounds. They were so happy with their results and had such a great time, they returned less than three months later for another week with us!"

Pure Kauai specializes in customized health and fitness vacations that are entertaining, educational and burn lots of calories to boot! While Garcia's stories revolve around middle-age clients, Pure Kauai's owner and founder, Phil Jones, says: "We're planned programs for people who run the gamut in age, fitness level and background. We welcome families; kids can either do activities with their parents, enjoy completely separate itineraries or combine a bit of both."

Surfing, bodyboarding, inner-tube rides, basket and hat weaving, lei making, shell hunting, hula classes, tide pool explorations, river kayaking and boat rides are among the options available for youngsters.

Jones said there are pluses in participating in such activities with loved ones. "When you share experiences with others, you naturally bond with them," he says. "I've seen friends and family members arrive from the mainland, tired and irritable from their flight and going through a change in time zones. After just one activity -- whether it be snorkeling, biking or whatever -- they're energized and in a much better frame of mind. They're talking, laughing and raring to head out the next day on another adventure."

Paddling, yoga, massage and tours are among the activities offered through Pure Kauai.

ACCORDING TO JONES, other benefits of a Pure Kauai getaway are increased strength, improved cardiovascular conditioning, a healthier diet and a positive emotional and mental outlook.

Guests are involved with the planning of their trip every step of the way, from selecting the activities to working with a private chef who prepares meals according to specific needs and goals.

A native of Northern California, Jones describes himself as "an outdoor junkie who's traveled the world -- South America, Europe, Africa, the Far East, Australia, New Zealand, to name a few places. I love the outdoors, and I've always enjoyed helping people get out of their comfort zone to develop that same appreciation."

From 1987 to 1998, Jones ran L.A. Ski & Sun Tours, a Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based company that arranged ski vacations for groups ranging in size from 1,000 to 7,000 people. "But as I got older," he says, "I felt the need to offer people a richer, more fulfilling experience."

Then destiny stepped in. "I was planning to start a business similar to Pure Kauai in Malibu, and at the time I was looking for a site, I met my future wife, Ashley, who lived on Kauai. I visited her several times and became hooked on both her and Kauai. I moved here in January of 2001 and started Pure Kauai that winter."

Today, Ashley helps run the company along with Jones' partner, James Avila.

"Our goal is to plan escapes that benefit people on all levels -- physical, emotional and spiritual," says Jones.

"Eating good foods, drinking purified water, exercising and being outdoors makes you feel incredibly alive and invigorated. We try to keep people active, challenge them, push them -- with safety always a top concern, of course."

Pure Kauai's 30-member staff includes yoga, Pilates, surfing and scuba instructors; life, relationship and golf coaches; fitness trainers; massage therapists; nutritionists; tour guides; and chefs who prepare menus that follow the Zone philosophy.

Explains Jones, "Dr. Barry Sears wrote and popularized 'The Zone,' a diet that consists of five minimeals a day to prevent overeating, burn unwanted fat and increase metabolism."

When you're not watching dolphins, you can revamp your diet to incorporate "The Zone" philosophy.

The Zone recommends a balanced portion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in a ratio of 30-30-40 percent in every meal. "We generally put people who want to build muscle and burn fat on a 'tropical Zone diet' using locally grown fruits, vegetables and fish whenever possible," Jones said.

Many Hawaii travelers rave about the value of spas in enhancing their feeling of well-being.

"Pure Kauai goes one step further," says Jones. "We don't stay at a resort all day; Kauai is our spa! We experience all of Kauai -- we walk on its beaches, eat the best of its food, spend time with its people, swim in the ocean. The most beautiful spa in the world can't compare to the beauty of Kauai."

Pure Kauai

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 223098, Princeville, HI 96722
Phone: 808-826-9801 on Kauai or toll-free 866-457-7873 from the other islands
Prices: Standard package includes a hotel room at the Hanalei Bay Resort or a similarly priced vacation rental and meals delivered to your door. Ranges from $1,250 (three days) to $6,350 (three weeks) for two. Deluxe package includes condominium accommodations at the Hanalei Bay Resort or a similarly priced vacation rental and a mix of daily private chef services and meal delivery. Ranges from $1,625 (three days) to $8,325 (three weeks) for two. Luxury package includes luxury vacation rental accommodations and daily private chef service. Ranges from $2,900 (three days) to $14,075 (three weeks) for two.
All rates are per person, including tax, tip, meals, nutritional counseling, customized health and fitness plan, and activities such as yoga, martial arts, African dance, meditation, hiking, canoe paddling, surfing, cycling, snorkeling, facials and massage. Other activities -- including helicopter tours, golf, horseback rides and sailing -- can be arranged for an additional fee. Inquire about family rates, which depend on the number and ages of the children and how many activities they choose.
What to bring: In addition to casual wear such as T-shirts and shorts, bring your swimsuit; sandals, hiking shoes, walking and water shoes; day pack; sunscreen; hat; camera; swim goggles; fins; weight-lifting goggles; and any other sports accessories that you may want.
Web site:

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi is a Honolulu-based free-lance writer and Society of American Travel Writers award winner.


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