Hiking Hawaii Cafe co-owner Crystal Evans

Take A Hike (Then Get Some Grinds)

When Crystal Evans and Fabio Vilela, owners of Waikiki’s nature-oriented adventure cafe, first conceived its concept, they knew they wanted to create a one-of-a-kind experience for patrons — a chance for people to gather together (and share a meal) in a way that’s good for the body and the soul.

It was with this vision that the business partners created Hiking Hawaii Cafe.

“The idea came to me as I was sitting at my desk job,” Evans recalls. “I wanted to do something with my life that was my passion. If I was going to work, I wanted to incorporate my hobby into my job and make just enough money to keep doing it. I didn’t want to be rich, just happy.”

Evans originally is from California, while Vilela hails from Brazil. The pair met while working in the sales and marketing industry, where they bonded over their love for Hawaii’s breathtaking views and stunning scenery. They soon realized they also had a mutual desire to encourage others to get out and enjoy nature.

“I think it’s important for (everyone) to get out of Waikiki and see Oahu,” explains Evans. “My favorite thing about hiking is the fact that you’re getting exercise without feeling like you’re working out. I love exploring and the feeling of accomplishment when you’ve completed a new trail you’ve never been on.”

Hiking Hawaii Cafe offers a range of options for outdoor enthusiasts to choose from, including six guided hike/day packages, as well as custom hikes and private tour options. On their website, as well as at the cafe itself, customers can read a brief description of each excursion — from hike highlights, to the trail’s difficulty level, to how long each journey will take. Plus, you can get a gander at past hikers’ snapshots from the trips.

“I tried to pick trails that were for everyone: families, elders, etc.,” says Evans. And when asked what her personal favorite hike is, Evans says: “I love Kuliouou. It’s a great workout and (offers) one of the best views.”

As far as safety and advice goes, Evans has these helpful hints to share: “Know what you’re getting yourself into. Start early. Read up about the hike ahead of time. Bring plenty of water. Invest in good shoes. And I always throw (an energy) bar in my bag with a head lamp — just in case!”

And if all this outdoor excitement weren’t enough, check out the cafe portion of Hiking Hawaii Cafe, complete with wholesome grinds to get you going. With vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, the health-conscious eatery has something for everyone.

“I love food and cooking, and being healthy,” says Evans. “So I decided my two passions in life — hiking and eating — would be my business venture.”


Hiking Hawaii Cafe has provided a couple of trail recommendations to get you started


Difficulty Level: Moderate
Length: Two miles round-trip
What you’ll see: For those new nature lovers looking to just wet their feet in the wild beyond, this trail may be to your liking, with its paved pathway leading along a moderate ascent of scenic shoreline. It’ll take you right past a lovely historic lighthouse built circa 1909. Bonus: If the waves permit, you can even venture down to take a dip in the tide pools below the trail.

A look at the Makapuu Lighthouse trail.  PHOTOS BY ANDY BETH MILLER

A look at the Makapuu Lighthouse trail.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Length: Five miles round-trip
What you’ll see: For those adventurers really wanting to break a sweat, this trail takes you on a trek through Norfolk pine forests and guava groves. It all culminates in a sweet summit with an almost 360-degree view as your reward.