What Happened at a Yoga Festival and Camping Expedition at the “Turtle Bay Resort”

First Published September 5, 2017
Updated April 2, 2020
by Emy Louie


Can one camp at the “Turtle Bay Resort?”

The answer is, “Yes!!!”

Once a year, during a yoga festival, an area of the resort is open for camping, but one must register for the yoga festival to camp.

If you want to camp, but you do not want to go to the organized yoga events, that certainly is a possibility. Do not let your non-interest in yoga stop you from camping at the “Turtle Bay Resort,” which is your chance to get “lepo” or get yourself dirty!

To tell you about my stay at the campgrounds of the “Turtle Bay Resort,” here are the highlights of a four-night camping adventure there, which also includes an on-site visit to a sacred place and a nature preserve. Also, while the resort was used as a home base, below are highlights of the North Shore excursions outside of the “Turtle Bay Resort” as well.

The Participants
The Racial Makeup

Regarding the demographics, there was a jumble of people at the yoga festival and the resort. They were composed of the following:

  •  visitor or volunteer or employee
  •  non-local or local
  •  male or female
  •  Caucasian, Asian or Pacific-Islander
  •  hotel room guest or camper

The primary way to determine where visitors, volunteers, and hotel employees reside was based on people’s accents.  So here is the rough breakdown:

The non-locals were composed mainly of Caucasians in their 20’s and 30’s while only a handful of non-local Asians were from the “mainland” or the continental United States. A few locals, composed of both Caucasians, Asians, or Pacific-Islanders, were visitors or volunteers.

I do not know the count of how many people camped at the “Turtle Bay Resort” verses stayed in its hotel rooms. On quick visual inspection, there seemed to be dozens of tents on the campground.

Regarding the locals present at the resort, who were not regular employees, I spoke with a Pacific Islander in her 40’s, who worked at the festival and who also camped. Of the locals who appeared to pay to attend the yoga festival versus volunteer there, I spoke with one Caucasian woman in her 60’s who stayed in a hotel room. I also spoke with one Caucasian woman in her 20’s who camped.

Thus, there were a few Asians/Pacific Islanders at the yoga festival, whether a visitor or volunteer, as there are only a few areas on Oahu where Caucasians are the majority: Lanikai, some military bases and this temporary campground.

Only a few males, visitor or volunteer, off-island or not, were around at the festival, and I caught a glimpse of one “local” Caucasian man’s conversation with two off-island Caucasian female visitors. Note: “local” is used loosely in the above context because the military population resides on the island, but after a few years, leaves. These types of temporary residents account for a large percentage of people on the island.

So, one time, I walked from one resort ground venue to another, and I overheard a conversation.

A Caucasian man in his early 20’s who was stationed on a military base said, “The locals are nice here!” and then a little later, I heard, “I have a boat!”

The two Caucasian females in their late teens, early 20’s, whom he was talking to, said, “Oh! Do you go surfing, too?”

“Yes!” he said.

The Non-Participants
The Locals Who Passed Through

Regardless of the camping and the yoga festival, I saw local fishermen and their families walk through the campground to get to Kaihalulu Beach.

A Great Way to Scare Off Non-Yoga Practitioners: Mention “Yoga Festival”

I told those who lived on Oahu about the ability to camp at “Turtle Bay Resort,” and it appeared not many of them knew about the event.

At the same time, I believe the title “Yoga Festival” scares non-yoga practitioners; then, they dismiss the event as some “haole” or foreigner or hippy event.

“I’d rather just go to the beach!” the non-yoga practitioners may think.

The title “Wanderlust” sounds even scarier! I had to look twice at the definition of “wanderlust,” which means “a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.”

The Campground at the “Turtle Bay Resort”

User Friendly, Convenient, and Clean!

Above. Here are signs at a critical juncture. From here, one can go to the campsite, Kaihalulu Beach, the wildlife sanctuary, or the lobby of “Turtle Bay Resort.”

The resort provided many way-finding signs, both temporary and permanent.

Also, the resort’s campsite offers a centralized location in the immediate area for visitors to explore, as well as for visitors to explore the rest of the North Shore of Oahu.

Since the nature preserve, mainly composed of soft sand plus 15 feet high trees scattered all about, is used only a few days a year as a campground, it is pristine.

Reception and Common Areas

Above Middle. The blue tent is the reception area.

Above Middle. Here is a dance area. On the right side of the tent, you can see the music amplifier.

Above Left. Here is a hospitality tent that includes a cell phone charging station.

Above. This picture is of a 20-foot diameter fire pit. At night, especially towards the end of the yoga festival, people lounged on the sand and rested their heads on each other’s laps. It looked like a hippie festival!

Above. Red portable toilets. To the right of that are three white colored stalls of hot showers.

Private Or Quiet Areas

Above. The blue tent is my tent.

The blue tent is my tent.

It was a clear night during the first night at the campground. I could see the stars, hear the waves lap on the shore, and feel the gentle breezes!

The Hotel Room Option

Of course, if one did not prefer to camp, there is always the option to stay overnight in a hotel room (photos not shown here) where one can lounge in the lobby or around the pool, soak in the hot tub, have a few drinks at a bar, dress up, go dancing or go to the spa.

Let us go back to the private or quiet areas of the campground.

Above. Here is a campground right next to Kaihalulu Beach. Generally, no vehicles are allowed.

Above. Tents located between trees and Kaihalulu Beach, which afforded beachfront access and oceanfront views.

In the Immediate Area
The Sacred Areas at the “Turtle Bay Resort”

Above. Alongside Kaihalulu Beach, a stone altar, in the foreground, serves both an altar and a marker.

The grounds of the “Turtle Bay Resort” provided many natural places, such as nature preserves, for recreation. Furthermore, the resort also explained and showed on-site, perhaps the only explanation on Oahu, as well as the rest of Hawaii, the perfect example of a significant ancient Hawaiian concept, land divisions, or the ahupua’a, which is a compound word composed of two words.

ahu: heap, pile; altar, shrine.

pua’a: pig, hog, swine, pork.

So, another definition of ahupua’a, is “An altar where food is offered to gods.”

In ancient Hawaii, highly respected were the boundaries of the ahupua’a. Here at the resort, in the present day, we have two functional and active markers of the ahupua’a. Only one of the two markers, which also serve as altars, is shown in this blog.

Above. Along a hike in the nature preserve, there were placards with maps and explanations, such as this one. This location is one of the few places on Oahu where the significance of the ahupua’a is explained and demonstrated.

Above. While in the resort’s nature preserve, placards with maps and explanations such as the above are very important; otherwise, passersby could walk by and miss the importance, for example, of an object, plant, or trail, which has cultural or historic significance. 

Above. I am at the farthest northern point of the golf course and the resort. On the left, in the far distance, is a National Wildlife Refuge, under the executive branch of the United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, which is dedicated to “conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats.”

Above, Birds crane their necks back and forth and make a distinct sound.

Below. Video of the birds and its sounds. Note: the clicking or knocking sounds, at five, fourteen and 26 seconds into the video, comes from the birds!

Above. A portable toilet assembly signals the boundary between the wilderness and the resort. In other words, there are cues to the visitors about where one is located or about what one should do about personal hygiene.

So, just when you may think a resort is just about trips to the spa, lounges around the pool, and bar hopping, a place such as “Turtle Bay Resort” provides an example of how a resort can offer cultural and environmental stewardship! Good job, “Turtle Bay Resort!”

Now, let us venture out to other areas outside of the resort!

Outside “Turtle Bay Resort”

Kaihalulu Beach, Kahuku, Hawaii

Above. On the beach in the far distance are a few fishermen, which look like dots in the picture.

Turtle Bay, Kahuku, Hawaii

Above. Here is a stone altar. You can see “Turtle Bay Resort” in the far distance.

Kawela Bay, Kahuku, Hawaii

Above. In the far distance, in the center of this picture, are people who practice yoga on flotation devices.

Pahipaialua Beach, Kahuku, Hawaii

Above. Here is the craggy shoreline of Pahipaialua Beach. I heard one can technically walk from here to Sunset Beach.

Above. With no convenient public beach access, the hike which heads north, dead ends around here. Because of the jagged reef, not shown here, one is not able to pass from Pahipaialua Beach to Kawela Bay.

Above. I placed my tote bag against the boulders to show the relative size between my bag and the boulder.

Haleiwa, Hawaii

Above. I am on Puu O Mahuka Road, which shows a view that overlooks Foodland Pupukea, located in the center of this picture.

Above. Entrance to a Hawaiian place of worship.

Above. A Hawaiian place of worship.

Above. The view which overlooks Waimea Bay. I heard one can see the neighbor island Kauai in the far distance

Above. A Hawaiian place of worship.

Above. Here are rocks which function as bollards to keep the automobiles away from the site of worship.

Above. A Hawaiian place of worship.

Above. At Haleiwa Beach Park was the Loko Ea Fishpond community day. Onshore was a double-hulled canoe which eventually took a short trip out into the ocean and back.

Above. ‘Anahulu River in Haleiwa.

Above, ‘Anahulu River. In the far distance, you can see the Haleiwa Bridge.

Above. Here is man-made shelter along ‘Anahulu River.

Above. Here is a boat ramp to get into the ‘Anahulu River.

Above. I am back at Haleiwa Beach Park, after the Loko Ea Fishpond community day activities subsided.

Therefore, if you stay at least four days at the “Turtle Bay Resort,” you will have time to enjoy the facilities at the resort, such as the sacred areas and the nature preserve. And you will have sufficient time to visit the nearby beaches outside of the resort, which requires more than just one day trip.

So, ladies and gentlemen, this is your once a year chance to camp at the “Turtle Bay Resort,” which provides a much more affordable option than to stay at their hotel rooms. If you stay at the resort, you can see other sights on the resort grounds and the rest of the North Shore. If you don’t stay at the resort, you will miss out on what the resort and North Shore have to offer, and if you don’t go camping at the resort and instead, you stay in one of the rooms, you will need to empty your wallet much more!


Related Links:

Proposed Ala Wai Canal “Heiau” and Lock and Dam WITH Narration, VIDEO

Proposed Ala Wai Canal “Heiau” and Lock and Dam, BLOG

The Ala Wai “Heiau,” VIDEO

“Ho’okuleana Design” ©2016, 2017

Links That May Interest You:

Kumu Hula Keali’i Reichel Visits a “Heiau,” VIDEO
Start at minute 2:46

“Wild Mustangs in Corolla, North Carolina!” BLOG

“This Side of the Hemisphere: Easy Access to Wildlife” BLOG

“Backpacking with Strangers : A Great Course for Prepping,” BLOG

“Winter Backpacking Expedition: Crunchy Snow That Never Melted,” BLOG


Emy Louie is a “kama’aina/haole” (native/non-native person) who adventures to places on Oahu, Hawai’i, where “kama’aina” do not usually go to, that tourists go to, and vice versa. She lived in Honolulu in the ’70s and ’80s and visits Honolulu annually.

A Chinese American, Emy Louie (雷慧妮) was born in Hong Kong and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i. She graduated from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in 1991 and earned a degree in Architecture.

In 1993, Ms. Louie relocated to the mainland United States and from 2007 to 2012, she hosted her radio show to interview the movers and shakers of sustainable design and green building and taught continuing education classes to design professionals.

She is president of Emy Louie, Consulting Services, which works on design, conservation, and environmental projects. Since 2018, Ms. Louie spends her time in Honolulu and Central America to do environmental field research.

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