The people behind the wildly popular ‘Shaka Guide’ are taking on national parks

A Hawaii-born startup that sells audio tours of the islands through a smartphone app is expanding to our nation's national parks.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 4:39 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 4:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A company with local roots is now making the jump to the mainland. And it could change the way tourists travel.

More and more travelers to Hawaii are opting for self-guided sightseeing tours that are sold through smartphone apps. And one of Hawaii’s oldest audio tour companies is one of the most popular: It’s called Shaka Guide.

“All of our content is expertly researched with first primary and secondary sources to make sure that the historical and cultural accuracy is maintained,” said Andrew Fowers, who started the business seven years ago with his wife.

Their concept is simple ― every place has a story.

“Everyone should have the ability to connect with the places they’re visiting on a deeper level,” he said.

The GPS tours play the narration while you drive.

Now the small business is driving into mainland markets, offering Shaka Guide tours through the nation’s national parks. It has tours for parks in Utah and Arizona, and it’s working on California and Washington state.

“Our goal is over the next two-and-a-half years to basically have 75 tours in national parks and scenic drives throughout the United States,” Fowers said.

The company isn’t just about turning a profit.

Its audio tours also tell customers how to minimize their impact on the land.

“What we’re doing as a part of Shaka Guide is not only entertaining but educating and helping these visitors to not go off trail, to pick up their trash, to be careful of wildlife,” Fowers said.

And there’s more.

A portion of the proceeds on every sale goes to non-profits to help with their sustainability efforts

“That’s something that we have as an ongoing campaign inside of our app and our website. And in the mainland. we actually have plans to launch many more,” Fowers said.

Fowers estimates his self-guided tour app has been downloaded up to 400,000 times since it went active.

And the hope is it will skyrocket now that national parks have been added.