Valley Isle Excursions Road to Hana Tour http://tourmaui.com Maui Tours Of The Road to Hana Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:16:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Maui Ancient Historyhttp://tourmaui.com/maui-ancient-history/ http://tourmaui.com/maui-ancient-history/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 18:05:53 +0000 http://www.tourmaui.com/?p=3898 Along the Road to Hana Ancient Hawaiians were a people without writing who preserved their history in chants and legends. Maui’s ancient history was passed down through the generations by the Kahuna priests (wise men) of old Hawaii.  Hana, on the eastern side of Maui, has some of the richest and most vibrant history of the entire [...]

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Along the Road to Hana

Ancient Hawaiians were a people without writing who preserved their history in chants and legends.

Maui’s ancient history was passed down through the generations by the Kahuna priests (wise men) of old Hawaii.  Hana, on the eastern side of Maui, has some of the richest and most vibrant history of the entire Hawaiian island Maui Hana Helicopterchain.

Empires were born in Hana and many battles were fought here, not just for the right to rule Maui but also for the conquest of the entire island chain. Hana was invaded many times by Alii (rulers) from the Big Island of Hawaii. It was common for kings from both Maui and the Big Island to rule multiple islands from this lush paradise. Unfortunately, only the last few hundred years of history is archived.

What exists today is largely taken from what was chronicled by sea captains in the late 1700’s, missionaries, Hawaiian language newspapers in the 1800′s and later by historians in the 1900’s. Information was gathered from the living descendants who still remembered the ancient stories and chants. Many of these accounts and stories are archived at Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

As you travel along the road to Hana keep in mind that it is not only a stunningly beautiful drive but that it also has many amazing stories of life in ancient times.  The reverence Maui’s locals have for Hana is anchored in their ancient connection to the land and these stories of their ancestors.  It would be a challenge for anyone to learn about the many accounts of Maui’s ancient history on a one day trip to Hana. It is best to take a Hana tour with a knowledgeable guide who can point out the places and stories that connect the ancient history of Hana with modern day Maui.

In ancient Maui, Hana was an area favored by the Alii (royalty) and became the seat of power for the entire island. Until the 1400s, Maui was divided into three territories with different rulers: Wailuku (West Maui), Lele (East Maui), and Hanahonomanu maui road to hana (East Maui). Around 1550, King Pi’ilani married the daughter of Hoolae from Hana, resulting in the unification of East and West Maui, thereby making a joint royal family ruling Maui. Peace and prosperity was experienced during the family’s reign.   The largest Heiau (Hawaiian Temple) ever found in the pacific is located in Hana. It is called Pi’ilanihale.

Chief Pi’ilani’s greatest accomplishment was that he commissioned many significant “public works” projects.  It took Pi’ilani his lifetime and that of his two sons to complete the building of fish ponds, irrigation fields and paved roads, some of which were 4 to 6 feet wide that traveled around the entire island. Amazingly, this includes what we know today as the Road to Hana. After the completion of this road it united the villages and chiefs of the island and made Maui one of the most powerful of all the islands.  So powerful, in fact, it became a major goal of Kamehameha The Great to conquer it.

The first European explorer to see Maui was Captain James Cook on November 26, 1778, but he was not able to land on Maui. On May 29, 1786, it was French Admiral Jean-Francois de Galaup La Perouse who first set foot on Maui by landing on the shores of what is now known as La Perouse Bay.  He continued around the island to Hana where he made note of it’s beauty and wild sugar cane.

Soon after the first western contact with Captain James Cook in the Hawaiian islands it is said that KingHawaii ancient history illustration Kamehameha of the Big Island procured canons and armaments seized from British ships.  He then built a fleet of war canoes estimated to be 1000 strong that could hold between 20 and 100 men each. His first conquest was Hana. As you travel the road to Hana just imagine the scene, estimated to have happened in 1790, of 1000 sailing canoes offshore. ancient Hawaii etching

King Kamehameha invaded at points stretching from Hana Bay to Hamoa Bay along the Hana coast.*  Their arrival was sounded by messengers who ran the foot paths from Kaupo to Hana Bay and beyond to as far as Honomanu announcing the call to arms. It is said the battle raged throughout the Hana coast. Maui warriors repelled the invaders several times.

One account speaks of Maui warriors who were skilled in the art of slinging stones. *  It was said they could throw stones 100 to 200 yards from shore accurately enough to kill warriors and damage canoes. As you travel through Hana town look for a steep hill at the south end of Hana Bay, this is Ka’uiki Hill. In ancient times it was a fortress which was the fall back position for Hana’s inhabitants and warriors in times of war.

The battle for Maui’s rule ended when it was conquered by Kamehameha.  His army chased the Maui warriors into Iao Valley along the eastern shore of the West Maui Mountains. It was such a bloody battle that it is said the bodies damned up Iao Stream!

Kamehameha set up his new Kingdom of Hawaii in the village of Lahaina, known then as Lele.  He married into the Maui Alii (royalty) by taking a wife by the name of Maui historyKaahumanu, who was born in Hana.  This is how the conquering Alii of Hawaii cemented their control of the community through social and political structures.  Lahaina remained the capitol from 1802 until it was moved to Honolulu in 1845.

Kamehameha first began trading with the foreigners after conquering the Oahu chiefs.  At first the main export was salt, but soon it was overshadowed by the sandalwood trade which destroyed the three layered canopy rainforest covering the mountain slopes of every island in a few short years.  With the proceeds Kamehameha built an estimated 30+ European style ships.

Some of the first westerners to arrive in Maui observed a well organized caste society.  The Hawaiians had mastered many aspects of living including the creation of stone tools and an incredibly strong rope made from coconut fiber. The concept of private property was unknown to ancient Hawaiians but they did have an ingenious system of land management known as the Ahupua’a. Several of the early sea captains who arrived in Maui saw the rich resources of Hana as a way to make a living and began cultivating the sugar cane which grew wild. Eventually Hana was the location for one of Hawaii’s first sugar cane mills in 1849.  By 1883 there were six in the area.  The original trail constructed by Hana’s Chief Pi’ilani hundreds of years earlier was finished as a roadway in 1926.  It is what we call the road to Hana today.

So as you travel the road to Hana keep in mind that this area was the cornerstone of an ancient struggle to control all of Hawaii.  Please travel with the same respect and reverence that the Hawaiian people have for this sacred landscape.

 A Brief Chronology of Hana History

* 1550 (est) – Maui Chief Pi’ilani rules Hana in a time of peace and prosperity.  He orders the building of a trail system circling Maui, thus uniting the entire island.

 • 1759 to 1779 – Kalani’opu’u of the Big Island captured and held power over Hana. Eventually, West Maui chief Kahekili surrounded him and forced Kalani’opu’u to retreat to defenses on Ka’uiki Hill. Kahekili defeated him by stopping all freshwater flow to the hill and forcing them to surrender.

• 1768 – Queen Ka’ahumanu was born in a cave at Ka’uiki Hill. She was King Kamehameha’s favorite wife and largely responsible for the abolition of the Kapu System.

* 1790 – King Kamehameha invades Maui and conquers the island with the help of British armaments.

*1794 – King Kamehameha brings all the island under his rule and establishes Lahaina as the capitol of the Hawaiian kingdom.

• 1849 – Sugarcane is introduced to Hana via a sugar mill by George Wilfong. In 1883, there were 6 plantations in operation. Before this Hana and the neighboring Ko’olau districts survived by cultivating dryland taro and local fishing.

• 1926 – The original Hana Highway was completed. It was a gravel 1-lane road.

Sights of Maui by Elspeth P. Sterling – Bishop Museum Publishing

*Moses Manu, The Story of Kihapiilani, Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Aug. 9, 1884.  MS SC Sterling

*S.M. Kamakau, Ruling Chiefs of Hawaii, Translated from the newspaper Ke Au Okoa  1961 SC Sterling

*Abraham Fornander, An Account of the Polynesian Race: Its Origins and Migrations  London 1876-85

*Pi’opi’o State Park signage- Hilo, Hawaii – Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association, Mamalahoe Chapter

Maui parks front street lahaina hawaii history Hawaiian artifact ancient Hawaii artifact Pools of Oheo Hale Maui ancient artifact Hawaii ancient history modern version maui hana bay Maui road to hana

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Maui Tropical Fruithttp://tourmaui.com/maui-tropical-fruit/ http://tourmaui.com/maui-tropical-fruit/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 01:04:34 +0000 http://www.tourmaui.com/?p=3872 Where to find the best Maui tropical fruit It goes without saying that you will try some of Maui’s tropical fruit while visiting the island.   Probably on your first meal outing.  Papaya, mango and pineapple are on just about every menu no matter where you go.  But those who live on the island know [...]

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Where to find the best Maui tropical fruit

It goes without saying that you will try some of Maui’s tropical fruit while visiting the island.  

Probably on your first meal outing.  Papaya, mango and pineapple are on just about every menu no matter where you go.  But those who live on the island know there are many varieties of fruits throughout the island and knowing things like the times of year when certain fruits ripen or perhaps a tree and or farm location that the fruits originate from can make a difference.

One of the reason the fruit is so amazing in Maui, I think, is because Hawaii has always been an agricultural society.  The ancient Hawaiians created land divisions based on food production.  Known as an ahupua’a these land divisions started in the mountains and ran all the way to the ocean. They used the lush valleys and streams for farming by building terraced growing beds called Loi which diverted water into the fields and returned it to a nearby stream.  Where these streams entered the ocean a village was built along with fish ponds reaching from shore out into the ocean and back again forming large, in some cases huge, stone fences near the mouth of streams and rivers.  Nutrients from stream runoff fed the fish which where easily caught within the pond.  This system of sustainable food production supported a large population for hundreds of years.  Today most of Hawaii’s food is flown in but there is still a large network of local food on the island… if you know where to look.

Lately farmers markets and fruit stands are showing up more and more in Maui.  Locals and visitors alike are seeking them out and getting into the movement of farm to table freshness.  It’s hard to go wrong wherever you may find fresh fruit in Maui but here are some tips that will help you get your hands and taste buds on some of the best fresh fruit Maui has to offer.

Tip # 1 – Grocery stores.mango banana pineapple of maui

Safeway, Foodland, Whole Foods, and Costco all have tropical fruit selections.  Look closely however because these big stores bring in produce from around the world and not all of it is local.  Sometimes you may see displays in the produce section for local fruit which is good but check it closely – may not always be the ripest.  Also the prices can be somewhat high compared to farmers markets and fruit stands.  However, that doesn’t mean it’s not good fruit.  More and more of these stores are working with local farmers to bring local organic food to their store shelves.  Hooray for that!  Also the health food stores in Maui are excellent!  Down to Earth in Kahului and Mana Foods in Paia have a fantastic selection of organic fruits that is far better that most grocery stores. Bring a fat wallet though….

Tip #2 – Farmers Markets.hana maui fruit

To find a farmers market in Maui the best thing to do is check out the Maui County Farm Bureau websight.  It’s a comprehensive list that covers the entire island and these farmers markets usually offer many kinds of vegetables along with fresh fruit.  Farming vegetables in Hawaii is not as easy as it would seem because of insects and the heat. However fruit is fairly easy to maintain. That is why just about everyone has some type of fruit tree growing in their yard.

The Maui Swap Meet in Kahului on saturdays is a great place to taste some delicious fruit samples as well as baked goods and dishes made with Maui’s tropical fruits as well as crafts and art. Though many of Maui’s farmers markets have some wonderfully tasty produce and have locations throughout the island the main challenge with them is they are not open every day, as you can see from the farm bureau link.  A nice alternative is the ability to not only try some great fruit but to have it shipped back home.  Check out Mr Pineapple in Kahului.  They have a great location that is right along the way to the airport.

Tip #3 – Fruit Stands.maui tropical fruit

Maui has an amazing array of fruit stands.  These stands are also located in various areas throughout the island and are usually open daily.  If you think you’ve had some great smoothies wait until you try one made with fresh sugar cane juice!  Yum!  These stand are usually easy to find as you explore the island and offer some fantastic homemade treats like coconut candy or Macadamia nut brittle.  Some even offer entrees like smoked chicken and fish.  I tend to look for fruits types that are hard to find like large smooth skinned avocados, Tahitian yellow limes, or lychee.  The small apple bananas are amazing too along with rainbow papaya, which I love to bring home.  It really is endless but at some point you have to get picky.  It’s a bummer to have more than you can eat. Having to watch it spoil is somewhat heartbreaking.

Tip#4 – Hana Fruit Stands.maui fruit stand

One of the best areas on the island to find these amazing fruit stands and farmer’s markets is along the road to Hana.  This is the rainforest side of the island with a rich history of farming.  Many battles were fought in this area in ancient times for the resources of food and fresh water that are so abundant in Hana.  Consequently some of the largest and oldest fruit trees grow here.  While taking a Hana tour our guide sstopped at a small fruit stand near Hana’s black sand beach where we found the most amazing avocados I’ve ever eaten.  They were huge!  At around 2 lbs each and about as big as half a loaf of bread, they an incredible flavor of smoked almonds. She said it was her favorite tree in Maui.

You could spend all day just stopping at the huge array of Maui fruit stands in Hana.  They range from buckets at the end of a driveway with a sign and a pay box to fully enclosed buildings with a kitchen.  Some of my favorites are Twin Falls Farm Stand (awesome smoothies) and Sandy’s Fruit Stand at Ke’anae Peninsula (amazing banana bread)

There are many opportunities to try Maui’s fresh tropical fruit, so be sure to keep an eye out for trying all the varieties of fruit as you drive around.  You won’t regret taking the time to stop and sample one of the best things about a Maui visit – Tropical fruit!


Aloha Nui Loa

van-stop-at-fruit-stand Shopping for Fresh Fruit on Maui Family fruit stand Maui Road to Hana fruit stands farm fresh tropical fruit maui fruit Maui fruit Maui fruit stand Hana Fresh maui fruit stand hana fruit stand maui hana maui fruit farm maui tropical fruit stand hana maui fruit maui fruit stand maui fruit maui hana fruit stand maui tropical fruit stand hana

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Road to Hana – Top 10 Things to Dohttp://tourmaui.com/road-to-hana-top-10-things/ http://tourmaui.com/road-to-hana-top-10-things/#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2014 18:50:42 +0000 http://www.tourmaui.com/?p=3801 There is so much to do and see on the road to Hana that most people miss something that they wish they had the time for.  This is why Maui has one of the highest return rates in the destination travel industry. The road to Hana on Maui’s lushly rugged east side is a stunning [...]

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There is so much to do and see on the road to Hana that most people miss something that they wish they had the time for.

 This is why Maui has one of the highest return rates in the destination travel industry.

The road to Hana on Maui’s lushly rugged east side is a stunning yet spooking adventure into the heart of what most people dream about when they think of Hawaii: tropical waterfalls, pristine beaches and delicious fruit hanging everywhere in the rainforest.  The road to Hana is definitely all of these and more.  It does take some planning though, and unless you’re on a tour van where everything is taken care of you could end up feeling stressed out.  That’s the opposite of what a vacation is supposed to be.

The road to Hana is an all day journey that never gets old.  It seems there is always something new to be discovered.   New flowers, new views, new hikes, new waterfalls, new roads, new fruit stands, new seasons and constantly changing weather.  At the same time there are many things that do not change.  The ancient landscape of waterfalls, peninsulas, farms, flowers, and forests have coexisted in this rugged jungle environment for centuries.  Having spent just over a decade traveling and photographing the road to Hana I have developed a list of my tried and true favorites.

As a professional photographer who has lived in Maui for over 18 years, I have been blessed to work with many of Maui’s tour businesses.  Over the years I have photographed tours on boats, helicopters, bicycles, horseback, paragliding, zipline courses, golf courses and even submarines, but my all time favorite location in Maui to photograph is the road to Hana.  I have traveled the road in every way imaginable and there are some differences between taking a tour and driving yourself, so I’ll try and address these differences as I go.  Just remember if you go alone, leave early and pick several stops that look the most interesting and try spending a little more time there.  Consequently you may have to bypass some of the not so interesting stops, but in my opinion you can’t see it all in one day anyways.  If that’s you’re goal, take a tour.

So here are my top 10 things to do and see along the road to Hana.

The Hana Rainforestmaui rainforest

Once you’ve gone through the town of Paia and past Hookipa Bay the road starts to get narrow and winding.  For the most part the view is mostly rock walls and dense rainforest gultches sprinkled with an occasional view of the ocean.  That’s why I like to stop within the first 30 to 45 minutes of the drive just to get out and see the trees and forest up close.  There are not a lot of hiking trails along this road and for good reason… one wrong step and it can be hundreds of feet free fall to the ocean.  If you’re on a tour van this is not an issue as a guide knows where all the safe stops are.  I like stopping at the painted eucalyptus trees for a couple of quick photos and a nice leg stretch to start the day.

Ke’anae Peninsularoad to hana ocean

This is a great place to stop and get a feel for how wild and raw the Hana coastline really is.  The view looking back from where you just traveled is stunning.  This is also a bathroom stop and the banana bread stand at Ke’anae Landing is excellent.  Be careful of going out too far on the lava rocks though.  The tide pools are fascinating but rogue waves can show up at anytime here.  Several people have been injured or lost their lives at this location from these waves.  A tour guide can show you where the big waves hit and share some history about the old stone church that sits a few yards from the bathrooms.

Black Sand Beachwaianapanapa state park hana

Waianapanapa State Park is an amazing place where you’ll not only get to walk on Maui’s black sand beach but there are interesting paths, trails, lava tubes and fresh water caves to explore.  Walk the path along the coast and you’ll discover a blow hole, ocean cliffs and amazing native plants.  There is camping here which is first come first serve and several “primitive” cabins that must be reserved in advance.  Staying the night in Hana is really one of the best ways to see and experience this side of the island but if you only have a day this is a fantastic place to spend some time.  If your on a tour this is a good 45  to 60 minute stop with the added benefit of local stories and history thrown in.

Fruit Standshana fruit

Farmers markets have increased greatly in Maui over the last few years but fruit stands throughout the Hana area have been around for decades and are well known to have the best variety and sweetness.  Many of these stands have smoothies for sale made with fresh sugar cane juice, which is my favorite.  I usually stop at several because I’m always on the lookout for my favorites like apple bananas, Tahitian lilikoi and the big prize… monster avocados!  Whatever you find I recommend getting a little more than you think you can eat.  By the time you get back to your hotel or condo you’ll wish you had more.  Tour drivers know what’s ripening when and who has the best trees and thus, the tastiest fruit.

Koki BeachHana beaches

This reddish gold sand beach is on the other side of Hamoa beach.  Hamoa beach is well known in the guidebooks but very small and it can be difficult to park and hike down to it.  Koki beach is much more accessible and beautiful in my opinion since Alau Island can be seen just off shore from here.  The red cinder cone behind this beach has a great ancient Hawaiian legend I learned about from a tour guide.  Always something new….

Foodhana picnic

Since this road is a 10 to 12 hour drive you should have a plan for lunch.  You can bring your own food and supplement it with fresh Hana fruits and banana bread, or you can grab a burger or sandwich at Hana Ranch Restaurant in Hana town.  Hasagawa General store has groceries also, but be prepared to pay a premium for OK food.  If you’re on a van tour this is not an issue.  Food is usually provided but be sure to ask what kind of food.  Hana van tours have various food choices.  They can often range from a simple sandwich and chips to a full picnic meal with beverages all day to a stop at a Hana restaurant.  Whatever you do be sure to have your food and beverages together when traveling this road.  There are not a lot of choices for food along the way but I am seeing more roadside BBQ places.

West Wailua WaterfallHana waterfalls

The road to Hana has many waterfalls of various sizes and configurations, but the iconic waterfall most photographed is West Wailua.  Located between Hana town and the Pools of Oheo, this waterfall is one of the largest seen along the road.  Here you’ll find some decent parking (by Hana road standards) and various locals selling handmade items of all kinds. It’s a beautiful “quick stop” for a photo and a plumeria flower hair clip.  You can also hike down and take a dip in this waterfall pool, but the next stop is much better for swimming, weather permitting of course.

Pools of OheoHana bridges

Located about 15 minutes down the road from Wailua Falls is Haleakala National Park’s Kipahulu area that includes the Pools of Oheo.  After you buy a pass at the gate there is multi level parking, a visitor center and a wonderful trail system. The trail down towards the ocean takes you in a loop all the way around to the pools and back.  The trail heading upill leads across the road and up into Oheo gulch, which is an epic hike through bamboo forest and jungle streams to the incredible 400’ Waimoku Falls.  It’s about an hour long hike mostly uphill. Since most people arrive at the pools late in the day, and this hike is best left for an overnight stay or camping at Kipahulu, in my opinion.  It is an amazing place in the morning light and I love camping here, but I’ve seen dozens of people scrambling up this trail as I was coming down at sunset thinking they can squeeze this hike in.  I tell them there is not much to see in the dark!  If you’re on a tour this should be a good hour long stop.  This is plenty of time to find out how cold the water is and hike the 1 mile loop trail.

Kaupomaui kaupo

Known in Maui as “the backside” Kaupo is a landscape of stunning contrast to the winding rainforest roads of Hana.  This area is where Haleakala laid down a steep but flowing mountainside that is the shortest distance from ocean to the 10,000’ summit on the island.  Stark and somewhat barren it is none the less breathtaking in it’s scope and vastness. It is also some of the roughest road you’ll find in Maui.  Not a problem for a tour van built for the road, but some rental cars may give you quite a jostling.  Some of the canyons seen along this side of the island are enormous and speak to an ancient past when this was the wet side of the island instead of the dry side it is today.  It is also the location of Maui’s newest wind farm because of the strong winds that get funneled between islands here.

Tedeschi Winerymaui winery

The history of the Ulupalakua ranch lands here in what is known as Upcountry Maui dates back to 1845 and includes visits by Hawaii’s royalty.  Wine grapes were first planted here in the early 1970’s and while waiting several years for the vines to mature it was decided to try making wine with something readily available – pineapples.  It turned out to be popular and thus started the Tedeschi Winery venture.  Today the wines are superb with varieties for most palates including their well known pineapple wine.  I don’t really care for sweet wines but the Plantation Red is excellent! Walking throughout this property is one of my favorite things to do and photograph in Maui.  If you’re planning on a tour be sure to ask if wine tasting at Tedeschi winery is on the list.  It’s a great way to finish off a spectacular adventure like the road to Hana!


Aloha Nui Loa Alau Island Offshore of Koki Beach Road to Hana fruit stands black sand beach and cave Hana Fruit Stand Hana Rainforest Trees Maui black sand Hana camping Maui waterfalls in Hana Hana's Black Sand Beach 1 hanamauipicnic Kaupo Maui Kaupo view with people Lava rock shoreline at Keanae Maui keanae waves Hamoa area of road to Hana Rainforest Road to Hana Tedeschi winery Maui winery upcountry Hana swimming and hiking in Kipahulu and Oheo Gulch Waterfalls on Road to Hana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Driving in Maui and the Road to Hanahttp://tourmaui.com/driving-in-maui/ http://tourmaui.com/driving-in-maui/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 23:05:14 +0000 http://www.tourmaui.com/?p=3755 Maui Sightseeing by Car Getting to the airport, security lines, layovers and feverishly counted hours on a plane and you’ve finally made it to Maui. Now you can relax.  Except now there are so many things to see and do.  Exploring in a car in Maui actually has it’s own level of stress.  The narrow [...]

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Maui Sightseeing by Car

Getting to the airport, security lines, layovers and feverishly counted hours on a plane and you’ve finally made it to Maui.

Now you can relax.  Except now there are so many things to see and do.  Exploring in a car in Maui actually has it’s own level of stress.  The narrow roads often have little or hard to understand signage. Intermittent wifi and cell reception mingle with the often chaotic traffic.  Locals commuting to and from work coupled with thousands of lost visitors can make driving in Maui stressful.  Luckily the best thing about driving in Maui is that it’s beautiful wherever you go and rarely is it difficult to find a beach or park to pull into when you’ve decided you’ve gone far enough.Olowalu area beaches Maui

Having lived in Maui for close to two decades I can tell you that the roads have improved a lot over the last few years.  The divided four lane expansion of Mokulele Highway running between Kahului and Kihei was completed 2008 and last year Maui’s first roundabout was built.  These are much needed upgrades for sure, but the best advice I could give you about driving in Maui is to leave early, be patient, slow down and use the “Shaka”.  For the locals this “hang loose” hand symbol is waved for everything from lane mergers to stop signs.  Be sincere and use it generously.  You may find traffic, and your vacation, suddenly running smoothly.

Depending on where you’re from you may also find that driving in Maui is quite pleasantly different.  It can be adventurous and safe with amazing views.  I especially enjoy the roads in the upcountry area which includes Haleakala National Park.

Highway 30 running from Kahului to Lahaina is well kept and widened in recent years.  It is best to avoid being on this road during the two daily rush hours of approximately 8-9am and 4-5pm weekdays.  Aside from the rare road closure due to brush fires or car accidents this road has plenty of beauty with fantastic scenery. The Papawai Scenic Lookout is a parking area along the Pali.  It sits high on a cliff and overlooks two neighbor islands plus the slopes of Haleakala.  The sunsets and whale watching from here are stunning.  There are also plenty of surf spots up and down this coastline because of the shallow reef.  Snorkeling here is great too but whether you snorkel or surf be careful… this shallow reef is fragile and very sharp!

Of course one of the most famous and adventurous drives on the planet, much less the island of Maui, is the Road to Hana.  Without compare it can be the highlight of any Hawaii vacation.  However, with over 600 hairpin turns and some 50 plus one lane bridges, it is not for the squeamish.  Those who live here know that the road to Hana is not just a road with great views.  The road to Hana is a culture; it’s a lifestyle that is hundreds of years old yet it has fairly modern attributes if you know where to look.  It is for all of us who live on the island a heavenly place to recharge and relax, but few wish to drive it themselves.Hana Highway views

That’s why we go in groups.  I know I’m always looking for someone to do the driving on the road to Hana so I can take pictures and enjoy the scenery along the way.

If you’re visiting on vacation the road to Hana can feel more like the road to !#%*.  With so much to see it’s hard to know the timing of stops.  “Should we stop at this waterfall/wayside/overlook/fruit stand, or keep going to the next one?”  Sure, you can get a map, GPS, guide book and the audio CD, but then you could easily get distracted by all that stuff.  How?  Well when the wi-fi doesn’t work, the mile marker is missing and the guidebook sends you down a road that’s been gated you may start to use the term “road to !#%*”.  Until you’ve done the road to Hana a few times, it’s difficult to know what’s where and how much time to allow for a particular stop.  If the timing is off you could end up driving back on this winding jungle road in the dark.  It really does take some planning.  Or you could just book a Hana tour and be done with it.

I highly recommend considering a road to Hana tour.  Having a professional guide do the driving plus share stories ofwaianapanapa state park hana life and culture of the whole island is worth every penny.  What you will learn about the history and lifestyle of Maui can be compared to reading 5 or 6 books about the island, all in one day!  This truly is the best way to get your bearings about Maui and the road to Hana in a safe and comfortable environment.

Either way you owe it to yourself to get out on the road to Hana however you can.  This is one of the top 5 scenic drives in the WORLD and should not be missed!

Aloha Nui Loa road to hana road views driving maui hansen road Hana road one lane winding-cliffside-road Waves And Hikers At Keanae Waterfalls on Road to Hana East Maui irrigation system Forests and ocean view from Kula View East From Keanae Peninsula Van on Rough Kaupo Side Ukumahame Beach Looking East Pools of Oheo Swimmers maui-backside-road Kaupo Gap Kaumahina-State-Wayside

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Maui Beach Weddingshttp://tourmaui.com/maui-beach-weddings/ http://tourmaui.com/maui-beach-weddings/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 18:06:58 +0000 http://www.tourmaui.com/?p=3701 Maui Beach Wedding – Do it Yourself! Maui beach weddings are big business on Maui.   Being a professional photographer on the island for over 20 years I’ve shot many weddings, mostly back in the 90’s and several for friends since 2000.  Lots of people come here to get married because of the simplicity.  A [...]

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Maui Beach Wedding – Do it Yourself!

Maui beach weddings are big business on Maui.  

Being a professional photographer on the island for over 20 years I’ve shot many weddings, mostly back in the 90’s and several for friends maui wedding on the beachsince 2000.  Lots of people come here to get married because of the simplicity.  A couple friends on the beach, a minister and a photographer is really all you need.  It wasn’t until I decided to get married myself on the beach did I find out exactly what’s involved.

First off you have to pick your beach.  This is because the permit needed to have a Maui beach wedding requires 2 maui wedding licensethings: 1st – a permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and 2nd – they require event insurance.  I first checked with my insurance agent to see if my home insurance had any kind of event coverage.  I actually did – up to $100,000 but the state of Hawaii requires $500,000.  After getting a quote of $250 from an on island agent I decided to call DLNR to see what exactly was required from them.  My call was eventually routed to Steve Molnen who is in charge of wedding permits at the DLNR offices in Honolulu.  He was wonderful and let me know insurance could be found on-line.  All permitting is done on-line through e-mails.  I found an on-line insurer for $65 which got me $2 million in coverage!  I scanned and e-mailed Steve the policy and he sent me a code that would enable me to “pull” the permit.  He suggested I wait till the day of the wedding to pull the permit in case of weather or unexpected delays.  Once it is issued there is no refund.  It cost $20 to use 100 square foot of the beach.  He also let me know that the general rule is that the wedding party for a Maui beach wedding should be no more than 25-30 people.  Any bigger and you should start looking into a private property situation.  He said they have never denied a permit and that over 600 weddings per month are permitted throughout the state.  I very much appreciated his help.

Next thing for us was to find a minister. Since both my fiance and I have lived on Maui for over 17 years we put the word out on Facebook that we were looking for someone to marry us.  Eventually we found Julia Hill at Hawaii Wedding Company  through our long time friend Katie. She was fantastic and helped with our wedding vows and arranging the progression of the ceremony. Julia also shared with us the info on where to apply for a marriage license.  The local registrar’s name is Cynthia (808-875-8459) and she had an office in her house in Kihei.  We called and made an appointment.  She said she was quite busy but was able to schedule us in a couple days, so don’t leave this till the last minute.Hawaiian monarch butterfly

We mentioned to Julia that we were thinking of having a butterfly release and she directed us to a company who provides Hawaiian Monarch butterflies for weddings.  We were excited to have this as part of our wedding and also to be involved with re-introducing a native species of butterfly to the aina (land).

Next we needed flowers.  Our good friend Robert Bendivese of Cloud Flower Protea had us stop by the farm and took us out into the fields to pick flowers.  It was amazing to watch him put together a beautiful bouquet in about 1 minute.  He had buckets of flowers to choose from and it was wonderful to lay out how our circle of flowers would look like that we planned to have on the beach for our ceremony. Our friends daughters also made us flower leis from their plumeria trees in their back yard!

maui secret cove wedding circle

As I have photographed many Maui beach weddings and have seen some great ceremonies we decided to have one with some Hawaiian as well as native american type elements involved.  First off for the ceremony I laid out a circle of flowers on the beach. Next I marked the four directions around the circle , north south east and west, with flowers.  Using the circle allowed all our friends to encircle us during the ceremony.  Our bridesmaids and groomsmen were couples standing at each of the four directions with us and the minister in the middle of the circle.  During the ceremony we went to each directional spot and the couples there shared their hopes and wishes for us with us.  We then released the butterflies.  They were delivered to us at the beach before the ceremony.  They were in individual paper boxes in a cooler.  We were instructed to take them out of the cooler a few minutes before releasing them but we forgot.  When the boxes where opened they were still cool and did not fly away.  This turned out to be a great thing as we were able to get some great photos with them before they flew into a nearby tree.  Another thing that made our Maui beach wedding so special to us was that there were two turtles (considered a Hawaiian blessing) in the ocean nearby the entire time.

After our “kiss the bride” moment we invited everyone inside the circle for hugs and congrats.  We then waded into the water and out onto some rocks to be photographed with the turtles.  A second Hawaiian blessing came in the form of light rain showers after finishing the wedding photos which were shot by our good friend Steven Hodges.  Rain is rare for this part of Maui as the Wailea area is a very dry part of the island with an annual rainfall of only 4 inches.  It was truly magical!maui wedding couple and turtle

Because we have many friends in Maui and wished to keep things simple we decided to have our reception poolside at our condo in Wailea.  The property at the Wailea Grand Champions Villa was perfect for this and not far from the beach where we planned to have the ceremony.  We saved a lot of money shopping at Costco and cooking the food ourselves with the help of friends.  We made 3 big pans of chicken and crab enchiladas (our wedding was on May 5th, Cinco De Mayo) and everyone had plenty to eat.  It was fun to play around in the pool (especially for the kids) and afterwards our friends daughters did hula dances for us.  It was an incredible day we will always remember!

There are many ways to get married on Maui and this is just one of them.  We actually saw two other weddings, one at the Four Seasons and one at Mana Kai Resort.  They both looked like everyone was having an amazing time! We really enjoyed the way our beach wedding all came together and we did save quite a bit of money.  Of course any savings were actually spent on some outstanding meals at places like the 4 Seasons Wailea and activities like a road to Hana tour, which is a Maui must do.  However you decide to do a Maui beach wedding there is one thing that’s for sure, Maui is an amazing place to get married!


Aloha Nui Loa maui wedding on the beach maui beach circle wedding happily mauied wedding maui bride and groom Maui flower farmer and guest maui flower farm maui protea flower farm maui protea flower farm kihei beaches maui four seasons resort maui

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving Day in Maui – Top 5 Things to Dohttp://tourmaui.com/thanksgiving-day-in-maui/ http://tourmaui.com/thanksgiving-day-in-maui/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2013 16:48:17 +0000 http://www.tourmaui.com/?p=3519 There are many ways to enjoy Thanksgiving day in Maui and I won’t go into everyone of them here but I will share with you my Top 5 Things To Do if you’re visiting Maui for Thanksgiving. Having lived for close to 20 years in Hawaii I have experienced Thanksgiving day in Maui in dozens [...]

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There are many ways to enjoy Thanksgiving day in Maui and I won’t go into everyone of them here but I will share with you my Top 5 Things To Do if you’re visiting Maui for Thanksgiving.

maui upcountry keokea

Upcountry Maui is home to these beautiful Poinsettia which grow into large hedges and begin turning red in late November

Having lived for close to 20 years in Hawaii I have experienced Thanksgiving day in Maui in dozens of different ways.  Ohana (family) in Hawaii is a big deal.  Hawaiians can chant their family lineage back hundreds of years.  However, even if you’re not a local Hawaiian,  everyone living in Maui develops an ohana of friends who make up for family far away on the mainland during the holidays.

November is a very special time of year on the island.

The Humpback whales have returned to frolic in Maui waters by mid November and the winter rains have plumped up the green foliage of the mountain slopes making them stand out against the blue sky.  The winter swells bring large waves to all sides of the island and the Poinsettia plants that grow into large hedges here begin to turn red.  It is very easy to be thankful to be in Hawaii during the winter months!

The first Thanksgiving I encountered here in Maui back in the 1980’s was with a local family who cooked a turkey in an underground oven.  It is called an Imu.  You may have seen one of these if you’ve ever been to a Luau where they are used to cook whole pig for kalua pork.  It is a pit filled with red hot lava rocks heated by an open fire pit.  A certain kind of smooth porous lava rocks are gathered from river beds. These stones work best because they hold heat and will not crack from the extreme temperature.  Next the turkey is coated with Hawaiian rock salt, wrapped in taro leaves and wrapped again in banana leaves.  The turkey is then put on top of the hot rocks in the bottom of the pit and covered with a burlap sack.  After being covered with dirt it is left to cook underground all day.  The resulting turkey is some of the most tender and moist bird you’ll ever encounter.

#1 Restaurants Serving Thanksgiving Dinnersouth maui restaurants at the beach

If you’re visiting Maui for thanksgiving there are a lot of restaurant and resort options to choose from.  Almost every restaurant on the island has a Thanksgiving day special.  There are too many to list here but a good place to check out who is serving what is Mauidish.com which is part of Maui Time Weekly.

#2 Thanksgiving Day Dinner Cruise

Another fantastic way to enjoy Thanksgiving day in Maui is a dinner cruise.  Pacific Whale Foundation has a Thanksgiving day dinner cruise out of Maalaea Harbor with live music and of course, whale watching.  Many of the dinner cruises have a Thanksgiving day tour so if you have a favorite boat give them a call.  Chances are they’ll have some turkey onboard November 28th.

#3 Thanksgiving Day Luau

Another fun event to consider is a Thanksgiving Day Luau.  Many of the luaus in Maui add turkey to the menu for the holiday crowd.  I know the Thanksgiving luau at Honua’ula in the Grand Wailea Resort does a great job roasting turkey in their Imu.  On top of that they have a seafood boil station and an amazing array of desserts including pumpkin cheesecake with maple creme brulee.  Yum!  Check with your nearest activity agent to get the full rundown on luaus in your area of the island.

#4 Pick up Thanksgiving Dinner to Go

On several occasions I have enjoyed Thanksgiving day in Maui on the beach.  Many grocery stores and some resorts will package up a full turkey day feast that can be taken to many of the beach parks around the island.  One of my favorite beaches for this is Kamaole Beach Park 3 in Kihei.  Also known as “Kam 3” this park has a wonderful choice of picnic tables overlooking the beach and ocean.  I first met my lifelong friends Dave and Mara for Thanksgiving dinner to go at Kam 3.  It was their first time to Maui and a friend had sold them a timeshare at the Kihei Mana Kai.  Since they didn’t know anybody in Maui my girlfriend and I volunteered to show them some Thanksgiving day Aloha.  We met them at the beach with a turkey dinner to go from Foodland.  We had such a great time together that they moved to Maui a few months later and have been part of our Ohana for over 15 years.  Such is the magic of Maui.

#5 Cook a Turkey Yourself

Visitors can often cook in their own condo equipped with a kitchen.  With all the amazing local spices and marinades at your disposal you may Marinated & Rubbed Smoked Turkeyend up making a fantastic version of a Hawaiian turkey dinner yourself.  Try stuffing your turkey with pineapple before roasting!

Of course if you live on the island most people enjoy cooking a turkey dinner themselves.  Foodland grocery stores have a discount program for residents called the Maika’i Rewards card. As you shop with them you accumulate points and eventually receive a coupon.  We save these because the week before Thanksgiving one coupon is good for a free turkey.  Free I tell you!  If you’re visiting try asking around to see if anyone may know of an extra Maika’i Rewards Coupon.  Most people do and may be happy to share some free turkey Aloha!
marinades in hawaii huli huli

Because I have a smoker I have cooked as many as 3 turkeys at a time for our ohana as gifts or for a big Thanksgiving day party in the backyard.  For the brine I use soy sauce, fresh ginger, brown sugar and saki.  Huli Huli Sauce is a recent favorite I use as a mop during this 5 hour cooking process.  You can view my main Hawaiian Turkey recipe HERE.

Maui is a special place and all of us who call it home are thankful to live in such beauty every day.  That’s why we love holidays like Thanksgiving.  I hope you get a chance to enjoy Thanksgiving day in Maui someday too!
Aloha Nui Loa

smoked meat maui maui resort grand wailea maui luau tahitian hula dancer south maui surf maalaea harbor wailea maui restaurants and resorts maui tour boat sunset and west maui mountains humpback whales in Maui Maui whale watching and snorkeling Sheraton Maui Resort south maui restaurants at the beach kihei beaches maui four seasons resort maui

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Maui Tour Guides – Road to Hana Tourhttp://tourmaui.com/maui-tour-guides-road-to-hana-tour/ http://tourmaui.com/maui-tour-guides-road-to-hana-tour/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 17:53:21 +0000 http://www.tourmaui.com/?p=3450 Imagine for a moment what it must be like for Maui tour guides driving the road to Hana every day… If you’ve ever been on the road to Hana, you’ll know it is one of the most beautiful yet harrowing drives in all of Hawaii.  As a professional photographer I have been photographing for a [...]

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Imagine for a moment what it must be like for Maui tour guides driving the road to Hana every day…

If you’ve ever been on the road to Hana, you’ll know it is one of the most beautiful yet harrowing drives in all of Hawaii.  As a professional photographer I have been photographing for a variety of companies in Maui’s activity industry for close to 20 years. The first time I was driven out to see the Hana side was in 1986 on assignment for the Maui News dining scene column to photograph food at Hotel Hana.  Since then I have returned many times on my own.  I have also experienced it in many different ways like camping at the Pools of Oheo, staying in state park cabins, and various vacation rentals including one of my favorites, staying at Hotel Hana.  In 2000 I began working with Hana tour companies and have since been on many kinds of Hana tours.  All told I’ve probably taken this journey at least 30 times and for over half of them I was on a Hana tour. tour to hana van

I have gotten to know many of these Maui tour guides on a personal level and had plenty of time to ask them questions about their job.  Valley Isle Excursions is a Hana tour company I’ve worked with for over 12 years.  They are one of the most popular on the island and seemingly the first Hana tour to get out on the road in the morning.

At first I thought the job of a Hana tour guide looked to me like it would be a grueling one. The guides day starts at 5am at the tour van base yard.  They load up the vans with iced coolers full of soda and water, do a checklist lookover of their vehicle and review the manifest of people they will be picking up that day.  This is the beginning of a 14 hour day for them.Road to Hana on Keanae Peninsula

The tour has hotel pick up and drop off and the first pick up time for the west side of the island, which is about 30 to 40 minutes from the base yard, starts at 6:45 am.  Since these vans only carry 12 passengers and most people come out on tour as couples, they are usually making about 5 to 6 pick ups before heading to breakfast.  Arriving at about 7:30am for breakfast this tour begins the day at Maui Lani country club for a continental breakfast.   It is a beautiful central Maui golf course with a great view of the West Maui mountains. As the guests enjoy breakfast and get acquainted with fellow passengers the guides check in with each other. I always try to join them for a quick chat as many of them are friends.  Also this is often when I get a chance to hear about their work and why they do it.

These guides are often locals who are retired and actually do this for fun.  Some are hoale (caucasians) who have lived on Maui most of their lives. They have all told me in one way or another that the road to Hana gets in your blood.  Many even go out to Hana on their days off!  Some have family in Hana, some grew up in Hana but all are not only proud but honored to share their Aloha and knowledge of the island and Hana with visitors from around the world.  Often I hear them referring to their guests as “my people”.  They feel that showing people the Hawaiian way of thinking and living is something that can make a real difference in the world.  To be honest, most of them would make great stand up comedians also!  Laughter is definitely a big part of the Hawaiian culture.

Aside from being fully trained professional drivers these guides are also storytellers. Part historian, part botanist, part climatologist and entertainer they are, for the most part, speaking all day long.  Having been on so many tours I have become aware of how a lot of guest start the day quiet and somewhat shy and by lunch the whole group has become more like a giggling kindergarten class.  Another thing that amazes me is how these drivers know how to time themselves differently so that the stops aren’t crowded with six of seven vans at a time.  Somehow they decide (maybe at breakfast?) who will lead the pack and who will be the caboose.  Each stop can be anywhere from 15 minutes at an overlook to a full hour for swimming and some hiking at the Pools of Oheo.  At Valley Isle the lunches are stored in a hot box on the van so luch can be served just about anywhere.  Usually this BBQ chicken meal is served up at a flower farm or at Waianapanapa State Park.  With real plates and silverware, the guides unpack everything, serve the food buffet style, and pack it all back up. This all takes in about an hour and then it’s back on the road.

I feel what people enjoy the most from these guides are the stories of life and living on Maui that they share throughout the day.  I remember a Hana guide who shared a childhood story about how her parents would not let them play in the streams alone in Hana until they could hear a stone thrown into the water rolling with the current.  The streams of Hana often have unannounced flash floods that start high on the mountain and roll all the way down to the often sunny coastline.  When this happens the only warning is the sound of the rocks being pushed by a wall of water.  As she put it “growing up in Hana you have to have jungle smarts.”maui tour guides and guests along road to hana

The last stop of the day is at Tedeschi Winery and some wine tasting for the guests.  The guides are now within cell range and all check in with the base yard.  After about an hour and maybe some ice cream at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store, the guides drive everyone to there respective hotel or condo.  From Tedeschi Winery this can be another hour or so on the road for people staying on the west side or a half hour for the south.  After all guests have been dropped off the van is refueled and dropped off at the base yard.  Mechanical reports are filled out (any new squeeks?) and another 14 hour day if finished.

My hat goes off to these men and women of Maui who not only inform and guide, but keep people safe.  If you really want to get a feel for life in Maui take a Hana tour. It may be one of the best things you’ve ever done in Maui, or anywhere for that matter!

Aloha Nui Loa

Hana tour guide at Keanae Maui tour guides on road to Hana Maui Tour Guide Van 2 Maui Tour Guide Stop On Road to Hana Maui Tour Guide Van window view Kaupo Hawaii tour guide road to Hana Hawaii tour guide road to Hana Maui Tour Guide Hana Van Stop Maui tour guide and beaches on road to Hana Hawaii tour guide road to Hana Hana Black Sand Beach View Through Trees waianapanapa state park hana Tour van at Keana'e road to Hana Hana Highway Cliff and Road Road past Hana


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Hawaii National Parks are Closed…for nowhttp://tourmaui.com/hawaii-national-parks-are-closed-for-now/ http://tourmaui.com/hawaii-national-parks-are-closed-for-now/#comments Sat, 12 Oct 2013 20:30:33 +0000 http://www.tourmaui.com/?p=3386 Hawaii National Parks are closed for now, and sadly that includes the summit of Haleakala. Most of the national parks throughout the U.S. are transitioning into the change of season during the closure of the government.  This is sad because the fall colors in these parks are often the most spectacular times to visit.  However [...]

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Hawaii National Parks are closed for now, and sadly that includes the summit of Haleakala.

Most of the national parks throughout the U.S. are transitioning into the change of season during the closure of the government.  This is sad because the fall colors in these parks are often the most spectacular times to visit.  However it is in the fall that many of these remote parklands are winterized as the visitor counts drop with the temperature. However,  Hawaii National Parks are a different story.  I have personally known and interviewed many park rangers in several of Hawaii’s National parks in my 30 year career as a professional photographer. I have often heard them say “the park service is not about managing nature and animals, it’s about managing people.”  The fact that there are no people in the national parks right now could be seen as giving the land and facilities a rest.  Haleakala Visitor Center

Hawaii National Parks enjoy beautiful weather year around, and thousand of people  visit the state’s eight national parks.  However, people visiting now may not get a chance to enjoy these amazing natural wonders because of the shut down.  Luckily, the state is considering ways to end this soon.  On the island of Maui, Haleakala National Park is a big visitor draw.

The effect of Haleakala’s closure has been a strain on the island economy, particularly the upcountry area.  It has been estimated that up to 70% of visitors to Maui make the drive up to Haleakala summit for activities such as sunrise but since the government shut down the park visitors traveling up this steep and winding mountain road has dropped dramatically.  While I have lived in upcountry Maui for close to 20 years I can tell you there is still an incredible amount of wonderful things to see and do on the slopes of Haleakala that can easily encompass a full day.  However, I think one very best ways to experience the mountain is to circumnavigate it on the road to Hana.  waianapanapa state park hana

Haleakala may be closed, but the road to Hana is not.  Even though the Pools of Oheo are in Haleakala National Park on the Hana side of the island and are also closed, the Pools are but one of dozens and dozens of stunningly beautiful place to stop along the Hana Highway.  All state parks along the road are open, including Hana’s black sand beach.  Also the Kaupo area past the Pools is a spectacular view of the southern slopes of Haleakala were the mountain rises from sea level to 10,000′ elevation in just over 2 miles!

Of course we recommend taking a Hana tour, but no matter how you get there just go!  The road to Hana is one of the top 5 scenic drives in the world, but it is not a national park.  So even though the summit of Haleakala is closed, a great alternative is to go to Hana instead.  It is truly a Maui must do!

Aloha Nui Loa

Haleakala View from crater Taro farming Loi Hana Tour van at Keana'e road to Hana hana road cliffs maui kaupo cows southern slope waianapanapa state park hana Haleakala views in maui southern Hana's Black Sand Beach 1 Hana hiking and swimming Maui black sand Hana camping Valley Isle Excursions tour Road past Hana Black sand at Waianapanapa State Park

 

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Maui Flower Farms in Hanahttp://tourmaui.com/maui-flower-farms/ http://tourmaui.com/maui-flower-farms/#comments Sat, 28 Sep 2013 16:26:36 +0000 http://www.tourmaui.com/?p=3352 Maui Flower Farms along the road to Hana One of the great things about a road to Hana tour is the opportunity to see and learn about the immense diversity of Maui’s tropical flower farms. Hana van tours are one of the best ways to see some outstanding examples of Maui flower farms.  One tour [...]

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Maui Flower Farms along the road to Hana

Hana flower farmsOne of the great things about a road to Hana tour is the opportunity to see and learn about the immense diversity of Maui’s tropical flower farms.

Hana van tours are one of the best ways to see some outstanding examples of Maui flower farms.  One tour company, Valley Isle Excursions , has a lunch stop at a flower farm just outside Hana town that is truly a special treat.  It’s a wonderful way to get great photos strolling the grounds after lunch.  You never know what types of flowers you may see because tropical flowers bloom year around.

As a professional photographer I have always been drawn to flowers and it took me years to figure out the names and types of flowers I’ve photographed on Maui.

Aside from flower farms many yards and properties in Hana have flowering trees and hedges that were planted generations ago and are often variations that you won’t see anywhere else.  One of the best ways to learn about flowers other than a Hana tour is a visit to Maui Tropical Plantation. This Maui flower farm is in Waikapu, near the town of Wailuku.  Here you can also learn about the fruits and flowers and get a little history of Maui farming.  I enjoyed learning about how these beautiful varieties originally ended up on the island.

I’ve always loved the big ones.  Heliconia, ginger, bird of paradise, hibiscus, protea and all the variations within these species makes for some amazing photo opportunities.  You can find flowers almost anywhere in Maui.   I suggest keeping a camera ready at all times.  You never know when an amazing flower might show up.

On a side note, next time you’re in a Maui flower farm and you see one of these red, pink, yellow, blue, or white blossoms, ask first, then give it a squeeze. You will be pleasantly surprised…

 

Aloha Nui Loa Tropical flowers of Maui Protea farms of Maui Hibiscus flowers of Maui Tropical flowers of Maui Heliconia are one of Maui's most beautiful tropical flowers and grow wild in the Hana rainforest. Torch Ginger flower Young Ohi'a Tree Spiral Ginger Torch Ginger Red & Purple Heliconia Pink Mink Protea Heliconia Hanging Lobster Claw Ginger Nursery Hibiscus Claw Heliconia

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Things to Do In Maui Hawaii On A Return Triphttp://tourmaui.com/things-to-do-on-a-maui-return-trip/ http://tourmaui.com/things-to-do-on-a-maui-return-trip/#comments Wed, 18 Sep 2013 20:17:24 +0000 http://www.tourmaui.com/?p=3254 Going back to Maui? …you may want to repeat one of the other top 5 things to do in Maui from the previous article.  You could add these to your first visit also, but unless your here for 2 weeks it could be daunting to get them all in.  I have lived on Maui for [...]

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Going back to Maui?

…you may want to repeat one of the other top 5 things to do in Maui from the previous article.  You could add these to your first visit also, but unless your here for 2 weeks it could be daunting to get them all in.  I have lived on Maui for over 17 years as a professional photographer and here is what I’ve found to be good advice for people returning to the island…  

I highly recommend that any vacation to Maui include a day on the road to Hana no matter how many times you’ve been.  It’s difficult to see all that the “Hana Side” has in one day and each day and time of year is different out there.  Again, I always go out on a tour van for all the reasons stated in the first Top 5 article.  If you have a couple days to spend out in Hana that would be the time to drive yourself.  Either way just go!  You’ll always see something new.

So, here are the another top 5 things to do in Maui:dining Maui local food

 Local Food/Dining

The food on Maui is spectacular!  Doesn’t matter if you load up on Laulau at costco, grab a chicken Katsu plate lunch (my favorite), or a gourmet dinner at the many outstanding restaurants, it’s always good because you’re in Maui!  I could go on and on because I’ve had so many good meals over the years, but I do have my favorites.

For local plate lunches I eat at Ichi Ban Ya in Kahului at least once a week, and when people visit I feel they must experience Da Kitchen in Kahului which is really close to the airport and another location in Kihei.  The portions are large enough for 2 meals at Da Kitchen.

 For fine dining on the north shore Mama’s Fish House is world class food and located right on a secluded beach! Hai’ilimaile General Store is in the upcountry area and is worth the drive.  All the resorts have superb dining in them also.  My latest favorite is Ferraro’s at the 4 Season in Wailea.  Just keep in mind to bring an empty stomach and a full wallet….

 Fruit Stands

Hana Fruit StandMuch like shopping at your local farmer’s market for fresh in season delicacies,  fruit stands can be found sprinkled throughout the island and are open year around. The avocados are always a favorite when in season and are not like anything you may find in the grocery stores on the mainland.

There are different kinds but I seek out the massive smooth skinned ones because of their nutty smoked almond flavor.  Apple bananas, pineapple, lilikoi, mangos (when in season) coconuts & star fruit are just a few examples of the abundance and definitely worth trying. Many of these stands are locals who pick the fruits themselves from trees in their yards and some are full blown businesses offering smoothies and prepared items such as coconut candy.

In my opinion there is no better smoothie on earth than a fresh cane juice pineapple banana concoction from one of these stands.  It is fair priced because many of these fruit stands, especially along the road to Hana, are unmanned with a pay box employing the honor system.  These fruits are fresh and healthy treats not to be missed. You may want to bring a knife and napkin while exploring the islands fruit stands…you won’t want to wait to dig into these beautiful gifts from the Aina (land).

 Ziplining

Zipline Maui KaanapaliMaui has seen some explosive growth in zipline courses in the last few years.  I’ve been fortunate to have photographed many of the zipline courses on Maui.

The first zipline company in the USA is Skyline Eco-Adventures which built it’s first zipline course in the forests along Haleakala’s Crater road in 2002.  Today there are six companies and ten different zipline courses on the island.  They vary in length, number of zipline crossings and area/scenery but the best way I’ve come up with to understand which ones to try is to ask yourself these questions:

How fast will I go?

How high off the ground are the lines?

Do I get to stear?

The last question is because I like to photograph or video while I’m zipping and being able to maneuver is important to me.  If you’re afraid of heights, you’ll have the most fun of anyone, plus here is your chance to overcome that fear!  Most companies have a minimum and maximum weight limit, but some of the smaller courses are set up for children, like Maui Zipline.

 Whale Watching

Whale Watching & Things to do in mauiEvery winter the humpback whales make their way to the channels of the Hawaiian islands where the water is warm, shallow to them and protected. This is where the whales come to breed, give birth and play.

Maui and Kauai are the “hot” spots to enjoy these enormous creatures. I have had some unbelievable experiences in whale watching boats out on the water. It’s rare that you would go out on a boat during whale season and not see several…but it is up to nature.

Being up close on a boat of any type is where you’ll want to be for an amazing experience of these massive creatures.  From the shore you may only see a white splash on the blue waters or a tiny black dot but don’t bother running for the camera as you will have just that, a picture of a black dot. Out on the water with the warm breeze on your face is where you’ll get those great shots of the whales playing and breaching out of the ocean.

 Oh, and just as a friendly local reminder, whale watching while driving is not a good idea. If you are on the road and see some activity out on the water, don’t be a rubber necker!  Be safe and pull over…you’ll be glad that you did!

 Stand Up Paddle, Surf or Kite Board Lessons

Maui Kite BoardingAlong the beaches on almost all sides of Maui you can find tan people renting sunburnt people all kinds of toys. Believe me, taking a lesson for your chosen watersport will make for a much less frustrating experience.

In a short lesson by a seasoned instructor, you can become good enough to at least have some bragging rights. Kaanapali’s “Digmi Beach” along the paths that run the length of Kaanapali beach is a great place to get some gear, have a quick lesson and then give it a go. Many of the beaches do not have lifeguards so having a guide is not only safer but you’ll have a lot more fun.  Kiteboarding and wind surfing are mostly located on Maui’s north shore.  Rentals and instructors are located in Kahului with the Kanaha beach park being close by.  This beach park has amazing beaches which are quiet and secluded on shore but bustling with activity out on the water.  These are fun sports to watch from the comfort of a beach chair also!

Another great place to play in the ocean on Maui is along the shore of Kihei’s Kamaole 1,2 & 3 beaches. Most of the gear and guides can be found in the shops and shacks nearby along South Kihei road.  You can’t swing a snorkel around here without hitting a rental company!

 

Well that’s a simple rundown on some of the fun stuff to do on a return trip to Maui.  The fact is there is more to do on the island than even two 7 day vacations could cover and that is why people return year after year.

Enjoy!

 Aloha Nui Loa Maui ocean sports fish nachos Maui humpback whales in Maui farm fresh tropical fruit zipline Maui tours Activities for Maui beaches Maui fine dining Maui plate lunch menu Maui humpback whales Maui zipline tours Maui zipline suspension bridge zipline Maui tours

 

 

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