Maui’s Own Haleakalā Silversword

On any Haleakalā Tour, aside from the stunning views and fascinating geological features, guests are always thrilled to get a chance to see the rare Haleakalā Silversword plant, or ‘āhinahina. These unique plants can only be found above 7000 feet on Haleakalā, although a close relative grows on Mauna Kea. Just about any time you visit the summit, you’ll get a chance to view these beautiful silver-gray plants, and if you’re very fortunate, you’ll get to see one in bloom.

Small maroon flowers-- reminiscent of sunflowers-- grow on the silversword's stalk when it's in bloom.

Small maroon flowers– reminiscent of sunflowers– grow on the silversword’s stalk when it’s in bloom.

The silversword quickly became one of the main conservation concerns Mt. Haleakalā first became a national park in 1916. Before then, visitors to the Summit took them as souvenirs, or uprooted them just to roll them down the hill. They were also a tasty snack for the goats that roamed the mountain. As years passed, the feral goat population was better controlled, and human interference was decreasing as the public was educated on the importance and fragility of the silversword population.

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The silversword can grow for thirty to sixty years before it blooms.

Another threat to the plants comes, in turn, from the threat to the Hawaiian yellow-faced bee, one of the plant’s primary pollinators. Invasive species are believed to be causing a decline in the yellow-faced bee populations, thus the silversword plants miss out on crucial pollination, which they need insects to complete.

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The silvery succulents have adapted themselves to withstand the cold, dry conditions of Haleakalā.

Efforts are still being made to help preserve these important native plants, despite recent declines that researchers are studying continuously. Visitors to Haleakalā are encouraged by both National Park rangers and Hawaii Certified Tour Guides to keep a respectful distance from the silversword plants. They are a truly unique and beautiful plant to see, and it will certainly be an unexpected highlight of your Haleakalā tour!

Maui’s Whale Season

Happy Holidays!

If you’ve never been here during the holiday season, you might be wondering what it’s like on Maui. Truthfully, it’s not too different from the rest of the United States. The weather gets cooler (a drop of five to ten degrees may not sound like much, but we certainly feel it!), stores are crowded with shoppers, and Christmas lights and decorations go up all over the island. Maui’s holiday season does have a few distinct differences, and one of them is the annual return of some very special visitors– the humpback whales!

From around November to April, the Hawaiian Islands are home to thousands of humpback whales, who migrate here from Alaska. During the summer months, they feed in cooler waters, but once winter starts, they head for tropical waters for mating and calving. Once whale season really gets going, they’re everywhere. You’d be hard-pressed to look out to the ocean and not see at least the spout of a blowhole, or a whale’s tail (known as a fluke) popping out of the still water.

There’s no shortage of companies offering whale watching tours throughout the season on Maui, and you’re sure to find one that fits your budget, time frame, and level of interest. Some offer meals and beverages on board the boat, and virtually all of them guarantee whale sightings on their tours. I try and go on at least one whale-watching tour per year, and have never been disappointed. Seeing these huge animals up-close is an unforgettable experience!

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Even if you don’t do a tour, it’s easy to spot whales from land from certain spots on the island. Try the scenic lookout at McGregor Point on the way to Lahaina. You may even be able to catch up with a naturalist there, where they sometimes set up to observe and count whales and educate the public about our seasonal visitors.

Whale season on Maui encompasses more than just the holiday season, but for many Maui residents and visitors, whale-watching is a big part of their Maui holiday. Humpback whales are just another aspect of what makes Maui such an incredible place. If you are coming during winter or early spring, make sure you plan out some time to get to know some of Maui’s biggest part-time residents!

Haleakala – Choose Your Path

Making up over seventy-five percent of the island of Maui is a massive, dormant shield volcano known as Haleakala. Along with the Road to Hana, it accounts for two of the most popular sites on Maui, attracting thousands of visitors per year. Of course, the world-famous sunrise at its 10,000-foot summit is a huge draw, but there are other ways to see this incredible natural wonder, and we offer quite a few options to fit your ideal Haleakala journey.

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One of the best views of Haleakala is right from your seat in a luxury Limo-Van!

The most popular Haleakala tour is the Haleakala Sunrise tour, which isn’t surprising. Being far above the clouds and watching the first rays of light illuminate the endless sky is an event that not many people will forget. Photographers from around the world make their way to Haleakala every year to photograph this unique and fascinating sight. If you decide to take the journey with Temptation Tours, you will certainly not be disappointed. As you ride in luxury and comfort to the summit of Haleakala, you may even forget how early you woke up! Warm up with some coffee or cocoa at a good viewing spot, and keep your eyes on the sky. You’ll be sharing the experience with hundreds of other visitors, but you’ll see quickly why Temptation Tours stands on its own. Each portion of your journey is guided and narrated by a Hawaii State Certified Tour Guide, so you’ll learn about the geology, mythology, and even the astronomy relating to your Haleakala Sunrise tour. After sunrise and more exploration of the National Park, your Tour Guide will escort you to Kula Lodge, where you’ll sit down to a hot, run-of-the-menu breakfast, all while enjoying incredible ocean and landscape views. After breakfast and a tour of the charming Kula Lodge grounds, relax in your leather captain’s chair in our Luxury Limo-Van until returning to your hotel or condo– probably for a nap!

Explore the unique landscape of Haleakala crater-- and see some of its unique plant life!

Explore the unique landscape of Haleakala crater– and see some of its unique plant life!

Maybe you’re looking to spend a little more time in Upcountry Maui. We love that idea– it’s such a peaceful, idyllic area, and there’s so much more to Upcountry than just Haleakala. If you’d like to join us for a day on the quiet side of Maui, book a Summit Lavender Sojourn. After being greeted in front of your hotel by a Hawaii Certified Tour Guide, you’ll make your way Upcountry in style. Start with a daytime visit to the Summit of Haleakala, and enjoy the sweeping views into the moon-like crater. As your Tour Guides points out specific geological features, you’ll get a sense of how our island formed in a fiery flow of lava millions of years ago. After Haleakala, make your way to the Tedeschi Vineyards, Maui’s famous winery. Tour the grounds, and learn how the unique growing conditions in Kula make for truly distinctive wines. At your complimentary wine tasting, you can also sample wines made from pineapple, and other tropical variations. Following the winery, tour a beautiful, serene lavender garden, and take in the scents of freshly blooming lavender as you enjoy a delicious Pacific-Rim Cuisine picnic lunch. Finally, enjoy a tour and a stroll through the charming cowboy town of Makawao. Your Tour Guide will fill you in on its unique history, and you’ll have a chance to visit some of its unique shops and attractions– where you’re sure to find one-of-a-kind treasures for everyone on your list.

If you’d like to get a true sense of how ecologically diverse one incredible island can be, you may wish to look into the Crater & Rainforest tour. All in one memorable day, visit both the Summit of Haleakala and the lush Hana rainforest. See the alien-like Silversword plants jutting out of the otherwise stark landscape, then experience countless examples of beautiful foliage on the road to Hana. You’ll also get a sense of the varying climates from one part the island to another; after shivering in the frigid temperatures at Haleakala, enjoy a warm, balmy afternoon on  Maui’s famous Road to Hana. Even though this tour doesn’t make it all the way into Hana Town, you’ll still experience the rainforest, cliffside ocean views, and postcard-perfect tropical photo ops. You’ll also enjoy a delicious picnic lunch, and of course, full guided narration from your Hawaii Certified Tour Guide.

Get an awe-inspiring view of Haleakala on the first flight of the day.

Get an awe-inspiring view of Haleakala on the first flight of the day.

Maybe you want to see Haleakala, but you want more of a big-picture experience– and then, you want to do something a little different. You want to check out our Haleakala Sun-Trek, our newest Haleakala tour. Start your day with hotel or condo pickup, then make your way to the Kahului Heliport for a thirty-minute helicopter tour over Haleakala. See the stark beauty of sun and shadow outlining the shape of this enormous crater, best seen from above. After touching back down in Kahului, you’ll head to Paia, for a delicious no-host breakfast at Café Mambo. It’s a perfect spot for people-watching, and getting a sense of the the diverse community that makes Maui home. Then, head upcountry, and tour the famous Surfing Goat Dairy– one of my favorite spots on Maui! You’ll visit friendly goats, taste some amazing cheese, and learn how this quaint and quirky dairy operates. After that, tour Ocean Vodka, an organic vodka distillery that offers incredible ocean views. You’ll have lunch on the grounds of their sustainable farm, enjoying the cool upcountry breeze. Finish your day with a tour of Makawao Town, then head back to your hotel after one of Maui’s most unique day tours.

Like the Road to Hana, Haleakala and Upcountry Maui can be something special for every visitor, and every taste. By touring with Temptation Tours, you’ll be traveling in style and luxury, and will enjoy every minute of information, entertainment, and interaction with your Hawaii Certified Tour Guide. As a family-owned and operated company in business for almost thirty years, we know a thing or two about this ancient, fascinating site, and we can’t wait to share it with you!