What’s Your Maui Travel Style?

Maui Travel-Style-When planning a trip to Maui, people fall into some pretty distinct categories. Are you looking to do it all, and leave no stone unturned when visiting the Valley Isle, or are you a more laid-back, relaxed kind of traveler? Read on, and find out what tours will be the best for you and for your vacation personality!

The Bucket-Lister
You’ve got a list a mile long of what you want to do while on Maui—or maybe your vacation includes two or three other islands as well! You want to experience all the “must-do” activities you can possibly squeeze in, and you’ve got a compartment in your luggage designated for all of your extra memory cards. For you? Start with the Sunrise at Haleakala, a favorite of thousands of Maui vacationers every month. The early wake-up call just means more time in your day! You’ll get those perfect shots of the incredible show of light and color atop Haleakala, and you can go over your list again during your run-of-the-menu breakfast, and compare notes with your fellow travelers!

Of course, you have to do the Road to Hana, and, wait, what about a helicopter tour? Not to worry—the Hana Sky-Trek has you covered! Check off two list items at once with this half-day combo tour, where you tour the Road to Hana via Luxury Limo-Van one way, and soar above it in a state-of-the-art helicopter for the reverse leg. Two unforgettable experiences, all in a half day? This is for you, Bucket-Lister!

The Nature-Lover
Your draw to the Valley Isle is all about its natural beauty. You’ve seen photos of waves crashing along the sea cliffs, the fantastical rainbow eucalyptus, the bizarre endemic Haleakala Silversword, and more. You want to get up and personal with the botanical and geological sights on Maui, and learn about their origins, their conservation, and their cultural significance. For you, Nature-Lover, we’d love to host you on a Hana Cave-Quest tour, where you’ll learn all about the plant and animal life found along the Road to Hana, and get a truly “in-depth” (pun intended!) geology lesson when exploring the Ka’eleku Caverns. These underground caves are actually lava tubes, formed by the last eruption of Haleakala over five hundred years ago.

Speaking of Haleakala, you’ll of course want to visit this now-dormant volcano during your stay on Maui. On a Crater & Rainforest tour, you’ll enjoy a daytime visit to Haleakala National Park, where your Hawaii-Certified Tour Guide will explain its formation, its history, and how it factors into Maui’s society today. On the Crater & Rainforest, you’ll also get views of upcountry Maui, enjoy an outdoor picnic lunch, and then revisit the Road to Hana—as far as Ke’anae—for a second look at East Maui and its stark contrast to Haleakala.

The Foodie
I know you, Foodie traveler. You’ve been stalking Yelp ever since you started planning your visit to Maui, making your list of restaurants and bars that you absolutely must visit. You’re staying in the least expensive accommodations you can find, to budget more for breakfasts, brunches, lunches, happy hours, and dinners! For you, we have two tours that you cannot miss. First, the Hana Ultimate. Sure, you know you want to do the Road to Hana, but what is there to eat along the way? Your tour will start out with a full, run-of-the-menu breakfast at Café Mambo in Paia, and then, after touring all the sights and experiences of the Road to Hana, you’ll sit down to a four-course luncheon at the modern, beautiful Travaasa Hana.

Still hungry for more flavors of Maui? Book a Haleakala Sun-Trek! After a thirty-minute helicopter tour of Haleakala first thing in the morning, you’ll return to Café Mambo for breakfast, this time expanding your menu options with a no-host breakfast. Then, it’s time to visit upcountry Maui, where you’ll tour Surfing Goat Dairy, a charming local goat farm that makes some seriously tasty goat cheese. You’ll get a flight of both sweet and savory cheeses, and then we DARE you not to buy at least four more to take back to your hotel (don’t worry, they’ll cold-pack them on ice for you). My favorite? The horseradish flavor—from steaks to sandwiches, I put it on everything! After Surfing Goat Dairy, you’ll head over to Ocean Vodka. Enjoy a Pacific Rim Cuisine picnic lunch on their incredible grounds (which include a “martini garden!”), and then tour their organic vodka distillery, and yes, there are samples! After Ocean Vodka, you’ll visit Makawao Town, where you can load up on even more local Maui goodies before returning to your hotel.

The Relaxer
If you’re a Relaxer, you’ve got one goal during your Maui Vacation: Kick. Back. Nothing strenuous, nothing wild—you want to get away from your busy life back home and just mellow out for a week or two on the Valley Isle. Sure, you’ve heard about the Road to Hana, but driving it yourself seems like more stress than you’re willing to endure right now. We’ve got you covered, Relaxer, with the Hana Picnic. All you need to do is step outside of your hotel lobby, and let us take it from there. Your Hana Picnic tour is relaxed, laid back, and all about having a fun time in the rainforest, with plenty of time to swim, take photos, and above all, enjoy the comfort of an eight-passenger Luxury Limo-Van.

Want to take relaxation to the next level? Look no further than the Summit Lavender Sojourn. This tour has “mellow out” written all over it. First, a trip to Haleakala, for serene, peaceful views of the crater and the rest of Maui. You truly feel like you’re “away from it all” at 10,023 feet above sea level. Afterward, it’s time to visit the Ali’i Kula Lavender farm, where fragrant fields of lavender will fill your senses. Tour the peaceful, scenic gardens, and then visit the gift shop for plenty of lavender items, including lotions, bath products, and even lavender-infused chocolate. Next, MauiWine, another scenic stop, where you’ll learn all about wine-making on Maui, and where you can enjoy a sampling of three of their famous wines. Finally, your tour concludes with a stroll around Makawao, a quaint, charming “cowboy” town where life moves just a bit slower than the rest of the island.

Of course, you might be a “mix-and-match” traveler, in which case, go with what sounds good to you! Above all, no matter what your travel style, we’ve got a tour for you—so call us today!

Hawaii’s Favorite Snacks!

hawaiisnacksIf you’ve perused the snack aisles at any Hawaii supermarket, you’ve probably seen “local” snacks alongside the usual Cheetos, Fritos, and Chips Ahoy. What’s in all this stuff? What the heck is “li hing mui,” anyway? Read on, and maybe you’ll be inspired to try some of Hawaii’s favorite treats!

Li Hing Mui
This is one of the most ubiquitous Hawaii goodies to be found in the local snack section. In fact, there are entire stores dedicated to li hing mui and its relatives and permutations. What is it? The most basic, classic version of li hing mui is a dried plum, seed and all, covered in the un mistakable “li hing” powder—a sweet, salty, and sour mixture that you just have to taste to understand. People of all ages love to snack on li hing mui, and you can find the reddish powder on more than just the dried plums! You might see it on dried or pickled mango, dried lemon peel, and, my personal favorite, on sour gummy watermelon candy. Yep, it’s a taste sensation! Also, look for li hing powder flavoring and garnishing cocktails at many of Hawaii’s watering holes.

Mochi Crunch
You might see it labeled as arare, or Japanese rice crackers, but Hawaii has taken this Asian classic and made it our own! These crunchy, umami-rich crackers are sold everywhere, from gas stations to movie theaters. You haven’t lived until you’ve had popcorn mixed with butter, furikake (a seaweed and sesame seed mixture), and mochi crunch! You’ll find these crackers big, tiny, wrapped in nori, spicy, sweet, and even dusted with li hing powder! Whatever your tastes, you’ll be sure to find a version of this local favorite that you’ll want to bring back home!

Shrimp Chips
Yep, you read that right—shrimp chips! What are they? Well, these puffy, tapioca-flour-based crisps are dusted with powdered dried shrimp, along with other seasonings, and they’re totally addicting! Even if flavoring a snack with dried shrimp doesn’t sound too appealing, at least give it a try—you might be surprised. What starts as a weird, “I-dare-you-to-try-that” snack might become your new favorite!

You’ll find plenty more interesting, unconventional, and dare we say, “bizarre,” snacks around the islands. Branch out, taste everything, and find yet another reason to return to Hawaii—a craving for your new favorite treat!

Haleakala Sun-Trek

Haleakala Sun-TrekHave you heard about our Haleakala Sun-Trek?

It’s one of our newest tours, and we’ll be the first to brag on it—because it’s totally unique!

It starts with an early pick-up at your hotel, condo, resort, or residence; between 6:00 and 6:30 AM, depending on where you’re staying. From there, your Hawaii-Certified Tour Guide will escort your party in an eight-passenger Luxury Limo-Van to Air Maui Helicopters. After a weigh-in, and an informative safety briefing, you’ll board one of their state-of-the-art helicopters for a thirty-minute “flightseeing” tour of Haleakala Crater. You’ll get an incredible view of Maui’s famous dormant volcano from the “first flight of the day,” when the morning sunlight illuminates Haleakala’s moon-like features for absolutely stunning sights.

After your unforgettable helicopter tour, the next stop is breakfast! Café Mambo is the setting for a no-host breakfast while you get to know your Tour Guide and fellow travelers. You’ll be sure to get a feel for the funky, hippie town of Paia while you fuel up for your day, and soak in some local flavor.

Next, it’s Makawao town! This quiet, antique-feeling “cowboy” town hosts plenty of shops, galleries, and even a quaint history museum. You’ll learn about Maui’s “paniolo” culture, and enjoy the time away from the busier resort areas.

After a stroll in Makawao, it’s time to head a little farther up the slopes of Haleakala to the even quieter town of Kula. Your first stop in Kula is Surfing Goat Dairy—Maui’s world-famous goat farm, that makes some of the creamiest, flavorful goat cheese you’ve ever tasted! After a walking tour of their grounds and a visit with some friendly goats, you’ll enjoy a flight of their goat cheeses to taste. Afterward, feel free to stock up on some of their cheeses, chocolates, and more. They’ll even pack things in a “cold pack” for you!

Next, you’ll head right “next door,” to Ocean Vodka. This incredible, all-organic distillery uses deep, desalinated ocean water and organic sugar cane to make an incredibly smooth vodka, right on their grounds. You’ll get a tour of their process, and even enjoy some samples! After your tour of their modern, eco-friendly facility, you’ll enjoy a Pacific Rim Cuisine picnic lunch on their lush grounds, all while taking in incredible ocean views.

You’ll return to your accommodations at approximately 3:30 PM—ready to rest up for dinner, a luau, or whatever your evening plans may hold. We’re so excited to be offering this unique new tour, and we’d love for you to check it out! Call us to book today!

What You’ll See on the Road to Hana

What to expect on theThousands of people take our Road to Hana tours every year, and while everyone knows the goal is to get to Hana, not everyone knows what to expect along the way! Here’s a list of the major “sights” you’ll see on our Road to Hana tours. Some are longer stops, where you’ll have an opportunity to walk around and explore with your Hawaii-Certified Guide, and other are quicker “photo-op” stops. Of course, there’s much more to see and do on our Road to Hana tours besides these, but you can get a good idea of what to expect the next time you join us!

Paia: The Road to Hana begins in the small, vibrant town of Pa’ia. “Pa’ia” is the Hawaiian word for “fish fence.” Low stone walls were built underwater to capture fish. Fish swim into small cracks in the wall when they’re tiny, feast while inside, and then grow too large to swim back out. Ancient Hawaiians used these fish fences to have easy access to large, nourishing fish.

The town started growing as a sugar plantation community, where the immigrants working the fields would settle. The tolerance for the different cultures all living in close proximity eventually evolved into a tolerance for different lifestyles, and Pa’ia became (and remains) a thriving “hippie town.”

Windsurfers at Hookipa

Ho’okipa: This famous beach just outside of Pa’ia is a world-renowned windsurfing spot. It’s where someone first got the idea to attach a sail to a surfboard, and the rest is windsurfing history. Hawaiian green sea turtles also love this spot to relax in the sun, and lay their eggs.

The brown, rocky shoreline is a benched reef—an ancient coral reef that formed when ocean levels were higher.

Haiku: The name of this small community means “shoulder.” Since the island of Maui was seen as an embodiment of Kane, the god of men, this area was seen as his “shoulder.”

The pineapple fields that once dominated this area have been shut down. Pineapple is no longer produced on a large scale on Maui, but a few former employees of Maui Land and Pineapple have started growing a special, sweet hybrid variety quite successfully on a small scale.

Painted Bark Eucalyptus

Painted Bark Eucalyptus

Painted Bark Eucalyptus Trees: The bark of these unique trees—native to the Philippines—peels away to reveal brilliant colors. They were brought to Maui in the 1940’s, when people in Maui’s burgeoning tourism industry were beginning to suspect that the Road to Hana would become a popular visitor destination. Your Tour Guide will point these out at Mile Marker Six—and they’re a great photo op!

Kaumahina State Park: Hawaiian for “gathering of moonlight,” this state wayside park boasts many varieties of native and indigenous plant life. Look for the paper bark tree!

Honomanu: Meaning “bay of birds,” this pristine and almost-hidden rusty-sand beach at Mile Marker Fourteen sits between towering cliffs—making for a peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful sight along the Hana Highway.

Keanae Peninsula: This quiet Hawaiian fishing village at Mile Marker Seventeen is still populated—look for lo’i, traditional swampy taro patches. The main staple crop of the native Hawaiians, kalo (taro), is still grown, cultivated, and prepared via traditional methods among the residents of Keanae.

Waikani Falls: At Mile Marker 17, you’ll see this picturesque “triple waterfall,” which is the upper fall of Wailua Stream.

Pua’a Ka’a State Park: The name of this park found at Mile Marker Twenty-Two means “rolling pig.” It features smaller waterfalls, and refreshing, natural pools. If you’re so inclined, this is a great place for a quick swim—weather and safety permitting, of course!

Wai'anapanapa State Park

Wai’anapanapa State Park

Wai’anapanapa State Park: Enjoy the exploration of this beautiful black-sand beach at Mile Marker Thirty-Two. With its vast expanses of lava rock contrasting with the white sea foam and brilliant blue ocean, Wai’anapanapa earned its name—“sparkling water.”

Hana Bay: Hana Bay and the surrounding town of Hana mark the end of the very special journey along the Hana Highway. This “safe bay” is a quiet, laid-back, and very Hawaiian town, where life moves at an even slower pace than the rest of the island.

If you’re on one of our land-based tours, you’ll see most of these points of interest both to and from Hana—plenty of time to get those perfect Road to Hana photos! If you’re on a Hana Sky-Trek, you’ll get to experience even more incredible sights from a state-of-the-art helicopter, truly giving you a “best-of-both-worlds” experience! However you decide to travel the Road to Hana, you’ll be sure to get plenty of great photos, and come away with even more incredible memories. Join us soon!