Is seeing the sun rise atop Haleakala on your Bucket List? If it is, or if you’re just curious to see what all the fuss is about, we think (of course!) that the best way to go is with us—in the comfort of an eight-passenger Luxury Limo-Van, escorted by a Hawaii Certified Tour Guide, and followed up by a hearty breakfast at Kula Lodge. It’s one of our most popular tours, so we field plenty of questions about it on the daily. Here are some of the most-asked, and some of the most important:
What time will you pick me up?
Great question! This all depends on what time of year it is, and where you’re staying. Here’s the deal: we need to get to the Summit of Haleakala at least one hour before “first light,” to give you ample time to freshen up, pack on your layers, and get settled in a prime viewing spot before the crowds move in. Over a thousand people head up the mountain every day to view the Sunrise, so it’s important to be there as early as possible. Your pickup time could range anywhere from around 2:00 AM to 3:45 AM—if you’re staying on Maui’s West Side (Kapalua, Honokawai, Napili, Kaanapali, or Lahaina), you’ll be on the earlier side, since it takes up to two hours to make the drive to the top. South-Side and Central guests can expect a slightly later departure. Most of our guests traveling from the US mainland don’t mind the early wake-up calls, since their internal clocks are still several hours ahead.
What should I wear?
Layers! You’ll be comfortable without them on the drive from your hotel or resort, but please bring them along. Be ready for a bit of a shock when you first step out of the Limo-Van at Haleakala National Park—we’re not kidding when we say it’s cold! It’s in the forties most days, but can dip to the low-thirties pretty often. Since it’s at 10,023 feet, it’s definitely windy, and the air is thin, so it can feel much colder. We tell guests—at the very least—to have long pants, closed-toe shoes, and a jacket. If you can find room in your luggage to bring along a hat, some gloves, and some extra-thick socks for your tour, even better. For hygienic reasons, we don’t provide jackets or winter gear on tour.
What’s the tour itinerary?
We’ll head pretty much straight from your resort to Haleakala National Park—with a bathroom stop of course! On the drive up, many people choose to doze off (don’t worry—your Tour Guide won’t take offense), or listen to the narrative provided by your Certified Tour Guide. Once we reach Haleakala National Park, you’ll have the opportunity to freshen up and put on any extra layers you might need. Then, your Tour Guide will direct you to the best spot at the Summit for viewing the Sunrise, and get you settled in with some coffee, cocoa, or tea, along with a tasty breakfast pastry. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy as the first light of dawn emerges, and the sky starts to illuminate with breathtaking colors. After sunrise, you’ll have some time to explore Haleakala during the daylight, and then you’ll head down the mountain a bit for some breakfast at Kula Lodge. Finally, you’ll have time to browse the shops at the Kula Marketplace and the fascinating protea garden before returning to your hotel or resort by around 10:30 – 11:00 AM.
What’s for breakfast?
We’ve worked closely with Kula Lodge to create a breakfast menu to satisfy our hungry, post-sunrise guests, no matter what your dietary preferences. Traditionalists might opt for a Belgian waffle or bacon and eggs, or if you’re caught up in that Hawaii vibe, try some pancakes or Upcountry French Toast with coconut syrup. Feeling lighter? Enjoy some tasty fruit, yogurt and granola. Feel free to order a mimosa or a bloody Mary if you’re so inclined—but just remember that alcoholic beverages aren’t included with your breakfast (coffee, tea, or hot cocoa are), and you’ll get your separate bill for drinks after breakfast.
Okay, I’m sold… how far in advance do I need to book?
Go ahead and reserve your Haleakala Sunrise as soon as you’re sure you want to do it! Because of the National Park’s rules, we’re not allowed to take more than two vehicles per day into the park for Sunrise, which means a maximum of sixteen guests per day. It’s best if you’re flexible with your dates, and again—reserve early!
What should I bring with me on tour?
Apart from warm clothes, be sure to bring your camera (and make sure it’s fully charged) and memory cards, if applicable. You’ll be snapping tons of photos once the sun starts to rise—probably more than you expect! Besides that, we’ll take care of the rest. A light snack and full breakfast are provided, along with bottled water and tropical soft drinks throughout the tour. Coffee, tea, or cocoa are served at the Summit, but feel free to bring your own hot beverage in a travel mug, if you prefer.
I think I’ve covered most of the important info about our Haleakala Sunrise tour, but of course, we’re always here to answer your questions! Email us, Tweet us, drop us a line on Facebook, or call us at 1-800-817-1234. Our friendly team is happy to help—and we can’t wait to see you at Sunrise soon!