Also known as ‘Romancing the Lava Tube’

Our story begins more than 25 years ago. A young man who lived in Hana named Chuck Thorne heard about a lava tube located on a property nearby.  He eventually went to the owner and asked politely if he could explore this extraordinary site.

“Just no get hurt,” the old man told him, speaking in pidgin*.  So begins ‘Romancing the Lava Tube’ and Chuck’s fascination with Ka’eleku*.

Chuck’s curious fascination with Ka’eleku went on for quite some time. 

Then, a few years later, some of the lots in the area were put on the market for sale. Was Chuck’s beloved lava tube going to be sold and belong to someone else? 

He was not going to let that happen. Chuck poured over the tax map key.  Like a scientist, he acutely picked the exact property he needed to access the lava tube.


After some time, he was finally the new owner of his baby, the Hana Lava Tube.

Being able to share this awe-inspiring place had always been his dream.  Now his dream could come true, and Chuck’s entrepreneurial spirit began to move forward with a game plan filled with many ideas. The plan resulted in a family-friendly adventure in natural history for locals and visitors alike. 

Our story about Chuck and his lava tube may have started just over 25 years ago, but the history of Ka’eleku began 1000 years ago with its formation.

Come along with us on our Hana Cave-Quest Tour!

This Lava Tube has so many unique attributes and history. Our Hawai’i Certified Tour guides will share some fascinating information  with you about this special place.

⇑ Enter Ka’eleku HERE ⇑
7 Fascinating and Fun Facts
  1. At 2 miles long, it is the longest lave tube on Maui, the  18th largest in the world, and a Certified non-burial cave.
  2. Chuck owns about a quarter mile of it. The rest is either privately owned or on state lands and not accessible.
  3. Once inside the lava tube, the temperature is nice and cool, making the walk all the more enjoyable. Especially if the day is warm and humid as a rainforest can be at times.
  4. This is one of the rare places where you can see both pahoehoe* and a’a*.  You’ll also be able to view the unusual transition from one type of lava to another.
  5. Lava in Hawai’i is unique. It has more iron and magnesium than other lava. Because of this fact, you will see a lot of the color RED.
  6. There is a “room” filled with chocolate-colored lava. They are called lavacicles! So ono* looking, you might need to take a side detour in search of sweets.
  7. Alas! There are no bats in this cave. We promise!

Remember to take a moment to check out the Red Ti* Botanical Garden Maze. The kids love it. It’s safe and will wear them out for the ride home.






Finally, 7 Suggestions from Aunty Kalei

  • Wear a hat! There may be some drips.
  • Wear shoes with good gripping soles. No slippahs*, please.
  • Chuck installed railings for your safety.
  • There are plaques with helpful and interesting information along the way.
  • Let your kids’ imaginations run wild. It’s a great place to do this for any age.
  • AND our best advice: let us drive you there stress-free and give you insider tips before you get there.
  • TEMPTATION TOURS has a selection of Road to Hana tours that include:
    • FREE pick-up and return from your hotel or condo
    • Lunch
    • A visit to the Ka’eleku (admission included)
    • Stop at waterfalls and a black sand beach
    • Tour in luxurious air-conditioned Limo-Vans with 8-Guests or less
    • Hawai’i State Certified Tour Guides who will entertain you and your ‘ohana all day!

We encourage you to take a day of your vacation to visit Hana and go see Chuck’s dream.  You will be visiting Maui’s own Wonder of the World, Ka’eleku.  You will not regret it! Plus, EVERYONE wants to experience the Road to Hana at least once! You will be so glad you did!

Writing and graphic creation by Sugandha Ferro Black (with help from Aunty Kalei)

GLOSSARY* of Hawaiian Words

A’a lava – loose, chunky and angular, rough

Ka’eleku – Hawaiian name for Hana Lava Tube

‘Ohana – family

Ono – delicious

Pahoehoe lava – smooth and ropey

Pidgin – Hawaiian English dialect

Slippah – pidgin word for slippers, which is what we call flip flops in Hawai’i

Ti – also called Ki, an evergreen and medicinal flowering plant considered sacred to the Hawai`i god Lono and to the goddess of the hula, Laka

*Please keep in mind that all Hawaiian Words have many meanings. The meanings we share here are the specific translations for the words as they pertain to this particular blog’s subject matter.


Photos by permission, paid for, or free sources unless otherwise noted.