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 Hawaiʻi. Our guides / drivers make the trip safe for everyone on the road, not only our guests. Our new guides are trained (by our other tour guides) for over 6 weeks prior to leading their first tour. They have knowledge that you won’t find in any Hawaii or Maui travel guide.
Pickup & return to your hotel / condo included in every tour.
Learn what is happening on-island from a resident who knows.
They will take you to the best spots, at the best times and for the right amount of time so you can see it all.
Our guides have continued to improve the tour and tailored it so that each group has their best day on Maui.
Maui Tour Guide’s Typical Day
At first thought the job of a Hana tour guide looks 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.
The tour has hotel pickup 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 Hawaiian 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.
Helping You To Have Some Fun
These guides are often locals who are retired and actually do this for fun. Some are haole (caucasians) who have lived on Maui most of their lives. They have all told us that in one way or another that the road to Hana gets in your blood. Many even go out to Hana even on their days off! Some have family in Hana, some grew up in Hana and 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 we hear them referring to their guests as “my people”. They feel that showing people the Hawaiʻian 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 too! Laughter is definitely a big part of the Hawaiʻian culture.
Aside from being fully trained professional drivers these guides are also storytellers. Part historian, part botanist, part climatologist and an entertainer to the core, providing interpretation of the sites all day long. Having provided so many tours we have become aware of how a lot of guests start the day quiet and somewhat shy and by lunch the whole group has become more like a giggling kindergarten class.
What people enjoy the most from these guides are the stories of life and living on Maui that they share throughout the day. A guide’s 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 becomes part of the tour. 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.”
Away From The Crowds
Our drivers know how to time themselves differently so that the stops aren’t crowded with our 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 or in the summit area of Haleakala National Park.
At Valley Isle Excursions our picnic lunch is stored in a hot box (prepared fresh that morning) on the van so a stop for lunch can be done just about anywhere. Usually this BBQ chicken meal is served up at a flower farm, overlooking Hana Bay or at Wai’anapanapa 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.
Returning You Safely
From Kula coming from Hana, the expansive views from this elevation of around 2500′ gives you a chance to see three to four other islands on a clear day. Looking down on the condos and hotels of south Maui you’ll realize just how far you’ve come this day. From here the guides drive everyone to there respective hotel or condo. It can be another hour or so on the road depending on where you’re staying and traffic conditions. 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 squeaks?) and another 14 hour day if finished.
Our aloha goes out 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 tour. It may be one of the best things you’ve ever done in Maui, or anywhere for that matter!
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