OUR MAUI TOUR GUIDES
SEE THE ROAD TO HĀNA & HALEAKALĀ NATIONAL PARK WITH US
GUIDED TOURS OF MAUI
GUIDED TOURS OF MAUI
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.
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. Our guides have both shared and personal knowledge of local & native culture and are passionate about sharing it with our guests.
A MAUI TOUR GUIDE’S TYPICAL DAY
A MAUI TOUR GUIDE’S TYPICAL DAY
The guides’ day starts at 5am at the tour van base yard. They load up the vans with bottled water and ice, do a checklist look-over 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 pickup 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 pickups before heading to breakfast. Arriving at about 7:30 am for breakfast, this tour begins the day at Cafe O Lei at the Mill House for a tropical continental breakfast. As the guests enjoy breakfast and get acquainted with fellow passengers the guides check in with each other.
These guides are often locals who were born and raised in the islands, or have lived on Maui for most of their life. They have all told us that in one way or another that the road to Hana gets in your blood. 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 our tours!
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.”
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.
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!
ROAD TO HANĀ GUIDES
Travis is a Maui boy who grew up in east Maui, learning the history, culture, & language of the land throughout his childhood, including dancing hula & playing music.
The pastimes of his youth come full circle today allowing him to share his culture with first hand knowledge & pride.
Travis also works for a luau production in the evenings as a musician. His Hana tours are known to be energetic and entertaining.
Uncle Joe is our senior Road to Hana guide at Valley Isle Excursions, joining our ‘ohana in 2006. He is pure 100% kanaka maoli (native Hawaiian), originally from Hawai’i island.
Sharing culture and history is the main aspect of his tour. Aside from his incredible knowledge, he is a master driver on the #roadtohana and one of kindest souls you’ll meet.
Apa joined the company in July 2022. Born and raised on Oahu, Apa may be new to VIE but he has years of experience in the guide and visitor industry. His career in tourism includes dancing for Tavana, Hana tour guide in the 80’s, driving for several Hawaii transportation service providers, and being the conductor of the Lahaina Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad historic tour.
Apa enjoys meeting people from all over the world in this profession.His tours involve a little culture, a little history and a good sense of humor. “I no like my tours to be boring,” he says with a smile.
Charleston is a proud Hawaiian, originally from Nanakuli, Oahu and a Maui resident since 2015. One of his favorite things about being a tour guide is sharing about Hawaii culture and especially about the love they have for the land.
After graduating from Kamehameha High School on Oahu he did some internships on the Big Island where he discovered a passion for farming. He studied agriculture and horticulture in college, and currently farms microgreens at home.
Paula joined VIE in early 2022 and loves meeting and greeting people with each new tour. She is hailed by her guests as being a sweet guide and a safe driver. She is originally from the East coast and moved to Maui a few years ago.
Her favorite part of her tour is showing folks the Keanae peninsula. She is in love with the magnificent coastline with its jagged black rock set in contrast to the brilliant blue of the ocean and white of the wash as it crashes against the shoreline.
Yvonne grew up here on Maui and is especially knowledgeable about the diverse plant life you’ll see along the road to Hāna. She joined us as a Hāna guide in March of 2020.
She is one of our sweetest guides but also one of our most energetic. She keeps her tours full of activity but well-paced. She loves animals and has a number of pets – too many to name! She enjoys all water sports, collecting shells and gardening.
HALEAKALĀ SUNRISE GUIDES
Alika joined the VIE ‘ohana in Summer 2021 as a Sunrise driver. He is a local boy with an easy going demeanor and a great sense of humor. If you’re on his tour, you’re going to laugh!
What’s his favorite thing about his job? Showing his guests a good time! The sunrise is stunning, but for Alika, it is the people who come from all over the world that makes each tour fun. “I like having fun with them and also getting to share with them what it’s like to grow up here in Hawaii.”
Abe is originally from Waimanalo on O’ahu but moved to Maui in 2020 and joined our ‘ohana in July 2021 as Sunrise guide. He is married to a Maui girl and is blessed with 5 keiki.
Braddah Abe is a humble soul, family-oriented, FULL of Aloha and gratitude for life, enjoys meeting new people everyday, and enjoys sharing mana’o (thoughts/knowledge) of our beautiful ‘āina (land).
Come with us on a Haleakalā Sunrise Tour as we explore the stories of this enchanted realm. Be inspired by the National Park landscape, and immerse yourself in the sacredness of Haleakalā’s summit.