One thing I really love about Maui is the variety of scenery and climates as you travel around the island. I’ve posted previously about how to really enjoy the road to Hana, but if you don’t have time to spend a night or two there, you can do what thousands do every day and go there and back in your rental car for a day trip. But there is a third option to consider: a guided tour. My wife and I recently enjoyed a tour with Valley Isle Excursions and highly recommend it.*
Frankly, I was skeptical about a guided tour. And granted, there are pros and cons to it, most which you can easily guess for yourself. What I didn’t expect, however, was how much more of the scenery you can take in when you are not driving the road to Hana yourself. I was able to look all around, including behind, from the large windows and really take in the views without worrying about plunging my car into the ocean. But the biggest delight was “listening to story” from our tour guide/driver Joe. He not only was extremely knowledgeable about all of the plants and trees that we saw, but he knew the stories and meanings behind the names of the various places we passed (for example, do YOU know about the demi-god who came down as a rooster, or the “pork in the car” story?) Joe also knows where all of the good views are and the best places to stop (or not stop).
Another benefit of the Valley Isle Excursions tour was that they actually continue on around the whole island. Past Hana and the Seven Sacred Pools (Oheo Gulch) the country opens up and changes from rainforest to arid “desert”. Some would say this south side of the island isn’t as picturesque as the rest of Maui, but I disagree. The views of this side of Haleakala are amazing. I also really enjoyed seeing the island change as we continued on throughout the day, ending up at Tedeschi Winery and then back down the road to our starting point.
Long day? Yes. But well worth it, and a great way to sample the spectrum of delights on the island of Maui.
*Full disclosure: we were offered two complimentary tickets by the company to share our thoughts. However, the views in this post are 100% mine, and I received no compensation from Valley Isle Excursions beyond the two tickets.