To make the most of the natural splendour for which Maui is celebrated, consider taking one (or more) guided tours.
Each one features experienced guides eager to share their insights about Maui’s scenery, cuisine, history and culture.
Hike Maui – Ultimate Hana Full-Day Adventure Tour
Waterfalls, bamboo forests, verdant jungles and more are among the sights to admire on this daylong tour. As you hike 4 ½ miles through Haleakala National Park, you’ll also visit the Oheo Gulch and an area also known as the Seven Sacred Pools. Hike Maui will also take you for a drive along the Road to Hana. Participants rave about the views from all parts of the journey and describe the guides as highly knowledgeable and accommodating.
Tickets for the 11-hour outing, which is typically offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday, cost about $220. The price includes lunch and snacks. Vans depart central Maui at 7 a.m. Note: Hikers must be at least 8 years old.
The company also conducts a hike along the Haleakala Crater and shorter waterfall-themed hikes.
Four Winds II – Morning Snorkel to Molokini Crater
Crescent-shaped Molokini Crater, a partially submerged volcanic caldera, is regarded as an ideal spot for snorkelling because it’s sheltered from powerful currents and waves. Aboard the Four Winds II catamaran, you’ll sail 3 miles to the crater where you’ll have time to snorkel and see ample marine life, including turtles.
As an added bonus, from December through March, humpback whales may be glimpsed too. Snorkelers often call this trip the best boat tour they’ve taken and praise the crew for their insight and professionalism. Tickets for these daily excursions, which last from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., cost approximately $105 for adults and $75 for children 3 to 12. The price covers the use of snorkelling equipment as well as breakfast, lunch and drinks (including wine and beer).
Four Winds II also offers an afternoon snorkelling outing.
Polynesian Adventure – Haleakala Sunrise Tour (Breakfast Included)
While viewing the sunrise from a nearly 10,000-foot high peak known as “House of the Sun” may be the highlight of this tour, it isn’t the sole attraction. The approximately 9 1/2-hour outing not only visits a dormant volcano but also Haleakala National Park, which boasts more than 1,000 species of plants. As you take the 38-mile ride in a comfortable minibus, you’ll see plenty of Maui’s gorgeous scenery. Drivers double as guides and are generally regarded as welcoming, enthusiastic hosts. Travellers also say it’s worth the early wake-up call: Hotel pickup begins at 2 a.m.
Tickets cost around $180, which includes entrance to Haleakala National Park, breakfast at a local eatery and round-trip transportation. Tours run Tuesday through Sunday. Not a morning person? Try the company’s sunset tour, which includes dinner.
Maui Kayak Adventures – Maui Whale Watching
Humpback whales breed in Maui’s waters, making the island an ideal place to go on a whale-watching adventure. This kayak expedition allows you to get an up-close glimpse of the humpbacks that call the island’s waters home.
A maximum of eight travellers will embark on the three-hour tour. Tour-takers earnestly laud the naturalist guides for their knowledge, professionalism and helpfulness. This tour runs daily from January through March only (as that’s when the whales are in the area) starting at 7 a.m. Tickets start at $89 per person.
Maui Kayak Adventures also offers a tour combining whale watching with snorkelling.
Your hike inside Ka’eleku Caves with Temptation Tours won’t be completely dark: some sections of the trail have small “skylights” that were formed from a ceiling collapse. (Courtesy of Chuck Thorne /Hana Lava Tube)
Temptation Tours – Hana Cave-Quest
The main event of the Hana Cave-Quest may be the hourlong guided tour of Ka’eleku Cavern, an underground passageway dripping with stalactites, but there are plenty of other sights to see on this daylong excursion. Other stops during the seacoast drive include Ke’anae (a village off the Hana Highway built on a peninsula made of lava), Waikani Falls and Hana Tropical Gardens. Travellers regularly call the guides informative, friendly and attentive; they also say the van used to transport patrons throughout the day is comfortable.
The approximately $240 price covers transportation (including round-trip hotel transportation) as well as snacks and lunch. Tours depart daily at 7 a.m. and return at 5 p.m. Temptation Tours offers a number of other tours along the Road to Hana.
PacWhale Eco-Adventures – Molokini and Turtle Arches Snorkeling Trip
This tour combines a visit to the clear waters of the Molokini conservation area with an additional stop at Turtle Arches for more snorkelling and a chance to spot sea turtles. You’ll also get plenty of fuel throughout the day as a continental breakfast and barbecue lunch are included.
Naturalists serve as guides and are generally deemed friendly and helpful. Travellers also say this outing is great for novice snorkelers. Fees for this five-hour tour are approximately $125 for participants 13 and older and $75 for kids 12 or younger.
Boats depart daily at 7 and 8 a.m.; there’s an additional tour at 8:30 a.m. during the summer. PacWhale also offers a dolphin-watching snorkel excursion and a variety of whale-watching trips.
Bike Maui – Sunrise Guided Tour
The sunrise lures many visitors to the summit of Haleakala National Park’s namesake peak, but this tour stands out for blending a dawn-of-day viewing with a 23-mile bike ride down Haleakala and through the park’s volcanic landscape to Haiku (where Bike Maui is based). You won’t have to worry about biking up the mountain:
Bike Maui will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to the summit. Early morning bicyclists cheer the beauty of the sunrise and also praise the knowledgeable, helpful ride leaders. The eight-hour tour usually begins between 3 and 4 a.m., depending on the time of year.
It costs approximately $225 to take this ride, and that includes transportation, use of mountain bikes and helmets, access to rain gear and snacks. Self-guided bike tours are also an option.
For those who’d rather skip the sunrise, Bike Maui offers the same ride with a slightly later departure at 8 a.m.
Maui Pineapple Tours – Pineapple Farm Tour
Pineapple is one of the must-sample fruits in Hawaii, so why not see where they’re farmed up close? During the 90-minute walk through Maui Gold’s farm and facilities, guides impart facts about the crop’s cultivation and production, which participants find both informative and entertaining.
The tour costs approximately $65 for adults and $55 for kids ages 2 to 12; prices include a pineapple for each participant to take home. Tours take place three times daily starting at 9:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. You can opt to combine your farm tour with the tour of a distillery that uses Maui Gold’s pineapples in its spirits, lunch at a nearby cafe or both.
Redline Rafting – Molokini Snorkel Tour
On this half-day snorkel tour, you’ll visit Molokini crater (including its back wall) and La Perouse Bay for a chance to see the bay’s resident spinner dolphins. Snorkelers may also spot sea turtles and (in winter) humpback whales. The crew consistently wins high marks for being helpful, personable and entertaining.
Tours take place daily from 7 a.m. to noon. The approximately $145 fee includes the boat ride, use of snorkelling equipment, a light breakfast and lunch. Be aware that this tour is not suited for pregnant women or kids younger than 8. Kihei-based Redline Rafting also provides seasonal whale-watching tours and private boat tours.
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Kapalua Ziplines – 7 Dual Zip Line Tour
Despite its name, the 7 Dual Zip Line Tour entails more than zip lines. While the roughly 3 1/2-hour activity does involve nearly 10,000 feet of travel via zip lines, it also incorporates hiking through a rainforest, walking across a suspension bridge and all-terrain vehicle rides through the mountains. Along the way, guides share information about local plants and animals.
Tour-takers invariably describe the excursion as great fun and the staff as highly professional. Tickets start at around $210. Tours are offered three times daily at 8:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Kapalua Ziplines also offers shorter tours that traverse five or six zip lines.