News and reviews of made on Maui products and Maui-based companies and success stories. Also featuring island shopping guides

Posts tagged ‘Tour’

Step Back in Time – Maui Hawaiian Village

Have you ever wanted to step back in time?  To see Hawaii what it was like before contact, to hear the spoken language, see where they lived, what they wore, and what they ate?  Well, thanks to an amazing group of ‘landkeepers’, you can.

maui native clothing family

Upon entering the Maui Hawaiian Village, you are greeted with a traditional Hawaiian chant, or oli

The Maui Hawaiian Village opened up to the public earlier this summer, and what started off as a land rehabilitation project, of removing invasive plants and planting natives, has turned into a ‘living history’ tour in the West Maui Mountains.

I was invited to join one of these tour groups last weekend to see what this tour was all about, and I jumped at the chance.  Due to the delicate nature of the location, we all were to meet our first tour guide and driver in Kahului.  We were then told where we were going, and explained why the location of the tour is kept quiet (to access the tour the bus drives through a small neighborhood.

taro patch maui hawaii traditional practice The tour bus stops (not too far from Kahului) at a kalo (taro) patch, that is the beginning of our short hike into the valley.  We are introduced to two more tour guides (landkeepers they like to call themselves – reminding us they are not professional ‘tourguides’) as well as the seventh generation keeper of the kalo patch that we are standing next to, whose stories of the land are sure to give ‘chicken-skin’.

The hike, with the guides on either end of the pack, to make sure no one gets lost, is not all that strenuous, but is tricky and closed-toed shoes are required (sunscreen and insect-repellant are also recommended).  It’s 20-30 minutes of hiking, and its clear that during rainy weather the hike would get quite slippery and a bit more challenging (be prepared to get muddy!)

oli hawaiian chant maui hawaii Upon entering the valley, the landkeepers offer a traditional ‘oli (chant) to ask permission to enter the village.  More landkeepers, complete with keiki (children) come out of the hales (shelters) and welcome us into their village.

We were on the shorter tour, the ‘Aina Tour, which focuses on the main three necessities of live for the pre-contact Hawaiians – Food, Shelter and Clothing.  The hale are surrounded by native plants, and just as one starts drooling over all the tropical fruits, we are offered beverages and cut up pieces of papayas and bananas.

I won’t give away everything about the tour (and besides, you can read more about it on their website) – but what does quickly become obvious is this is more than just a job for our landkeepers.  They share personal stories about the resurgence of the Hawaiian culture, for example how just a generation ago it was illegal for children to speak Hawaiian in schools, and now their own children are able to attend Hawaiian immersion schools.

tiny poi pounder girl maui hawaii

Each landkeeper kept coming back to two points – one is sustainability. Sustainability is a pretty big buzzword these days, and as our guides pointed out, Hawaii was 2,500 miles from the nearest land-mass, they had to be pretty conservative with their resources.  The other point was coming back to ones roots.  As the landkeepers were clearing the valley over the last two years, the unveiling of ancient aquaduct walls and taro valleys seemed a great metaphor for their journey.  Words, plants, practices and values that have been hidden or lost since the Western contact are just starting to be found and put to use again, and sharing this with each other, with our guests and with our keiki… it seems like the beginning of something very exciting…. there goes the chicken-skin again!

Want More:

The ‘Aina Nui Tour is 4 hours including transportation, the ‘Aina Tour is 2.  School and Kama’aina rates are available.  Tours are currently offered a few days a week.

See the Website for booking or more information.

Follow Maui Hawaiian Village on Instagram and Facebook for the Olelo Wednesday Word of the Day and the Aloha Aina Friday Plant of the Day and more!

Maui Open Studios – February 2014

Over 85 Maui-based artists and artisans open up their studios and exhibition spaces to show and sell their work during the 4th Annual Maui Open Studios, taking place on three weekends in February 2014.  The public can personally connect with the artists, something that doesn’t always happen in a gallery setting, and in some cases, the artists will even be giving live demonstrations. The entire event is free to the public.

Eva Roberts Maui Open Studio

Eva Roberts opens her studios and backyard with Maui Open Studios 2014. Photo by Randy Hufford

Visitors are also invited to join many of the artists at the Opening Celebration and Preview Exhibition on February 1, where they can enjoy a cash bar, no-host pupus, listen to live music, preview a few pieces of the artists’ work, and connect with the artists. This is also a great place to pick up a copy of the MOS Guidebook containing an artist directory and maps directing them to different studios and exhibition spaces around the island. Guidebooks are also available throughout the duration of the event at various locations around the island, which are listed on Visitors then design their own self-guided tours for each weekend of the month, either by referring to their printed guidebook or our online artist directory at

Maui Open Studios Dates and Locations:

  • Opening Celebration/Preview Exhibition

Saturday, February 1 from 5pm – 8pm • Maui Tropical Plantation

The Open Studio self-guided tours begin the following weekend. Hours for the Weekend Open Studios are 11am – 6pm.

  • rick strini maui open studios

    Rick Strini, one of Maui’s master glassblowers, demonstrates his talents – Photo by Rob Ratkowski

    Weekend 1: Upcountry Maui • Saturday and Sunday, February 8 and 9

  • Special Bonus Event: Tuesday, February 11 – “Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hawai’i – A Talk by Patricia Jennings”, will be held on from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm at Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center. Free but RSVP required:
  • Weekend 2: Central Maui, North Shore, Road to Hana and Hana • Saturday and Sunday, February 15 and 16
  • Weekend 3: West and South Maui • Saturday and Sunday, February 22 and 23

History of the Event: 

The Annual Maui Open Studios Event is the first of its kind in the state of Hawaii and was created 4 years ago by a former Maui artist who now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. The mission of MOS is to connect the art community with art-lovers on Maui. Since it’s inception, the event has featured over 85 artists every year and generated over 6,000 individual studio visits by art collectors and art enthusiasts each year. $100,000 in art sales made directly between art-collectors and artists have been generated by the event each year since it’s creation.

The event is produced and organized by acclaimed fine art photo collage artist and former art gallery owner on Maui and Oahu, Carolyn Quan. She is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area after living in Hawaii for 9 years, while continually remaining connected to the islands and serving the art community there.

Follow Maui Open Studios on Facebook 

Maui Mana Adventures – Private Tours of Maui

If you are on vacation, or new to Maui, and you want to explore the island and its surrounding ocean, you have a couple choices.  You can use a guidebook to find the ‘hidden gems’, which now, thanks to those guidebooks, you’ll be enjoying with 600 new friends (and i’m not kidding, last time I drove past Twin Falls, there were approximately 200 cars there.. 4 people in a car, you get the idea… it’s not Disneyland, people), OR, you could jump in a van or bus and be driven around with, if you are lucky, only 10 or 14 other people joining in on your private adventure…

Miranda Camp is offering another option.  A naturalist, adventurist, and self-described ‘amassador of fun’, she will take you and your friends and family on a private tour of your design.  After years of being an informal tour guide to her own friends and family, Miranda decided to make a business of her natural talent – delighting visitors with the hidden treasures of Maui.  She recently started her company, Maui Mana Adventures, and specializes in Hikes, Stand Up Paddling and Snorkeling Tours.

Miranda and I worked together for several years at Maui Ocean Center, (seriously, she’s one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, I think there’s a combination of Hawaiian Aloha and Southern Charm in there somewhere) – so she was willing to put down the paddle for a few minutes to answer some of my questions:

Maui Made: How did Maui Mana Adventures start?  

Miranda Camp: I’ve been taking people on adventures in Maui for many years and one day a friend said to me “You should do this for a living because you’re so good at it!”  It’s what I love to do more than anything else so it was shocking to me that it hadn’t occurred to me before.

MM: What’s your favorite adventure on Maui?  

MC: There are so many great adventures on Maui, but I think I love my Island Loop Adventures the best because they are a combination of various adventures all in one day.  We tour either the West Maui mountains, Halemahina, or the East Maui mountain, Haleakala, and fit in as many adventures as we can.  It’s such a blast!

Maui Waterslide Private tour

the natural amusement park of Maui – a slide!

MM: Anywhere on Maui you haven’t yet been?  

MC: I’m sure there are special places on Maui still undiscovered by me.  I’m working on finding them all.

MM: What sets Maui Mana apart from other tours on Maui?  

Every company has it’s own unique niche.  My company is all about sharing the aloha and special Mana (which is Hawaiian for ‘life force energy’) of Maui.  I specialize in private custom tours, so my clients design their own adventures.  They tell me what they’d like to do and see and we do it at their pace.  I’ve been studying everything I can about Maui from amazing people since I fell in love with it and moved here over 16 years ago.  I have lots of enthusiasm and respect for the island and it’s Hawaiian culture and I love to share that with others.

maui blow hole private tour

See the Maui Blow Hole

MM: What are your favorite places to explore around the other Hawaiian islands?  

MC: All of the islands are so unique and special.  There are too many favorite places to name and I’m still learning.

MM: why do you think ‘ecotourism’ vacations and activities are so popular now?  

MC: Because people are getting back in touch with their surroundings and realizing that we need to take care of the things that sustain us just as they were our own families.  This is what all the ancient cultures realized and we are finally getting back to our roots.  It’s a beautiful thing!  (MM Notes: Maui Mana Adventures donates 5% of their profits to local organizations that work to preserve and restore the special places on Maui.)

Not only will you have Maui's best tour guide, you'll have a friend for life.

Not only will you have Maui’s best tour guide, you’ll have a friend for life.

More about Miranda Camp:

She’s worked as a Naturalist/Educator for The Hawaii Nature Center,  the Pacific Whale Foundation and now with the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium for over 10 years.  She has lead hikes for The Nature Conservancy of Maui and the Maui Sierra Club and volunteers for the Coastal Land Trust, Auwahi Reforestation Program, The Hawaii Wildlife Fund Hawksbill Sea Turtle Recovery Project and more. Safety is important to Miranda: she’s First Aid/CPR Certified.

To see what others are saying, check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.

Side Trip To Ocean Vodka and Surfing Goat Dairy

Omaopio Road, which connects Kula to Puunene, didn’t have much reason to see visitor traffic, unless you had a particular interest in fancy goat cheese or adorable baby goats.   Now, in addition to Surfing Goat Dairy, Omaopio Road is now also a destination for vodka connoisseurs!

In April, Ocean Vodka, the number one selling ‘made in Hawaii’ spirit, opened a brand new Organic Farm and Distillery, with tours available several times a day.

I arrived too late for the tour, but the gift shop is open to the public currently during tour hours, from 9-4 daily.  There’s a few logo items available for purchase, and some vodka of course, but according to Danielle, the very friendly shop employee, in a few weeks it should be full of some great made on Maui finds!  I’ll check it out and report back.

Tours of the organic farm and distillery are available daily at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 1:00 and 2:30.  Tours are $10 a person or $25 includes lunch.  To schedule your tour you should contact Ocean Vodka here , or just drop by and see if there’s space available!

According to their website,

Ocean Vodka is the only spirit in the world made from organically farmed sugar cane, blended with deep ocean mineral water and powered by the sun. Ocean Vodka is 100% Certified USDA Organic and gluten-free, with a proprietary column distillation process that produces an ultra-clean spirit highly decorated and unrivaled in the marketplace.  When this pure refined spirit is blended with deep ocean mineral water, Ocean Vodka takes on a unique, mineral-rich flavor found in no other vodka.

Hum, I wonder if the tour includes a sample…

The Ocean Vodka Gift Shop Open 9-4 Daily

The Ocean Vodka Gift Shop Open 9-4 Daily

Ocean Vodka is the only Vodka in the world distilled from Organic Sugar Cane

Ocean Vodka is the only Vodka in the world distilled from Organic Sugar Cane

The New Ocean Vodka Distillery

The New Ocean Vodka Distillery

And, a baby pineapple.

And, a baby pineapple.


Just up the road from Ocean Vodka is Surfing Goat Dairy, where you can purchase goat cheese, check out the baby goats (there always seem to be some babies there!  These goats breed like rabbits!), and yes, take a tour!

Surfing Goat Dairy actually offers three types of tours, a casual tour with no reservations necessary, for $10/adult and $7 kids, evening chores and milking tour, Mon-Sat at 3:15 for $15/a, $12/k, (reservations recommended) and a grand dairy tour for $25 on selected Saturday mornings, which includes milking a goat and sampling many cheeses!  

I haven’t taken a tour yet, but it’s a nice, casual place where you can hang out and enjoy the goats, and if you linger long enough, you can get some good info!  According to yesterday’s overheard conversation, the dairy  mixes too particular types of goats (and probably more) – one that produces lots of milk, and one that produces milk with a high butter-fat content.  There really is more to goat cheese than I ever knew, perhaps this summer we’ll have to add a goat tour to our list of family activities!

One thing is for sure- there’s a lilikoi goat milk cheesecake that I’m dying to try!  There’s even a nice shady seating area to enjoy your cheesy delights.

Hours of Operation at the Surfing Goat Dairy

Hours of Operation at the Surfing Goat Dairy

If there's anything cuter than a baby goat I haven't found it

If there’s anything cuter than a baby goat I haven’t found it

Silly goat, enjoying the views of upcountry Maui. WIth the ample sun on Omaopio, solar panels make sense for the dairy and the distillery!

Silly goat, enjoying the views of upcountry Maui. WIth the ample sun on Omaopio, solar panels make sense for the dairy and the distillery!

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