If you’re visiting Maui, I highly recommend taking the Hana Coast tour.
We had a great experience with Mahalo Tours and their Mercedes Benz vans seating a maximum of eight. Even though the tour was 11-1/2 hours long, our tour guide,
Cody, was knowledgeable and entertaining. By the time we got back, though, I was completely drained. I spent the next day resting.
We sat on the left side of the van – I looked at the map beforehand and figured out that that side of the van would be on the coast. I took over 300 photos. Beautiful coastlines.
The tour took us through 617 turns and 54 single lane roads. I lost track of the number of times we stopped. They involved climbing in and out of the van with a small, two-step, plastic stool. I’ve been having trouble with back pain that started before we left for Hawaii and I felt every turn, every bump, in the road.
Our first stop was Hookipa were I started the photo frenzy. Most of our stops were like that, an opportunity to take photos. Toward the end of the day, we encountered a little rain and there it was, a rainbow positioned below us. Most rainbows are so high in the sky and far away, that it’s impossible to see all seven of the colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. These are the same colors and order that you see on a color wheel. This one was so close that I could see all of them.
We stopped at one of Hawaii’s black sand beaches. The beach is surrounded by black lava rock that, over centuries, has been eroded away by the waves to make fine black sand. Tom climbed down to the beach. He said the sand started out with fairly large pebbles away from the waves, and got smaller and finer as he walked to the water.
One of our first stops was in an area with giant Rainbow Painted Eucalyptus. I’ve never seen such an amazing tree! One of them must have been 10 feet in diameter.
We saw cascading waterfalls Hawaii is so known for, and pools at the foot of the falls that were just begging us to jump in. One of them had a cave in the pool for more adventurous people. I took more incredible photos but we only had ten minutes and then it was back
in the van. We did have a stop where we could have gotten into the water but the waves were too menacing and the water was cold.
Everything is so lush and so different from Denver. Most people don’t know that Denver is a semi-arid state so growing tropical plants of any kind is impossible. One of the more popular houseplants is the philodendron. Here, they grow wild in the forest and climb up the trunks of trees.
Lunch was included in the tour. At one of our stops, Cody took down everyone’s order and then called them in
to the restaurant. The selection was much more than burgers and fries. I ordered the fish tacos. After a few more stops, Cody pulled off the road into a large space of dirt and parked the van next to our restaurant: a food truck!
There were old long wooden tables and chairs. The table felt grimy with old food and dirt so I took the roll of paper towels sitting on it and made myself a placemat. It wasn’t long before everyone else on the tour was doing the same thing.
Ask any of my family members and they would all agree that I’m a picky eater. For example, I won’t eat leftovers that have been in the refrigerator more than 24 hours. All I can think of is bacteria growing in the food. Being picky doesn’t have to be rational; most fears aren’t. In any other circumstances, I would have told my husband to back up and keep going until we found something better. Of course I didn’t know there aren’t any more restaurants on the coast drive.
When someone set the plate of fish tacos in front of me, they looked more than just “edible.” They looked like a feast with lots of fresh slaw. I couldn’t find anything that said “Stop! Poisoning at risk!” so I took a bite. They were the best fish tacos I have ever had – including my own.
The last stop of the day was a winery with some unusual wines, like pineapple and papaya. I don’t drink
alcohol so I took a quiet walk by myself around the property. The setting was beautiful, flowers were blooming, and I found a little alter with a small stone god. The whole area brought a wonderful sense of peace to me. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful day.
Until next time,
Susan L Stewart