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  • 10
  • Nov
  • 2014

Cultural Experiences in Maui during your Hawaii Cruise

“‘Ike nā mea Hawai’I” means “experience Hawaiian culture”. says the most enjoyable way to do this is on a Hawaiian cruise that includes Maui as a stop. Increasingly cruise passengers show interest in the culture of their ports of call, and Hawaii offers rich Pacific Island cultural experiences. Perhaps the best souvenir you could bring home from a visit to the Hawaiian islands is the aspect of Hawaiian culture that encourages gratitude, love, support, hospitality and giving. Here are some ideas for Cultural Experiences on Maui during your Hawaii Cruise.

You’ll find all of these qualities and more in Maui’s Upcountry amidst rolling hills and mountains cloaked in mist. The temps are definitely cooler in and around Haleakala (House of the Sun) where fertile, green fields rich in volcanic soil grow abundant crops. Established in 1968, the Kula Botanical Garden features hundreds of varieties of plants on eight acres, complemented by rock formations, a covered bridge, waterfalls, koi pond, carved tiki exhibit and aviary. Along with the tour comes a freshly prepared farm-to-table lunch. Another must-stop is the mystical lavender fields (55,000 plants, 45 different varieties) of Ali’I Kula Lavender.  In addition, tour through olive trees, hydrangea, protea, succulents and other flora.

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At O’o Farms, you can take part in an informative farm tour across eight acres of pristine, sustainable land that’s biodynamically cultivated.  Delight in coffee and fruit trees, rows of greens, garden vegetables, greenhouses, herbs and flowers. Maui’s only commercial winery in the heart of Ulupalakua Ranch, Tedeschi Vineyards, offers tours and tastings in a serene setting—be sure to try their signature pineapple wine! “Da feta mo’ betta” at Surfing Goat Dairy where you can sample from among more than 25 different cheeses in addition to taking a farm and cheese-making tour.


Photo Courtesy of the Surfing Goat Dairy

On your way back down, stop into Makawao and peruse this artistic town that’s home to the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys). A stop by Piiholo Ranch will put you in a saddle on a horse or harness on the latest zipline.


Photo Courtesy of Maui-Piiholo-Ranch

We love the quaint, historic town of Lahaina with its rich history of royalty, whaling and sugar. Maui Nei Native Expeditions offers cultural tours of Lahaina led by Native Hawaiian kumu (guide). The area’s history will leap to life from stories and actual places from the area’s rich past. The tour includes a stop at the Lahaina Heritage Museum. If you do your own tour, pick up a brochure at the Old Courthouse to see all 62 historical sites along the Lahaina Historic Trail. Baldwin House is the oldest house on the island, built in 1835. Rev. Dwight Baldwin occupied the building as a missionary, naturalist and self-trained physician who served the Hawaiian people. Take the kids by the old prison and show them how justice was meted out 150 years ago. They’ll be happy they only have to give up their iPhone for the day.


Photo Courtesy of the Maui Nei Native Expedition/Friends of Moku’ula

Enter the ‘Iao Valley and you’ll instantly know you’ve entered a sacred, storied place. The area is a burying place for chiefs and home to Maui’s last major battle for supremacy (which was horrific). It’s hard to imagine it today since the place is so peaceful and idyllic with its valley stream and iconic ‘Iao Needle. Keiki (kids) will love the Hawaii Nature Center with its interactive science exhibition and rain forest walk. The Bailey House Museum, former home of the principal of the Wailuku Female Seminary Edward Bailey, features artifacts like an old Hawaiian Bible, 100-year-old surfboard, quilts, artwork and clothing. This site has the largest collection of pre-western contact Hawaiian artifacts.


Photo Courtesy of the Maui Historical Society

Haleakala served as a place for ceremonial observances, where the gods communicated, family members interred or were taken into the “aumakua” realm. Ancient trails took peoples to sacred landscapes and to natural resources, and today you can travel on parts of these paths.


Haleakala Maui

Tour some of Hawaii’s ancient heiau (temples). If you go along the zigzag road to Hana, you’ll come upon Pi’ilanihale Heiau, the largest in the state, that dates back to 1200 AD. Restored in the late ‘90s, it covers three acres. Popoiwi Heiau was constructed before the actual Hawaiians around 300 AD.  In Wailuku (coming or going from ‘Io Valley), you’ll find remnants from the Haleki’i and Pihana Heiau, both sites of human sacrifice back in the day.

Maui.ii-Hawaii Temple

Hawaii Temple

Whether you book on your own or through the ship, Maui is a great Hawaiian Island to reach out and touch culture. can get you there in the click of a mouse to or touch of the phone at 1-888-804-CRUISE (2784). For more helpful tips about your cruising needs please visit us on Facebook and join our Inner Circle.

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