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Are tours worth it (ie Haleakala sunrise / snorkel)

Are tours worth it (ie Haleakala sunrise / snorkel)

Old Jul 22, 16, 1:35 pm
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Are tours worth it (ie Haleakala sunrise / snorkel)

So after looking in the forums / consolidated threads and coming up with nothing, I am here to ask.

This is kind of a two part question.

We are heading to Maui in August and staying at the Westin Kaanapali. We are from Boston so I would like to do the Haleakala sunrise on day 1 or 2 while the body is still kind of screwed up time wise. I will have a rental car and was initially planning on booking a sunrise tour through HawaiiActivities.com however I am now on the fence if it's worth going with a tour if I have the car. Will I miss anything by not having a tour guide or is driving your own car up just as good.

Also, I would like to do some snorkeling while I am there and have another question. Is it worth heading out on a boat for a snorkel tour or is there plenty to see if I go right off the beach and bring my own snorkel set?

If anyone has any other recommendations / suggestions I am open to hearing them. (ie activities or companies to book through).

Last edited by Smerri; Jul 22, 16 at 1:46 pm
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Old Jul 22, 16, 2:15 pm
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The ride up to Haleakala is full of switchbacks. There is no street lighting. You should ask yourself if you really feel comfortable driving yourself up the mountain while jet-lagged and under those circumstances.

Doing a snorkel trip to Molokini is not something you can duplicate yourself.
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Old Jul 22, 16, 7:09 pm
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Regarding tours across the Hawaiian Islands...

Some people feel adventurous enough to just rent a car and explore. They may experience Hawaii more like a local.

Others feel that want to book an excursion or tour and let someone else guide them. This can be useful but you will be more of a "tourist".

On the Big Island it is possible to just book an all-day bus ride around the island and they take you to multiple tourist spots. This is useful if you want to sit back and relax and have someone tell you info about what you are seeing, etc. However, a drawback to this and other tours is that you may decide that you want to spend less or more time at a location but can't.

There are many places on all islands that are great to visit, but organized tours don't go to.
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Old Jul 22, 16, 7:36 pm
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Yeah, the road to Haleakala is twisty and you'll be driving it at about 3 am. But, it's not like its a one-lane dirt road. It's a good two-lane road. Check out photos on line and decide for yourself. Personally, I use my rental. Don't forget to bring something to keep you warm. It's cold at the top of the mountain. I took the blanket from my room.

Unless you get really great conditions, you might find it underwhelming, especially given the middle of the night drive (with or without a tour), but at least you could sleep another hour in the tour bus.

We loved the snorkel tour to Molokini from Wailea with Kai Kanani. It leaves at 6 am from in front of the Makena Resort. It is closer than the others, so you have Molokini to yourselves for 45 minutes. Small catamaran.
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Old Jul 22, 16, 7:40 pm
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Even though I usually awake around 3am after arriving from the east coast, I would still take a tour up Haleakala - if I was willing to go Daytime is enough for me, and I've been to the top of Mauna Kea. No thanks, not only is the air thin, but it's darned cold up there.

If this is your first trip, I would also take a few tours to get a feel for the island. On the next trip you'll have a better idea of what you'd like to do, and a good tour guide will be as good as paying for a guided tour.
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Old Jul 23, 16, 7:36 am
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I have snorkeled in alot of different places throughout the Americas. I was disappointed with Molokini.

You mentioned staying in Kanaapali. I thought that the snorkeling was better from shore at Black Rock.

Unless you want the experience of seeing the Molokini Crater itself, I would save my money.

Last edited by loomis; Jul 23, 16 at 7:43 am
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Old Jul 25, 16, 3:30 am
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We went on a sunrise cycle trip just over a week ago.
Even with the jet lag/time difference it was a struggle, it's apparently 50/50 weather wise if you actually see the sunrise. When at the summit we were told it had been 10 days clear followed by 7 days overcast and raining.
We started the cycle decent from a lower level due to the damp conditions and I was still underwhelmed by the view. Yes, I'm spoilt with views due to where I live!
The downside of the trip was my daughter came off her bike on a bend in the wet conditions and has now spent some vacation time in a wheelchair before progressing to crutches.
We are a family that road bikes as well as runs, swims and lifts but looking back felt very unprepared for the decent (you never need to use the pedals apart from possibly 2 small hills)
Be familiar with you brakes and urgent care/insurance number.
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Old Aug 1, 16, 4:44 pm
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We have never done a tour to Haleakala, just taken our rental car. The couple of times that we have successfully arrived at the summit on a clear day we have driven around to the east side of west Maui (we stay in the Kapalua area) to see if the top is clear. Obviously we are not driving in the dark at that time. If it is clear, we head on up and hope that we beat cloud cover. If it is socked-in, we don't even try. Where you are coming from you should have about 3 days of getting up pretty early with your body-clock.

We have been on a number of snorkeling tours and thought they were fine but expensive. We don't do enough snorkeling to know if Molokini was bad. It was fine when we were there. If you want to do it on the cheap as loomis has suggested, you might consider Honolua Bay which is a few miles north of the Westin, just north of the Kapalua area. Rent your equipment (before you go), park your car and walk to the cove to snorkel.
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Old Aug 2, 16, 1:36 pm
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Originally Posted by loomis View Post
I have snorkeled in alot of different places throughout the Americas. I was disappointed with Molokini.
Same here. IMO for snorkeling, Molokini was underwhelming. Yes the water is impressively clear but to be honest there isn't an awful lot to see.

You mentioned staying in Kanaapali. I thought that the snorkeling was better from shore at Black Rock.
+1 for Black Rock. When it's not too windy/choppy out the water at Black Rock is almost as clear as Molokini.
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Old Aug 6, 16, 7:46 am
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If anything, the tour where they drive you up to the top of Haleakala and you take a bike down is worth it. The other two you described you can do on your own if you make the effort.
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Old Aug 10, 16, 9:52 am
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just returned

Agree Molikini was not that impressive and wind picks up easy. We have snorkelled all over the world so we are coloured a little. We used Trilogy they were great and next year we would try their Lania trip. The volcano was clouded every day so did not go and RTH rained all along the road so we went half way and turned back.
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Old Aug 15, 16, 8:09 pm
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Been to Molokini once and not overwhelmed, but, check with a dive shop for snorkel reports. There are good days and bad days. We were on a bad day.

The far side, I think it's north, plus a bit farther, is a beach with a Hawaiian name I can't pronounce or remember aka Old Airport Beach. There are good and bad days there too, but can be really good right off the beach. There is better than average parking.

Left side of the beach at Lanai was fabulous. We must have caught a really good day.
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Old Aug 16, 16, 8:49 pm
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Thanks for all the feedback everyone. We fly out Tuesday and the help and tips are appreciated.
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