With half a day left to explore Maui, I didn’t waste any time connecting with Jasmine from Holo Holo Maui Tours for some sightseeing with a local. There really isn’t anything better than going with someone that knows the secrets of their home and happily shows it to you.
Upon meeting Jasmine, I knew immediately we were going to get along. A native Hawaiian with a deep love for exploring and travel herself, she was the perfect person to show me around. I loved her easy going manner and sweet demeanor. After some e-mails back and forth, we decided to see west Maui since I wasn’t able to see much of the part yet.
She picked me up early in the morning and soon we were off in her cozy and clean minivan. The mini came equipped with cold bottles of water and a mosquito pen in case us non-natives end up being a buffet for the bugs.
I shared my love for epic views, hikes, and waterfalls and Jasmine did not disappoint. She showed me secret spots she played in while growing up and where local kids still come to hang out after school. I could have found some spots like the infamous blowhole or the tide pools but with her, it was way easier. It was great I didn’t have to search high and low on the internet for it.
When you’re at the blowhole, you have to get Julia’s Banana Bread shop. The whole island, locals and tourists alike know about Julia’s banana bread and her coconut candy. Bring cash and get some for some snacks to nosh on while you’re exploring.
During the drive, Jasmine explained Maui’s history. I learned how the island formed and about the spirit of Aloha with nature and people. You will get scientific facts as well as folklore stories. It’s really nice to hear how natives totally love, appreciate and work with nature rather than against it (like the rest of the world it seems). Hawaiians are proud people who love their land and it shows in the way their eyes light up when they share their legends, stories, and how things came to be. It’s really special!
Jasmine also explained how Holo Holo Maui Tours came to be a few years ago. I loved listening, getting a feel for her entrepreneurial spirit and how far the company has come today. It’s still family owned and ran by her and husband.
During the ride, I listened to Hawaiian traditional music combined with her detailed explanations on every song’s significance and meaning. There were plenty of bathroom stops and even a little shopping (or a lot of shopping!). We were able to peruse some artwork as well as local jewelry.
Jasmine also took amazing pictures of the tour. She has her own camera to shoot with but will gladly use yours. Afterward, she will send her photos of the tour via email.
Due to my time constraints, we had a quick lunch versus a more leisurely Hawaiian lunch. I was pretty sad I only experienced a half day as I feel a whole day would’ve been a much better experience.
I’m all about exploring on your own but only if you have time to research and get lost at your destination. Otherwise, I highly recommend a tour and with Jasmine and Holo Holo Maui Tours. The tour is well worth it. F inding the “secret spots” with a local is more magical because they trust you to take you there and show it to you. If you’re ever in Maui, feel free to reach out to her.
If you’re a traveler but don’t have the time or the energy to plan your Hawaii trip, check out my services at Up & Explore. I take the pain & stress from planning your vacation. 🙂
+ Many thanks to Jasmine at Holo Holo Maui Tours for hosting this epic adventure. As always, no fakin’ in the makin’. All thoughts and opinions are mine.