That Small Town Feeling can be Found in Makawao

This little upcountry town is sure to be the most charming small town you’ll experience on Maui. Don’t be surprised to see people walking around town with cowboy boots on, or even riding horses. This is Paniolo country after all. Makawao is located at the intersection of Makawao Avenue and Baldwin Avenue on the Northwest side of Haleakalā. The Nearest town to Makawao is Pukalani. About 6 miles down Baldwin from Makawao is the small town of Paia. Depending on what time and how you arrive in Makawao, parking could be a challenge, so if you arrive by bicycle you’re in luck! There’s even a historic hitching post that reminds us that horses used to line these streets back in the day. If you just rode down the Haleakalā on a bike, this is the first town you come to. If you arrive in the morning you might be ready for a hot cup of coffee or even breakfast. Here’s a short list of places to get food and tasty Makawao goodness. Cassanova Italian Restaurant and Deli Express Casanova has a little “deli express” that’s open most mornings. The lunch and dinner part of the restaurant opens midday. You might find nightly entertainment here as well. Makawao Rodeo General Store The Makawao General Store is also open early and offers coffee and more. SipMe Coffee Shop One of my favorite places is SipMe Coffee Shop. It’s open all week and has fresh coffee, locally sourced treats and Wifi. Polly’s Mexican Restaurant If you’re ready for lunch or dinner, this is the place to get affordable Mexican food made with an upcountry flair. T Komoda Store and Bakery Hours vary so […]

Love and Good Vibes in Haleakala Volcano

What is something that Machu Picchu, The Stonehenge and Haleakalā Volcano have in common? They are considered to be three of the top spiritual places in the world for having the strongest energy fields. What does it mean to be classified in such a category? Let’s put it this way: there are places in the world where you feel just that much closer to “The Divine”. Places where you find answers to unresolved questions or and tap into your more sensitive side as a reaction to those-called “energetic vibrations”. According to the Schumann Resonance Haleakalā Volcano matches at 7.8 cycles per second, the same resonance of our hearts and the natural state of Earth. It brings comfort and enables the feeling of love when spending time there. It’s no wonder an uncountable number of newly weds choose to take a trip up top while on their honeymoon. Pretty neat, huh? We won’t bore you anymore with the “hippy-dippy” stuff but whether or not you’re in search of a spiritual journey, a check off the bucket list or simply some good ol’ vacation fun we’re pretty sure it’ll still change your life! Photo by Dave Barnum Photo by Maria Caridad

Explore the Beauty of Maui Through a Downhill Bike Tour of Upcountry

If you’re trying to plan an unforgettable vacation, Maui is the perfect destination. Stunningly unique beaches, intriguing rainforests, majestic mountains, and picturesque green hillsides with views down to the ocean, beautiful waterfalls, and a dormant volcano with a massive cinder crater are just some of the breathtaking sights you can see in Maui. Come during the winter, and you could also see whales! What more could you ask for? Well, those who want the full Maui experience may opt to see many of these wonders on an exhilarating bike tour. While several companies offer van tours of Upcountry Maui, a downhill bike tour of the area offers a truly unique perspective that should not be missed. Why do we say that? Be a part of the scenery. On a van tour, the beauty of Maui is seen mostly from a window, albeit possibly a large window, but still a window. You miss some of the experience like feeling the cool and refreshing mountain air, smelling the eucalyptus and jarcaranda trees, or hearing the rare birds of the region. Taking a downhill bike tour of Maui lets you be a part of the scenery and really take in the landscape from a new perspective. A bike tour of Haleakalā and Upcountry is a uniquely peaceful, inspiring, and at the same time, exhilarating way to discover this part of Maui. Stop where you like. Van tours of Maui and even guided bike tours have scheduled stops along the route. Of course, these will take you to the major tourist spots that everyone gathers at, and they may even have a favorite restaurant they have booked for the group to eat at during […]

Stopping for Lunch in Paia

Photo Courtesy Sonny Abesamis On your visit to Maui’s north shore, be sure to stop for lunch in Paia. This charming little beach town has a variety of fun shops and restaurants, all within walking distance. In between Baldwin Beach and Hookipa Beach Park, you’ll find the center of town where Hana Highway meets Baldwin Avenue. Take some time to stroll along the storefronts and do a little shopping while you check out all the food choices. There’s something for everyone, from seafood to pizza and burgers to vegan and raw foods. Here are a few ideas for a great lunchtime meal: Paia Fish Market 100 Baldwin Ave. If you’re looking for fresh fish, this is the place. Since 1989, Paia Fish Market has been serving up quality seafood, salads and more. The menu is varied and the prices are affordable. Each day the fish offerings are listed at the counter, with choices ranging from ono and mahi to opakapaka and salmon. Lunch plates can be prepared charbroiled, Cajun, or sauteed. The fish and chips is nicely portioned, crispy, and well seasoned. The salads are big and full of fresh veggies, and they can be topped with fish or chicken. The market also has a number of appetizers and even serves burgers and pasta. Beverages include beer and wine. Milagros Food Company 3 Baldwin Ave. With indoor seating and an outdoor patio dining area, Milagros is right in the middle of all the Paia town action. Serving gourmet southwest food with local ingredients, this family run restaurant combines Maui flavors with freshly made salsas, beans, guacamole, and tasty entrees. You’ll find fresh fish here too, along with Tex-Mex […]

Breakfast Options On Your Way Down from a Haleakala Sunrise

We receive a lot of positive feedback from our guests, including favorite breakfast spots they’ve discovered. We’d like to share some of the awesome breakfast options for those seeking a hot cup of coffee and tasty breakfast food that you can explore after your next Haleakalā Sunrise experience. These selected breakfast spots are in and around Makawao and Paia towns here on Maui. Makawao Breakfast Spots SipMe This little gem is a crowd favorite for tasty treats that are gluten free and healthy barista creations with wifi and a big smile early in the morning. Open Monday-Saturday: 6am-5pm and Sunday: 7am – 4pm. Website: Phone: 808-573-2340 Address: 3617 Baldwin Ave, Makawao, Hawaii Google Map Link Casanova Deli This is a little local-style express breakfast place with limited seating, friendly staff and a host of local regular characters that make the place a warm down-to-earth must visit. Hours: Opens at 7:30am Open Daily 7:30AM -11:30am, Sundays 8:30-11:30am. Website: Google Map Link Komoda Store and Bakery Been around since the early 1900s and has some not so consistent hours, but the donuts on a stick are world renown! Closed Wednesday and Sunday, but open 7am to 4pm except Saturday they’re open till 2pm. Address: 3674 Baldwin Ave, Makawao, HI 96768 Phone: 808-572-7261 Google Map Link Market Fresh Bistro Open later than the others we’ve presented here, but you never know when the need for coffee will present itself. If you happen to be in Makawao around 9am add this option to your list! They’re closed Mondays but open for breakfast Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00am – 11:00am, and Sunday Brunch: 9:00am – 2ish (don’t forget, they’re closed Mondays). Website: Address: […]

Word of Mouth is important to Maui Sunriders!

One of the most rewarding aspects of working at Maui Sunriders is the tremendous sense of accomplishment we enjoy when our guests recommend our services to others. That word of mouth and reviews are the cornerstone of our success here at Maui Sunriders. Word of Mouth is a critically important factor that differentiates us from our competition. And our reviews give our potential customers a glimpse of what to expect. Here are some recent reviews: “Unique outdoor fun at our own pace!” 5-stars on TripAdvisor This was a great way to spend a morning on Maui, and a full-featured tour, beginning with a narrated tour up the mountain in a van with other guests (I think there were 8 in our group, all couples), and then the view of the sun rising above the clouds, followed by a looonnnggg bike ride down the mountain, at your own pace. We were very happy with our tour guide, Nikota, who shared his local perspective and stories about places on the way up. He also provided a safety briefing and we were supplied with a backpack with bike lock, and lightweight waterproof pants and jackets. On the way up, he gave suggestions of places we might like to stop on the way back down, for breakfast, coffee, or a souvenir – very helpful. At the mountain top, we were a bit surprised by the number of people there – this is a popular sight to see, and there is a park ranger there to explain the setting, and even an artist who performed a native chant at sunrise. We had to jostle a bit to get pictures between the row of people who […]

Mana Foods is a must-experience local store in Paia

If you are anywhere near Paia and you’ve never experienced Mana Foods Grocery Store, then you absolutely MUST spend time in this uniquely awesome place. Mana is a one-of-a-kind, definitely Paia, iconic local place to shop for everything that is largely organic, locally-sourced produce, rare finds in foods like buffalo, venison, chocolate, Jack and Dragon Fruit, with a complete hot and cold food deli, bulk coffee, grains, pasta and on-site bakery. The “chocolate wall” is a chocolate lovers dream come true! You’ll also find home-remedy supplies, health and beauty items and much more in this labyrinth of pure community-driven, health-conscious grocery store. The most important and best reason to visit Mana Foods is the people. The local and surprisingly international patrons are decidedly people-watch worthy. The natural diversity and mix of cultures browsing the aisles are a remarkable sampling of the local flavors including what some might describe as “hippy” or “counter-culture” but they’re just people who live the “Northshore” health-conscious (seemingly laid back) lifestyle. But the Mana crowd is not just the youthful first impression; all walks of local Maui life frequent the place. The conversations and friendly folks that you’ll meet are sure to be one of the highlights of your Maui experience. Mana Foods is open daily from 8am to 8:30pm, located on Baldwin Ave in Paia at 49 Baldwin Ave, Paia, HI 96779 | website

Understanding Maui

Maui is a special place filled with real magic that some people have experienced daily for their entire life. To them Maui has it’s own time separate from the rest of the world and that clock comes from within. So don’t be surprised if you notice that this isn’t Kansas anymore. Maui No Ka Oi You’ll hear people from all the different Islands of Hawaii say, “Maui No Ka Oi” when they are describing the island of Maui. It means, “Maui is the best”. And it’s true. They say so because Maui has it’s own energy and vibe. It’s laidback but not boring. There’s always something going on when you are seeking an adventure or entertainment, but there are just as many opportunities for seclusion and relaxation here on Maui. If you are blessed with an abundance of time to explore Maui, you’ll start to understand Maui better if you begin at an unhurried pace. Aloha Friday Every Friday is affectionately called, “Aloha Friday”, and for good reason. It is for all intents and purposes a holiday that is celebrated once a week. Because these are the “islands of Aloha” we embrace and practice Aloha here 24 hours a day, all year long. In fact, Maui doesn’t have a “happy hour”, some claim we have one “ok hour” and 23 happy hours every day. Aloha means so much more then we can share here in this article. You’ll see and experience it for yourself no matter how long you are here. We Celebrate at the drop of a hat There’s always a celebration somewhere on Maui for some reason. Here we have a different “Friday Town Party” in the evening […]

6 Maui Activities to do After your Haleakala Bike Tour

There are many things to do in Maui, and the North Shore is a great place to experience the island after your Maui Sundriders Haleakalā bike tour. These are just some of the many remarkable sites, local cuisine, and adventures to add to your bucket list! A protea flower found in Kula Explore the Kula Countryside Throughout your Haleakalā biking adventure, your Maui Sunriders guides will be able to point out the amazing plants and wildlife unique to this distinct region. After the ride, you make want to come back for more to explore the mountainside and its rich heritage. Look for farms growing the beautiful protea flower or explore a sugar mill and a winery… you might even meet a genuine paniolo cowboy! Whatever you choose, the area has some of the most scenic drives in the world with beautiful coastlines, tropical landscapes, and lookout points. Explore the Town of Paia After your downhill bike tour, you’ll find yourself right outside the beautiful town of Paia. This quaint community in the heart of the North Shore offers many excellent dining and shopping experiences, including the Paia Fish Market, Charley’s Restaurant and Saloon, and the Flatbread Company! Relax, strike up a conversation with the friendly locals, and satisfy your appetite after the volcano bike ride! “Luau, Maui Style” Experience a Hawaiian Luau After your big day of adventure on your Haleakalā bike tour, it’s time to relax and celebrate Hawaiian style! It’s hard to get more traditional than a Hawaiian Luau, and if you venture to Maui, you should go to at least one. Luaus usually serve a buffet style dinner with Kalua pork or roasted “Emu,” a whole pig […]

Plan Ahead to Experience the Upcountry Jacaranda

© The Maui Darren Starting sometime in late April or early May, Upcountry Maui will look completely different then the usual rolling green hills and meadows. The slopes of Haleakalā, especially in and around Makawao and Kula, will be changing colors. Every year Maui residents celebrate the annual blooming of the Jacaranda Trees. These normally average looking upcountry trees reveal their bright purple and blueish-purple flowers seasonally. It’s an amazing time to visit the upcountry area by car or bicycle, and truly experience the beauty of Jacarandas blooming everywhere. Maui’s artists and photographers ascend upon the many winding roads of the upcountry and setup their easels and tripods for a day’s worth of capturing the essence of Jacaranda perspectives and landscapes. If you plan ahead to spend the day upcountry you’ll discover Jacarandas around just about every corner. Bring your camera to capture the light and the colors to share with friends. Below are some inspiring Jacaranda images courtesy of local photographer, Darren McDaniel. When planning your trip into Jacaranda territory be sure to consider a bike tour in conjunction with your upcountry experience. You’ll enjoy a different—more personal experience closeup to these majestic blue-purple flowering trees. One very popular Maui artist, Curtis Cost, knows exactly how to capture Jacarandas in all their glory. He puts them right in the center of the painting. This painting is available from the Curtis Cost gallery. Special insiders tip: late in the Jacaranda season you’ll see the ground below Jacaranda trees blanketed with the purple flowers which adds a unique perspective to photography.

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