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Guided ATV tour - advice

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New jersey
posts: 58
reviews: 4
Guided ATV tour - advice

I am planning for a day trip to lanai and would like to take a guided tour.

I see quite a few operators offering a 1 day guided tour but I am confused on which one should I chose. I am kinda inclined about Tom's barefoot 1 day tour (guide - bruce harvey) but unable to find reviews online. Has anybody had any experience with them.

The other operator I am currently considering is rabaca ATV tour, they also have the guide named bruce - Is he the same person about whom I am reaading a lot of good reviews online and is he the same person who is with TOm's barefoot. Has anybody had any experience with rabaca's tour ?

Am really worried about planning this trip is because I read there are quite a lot of scams. It will be great if somebody can help me decide on which tour to take based on your personal experience?

TIA!!

3 replies to this topic
New jersey
posts: 58
reviews: 4
1. Re: Guided ATV tour - advice

Bump!!

Edina, Minnesota
Destination Expert
for Lanai
posts: 4,038
reviews: 25
2. Re: Guided ATV tour - advice

Aloha veepra,

I see you have posted the same question on other parts of the Hawai`i forum. I have not answered, as I have not done an ATV tour, and actually would not be interested as this involves lots of dust and red dirt. You can see all the same sites from a Jeep or Hummer, from the safety of an enclosed vehicle.

Adventure Lana`i Ecocentre had been the previous recommended ATV tour, but with the ownership changes, this is no longer the case. I am not familiar with any other options.

Here is my usual advice for a day trip to Lana`i. Let me know if you have any more specific questions:

A daytrip to Lana’i is a wonderful way to spend one day of your Hawai’i vacation. It is only a 10 minute walk from the ferry dock to Hulopo’e Beach, where you will find some of the best snorkeling in all the islands. You would need to bring rented snorkel gear along from Maui, as there is none available for rent on Lana'i. Here is a link to the ferry company’s website:

http://www.go-lanai.com/

You will still be able to look for whales (in season) and dolphins from the ferry. From the left side of the beach as you face the water, you can also take a nice short hike up to Pu'u Pehe Overlook (Sweetheart Rock), where you will have great views of Maui and Kaho'olawe. There are also great tidal pools to check out around the beach. You can also take the 5 minute walk up to the Four Seasons Manele Bay Resort and check out the great artwork and beautiful gardens. Lunch at the Ocean Grill there has great views, although it is fairly expensive. Otherwise you can bring a picnic lunch and have it right on the beach. There are picnic tables, as well as facilities and showers there.

And if you are really interested in checking out the island, rent a 4x4, a Jeep or Hummer and explore all the great isolated off-road sites. The Hummer guys will meet you right at the ferry dock with the vehicle, and you just leave it there at the end of the day. It is expensive, about $199/day. For more info their website is:

http://www.808hummers.com

Jeep rental is from Dollar and is about $139 + tax. However, they traditionally may not let you visit as many off road sites compared to the Hummers. Their website is:

http://www.dollarlanai.com

I currently recommend staying away from Adventure Lana`i Ecocentre for a rental, as an ownership change has lead to service and quality concerns.

There are many off-road sites to visit with a 4x4 Jeep on Lana’i. Here is a summary:

Shipwreck beach is pretty cool. Yes, there is a shipwreck that is easily visible; in fact you can see it as you drive down the long curvy paved road. Where the paved road ends, if you go to the left, there is a sandy dirt road that ends in a parking lot. There are suppose to be petroglyphs near where you park, but I have never found them. The beach is seemingly endless, but takes about 15-20 minutes to get from the parking area to in front of the shipwreck. The beach continues around the island for miles all the way to Polihu'a Beach, but I would just walk out to the shipwreck. In the winter it is can be very windy here, so it may not be the best place for a long hike. I have been told it is much calmer in the summer. The place where you park is only a few minutes to the left off the paved road.

Where the paved road ends, if you go to the right instead, it takes you toward Lopa Beach. This road can occasionally get washed out, but they will tell you when you rent the Jeep. Otherwise this is a rather smooth road and easy to drive. You will have to stop at the remains of the old church. And at Lopa Beach there is a picnic table and generally calm winds and low surf. It is a nice place to wade out into the water, and turtles can be found here. The road continues to and ends at Naha, another pretty and quiet location. I have never seen anyone at Lopa, but occasionally see some locals at Naha.

You could finish your day up by driving the Munro Trail as long as it is drivable (that has been an issue lately). There are wonderful views in various directions and this take you to the highest point on the island. It is a fun drive too; I think about 12 miles of multiple curves and ups and downs. You may be able to see four other islands from the various views. I suggest you finish with this since the end of the road takes you to the top of the hill on the way down to Manele to end your day.

I think going through Garden of the Gods (a beautiful rocky landscape in a very unusual way) would be another good choice. On the way there you go thru some interesting ironwood groves. There is also has been a short self guided nature tour showing some native Lana'i vegetation right before GOTGs, but this is currently being restored. After GOTGs, the road gets rougher and heads downhill to Polihu'a Beach. This beach can also be windy especially in the winter, but is so big and beautiful that it is worth the drive. It is the size of several football fields and you may be the only ones there. You will see Moloka'i from there and on a clear day maybe Oahu. Because the colors in GOTGs can be very beautiful near dusk, you may one do to this drive last instead. But because of some rough spots in the road I wouldn't drive this back AFTER dark.

Another option is to drive to Kaunolu, another interesting place. But you may have to give up some place else to do this. The road to Kaunolu, the summer fishing home for Kamehameha the Great, can be rough, but has always been drivable for me. Ask Mike Carroll, at his gallery in town, for good directions to this place. You will see well maintained ruins of some buildings, and can hike up to Kahekili's Leap (Warrior's Leap), where the King's men could prove their bravery - a 63 foot dive into the ocean, or walk around tidal pools at the shore. To get to these places, you need to hike down the rough trail that goes off to the right just after the picnic table. There are also a few old fishing houses down the road, and you can hike to them. If you walk out to the lighthouse you will get some great views.

The Pocket Guide to Lana'i, available at most shops in town and at the resorts, has great descriptions of all these places with wonderful photos by Joe West, who lives and works on Lana'i.

You can also get a day pass on the shuttle that the resorts run on the island. It is cheaper than the Jeep (something like $10/person), but of course only takes you on the paved roads. It is at the ferry dock for all boat arrivals, goes to Manele Bay, stops at Hotel Lana’i in Lana’i City (from which you can explore the small town – have lunch and check out the shops and galleries), and ends up at the Lodge at Koele. It runs every 30-60 minutes depending on the occupancy of the resorts and the time of day.

My only warning is that you will have such a good time on Lana'i that you will not want to return to Maui at the end of the day. ;-)

New jersey
posts: 58
reviews: 4
3. Re: Guided ATV tour - advice

Thanks a lot for the detailed reply!

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