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Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

Newcastle, Ontario
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285 posts
4 reviews
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Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

Reading about both Hana4less tour (private - using our own vehicle) or taking Valley Isle? We know we don't want to drive the Road to Hana ourselves and both companies look really good - not sure which way to go. Want to be able to see as much as possible and hit the highlights of the Road to Hana but I guess the highlights are to each their own. Never have been to Hawaii never mind a road trip like the one I am seeing to Hana - any suggestions of what highlights are a definite and must see and the ones that perhaps we can miss so I can narrow down my decision. Thanks for any help.

Nanaimo, Canada
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92 reviews
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1. Re: Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

How many people are in your group? I did read on one report that their "private" tour guide matched the price of Valley Isle. But there were more than two in the group.... four of five of them? I can't remember!

Have you looked the link at the right side of the page yet?

My top three stops would be Waianapanapa State Park (black sand), Keanae peninsula (half way and banana bread), and the Pipiwai Trail. You will NOT be hiking the trail with Valley Isle, and most likely not with the private guide either. It's two hours return to walk the four miles. I would certainly ask the private guide if the hike is possible. They might very well do it!

Newcastle, Ontario
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285 posts
4 reviews
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2. Re: Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

Hana4less is more economical price wise per person for 4 of us than Valley Isle - but I want to know and compare what each of them offers - I believe Hana4less does not do the Pipiwai Trail because it does take so long - but reading about the trail, bamboo forest, streams and then ending at waterfalls sounds like heaven. We are not really into the see the grave site but I would think that the black sand beach and the Keanae Penisula would be wonderful. Sacred pools I think are a must as well. In the description from Hana4less they spend some time looking around Hana but I think I would rather stop there for a look and do the trail instead? P.S. Visited Nanaimo (parents-in-laws lived there for about 5 years and we loved it - you sure do live in a beautiful part of Canada. When we got home to Ontario we found Ontario to be so flat and boring lol.

ON, Canada
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13,521 posts
45 reviews
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3. Re: Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

I would ask Hana for Less if they can customize your tour so that you can do the Pipiwai Trail. Their website indicates that they offer a lot of flexibility, so perhaps you can trade off time in Hana and some other stops in order to do the trail. That's what we did when we drove it ourselves, and we felt that it was well worth it in order to be able to do the hike.

Edited: 10:43 pm, August 06, 2013
California
Destination Expert
for Oahu
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45,244 posts
19 reviews
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4. Re: Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

The tour guide uses YOUR rental car? How does the car rental company feel about that? Is he/she authorized? Does the tour start in Kahului? How do they get you back to Kahului? Do they go around the back side of Haleakala ... which is prohibited in your car by the car rental company? How about the insurance for the driver?

Valley Isle - you stop for lunch in Hana ... but don't really explore. Does the private tour include lunch?

The Lindberg grave site is a 10 minute stop max. It's kinda mind-blowing that he is buried so far from "civilization."

I think that the advantage of Hana4less SHOULD be that you can customize your tour. Not true?

Valley Isle would not give you time for the Pipiwai Trail - and not alot of time at the Pools of Ohe'o either.

ON, Canada
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45 reviews
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5. Re: Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

I missed the part about Hana 4 Less using your vehicle ... but they do provide the option of using their vehicle (a much better choice for the reasons that BLBL mentions).

I'm not impressed with the statement that they make on their website, "If your (sic) driving, you'll likely find it difficult or nerve racking to keep your eyes on the narrow road and the stunning scenery at the same time. That is why 90% of the people that drive themselves don't enjoy it and wind up turning around before they reach Hana, or wish they had by the end of the day.">> Fear mongering ... or did they take a poll?

washington
Destination Expert
for Maui
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22,672 posts
19 reviews
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6. Re: Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

Fear mongering? Maybe, but our first drive to Hana was not at all a fun day, I was the driver, and it took us nearly 10 years to try again! Valley Isle tour was great when we did. Long, but lovely day and we learned so much more about the history from our guide, but it did convince us we didn't need to waste anymore time on it.

Went in the "been there, done that" column.

San Antonio, TX
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733 posts
38 reviews
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7. Re: Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

I had an experience similar to Mamma's seven years ago. I was so focused on the road, curves, that it was difficult to enjoy the road. This past September, we took our time, made more stops, and I actually loved the day. We also took a picnic lunch which we ate at the black sand beach, rather than trying to find food along the way. (But, we did find the banana bread!) We will probably go at least as far as Wai'anapanapa Park this year when we visit. Less than a month!

Kapaa, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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47,743 posts
3 reviews
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8. Re: Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

I don't know that any of the tour companies will include hiking the Pipiwai Trail or spending a lot of time at Oheo Gulch (no such thing as sacred pools)!! Unless...........you get some kind of private guide but then you are looking at much more than what you will pay for the others.

The best waterfalls are beyond Hana and if you are going that far, you just need to drive a tiny bit further to see Lindbergh's grave. Not only for the historical point of view but for the gorgeous scenery also.

Maui
Destination Expert
for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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59,654 posts
18 reviews
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9. Re: Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

Take a look at Hike Maui. This may be the best choice for you.

California
Destination Expert
for Oahu
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45,244 posts
19 reviews
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10. Re: Road to Hana - Private Tour or Valley Isle

We were kinda in the same camp as Mamma and others ... our first trip we turned around about 1/2 way to Hana. Thoroughly enjoyed the day ... and had some wonderful stops. The problem was that we started the day too late.

Like Mamma - I didn't get back to the RTH for almost 10 years ... even though we were on Maui once or twice a year. It wasn't until last fall that I took the tour with Valley Isle - and I liked it very much. My only recommendation to you is that if your party needs a substantive breakfast - they eat something before they leave. The breakfast on the tour is SCANT.