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“Inspiring and Authentic - A Must-do for visitors to Maui”

Open Eye Tours & Photos
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: One of a kind Private Tour of Maui's highlights & Best Kept SECRETS! See, hear, experience things no other tour island gives you. Visit special places seldom seen, walk or ride in comfort, to awe-inspiring legendary sights. Enjoy stops where buses can't go; photos of you in beautiful settings, which you may at times have all to yourself! Customized itineraries activity levels are tailored to your special needs/interests. Consultation ensures a memorable tour just for you; no two are ever alike. Learn from the interpretation by your enthusiastic, entertaining personal guide, passionate about sharing Maui since 1983. Pono speaks English, French, Spanish, Hawaiian conversational Japanese. The vibrant Hawaiian culture: chants, legends, music, language, food, etc. Hands-on activities add to your custom tour, providing quality service, amenities, & surprises. Maui's Premier Private Guide. Resident Teacher with Master's Degree in Education. Top resort and guide book references.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed October 30, 2011

Open Eye Tours transformed out family vacation into an incredible journey. Visiting Maui for the first time with our young daughter (2.5 years old), we decided to take a private-guided tour in order to learn about the island and get a quick orientation. We booked an afternoon tour with Open Eye Tours on our 2nd day on the island. Our guide, Pono Fried was wonderful. His knowledge of the Hawaiian culture was in-depth and fantastic (he is fluent in Hawaiian), and made the tour simultaneously interesting for us AND our daughter. He was very attuned to our needs and likes, and customized our time together to what he believed we would enjoy. He also provided a fabulous lunch, complete with a tasting of 10 different fruits that he had grown in his own farm. Simply fabulous.

The tour enabled us to have many conversations with our daughter about the things we had learned throughout our stay, which transformed our entire vacation into a fantastic journey. We plan to take another tour with Open Eye Tour every time we return to Maui, as we didn't even scratch the surface of Pono's experience and his knowledge of the island.

Thank Hamid G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pono808, Owner at Open Eye Tours & Photos, responded to this reviewResponded December 5, 2011

Dear Hamid,
thanks so much for writing that lovely review. You guys are such great people, so of course a stellar tour was the only option! Law of Attraction...I have been researching Kiha Wahine and forwarding information to your wife, per her request, for her additional study. Look forward to seeing you folks next time around.
Blessings and aloha,
your new Maui friend,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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114 - 118 of 124 reviews

Reviewed October 1, 2011

My wife and I have been treated to one of the most educational and enlightening tours of Maui by Open Eye Tours.

We have been to Hawaii many times and this time we decided to try a private tour and decided to give Open Eye Tours a try.

Weeks prior to the tour Pono asked us many questions of what we would like to see and based on our responses he custom designed a tour to our interest and expectations.
Upon meeting Pono early in the morning of the day of the tour he brought fresh lei's for both my wife and I which he made himself.

He then brought us to parts of the island where the sights were breathtaking, other parts where we were able to sample fruit in the wild and all the while explaining, in detail the history of all that we were experiencing.

I enjoyed this tour for it's educational as well as cultural experience and highly recommend it to others also.

Thank Carlton C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2011

A few days ago, my wife and I took a tour of several hours duration with Pono along the coastline. As long time Maui residents returning to visit the island we once called home, we imagined that we had seen and heard nearly all that Maui had to offer. That was before we met Pono and learned in one day that we still had much to see and appreciate.
The gifts of food and flowers to begin our tour were unexpected and set the tone of careful concern that Pono cultivated throughout the day. Refreshing but sturdy smoothies, brimming with color and flavor were not simply sweet confections, but wholesome, healthy snacks to carry us onward to our adventure. Silky coconut haupia added to the feeling that this was to be a day of exploring the real Maui.

In Pono’s comfortable car, we played a sort of game using tiles drawn from a basket. On each tile was printed a Hawaiian word along with its English translation. Each of us was encouraged to connect the word to something or someone in our lives. That Pono spoke fluently in Hawaiian, gave the word play a significance and seriousness appropriate to the growing sense that the spirit of these ancient people still lived in the language and the archeological sites.
Myths, legends, and history flowed in Pono's fascinating travelogue as we passed the four great valleys on this east facing coastline. Soon we reached our first stop, the healing altars of a restored heiau (temple.) After a short walk up the trail, we stopped to listen as Pono explained the important functions of this sacred place to the Hawaiian people of the surrounding villages. Before entering the area, Pono asked us to stand silently as he chanted a respectful greeting to departed spirits, requesting of them permission. As in all his actions and words that day, Pono taught us to see beyond the majestic vistas and gorgeous greenery to the living history of the people. His voice echoed hauntingly across the ring of stones and carefully tended alter. Something real, intimate, and wondrous occurred at that time and it carried on throughout the day. Pono’s vast knowledge of and love for all things Hawaiian made the tour more than the fulfilling of a tourist’s list of “must do’s”. This man cared enough to share his wealth of knowledge and his love of Maui in a way that we had never experienced from a professional guide on any continent.
The rest of the day continued in the same vein. We were steeped in botany, geology, anthropology, history given to us with passion and love, yet always with a good dose of humility and humor. Pono Fried’s Open Eye Tour welcomed my wife and me back to the island we thought we knew in a way that made Maui new all over again.
Lance and Ellen Anderson
Croghan, New York

Thank edward375
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2011

Prior to arriving on Maui, my husband and I conversed with Pono via email regarding what types of hiking we liked to do. Utlimately, we requested a mix of "scenic" and "cultural" touring, and Open Eye Tours did not disappoint!

We hiked up to locales not listed in any guidebooks and were treated to breathtaking vistas of the lush mountains and valleys as they fell away to the deep blue Pacific. We saw tarot farms, terraced into the slopes, being tended to the way countless generations of Hawaiians did before.

Throughout the tour was Pono's running educational commentary about Hawaiian and Polynesian history and culture, the various flora and fauna (including edible plants and berries), and the meaning of the sacred chants he performed.

At the end of the tour, we were treated to a tasting of about 10 organically grown fruits and other snacks. The afternoon was a feast for both the eyes AND the mouth!

As I look back on all that we saw and did, I realize Pono showed us gorgeous scenery and historic sites that I had not seen in my 14 earlier trips to the Hawaiian Islands. To stay only on the manicured grounds of our resort is to miss the richest part of Hawaii's beauty, history and culture. I recommend Open Eye Tours without hesitation!

Thank Patti M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pono808, Owner at Open Eye Tours & Photos, responded to this reviewResponded October 11, 2011

So glad you were open to exploring Maui with the addition of putting things into a Hawaiian Cultural context, deepening your connection to our beautiful island home. Though the word "hike" is not actually even on my website at all (-inactive types have no fear; the majority of the requests I get might just include some nature walks at best, of which I know plenty of great ones-) it's always a pleasure customizing and delivering just what the customer asks for. In your case, the tour was further enhanced by consulting with you and determining other aspects of the island that you perhaps never knew about, but that I sensed you would really benefit from experiencing as well, based on our planning conversation. All in all it turned out to be a very good mix, and I was delighted to share! Thanks for the nice memories and hope to see more of you the next time around! Aloha!

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Reviewed September 23, 2011


My boyfriend and I recently went on a tour with Pono over to the Peahi and Ha'iku districts of Maui. From the moment we started out on our journey he already had commentary ready for all the areas we travelled thru. We started off with breakfast at a great place in Ha'iku, definitely a hole in the wall kind of place, but very ono! (You'll just have to go with him to find out where ^_^ )

After breakfast we travelled thru Ha'iku and he took us to the Pauwela Cannery and some of the back roads of that area. We also stopped and were able to walk on one particular area of the road where we could take in the sights and smells of being in the rainforest. You definitely can't do that on the Hana highway without having 15 or so cars passing you.

Our next stop on our journey took us to an overlook of a bay that I myself had never even known about, and I am born and raised here on Maui. It was a beautiful area and we did a lei exchange and gave us a few moments to ourselves. He pointed out many things of interest there, such as edible plants, plants used for fishing, creating fishing nets, weaving, thatching for roofs, and healing plants.

Our last stop was at Ho'okipa Beach Park, the surf was up that day and it made a great backdrop for our fruit tasting he had prepared for us. We sampled fruits from his property - lilikoi, guava, longgon(idk how to spell it ;p), tangerine, also papaya and strawberry and pineapple that are locally grown. And his homemade haupia! (coconut dessert)

When he dropped us off back at our home, he had a wonderful gift bag with an assortment of goodies for us - (local jelly, choc macadamia nuts, hawaiian cds, etc).

From the moment Pono picks you up until he drops you off, you are treated like a VIP. He keeps his vehicle in excellent condition and you are always comfortable. He also listens to the requests of his guests and customizes tours to fit their wants and needs, no two tours are exactly alike. You will learn so much from him and take away your very own Hawaiian memory that so many visitors here to Maui will never have. So if you are looking to get away from the crowd and have a customized Hawaiian experience, rather than the usual cookie cutter tour your ONLY option is Open Eye tours with Pono Fried!

Thank Naupaka808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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