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“GREAT guide!!”

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 young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed March 4, 2013

The only reason I did not give this tour 5 stars is because my husband and I had differing opinions regarding how the tour went and I wanted to offer both.

Pono, as a guide is fabulous. He puts his heart and soul into the tour. Pono is organized, timely and prepared. He came with items for us to see and touch as he was educating us. He is super intelligent and filled with information about the island of Maui, legends, history, and anything else you want to know. Pono is fluent in Hawaiian and taught us many words, sayings, chants, blessings and songs. He prepared the most wonderful picnic lunch I have ever had that included homemade items and fruit from his own gardens. I have never in my life had a tour guide who seemed to love what he did so much and who put so much effort into his tour. (I have done a lot of traveling and many tours.) I just cannot say enough wonderful words about Pono. He was polite and professional. I am handicapped and found him to be very patient and understanding as well as helpful. I really felt like I spent a day with a good friend or family member that lived on the island and was showing me around.

My husband liked Pono and felt the same as I about many things. However, he felt there was too much chanting and singing. He said one or two songs max woud be sufficient. My husband felt like we did not see enough. He felt that if we spent less time in some places and stopping the car to learn things, we could have squeezed in a few more sites. I agree with this to a degree, I feel like I don't know Maui well enough to say this for sure. I think many of the sites are spread out among the island and Pono did the best he could in the small amount of time alotted.

Our tour consisted of the cultural center, some beaches, some mountains,a picnic and the IAO needle. We did see tons of beautiful things and learn so much.

Pono's tours are VERY expensive. We are not wealthy and decided to book the tour regardless because of his rave reviews and recommendations from the Four Seasons concierge. (We did not stay at Four Season, we did a cruise) My Dad asked me if it was worth the money. Its hard to say. When I think about how great Pono was as a guide and what excellent service he offered, yes. But when I compare to what I saw on other islands during private tours and the other guides, I feel I could have had just as good a time for less money. All of our tours were great and in private cars and were half the money. Pona adds an additional fee when you do not have your own car. On top of an already high fee.

If you have money, it is worth giving it to Pono. If you want to have a good time but need to be economical as well, there are plenty of tours that will be fun and informative. I even met many couples on the ship that approached cab drivers, offered them a flat rate for a day and had a great time, great informative tour. I'm sure this approach could go either way.

I would love to see Pono again and visit with him, he really was wonderful. He truly is the best guide I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

2  Thank am s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"pono fried"
in 25 reviews
"musical instruments"
in 11 reviews
"own garden"
in 11 reviews
"hawaiian culture"
in 16 reviews
"coconut pudding"
in 6 reviews
"his knowledge"
in 18 reviews
"sea turtles"
in 11 reviews
"flower leis"
in 5 reviews
"road to hana"
in 25 reviews
"blow hole"
in 4 reviews
"fruit"
in 51 reviews
"personalized tour"
in 7 reviews
"prior to our arrival"
in 3 reviews
"organic farm"
in 4 reviews
"off the beaten path"
in 10 reviews
"black beach"
in 3 reviews
"full day tour"
in 3 reviews
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89 - 93 of 126 reviews

Reviewed February 18, 2013

Open Eye Tours with Pono exceeded any expectations we could have had. From the friendly greeting at port, to seeing the lush landscape of Maui, the two days with Pono as our guide taught us more about the island than any book could ever have done. His passion for his environment and of the culture, together with his knowledge of the legends of Maui and the traditions of the chiefs and history, kept our interest for two full days. His practice of the Hawaiian language was an added bonus as well.

What was great was that Pono spent time before we even arrived getting to know what our interests were, made suggestions based on those interests, and tailored both days even more once we arrived to make sure that we saw all the things we wanted to see.

We stayed busy both days, but took time out to stop by a road side stand, pick up fresh fruit and food at a local market, and enjoyed a picnic along the ocean while enjoying whale watching.

We feel as though we went back in time from the stories Pono told, were able to visualize the historical events, and then continued the journey to present day Maui. Many thanks to Pono for making this an unbelievable experience.

3  Thank dmfMichigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2012

WOW! Our day with Pono was better than we could have hoped for! The road to Hana is so beautiful, filled with so many beautiful spots we would have never seen or even known about if not for Pono. He was so friendly, we felt we had known him forever! That's because we had spent time on the phone talking about out preferences & about what we wanted to do & see that day. And it was so relaxing to have someone-a local no less- do the driving, so all four of us could enjoy the ride. The food along the way was awesome-especially enjoyed the picnic up on the mountain at sunset with many home-grown fruits & home-made snacks-many we had never eaten before! But the pancakes with Vanilla & Macadamia nut sauce was the best thing we ate the whole time in Maui !! (Northshore cafe in Ha'iku-don't miss it!)...Mahalo Pono for everything!!!

Thank Mindy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2012

I wanted to celebrate my upcoming 50th birthday in a memorable fashion, I was not disappointed. Pono met us at the cruise port our first day in Maui. We were presented with beautiful leis, and given a wonderful day on the Road to Hana. We had a picnic beside the beach with homegrown fruits and treats. Pono was gracious to agree to spend several days providing us guide services. I arranged for him to fly to the nearby islands, where he picked up the rental car and met us at the next port. We toured Hilo visiting Volcanos National Park, a fabulous orchid nursery, went to the candy factory and had a great local lunch. He then joined us on Kauai for a day and half tour. We were able to experience these islands in a way we never could on our own or with the excursions offered by the cruise ship. Pono provided great local snacks (loved the Taro Chips. shave ice and ice cream. It was a great week and the best birthday ever!

1  Thank MooreFun295
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 21, 2012

Pono organizes the quintessential private tour guide experience. He spent hours before we even got to Maui to discuss what we like to do, what we sould like to see and even the kinds of foods we like and might want to experieice, I guess we should have known the experience was going to simply "WOW" us. My husband and another couple traveled from New Orleans for the simple slpendor, exquisite beauty and incredible adventures that only Maui can offer. Maui and PONO hit this one out of the park. Our Road to Hana trip was filled with songs, fun, laughter, history, memories and special moments that were all orchestrated by Pono's attention to detail and his laid-back easy going "let's just enjoy evey moment" attitude.

We were greeted with leys, went down many less-traveled roads to places and beaches that only a local would know about or have acess to, we were prepared special food and ate at the Northshore Cafe for breakfast..the best meal we had our entire trip.

Pono thnaks for the memories, the gifts, the Aloha and your wonderful sense of humor and friendship. YOU ROCK!

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

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