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“There are 5 star tours, and 5 star tours that just haven't made it yet.”

Open Eye Tours & Photos
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Experience your favorite day in Paradise with a one of a kind Private Tour of Maui's highlights and Best Kept SECRETS! See, hear, and experience things that no other tour on the island gives you. Visit special places seldom seen, walk or ride in comfort, to awe-inspiring legendary sights. Enjoy stops where tour vans and buses can't go, with photos of you in beautiful settings, which you may at times have all to yourself! Customized itineraries and activity levels are tailored to your special needs/interests. Complimentary consultation ensures a memorable tour that's just for you; no two are ever alike. You'll learn from the inspiring, informative interpretation by your enthusiastic and entertaining personal guide, Pono. He's been passionate about sharing Maui since 1983. Pono speaks English, French, Spanish, Hawaiian and conversational Japanese. He brings a vast knowledge of the vibrant Hawaiian culture, chants, legends, music, language, food and hands-on activities to your custom tour, adding meaning to your excursion while providing quality service, amenities and surprises. Tour enhancement includes site-specific commentary with an educational/environmental focus; Hawaiian nature, history, wildlife, bird watching, sacred sites, hidden villages, beaches, waterfalls, rainforests, ranches, gardens, farms, breathtaking views- the wonders and magic of Hawai'i! Refreshing, unique, fun! Perfect for curious first time and return visitors: seniors, families, couples, honeymooners, singles, and those with special interests. Pono is delighted to be guiding Royalty, Celebrities, and other V.I.P.'s like you! Experience the unforgettable difference of your own co-created day with Maui's Premier Private Guide. Tours offered on Maui, the Big Island of Hawai'i, and Kaua'i. With 30 plus years experience, Pono is a resident teacher with Master's Degree in Education and Hawaiian cultural immersion, and is fully credentialed/insured (including PUC license, Commercial Auto, Commercial Liability.) Top resort and guide book references. Open Eye Tours and Photos is a recipient of Trip Advisor's Certificate of Excellence since 2012.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Kapalua, Hawaii
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“There are 5 star tours, and 5 star tours that just haven't made it yet.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2014

Pono sets the bar so high, that I can't imagine other tour guides being able to jump the hurdles.
Since he's been in the Islands for 30 years, I doubt he's ever met a stranger. This is what makes his tours so memorable. He has "aunties" and "uncles" everywhere, which gives you access to places that are marked "private." Often these private places include the opportunity to interact with the locals, and see pristine beauty that is off the beaten path. His amazing knowledge of the history, geography, and botanical features of Maui make it easy to fall in love with the Island. If fact, I often wondered along the Road to Hana, if Pono wasn't the Hawaiian Tourist Bureau's secret weapon. Once you've seen something with Pono, you want to see more and more. If one can ever say that addiction is good, then being addicted to seeing the Hawaii Islands with Pono, is the ultimate high.

All the tours are customized to the client's wants and needs, be it time, food, or curiosity. So book early and often, because this is a very special once in a lifetime event.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank vivdot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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106 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Oak Park, Illinois
1 review
“Outstanding, memorable experience with a one-of-kind-guide and fine human being”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2014

We gave Pono challenges no other guide could have adapted to: we were a group that included two Ph.D. students (economics and ancient near eastern languages), a law student/novelist, a math professor, a civil rights law and a hedge fund manager. The challenge: keep each of us interested, engaged, learning, and fascinated by Maui all while having fun. Pono orchestrated the day beautifully. He took us up roads where tourists do not typically go. He explained Hawaiian history, culture, language in a way that engaged our not-very-easily impressed group in a way that made each of us want to learn much more, giving us more depth in a few hours than any other guide could possibly do. And he followed it up afterwards with recommended reading and answers to our questions. He fed us exotic home grown fruits with a delicious lunch in a park. The day was planned in a way that it unfolded like a novel unfolds, with new layers of depth at each new stop. I want to go back to Maui and see many more parts of the island we didn't reach, but only with Pono.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank DianeLRedleaf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, New York, United States
2 reviews
“Magical. Magnificent. Mesmerizing. This is Maui with Pono of Open Eye Tours.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2014

My travels to Maui were made all the more special and memorable with my daylong tour featuring
the mystical and spiritual traditions of the Hawaiian island. From the start, Pono was thoughtful and attentive, asking questions about my preferences and desires for my tour. We had several email exchanges to ensure that my tour would be just as I wished, and the logistics were flawless. Pono had thought of everything, and was even able to come up with a few wonderful surprises along the way. He was also able to satisfy my foodie nature with wonderful restos where the food was made with love and pride, satisfying the senses and the soul. I had my first taste of small batch Kombucha, and now have the fizzy fermented drink stateside, and dream about the wonderful fluffy pancakes with the decadent vanilla bean sauce made with local vanilla. I even had a few wonderful treats from Pono’s own garden. Could not pronounce half of them, but they were delicious nonetheless.

As a single woman traveling alone there are often some reservations and concerns with booking individual excursions; however, I was completely comfortable with Pono. Despite having only a few brief conversations, we got on famously and had a fantastic time for the many hours we spent traveling from one amazing place to the next. He has a wonderful, generous spirit and love for the island and its culture – you cannot help but feel it and experience it for yourself.

His knowledge of the island’s history and command of the native language is impressive, and he is able to easily speak to the many facets of the island that could be overlooked by other tours that only provide a superficial understanding of the history and meaning of the island’s history and gifts. He was able to speak to the sacred places we were able to visit, and I appreciated what he was kind enough to offer by way of translations.

This is truly a personalized experience, and you will get as much out of it as you are willing to put into it. I truly had a magnificent experience and am looking forward to exploring other facets of the island with Pono and Open Eye Tours on my next visit to Maui.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Katina S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Life Memories Made”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2014

We ended 2013 with our tour of Maui with Open Eye Tours, one word..EXCEPTIONAL. From the minute we arrive and were greeted with fresh leis and a Hawaiian greeting from Pono (tour guide doesn't begin to adequately describe all the qualities of Pono) we had a time that exceeded expectations. Pono shared Maui in a way we could have only dreamed to experience. At the time we booked, We said "sea turtles, black beach and waterfalls" and Pono delivered that and so much more, and all within one day. Our 12 year old son has a new Uncle. They sang as Pono played the Ukulele while we watched an amazing blowhole erupt, On the black sand beach we found unique shells; Pono captured incredible family photos along the way as well. We picniced and tried fruit never heard of before, most grown by Pono. Best homemade banana bread too. As the tour progressed, Pono made impromptu stops based on our conversations as we toured that touched our hearts. But, oh, the sea turtles. Pono took us to a beach where we saw 24 huge Honu, including watching as some mammoth turtles came to shore. Simply incredible. Our tour ended with a hawaiin farewell and our son got to experience local musical instruments that Pono played and allow our son to play, our son loved it. This write up can not accurately describe the awesome day we spent with Pono and Open Eye Tours in Maui. Pono knows this island and understands personal service. We utilized the option of Pono driving his car and that was a wonderful feature, allowing us to focus on sites. From my first email to his follow up after the tour sharing the names of the 15 fruits we ate, he delivered "beyond expectation" service. Highly recommend using Pono and Open Eye Tours. We would never consider anyone else when we return to Hawaii.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank mbohreer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
southport ct
Level Contributor
68 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“The absoluteley perfect tour guide!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2013

Pono is the absolutely perfect tour guide. He is so knowledgable and so accommodating regarding individual interests. We toured two days with him on Maui, two days on the Big Island and one day on Kauai. He made all the inter-island arrangements (flights, hotel, restaurants, etc) and was just as knowledgable about the Big Island and Kauai as he is about Maui. On our first day with him in Maui, he treated us to a picnic lunch that included Hawaiian fruit and nuts that he had grown himself, and he explained every one of them to us. It was a wonderful sidelight to the tour itself. I would recommend Pono without reservation to anyone -- adults, experienced travelers, families with children, etc. I cannot think of a better way to see Hawaii

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank joyce h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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