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Turtle Mania at the Maui Ocean Center
Events that the whole family will enjoy.
August 29, 2014
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Turtle Mania at the Maui Ocean Center

Maui VacationSea turtles are some of the most amazing marine animals on Earth, and it's no wonder so many people adore them. These fascinating creatures can often be spotted in the waters all around Maui if you're snorkeling, scuba diving, or even watching the water from the beach or from a boat. Unfortunately, many of those visiting on a Maui vacation aren't able or interested in snorkeling and scuba diving, but for them, distant glimpses of them aren't enough. That's why the Maui Ocean Center is such a lure to visitors. Not only do guests get to tour countless colorful exhibits full of beautiful marine species, but there is also a fantastic sea turtle exhibit. The MOC is always raising and rehabilitating turtles to ensure their future, and lucky for you turtle enthusiasts, September is their "Turtle Mania" month.

 Here are some of the highlights of the month:

  • Sea Turtle Tour Package Upgrade - Swing by any Tuesday in September at 11:30am and get a special behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium, along with food from the Reef Café. The cost is $15, in addition to the regular admission price. You should reserve your spot ahead of time.
  • Fins & Flippers Tour Upgrade - For those of you who are interested in both turtles and sharks, this will be your preferred tour upgrade. This one is offered on any Friday in September at 11:30am and 1:30pm. You'll also get a behind-the-scenes look at the aquarium, including a supervised feeding observation at Hammerhead Harbor and Turtle Lagoon. The cost is $10 per person plus aquarium admission.
  • Turtle-rrific Thursday - Learn about Hawaii's green sea turtles in an up-close and personal setting on September 4th and 18th at 2pm. Guests will learn about the biology, behavior and diet of green sea turtles from the team that cares for them. Try coming up with a question related to these animals that the team can't answer! Conveniently, this one is included with admission price.
  • Turtle Tracks: Two Years at a Time - Experience the debut of a new film in the Undersea Cave, which documents the lives of Hawaiian green sea turtles at the aquarium from the time they are introduced as young hatchlings to their release back into the wild. Viewers will learn why the efforts of the MOC are beneficial for the turtle population. This film will be playing every day in September, with no additional fee.

We hope these events are enough to satisfy your desire to observe and learn about sea turtles on your Maui vacation. As always, if you need assistance with your accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo! - by Ken Rothman

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Explore Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm
A soothing visit with stunning views of Maui.
August 22, 2014
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Explore Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm

Maui Vacation RentalsFor the romantic Maui vacation, there are some relaxing attractions that emphasize natural beauty and tranquility with a splash of vibrant flavor, like the Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm (AKL). This expansive but hidden gem is perched high up Haleakala in Kula, where temperatures are comfortably cool, and the views are stunning.

AKL sprawls over 10.5 acres of beautiful land about 4,000 feet above sea level. This is about an hour and ten minutes from our West Maui vacation rentals, but well worth the trip. There are 45 different varieties of lavender, hydrangea, protea and olive trees growing here, thanks to the combined benefits of steady temperatures, morning mists and expert growers. The lavender is the real star of the show, and because it's such a pleasant and useful plant, it is used in aromatherapy scents, soaps, lotions, shampoos and even food products like tea, scones, honey and chocolate. You'll find all of these products at the AKL Gallery Giftshop, which is stocked with products made from their own lavender. It's open from 9am-4pm.

There's more to AKL than the views and the shop. You can also take a tour of the marvelous grounds and learn all about the art of cultivating lavender. There are several tour options:

Daily Guided Walking Tours - Your guide will take you on all the special paths throughout the farm and share the story of AKL along with their plans for the future. This tour is $12/person or $10 if you make reservations in advance. Tour times are 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 1pm and 2:30pm.

Lavender Treasure Hunt - This is a free activity for kids and adults alike. No reservations are necessary, and you can take part in it at any time between 9am and 4pm. If you complete the treasure hunt, you get a prize.

Guided Cart Tours - If you prefer a brisk ride in an open cart, your driver/guide will bring you out on an extended journey in a five-passenger vehicle. Tour times are 10:30am and 2pm at a cost of $25/person. You'll need to make advanced reservations for this one.

Gourmet Picnic Lunch - You will get a lunch basket tailored to your food preferences, with several choices. You can take your basket and enjoy it on the beautiful grounds, or at the AKL tables. This costs $25 per person, and you need to make your reservations 24 hours in advance.

Lastly, there are also craft classes offered throughout the year, depending on the season. You can try making anything from an herb wreath to a living container garden. To get the details on what craft sessions are available, or to make reservations and get more information, call (808) 878-3004. We hope you have a great experience! Mahalo for reading this week! - by Ken Rothman

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Island Breeze Maui Concert
A beautiful concert to complement your tropical vacation.
August 15, 2014
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Island Breeze Maui Concert

Maui VacationsIf you're going to be on a Maui vacation later in the month of August and you're looking for a little musical entertainment to compliment your tropical surroundings, Island Breeze might be just the right choice. This trio of talented musicians provides audiences with soothing and uplifting compositions that are sure to put you in a good mood.

Island Breeze includes Grammy award winning slack key guitarist Jeff Peterson, shakuhachi flute master Riley Lee, and taiko drum master Kenny Endo. As the band name indicates, their music is refreshing and full of original flavors for those who like a little something different with a dash of the exotic.

Their concert will be held on August 21st at 7:30pm in the McCoy Studio Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC). That will be a fifty-minute drive if you happen to be at one of our West Maui condo rentals. Located in the Central Maui area, there are plenty of places to shop and eat nearby if you're looking for more to do before or after the concert. You might also want to browse the other shows being presented by the MACC if you prefer something different, or you're looking for entertainment on another day. There are plenty of concerts, plays and other performances that are especially well suited for romantic vacation entertainment.

Tickets for the Island Breeze concert are $30 for regular seating, and $45 for premium seats. For more information, and to order your tickets, call (808)-242-7469. - by Ken Rothman

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Hang Gliding on Maui
Take to the skies with a company that has earned a perfect safety record.
August 08, 2014
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Hang Gliding on Maui

Maui AccommodationsMaui is a great place to visit for rest and relaxation, for soothing spa visits and luxury accommodations, but it's also a great place for adventure. While hiking, horseback riding, scuba diving and other such outings can be exciting, nothing quite compares to exploring the island from the sky.

If you haven't tried hang gliding, and you're comfortable with heights, this activity may be the most memorable experience of any vacation you've ever had. It's a far cry from the contained feeling of flight in a plane or helicopter. You can feel the wind, and there's no vehicle shell to interfere with your views. Hang Gliding Maui is a tour company that takes guests out in motorized hang gliders for extra safety, although they are designed to glide and land without needing that engine. This company provides lessons over the breathtaking jungles of Hana, where you can see the waterfalls from the air.

Operating out of Hana Airport, they're quite a long drive away from our Kaanapali vacation rentals, but you'll get the added enjoyment of sightseeing from the ground on your way to and from this destination. Make sure you've got a full tank, and drive slowly if you get carsick. Once you arrive, you'll get a one-on-one tandem session with an experienced pilot on an Australian-made Airbourne trike. These hang gliders feature cutting edge technology from the safest manufacturer. Each one is specially fitted with three wheels, an engine with a silencer kit, two sets of controls, and even a backup ballistic parachute system. If you're still concerned with safety, Hang Gliding Maui has a perfect safety record, and they've been in operation for many years.

Hana boasts 350 flyable days per year, thanks to the ideal weather conditions for this particular activity. You should book your lesson in advance, especially during the winter when you're more likely to have days that aren't suitable for flight. You can choose from lessons that are 30, 45 or 60 minutes in duration, with a price range of $170-280. Their wing-mounted camera can provide you with digital photos of your trip for $40, or video for $80. This isn't the cheapest activity on Maui, but again, the exhilaration you'll experience is unparalleled, especially considering the safety of your adventure. When you return home and talk about the fun things you did on your trip to Maui, you're not likely to hear, "Been there, done that," from your friends and family.

Mahalo for reading this week, and happy adventures! - by Ken Rothman

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Dolphin Watching on Your Maui Vacation
The whales may have moved on for the summer season, but the dolphins are always here.
August 01, 2014
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Dolphin Watching on Your Maui Vacation

Maui Vacation RentalsScientists consider the humpback whale to be the most acrobatic of all the baleen whales. Unfortunately, they spend winter and spring here, not summer and fall, but the good news is that Hawaii's magnificent spinner dolphins are here all year round. The funny thing is, they're considered the most acrobatic of the dolphin species. Interesting trend, isn't it? While scientists can and do debate endlessly about why one species is more acrobatic than another, we'd be happy to settle down and agree that it's because Hawaii's just that much fun! Assuming you're planning a Maui vacation, we hope you're inclined to agree.

So the next question is which tour company to choose for the most reliable dolphin sightings. For this, we recommend the Pacific Whale Foundation. They have three special cruises that were designed for dolphin watching.

  1. Dolphin Watch Raft - This trip is all about the dolphins. You'll go out on a small group tour of stunning areas off Maui's coast where you are most likely to see spinner dolphins, but you might also see bottlenose dolphins. Occasionally, you might even see spotted dolphins and false killer whales.
  2. Lanai Snorkel & Dolphin Watch - This involves both dolphin watching and snorkeling off the beautiful neighboring island of Lanai. The necessary gear will be provided, and you'll get a class on snorkeling before you get in the water. Breakfast, lunch, refreshments and snacks will be provided.
  3. Molokini & Lanai Snorkel - For those who prefer more snorkeling on their adventure, this one stops at both the tiny island of Molokini, off Maui's coast, and the larger neighboring island of Lanai for snorkeling. The waters off Lanai are especially known for their active and thriving dolphin populations, so you're highly likely to spot some from the boat, or from the water. This tour also comes with gear, a snorkeling class, breakfast, lunch and refreshments.

Hopefully, that's enough to get you started on your dolphin watching adventures. It's a great option whether you're visiting with your kids, or you're on a romantic getaway to Maui. Dolphins are dynamic and active creatures, so watching them play is sure to be a memorable experience. Enjoy, and mahalo for reading this week! - by Ken Rothman

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