Maui's Best Snorkeling Snorkeling in Maui at Molokini or Coral Gardens with Maui Classic Charters

August 7, 2015

Maui’s Charming Upcountry and Northshore

Filed under: Upcountry and North Maui Towns — Maui Classic Charters @ 2:24 pm

While we may be a small island, there are numerous small villages and towns, all offering a unique flavor for your visit to Hawaii. Rent a car, take your time and let your wander-lust guide you!

Upcountry Maui at a Glance:

Haleakala National Park: Haleakala National Park is home to Maui’s highest summit, at 10,023 feet above sea level. Her gentle slopes can be seen from just about anywhere on the island you happen to be. Literally translated, “Haleakala” means “house of the sun” in Hawaiian.

This comes from local legend that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last even longer.

Four Winds II Blog Haleakala Bike Company

Kula: Upcountry Maui’s rustic town of Kula is known for its produce farms and botanical gardens.Located in the central part of the island, Kula is also responsible for much of the local “farm to table” movement, providing most of the exotic produce served at Maui’s best Hawaii Regional Cuisine restaurants grown right here in the rich, volcanic soil.

Lavendar Farm

Makawao: A rural, artistic community on the slopes of Upcountry Maui, this haven is home to the Paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy. Many would say that Makawao has one foot in its plantation past and another in a thriving arts community. This delightful town was once named one of the top 25 arts destinations in the country.

2009 Makawao Rodeo
Paia: Just a few miles from the Kahului Airport is the historic town of Paia. Located on Maui’s famous North Shore, this quaint community was once a booming plantation town. Today Paia is a town of colorful storefronts filled with local art galleries, unique boutiques and a wide variety of restaurants.

Maui Classic Charters Blog Paia

August 1, 2015

“The Maui Magic was Awesome!”

Filed under: Awesome Day on the Maui Magic Beyond Molokini — Tags: , , — Maui Classic Charters @ 1:33 pm

“We had a wonderful morning out on the water with Maui Magic. Captain Charlene and her crew made it a trip that we will forever remember and appreciate. She has great knowledge of the island, its history, and wildlife and managed to combine that with a talent for finding the perfect spot to swim with turtles, tropical fish and view dolphins. What a day! You will not regret a moment of this adventure!” ~ Dani S.

maui-magic TA Share from Dani S.


July 25, 2015

Obon: Festival of Lights

Filed under: Maui Festivals,Obon: Festival of Lights — Maui Classic Charters @ 1:45 pm

The Festival of Lights, or Obon Festival, is one of those times of year that I love as a resident of the cultural melting-pot that is Hawaii. This is a centuries old Buddhist tradition that is held to honor the dead. I was privileged to attend my first festival as an observer about six months after settling in on Maui.

Every year local temples celebrate with vibrant decorations, dancing, food booths and crafts. Many also hold cultural bazaars, displaying art from both Japanese culture and Japanese-American history.

Maui Classic Charters Blog Bon Dance 2015

Obon is an annual Buddhist event held to pay tribute to and honor one’s ancestors who have passed on. It is believed that each year during obon, the ancestors’ spirits are able to return to this world in order to visit their relatives.

Maui Classic Charters Blog Bon Festival Activities 2015 (1)

Traditionally, lanterns are hung in front of houses to guide the ancestors’ spirits, obon dances are performed, loved ones graves are visited and offerings of food are made at altars and temples.

At the end of Obon, floating lanterns are put into the waters as guiding lights to lead the spirits back into their world. In Hawaii, a rope is used to keep the lanterns from ending up out to sea.

Four Winds II Molokini Crater Snorkel Blog Obon Lights

July 17, 2015

Top Ten Hawaiian Words for Vistors to Know

Filed under: Hawaiian Language,Hawaiian Words — Maui Classic Charters @ 1:25 pm

Knowing a few key words can increase your enjoyment of time spent on any Hawaiian island can not only enhance your trip but will also impress your family and friends. If you cannot prononce a word or have no clue what it means, as we say locally, no worries! Ask … people are always happy to help; it is generally appreciated that someone is genuinely interested. It is not, however, usually accepted to make fun of the language so don’t TRY to be funny with it.

Though English is still the most commonly used language, Hawaiian words are
often mixed into everyday conversation frequently enough that you’re sure to hear a few while enjoying your time on the islands. There are also certain words that will keep be important to know while exploring.

1 – Aloha (Ah-LOW-hah)

This is common enough that most visitors know that it translates as “hello” and “goodbye” in Hawaiian, but there is a deeper meaning to this common phrase that is synonymous with the Hawaiian islands. The “Aloha Spirit” is quite common throughout the state. The literal meaning of aloha is “the presence of breath” or “the breath of life.”


2 – Mahalo: (Ma-HAH-low)

Mahalo translated means “thank you”. It is not at all uncommon to hear locals finalizing a purchase with a casual, yet courteous “mahalo,” and it’s an easy yet important Hawaiian word to learn when traveling in the islands.


3 – ‘Opala: (Oh-PAH-La)

Unlike “Mahalo,” this is the real word for trash that you won’t find written on trash cans. Instead you’ll likely see the word “Mahalo” as in “thank you for disposing of your trash” with signs reading “mahalo for cleaning your ‘opala”. Neglect to dispose of your `opala at a public park or beach and it’s highly likely you’ll catch some “stink eye” (VERY dirty looks!). NOBODY wants stink eye!


4 – Mauka/Makai: (MOW-ka/Ma-KAI)

Forget everything you know about road numbers and highways when visiting the islands and you’ll find yourself much more relaxed. Mauka (Mountain) and Makai (Ocean) are  heavily used words when giving directions. It also helped me immensely when I first arived on Maui and went on one of my many days of wandering with no particular destination. I could always find the ocean and head makai to get home.

If your destination lies on the inland side of the road, it would be on the mauka of the highway. If you find yourself walking down a road with buildings on each side, and the water is to your left and the mountains are to your right, a storefront that sits on the ocean side of the road is said to be makai of the road. Get it?

Four Winds Molokini Blog

5 – Pau: (POW)

Pau is a phrase that is so commonly used, you will probably find youself adopting it. The word literally means “finished,” and it may be used when island waiters will ask “are you all pau with that plate?”

A favorite variation of the word is the phrase “pau hana,” which signifies the end of the workday (or any other task). If someone asks if you want to join them for a pau hana, they usualy want to hang out and enjoy a cold one on the beach or for sunset and a Pau Hana special at any number of establishments for happy hour.


6 – Kapu: (KAH-Poo)

This is probably the MOST important word for vistors to know as it means several things, including “Keep Out”. Heed them when hiking as this is a property owner’s way of letting hikers or trespassers know that continuing further is forbidden. If you happen across a “kapu” sign, simply stay out. Treat these just as you would a “No Tresspassing” sign as that is exactly what they are.


7 – Keiki: (KAY-kee)

Families who are traveling to Hawaii with children will quickly learn this word. Keiki is the general term for “children”. Restaurants often offer keiki menus and activities usually have special prices for the little ones in your party.


8 – Kokua: (Koh-KOO-ah)

Kokuameans “to help” and is frequently coupled with the word “mahalo” to form “mahalo for your kokua.” In English, the phrase would translate as “thank you for your help,” and it often refers to not littering, keeping an area clean or generally complying with any rules or guidelines.


9 – Akamai: (Ah-ka-MY)

Akamai is a word that simply means clever or intelligent so when traveling in Hawaii, if someone uses this word referring to you, you should definitely take it as a compliment!


10 – Ono: (OH-no)

This one may trip you up as it has a couple of meanings. If something is delicious, you would say it is “ono” as in ono grindz (great food). You will also find it on almost every restaurant menu that serves fresh, island fish. It is known as Wahoo on the U.S. Mainland but wherever you try it, it will be ONO for sure!


Now, I know this is a list of the top ten words; however, everyone who visits Hawaii for the first time will try their best to get this one so let’s add it as a bonus. Know what the unofficial State Fish of Hawaii is? By the time you leave, I bet you will! The Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is a beautiful reef Triggerfish you will likely encounter on any snorkleing tour. Pronounced “who-moo-who-moo-nuku-nuku-a-pooh-a-a” and once you learn it, you’ll never forget!


July 10, 2015

Upcoming Maui Events

Filed under: Fun Family Maui Events,Maui Nightlife — Maui Classic Charters @ 10:36 am

On your way to Maui? Already on island? Here is a wonderful event for locals and visitors alike! Before or after any Molokini Crater snorkeling tour or other excursion on the water, be sure to check this out!

We LOVE the  Maui Ocean Center and their evening and over-night happenings are fun for everyone, allowing us to see a side of  Marine life most will never get a glimpse of.  This month is “Night at the Reef – Incredible Corals” and focuses on live coral. Explore, meet the experts, including divers, Naturalists, Marine Researchers and maybe even witness live coral spawning expected to occur.

Four Winds II Molokini Crater Snorkel Tour Night on the Reef Blog

Complimentary coffee and tropical iced tea will be served. Pupus, desserts and a no-host bar featuring the “Coral Bloom” signature cocktail will be available to purchase as well as access to all Aquarium exhibits are just added bonuses.

Reservations are highly recommended; just call 808-270-7088 for  and pricing.



July 6, 2015

The Freemans loved the Four Winds!

Filed under: More Happy Maui Snorkelers Experience Molokini Crater — Maui Classic Charters @ 1:04 pm

We love our guests (I know, I say that often  because it is absolutely true!) and love any feedback that comes our way almost as much!

Four Winds II Maui Molokini Snorkel

Four Winds II Maui Molokini Snorkel

“Captain John served as a great captain, host, comedian, server, tour guide he does it all! We did the snuba with Jamie, it is extra, but is definitely worth it, he gives a good tutorial before you go out, and makes it relaxing and enjoyable. The rest of the staff on board was great, and Trey the photographer was very professional as well. We rented a digital underwater camera and purchased a Cd that had all our pictures on it, and it turned out great! 5 stars for Four Winds!”


June 29, 2015

Makawao – The Biggest Little Town in Upcountry Maui

Filed under: Makawao,Maui — Maui Classic Charters @ 1:48 pm

Makawao – The Biggest Little Town in Upcountry Maui

Just a few miles up the mountain is my one of my favorite places … Makawao. Known as “The Biggest Little Town in Upcountry”, manages to maintain its plantation past, with the Hawaiian cowboys, Fourth of July parade rodeo and to support a thriving arts community.

Four Winds Maui Molokini Crater Snorkel Tour Blog Makawao Town Sign

Since ince the late 1800’s, paniolo (Hawaiian for Cowboy) have wrangled cattle on horse-back in the wide-open fields of Upcountry Maui. No Fourth of July would be complete without the Makawao Rodeo. This tradition is more than fifty years old and is Hawaii’s largest paniolo competition. Regardless of the date the fourth falls on, a weekend filled with events includes a parade and traditional rodeo competitions such as barrel racing, calf roping and bareback bronco riding … with a few “Hawaiian twists”, of course!

2009 Makawao Rodeo

Even if you aren’t on island during Rodeo time, Makawao still offers up quite a lot, including EATS! No visit is complete without a stop at the Komoda Bakery. Established in 1916 by Takezo Komoda, a Japanese plantation worker, this little store and bakery does big business. Lines can be long in the morning when everything’s fresh, so come early. The bakery is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays; when they ae open, it’s early and they sell out quickly so make this an early stop. My personal fave are the donuts on a stick but everyone has their own.

Four Winds II Maui Blog Komodo Bakery makawao

Spend part of your day meandering through numerous eclectic shops, boutiques and art galleries. This town is home to working artists, allowing you to watch glassblowers, wood sculptors and painters as they work on your personal commission or any of the pieces they may be currently involved in. Maui Hands is an especially wonderful place as it’s owner has spent years finding and show-casing Maui’s finest artists, always ensuring that what you buy is truly Maui Made! This is but one of many wonderful places to spend some time. I always find something new and even after sixteen years on Island, am always in awe.

Four Winds Maui Upcountry Makawao Blog

For the shoppers in the group, there is no shortage of unique clothing boutiques offering everything from t-shorts and flip flops to real Hawaiian Cowboy and Cowgirl attire. Not feeling proerly dressed? That can be quickly fixed whether you wish to dress up a bit or down a lot!

Four Winds II Molokini Snorkel Tour Makawao Blog Clothing

Not to worry, there are numerous eateries, with everything from a quick bite at a sandwich shop to a sit down dinner. One of the okdest of these establishments is Makawao Steak House. This warm and inviting space is like a small step back in time with it’s stone fireplace and ranch style wool blankets on the chairs (yes, it can get chilly when in the upper areas of Maui … often 15-30 degrees cooler than sea level). Open for dinner, there is no dress code. As it is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, reservations are recommended, especially for large parties.


The Makawao Forest Reserve is one of the most beautiful reserve areas that is publicly accessible to bikes on Maui. The Kahakapao Loop Recreational Area was recently redesigned by a collaboration between the State of Hawaii, IMBA and the Maui Mountain Bike Coalition. This collaboration resulted in a well designed, six plus mile loop that has something for everyone, from kids to adults, from beginner to advanced. There is a kid’s track, pump track, DH flow line, an advanced skills area and a cross country loop.

For the hikers in the bunch, head up the right of the man-made lake and you will find a trail that leads back to the 5.2 mile  Kahakapao Loop.The loop has a picnic tables of the east and west sides of the trail.

Ready to explore something other than the beaches? Try riding a bike or hiking under a canopy of fragrant trees!


Finally, among numerous other things, Makawao is home to the Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center, where visitors can take classes and explore free gallery exhibits. Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center is a nonprofit, community based visual arts education organization offering open access to quality arts instruction by  teaching artists. Programs and services are accessible to all, regardless of artistic aptitude. Their mission is to unlock creativity through exceptional visual arts education. Providing an array of programs that support lifelong learning in the arts including public workshops and classes, lectures, exhibitions, art events, historical house tours, family fun nights and educational outreach programs with schools and community partner organizations.

Throw items of clothing that can be layered and comfortable walking shoes into the car and head up (or down, depending on where you happen to be) and fall in love with Makawao, Maui, Hawaii! Enjoy!



June 22, 2015

Beautiful Kula, Maui

Filed under: Upcountry Maui — Maui Classic Charters @ 1:17 pm

While we may be a small island, there are small villages and towns, all offering a unique flavor for you visit to Hawaii. Let’s make it easier and break it a bit, from the Summit to sea level. Here, we will get to know a bit about Kula. While you explore, you will find yourself privy to sweeping views of Maui and the Pacific.

Haleakala National Park: Haleakala National Park is home to Maui’s highest summit, at 10,023 feet above sea level. Literally translated from Hawaiian, “Haleakala” means “House of the Sun” in English.

This National Park is open twenty four hours a day and is home to rustic cabins for camping and a variety of hiking trails with various degrees of dificulty. You will notice her gentle slopes from anywhere on the island you happen to be.

Haleakala Blog

Sunrise at the crater is famous and many tour operators offer guided van and downhill bike tours. Another way to see the beauty of the crater is to go for a Sunset or even Star-gazing trip. Whatever time you choose to go, don’t miss this majestic and awe-inspring Island attraction!

Kula, Maui: Upcountry Maui’s rustic town of Kula is known for its produce farms and botanical gardens. Found in the Upcountry region of Maui, Kula is a quaint, rustic area on the slopes of Haleakala. Located in the central part of the island, Kula is also at the center of its culinary resurgence, with much of the exotic produce served at Maui’s best Hawaii Regional Cuisine restaurants grown right here in the rich, volcanic soil.

Four Winds II Maui Kula Upcountry Blog (2)

What better way to work up the appetite while learning a little about the island you are visiting? Just outside the entrance to Haleakala, you will find the Ali’i Lavender Farm. Meanander on your own or join a guided tour complete with luncheon. Make sure you visit their gift and sundry shop for treats too numerous to mention!

Lavendar Farm

A truly unique island experience begins in the misting forest of Waipoli in Upcountry Maui where you will find  O’o Farms and enjoy a real farm to table experience, including freshly roasted coffee, on a gourmet scale after your tour.

Join them for an  informational, interactive tour of the farm that includes harvesting your meal followed by a gourmet lunch prepared by Chef JJ Johnson.


Ranked 3rd best Kula coffee, the Shim Coffee and Protea Farm is a one-man working coffee, protea, and botanical farm in the upcountry of Maui. It is located in the “heart of Kula’s rustic Chinatown” area with a million dollar view of the island from 3,500 feet above sea level”. With a bit of everything, from Aromatheraty sessions to historical tours, this is sure to enhance your Upcountry Maui experience!

Shim Coffee and Botanical

No visit to Kula would be complete without a stop at the Surfing Goat Dairy! Located on the beautiful slopes of Maui’s Haleakala Crater in lower Kula and has been producing award winning Maui Gourmet Goat Cheeses for over 9 years. Take a tour of one of the Islands top Agricultural Tourism venues and learn more about the goats, cheeses and what they have to offer. Their motto is “Da’ Feta Mo’ Betta!” and is this ever true!

Surfing Goat Dairy

While making your rounds, be sure to stop by one of Kula’s most notable landmarks, the Holy Ghost Church. This brilliant white, octagonal sanctuary was It was designed by Father James Beissel and built by his Portuguese parishioners who had come to work on the local sugar plantation. The first mass was celebrated in it in 1895. Funding was a gift from the King and Queen of Portugal to in 1894 and a complete restoration was completed in 1991. Most of the modern day funding comes from the sale of decadent, home-made breads, baked on site. Mass is still regularly held here if you wish to attend.

Holy Ghost Interior Blog

So now we have a great start on our day Upcountry! Whether you choose to start your day at the crater or to enjoy the sights along the way and end the evening watching the stars (just imagine, NO light pollution at over 10,000 feet in the middle of the Pacific), you can’t go wrong. Happy trails!



June 9, 2015

Beautiful Maui Sunrise at Ma’alaea Harbor!

Filed under: Best of Maui,Maui Sunrise,On Board the Maui Magic — Tags: , — Maui Classic Charters @ 7:31 am

Our guests boarding both the Maui Magic Dolphin Discovery and the Four Winds II were treated to a fabulous sunrise; mahalo to Captain Jason for capturing this shot. As if this weren’t reason enough to get up early, throw in snorkeling at Molokini Crater and other parts of Maui and you’ve got a stellar morning!

Four Winds II Sunrise from Maalaea Harbor by Capt Jason




May 4, 2015

Maui’s Changing of the Seasons

Filed under: Best of Maui,Maui's Changing Seasons — Maui Classic Charters @ 1:27 pm

While I’ve heard over and over that Maui only has two seasons, Winter and Summer, this could not be further from the truth. If you pay attention to the subtle changes, you’ll soon learn how the tides change seasonally, temperatures, while moderate year round, also change. Very special things are subtly happening  seasonally year round.

Winter: The Humpback Whales arrive on their long migration from the waters of Alaska to mate, birth and feed their calves. This is an amazing sight to behold and something we cherish for about 5-6 months per year, beginning mid-December. If planning your trip during Humpback season, you simply MUST try a whale watch!

Four Winds Maui Molokini Snorkel Awesome Humpback

Spring:  The beautiful blooming of the Jacarandas! For a very short period, usually late April through May, take a drive upcountry on Maui. Imagine driving under a canopy of trees filled with purple blooms!

Jacaranda tree

Summer: Delicious MANGOES! This succulent delight is probably my favorite fruit (granted, I have many since moving to Maui!). There’s nothing quite like grabbing them fresh off the tree or from local farmer’s markets. Many vacation rentals will alow some fruit picking, but always ask first (especially if on a working farm)!

Four Winds II Maui Blog Mangoes

Fall: So, we have another fave here …. delicious avocados! Any variety is wonderful as long as you know how to tell the ripeness of each. Be sure to ask the market or grower how to best gauge yours.

Four Winds II Snorkeling Blog


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