There’s nothing quite like a smiling through a mouthful of dust and mud. What at first glance might look like the seasons latest lip color trend is actually evidence of some serious off road ATV tour bliss. The engines were loud enough that fellow ATV-ers couldn’t hear our shouts of joy and (at times) slight terror. We ripped along the dirt roads that lead us through an area rich in history and natural Hawaiian beauty.
A Fine Balance of Speed, Exploration and Learning
The ATV tour with Maui Off Road Adventures was equal parts thrilling and educational. Our knowledgeable guides provided interesting insight into the rich history of the islands, with Molokai and Lanai within view from the hillside stops along our two hour ATV excursion.
Giving Back to the Aina in Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve
Access to the hillsides above Napili and Kapalua is otherwise restricted, protecting what once was plantations of pineapple and is now Maui wilderness made available to a select few Maui eco tour companies. Maui Off Road Adventures partners with Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve which spans over 9,000 acres and is the largest private nature preserve in the state.
The preserve is home to some of the rarest endangered flora and fauna in Hawaii and aims to implement conservation practices, remove invasive species and plant native trees. Planting over 1,000 trees per year during the Maui ATV tours, guests are encouraged to take part in reforestation of native Koa trees for water recharge and habitat preservation.
We planted the A’ali’i shrub (A’ali’i meaning ‘standing in the wind’) which provides a habitat for endangered butterflies, and helps to capture the clouds that make the mountainside above the second wettest place in the US. Through this unique stewardship opportunity, visitors can give back to the aina (land), offset their carbon imprint and do their part in protecting Maui for future generations. The goal is a healthy in tact eco system from the mountain summit to the bays, healthy rainforests and flourishing native species.
Let’s Get Dirty
While our guides were sure to note that this was not meant to be an adrenaline based ATV tour, we were pleased to test the limits of our two seater ATV. As we navigated the twists and turns through river beds, fields, rain forest, guava trees and the occasional mud puddle we could NOT keep the smiles off our faces.
As their ATV tour website warns ‘expect to get very dirty and possibly soaking wet (how wet you get is controlled by the driver and how they choose to drive through mud and riverbeds).’ I’d jump at the chance to do this tour again in the rain and see just how muddy we could get!
After two hours of 4×4 fun, our cheeks hurt from smiling and a jump in the ocean was absolutely necessary to cool off and clean off. Luckily we were in West Maui, home to some of the best beaches on the island. There is nothing more refreshing than a cannon ball into the tropical waters of Hawaii.
Napili is also home to plenty of great restaurants and cafes, including A’a Roots which serves vegan health food that does not lack in major flavor. We loved their zero waste efforts and warm atmosphere with outdoor seating.
Feeling more alive than ever, another epic Hawaiian day is complete thanks to Maui Off-Road Adventures.