Kihei Rent A Car Blog

Rainbow Season

Beautiful Maui Scenes, Sight Seeing on Maui

Get ready to see scenes like this on your next Maui vacation!

Driving around the island in your Kihei Rent A Car vehicle, you will surely catch a glimpse of a rainbow or two. Or, a double rainbow or two.  Rainbow sightings happen all year round here in Maui, but they are especially abundant in the winter months.

The intersection of Haleakala Highway and Makawao Avenue is a common place to see morning rainbows.

(My daughter took this picture on the way to school last week. We are in awe every time a rainbow greets us in the morning.)

It’s almost as exciting to spot these magical, moving color prisms stretched out across the sky as it is to see a humpback whale breech out in the ocean. It’s nature’s simple things like a frolicking whale or a gigantic rainbow that makes island living a gift.

All we have to do to receive these gifts is open our eyes!

From all of us at Kihei Rent A Car, Have a blessed holiday season and an inspiring start of 2018!

Chilly Upcountry Maui

Sight Seeing on Maui
Maui Grown Coffee Farm

Maui Grown Coffee Farm

Up at the 3,000 foot elevation level, on the side of Haleakala, commonly known as “upcountry”, we are seeing some cooler temperatures lately.

Normally, upcountry is about 10 degrees cooler than the coastal towns. In the winter however, that gap gets a bit larger. For instance, we had a 45 degree morning the other day. That’s NOT rubber slipper weather!

So, I guess what I’m saying is, if you plan to venture upcountry Maui, dress in layers. Mornings and evenings are the reason for those layers.

There are lots of good things about cool upcountry days. The cool weather puts us in the Holiday Spirit. Those residents with fireplaces get to use them now. That jacket that’s been collecting gekko poop in the back of the closet gets to see sunlight again. Hot oatmeal replaces cold cereal for breakfast. Our cowboy boots get broken in a little more. We can wear the wool socks we bought last winter. We can wear the scarfs we bought at the going out of business sale last summer. And, the dogs are a lot happier lounging in the sunlight rather than panting in the shade.

Our cooler temperatures are nothing compared to the mainland’s below zero, snowy winter days. So, we have nothing to complain about. But sometimes we do complain.

“Just go down to the beach to get warmed up”, you say. Well, the ocean is not it’s normal 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Maybe we here on Maui are spoiled with the 70-80 degree weather 365 days a year. But this I know for sure, and probably so does Oprah, Maui is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The warmth and beauty of this place brings us joy on a daily basis.

Simply watch today’s sunset and you know the feeling of gratitude and appreciation we Mauians have for this incredible island.

Maui Is For Coffee Lovers

Sight Seeing on Maui

Maui is for coffee lovers

Although Americans love their java, the only U.S. state that grows coffee for commercial production is Hawaii. Coffee plants are finicky to grow. They require a tropical climate found only within a narrow window of latitude roughly 23 degrees north or south of the equator, cool but not freezing weather, higher altitude, sufficient levels of rainfall, and rich soil to thrive, making the islands a natural fit. In fact, Hawaii has been producing coffee since the mid-nineteenth century, over 100 years before it became a state. Hawaii has perfect growing conditions for coffee. And so… for coffee lovers, Maui is coffee paradise.

Kona coffee, grown on the slopes of active volcanoes Hualalai and Mauna Loa on the Big Island, is revered as not only the best in the state but among the best and most expensive coffees in the world. However, merely 10% of the beans are required to be actual Kona coffee in order to use the infamous name, so most people are tasting a blend of mostly filler coffee beans.

Maui Coffee Industry

With more than 50 coffee farms and over 500 acres in production, Maui could start giving Kona coffee a run for its money. Coffee estates are prospering all over the island from Kaanapali to Hana and Haleakala. The distinct climate and soil conditions of every area along with the different coffee varieties and processing techniques used by each farm results in an array of unique brews. Coffee enthusiasts are bound to find a Maui coffee they love.

MauiGrown Coffee

MauiGrown Coffee is the biggest commercial farm on Maui and majority producer of 100% Maui origin coffee in the world. MauiGrown Coffee comes from Kaanapali Coffee Farms located on the West Maui Mountains, about four miles north of the historic town of Lahaina.

The farm was originally part of the Pioneer Mill sugar plantation, which had been farming the land since 1860 and diversified it from sugar cane into coffee in 1988. Pioneer Mill Company and Kaanapali Estate Coffee closed their operations in 2001, but decided to leave the irrigation in place so the trees could stay alive.

James “Kimo” Falconer, the director of agricultural research for Pioneer Mill, dreamed of reviving the coffee farm one day. Falconer started MauiGrown Coffee, Inc. in 2003 and worked hard to realize his dream, harvesting the first MauiGrown Coffee crop in 2004.

Maui Grown Coffee Farm

Maui Grown Coffee Farm

MauiGrown Varieties

MauiGrown cultivates four varieties of arabica coffee: Maui Mokka®, Guatemalan Typica, Yellow Caturra, and Red Catuai. MauiGrown’s natural-processed coffees have been dried inside the fruit instead of after the fruit has been removed. The cherries are wet processed, using water to remove the fruit from the seeds, resulting in a clean, vibrant taste.

Maui Mokka® is made from small, roundish beans grown from a 1,000 year-old heirloom strain originated straight from Ethiopia, home of all coffee in the world. The yield is low and the tiny size makes the crop difficult to harvest, but all the effort is well worth it, resulting in a full-bodied cup with low acidity and complex tones of chocolate with undertones of wine and ripe fruit. Nicknamed the ”champagne of coffee,” Maui Mokka® took first place in a field of 77 entries in the 2014 Hawaii Coffee Association’s Statewide Coffee Cupping Competition. It grows best at 500 to 600 feet elevation, and harvest usually runs from October through December.

Guatemalan Typica is the variety that makes up most Kona coffee. MauiGrown’s Typicas possess many of the same features of the Kona Typicas, mild acidity, low to medium body, velvety texture, and a lively yet clean coffee taste. Certain MauiGrown Typicas are planted at approximately 600 feet elevation but most are over 900 feet and are harvested late in the year or early in the new year.

Yellow Caturra turns yellow instead of the standard red color when it is ripe. It flourishes in hot, drier conditions and is not usually planted in other coffee producing countries. Yellow Caturra is lower in acidity with a mild flavor that can offer a subtle spiciness as a dark roast and enhances other varieties such as the Typicas. It is the first crop to ripen with harvest normally beginning in September.

Sometimes referred to as the “cabernet of coffees,” Red Catuai offers robust yet bright flavor at a medium roast. Full body with a hint of sweetness and lower acidity happens at a darker roast. Red Catuai also performs well in hot, dry conditions and is harvested late in the fall.

Tastings and Tours

To try Maui coffee for yourself, stop by the MauiGrown Coffee Company Store. The friendly employees are happy to explain the differences in each variety and let you taste samples. Green coffee and roasted MauiGrown coffee as well as coffee from other parts of Maui and Kona coffee are all available for sale.

If you are looking for a coffee tour, O’o Farm in Kula is the place to go. Sustainably maintained and biodynamically cultivated, O’o Farm grows Hawaiian coffee, fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers that supplies Lahaina eateries Pacific’O, The Feast at Lele, and Aina Gourmet Market to create a true farm to table experience.

O'o Farm Coffee Tour and Tasting

O’o Farm Coffee Tour and Tasting

O’o Farms’ Aina Gourmet Coffee is a single origin coffee that is grown, roasted, and brewed right on the farm. The “Seed to Cup” Coffee and Breakfast Tour allows guests to explore the process of growing, harvesting, roasting, brewing, and tasting gourmet coffee in the stunning Upcountry region of Maui, far from the tourist scene. The tour begins with an up close introduction to the coffee tree and an opportunity to taste the coffee cherry and ends with a farm fresh breakfast.

Aina Gourmet Coffee is also available at Aina Gourmet Market, a local foods marketplace with a full coffee bar located in the lobby of Honua Kai Resort and Spa.

Not on Maui? No problem! Both Aina Gourmet Coffee and MauiGrown Coffee are available for purchase online.

Exploring Maui

Sight Seeing on Maui

Haleakala crater

While you are here on the island of Maui, don’t forget to visit the beautiful, volcanic mountain called Haleakala. This majestic mountain is home to the endangered Silversword plant, as well as the rare and endangered Nene bird. Though these birds are very cute, they can be very aggressive if you get too close to their nest or mate. So, if I where you, I would keep my distance.

A Nene bird on Haleakala

A beautiful flowering Silversword on the summit of Haleakala












There are many things to do for fun on the summit of Haleakala. The sunrise and sunset from the summit are breathtaking. Just be sure to bring jackets and blankets because even though it is nice and warm on Maui, the summit can be extremely cold. In the winter, it can snow up at the summit. Sometimes there are local residents at the summit honoring the House of the Sun with a chant.

You could also hike down into the crater. It is a beautiful hike and it is worth the trip.

Another thing you could do is ride down into the crater on horseback. It is a beautiful ride and the horses are sure-footed, experienced and adorable. Be sure to bring a jacket and water because it can be cold and dry.

There is a visitors’ center on the way to the summit that has stories about the crater. There is even an exhibit of ‘cursed rocks’; rocks that people took back home with them and had bad luck until they sent the rocks back to Haleakala.

Whatever you do just remember to use low gear when driving back down in your Kihei Rent A Car vehicle.

Enjoy your stay 🙂


Maui Hiking: Pipiwai Trail – A Worthy Stop on the Road to Hana

Sight Seeing on Maui

Hiking is an awesome way to enjoy the beauty of Maui for free or very little. Considering the variety of scenery and maintenance of the pathway, Pipiwai Trail is often hailed as one of the best hikes on Maui. The Pipiwai Trail is one of the last places of interest on the Road to Hana, but it’s one stop, in our opinion, that is worth it. If you’re a nature lover, please plan out your drive to give yourself enough time to get here and hike this trail. Our pictures seriously don’t do it justice.

Hiking the Pipiwai Trail on Maui - Road to Hana

Pipiwai Trail is part of Haleakala National Park and is located above Oheo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools). This can be confusing because Haleakala National Park is actually split into two parts. Most people are familiar with the summit section where you can watch the sunrise from above the clouds, but there’s a coastal section of the park in a town called Kipahulu, about 12 miles from Hana town.

You park at the Haleakala National Park Visitor Center (again this is a different Visitor Center than the one on the way to Haleakala Crater). Parking is $10 per vehicle and is valid for 3 days at any of the Haleakala National Park areas, so save your receipt if you’ve already gone up to the crater or plan to. There are restrooms at the Visitor Center but none along the trail.

Sign at Haleakala National Park - Kipahulu side

Pipiwai Trail is 4 miles roundtrip, gaining 650-feet in elevation. Most Internet sources say it takes 2 1/2 – 5 hours to hike. We did it in about 2 hours at a leisurely pace, but avid photographers and those who are less active will need more time.

Warning sign at Pipiwai Trail on Maui

Pipiwai Trail on Maui

Beginning part of Pipiwai Trail on Maui

The first part of the trail is covered in roots. We recommend wearing shoes with good grip that you don’t mind getting wet as there is a stream section you will have to cross to get a closer view of the waterfall.

Pipiwai Trail on Maui

Banyan tree at Pipiwai Trail on Maui

This beautiful banyan tree is not quite as big as the one in Lahaina, but it is not nearly as crowded and a great photo op.


We saw all sorts of natural treasures including guava, coffee trees, mango, lilikoi, and this hibiscus flower.

Entrance to Bamboo Forest at Pipiwai Trail on Maui

One of the smaller waterfalls on Maui's Pipiwai Trail

Start of Bamboo Forest at Pipiwai Trail on Maui

Sign to Waimoku Falls - Pipiwai Trail on Maui

Start of Bamboo Forest at Pipiwai Trail on Maui

Once you cross the bridge, you’ll enter the Bamboo Forest, which starts with a stone pathway and quickly becomes a nice boardwalk.

Bamboo Forest pathway to Waimoku Falls - Pipiwai Trail on Maui

View of Bamboo Forest looking up - Pipiwai Trail on Maui

Pipiwai Trail on Maui

The hike brings you to Waimoku Falls, a breathtaking 400-foot waterfall… then you turn around and return to the start. As many have said, it’s more about the journey than the destination, but we think both in this case are pretty awesome!

Waimoku Falls - Pipiwai Trail on Maui

The east side of Maui is lush and green because it rains frequently. When we were on the Pipiwai Trail, it was hot and muggy during the first part of the hike, got cooler in the Bamboo Forest, started sprinkling once we reached Waimoku Falls, and then a heavier downpour on our way back through the forest.

You will definitely want to bring water and some bug spray. You may want to have a poncho, umbrella, hat, and/or a backpack to protect your camera if it rains.

Happy hiking! Have fun, stay safe, and let us know what you think!

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