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Archive for the Category "Horseback riding in Hawai’i"

Mendes Ranch – See Maui on Horseback! Jul 26

Breathtaking views

Family owned and operated  the Mendes Ranch offers visitors to Maui an opportunity to see Maui on horseback (they also offer ATV tours) while getting to know this wonderful family. The original Mendes arrived in Maui from the Azores Island,Portugal in 1866. The ranch is located on land homesteaded in the 1940’s by Manuel Mendes “Red” and his son Ernest Mendes, hard to say how they survived those early years of roughing it out on the ranch with no electricity, no running water,dirt roads over rocky terrain but somehow they managed. Now the ranch is ran by Ernest son Allan J Mendes, the ranch has grown to 3000 acres, 300 head of cattle and 80 horses.
The journey begins at the corral where you are greeted by real Paniolo’s(cowboys) you are introduced to your horse. Trail rides  take you across an actual working cattle ranch past breathtaking views such as the one featured here, through rolling pastures into lush rain forest and gaze down into Eki Crater to view some of Maui’s largest waterfalls. Narrated tours continue down the mountain where you will see Hawaiian taro patches and plantation homes, continue along Waihe’e Valley to the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean with amazing photo opportunities such  the one shown here of Pete & Terrie(two of my favorite clients) during their recent visit.

Pete & Terrie

In addition to horseback tours the ranch is now offering ATV rides  combined with a short walking tour with their guide as they share Maui history and the rich heritage of the Mendes Ranch.  ATV tours are 1 hour long and come with refreshments, various times are available,  long pants and closed toe shoes are required, helmets and eye protection are required and provided.
Looking for a unique wedding location?  A wedding gazebo situated on the top of a bluff provides unobstructed coastal views, imagine this setting as the sun begins to set over the mountain.
For more information on horseback or ATV tours  or Wedding information their email is
Location:  3530 Kahekili Hwy. , Kahakuloa, Maui, Hawaii 96793
Ranch Office: (808) 244-7320   Reservations: (808) 871-5222
Contact: Linda Dancer  Direct Line (828) 256-1520  Toll Free 1-888-811-1888 ext 331
Lana’i -unlike any other Hawaiian Island Apr 12

Dole Park

What you won’t find on the island of Lana’i are traffic lights and major touristy crowds-you will however find solitude and amazing natural beauty.
Once known as the Pineapple Island because James Dole purchased the entire island in 1922 and Dole Plantation Pineapple was canned and shipped to mainland U.S. and at its peak Lana’i produced 75% of the world’s pineapple. Dole brought in workers to harvest the pineapple,resulting in a plantation camp in the flat lands that is now known as Lana’i City.
Even though pineapple is no longer harvested on Lana’i, Pineapple Isle is still very fitting nickname for this island, because the Pineapple – the universal symbol of hospitality is on display throughout the amazing resorts on Lana’i.

Four Seasons Manele Bay

The Four Seasons at Manele Bay overlooks Hulopo’e Bay a marine sanctuary. Guest rooms with amazing views,five ethnic gardens that flow throughout the resort, and a wide crescent shaped beach to satisfy any beach lover- This resort has several amazing wedding venues

The Four Seasons Lodge at Ko’ele  is located amongst the Cook pines  over looking Lana’i City , the 102-room lodge has the stately presence of an English manor,the wide veranda beckons you to come and sit awhile and just breath in the fresh air, the breathtaking manicured gardens, ponds, oriental gazebo and an orchid lover’s greenhouse-  several amazing wedding venues.

In town  Hotel Lana’i , which has been welcoming guest since 1923, has been remodeled , touches such as Hawaiian Quilts, comfortable furniture and Lana’i City Grille with a wonderful menu, and live music on Friday nights. Located  on a knoll overlooking Lana’i City,a moderately priced resort to call home for your stay on Lana’i. Take time to explore local artist Mike Carroll’s art gallery, funky little shops like DIS N DAT SHOP and the museum explaining the Pineapple era on Lana’i.

Sweetheart Rock

For such a small island Lana’i  has so many activities to offer visitors:
 Championship golf  at The Challenge at Manele (a Jack Nicklaus signature course) and The Experience at Ko’ele (designed by Greg Norman) both are ranked consistently among the best courses in the world. Distinctly different  but  both  have amazing beauty and take advantage of their natural surroundings to the fullest.
Enjoy the challenge of hiking or mountain biking the 7 mile, one lane dirt road, rustic Munro Trail (named for George Munro a naturalist from New Zealand that arrived to the island in 1890)- your payoff arriving to the top of Mount Lana’ihale, the highest peak on Lana’i at 3,368 feet.
Pu’u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)  is about  150 feet offshore between Manele Bay and Hulopo’e Bay, a natural wonder, a wonderful place to  hike and enjoy with a loved one.
The Garden of the Gods is a geological masterpiece , formed by centuries of wind erosion, one might think they landed on the moon, the color shadings of red,purple,sienna are truly extraordinary, located about a mile and a half northwest of Kanepu’u  Preserve, I suggest to reserve a Jeep Wrangler early to best enjoy this breath taking natural wonder.
Hulopo’e Bay – for most of the year( except winter months)  the best place on island  to snorkel, protected bay  with many tide pools carved out of volcano rock by crashing waves – beach park has picnic tables, grills, restrooms and showers,  so great beach day  for guest stay at Hotel Lana’i.


 Hawaii Western Adventurs   offers  unique opportunities  such as  the 15-acre Lana’i Pines Sporting Clays (trap,skeet,compact sporting or porting clays that mimic pheasants and rabbits) – The 14 -station solar powered sporting clay course is amazing, you drive between the stations on a golf cart , the scenery is amazing and the course is said to be one of the most challenging in the world, but at the same time the safest and best designed in the Pacific. Amazing views of Maui and Moloka’i across the channel.In addition to Sporting Clays, they also offer horseback riding, ATV Tours, archery and air rifle, hunting, custom and group events.
So when you are trying to decide where to go for your honeymoon , special anniversary or  to escape the rat race of everyday life take a serious look at Lana’i  a wonderful island to unplug from everything, but so much to see and do , one thing you could never be on Lana’i is bored.
Direct line (828) 256-1520  or Toll Free 1-888-811-1888 ext 331

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So many reasons to get married in Hawai’i Mar 29
Amazing Locations
Congratulations on your engagement!
Let the search begin for the perfect location to have the ceremony of your dreams. As you begin to think about your guest list, wedding dates and possible locations I hope that you will include a destination wedding in Hawai’i on your list of options.
It is so easy to get married in Hawai’i:
** You do not need to be a resident of Hawai’i or even a citizen of the United States to be married in the Hawaiian Islands** No waiting period and no blood test** Simply complete a marriage license application and then you and  your future spouse must appear together before an official marriage license agent on the island you choose, currently the license fee is $60 cash ** Your marriage license will be valid for 30 days and after your ceremony a marriage certificate will be mailed to you.
Amazing locations – The islands of Hawai’i are truly one of the most romantic places on earth,so many beautiful options to choose from for your ceremony from simple and elegant on the beach such as this beach ceremony at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, lush rainforest throughout the islands,amazing botanical gardens,fern grotto,onboard a boat at sunset, by a waterfall,historic church or oceanfront chapel,beachfront restaurants such sa The Beach House Restaurant on Kauai , privately owned venues such as the White Orchid Beach House ,and I work with the wedding team at many resorts closely to plan my clients weddings as well. In addition several popular Luau venues such s Old Lahaina Luau on Maui and  Paradise Cove Luau on Oahu offer wedding packages before the luau and the wedding party can attend the luau for your celebration dinner or reception.

Fresh Orchids

So many Hawaiian Cultural Elements can be combined into your ceremony such as a lei (the symbol of love and aloha) worn by both the bride and groom whether a lei of flowers around the neck or a woven floral headband for the bride and an open strand of maile leaves for him. Blessed to have so many beautiful flowers that grow fresh on the islands such as orchids, plumeria, lokelani rose,ginger flowers,pikake,tuberrose just to name a few and when blended with more traditional wedding flowers -so romantic. Hawaiian Kahu (Ministers) will often incorporate their native language into the ceremony through beautiful chants or songs, others will dress in their native Hawaiian attire, many other beautiful cultural elements can be added.
Planning a destination wedding from afar can be stressful that is why it is so important to work with a travel professional and an experienced wedding coordinator so that together they can make sure you have the wedding of your dreams and no detail is left to chance. Every detail that you would normally have to consider when planning your wedding at home will be addressed from time,location,photographer,flowers,food,music,wedding cake, color scheme and wedding theme. Your travel professional will assist in coordinating accomodations, flights, rental cars for the wedding party as needed.
Once the ceremony is over,  you are already in the pefect place for your Honeymoon, whether you elect to remain on the same island for honeymoon or take a short flight to a neighbor island there are so many activities and experiences on each of the islands from sunset dinner cruises, waterfalls to explore, horseback riding, kayak to a secluded cove for a private picnic, oceanfront couples massages  the choice is endless.
Regardless of the island that you choose come experience the Pilialoha (Romance) that is Hawai’i  !
Direct Line 828-256-1520  or Toll Free 1-888-811-1888 ext 331
Makaha Valley Riding Stables Sep 21

Makaha Valley Riding Stables

Regardless of how many times I return to the beautiful islands of Hawai’i I am constantly amazed at the hidden gems on the islands I have yet to discover and share with my clients. I had such an opportunity on my most recent visit to the island of O’ahu when I had the opportunity to visit Historic Makaha Valley Riding Stables    located on the west side of the island near Waianae. Literally tucked away in the heart of Makaha Valley,a place filled with Hawaiian history and culture.Visitors have the opportunity to learn about country life as a Hawaiian Paniolo(cowboy) or how to be a sustaining country farmer.You have the opportunity to gain hands on experience and learn about plants and animals indigenous to the valley, hike and discover historical sites, hear Hawaiian Legends and stories, and find out the story about Red Top, one of the mountain tips in Makaha Valley. Field trips and excursions are available to showcase the Ahupua’a system,I was so amazed to see the variety of vegetables and plants currently  growing in their Aquaponic System,truly the most amazing gardening system I have every seen anywhere,the series of catch basins, use of live fish, the recycling of water,truly amazing.Visitors will understand what it truly means to be a good steward of the land and why it is so important to protect the environment

Linda Dancer riding Makani

I loved learning everything about the valley  from an educational point of view, but nothing prepared me for my horseback ride up into the valley.  I rode Makani  pronounced mah-KAH-nee — Hawaiian word meaning “wind” .  I do suggest wearing a helmet  as   much of  the ride is through natural sometimes rugged terrain, but the horses are sure footed,  Pete and Al and  the other guides  are so kind and patient and make wonderful trail guides.   The view  from the top of the Valley was incredibly beautiful, and you just feel so fortunate to be in such an incredible spot on the island that so many people never see since it is on private land. There are many  RIDE options , we took part in the Makaha By Sunset(E NOA Twilight Experience Tour), no wonder locals say that the sunset is best seen from the West Side of the island.  After our incredible ride we finished off the evening with a Paniolo Chicken BBQ dinner (Hawaiian style)  complete with rice,salad,corn on the cob,rolls, fresh pineapple spears, drinks  and for dessert  me made S’mores by the campfire.   Equally incredible would be their MAKAHA BY SUNRISE EXPERIENCE – to fully enjoy the early morning tranquility of the valley – for Honeymoon Couples I would suggest to book a VIP Private Ride.
  The Stables are available to host  group functions , special events  and   WEDDINGS  – so if you are looking for something unique  this would be a great choice.
Contact Michael Takamura – Operations Manager  (808) 779-8904 email
Makaha Stables partners closely with E Noa Tours  (808) 591-2561
For a mountain to the sea adventure Ko Olina Ocean Adventures (808) 396-2068
Contact:   Linda Dancer  (828)256-1520   email 
** Most important **  Helping Hawaii’s Keiki (children)
By participating in their programs, you are helping to support the education mission of Makaha Cultural Learning Center which is a Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO) a Non-Profit 503(3)C 
                            Don’t forget  the best way to enjoy the Hawaiian Islands is to get out and explore !!!!

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