Welcome to the best unofficial guide to adventure and food tasting in Kula!
The word Ono means delicious in the Hawaiian language. Ono is the word I would use to describe our recent trip to Kula, Hawaii.
I wanted to surprise my boyfriend with a short trip for his birthday. I knew that he loved the culture of Hawaii – so I started researching the right place to go.
I accidentally found Kula, and after some investigation, I knew it was the perfect place for us!
Kula was a great place to explore, with plenty of local culture, locally owned farms and businesses, and beautiful parks and gardens. Unlike some bigger cities – this is where we could get away from the tourists. Yet still, be a short drive away from all the action.
It is great for foodies – so read on to find some fantastic tasting tours too.
Don’t waste time analyzing untrusted travel reviews to find the most enjoyable activities in Kula.
I have visited and ranked the 8 best places to visit.
Let’s get to it!
#1. Haleakala National Park – Best Views Above the Sky’s
This park was my favorite part of the trip. Visiting the top of a dormant volcano was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.
We decided to watch the sunset instead of the sunrise (some of us like to sleep in!) The drive from the bottom of the volcano to the Haleakala Crater took a little more than an hour. The mountain road is well maintained. There are a couple of restrooms available on the road. There is also a visitor center.
We reached the summit about 1.5 hours before sunset and found a good spot. The views are breathtaking and a real force of nature. The clouds were underneath us. All the colors of a sunset spun through the clouds as some lava peaks poked through. It’s hard to imagine, but they say the sunrise is even better. It’s one of the prettiest in the world.
We brought food and drinks with us. Keep in mind that the highest point is nature. It is much colder on the mountain than in the city, so we brought jackets and blankets. Closed-toe shoes are also a must.
Note: We made a reservation for parking, which was not included in the park entrance fee.
It is my favorite pick because:
- You get to visit a volcano summit.
- You get some of the world’s unique views (and pictures).
- You can choose to watch a sunrise or sunset and bring a nice meal.
- The drive is not long, and the road is well maintained.
#2. Maui Ocean Center – Best Aquarium Experience
I love visiting aquariums (and do so often!) That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by the Maui Ocean Center. In my opinion, it’s one of the best aquariums in the country. If you are settled in Kula, it’s about a 19-mile drive from the city center.
My boyfriend and I arrived right after breakfast (in our time slot) and spent almost three hours at the center. I booked our tickets a day ahead and paid ($44.95 for general admissions per adult). There are good discounts for kids, locals, and seniors.
The shark tunnel, turtle lagoon, living reef, and digital (3D) tour of the whale habitat are some of my favorite exhibits. They have the largest display of live Pacific corals and lots of octopuses, jellyfish, and stingrays to observe (including more tropical fish than I could remember). My boyfriend loved the eels! There is a shark dive available for the brave.
I appreciated that there was a strong conservation spirit in everything. All the animals were well labeled, and there was just enough information. Everything was extremely clean and well-kept. We grabbed some snacks at their restaurant, and everyone was super friendly.
Note: When you book your tickets online, pick a time, and don’t be late. You will need to pay for parking through an app. So prepare ahead of time.
You should visit the Maui Ocean Center because:
- This is a family-friendly activity and can be done regardless of the weather.
- The animal variety is very big and there is a lot to see.
- There is great information to read about all the marine life.
- There are sharks (and you can book to swim among them!)
#3. Maui Chocolate Tour – The Tastiest Tour on Maui
After this tour, I am a chocolate snob!
We took the guided farm tour and chocolate tasting (you can also take just the tasting tour). During our tour, there were about 10 people. I liked that it was not crowded and we could see and hear everything.
I especially loved that the tour was hands-on. Asides from learning about the entire process of making chocolate, I got to hold, smell, taste, and grind a cacao bean. You generally taste everything during the process.
Meanwhile, the entire time an absolutely beautiful landscape surrounded us. There are a lot of different fruit trees and tropical plants all over the farm.
The best part was the chocolate tasting. We tried over ten different kinds of chocolate, and I loved the cacao drink. They talked about what makes chocolate taste the way it does and the differences depending on the cacao-growing region. The demonstration took place outside on the side of one mountain.
Note: We booked an online (11 am) tour that cost $85 per person. Children under 3 years old are not allowed. Free parking.
It is my close #3 pick because:
- This is a real working cacao farm and production.
- Everything is hands-on, and you have lots of opportunities to touch, smell and taste everything.
- The chocolate tasting is outside with beautiful views in all directions.
- You get to learn a lot about quality chocolate while tasting over 10 different types.
#4. Surfing Goat Dairy – Fun for the Whole Family
I am not a huge fan of goats or cheese, but this was fun (thank you, boyfriend, for making me go)! We took the 2.5-hour Grand Dairy tour. This is where I learned to milk a goat!
The tour is super informative. You go through the entire process from the goat to the final product (cheese). There are several opportunities to do hands-on things and observe the production process. If you have kids with you (or are my boyfriend), there are baby goats to play with!
The highlight for me was the cheese and wine tasting. There were over 20 varieties of goat cheese available to try. They talk about what to look for in cheese and how to recognize certain qualities. It’s all served with crackers, vegetables, and nuts. So super tasty.
We paid $49 per person for the tour. There is a children’s discount for those under 11 years old. There are shorter tours available as well. I loved supporting a local business and picked up some soap and truffles as gifts for friends.
Here’s why you should check out this place:
- It is fun and family-friendly.
- It’s a great way to spend 2.5 hours learning about cheese production and animal care.
- There is an excellent cheese tasting with many varieties and some wine.
- There are baby goats to pet.
- They have a unique and beautiful shop with lots of hand-made products.
#5. Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery – Don’t Miss this When in Maui
This place is perfect for drinking and eating! We booked a guided tasting online, but I think they try to accommodate walk-ins too. We had the 4 pm slot. The tasting lasts about an hour and only costs $17 per person. My boyfriend also did the Exclusive BRUM Tasting, which is their specialty rum and costs about $10.
Upon arrival, I first noticed the huge grounds filled with beautiful gardens. During the tasting, the guide is very informative and open to questions. They talked about the history of cultivating sugarcane and all the varieties used.
We tried some marvelous vodka and gin. And I mean amazing, with combinations of lavender, ginger, lime, and spices I have never had in my drink before. You don’t have to be a big drinker to enjoy this. It’s also all organic!
After the initial tasting, we grabbed some cocktails and food. We enjoyed the drinks and super tasty food out on the grounds. They let you take chairs and find a perfect spot for yourself. It was not crowded, so we stayed for a beautiful sunset. This was my favorite part. Super romantic.
It is a must-visit on your trip because:
- It is perfect for some alone time for couples.
- The tasting is informative, interesting, and tasty!
- You can grab some chairs and find the perfect spot on the grounds to enjoy cocktails and food.
- This is a local and organic farm trying to preserve many authentic types of sugarcane.
- This is a great way to support local growth and jobs.
#6. O’o Farm – Best Meal from Farm to Table
We took the breakfast and coffee tour, and I loved it! How can you not love being greeted with coffee? Our tour and breakfast lasted a little over three hours.
The tour guide was knowledgeable and talked about sustainable farming, fertilizing coffee growing, and native cultivation in the region. All the guides are also farm workers on the land, so the conversation was great. There were only 6 of us doing the tour, so it was perfect. I took a lot of pictures.
In between touring the two parts of the farm, we had breakfast outside. It was a multi-course feast – some of the best food I had on the trip. The cook made sure to incorporate a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables picked from the farm. There was some amazing fish too.
The food is delicious and fresh – a real culinary experience. We paid $125 per person for the tour, and there was also a lunch tour for the same price. Considering the wonderful meal, coffee and the tour, $125 is a good price.
You must do the breakfast or lunch tour because:
- There is a lot to learn from real, local farmers.
- The tour is intermixed, discussing different crops and coffee, so it stays interesting.
- The food is made fresh, and it tastes amazing.
#7. Sun Yat-Sen Park – Best View of the Southwest Coast of Maui
If you are looking for a hidden, calm place for a picnic, this is it! We had a nice brunch in this small but fun park. It is somewhat off the beaten path, so there are no tourists.
The park is full of native trees and plants. The large arches at the entrance are interesting, and there is a fun dragon sculpture. The park is dedicated to the Chinese leader Sun Yet-Sen, and there is a large bronze statue of him.
The park has a nice picnic area with a great view of the ocean coast. It is a nice place to watch the sunset in peace. The fun part for me was the chickens. Some families of chickens live here, so we fed them a little.
This old park is well kept and clean. There is plenty of parking.
Here’s why you should visit:
- It’s a nice place to see some history.
- The statues are authentic and fun to look at.
- There is a beautiful bay view, perfect for a quiet sunset.
- Virtually no tourists, just the local chickens.
#8. Kula Botanical Garden – 8 Acres of Colorful and Unique Plants
This was a great relaxing walk, with lots to see. Right after parking, we spent some time appreciating the view out towards the ocean. There are hundreds of different kinds of plants. We were lucky that a lot of plants were in bloom.
Several types of birds visit the gardens. My favorite plants in the garden are the many different types of orchids. The entire garden smelled sweet. I enjoyed the cute seating areas and covered pavilion. Don’t miss the carefully placed statues and artwork!
My boyfriend spent some time finding the chameleon living in the garden. He is hard to find because they blend into the background. One is in a cage right at the entrance. I liked the ducks (much easier to find!).
As I got deeper into the garden, there were a lot of jungle-like trees and plants. Very tropical. The only downside is that we forgot to bring mosquito spray. Make sure you spray yourself because all the plants attract bugs and mosquitos.
Warning: Check ahead to see what is blooming in the gardens. It is a different experience depending on the time of the year.
It is a great place to visit because:
- It’s a nice big area to walk and enjoy many plants.
- There is a nice collection of orchids to check out.
- Everything smells wonderful, and there is nice seating to enjoy the garden.
- This is a place of quiet, so enjoy the sound of birds and the wind.
We had an amazing trip! Kula is my new favorite travel destination.
Kula is great to visit all year round, and most activities are as great in winter as in summer.
I experienced some remarkable food and drink tastings on the many farms of Kula. Not to mention the Haleakala National Park and Maui Ocean center!
Kula is just big enough to have great things to do but without the big city crowd.
Make sure to send us feedback from your trip to Kula!
I am sure you will have a great time!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
How far is Kula from Maui?
Kula is about a 30-minute drive from Kahului, the main city in Maui. It is a great smaller town to visit if you want to escape the crowds. There are many activities to enjoy tourist-free. Check out the botanical garden and Sun Yat-Sen Park for some peace.
What island is Kula Hawaii on?
Kula is on the island of Maui. This region is known as the Upcountry region. It is close to the dormant volcano Haleakala. Visiting the Haleakala National Park is a must when in the region. It has some of the best sunrises in the country.
What is Kula known for?
Kula has some of the prettiest ocean views of the Pacific. It is a naturally beautiful and rich area with plants, wildflowers, ranches, and farms. Some of the best farms to visit are the Surfing Goat Dairy farm, Ocean Vodka Organic Farm, and Distillery.
How far is Kula from the airport?
Kula is 13.6 miles or about a 20-minute car drive from Kahului Airport Terminal. If you plan to take the bus, the ride last about 1h 30m for the 20-mile ride.
Last Updated on January 10, 2023 by Brigitte