As the unofficial sweet spot between quiet and bustling, Maui offers locals and visitors a unique island experience filled with incredible views. If your group came to this Maui retreat with hopes of enjoying a tropical rainforest without complete isolation from civilization, we have just the place for you! Tucked into the gentle green slopes of the West Maui Mountains, lies the lush floor of Iao Valley State Park. As one of the featured things to see on our Maui sightseeing tour, Iao Valley showcases a tropical landscape enriched in culture and history.
People of Old Hawaii would flock to this valley to honor the Hawaiian god of agriculture, Lono, during the annual makahiki festival. As the ancient Hawaiian equivalent to New Years, makahiki was a time of peace where the people would celebrate their bountiful life and land. Fast forward to the present, Iao is still a place of gathering as visitors come to witness the majestic, natural beauty of this valley. There is also a considerable spiritual presence in the area as Maui ali’i (royalty) were buried in secret between these peaks. And more notably, King Kamehameha the Great took his stage on Maui with Iao as his backdrop during his campaign to unify the island chain. It was here that he overcame the Maui army in the famed battle of Kepaniwai and ultimately changed the course of Hawaiian history.
While you won’t see Maui’s people of old on this tour, you will get to see the iconic Iao Needle! Standing 1,200 feet tall, this landmark overlooks the mountain stream and serves as an ideal attraction for taking in the view and offers easy hiking. All ages are welcome to join on the well-marked, paved paths that lead to a stately view of the needle as well as the ridge-top lookout, featuring a stunning view of the valley. Like any rainforest, the weather can change from warm and sunny to a little chilly with a little drizzle within a span of a few minutes. The valley may briefly get misty as clouds roll in to give the peaks a quick snuggle but should the whole day get rained out, we have a few suggestions for Maui tours and activities for rainy days.
If you are searching for a tropical and green island beauty while you are planning your next corporate retreat , Iao Valley is truly a Maui must see! Book a private group tour with our Maui transportation service and soak in the scenery of this destination and many others. For more tour ideas, check out the rest of our Maui Sightseeing Series. Mahalo!