Though basking at the beaches of Maui can be done days upon days, my husband and I loved learning about the agricultural history the island had to offer. We visited Maui Tropical Plantation & Country Store on our third day on the island and it was a great education. The 60-acre working plantation is home to 15+ crops of flowers, fruit trees, and coffee and is set against gorgeous landscaping and the West Maui Mountains.
We took the Tropical Tram Tour a very knowledgeable guide who made us laugh as well as inform us. We stopped often to touch and feel plants, take photos, and watch a coconut husking and opening demonstration. We tasted the fresh coconut–tastes like a walnut and not like what typical coconuts taste like. The tram beats a walk through the plantation especially with the unpredictable rain, and even wind!
Some of the great facts we learned:
–Sugarcane takes two years to mature. One ton of water is needed to produce a single pound of sugar.
–Heliconia range from 3′ to 20′ and come in nearly every color of the rainbow.
–Versatile green ti leaf is a good luck symbol believed to keep evil spirits away and is often found planted by the entrances to homes in Hawaii.
–The Malaysian starfruit tree is actually a native of China and India.
–Hawaii produces the only commercial coffee crop in the United States, and it takes about an acre of beans to make one pot.
–Kamiya Papaya is a self-pollinating hermaphrodite with both male and female flowers.
–Each trunk of our dwarf Brazilian apple bananas bears only one stalk in its lifetime.
–Taro (kalo) is valued by Polynesian people as a rich source of carbohydrate and for its medicinal and supernatural powers.
–Mango trees take five years to bear fruit but will produce for 100 years.
–Guava juice has five times more vitamin C than orange juice.
–It takes 300 pounds of pressure per square inch to crack the ¼”-thick shell of the Macadamia nut.
–No machine has yet been invented that can husk a coconut, but take our tour and see your driver do it by hand in under 60 seconds!
The ride was short, but a nice relaxing drive through the beautiful grounds of the plantation.
A popular site for banquets, parties, and weddings, Maui Tropical Plantation also hosts the Waikapu Restaurant where we had nearly the whole dining room to ourselves after our tour. We shared a simple sandwich and fries meal at a reasonable price for the island ($18 total with sodas, one entree, and tip), with this as our view from our table…
Tram tickets run $14 per adult and $5 per child. At the end of your tour, if you don’t eat at the restaurant, enjoy the Country Store with Maui-made and Maui-grown products, books, maps, clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs, it’s truly a one-stop experience and it won’t take up your whole day!
We received tram passes for our honest experience in this post. All opinions are our own.