If you’re planning a trip to your favorite island vacation spot, (Hawaii of course), plan on spending some of your time on Maui, then you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see one of the most spectacular sunrises in the world. Where can you see this sunrise? The answer lies at the top of Mount Haleakala, whose peak reaches heights of 10,000 feet.
According to legend, the demigod Maui, caught the sun in a lasso while standing on the summit, and set the sun free on the condition that it would travel slowly across the sky, thus making the days last longer.
For a thousand years, Hawaiians have honored Mount Haleakala as a sacred religious site, and only priests climbed to the top. But for the past 150 years, Maui visitors, including Mark Twain, have summited the majestic mountain to partake in the celestial experience of the sun rising over Mount Haleakala.
Ready to climb to the top and see the most magnificent sunrise in the world? Before you go, check out the following tips so you are adequately prepared to witness this Maui sunrise.
When going to see the sunrise on Mount Haleakala, you’ve got a few options when it comes to how you go about doing it. You can go it solo, and drive your car from your hotel to the top, or you can join one of the many Maui volcano sunrise tours. That way, you won’t have to worry about driving along the winding road.
If you’re looking for something a bit more breathtaking, you can even be part of a bike tour. There are options to drive up and bike down, for those who want all the fun without the work. Hey, you’re on vacation, after all!
Stay in Upcountry
Upcountry is the term used to describe the area in Maui were Mount Haleakala is, away from the beaches and usual tourist spots. The Upcountry area of Maui is mostly rural, residential, and agricultural but in itself is quite charming. There are plenty of country towns with rustic lodgings, offering a different way to enjoy Hawaii. Don’t worry, you can try it for just one night, and then return to the beach after you see the sunrise in the morning!
Bring a jacket
When most people think Hawaii, they think beaches and bikinis, and rightly so! But at the top of Mount Haleakala at 5:30 in the morning, there’s quite a different story. Temperatures usually are around 40 degrees F but can drop below freezing. Tour operators may provide you jackets, but if you’re going solo, make sure to bundle up.
Sharing is caring
Hawaii is a trendy tourist place, and Mount Haleakala is no exception. There are almost half a million visitors to Mount Haleakala every year! So, expect it to be crowded, and don’t try to get a photo without anyone else in it. You may want to plan an early arrival so you can try to get a view in the front row.
Remember, in the introduction, the part about Mount Haleakala being sacred? Well, many people still feel that way about this dormant volcano. While you’re there, treat the site with the same respect as you would a grand cathedral in Italy. With all of the visitors that come every day, it’s essential to take care of the site, also called the “House of the Sun” by the ancient Hawaiians, not only out of respect for the native Hawaiians, past and present but also so that future generations can enjoy it as well.
You may get dizzy
To get to the top of Mount Haleakala, you will be spending some amount of time on a winding road. That may be enough for some people to feel nauseous or dizzy, but then add to that the extreme change in altitude. Make sure to drive slow, and if you need to take a break to get used to the elevation, or even go further down the mountain until you feel better, there’s no shame in that.
Whether you’re going to Hawaii to see stunning landscapes or to get tan on the beach, you should set aside a morning to see the sunrise on the top of Mount Haleakala. You’ll instantly understand why it has been considered a sacred site for over a thousand years, and you’ll see a whole different side of Hawaii. Just make sure to bring a jacket, get up early, and always be respectful!