Kaupo & Mauiʻs Backside
Explore the remote and rugged district of ancient Hawaii
Kaupo is a small remote town located on the southwest side of Maui, beyond Hana town and Kipahulu. It is a rugged and untouched place that looks as though it has been frozen in time, due its lack of residential development and infrastructure. Kaupo’s remote location and lack of access has kept Hawaiian culture intact there longer than in many other parts of Hawaii.
Kaupo is located beneath the Kaupo Gap on the east side of Haleakala. A trail through the Kaupo Gap leads from the top of the volcano for about twenty miles down to the Kaupo area. The trail passes through old Koa forests and dense rainforest areas as it winds down to the ranchlands near Kaupo. Also, in Kaupo is the historic Huialoha Church which was built in 1859 and was restored in the 1970s by local community members who reopened it in 1978. Just to the west of Kaupo town is the old Kaupo Store where you can get something to eat or drink and check out the unique antiques and mini-museum.
It is believed that the first Polynesians to arrive on Maui landed in Kaupo. In ancient times, it was said that Kaupo was the most populated area of Maui, as described by Captain La Perouse. This French captain was the first to land on Maui in 1789 and while sailing around the Hana side, he was greeted by hundreds of canoes at Kaupo. The canoes that came alongside his two ships were loaded with trade goods of hogs, banana, taro root and water for trading with the French frigate. This led Captain La Perouse to consider that they were not the first Europeans to encounter the Hawaiians. In fact, the map used by Captain Cook some 10 years earlier to explore the South Pacific were of Spanish origin. It is possible the Spanish had landed in Hawaii many times and kept it secret from pirates.
Join us for an intimate sightseeing tour by taking our Small Group Road to Hana Tour where you will learn about the history and teachings of Hawaiian culture as you relax and take in the scenic beauty of Hana. You will see awe-inspiring overlooks, waysides, majestic waterfalls and parks. This is where you will also see Kaupo.
Spend the morning or afternoon with us by taking our popular Road to Hana & Sky Trek Tour. This spectacular tour includes a stunning drive along the coastline on the Road to Hana as you take in breathtaking scenic views, then safely navigate the skies in a helicopter by exploring the natural wonders of Maui with hidden waterfalls held within the tropical rainforests below.
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