Hilo is depressing - it's small, dirty, spread out, and uninspired. It was basically a big, soggy strip mall. It was also extremely rainy. We rented a car (which was insanely expensive) and drove up to Volcano National Park. It was too cloudy and rainy to see much, so we drove further west through seemingly endless miles of scrubby wasteland before turning around, dropping off our car and heading back to the ship disappointed.
This excursion started and ended with a drive across half the island, which was interesting. Maui is beautiful and driving across the island you can see desert areas, farms, towns, huge crashing waves on the north shore beaches, and lush vegetation in the mountains. Once we reached the excursion site, we had a nice tour of some forested areas with lots of streams, waterfalls and irrigation canals. The tour started and ended in a private farm and we sampled some of the tropical fruits and plants growing there. The guide was friendly and helpful. The hike was muddier and dirtier than I expected, but also a lot of fun. Overall a very positive experience which made me want to come back and explore more.
This was a 7-line facility in the center of the island. The lines criss-crossed over a forested valley and river far below. Tons of fun! Also, the military-style 4WD vehicle was a lot of fun (maybe too bumpy for some) and we got a scenic tour of much of the center of the island on the way to and from the zipline site. The two tour guides were helpful, friendly and informative, and they helped make this a special experience. I would do this again in a heartbeat.
ATV Tour Rating:
This was an interesting sampling of several parts of Kauai, including interior valleys, an abandoned sugar mill, a seldom-visited and very pretty beach, a long sugar truck tunnel, and some private range lands. Kauai is gorgeous. One disappointment was that there was a ton of beautiful scenery, but the van seldom stopped for photo ops or exploration. The tour still have a nice sampling of the island, however, and based on what I saw, I would want to come back and explore the island more.
Depressing and dirty. We walked down the main tourist road and were pestered constantly by begging children and people trying to sell us drugs (legal and not). We ate in a local restaurant and were extremely disappointed by the slow service and crappy food. On the way back to the ship after dark the entire waterfront seemed very seedy. We should probably have stayed on the ship.