Cruise Ship Passengers
NCL cruise ship passengers are able do any horseback ride tours on the first day and the second day in port according to the tour schedules. Mendes Ranch and Makani Olu Ranch are 10 – 12 minute cab ride. Drive time to Lahaina Stables is about one hour, and we can arrange a rental car with shuttle pick-up at the harbor for $39 per day. For rental cars with cruise ship shuttle pick-up see our rental car page.
Lahaina cruise ship passengers who are in port for just one day can do the lunch ride. Those who are spending two days in Lahaina can also do the sunset ride on the first day or the morning ride on the second day in port. This requires a very short cab ride of 5 minutes from Lahaina Harbor.
Many people don’t realize that Hawaii has a rich cowboy tradition and that ranching is big in the islands. The Hawaiian language even has a word for cowboy … “Paniolo.” You’ll tap into that history if you do a horseback ride on Maui. Because Maui horseback riding takes place in small groups, reservations should be made well in advance of your arrival … we suggest three weeks as a minimum.
Mendes Ranch is the largest and most well-known horseback riding operation on Maui. They have stunning ocean views from their ranch which is nestled at the top of a 1,000 foot bluff along the north shore of the West Maui Mountains. You ride from the upper ranch down a gently sloping trail that leads all the way to the ocean and then back again. This ride has a slow enough pace for beginners who have never been on a horse before but there are one or two places where the more experienced can canter for short distances. This ride scores well on scenery; less so for the actual horse experience as these horses seem to be in control of the rider and not the other way around. Overall it’s a good experience for beginners or for more advanced riders the private rides will offer more adventure . Mendes Ranch recently changed the length of their rides from 2 hours to an hour and a half. They said that the 2 hour ride was taking 2 and a half hours, so they adjusted the ride to 90 minutes so that it now takes 2 hours … haha. I think it’s safe to say the ride there will last between an hour and a half and two hours depending on the speed of the group. A nice affordable BBQ lunch is available with either the morning or afternoon ride but if you plan to eat lunch we recommend you do the morning ride and then eat lunch. The afternoon ride eats lunch and THEN goes on the horseback ride and if you eat too much you might feel more like taking a nap than riding a horse!
Makani Olu Ranch is a great recommendation because their emphasis is on horsemanship and providing a more exclusive experience for a more exclusive clientele. This is NOT the kind of experience where you sit as a perched passenger on a 1200 pound animal that has a mind of its own and is taught to ignore you and follow the tail of the horse in front of it. There are plenty of places that feature rides like that. If you love horses, this is the best experience for you on Maui.
Lahaina Stables certainly has a convenient location close to Lahaina town. When doing their ride I found their horses to be responsive and spirited (i.e.. hold onto your hats!). Their location is HOT during the day and lacks shade … which is why we recommend the sunset ride (that’s a great time of day to enjoy this area). The views coming back down at the end of the ride at sunset can be stunning as you see the sun setting over the Pacific with Lanai and Molokai across the channel.
Please note maximum weights and minimum ages for riders when making your reservations.