The Hawaiian Islands bring a sense of relaxation, a connection to culture and nature with every day spent in the sunshine. And what better way to experience everything than on the back of a beautiful horse? At Mendes Ranch in Wailuku, guests have the opportunity to view the island from a new view, through the mountain side of Waihee Ridge, along the tropical valley and Pacific Ocean coastline. This family owned and operated property is home to not only the staff, but also over 300 cattle and around 80 horses. Each visitor of the ranch is given a unique experience, by a true “Paniolos” (Hawaiian Cowboy).
The Mendes family migrated from Portugal to Maui in 1886, and the property that is now the Mendes Ranch was a homestead for Manuel “Red” Mendes in the 1940’s, along with his son, Ernest. Back then the ranch life meant no electricity, no running water, rough dirt roads and rocky terrain that proved difficult to navigate.
The property is now run by Ernest’s son, Allan J. Mendes. Since the beginning of the family operation, the working cattle farm has used the ”EX” brand on all of the cows, which can not be covered up by other brands because of the “X” marking, ensuring safety of their animals with so many other cattle farms nearby. This 35 acre property is home to the ranch workers, and still to this day continues to be a working farm, complete with a blacksmith shop and breaking pen, and animal of all sorts! From the cows and horses to chickens, goats and pigs.
Visitors to the ranch have the option of choosing between three different rides, each a stunning experience! The “Aloha Morning” ride checks in at 8:45am, and has a duration of about an hour and a half. This bright and early ride takes guests through green pastures and lush land, down toward the seascape and mountain terrains.
The “Aloha Afternoon” ride embarks at 12:!5pm, and also has a duration of about an hour and a half, guiding guests through the ocean front and ridges surrounding the property, past the waterfalls and into the island’s natural landscape. All riders are required to be over the age of 7, and weigh less than 250 pounds for safety of guests and animals alike.
Tours will be guided by the family oriented and knowledge ranch staff, who will give insight and information of not only the islands history, but the Mendes family as well, and the culture of a working ranch. Guests will have their photos taken a top of their horse, which has been chosen specifically for them based on experience and comfort level.
Prior to embarking on the adventure, each guest will be provided and taught tips and tricks for the ride, and perhaps even witness some professional level roping. The buffet area serves up a hot meal of delicious BBQ food, which can be enjoyed in the picnic area before a visit to the gift shop. A helicopter and horse ride combination experience is offered though Sunshine Helicopters, which embarks at 8:15am and includes both a 30 minute ride through the skies and a horseback trot for an hour and a half. Regardless of the chosen tour option, each guest is sure to truly enjoy the views and connection to the islands from a top the stunning horses!
Upon setting foot on the land of Mendes Ranch, taking in the views and interacting with both staff and animals, its clear why the property has such rave reviews across Google, Trip Advisor and Yelp. The property hosts events and weddings, corporate retreats and offers private rides for an extra rate. The Mendes family has created not only a legacy for generations to come, but an experience for island visitors that creates lifelong memories. What better way to witness the island beauty than from the back of a horse? Go Rent A Car Maui has vans, trucks, suv’s and sedans ready to embark on the best of horse riding adventures!