Sugar Cane Train Review

So glad we went! Find out why we loved this classic Maui attraction...

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Picture of the Sugar Cane Train, Maui, Hawaii

August 1, 2014 Update - I'm sorry to say that the Sugar Cane Train has closed its doors. 

Check out these articles for more things to do!

Picture of couple walking along Front Street in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii.

The Historic Whaling Town of Lahaina

Picture of the Teralani boarding passengers on Kaanapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Beautiful Kaanapali Resort

And if you want to read about the train anyways, then carry on...

Although it gets mixed reviews, I'm SO glad we got to ride on this super cool replica steam engine! The "whoo whooooo" of the train whistle, a giant WHOOSH of steam, great views and ukulele music dancing through the air are a magical combination. More on why we loved this Maui attraction...

For starters, we thoroughly enjoyed the views of the ocean...

Picture of ocean view on Maui, Hawaii

And the majesty of the West Maui Mountains...

Picture of West Maui Mountain

A very nice touch indeed was that ukulele music played by our friendly narrator!

(Tip: sit in the train car WITH the narrator so you don't miss out on the ukulele music... the train's PA system is not the greatest, but if you're sitting right next to him, you'll hear it just fine!)

Picture of ukulele playing narrator on the Sugar Cane Train, Maui, Hawaii.
Picture of passengers on the Sugar Cane Train on Maui

Have you heard mixed reviews about the views?

It's true. All the views aren't post-card perfect.

As the train left Lahaina, we saw the cramped backyards that is the best many Maui locals can afford, residential streets, backs of commercial buildings and the like.

Picture of Maui backyards in Hawaii.
Picture of residential street in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii.

And yes, we even saw a golf course, and views of the highway.

Picture of the highway in Maui, Hawaii.
Picture of a golf course with an ocean view in Maui, Hawaii.

But so what? This is the real Maui - all of it - and I was glad to catch a glimpse!

When it's "Right" to Be on the
"Wrong" Side of the Train...

The so-called "right" side of the train is the side where you'll see the ocean views. The so-called "wrong" side is the one where you'll be looking out at the West Maui Mountains, residential neighbourhoods, golf courses etc. In reality, I don't think there really is a "wrong" side to sit on. You just have to know WHEN to sit on the so-called "wrong" side of the train!

Best time to sit on the wrong side of the train: Be sure to sit on the "wrong side" of the train when it steams along from Kaanapali Station to Puukoli Staion. You'll be rewarded at the end with a very cool sight that you don't get on the "good" side of the train.

At Puukoki Station, the passenger cars that you are riding in get parked while the engine turns around. You'll be treated to the sight of an old train yard...

Picture of old trainyard at Puukoli Station, Maui, Hawaii

Complete with the Sugar Cane Train puffing around the tracks on it's own!

To be perfectly honest, even though we were on the "wrong" side from Lahaina to Kaanapali to Puukoli Staion, I still enjoyed the views out my window... maybe it was just because I expected some of the non-touristy views... or maybe it's because I didn't have the so-called "good views" to compare to yet... In any case, it was all good!

Cool View From the Bridge

I loved the view of the engine blowing steam as we crossed the 325-foot long wooden Hahakea Trestle! I took this pic on our way back to Lahaina from Kaanapali.

Picture of the Sugar Cane Train on Maui, Hawaii.

More Sugar Cane Train Tips...

Sugar Cane Train view

Check out the thick brush whipping past the window in the photo to the right.

Especially if you have little ones with you, keep an eye out the window for occasionally thick vegetation that brushes up against the train as you whip past. You'd hate to have them too close to the window and get a scrape and a scare.


Picture of Farmer's Market at Puukoli Station on Maui, Hawaii
Picture of Farmer's Market at Puukoli Station on Maui, Hawaii

At Puukoli Station, there is a small farmers market where you can pick up some yummy fresh coconuts, vegetables and fruit (how about these delectable mini-bananas... oooo, so sweet!) Or maybe buy a Maui Gold Pineapple to chop up for dessert at your condo later in the evening. (or even grill it... mmmmm... sounds odd maybe, but it's delicious! But I digress...)

At both the Lahaina Station and Puukoli Station, you can buy snacks like Maui Onion potato chips, cold drinks and shave ice. But be quick so you don't miss the train leaving!

Looking for souvenirs?

Picture of souvenirs at the Sugar Cane Train Lahaina Station on Maui.

Also at the Lahaina Station, there is a cute souvenir shop selling all kinds of train-themed merchandise: books starring Thomas the Tank Engine and "The Little Engine That Could," postcards, "Maui Sugar Cane Train" wooden train sets, travel mugs, model trains... you name it, they've got it!

While You're At Lahaina Station,
Check This Out...

There is a really neat train engine parked on the lawn beside the station here. You can even climb up the ladder and get in as if you're driving the train!

Picture of the Sugar Cane Train at Lahaina Station, Maui, Hawaii
Picture of interior of old train at Lahaina Station, Maui, Hawaii.

Cool Sight at Kaanapali Station...

This is where you'll get to see them refill the steam engine - not something we get to see every day back home, that's for sure! (pictured below, right)

Picture of the Sugar Cane Train getting a refill of water at Kaanapali Station, Maui, Hawaii.

History of the Sugar Cane Train

The train was used for transporting hand-cut cane to the mills for processing between 1890 and around 1950. Then it became more economical to transport the cane via motorized vehicles, so the train was retired.

In 1970, A. W. "Mac" McKelvy and the Makai Corporation got together to launch the new Lahaina, Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad, which was commonly called the "Sugar Cane Train." Sadly, after little more than 2 years, the train service was again shut down.

But not for long...

In 1973, the train service was re-started and even had the President Willis B. Kyle present for launch day!

Tip: If you're interested in history, be sure to get off the train and stretch your legs at the Kaanapali Station. They've got some posters there that detail a little bit of the history of the railroad on Maui.

Round Trip Ticket Prices

When we went, kids under the age of 3 were free, and ages 3-12 were discounted to 15.95. Adults cost 22.95. So not too bad! And you're free to get off on any of the stops to shop and sightsee before getting back on the train for your return trip.

Low Price Guarantee for Sugar Cane Train Tickets´╗┐! (Look under "Land Tours on Maui")
Picture of the Sugar Cane Train in Maui, Hawaii

Got Questions?

If you have questions about this Maui attraction, chances are it'll be answered in my Sugar Cane Train FAQ's.

There is a map showing where all 3 stations are, a copy of the train schedule so you'll have an idea of what to expect, and all kinds of other good stuff!

Click here for answers to FAQ's and more...


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