Newsletter Publicity

Open Eye Tours & Photos Receives 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Open Eye Tours & Photos was recognized as a “Top Performer” by readers of travel website TripAdvisor. Since 1983, the company has offered customized private tours personalized to guest interests, activity levels and special needs. Participants enjoy both iconic and seldom-seen sights – many of the latter not accessible by tour buses – and capture photos in settings they sometimes have all to themselves. With more than three decades of local teaching and guiding, multilingual owner/guide, Pono Fried (MA), highlights the vibrant Hawaiian host culture with passion, providing quality service, amenities, surprises, and enriching, memorable experiences for the senses. Visit, or call 808-572-3483.

Press Release: Four Years of Trip Advisor Excellence


Recognized as a Top Performing Tour Guide as Reviewed by Travelers on the
World’s Largest Travel Site

Makawao, Hawai’i – June 1, 2015 – Open Eye Tours & Photos today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. Now in its fifth year, the award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Certificate of Excellence winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period as well as business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the past four years is a true source of pride for Open Eye Tours, and I’d like to send a big Mahalo Nui Loa- thank you very much- to all of my past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Pono Fried/ Owner-Guide at Open Eye Tours. “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to my business and my continued commitment to excellence and helping create unforgettable experiences. The teachings shared so lovingly by the Kupuna (beloved elders, ancestors) and devoted Kumu (teachers) have become my kuleana (responsibility.) As a reflection of these gifts, I have dedicated my life’s work to interpreting the island with passion, sensitivity and respect. There’s so much meaning behind the beautiful scenery to share with others. It is an honor, privilege and delight to be of service to our precious visitors.”

“TripAdvisor is pleased to honor exceptional hospitality businesses that have received consistent praise and recognition by travelers on the site,” said Marc Charron President, TripAdvisor for Business. “By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive increasing hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”

Open Eye Tours & Photos offers 100% customized private tours by Maui based Pono Fried, since 1983. Visit places seldom seen, walk or ride in comfort to awe-inspiring legendary sights, explore spots where tour vans & buses can’t go, and capture photos in beautiful settings which you may at times have all to yourself. Prior consultation ensures tours are personalized to guest’s interests, activity level, & special needs. Blend Hawaiian culture, legends, nature, chants, music, language, food, history, wildlife with stops to enjoy shorelines, sacred sites, gardens, waterfalls, forests, tucked away villages, birds & turtles, local markets & crafters, breathtaking views, eateries to name a few, and your Open Eye Tour will help you fall in love with the wonders & magic of Hawai’i. With a Master’s in Education, multi-lingual skills, cultural immersion and 3 decades of teaching & guiding in Hawai’i, your informative & entertaining guide highlights the vibrant host culture with passion, delivering an enriching, memorable experience for the senses. Pono provides quality service, amenities & surprises. Refreshing, unique, fun! A fully licensed & insured operator.

Open Eye Tours & Photos

About TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site*, enabling travelers to plan and book the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools that check hundreds of websites to find the best hotel prices. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 340 million unique monthly visitors**, and more than 225 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4.9 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 45 countries worldwide. TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to millions of monthly TripAdvisor visitors.

Autumn greetings

Summer conditions continue here on the valley isle. It’s been hot and humid with brisk winds, and things stayed green this year all the way through..quite unusual, as we’re more used to dry and crisp by July! A few good summer rains and late winter and spring rains which were truly needed did the trick!
Enjoyed sharing island discoveries with wonderful visitors this summer. Lots of close encounters with nature, islanders, spirit of this sacred place, blessed by the breath of God and the love of the Kupuna (beloved ancestors.)
Wanted to share this comment received via social media, by a satisfied client:

” Miss seeing you. You are a great guide and person.

Maybe one day we can meet up again.

The “girls’ are still talking about Maui and you.

Wonderful memories -Thanks


Aloha for now,
And Happy Autumn,

Summer Solstice, June 21, 2014

Beautiful start to summer! Observations from this past year: Lovely folk from USA, Canada, Brazil, Australia in recent months. Emphasis on validating the host culture in as many ways possible throughout the day, in an effort to highlight some of what makes Hawai’i so precious, and so much more than just a hotel on the beach. Tours have been including fragrant fresh flower lei greeting, lei which I string by hand.

There’s the option of guests making their own during their tour in an authentic open Hale, traditional Hawaiian setting, sometimes gathering the flowers and learning proper sustainable gathering techniques. We sometimes visit a wahi pana or sacred site and pay homage to the Kupuna or ancestors and Spirit with chant, protocol, reverence, reflection and meditation, in short, respect. We have gone into the lo’i (taro patch) and talked story with the mahi’ai (farmer.) Afterward, we visited a fruit stand where one of my former students from Kula Kaiapuni (Hawaiian immersion school) works, and as she and I talked in her native tongue, the guests got to hear Hawaiian being used in conversation, perhaps one of the only times they’ll hear Hawaiian spoken on their visit.

Recently we visited a Halau Hula (Hula school) and after watching the Kumu (teacher) and Haumana (students,) continued the experience at a picnic which ended with the guests trying their hand playing a set of traditional Hula implements. The picnic commenced with a polite Hawaiian toast and pule ‘ai or blessing over the food which the guests partook in, and meal included such things as a sampling of ten fruit mostly from my organic farm, fresh baked goods, taro, sweet potato, coconut pudding, etc. Bamboo cutlery, lau hala items, table cloths with kapa design all reinforced previous discussion of canoe plants and their ethnobotanical use. Every area visited has a Hawaiian name, story, legend, history, song, anecdote, unique native flora and fauna, geological significance, and it’s shared to the degree of the visitors’ interest and receptivity and scope of the tour.

Place names and their translation are shared whenever possible with the sincere desire to preserve the original names and meaning so that they can be forever remembered. It is my kuleana (responsibility) to do my part to perpetuate some of the traditions and knowledge so generously and graciously imparted to me, for which I am grateful and deeply blessed. Aloha kauwela! Summer love!

Summer Is Almost Here, 2013

What a nice first several months of 2013!
Began with taking small group to Australia and New Zealand…really lovely…similar to Hawai’i in some ways… Then, steady Maui tours during the winter, a nice tour to the Big Island of Hawai’i, another to the Garden Isle of Kaua’i…
Toured my first NHL Hockey Star and his beautiful wife.
Maui tours now include a newly designed “Na Wai ‘Eha” tour; contact me for details…
Just returned from the Big Island again, with a wonderful family of 7 who toured four days with me- what fun we had exploring, singing, chanting, dancing, swimming, playing traditional Hawaiian musical instruments/implements, storytelling, crafts; always new things to learn around every turn, and, oh, more eating!
Hope to take you on a memorable learning quest soon!

Last Part of 2012

Aloha everyone,

It’s been a great year; due to endless spam, had to take a break from the blog…My webmaster has a handle on it now, so, should be good from now on!

Tour highlights included  plenty of Maui tours with lots of great people from all over the world,  tours to the Big Island and Kaua’i, as well as Hana with Neil Diamond, which was a lot of fun! Ensuring our visitors come away from their tour(s) with understanding of the culture, nature, language, history and people,   awe, appreciation, Waiwai Hawai’i (Hawaiian values,) and aloha ‘aina (love of the land-) indeed, we are much more than just beaches and resorts.

Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season,

‘O wau iho no me ka ha’aha’a a me ke aloha,


Satisfied Customer writes a nice review to start the new year right!

On Jan 15, 2012, at 6:20 AM, David Traxler wrote:
Please see the below review. I went ahead and posted it on TripAdvisor and Yelp so let me know if you don’t see it. Thanks for everything and feel free to include the below on your website!


My father and I went on an all day tour and hike with Pono on the last day of our 10 day trip to Maui. I thought my vacation had ended and this was the winding down day of the trip, but boy was I wrong. Greeted early in the morning with a fresh homemade lei at the hotel, it was the start to an incredible day and the best day of my trip in Maui! The sites were amazing, the hiking was adventurous yet friendly for all, the destinations were secluded and off the map, and Pono’s story telling and knowledge of the island was second to none. Had we not gone on this tour and hike with Pono, I can officially say that my trip wouldn’t have been complete. You get to see, hear, and experience things that no other tour on the island takes you to, much less even knows about! Did I mention that Pono brings all of his on fresh snacks and meals? Yea, you heard me right. When was the last time you went on a hike and got to try 9 different fruits that were picked fresh that morning and had Taro chips that were made fresh for the hike? Not to mention, the homemade coconut pudding and the fresh cherimoya were the best two foods I had on the island. Overall, this is a MUST do while in Maui. I went snorkeling, had a helicopter ride over the waterfalls and volcanoes, went on two different days of incredible hiking, saw the sunrise above Haleakala, and none of those were even in the same category of fun and excitement as the tour with Pono. I can’t wait for my next trip to Maui so I can spend another couple of days with Pono and learn every single thing that beautiful island has to offer. Thanks Pono! You made my vacation!

David Traxler

September, Maui Hawaii 2011

Another dry and balmy month, with plenty of clear skies…Hana tour included visit to Hale ‘o Pi’ilani Heiau, the state’s largest Temple, with the majestic setting of Kahanu gardens and the bay at Honoma’ele (and sighting of a sweet Monk Seal!)…

Had a tour group from Japan for a few days, all Hula dancers- went to a cute coffee store by the old Pioneer Mill smokestack in Lahaina, visited ‘Ulupalakua, where they were able to dance on location the song of that very name…while Uluwehi Guerrero played ‘ukulele and sang sweet melodies… a nice time was had by all, and a dream come true for these ladies who’d only heard of the place names in many hula songs they had learned to dance, and finally they could visit each of those places on their tours!


P.O.Box 324
Makawao, HI 96768 USA


(808) 280-5299