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Mauiva's Inclusive, Hassle-Free Tours


Mauiva Plane

On a Mauiva AirCruise you fly on private planes, through private airports, like a true VIP.

Check In

No long lines. No hoards of cranky travelers. Arrival to departure takes only 15 minutes! Check-in to a Mauiva AirCruise is as easy as:

1. You will receive a Confirmation Package prior to your travel date.
2. Arrive at the Mauiva Meeting Point in New York City or Los Angeles at the designated time with your luggage and government issued ID. All American East guests and all international guests need a passport.
3. Check in happens at the Mauiva Meeting Point: You will show your documents to your Travel Host as you drop your bag near the bus.

There's no number 4, 5, or 6. Board the bus with your carry on and its "wheels up" to the airport to start your Mauiva AirCruise experience!

Boarding & Disembarking

Boarding: Each time we board a plane, you will first stop at the private airport to enjoy a cup of coffee, cookies, make use of the deluxe bathrooms or take advantage of the free Wi-Fi that many of these high-end airports offer. After this brief 'pit stop,' we will direct you to your plane – a mere 50 to 100 foot walking distance from the airport lounge. You can now sit back and relax, because your bag is already on the plane and its wheels up and off to your next destination.

Disembarking: After landing, you will walk down the steps of your private plane and straight to the bus that is waiting just for Mauiva AirCruise guests. Talk about time savings! From touchdown to attraction, you can hear the roar of Niagara Falls on Maid of the Mist in under an hour!

Luggage & Carry-Ons

You pack it, we carry it. From the time you hand your luggage to your Travel Host at the Mauiva Meeting Point, you will never have to pick up your bag. Every night, it will be waiting for you in your hotel room, like magic. On the days you will depart for a new city, you will be asked to identify your bag before boarding the bus for security reasons. Each guest is allowed one suitcase weighing no more than 30 lbs and one personal item not to exceed the size of a laptop bag or medium sized purse.


Unlike most guided tours, breakfast each day is included in the price. The first day you hit the air flying right away. So, on each tour your first morning meal is provided at takeoff on the private plane. Every subsequent breakfast will be at each hotel's individual offering. Some are continental with a hot element; some are full-on buffets but all are definitely satisfying. At lunchtime, we let you loose to do your own thing each day. Who are we to tie you down? Feel free to explore the area and try the local fare. Go as formal or casual as you'd like, as long as you're back at the bus on time!

Dinner each night is on us. We've explored the areas and handpicked restaurants that provide a variety of taste experiences for your palette. Specially set menus just for Mauiva AirCruise typically include a salad, entrée and dessert (Unless, you're at a buffet). Basic beverages are included (soft drinks, teas, juices); however, alcohol or special drinks will be an additional charge you will have to pay for separately if you so choose.

You can fly assured knowing that Mauiva is dedicated to providing the safest, most dependable transportation and tourism services on your Mauiva AirCruise™. Mauiva strives to maintain the highest professional standards to ensure our passengers enjoy the absolute best travel experience possible.

At your service: Our in-flight Hosts and Hostess are just like any you would find on a commercial flight. Your safety is our number one priority, followed by your comfort and ensuring an overall great experience.

Mauiva Flight Department

Like many major airlines, Mauiva has access to several different types of aircraft. Specifically, Mauiva utilizes turbo-prop aircraft seating 30-70 passengers for the Mauiva AirCruise experience. Safety is the number one focus of Mauiva, followed by our guests comfort and overall experience aboard a Mauiva AirCruise. As such, Mauiva meets and exceeds all applicable government security and safety requirements. Our focus on safety continues throughout the Mauiva AirCruise experience including our buses, hotels and all other aspects of the AirCruise experience. Mauiva Public Charters are operated by Charter Air Transport.

We fly into what is known as FBOs or Fixed Based Operations. That's just a technical way of saying private airports that won't make you feel violated for security's sake. In fact, all you need is your government issued ID to verify your identity and you're clear to go from tarmac to private plane. Although, the amenities at these FBOs are so cushy, you may want to stick around for the free fresh baked cookies, coffee and comfy couches to lounge on. Speaking of cushy, to check in your bag all you have to do is label it with a Mauiva AirCruise sticker and wave "bye-bye" until you see it again in your room that night. Be sure to take out anything you may need before then, but if you're really in a pinch you could take anything out of it before it's loaded onto the bus at the next destination.

Experience Mauiva AirCruise

The Mauiva AirCruise™ is a multi-destination vacation experience that maximizes time by traveling via plane to private terminals. Discover the enchantment of Niagara Falls and the excitement of Toronto, the simplicity of Amish country and the historic charm of Washington D.C. on our East Coast tour, or experience the stunning highlights of San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas on our West Coast tour.

Fall in Love at First Flight

Fall in Love at First Flight

Save $1100* when you book a Mauiva AirCruise and we’ll have you falling in love with us in no time at all.

Surprise your loved one with the gift of an unforgettable vacation experience, and see why Mauiva AirCruise was recently awarded a 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. One Price, one plane, multiple destinations and an inclusive vacation experience that is actually more affordable than you think. One where you spend less time traveling and more time enjoying the sights and sounds of either our East Coast tour or West Coast tour itineraries.

Valentine's Rates East

Valentine's Rates West

Book Now and Fall in love at first flight.

*Maximum savings amount is based on double occupancy. Applies to new bookings only for travel March and April 2014 departures. Special discounts on other departures may be available. Savings is not combinable with any other special offers or discounts discounts and do not apply to children pricing.

Mauiva Now Booking AirCruises for 2014

2014 departures resized 600

All departures through October 31st, 2014 available for booking.

You've watched us on The Price is Right as a prize for the showcase showdown. You've seen our ads in Travel + Leisure Magazine. You've read our reviews on TripAdvisor which earned us the 2013 Certificate of Excellence award. Now it's time for you and your family to actually experience what all of the buzz is about!

Both the Western Wonder and All American East Experience packages include:

  • Advance hotel check-ins, porterage and luggage delivery to your room
  • Breakfast and dinners
  • Gratuities


Book a 2014 AirCruise Now

And Now a Little History Lesson...


Grand Canyon resized 600

The World of Mauiva

Welcome to the world of Mauiva, the leading flight service organization headquartered in Central Florida.

Known as visionaries of the travel industry, through innovation and creativity, year over year, Mauiva continues to experience accelerated growth, revolutionizing and changing the travel industry by providing guests with unique, fascinating, and hassle-free travel experiences.

Mauiva’s subsidiary, Charter Air Transport, the largest charter services transportation company in the United States has been providing charter and flight services since 1997 offering customized group travel for private charters, corporate shuttles and incentive groups, sport teams and casino flight programs.

Mauiva logo

Mauiva Air Tours

In 2009, with the introduction of our Air Tours product which launched in Orlando, FL.  Mauiva saw an opportunity to provide locals and visitors to Central Florida with a breathing travel adventure, one that would allow guests to fully feel the enjoyment and excitement of flying in small aircraft while enjoying the beautiful aerial views of Orlando and its major theme park attractions.

Mauiva AirCruise

This successful venture led Mauiva to explore more innovative, untapped and unique vacation opportunities and in May of 2011, made our international debut with the launch and introduction of the Mauiva AirCruise, an escorted, inclusive, hassle-free vacation package experience that currently escorts guests on an East Coast tour throughout the northeastern United States and Canada, and a Niagara Falls Day Trip AirCruise from New York.

From its initial introduction, the AirCruise's exciting, exclusive, and cutting-edge concept began to reach international markets and within the first year, positioned itself to worldwide audiences through printed, television and social media outlets which spanned over 50 countries and multiple languages.

AirCruise then reached over 150 B2B travel wholesalers and resellers thus reinforcing Mauiva as one of the pioneers to revolutionize the travel concept.  

Today, Mauiva continues to expand by reintroducing hospitality and elevating aspects of the travel industry to new heights via private and semi-private travel and vacation experiences

Mauiva's portfolio of products include: Air Tours, AirCruise, Charter Air Transport and on the horizon, new and exciting products (included scheduled non-stop flights to Charlotte, NC) which will only secure our companies foundation for continued success and growth.

With more than 30,000 passengers to date having taken a Mauiva product or vacation experience, we invite you, your guests and clients, to become part of our culture, our world, and sample one of the many products that only Mauiva can provide.

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See Through the Eyes of an AirCruiser


An AirCruiser Fan Video: The All American East Experience

Tour the most iconic places on the U.S. East Coast on Mauiva's East Coast tour. We keep it simple by including hotels, transportation, activities, meals, luggage service and gratuities. We are able to package all this into a six day/five night adventure by utilizing a private plane through private terminals - minimizing travel time and maximizing vacation time never looked so good. It really is a vacation made simple.

Thanks to Leigh Wilson for the incredible video!

Want to learn more?

Download a Brochure  

The Mauiva Difference: The No Hassle, VIP Vacation Experience

The Mauiva Plane

The Mauiva AirCruise™ is a multi-day private plane vacation allowing guests to travel to top destinations with nearly everything included in one single affordable price.

Taking an amazing vacation with family and friends can be a truly rewarding experience. Yet, planning and traveling to your desired destination – while keeping it affordable – can be a hassle.

Mauiva is here to provide a no hassle, VIP vacation experience. When crafting our concept, we focused on creating a specially-made inclusive vacation designed with you in mind. A fun-filled adventure where friendships formed throughout your Mauiva experience are the added bonus that comes from traveling with a group from around the world.

Mauiva AirCruise™ restores the joy of travel by combining the excitement of traveling to multiple, fantastic destinations with worry-free private flights. This method makes traveling a lot less stressful and a lot more fun!

Our concept is the Mauiva AirCruise™:

  • Breakfast and dinner every day

  • Upscale, top-branded hotels ranging from 3.5 to 4 stars

  • Every attraction included in price

  • All fees and gratuities included

  • Deluxe coaches waiting plane-side

  • Private airports and flights

  • Experienced, knowledgeable tour guides

  • Luggage is delivered every step of the way

Vacation Comparison - Fly & Drive vs All Inclusive Resort vs Cruise vs Coach Tour vs Mauiva AirCruise

The Mauiva Difference:

The hassle-free experience of traveling through private airports with the VIP treatment of stepping right off the plane onto a modern, deluxe coach.


Like many airlines, Mauiva has access to several different types of turbo-prop aircraft seating up to 30 passengers for the Mauiva AirCruise™ experience.

Safety of all of our guests is the number one focus of Mauiva followed by comfort and overall
experience. As a result, Mauiva meets and exceeds all government security and safety requirements.

Deluxe Coaches

Mauiva has minimized the time spent on the road by providing private flights between destinations.

Upon arrival, we provide a fine line of coaches with large viewing windows to safely and comfortably transport you to the amazing attractions we’ve selected. And yes...there are restrooms on board!


We aim for the highest standards in the industry by only partnering with the most talented pilots and flight attendants certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


We understand top-branded, comfortable hotels are critical to having a great vacation experience.

That’s why we have contracted with top hotel chains in each of our destinations to
further enhance the value of the Mauiva AirCruise™ experience.


Should you choose to stay connected during your vacation, Mauiva AirCruise™ guests receive
complimentary internet connection at each hotel. Sharing your fabulous photos with family and friends couldn’t be easier!

Truly a VIP Experience

Stop struggling with your luggage! Your bags will be transferred from plane to coach and arrive in your hotel.

Remember: no need to reach for your wallet...all gratuities are included!


Each destination is truly a unique experience therefore, we have selected restaurants serving authentic local cuisine. Mauiva AirCruise utilizes the best restaurants by providing our guests with multiple courses, non-alcoholic beverages and friendly service. need to reach for your wallet...all gratuities are included!

Extend the Vacation

Extending your vacation before or after the Mauiva AirCruise is made simple with our Concierge Service. Specially negotiated prices for hotels, transportation and attractions have been secured for all Mauiva AirCruise guests.

Experience It All

You can experience all of this when you book a Mauiva AirCruise. Whether it's the culturally rich diversity of our East Coast tour, or the stunning and breathtaking hightlights of the West on our West Coast tour itinerary, now you are able to experience either, or both, at lower prices for a limited time.

Be part of our culture and see what over 15,000 people have already experienced. Become a Mauivan and book your AirCruise today as space for these prices are limited. 



Sound good? Come fly away with us!

Download a Brochure

The Creation of Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls Up close

Niagara Falls upclose

Niagara Falls is estimated to be more than 10,000 years old, and is a direct result of the last ice age. The formation of the falls, however, started as far back as 18,000 years when ice sheets covered southern Ontario. These ice sheets were approximately 6000 feet thick!

The ice sheets moved further south over time, carving out the basins of what we now know as the Great Lakes. While this was happening, further north the ice was melting, and the melting waters eventually filled these basins.

Geologists estimate that the ice melted in what we know as the Niagara Peninsula about 12,500 years ago. As that water moved north, it flowed into a basin that we now call Lake Erie, as well as Lake Ontario and the Niagara River.

The water continued to flow towards the Atlantic through the St. Lawrence River. At one time, water spilled into Lake Ontario from Lake Erie in five different locations. Today, that has been reduced to one spillway at Queenston-Lewiston.

The actual Falls themselves were created by a constant advancement and retreat of the ice. When the pressure from the ice was released, the land would rebound. The process would become interrupted, causing the melt water to go through northern Ontario. The falls were not restored to their full power until the waters were once again rerouted through Southern Ontario, about 5500 years ago.

The Falls were not falls in the beginning, however. They were originally a violent, fast moving rapid. During the phase where the water had rerouted itself through Southern Ontario, it connected with a very old river that had been sealed during the ice age. When it was finished, in what many believe to be just a few weeks, it had created a 90 degree turn in the river. Today, we call this the Whirlpool, and in the United States, this is the largest collection of standing waves, called the Whirlpool Rapids.

After that miraculous creation, the falls continued on from the Whirlpool Bridge, making its way through solid rock. But erosion was also present, even then, in the form of Cavitation. Cavitation is a type of erosion that happens at most waterfalls. The water must move at a high enough speed to create bubbles close to rock to have an impact on it.

Experience the Creation of the Falls in 4D

The water has increased power because it gains speed as it falls over, which of course causes a breakdown of internal pressure. When this happens, it creates air bubbles. These air bubbles are destroyed when they hit the bottom and the water falls on them. Think of very high pressured air. When the air bubbles are destroyed, they basically put a great deal of pressure on the rocks that surround them.

When you are viewing the falls, make sure that you consider how the last ice age gave you the beauty that you are lucky enough to behold. This entire area was once covered by pure ice sheets. Today, it is a place of astounding beauty that brings millions of visitors each year.

Niagara Falls Day Trip from New York by Private Plane

Mauiva AirCruise, in partnership with, is pleased to take you on a Niagara Falls day trip from New York by air that you will never forget. Departing from New York City, experience the unbridled majesty of Niagara Falls without enduring long hours on the road or the hassles of commercial flight.

Experience the Creation of the Falls with Mauiva

Experience the magic and beauty of the creation of the Falls in 4D when you enter Niagara's Fury with Mauiva AirCruise. Feel the rough and tumble of the thunderous Falls and prepare to enter a marvelous journey when you witness the power of nature as part of our 6-Day East Coast Tour from New York!

Download a Brochure


Visiting Niagara Falls: Canada or America?

Niagara Falls - American Falls at Night

The American Falls at Night

One cannot fully appreciate Niagara Falls until they see it from both the United States and Canada. However, many people feel that they must choose a location to view it from, for many reasons.

These days, crossing a border, no matter what your intentions are, isn't as easy as it once was. Though if you want to see Niagara Falls completely, crossing borders is required.

Passports and Borders

Luckily, if you are either American or Canadian, the two countries are on good terms with each other, and as long as there are no legal reasons as to why you cannot cross a border (such as a felony or a drug related misdemeanor), you shouldn't have a problem getting to the other side.

If you're not from the United States or Canada, getting across the borders is slightly more difficult. In either case, you will need a passport. In the United States, obtaining a passport can take up to six weeks, so make sure you plan for this when planning your vacation. Typically, if you have a passport, you won't have a problem crossing the border.

However, because of increased security and the constant threat of terrorist attacks, you should expect to be delayed somewhat. Again, you should plan for this event.

Canada or America?

It's a good idea to visit all of the places in Niagara Falls at one time, on each side. For example, if you are an American, you may want to see all that there is to see on the American side of Niagara Falls before crossing over into Canada. Once you've finished visiting the American side, cross over to the Canadian side and do and see all that there is to do there.

Typically, you may find that there is more to do and see on the Canadian side than the American side.

You might also consider one of the tours of Niagara Falls, which operate from both the Canadian side and the American side, but include sights on both sides in one tour. Again, tours are available from both sides of the border.

You can enjoy more and do more if you are aware of the available attractions & excursions before you arrive. For example, the Maid of the Mist tours, which are the oldest attractions in the Niagara Falls area, operate from both sides of the border.

Niagara Falls Canadian and American sides

Niagara's American side (in the foreground)

View Larger Map

On the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, you should check out Queen Victoria Park, Skylon Tower, The Horseshoe Falls, Minolta Tower, the Niagara River Recreational Trail, the Whirlpool Aero Car, the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, the Casino Niagara, the Fallsview Tourist Area and Clifton Hill. Many of the attractions on the American side are within or near the Niagara Falls State Park. These include Prospect Point Park and the Prospect Point Observation Tower, Goat Island, Cave of the Winds, Bridal Veil Falls, The American Falls (seen at Prospect Point Park), The Niagara Scenic Trolley, Flight of the Angels (helium balloon ride), helicopter tours and the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center.

Niagara Falls Day Trip from New York by Private Plane

Mauiva AirCruise, in partnership with, is pleased to take you on a Niagara Falls day trip from New York by air that you will never forget. Departing from New York City, experience the unbridled majesty of Niagara Falls without enduring long hours on the road or the hassles of commercial flight.

Experience both sides of the Falls with Mauiva

Explore the Canadian and American sides of the Falls with Mauiva. Depart via private plane from New York and journey through the mist of the Maid of the Mist, experience the creation of the Falls in 4D and explore the roar of Niagara. All this and more can be yours when you Visit Niagara Falls on Mauiva's East Coast tour from New York.

Please download our brochure for specific travel destinations and tours.

Download a Brochure

San Francisco Attractions: Navigating the City by the Bay


San Francisco Cable Car MC resized 600

For what ever reason you visit, San Francisco attractions that entertain, educate and enlighten will compete for your attention.

Entering San Francisco from the north we actually get to cross Golden Gate Bridge. It's an iconic landmark that has come to represent the City by the Bay. Spanning the Golden Gate Straits since 1937, the bridge connects Marin County to the north with the Presidio district of San Francisco.

Mauiva AirCruise allows our guests to navigate the City by the Bay in our whirlwind visit to a few of the fascinating San Francisco attractions on our California Tour Package and experience the best of what there is to do in California

The Presidio

Following Highway 1 south off the Golden Gate Bridge takes us through the wooded Presidio district. Once a U.S. military garrison, the Presidio is now part of the National Park system as is Alcatraz Island.

Highway 1 continues south into Golden Gate Park but we have a couple of truly scenic San Francisco attractions to visit before entering the park. Just hang a right to go west on Geary Boulevard and a few blocks through the Richmond district discloses a sweeping curve of the road to the south along the west coast.

The Cliff House with Ocean in the background

Cliff House

The world famous Cliff House restaurant sits at the curve with a grand backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and the cluster of Seal Rocks. The vague outline of the Sutro Baths ruins lies nearby.

Sutro Baths Ruins

Sutro Baths

Once the Sutro Baths was a gigantic Victorian greenhouse-like structure that covered swimming pools, a curio’s museum and a restaurant until burning to the ground. All of this is on the border of the Lincoln Park district to the north, home of the Palace of the Legion of Honor.
Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

Continuing south, the Great Highway parallels the coastline. All of this area is protected as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Enjoy a couple of miles of this lovely coastline and then make a left turn on John F. Kennedy Blvd to enter Golden Gate Park. As you pass the Dutch Windmill and Beach Chalet restaurant feel the tensions of everyday life dissolve as we cruise past the grassy fields and wooded groves. The urban life of the cosmopolitan city is lost in the enchanted setting.

It's amazing how many of the famous San Francisco attractions are found among these green glades and small bodies of water. You will leave the Golf Clubhouse and Soccer fields behind before finding the Buffalo Paddocks, where bison have grazed since the 1890's, on your left. On the other side are the Anglers Lodge and Fly Casting pools, near the Polo fields.

Further along on the left is the Model Yacht Club and Spreckels Lake.

Dutch windmill in Golden Gate Park

Dutch Windmill in Golden Gate Park

On the right hand side there are large picnic areas with barbeque pits and grassy lawns before JFK drive meets Highway 1 where it crosses Golden Gate Park as the Park Presidio Drive.

We are a little more than halfway through the park and most of the interesting things to see are still ahead of us:

  • Academy of Sciences
  • Conservatory of Flowers
  • De Young Museum
  • Japanese Tea Garden
  • Music Concourse
  • Strybing Arboretum

Stow Lake

Don't miss the loop drive around Stow Lake with its island called Strawberry Hill and the scenic vistas as the road climbs to the lake. There is something to suit all tastes in activities:

  • Baseball fields
  • Tennis courts
  • Bowling greens
  • Horseshoe pits
  • Handball courts

And other fun spots like the children's playground and carousel to while-away the time when you visit San Francisco.

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Flower Power

In a city that was once the center of the 'Flower Power' movement you might expect a garden or two.

  • AIDS Memorial Grove
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden
  • Rose Garden
  • Shakespeare's Flowers

And those are just the ones that share the long stretch of Golden Gate Park with the Japanese Tea Garden, there are many other garden spots throughout San Francisco.

John F. Kennedy Dr. will take you to the many wonders of Golden Gate Park and then out of the park by way of Oak St. in what is known as the Panhandle.

Haight and Ashbury

A couple of blocks out of the park we take a right on Ashbury St. and then one long block brings us to the intersection made famous by the Hip generation, Haight and Ashbury.

Making a left onto Haight we continue to Scott St. where our path takes us north (left) onto Scott where about a half-dozen blocks brings us to Fulton Ave. and Alamo Park on your right.

Painted Ladies at Alamo Park

Painted Ladies from Alamo Park

It's at Alamo Park that you will find the classic postcard view of the restored Victorian houses, called the Painted Ladies, with the San Francisco skyline as a backdrop. This is likely the most photographed spot in a very photogenic city.

A right turn on Fulton delivers us to the City Hall and the Civic Center. On the left is the Veterans Building and to the right is the Opera House and Symphony Hall. A quick left takes us past the...

  • Civic Center Plaza
  • Civic Auditorium
  • Library
  • Asian Art Museum

And then we are at Market Street and the Civic Center Muni station.

East toward the bay on Folsom St. will quickly bring us to the Embarcadero.

The Embarcadero

This one way thoroughfare skirts the shoreline of the San Francisco Bay to the east and the heart of The City to the west.

A few long blocks and we will pass between the Ferry Building and the Justin Herman Plaza. Graceful palm trees tower over the throngs of shoppers and tourists here at the end of two grand San Francisco avenues. Both Market and California streets converge a block from this point.

Coit Tower

Passing along the odd numbered piers (piers are numbered from the Ferry Bldg., odd to the north and even to the south) we come to the Levi's Plaza, across The Embarcadero from Pier 29. This is the world headquarters of Levi Strauss & Co. and houses their visitors center.

Behind the plaza, perched atop Telegraph Hill, stands one of the San Francisco attractions that has come to symbolize the City by the Bay in photographs since it was built in 1933. The views from Coit Tower offer truly magnificent panoramic vistas. With the historic murals painted on the inside and the flock of wild parrots that have made Telegraph Hill their home you can get colorful visual treats year-round.

Fisherman's Wharf

Leaving Coit Tower and the North Beach district behind we begin to curve to the west as we enter the center of San Francisco tourism...Fisherman's Wharf. This district is something of a cross between an ongoing street festival and a tourist trap.

Don't miss it! Fresh Dungeness Crab, off the boat that morning (Fish Alley, the commercial docks, are just a few blocks away), pulled from a steaming cauldron set up right by the sidewalk and served with a delicious cocktail sauce...unforgettable.

  • Pier 39
  • Aquarium of the Bay
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum
  • San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park
  • The Wax Museum

And different piers and docks where you can find Bay Cruises. They line The Embarcadero to help you visit San Francisco attractions located offshore. The Embarcadero morphs into Jefferson St. (Fish Alley) so we need to turn left onto Hyde St. and a right on Beach Street to reach one of the most famous landmarks in The City.

Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square

Located across the street from Aquatic Park is the historic chocolate factory, Ghirardelli Square. Now there is an open, spacious shopping area with restaurants, ice cream parlor and a display of the old chocolate making equipment from the factory's hey-day.

Walk a block to the east to find the Powell-Hyde St. cable car turnaround for a fun way to explore the colorful heart of San Francisco. Or turn left on Polk and then right on Bay Street to traverse the edge of Fort Mason.

Fort Mason

Heading west as we continue our San Francisco tour, circumnavigating the City by the Bay. Only a block from Ghirardelli Square is Fort Mason. The former military real estate on the San Francisco Peninsula has become part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the headquarters can be found at Fort Mason Center.

A right turn on Laguna will reunite us with Beach St. This is the last stretch as we cross the Marina district as we return to our starting point, the Presidio. Here we will find one of the most memorable and photogenic of all San Francisco attractions.

Palace of Fine Arts

Originally the Palace of Fine Arts was intended as a temporary structure for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition, celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal.

Reminiscent of a Grecian Temple, its classic lines are reflected in a beautiful little lake. Swans glide across the water while visitors and locals enjoy the serene atmosphere of the surrounding park. 

Experience San Francisco with Mauiva

Mauiva AirCruise manages to circumnavigate the City by the Bay in our whirlwind visit to a few of the fascinating San Francisco attractions on our California Tour Package experience. Come fly away with us and learn more!

Please download our brochure for specific Mauiva AirCruise travel destinations in San Francisco.

Download a Brochure

The History of Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island, helicopter view resized 600

Alcatraz Island

It's Alcatraz prison that now gets the spotlight on these few acres of island in the San Francisco Bay. Once considered the prison of American prisons, over the years, Alcatraz at one point became reserved for military use under President Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States. The former military detention center became America's first maximum security penitentiary in 1934 under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

There is evidence that even the local prehistoric population considered 'The Rock' as an appropriate location to quarantine their misfits.

Lt. Juan Manuel de Ayala named the little island after its only year-round inhabitants, "La Isla de Los Alcatraces" (Island of the Pelicans), when he sailed into the bay on August 5, 1775.

Ayala was the first European to pass through the Golden Gate Straits. Just 75 years after he mapped his discovery, a U.S. presidential order by Millard Fillmore made Alcatraz and other islands in the San Francisco Bay 'reserved for public purposes'.

Alcatraz InmatesIn 1854, the first lighthouse on the west coast was built on Alcatraz. This was urgently needed since hundreds of ships had already wrecked on the rocks in their hurry to the gold rush.

It was in 1859 that the U.S. Army completed construction of their fortifications. Just a few years later the military installation on Alcatraz Island became the largest fort, west of the Mississippi River, during the Civil War. The army started to confine its own convicts at Fortress Alcatraz almost immediately.

The Rock

In the 1870's the Native American population started to return to the prisoners. Chiefs and other tribal leaders were incarcerated on the 'Rock' into the 1880's. By 1907 the fort was officially Alcatraz Prison.

Housing some of the most dangerous and heinous criminals, prisoners were only allowed four sole rights. The right to food, shelter, medical attention and clothing. Punishments for bad behavior included rights being stripped and prisonsers being delegated to solitary confinement where they were only allowed bread and water. Wearing a 20 pound ball and chain and hard labor were some of the less extreme punishments.

The military transferred these facilities to civilian management in 1933. Alcatraz became the first federal maximum-security penitentiary. No judge could sentence a criminal to 'The Rock'. Only a transfer from another prison could get you admitted to this exclusive penal colony.

Alcatraz Inmate last words

Infamous Last Words

Until 1963 the 'prison within the prison system' held the most notorious and troublesome criminals. Many escape attempts were made but the guards were vigilant, the water was cold and the currents strong. There were 14 escape attempts by over 30 prisoners. There were no recorded survivors.

Alcatraz Island became a national park in 1972. Open to the public in 1973, Alcatraz sees more than one million tourists visiting the enticing barracks each year. 

Alcatraz Island in the background

Tour Alcatraz Island with Mauiva AirCruise

Experience this haunting maximum security penitentiary when you Cruise to Alcatraz Island with Mauiva. Journey through its gloom and in one of the world's most remembered prison systems, see where some of the most infamous were housed. Dive into their world and leave with a newfound knowledge of the criminal mastermind.

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