Maui is a very unique and special place to visit. In addition to the picture perfect beaches, scenic drives, and incredible views of the surrounding islands, guests have the opportunity to explore the island in so many different ways! Guests who are visiting for the first time or have been coming year after year can usually tell you that there is a ton of activities to do and there is never enough time to do them all. One of my favorite things about being a Concierge is helping guests find the right balance between activities and spending lazy days relaxing or going to the beach. Some guests enjoy the constant “go-go-go” type of vacation while others are more local style and take their vacation one day at a time. Commonly I read articles and blogs about “Top Maui Activities”, “Best Tours”, “Voted #1″ and often find that the words “best” and “top” mean different things to guests. Though I think we would all agree that some activities are naturally more appealing to guests than others and we wanted to share some of our personal favorite adventures, attractions, and activities to consider for you Maui vacation. After all, the key word is that it is YOUR vacation and we are happy to help you create a custom activity itinerary based on YOUR desires. Maui has so many unique ways to experience the island by land, sea, and air and we wanted to share just some of the activities we enjoy most.
The island of Maui is actually quite larger than most first time guests thought it would be. Traveling by road, Maui is about 75 miles from East to West and 26 miles North to South and many of the sites, attractions, and activities are scattered around the island. The most efficient means to travel around the island of Maui is by Rental Car. Though there is public transportation, at times it can be hard to justify spending several hours for a simple drive that should take less than 30 minutes by car. Maui does not have to many roads and the main highways are in the shape of a sideways figure eight making some of the activities and attractions a little further away at times as the main roads need to go around the West Maui Mountains and the Haleakala Volcano. For further information about rental cars, check out our discounted rates offered through AVIS & Budget. Maui offers many outstanding activities by land to experience including:
One of the most interesting and exciting cultural experiences here on Maui is attending a luau. Luau’s are held as a celebration and regardless of the reason for your visit to Maui, luau’s are a perfect way to dive into the local culture! Guests get to experience hula dancing, eat authentic local cuisine, and in some cases experience cultures from other island’s found in the Pacific such as Samoa and Tahiti. Luau’s will have a lavish spread of tasty traditional food such as kalua pig, poi, lomilomi salmon, and shoyu chicken. For those guests not as adventurous with trying the traditional food items, they will also have non-traditional food items too. In addition to the great food, guests can expect live music, a spectacular live show, and an open bar.
Road to Hana
Another great land attraction on Maui is the Road to Hana. This scenic drive will take guests on an incredible day trip along the north eastern portion of the island. Guests will certainly have plenty of opportunity to see waterfalls, breathtaking overlooks, and see the other incredible attractions such as beaches and hikes. Yes, this road does have more than 600 hairpin turns and 50+ one lane bridges, though I would have to say most guests find this experience quite enjoyable once they start to see the scenery. Each guest handles the Road to Hana differently as some wish to make the drive all of the way to Hana Town while other prefer to drive and turn around as they wish. For additional information about the Road to Hana, don’t miss out on our custom Road to Hana Guide (PDF file) that has all of our favorite places to visit on this journey! Often times guests will save our guides directly to their smart phone/device to enjoy the guide along the journey where internet / mobile cell service is not very good.
Haleakala National Park
Soaring more than 10,000ft above sea level at it’s summit, Haleakala is Maui’s largest attraction. This drive will take guests from the base of the volcano all the way up to the summit in about 1.5 – 2 hours pending on conditions and guests comfort level with the winding roads. The views along the way up to the summit are often spectacular as they will look out over the central Maui valley and out to the neighboring islands in some places. The drive up the National Park can be quite a journey at times though we recommend to take it easy, enjoy the views, and pullover when safe to take some pictures. Haleakala can be visited during all hours of the day, though most guests enjoy visiting the summit during the sunrise or during the day to site seeing and to go hiking. Temperatures at the summit are often 30+/- degrees different than the beach cities and we do highly recommend brining layers regardless of when you are going as the weather changes so quickly! For further information about Haleakala, check out our recent blog, A Day at Haleakala or take a look at our Sunrise & Sunset Guide. You can also use this great map (PDF File) of the Haleakala National Park during your trip which will include roads, lookouts, and hiking trails.
Hiking on Maui
With two mountain ranges on Maui (West Maui Mountains and the Haleakala Volcano), there are some excellent hiking trails that are great for hikers of all skill level. Hiking trails on Maui range from “easy” (well traveled dirt paths less than 1/4 mile) to “advanced” (steep elevation and lengthy hikes) and it really depends on guests ability to navigate. It is always important to be aware of your skill level and comfort level to navigate around some different conditions that you may not be used to (elevation, unknown trail conditions, knowledge of raising stream levels, etc.). Maui has many different terrains to experience as well as hikes that provide different views. From waterfall hikes to coastal hikes, don’t miss out on our Hiking Guide to Maui that will give you more information about the different hikes found in Maui. For those guests looking to do some exploring, we highly encourage going with a guide as local knowledge and safety are key when hiking and it is always best to go with a local expert. Please contact us directly for further information about hiking or to make arrangements for a private guide. Safety first!
Downhill Volcano Bike Ride
Yes, it is a fun and adventurous as it sounds! This early morning activity will start between 2-3am (bright and early!) and you will be picked you up directly at your accommadation. Guests will be taken to the summit of Haleakala to see the spectacular sunrise at 10,000ft elevation. After the sunrise, guests will make their way just outside of the National Park to start their bike ride down to the base of the volcano. This 25+ miles downhill bike ride gives guests both a thrills and chills yet allows them to enjoy panoramic views along the way down the volcano. This trip will make some stops along the way to take pictures, grab some water, and take a moment to take the view in. This trip is for guests 12+ years of age and please make sure this is not your first time riding a bike… Downhill volcano bike riding is a really unique and exciting way to spend a morning on Maui.
Since Maui is completely surrounded by water, it is pretty easy to understand why there are so many fun things to do on Maui that revolve around the water. Whether you are looking to spend a lazy day on the beach or spend some quality time in the water, there are plenty of options for you! For those guests interested in the visiting some beaches, check out our Guide to Maui Beaches for further details and information about some of our favorite beaches. For those looking to experience Maui above or below water, there are a few great activities that you do not want to miss out on:
Regardless if you are an avid swimmer or you are still new to snorkeling, Maui offers some of the best service providers to help you make the most of your snorkeling experience. Many of the boats we enjoy the most are sailing catamarans that will take guests to incredible snorkeling locations such as Molokini, Coral Gardens, and Turtle Town (the name speaks for itself). Snorkeling is offered in different durations and experiences can be as short as 2 hours and range up to 6+ hours long. Snorkel boats will often include some type of food and beverage (usually a light breakfast and a BBQ style lunch) to make the overall experience even more enjoyable. There are many unique ways to experience snorkeling including high powered rafts, sailing catamarans, and single hulled boats.
For those guests in need of experiencing something a little different than your typical snorkeling, “snuba” diving is perfect for you! This unique Maui activity is a mix between scuba diving and snorkeling and allows guests to stay underwater while still breathing. One great thing about snuba diving is that it will not take up the entire time you are at the snorkeling location, meaning you can still snorkel and snuba while you are visiting the reef location. Though the “snuba” diving experience is about 10 minutes long, it is a really fun way to be underwater while still exploring the reef.
One of the most incredible experiences you can have on Maui is during the winter months. From December to April, the Humpback Whales begin to arrive to the warm tropical waters of the Hawaiian Island to feed, nurse, and give birth. Often times you will see the whales splashing, jumping, and playing in the water which always creates a lot of excitement, especially when you are out on the a boat! Boats will depart typically from the Ma’alaea and Lahaina Harbors though there are a few other boats that depart from the beaches in Wailea and Ka’anapali areas. There are a lot of great boat operators out there, we always find that some are just simply more enjoyable and do not overpack their boats with people. Please feel free to contact Maui Activity Concierge for further inquires and recommendations. We are happy to help you find the right whale watching boat for you and your ‘ohana (family).
Dinner Cruise & Sunset Cocktails
Another great way to relax and enjoy the sunset is by going on a evening sail or dinner cruise. Some of the boats will feature lavish dinner buffets or plated dinners while others offer a relaxing more “casual” cocktail cruise with pupu’s (appetizers) and drinks. Most options will have live music as the captain raises the sail and you enjoy a beverage or two. Some of the boats will allow guests of all ages while others will only allow for guests ages 21+. One of the best parts about going on on the water in the late afternoon is enjoying seeing the sun sink in the to Pacific Ocean after another beautiful day on maui. During the winter months, guests will commonly enjoy the company of whales as well which alway add a little more excitement to your trip. Cocktail cruises will consist of a variety of beers, wines, champagne, and other mixed drinks and these drinks are complimented with a variety of hot and cold food items. Dinner cruises on the other hand will still feature the drinks and appetizers as well as a full dinner buffet or plated dinner and of course, desserts! Ready to start your sunset experience? Check out our listing of the sunset times and other fun sunset/sunrise activity guide.
There has been more interest from our guests to explore other islands while here on Maui. At times looking on a map it may seem like quick boat ride away to experience another island such as Kauai, O’ahu, or the Big Island of Hawai’i from Maui tough these islands would require a flight to visit. Maui County actually consists of Maui, Lana’i, and Moloka’i and theses islands are relativity close to Maui and makes it easier to visit from Maui. There are a few great boat options to visit the neighboring island of Lana’i in which include snorkeling, light hiking, van tour of the only city on Lana’i (Lana’i City) and an awesome BBQ dinner. For those guests looking to get away from the popular snorkeling spots, Lana’i offers some incredible trips that allow guests to snorkel in remote bays and avoid the crowds. Many golfers also enjoy visiting Lana’i as well to enjoy a challenge on one of their world class golf courses.
The last way we would like to share with you to explore the island of Maui is by air. From above, guests have an opportunity to experience and see Maui in a different way. Often times when you are driving along it is hard to see what is behind the trees or the mountain as the view is obstructed. Seeing Maui from above is also very picturesque and activities typically allow guests to bring their cameras. There are several fun ways to explore Maui from above including:
This activity is perfect for guests looking to add a little more thrill and excitement to their vacation on Maui. Typically ziplines are for guests ages 5+ though each course will have a different weight restriction. Most guests ask why there is an age limit and it actually has to do more with the weight than the age, as you can imagine it is pretty important while zipping to have the momentum to get from one side of the course to the other. There are several great locations around the island of Maui that we could like to recommend including: Slopes of Haleakala, West Maui Mountains, Upcountry, and Tropical Scenery. Yes there are a lot of companies out there – some offer incredible deals – though bottom line is that we enjoy working with vendors who have been in the business a long time, provide quality service, and have excellent safety records!
For those guests looking to get away from the crowds and the commercial airlines, Maui Activity Concierge is pleased to assist you in making arrangements for a private charter plane or to assist in making arrangements for a plane tour. At times guests will find that seeing Maui and the surrounding islands from a plane is a little more comfortable than seeing Maui by helicopter. Charter trips can take guests around to various locations / islands as desired or trips can be planned to go see the active volcano on the Big Island of Hawai’i as well. Regardless if you are looking for a first class private charter or just a scenic plane ride around the islands, please feel free to contact us at 808-868-0253 or via email at info@MauiActivityConcierge.com for further details about plane charters.
Personally, I find this to be the best way to see Maui from above. There are so many things to see on a helicopter that you would most likely never get the chance to see from the road. Seeing Maui from above helps you to put things into perspective about the size of Maui and to learn a little more about the diversity of landscapes found on Maui. There are four primary types of tours offered on Maui including: West Maui, Hana/Haleakala, West Maui + Moloka’i, and private charters. Tour durations can range from 30 minutes to 60 minutes (or more) pending on the type of flight you wish to take. One of our favorite flights is the West Maui Moloka’i flight as it will take guests around the West Maui Mountains and then to the neighboring island of Moloka’i to see incredible sea cliffs, landscapes, and waterfalls. For those guests looking for Helicopter tours of the active volcano found on the Big Island of Hawai’i, we can certainly help making arrangements for this as well. Additionally if you are invested in a private charter, there are several possibilities to have an over-the-top experience as well. Please contact us for further information about helicopter flights or private helicopter charters.
Pearl Harbor – O’ahu
Located on the island of O’ahu, Pearl Harbor is one of the biggest attractions found in all of Hawai’i. For guests staying on Maui, it is very realistic to fly from Maui to O’ahu to see Pearl Harbor. This trip will start directly here on Maui at the Kahului Airport (OGG) and will take guests to Honolulu (HNL) in about 35 minutes via commercial airline. Guests will then continue their tour from the Honolulu Airport and will be taken directly to Pearl Harbor to start their tour. One thing we really like about this tour is that it includes flights, ground transportation on O’ahu, a tour guide, and entry into Pearl Harbor. Though this tour is an all day long tour (anticipate to be gone about 12 hours total), it is such a great experience to see as O’ahu is not accessible to most guests living on the mainland. For those guests looking to learn a little more about the surrounding City of Honolulu and visit various historical sites, there is an option to spend 1/2 day at Pearl Harbor and 1/2 Day touring the city. This trip is great for guests who are interested in Pearl Harbor but also seeing how different the City of Honolulu is from any city found on Maui. Additionally the rich history of the City is quite interesting too.
Maui Activity Concierge was built upon our passion for hospitality and our love for the island of Maui. With so many exciting things to see and do here on Maui, it can get a little overwhelming to pick just a few things to do. Maui Activity Concierge is pleased to offer our friendly and professional Concierge services to you and your ‘ohana (family) with no additional booking fees or extra fees. For further information about Maui or any of the activities offered here on Maui, please feel free to contact us at 808-868-0253 or via email at info@MauiActivityConcierge.com to start planning your Maui itinerary. Our knowledgeable and experienced Concierge team is happy to spend time with you to help recommend, book, and plan your Maui vacation activities and services.
You can also get other ideas about Maui by visiting us online at www.MauiActivityConcierge.com. Don’t forget to stay connect with us on Facebook, Instagram (@MauiActivityConcierge), and Twitter (@MauiActCon). We are looking forward to being of assistance to you!
Mahalo nui loa,
Maui Activity Concierge
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