You have undoubtedly heard conflicting information about traveling to Maui, Hawaii, after the tragic fires that swept through Lāhainā in early August. Maui is not closed, but the Lāhainā area in West Maui cannot accommodate many visitors at this time. Shops are closed and hotels are full of displaced residents who lost their homes or aid workers helping with recovery. The rest of The Valley Isle is open for business and the people who work in guest-related businesses are pleading for visitors to return.
According to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, the tragedy’s economic impact is significant. The disaster area had more than 800 business establishments with about 7,000 employees. Those establishments’ daily total business revenue is estimated at $2.7 million daily. Without vacationers, many small businesses will end up closing permanently and thousands of residents will be unemployed — just as they are trying to get on their feet after losing their homes and, sadly, friends and family.
The community asks that visitors to Maui be respectful of the devastating effect the fires had on the entire Maui “Ohana.” The resorts may be a little short-handed and the local people are still in shock. Please “Live Aloha” and be patient as we work our way back to recovery.
How Can You, As A Traveler, Help The People Of Maui?
Please come to Maui and shop locally: local stores, local food, local boats, local travel, local car rentals. When you support local businesses around Maui, just know you also support the Lāhainā community because many of these businesses offer so much love and support to the residents of West Maui.
In support of local Maui-based businesses, we have compiled this list of our favorite experiences around the island that you can enjoy today, bringing much needed support to the great people of the area.
1. Road To Hana
Over the centuries, travelers from all walks of life have taken the legendary Road to Hana in various ways — from ancient canoes and rickety carts to propeller airplanes, buses, vans, and helicopters. The Road to Hana is a twisting road through a rainforest that passes over 50 bridges. As you round the 600 turns, you will find waterfalls, incredible coastal views, beautiful flowers, and wonderful small communities; not to mention some delicious local food. You’ll visit a more authentic Hawaii in Hana. Whether you prefer driving a rental car, riding in a pickup truck, or joining a guided tour, you can’t miss this incredible trip.
Check out Road to Hana Tours for a great selection of ways to enjoy a Road to Hana adventure.
2. Haleakala National Park
Discover the breathtaking beauty of Haleakala National Park — a destination that draws over a million visitors annually. Beyond the iconic sunrise viewing, this expansive park showcases a 7-mile-long, 3-mile-wide, and nearly 2,600-foot-deep crater. But that’s not all: It extends over the scenic eastern crater rim, leading to the enchanting Kipahulu Valley and the beautifully tiered Pools of Oheo.
You can immerse yourself in the wonders of Haleakala National Park through various experiences. Reservations are a must if you want to witness the sunrise. However, at any other time of day, you can freely explore the park without needing a reservation. You will marvel at the vistas from the park’s higher elevations, where four islands can be spotted on a clear day. And don’t miss the breathtaking sunsets: Haleakala’s summit is adorned with many telescopes, allowing you to gaze at the stars and moon in unparalleled clarity.
Taking a guided tour of Haleakala National Park offers many benefits. Not only will you be treated to a stress-free experience, but you can relax by having a knowledgeable guide by your side. Don’t miss the chance to delve into the wonders of this designated nature preserve.
3. Take A Boat To Snorkel At Molokini
Experience the wonders of Molokini, a world-renowned marine conservation district just a short distance from Maui’s coast. This islet, a submerged crater of a dormant volcano, is teeming with hundreds of species of tropical fish, some of which cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. You will have an unforgettable adventure as you venture to this unique island, accessible only by boat or ocean raft. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this mesmerizing underwater paradise. You don’t need to be a seasoned snorkeler to enjoy these trips, as most tour companies provide all the gear you need and will have a guide on board with you.
With the current closure of Lāhainā Harbor, many of the boats offer cruises out of Maalaea Harbor to Molokini. Maalaea Harbor is centrally located between the Kahului Airport and the Lāhainā and Kaanapali resort areas.
4. Whale Watching
Experience the awe-inspiring annual migration of humpback whales as they journey to Hawaii’s warm waters to start families. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary serves as a sanctuary to protect these incredible creatures and their home. You can watch the spectacle from November–April as the whales mate, give birth, and nurture their young.
One way to experience the ultimate whale-watching adventure is aboard a luxury sailing catamaran in Maui. Choose from departures in Maalaea or Kaanapali and embark on an unforgettable journey. Knowledgeable whale naturalists will teach you all about these majestic creatures and you can even listen to their songs through special Hydrophones on board. Enjoy delicious meals and drinks while taking in the breathtaking views. This activity guarantees incredible photo opportunities and unforgettable memories.
The Whale Watching Cruise Maalaea is ideal for a larger boat cruise. Departing from Maalaea Harbor, this 2-hour journey offers a close encounter with awe-inspiring humpback whales. This comfortable cruise features spacious cabins with tinted windows, ensuring panoramic ocean views. Accompanied by naturalist guides, you’ll learn fascinating facts about these gentle giants and feel the joy of their magnificent aerial displays.
See why Maui is often called the “Whale Watching Capital of the World.”
5. Dinner Cruises
Enjoy the golden light as the sun goes down on another perfect Maui day. On a luxurious Maui sunset dinner cruise, you can expect to be treated to a fabulous meal prepared by an onboard chef, along with stunning views of the Hawaiian coastline and the Pacific Ocean. You will also enjoy live music, cocktails, and even the opportunity to spot marine life like dolphins and whales. Most companies have options for departure from Maalaea Harbor or Kaanapali instead of Lāhainā.
6. Helicopter Tours
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the “Valley Isle” with a thrilling helicopter tour. Discover the majestic West Maui Mountains, home to hidden valleys and the second wettest place on Earth. Witness the gorgeous waterfalls that adorn these valleys, a sight rarely visible from the island’s roads. What is the best way to truly appreciate their splendor? Take to the sky in a helicopter.
Looking for more natural wonders? Explore Haleakala, where the northeastern slopes boast countless waterfalls cascading through lush jungle forests. As you journey along the Hana side, you’ll see the stunning beauty of these valleys and the abundant waterfalls that grace them. And from the air, the spectacle becomes even more remarkable, with waterfalls tumbling into the vast ocean. Combine explorations of Maui’s East and West sides on this epic circle island adventure.
With multiple flight times and routes to choose from, finding the perfect helicopter tour to fit your time and budget is a breeze.
7. Inter-Island Trips
Did you only book to stay on Oahu but would love to visit Maui for the day? An inter-island day-trip is the perfect solution.
Check out these currently available inter-island sightseeing tours from Oahu. You can arrange a private one-day tour of Maui. There are several options to choose from on a private tour with airport pickup, including flights.
Try a hiking adventure on Maui, from enchanting rainforest treks to exploring the otherworldly Haleakala Crater; whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or an all-day escapade, the island offers many trails to suit your desires.
Immerse yourself in nature as you hike through lush bamboo forests, marvel at stunning waterfalls, and meander alongside crystal-clear pools and freshwater streams. If you’re seeking a more relaxed outing, indulge in a refreshing dip at the waterfalls along an easy 1-mile trail.
Regardless of your preferences and schedule, Maui has hikes and walking tours to delight your entire group. Take a journey that will leave you with cherished memories and a renewed appreciation for the wonders of nature.
Recent Good News From The Governor
During a statewide address, Governor Josh Green said West Maui will reopen to visitors on October 8, exactly 2 months after the fires. Doing so will help start Maui’s “long road to recovery,” Green said.
If you plan on visiting Maui, please consider signing up to volunteer for a few hours/days of your time here. You’ll make some new friends and still have time to enjoy the beautiful sunsets at the end of the day.
Here is the website for this community-led organization and how to sign up. Volunteers are helping receive donations as they arrive and hand them out to community members in need. Additionally, the Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation needs volunteers every day.
Kokua [koh-ku-ah] is an important concept in Hawaiian culture. It means “help,” but it goes deeper than that. Kokua is about helping others without expecting anything in return. Mahalo for your Kokua during this difficult time.