Maui Re-openning Challenges

Around the globe, and particularly the mainland USA, the coronavirus continues to change and challenge our lives daily. Hawaii is no exception as we struggle to keep the people of the island chain healthy, while trying to figure out how to re-open safely and save our faltering economy.

As cases spike, borders close and ‘re-opening’ dates see suspension and push backs. Maui was excitedly set to welcome the return of its tourists and business travelers on August 1st with eased restrictions of the 14-day quarantine and new guidelines for pre-travel testing.  Now, we once again find ourselves crossing our fingers that the newly slated re-open date of September 1st will become a reality.

New talks of creating ‘Resort Bubbles’ in Hawaii are still in the discussion phase and currently include Hawaii Island, Maui, and Kauai. If approved they could potentially look something like this: Test negative for coronavirus 72 hours before boarding your flight; upon arrival transport directly to your pre-approved resort bubble lodging and begin your 14-day quarantine order with the freedom to move about your resort, it’s grounds, and beaches within the confines of a predetermined “geofence”. You can soak up the sun and enjoy your own little slice of paradise, you just have to stay within your bubble. After completing the 14-day quarantine order, you are then free to move about the island and discover more of its beauty.  Surf, hike trails, drive upcountry, go out on a boat, enjoy restaurants, and more. While this “resort bubble” idea seems like it could potentially be set into motion, there are a lot of variables that keep it in question such as the operation of the “resort bubbles” interior restaurants, swimming pools, and other amenities. Health safety of the staff is another concern as they go home to their families at the end of their shifts. There is also the question of how to handle a guest who arrived asymptomatic and during quarantine tests positive.  What will it mean for the safety of the other guests and resort employees? Working hard to find the answers to these questions and more, leaders in the industry along with our Mayors and Governor are tirelessly trying to find a way to build bridges that will allow for Maui’s tourism to flourish safely once again.

If you are hoping/planning/daydreaming of coming to Maui, Hawaii, news outlets MauiWatch, HawaiiNewsNow, and MauiNow are the best places to find updates and the most current, accurate information. You can find them through Google Search, on Facebook and Instagram. Just remember, what is current and accurate today could easily change tomorrow since we are dealing with unprecedented unknowns as we try to navigate our way through the pandemic.


Reaping the Rewards Post COVID19

With upwards of 10 million visitors per year, can you imagine what Maui is like right now without our visitors? Locals are experiencing an unprecedented time here in Hawaii as lockdowns ease and we are able to enjoy the beauty of our islands all to ourselves! Many Maui residents are not yet back to work as our economy relies so heavily on the tourism industry, and we are reaping the rewards of our stringent dedication to adhering to COVID19 rules and regulations for the past few months. With our islands now being hailed as the ‘safest place in the world’ we are surfing, snorkeling, lounging on our empty beaches, and combing the trails in our beautiful jungles without the crowds. We’ve done the work to flatten the curve and are reaping the rewards in paradise!

What is open on Maui?

While many restaurants are still serving take-out or delivery only, there are a nice handful of places to sit down and enjoy a meal in good company. Shopping is more of the same, some stores are open, some are not.  This is a time when we are very keen on keeping it local as much as we can. Supporting local businesses is in the hearts of our residents, we hope when our visitors return, they will adopt this mindset as well to help our family owned businesses regain footing post COVID19 and once again flourish!

Some fun things that are open are boating activities (with limited restrictions). Lucky for us at Sea Monkey Private Charters, we are open for business and super excited to extend a 25% off kama’aina discount to our local folks! Our crew worked hard during the shutdown phase of COVID19, with our boat in dry dock they put in long, hard, hot hours to make our beautiful boat shine like a diamond! She’s fast, she’s fun, she’s luxurious! Come spend a day with us and together let’s celebrate our graduates, our local newlyweds, and our healthy friends and families! There is no better time than now to get your friends together, split the cost, and hang out for a day on the best boat you’ll find in Maui!

Maui Re-opens To Visitors August 1st, 2020

As of August 1, 2020, with new health and safety rules set in place, the State of Hawaii re-opens its arms and welcomes the masses to come back to our islands. The fourteen-day quarantine upon arrival will take a back seat to the new highly favored option of providing documentation of a negative result COVID19 test taken 72 hours prior to boarding your flight to Hawaii. Please make sure you do your homework to learn about the guidelines for traveling to Hawaii, they are set in place to help keep us all safe and healthy. And in a time, such as now, we very much need for you to care for the safety of our island people by committing to follow Hawaii’s guidelines for a successful re-opening, including pre-testing, wearing masks, and social distancing. Be aware that some shops, restaurants, and activities may still not be open, but our palm trees still sway, our sunsets are still magical, our beaches still beckon us to put our toes in the sand and surf the waves, and the Spirit of Aloha still reigns! Come see us!

Maui is for lovers: lovers of spas and massages, lovers of hiking thru rain forest and waterfalls on the Road to Hana, lovers of snorkeling with sea turtles and most breathtaking sunsets in the world. If you are looking for something more, wishing Google would find you something a little different than the norm, a tad more lavish, a lot more private, we hope this blog will help you find what you are looking for.

Exclusive Accommodations on Maui

Luxury Accommodations on Maui

When you want to feel at home the moment you walk in the door of your private villa, we recommend you book your stay with Molly McMillen at Luxury Retreats. A concierge above the cut, Molly delivers curated properties equipped with high-end amenities alongside an exquisite itinerary to fill your Maui days with luxe local experiences from rainforests and waterfalls to world class spas and golf courses. Contact Molly to begin planning your unforgettable stay on Maui:

Upcountry Maui

Upcountry Maui - Piiholo RanchFor the ultimate upcountry Maui experience imagine this: Your limo picks you up from your hotel and whisks you to the Kahului Heliport. You soar over the North side of Haleakala Mountain to Hana Town and view East Maui Waterfalls. Your flight lands at the secluded Baldwin Family’s cabins tucked up at 2000 feet on the slopes of Haleakala.  Step out of the helicopter to be greeted with coffee and pastries and to be met by your own personal Piiholo Ranch Wrangler. Spend 2 hours exploring the lush green pastures and fragrant eucalyptus forests as you ride horseback on the 800-acre Piiholo Ranch; the ocean and mountain views are nothing short of spectacular.


Your Own Private Photographer

Private Photographer MauiIf you could freeze time in a capsule so you would be able to remember his hand brushing your hair off your cheek, or slipping and falling in mud and laughing until your side hurts, or that magic moment when the last light caught your champagne flute as you toasted sunset, would you? One of the most raw things you can do is to trust a shadow to follow you to capture your moments in real-time: no posing, perfect imperfections, timelessness. Let Stephanie Betsillbe your private photographer. With an inspired eye and creative spirit, she will turn the pages of your story into works of art that you can re-visit time and time again.


Oh, The Places We Go for Wine

Maui Wine Country

Did you ever think you would have to go to jail to get the best wine? What if we told you the Old Jail House would be one of the most beautiful, tucked away little treasures you would find on the island of Maui? The roughhewn stone walls are thick set with chinking and lush foliage giving it an air that transports your mind to an era gone by. But the romance of the little gem has only just begun on the exterior.

Maui Wine Private Tasting

Inside you find a jaw-dropping, warm and cozy setting under a vaulted wooden ceiling; the perfect pairing for your private party wine tasting. Set in foothills of Haleakala, in Ulupalakua, Maui Wine is a ‘don’t miss’. The wine is the climax; however, the grounds are so charming it is a total package all the way around. Bring your bridal party here and raise a glass to the mysteries of the past as you send up a toast to your future.


A Very Exclusive Peek into the Past

The Kings Gardens Maui

Discover The King’s Gardens where you can experience a taste of the lush and beautiful rainforest of Hana without the long drive. The exclusive grounds are a well-kept Royal Hawaiian secret. Only select few have the honor and privilege to walk these private paths of past King’s with a personal guide who shares cultural and natural knowledge of the estate. Visit the private waterfall, and learn about their young cacao, and chocolate tours too. Be a part of the chocolate making process, or just be a taster! Home to very rare and endangered species and Hawaiian artifacts, The King’s Gardens will only send directions disclosing their location to you after your booking is secured and verified.  Don’t miss out on this magical and mystical place to immerse yourself deep within Hawaii.


When money is no object and your only limits are how far your imagination takes you, we hope the things you found in this blog will literally make you feel like your rainbow met with a pot of gold. We would feel remiss, however, not to offer up one last thing. For you lovers of the water, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, snorkeling, cruising, and so much more: we have to invite you to come see who we are, we promise you won’t be disappointed!

Welcome to a glimpse of Maui! Home to more sub-cultures than any of the other Hawaiian Islands, our Valley Isle has a little bit of everything. Culture and history, marine life, rainforests, water sports, and mouth-watering foods are but a small slice of our paradise without even mentioning our beaches and sunsets.  Here are 10 of our top favorite things to do here on Maui, be sure to visit for a longer list of Hawaii fun! Also, let TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Search be your best friends while planning your Hawaiian vacation, it is hard to go wrong when you are getting results and opinions from people just like yourselves who have been here, done that. However you choose to spend your time you will be glad you chose to spend it on Maui. Maui No Ka Oi!

#1 Maui Ocean Center


Fun for all ages, but especially the small ones who aren’t quite ready for snorkeling.  At the Maui Ocean Center you have the perfect opportunity to see Hawaii’s vast array of marine life, many of which can be seen nowhere else in the world. Sharks, sea turtles, eels, fish and so much more. Assorted presentations take place throughout the day to teach about Hawaii’s ocean dwellers from the shallow reef to the open sea. Visit the Humpbacks of Hawai’i Exhibit & 3D Sphere, and through the latest cutting edge visual and audio technology observe Maui’s Humpback Whales up close and personal in their habitat of the depths. This is one of the most exciting things you can do on Maui!

Polynesian-Luau#2 Polynesian Luau’s

Maui has a vast array of historical luau’s filled with storytelling of Polynesian culture. Through the grace and beauty of the hula, the war-cry, strength and might of the haka, fire spinning, authentic weaponry, and costumes beautifully crafted from the gifts of the earth; you are immediately transported into the depths and integrity of the Spirit of the Islands. Your meal will include succulent native cuisine such as poi, taro, lau lau, I’a. You will find an abundance of venues to choose from: Feast of Mokapu, Old Lahaina Luau, Wailele Luau, Drums of the Pacific and so many more. Every guest to our beautiful island should experience a luau at least once in their lifetime. Be sure to find the one that you feel you can’t miss and book your reservation far in advance.

#3 Road to Hana


Ready…  Set… coffee, cooler, swimsuit, camera – Go! Before you begin plan to set the entire day aside so that you can relax and enjoy this winding scenic highway on island time. No hurries, no worries. We recommend downloading the Gypsy Guide App. Let the narrator do the work for you as you make your way through the rainforest with cliffside jaw dropping coastal views. Be sure to check out the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls with a 400’ drop, 7 Sacred Pools, Ke’anae Peninsula, Puohokamoa Falls, Wainapanapa Beach, and so much more. Make sure you top it off on a blanket to view the starry night sky; it is unlike anywhere else on the island.  For more information and great tips for your Road to Hana adventure – check out this article.

#4 Sport Fishing

Sport-Fishing-MauiFish on! Even the thought of hearing those words gets the blood pumping and adrenaline rushing with excitement and there is no cure except to get out there and do it. Lahaina Harbor is full of seasoned fishermen with a deep-seated passion for the sport. They are professional and they know what they are doing. You know the drill, it is called fishing not catching for a reason, but they work very hard to help give you the time of your life. Whether deep sea trolling or bottom fishing in more shallow waters, they do their darndest to help you reel ‘em in, but it is the ocean and there is no guarantee. You might come in with a big haul and you might come in skunked, it happens to the best of the best. Start Me Up Sport Fishing, Die Hard Sport Fishing, Finest Kind, all come highly recommended. Embrace Start Me Up’s motto: Stop wishin’ and go fishin’!

#5 GolfGolf-Maui-Kapalua

If a good round of golf is your favorite pastime and way to relax, Maui is the ultimate destination. Home some of the most beautiful and best golf courses in the world. The rolling greens set amidst serene mountain and costal views is nothing short of spectacular. All the while hosting designs by golf legends including Arnold Palmer. The Plantation Course at Kapalua Bay is the annual home to PGA TOUR’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions. In South Maui? Try one of the three 18-hole courses at Gold Course at Wailea Golf Club for an experience spread over 7,000 yards of sheer challenge and beauty.

#6 Snorkeling

Sea-Monkey-SnorkelHawaii’s blue waters are home to some of the most colorful tropical fish in the world, some of which cannot be found anywhere else. Whether you choose to snorkel from shore or on a private boat charter for the day you can search for and often find the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles cruising about or munching on coral. The lava point formation at the north end of Charlie Young Beach Park is almost always a sure bet for sea turtles and has a variety of fish for up close easy viewing. For added fun check out a Maui Reef Creatures Guide on Google or pick one up at a local surf shop so you can look up all of the awesome fish you saw. Hopefully you have a lucky visit from the Hawaii State Fish, the humuhumunukunukuapuaa!  More fun snorkel destinations include Mala, Olowalu, LaPerouse Bay, Honolua Bay, Baldwin Beach, Black Rock, Kahekili Beach Park, and so many more there are too many to name!

#7 Ono Grindz / Good Eats!

Ono-Grindz-ImageThere are so many great places to eat on Maui it is hard to pack them all in on one vacation. Folks often revisit the island with a list of food they have been craving since their last visit! Unforgettable sunsets and fine dining are romantic to be sure, but some of the very best eating can also be found at the small local joints and food trucks. Whatever your palate is a shakedown of some of the absolute best don’t miss spots: 808 Grindz Café, Geste Shrimp Truck, Ulupalakua Ranch Store & Grill, Poi by the Pound, The Kula Bistro, Eskimo Candy Seafood Market & Deli, Maui Prime for a take-out steamer bucket, Sale Pepe, Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shoppe, Hoi Hoi Hawaiian Bakery, Grandma’s Coffee House, Aloha Mixed Plate, Sam Sato’s, Ono Taco Truck, Da Kitchen, Tin Roof, The Mill House, Okazuya, Mama’s Fish House, Star Noodle, Ohana Seafood, Mala, Frieda’s, and The Plantation House. Happy eating!

#8 Learn to Surf & Stand Up Paddle Board

Maui-Surf&Cultural-AdventuresBlending knowledge of Hawaiian culture by those born and raised here in the islands, along with their surfing and paddle boarding skills has brought great recognition to Maui Surf and Cultural Adventures. Located in Lahaina and run by some of the most genuinely friendly people you will meet on Maui.  Their surf instruction is foundationally built on The Spirit of Aloha. Eager to share their rich experience in and on the water, they are gentle guides with giant enthusiasm. The island of Maui is teeming with many great surf school opportunities, but if you want to take home a piece of Maui in your soul, let Maui Surf and Cultural Adventures teach you that entering the sea is a far greater experience than you ever imagined.  808-281-8015.

#9 Helicopter Tour


The volcanic mountains that form the Hawaiian Islands are majestic and rugged. Many areas are too dangerous and cannot be accessed. Thankfully Helicopter tours are able to whisk you up over places so beautiful, so lush, so incredible that beholding the sights literally just takes your breath away. Hidden gems, waterfalls, valleys, Pu’u Kukui, coastlines along sheer cliffs, inside the caldera of Mount Haleakala volcano, barren fields of lava, farms and ranches, multi colored sand beaches, boats dotting the blue ocean, the Road to Hana, all seen from above. Helicopter pilots are vetted with many years of experience so you can feel safe as you explore like a bird. Visit to secure your flight!

#10 Iao Valley


If I had to describe Iao Valley in one word it would be reverence, a feeling more than tangibility. There is a presence about this stream-cut rainforest valley that for many can be felt like a drumbeat; you can’t touch it, but it is there. It is a spiritual place for the local, born and raised Hawaiians. It was a battleground where blood and bodies laid so deeply, they formed a dam in the valley’s stream as King Kamehameha fought to win sovereign reign over the nation of the Hawaiian Islands. It is the sacred resting place for their ancient kings of old. So full of history and mystery, this is a landmark you do not want to miss.

The irony isn’t lost in that while looking for the Top 10 Most Fun things To Do on Maui, you will also find that Maui itself has been ranked in the Top 10 places to visit in the U.S. and also in the world!  Incredible! The best of the best! Now that my friend, is what dreams are made of. Find your Maui destination bragging rights here: Maui Ranked Among the Best in the US and World Article.

how to now get sea sick

When you have spent days, weeks, even months excited about your upcoming snorkel trips or humpback whale watching aboard your very own private charter boat tour in Maui the last thing you want is to spend the day seasick. One of the absolute worst feelings on the planet: being stuck on a ride you cannot get off of when you are sick as a dog. Being carsick is horrible, but at least you can pull over, get out, and walk around. Stuck on a boat and seasick is utterly miserable because until you get back to land you are indeed stuck. We put together some proven useful tips to avoid seasickness and make your day at sea as fun as possible, the more of them you use in combination the better your results.



1. Drink a lot of water throughout the day. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! Avoid caffeine if you can live without your coffee.
2. NO alcohol the night before your boating excursion! If you can abstain from alcohol the entire day before, even better.
3. Do not eat spicy, greasy, or acidic food at dinner or after.
4. Build up antiemetic or scopolamine drugs such as Bonine, Dramamine, (some require physician prescription – follow doctor’s orders) in your system 12-24 hours prior.
5. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and get a good night’s sleep.


1. Eat a good breakfast but remember to keep it non-greasy and on the bland side. It will help quell any acids left over in the stomach.
2. Keep hydrating! And again, avoid coffee if you can survive without it.
3. 2 Hours before you set out to sea take a dose of your Bonine, Dramamine, or antiemetic drug of choice.


1. Wear Sea-Bands on both wrists. Available here.
2. Don’t look down! Avoid books, electronics screens (cell phones!), and binoculars. Remember, look to the horizon.
3. If you feel yucky, stand up and away from noxious odors. As badly as you want to sit or lay down stand as long as you can stand it.
4. Look at the horizon! If the boat you are on permits you to be on the bow, hang out there and let the wind and sea air work their magic on making you feel better. If the bow is not permitted, then try to hang out midship where the motion of the ocean is less prevalent.
5. Do not go into the room of doom! Anywhere enclosed is the room of doom, but a small bathroom down below deck is the absolute worst place you can be. Stay out in the fresh air.

6. Ask your captain to get the boat moving if the boat has been sitting and bobbing for a while (This is one of the great perks of having your own private boat charter!).
7. Have some ginger or peppermint candies in your pocket for quick and handy relief.

Seasickness is a complex physiological reaction to motion. Your eyes are telling your brain one thing and your inner ear is telling your brain the opposite. Some people are never affected, which is totally unfair in my opinion, because others seem to suffer the effects to the nth degree. If you are one of the lucky ones, please have empathy for your ill, struggling shipmates. If you are one of the unlucky ones and you have tried all the tips above and still nothing works for you, we only have one piece of advice left to offer: Hang your head over the side of the boat and let ‘er rip LEEWARD!

You may wonder what types of marine life and animals you might see on your upcoming Hawaiian boat excursion.  Well, we are here to tell you marine life in Hawaii is as abundant as it is unpredictable!  Every day is different on the ocean, which makes it very special and magical.  We often see Hawaiian green sea turtles, lots of colorful tropical coral and fish, and in season – majestic humpback whales!  Our favorite ones of all are the dolphins! Main reason for that is because, unlike most of the marine life that does not want to have much to do with us, dolphins are quite the opposite.  They are very social with people and they are famous for their incredible maneuver of bow riding or surfing the wave created by the boats.  It is truly amazing to watch the precision of their movement as they easily navigate around the bow of the boat at various speeds and angles.   Watch this video to see Hawaiian Spinner dolphins bow riding the Sea Monkey wave.

Types of Dolphins in Hawaii

Hawaii has 3 different types of dolphins: Bottlenose, Spotted, and Spinner dolphins.  These dolphins have many similar characteristics and are often confused.  Here is a quick way to tell them apart:


Bottlenose Dolphin

Intelligent and high up on oceanic food chain Bottlenose dolphins are the largest of the 3. Adult bottlenose dolphins have a length ranging from 10 to 14 feet long and weight 330 to 440 pounds! They are known to travel further off shore and are typically seen in smaller groups, usually less than 10 in a pod.  If you are wondering just how intelligent these creatures are – movie Dolphin Tale was based on real life events inspired by an amazing survival of a Bottlenose dolphin named “Winter”.  This inspirational story has impacted many lives; it demonstrates just how amazing and human-like these animals are.


Pantropical Spotted Dolphin

Pantropical Spotted Dolphin

Unlike Bottlenose dolphins, Spotted and Spinner dolphins are much smaller in size (5-6 feet) and are generally known for travelling in larger pods, up to several hundred strong!  Spotted dolphins main distinctive characteristic is their white-tipped beak and, as their name suggests, spotted color pattern on the body.


Spinner Dolphin

Spinner Dolphin

Spinner dolphins are most frequently seen, as they like to rest in shallow bay areas during the day and hunt at night.  They are known for their incredible acrobatic spins in the air (up to 7 times) as they breach out of the water.  It is debatable why they do it.  Theories range from them trying to rid of parasites to just leaping for joy.  We don’t know exactly why they do it, but if you are ever lucky to see it – just enjoy the show! One of our recent charters was lucky enough not only to witness a show of a lifetime but get kissed by a spinner dolphin!  Watch below to see those wonderful playful creatures approach this family in the most personal way!


Can you swim with dolphins?

Absolutely not! As a general rule of a thumb wild life should always be left alone.   There are a variety of ways in which human interaction can hurt dolphins.  For example, in case with Spinner dolphins, it can disrupt their natural sleeping cycle. Believe it or not, they are actually sleeping while on the move with one eye open and half of their brain functioning.  Another side of their brain is shut down, which allows them to rest.  Spinner dolphins are nocturnal; so they need to be awake and alert at night when catching food and keeping away from predators.  Swimming with them during the day could jeopardize that rest and their wellbeing.


Life span and reproduction  

Bottlenose Baby Dolphin

Bottlenose Baby Dolphin

Average life span of a Hawaiian dolphin is 20-40 years, with spinner being the shortest of the 3. Their sexual maturity ranges between ages 5-14, depending on the breed.  Dolphins are known for their human-like behavior when it comes to reproduction as well.  Bottlenose dolphins are born often with assistance of a “mid-wife” in shallow water, and mothers nurse their calves for years.


What are the best places to see dolphins in Hawaii?

We often see spinner dolphins just outside of the Historic Lahaina Harbor; also near Island of Lanai’, off Ka’anapali Beach, and deeper in the channels.  It is never the same day out in the ocean and marine life can be unpredictable.  Generally, the more time you spend on the water the more you get to see; and Sea Monkey has been fortunate enough to see dolphins often on many of our trips.  Check out our reservation page to get more information on what we offer. Moments of witnessing wild life in its natural environment can be absolutely incredible.  Always remember to be respectful and keep your distance. And if you are lucky enough to be approached by the dolphins – sit and enjoy the show!  You never know you may be lucky enough to be kissed by one of them!


Guide to the Road To Hana in Maui

There are many resources available to help you prepare for and make the most of your journey on the Road To Hana. Our goal here is not to tell your more of the same, but to share a few thoughts from local perspectives.

Drive the Road to Hana Like a Local

Stillwell’s Bakery

Stillwell's Bakery and Cafe Maui, Hawaii

Stillwell’s Bakery and Cafe

Most often you hear “Start your day in Paia Town.” Paia is great. Paia is lovely. Parking in Paia is a nightmare. Consider beginning a little out of the way, but not too far that it throws in a kink. Stillwell’s Bakery in Wailuku is off the hook with its freshly baked pastries and breads.

Breakfast can be full and hearty or a simple, small start, but guaranteed delicious. Coffee is piping and parking is plentiful. It’s so local that I might have to go into hiding for dishing out the 411 on our secret little tucked away gem.

Skip Twin Falls

Stillwell's Bakery & Cafe Scrumptious Pastries

Stillwell’s Bakery Scrumptious Pastries

This will not be a popularly accepted opinion by any guide book, but here goes anyway – Twin Falls– skip it. Traffic wise it puts you way ahead of the pack and on your way to finding an abundance of beautiful sights more worthy of your time. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a local say this I could fill my tank for a cruise to Hana!

Mile Marker 16, Ke’anae Peninsula

Drone image of Ke'anae Peninsula

Ke’anae Peninsula

It doesn’t take long on the Road to Hana to appreciate the ‘I Survived the Road to Hana’ T-shirts. The twists and turns keep you busy dividing your attention between the road, the scenery, and for some the nausea (see tips below!). One place you need to be on high alert is approaching mile marker 16, you are within a few short minutes of two most often overlooked treasures.  Makai, or ocean side look for the road that leads down to Ke’anae Peninsula.

After heading downhill you will come to where the land begins to flatten out. Park your car, lock your car, grab a camera and get out to explore the majestic rocky coast. As beautiful as it is – it is equally dangerous, so keep a safe distance from where the waves meet the rocks.  Rogue waves can be strong enough to sweep you off of your feet!

Mile Marker 18.9, Wailua Valley and Ko’olau Gap

Wailua Valley is on the road to Hana

Wailua Valley

Back on the main road just past Ke’anae keep your eyes Mauka, or mountain side, approximately mile marker 18.9 for a very small lot.  It only holds a couple of vehicles and you will find there is a set of stairs going up on the right hand side. You definitely want to go up the stairs. Once you have ascended, the beauty you will behold is transcending! Wailua Valley and the Ko’olau Gap– the home of many distant yet spectacular waterfalls. You can also see the rim of Haleakala’s Crater. Look down the other side for a picturesque view of Ke’anae.

Please note: The gated road in the parking area keeps visitors out of the privately owned valley. There are some adventurers who trespass and hike, though it is highly frowned upon to do so. Plus, you do not want to come face to face with an angry wild hog, their tusks are no joke and they are not friendly like Pumba. But, please do your best to not miss this breathtaking stop and make sure you have your camera ready.

Nahiku Marketplace Hana Maui, Hawaii

Nahiku Marketplace Hana

Nahiku Marketplace

As you travel on and feel your belly rumble for lunch, hold out for the Nahiku Marketplace. Local vendors dish up Thai food, scrumptious tacos, and my personal favorite – the yummiest coconut shrimp on island at the Island Chef stand. There is a vast array of gifts to be found, such as jewelry and unique Maui souvenirs. Inside the coffee shop you will find the most mouth watering Lilikoi (passion fruit) bars and coconut bread – this is the stuff cravings are made of.

Best Advice

I am about to give you some of the best advice ever: call the coffee shop the morning of your journey while you still have cell phone service (808) 248-8800, ask them to hold a few bars and loaves for you and let them know you are on your way. They sell out early in the day and it is a sad, sad day to get there only to find they do not have any left.

Wainapanapa Black Sand Beach, Maui Hawaii

Wainapanapa Black Sand Beach

Black Sand Beach and Hasegawa General Store

Now, fully sated and back on the Road to Hana you are only 6 miles to town. After you visit and play at Waianapanapa (Black Sand Beach) and head into town, the Hasegawa General Store has a mish mash of many things you may have forgotten, want, or need. From cold bottled water and snacks to full on groceries, they also have tools, t-shirts, hats, cool Hana stickers for your car back home, and so much more. Stop in and browse; it supports local economy.

Complete Your Circle Around East Maui

Many visit Hana Bay (in close proximity to Hasegawa’s) and then call it a day. They turn around and head back toward their starting point. If you aren’t staying the night in Hana and it isn’t close to getting dark, I encourage you to continue on and complete your circle around East Maui. Yes, the road can get precariously narrow in places, so please drive safely. It is worth it to witness the raw beauty that is so different from any other part of the island. Be extremely careful in choosing where to plant your feet if you are out to take pictures over cliff side. You might find there is no more but a tiny little bush between you and a very long drop down to the ocean.  Feeling the earth crumble underfoot and realizing you are standing on a precipice is terrifying. Never under estimate the very dangerously disguised beauty of Hawaii!

Kaupo General Store

Kaupo General Store Maui

Kaupo General Store

Other great stops if time permits is a bathroom break at the little roadside Kaupo General Store. The hotdogs there are a yummy treat, too. It is a little bit of a trek from Kaupoto Ulupalakua, and has more than its share of bumps in the road for a good clip; however, it eventually turns into smooth pavement with some pretty fun rollercoaster like hills.  Beware of the cattle guards that can rattle your car like a set of maracas.


Ulupalakua and Maui’s Wine Country

Maui Wine Country

Maui Wine Country

Once you make it to Ulupalakua you are right in the heart of Maui’s Wine Country. I cannot fail to mention having a glass of pineapple wine, it’s crisp, it’s sweet, it is oh so Maui. The Ulupalakua General Store is very paniolo (cowboy) townish, unique and super cool with a wide variety of fixin’s and gifts.

Grandma’s Coffee Shop

Grandma's Coffee House Kula

Grandma’s Coffee House Kula

And lastly, but never to be forgotten is Grandma’s Coffee Shop in Kula where the local coffee says POW, but the relaxed vibe of the place says chill. Serving up healthy choice wraps or downright sinful sweets, Grandma’s is a one of a kind find in world filled with coffee shops. These 3 little tips are especially good if you have decided to make your trek against the flow and start out the Road to Hana on the backside.

It’s always a good idea to do your research and have a few sights you know you don’t want to miss along the road to Hana. Hopefully you can tuck a few of these suggestions in along as you explore.

Stay Safe and Other Advice

Natural Nausea Treatments

Most importantly be safe. While the following information isn’t fun, I feel it is important to mention a few things. I don’t care if you’ve never gotten sick on a carnival ride before or not, every car on the Road to Hana needs to have an anti-nausea arsenal ready!! If bonine makes you drowsy, Down to Earth in Kahului has holistic remedies. Also anything ginger.. ginger ale, ginger candy, etc… Is there anything more horrible than being stuck on a tilt-a-whirl that does not stop for hours? Don’t find out – be prepared!!

Lock Your Car

ALWAYS lock your car, and never leave valuables unattended – even locked trunks are never a guarantee (this unfortunately goes for pretty much anywhere on the islands).

Please Drive with Aloha!

If you see a string of cars behind you pull well off to the side carefully to let them pass. Local vehicles are easy to spot and they really do not want to drive slowly behind you. Let them get around you; if you don’t they will inevitably pass you anyway. Truthfully, it puts both of you at risk for there are very few safe places for passing – the locals do not wait for the safe places.

Check the Weather

It’s always a good idea to keep your eye on the Hana weather report for the duration of your stay so you can try and pick the least wet day.  It is the rainforest after all so rain is inevitable. Hard rains or days on end rains are the ones you want to avoid due to risk of mud and rock slides.

Always take along a sweater or lightweight blanket, once the sun goes down travel can be quite chilly! A flashlight and paper towels in the car is a good idea too, and perfect in case you want to destroy that loaf of coconut bread on the way back.

The Road to Hana is a magical place you will never forget. Be safe. Have fun. And enjoy the ride!

If your best friend lived in Hawaii and you were planning to visit, wouldn’t you ask their advice on virtually everything you could think of? Not everyone used to be lucky enough to have that personal resource, but in this age of technology and connectedness, the apps on your phone put you in touch with people who can help you make your best plan for your dream vacation.

If you don’t have them already, upload your new best friends – TripAdvisor and Yelp! I cannot stress enough how valuable these resources will be. They do not lie to you. They are not trying to sell you something. They are the best friends you’ve never had the opportunity to meet in person! See these powerful tools through new eyes – at first glance they may come across as impersonal icons on your screen, but they are so much more. TripAdvisor and Yelp are a virtual melting pot of the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people. Many of them are people like you and I who have already visited Maui or have chosen to live here. With honest opinions and voices, sometimes brutal, sometimes humorous, and sometimes generous, one thing you can always count on is that they are always there for you. TripAdvisor and Yelp simply want to tell you the best and worst (or somewhere in between) things to do, places to eat, food to try, fishing onshore or off, surf spots, snorkeling, ziplines, beaches to lay on and be lazy, places to hike, and coffee – ah, the coffee… pretty much anything or anywhere you can think of you will be able gain personal insight into. Be sure to leave time in your days to discover little gems along the way once you’ve arrived. These little nuggets are best learned by talking to locals who are serving your dinner, crewing your activities, mixing your drinks, sharing a beach, a wave, a trail. Take this valuable information to the web and see if it fits into your idea of the perfect holiday. GoogleMaps will get you pretty much anywhere, it doesn’t matter if you’re walking, biking, or driving, it won’t let you down – it will get you to that shave ice!

Don’t get caught running around like the proverbial Hawaiian rooster with it’s head cut off. Let TripAdvisor, Yelp, and GoogleMaps give you the down low, in the know, way to go, and go with the flow (a red line on GoogleMaps lets you know there’s slow moving traffic ahead – what a pal!)

You want to make your Hawaiian vacation be everything you’ve dreamed of. You want it the way you want it. The way you deserve it. Because hey – you worked hard to get here. Make it happen with the help of your new best friends. You are ready to do this thing!

E Komo Maui - Welcome to Maui Sign

Simple and honest, here are a few tips for Maui visitors to help you and the locals blend harmoniously. Island lifestyle is a whole other way of living.  It’s all about sharing Aloha even in the smallest of things.  If you are already here – E Komo May (welcome!).  If you are planning your trip or merely entertaining the idea – let us begin by saying E Kipa Mai (come visit!). The following suggestions are two-fold: they will help us, and they will help you – locals respond kindly to shared Aloha!

Take Your Time — Relax

hammock on the beach

Relax and Slow Down

Relax and slow down… We’re on island time and that means we take our time – with everything! Honestly, if you take a deep breath, slow down, and leave the hurry, hurry, hustle behind you will find that your time here seems to pass by a little more slowly. If you rush and pack your days full your time will seem to fly by and no one wants that, after all, you worked hard to get here! Take a few lazy days and lay on our sugar cookie beaches, listen to the surf and the whisper of the palms and feel the soul of the island.

Share Aloha on the Road

Hana highway

Aloha on The Road

Aloha on the Road:  Please do not drive like you are on your way to a fire! Forget you have a horn, honking is not nice Aloha. If you want to look at something beautiful, which happens a lot, pull over so as not to cause sudden stop accidents.

Be respectful at 4 ways (intersections with each corner having a stop sign). Go in the order you arrive at the stop, if you pull up 3rd, you go third – all you have to do is pay attention to the order in which you arrive at the stop. To go before your turn shows disrespect, and we are all about kokua.

Please, always use the side mirrors on the passenger side of your vehicle to be aware of bicycles and mopeds. These are main modes of transportation for many locals and they are literally everywhere, often coming up along side you as you prepare to make a right hand turn. Many accidents and injuries are avoidable if everyone does their part to be on the lookout. Beware – pedestrians are everywhere too!

Lastly, if you are meandering the beautiful coastline, the road to Hana, or any other twisty turny 2-lane by vehicle or as a cyclist, please, for the love of all things good – locals beg please, pull over and let us pass by. We want to get home, or to work, and while we appreciate that you are sightseeing, we cannot tell you how much we appreciate even more the Aloha you share when you don’t make us sightsee behind you. Mahalo nui loa for letting us go around!

Tipping on Maui

Tipping is important

Tipping in Maui

Tipping: It’s how many of us eat dinner at the end of the day.  Many visitors to Hawai’i are unsure about tipping here and how it works. For those of us in the service industry your generosity by way of gratuity is a large part of our income with regular wages on a lower end scale making it hard, without tips, to meet the cost of living.

We love it here, we love what we do, and we love that you visit us! We do our best to help make your dreams of the perfect tropical island paradise vacation all you hope for and to serve each of you, our visitors, in the Spirit of Aloha.

Please factor tipping into your budget as you plan your time and activities in Hawai’i. From coffee house baristas, food trucks and restaurant servers, hotel valet, room service, housekeeping, boat tours crewmembers, helicopter tours, zip line, hiking guides; the list goes on and on. 15-20% of your total receipt is considered typical gratuity and is very much appreciated by all who spend their days making sure your Hawaiian vacation is the best in every way.

You may share your appreciation and Aloha in a tip jar, the receipt book, or directly into the hand of the one providing service. As manager for a private boat charter company my favorite tip for tipping is this: The wind and waves may rock the boat, but only you can tip the crew! Mahalo nui loa!

Respect Other Surfers

Surfing on Maui

Surfing on Maui

Surfing: It’s a great feeling! The joy of a stoke-filled session can be addicting, but the thirst for great waves needs to be balanced with respect for your fellow surfers. So, in the spirit of keeping everyone’s surf experience fun and trouble-free here are a few guidelines to help you out with some basic rules of thumb.

The person closest to the curl has ‘right of way’ and is in position to catch the next wave. This rule applies regardless of whether the curl is breaking from left or right. Luckily there are plenty of waves to go around, so take a deep breath and wait your turn. On a good surf day the sets will keep coming. Focus on having a good time and not on the number of waves you catch, that way you don’t accidentally end up becoming a wave hog. You don’t want to be that guy! And it’s inevitable, cut offs, drop ins, and snakes happen, so enter the water knowing that if someone hops on your wave just let them have it and brush it off, the karmic wheel will reward you with plenty of nice swells in return.

Some spots are known for intense localism, while others are more mellow. To make sure you don’t end up with a sour session keep your eyes and ears open, gauge the crowd’s mood before making the decision of whether it’s welcoming new wave riders. Once established, a good approach is to err on the side of goodwill and let the locals have contested waves regardless of wave priority. Whether they accept the wave with thanks or entitlement, you are doing the right thing and will put yourself in a better position for the next wave, and possibly, most likely, a new friend.

Maui Guidebooks

Maui Revealed, the Ultimate Guidebook

Maui Revealed Book

Maui Revealed: A great guide publication that has become extremely popular with visitors. It is a wealth of information that ranges from highly sought activities and destinations to secret, sometimes remote, little-known gems. Broken down by areas and townships, you will find the best places to eat: food trucks, local favorites, fine dining top chefs and restaurants, or simply where to find the best poke.

The book will tell you all about the best beaches with sand like brown sugar, black sand beaches, waterfalls and waterfall pools for swimming, well-known trails and remote hiking adventures (please secure a hiking guide, these can be extremely dangerous and put you at great risk). You’ll find drum circles and fire spinning, upscale shopping and hippie towns, information on snorkeling, whale watching, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, helicopter tours, lava tubes, horseback riding, hunting, and wine tasting – it’s hard to name something that isn’t covered in this book. You will find cultural information as well.

If you purchase Maui Revealed, we highly recommend you read it in its entirety. There is much information that will help you understand not only discovering Maui, but also about some things that are very important to those who live here, like: kuleana (responsibility), kokua (help/respect), kapu (a very serious no trespassing), and malama pono keep da aina ono (take good care of the land).  You can purchase Maui Revealed here or explore some other wonderful books about Hawaii’s culture, myths and legends, marine life, etc. locally.  Some can be found at Maui Friend’s of the Library, many at a mere fraction of the cover price! Find them located in The Wharf Center in Lahaina or The Queen Ka’ahumanu Center Shopping Mall in Kahului.

In all of Maui’s beauty, always remember much is still rugged and never go above your physical limitations or explore without local assistance. We want you to fall in love with our beautiful island and at the end of your visit take home nothing but a great tan, the best memories, your souvenirs, and the Spirit of Aloha!! Imagine if everyone who visited Hawai’i would take the Aloha home and spread it wherever they go how much better a place the world would be.

From our Sea Monkey Ohana to yours, know you are always welcome to contact us for any island advice, we are happy to help ( or by phone 808-491-9141). Aloha Nui Loa!