Frequently Asked Questions
Some might say the beautiful (all public) beaches. Others might mention the nearly-always-perfect year-round weather. Still others might allude to the Polynesian charm and Aloha spirit that characterize our island home. The island motto is Maui No Ka Oi
(Maui is the best)--but don't just take our word for it. Maui has been voted Best Island in the World
by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler
magazine for 10 consecutive years, and voted World's Best Island
by the readers of Travel+Leisure
magazine for five years. Here are some fun Maui facts:
- Maui has more miles of swimmable beaches than any other Hawaiian island.
- Maui has the largest dormant volcano in the world, Mount Haleakala (elevation 10,023 ft, or 3,055 m). Brrrr, its cold up there! But the sunrise experience is not to be missed.
- Maui has the second highest waterfall in the United States. And the only way to see it is by helicopter.
- Maui is one of the few places in the world you can snorkel inside an extinct, dormant volcanic cinder cone (at Molokini crater, one of the world's top rated dive and snorkel sites!).
- Our most famous annual visitors, the North Pacific humpback whales, migrate in large numbers each year from Alaska down to Maui's shallow and warm waters to mate and give birth to their calves between January and May, making Maui one of the best spots in the whole world to go whale watching!
- Mount Haleakala offers a unique activitiy, the longest downhill bicycle trek in the world, a largely effortless coast some 38 miles from summit to shore!
- The tallest sea cliffs in the world are found on Maui's close neighbor, the island of Molokai, a short and scenic helicopter ride across the channel, sight of the filming of the movie Jurassic Park! (Okay, so it's not Maui... But you can see it from here!)
Generally, the ocean temperatures around Maui range between 75 degrees F (23.3 C) in the winter months, and more like 83 degrees F (28.3 C) in the summer. This relatively stable, relatively warm ocean temperature is the main reason why the Maui temperature on land
is so pleasant year-round. The warm ocean keeps the overlying atmosphere from cooling significantly, allowing us to enjoy near-perfect weather all year long. Thanks, Big Blue!
Many people want to swim with dolphins, and while there are many resort areas in the world (Mexico, the Caribbean, even the Big Island of Hawaii) that cater to that desire, Maui is a bit different. Maui waters are considered a National Marine Sanctuary, and anything that can be construed as harassment of whales or dolphins is a big no-no. There are no tour companies that will drop off snorkelers/swimmers in a pod of dolphins as there are big fines associated with that practice (not to mention the fact that the dolphins tend to just swim away...). That said, if you want to have the best chance for a great dolphin encounter on Maui, taking a trip to the Lana'i coast is truly your best bet. There is a very large (300-500) resident pod of spinner dolphins that lives off the coast, and they are pretty predictable. The tours that cross the nine mile channel between Maui and Lana'i see the spinners 70-80% of the time. And when you see the spinners, you really see them, hundreds of them, interacting with the boats and performing the acrobatic maneuvers (leaps and spins) that they are famous for. Amazing. The trips include snorkeling at one or more of Lanai's protected bays, and its not uncommon for the dolphins to enter these bays when the swimmers are in the water, which probably happens one or two times a month.
Sharks are a concern for many visitors, and even some local residents too! While small, harmless reef sharks are commonly sighted, it is extremely uncommon to see a dangerous shark while swimming or participating in other ocean activities on Maui, and it is even more uncommon to be injured by one. That's certainly not to say that rather large, more aggressive sharks are not present, because it is the OCEAN after all, and people can and do have run-ins with sharks in oceans across the globe. While it is more dangerous to drive to Lahaina from Kihei than to swim in the ocean on Maui, our fears are sometimes not subject to logic. If you want to try snorkeling or kayaking or diving or surfing or any other ocean activity and are feeling a bit trepiditious, we recommend checking out a guided tour with an experienced, knowledgeable professional. Because its one thing to hear a factoid like "it's more dangerous to drive to Lahaina than to swim in the ocean" and another thing to talk to someone who takes people out on the ocean day in and day out who has likely never seen or doesn't even know anyone else who has seen or encountered a dangerous shark, as is generally the case.
All that aside, there are some things you can do as a responsible ocean user to decrease your chances even further of encountering an aggressive species of pelagic shark. The State of Hawaii's Division of Aquatic Resources of the Department of Land and Natural Resources recommends the following:
- Swim, surf or dive with other people, and don't move too far away from assistance.
- Stay out of the water at dawn, dusk and night when some species of sharks move inshore to feed.
- Do not enter the water if you have open wounds or are bleeding in any way. Sharks can detect blood and body fluids in very small concentrations.
- Avoid murky waters, harbor entrances, and other areas near stream mouths (especially after heavy rains), channels or steep drop offs. These types of waters are are known to be frequented by sharks.
- Do not wear high-contrast clothing or shiny jewelry. Sharks see contrast very well.
- Refrain from excessive splashing; keep pets which swim erratically, out of the water. Sharks are known to be attracted to such activity.
- Do not enter the water if sharks are are known to be present, and leave the water quickly and calmly if one is sighted. Do not provoke or harass a shark, even a small one.
- Be alert to the activity of fish or turtles. If they start to behave erratically, leave the water. A shark may be present.
- Remove speared fish from the water or tow them a safe distance beyond you. Do not swim near people fishing or spear fishing. Stay away from dead animals in the water.
- Swim or surf at beaches patrolled by lifeguards, and follow their advice.
The answer is... it depends. Some popular tours and activities (the Old Lahaina Luau, the Skyline Zip Tour, the Volcano Air Tour to name a few) book up weeks, if not months, in advance. For other things it depends on the time of year. Christmas, Spring Break, and summers (June/July/August) are the peak times on the island, and it can be challenging at those times to do everything you want to do if you wait until you are on island to reserve them. If you're concerned or wondering which activities or tours you should reserve in advance, just give us a call! After 12 years in this business, we have a pretty good feel for the timing.
Someone who does it all, so you don't have to! (You're on vacation, after all.) One call does it all.
Au contraire! Our services are complimentary, meaning we don't charge our clients a thing for our itinerary-building and reservations services. You pay the same amount as if you contacted each of the activity/tour/entertainment providers directly and handled all the arrangements yourself. Except, you didn't! And that means you saved yourself a lot of time.
For some of our clients, money is no object, while others need to watch every penny. But what all of our clients understand (or grow to understand after using our services) is the value of (1) their own time, (2) having a Maui expert's assistance in the planning stages and during their vacation, and (3) excellent service.
While the many activity brokers on the internet or here on Maui will push you in the direction of their highest commissions (or worse yet, a timeshare presentation), we never steer our clients down the wrong path or use activity discounts as "bait" to sell them ANYTHING. Our recommendations on island activities and events are based on our direct experience and our unbiased opinion.
And once an activity broker has collected your money, you're on your own. A concierge provides you with assistance throughout your Maui vacation. You can call on us for any reason... need the number to the closest pediatrician? Lose a contact lens? Can't read the map? We're just a phone call away! As our client, you are important to us, and you'll experience that!
Many activity brokers are also associated with timeshare sales, and offer deeply discounted activities if you are willing to sit through a timeshare presentation on your vacation. A concierge is in the business of saving people time, because we know your time is valuable (and vacation time is precious)!
Expedia deals in volume, and they work with the activity providers who deal in volume too, and are willing to give them big commissions in return for the large volume of tourists a company like Expedia can send their way. That can mean big crowds, cattle cars, tourist traps, and the well-worn path to Maui discovery.
Concierge Connection makes their recommendations strictly based on the quality of the tour or activity offering, not a sales quota. You might
save money by booking with Expedia, but there's a good chance that the value of your Maui experiences are less than they could be. And the Expedia "local expert" that you deal with on the phone or via email is likely someone reading a script from a call center in Belleview, Washington who may or may not have ever even visited Maui!
Concierge Connection doesn't charge a service fee to make any of your Maui arrangements, so you don't pay extra for our expert help in planning and building your Maui itinerary. And using Concierge Connection to make your reservations for activities, tours, and entertainment on Maui puts you in our good hands--tickets delivered right to you, questions answered, problems solved. A tremendous resource to have at your fingertips.