Travel Smart Maui - Fodor's Maui (2016)

Fodor's Maui (2016)

Travel Smart Maui

Main Table of Contents

Getting Here and Around


Getting Here and Around

Previous Chapter | Next Chapter | Table of Contents

Air Travel | Boat Travel | Bus Travel | Car Travel


Flying time to Maui is about 10 hours from New York, 8 hours from Chicago, and 5 hours from Los Angeles.

Hawaii is a major destination link for flights traveling between the U.S. mainland, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Island-hopping is easy, with several daily interisland flights connecting all the major islands. International travelers also have options: Oahu and the Big Island are gateways to the United States.

Although Maui’s airports are smaller and more casual than Oahu’s Honolulu International, during peak times they can also be quite busy. Allow extra travel time to either airport during morning and afternoon rush-hour traffic periods, and allow time if you are returning a rental car. Plan to arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure for interisland flights.

Plants and plant products are subject to regulation by the Department of Agriculture, both when entering and leaving Hawaii. Upon leaving the Islands, you’re required to have your bags X-rayed and tagged at one of the airport’s agricultural-inspection stations before you proceed to check-in. Pineapples and coconuts with the packer’s agricultural-inspection stamp pass freely; papayas must be treated, inspected, and stamped. All other fruits are banned for export to the U.S. mainland. Flowers pass except for jade vine and mauna loa. Also banned are insects, snails, soil, cotton, cacti, sugarcane, and all berry plants, including fresh coffee berries.

Dogs and other pets must be left at home: a quarantine of up to 120 days is imposed to keep out rabies, which is nonexistent in Hawaii. However, if specific pre- and postarrival requirements are met, animals may qualify for 30-day or 5-day-or-less quarantine.

The Transportation Security Administration has answers for almost every question that might come up.

Airline-Security Issues
Transportation Security Administration. | .

Air-Travel Resources in Maui
State of Hawaii Airports Division Offices. | 808/836-6413 | .


All of Hawaii’s major islands have their own airports, but Oahu’s Honolulu International is the main stopover for most U.S. mainland and international flights. From Honolulu, daily flights to Maui leave almost every hour from early morning until evening. To travel interisland from Honolulu, you can depart from either the interisland terminal or the commuter-airline terminal, in two separate structures adjacent to the main overseas terminal building. A free bus service, the Wiki Wiki Shuttle, operates between terminals. In addition, several carriers offer nonstop service directly from the U.S. mainland to Maui. Flights from Honolulu into Lanai and Molokai are offered several times a day.

Maui has two major airports. Kahului Airport handles major airlines and interisland flights; it’s the only airport on Maui that has direct service from the mainland. Kapalua-West Maui Airport is served by Mokulele Airlines. If you’re staying in West Maui and you’re flying in from another island, you can avoid the hour drive from the Kahului Airport by flying into Kapalua-West Maui Airport. Hana Airport in East Maui is small; Mokulele Airlines flies twice per day between Kahului and Hana.

Molokai’s Hoolehua Airport is small and centrally located, as is Lanai Airport. Both rural airports handle a limited number of flights per day. There’s a small airfield at Kalaupapa on Molokai (prebook your ground tour with Damien Tours | 808/567-6171 ). Visitors coming from the U.S. mainland to these islands must first stop in Oahu or Maui and change to an interisland flight. Lanai Airport has a federal agricultural inspection station, so guests departing to the mainland can check luggage directly.

Airport Information
Hana Airport (HNM). | 808/248-4861 | .
Honolulu International Airport (HNL). | 808/836-6411 | .
Kahului Airport (OGG). | 808/872-3830 | .
Kalaupapa Airfield (LUP). | 808/838-8701 | .
Kapalua-West Maui Airport (JHM). | 808/665-6108 | .
Lanai Airport (LNY). | 808/565-7942 | .
Molokai Airport (MKK). | 808/567-9660 | .

Ground Transportation

If you’re not renting a car, you’ll need to take a taxi, or SpeediShuttle if your hotel is along its route. Maui Airport Taxi serves the Kahului Airport and charges $3.50, plus $3 for every mile. Cab fares to locations around the island are estimated as follows: Kaanapali $87, Kahului town $13, Kapalua $105, Kihei town $33 to $55, Lahaina $78, Maalaea $33, Makena $65, Wailea $57, and Wailuku $20.

SpeediShuttle offers transportation between the Kahului Airport and hotels, resorts, and condominium complexes throughout Maui. There is an online reservation and fare-quote system for information and bookings. You can expect to pay around $67 per couple to Kaanapali, $47 to Wailea.

Maui Airport Taxi. | 808/281-9533 | .
SpeediShuttle Hawaii. | 877/242-5777 | .


Service to Maui changes regularly, so it’s best to check when you are ready to book. American has daily nonstop flights into Maui from Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth. Alaska, Delta, United, and US Airways (now merged with American) also have daily nonstops into Maui from Los Angeles. United has one nonstop flight from Newark Liberty near New York to Honolulu. Alaska Airlines flies a daily nonstop to Maui from Portland, Seattle, San Diego, and San Jose. Virgin America has a daily nonstop flight to Maui from San Francisco.

Delta serves Maui from Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle. Hawaiian Airlines serves Maui from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York (the only nonstop flight from JFK to Honolulu), Oakland, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. In addition to offering competitive rates and online specials, all have frequent-flyer programs that will entitle you to rewards and upgrades the more you fly.

Airline Contacts
Alaska Airlines. | 800/252-7522 | .
American Airlines. | 800/433-7300 | .
Delta Airlines. | 800/221-1212 | .
Hawaiian Airlines. | 800/367-5320 | .
United Airlines. | 800/864-8331 | .
Virgin America. | 877/359-8474 | .

Charter Flights

George’s Aviation offers on-demand private air charters and cargo service between all the major Hawaiian Islands. Should you want to explore Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island from the air and ground, you can book tours through Discover Hawaii Tours.

Charter Companies
Discover HawaiI Tours. | 808/690-9050 | .
George’s Aviation. | 18 Lagoon Dr. | 808/834-2120 , 866/834-2120 | .

Interisland Flights

Hawaiian Airlines offers regular interisland service to Maui’s Kahului airport. Island Air and Mokulele Airlines provide interisland service between Maui (Kahului), Lanai, Molokai (Hoolehua), Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island. Makani Kai Air provides service between Maui (Kahului) and Molokai (Hoolehua and Kalaupapa). Mokulele also services Maui’s Kapalua and Hana airports.

Be sure to compare prices offered by all the interisland carriers. Plan ahead and be flexible with your dates and times if you’re looking for an affordable round trip.

Airline Contacts
Hawaiian Airlines. | 800/367-5320 | .
Island Air. | 800/652-6541 | .
Makani Kai Air. | 808/834-1111 , 877/255-8532 | .
Mokulele Airlines. | 808/495-4188 , 866/260-7070 | .


There is daily ferry service between Lahaina on Maui, and Manele Bay on Lanai, with Expeditions Lanai Ferry. The 9-mile crossing costs $60 round-trip and takes about 45 minutes or so, depending on ocean conditions (which can make this trip a rough one).

Molokai Ferry offers ferry service four times per week between Lahaina on Maui, and Kaunakakai on Molokai. Check their website for available travel dates. Travel time is about 90 minutes each way, and the one-way fare is $68.27. Reservations are essential. TIP All voyages may be subject to cancellation if a minimum of 20 confirmed passenger reservations per voyage leg are not received 48 hours in advance.

Ferry Contacts
Expeditions Lanai Ferry. | 800/695-2624 | .
Molokai Ferry. | 808/667-5553 | .


Maui Bus, operated by the tour company Roberts Hawaii, offers 13 routes in and between various Central, South, and West Maui communities. You can travel in and around Wailuku, Kahului, Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua, Kihei, Wailea, Maalaea, the North Shore (Paia), and Upcountry (including Kula, Pukalani, Makawao, Haliimaile, and Haiku). The Upcountry and Haiku Islander routes include a stop at Kahului Airport. All routes cost $2 per boarding.

Bus Contact
Maui Bus. | 808/871-4838 | .


Should you plan to do any sightseeing on Maui, it’s best to rent a car. Even if all you want to do is relax at your resort, you may want to hop in the car to check out one of the island’s popular restaurants.

Many of Maui’s roads are two lanes, so allow plenty of time to return your vehicle to the airport. Traffic can be bad during morning and afternoon rush hours, especially between Kahului and Paia, Kihei, and Lahaina. Give yourself about 3½ hours before departure time to return your vehicle.

On Molokai and Lanai four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for exploring off the beaten path. Many of the roads are poorly paved or unpaved.

Make sure you’ve got a GPS or a good map. Free visitor publications containing high-quality road maps can be found at airports, hotels, and shops.

Asking for directions will almost always produce a helpful explanation from the locals, but you should be prepared for an island term or two. Hawaii residents refer to places as being either mauka(toward the mountains) or makai (toward the ocean).

Hawaii has a strict seat-belt law. Those riding in the front seat must wear a seat belt, and children under the age of 18 in the backseat must be belted. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is $92. Jaywalking is also common, so pay careful attention to pedestrians. Turning right on a red light is legal in the state, except where noted. Your unexpired mainland driver’s license is valid for rental cars for up to 90 days.

Morning (6:30-9:30 am) and afternoon (3:30-6:30 pm) rush-hour traffic around Kahului, Paia, Kihei, and Lahaina can be bad, so use caution.


Gas costs more on Maui than on the U.S. mainland, up to $1-$1.50 more per gallon. Expect to pay more (sometimes significantly more) on Lanai and Molokai. The only gas station on Lanai is in Lanai City, at Lanai City Service.

In rural areas, it’s not unusual for gas stations to close early. If you see that your tank is getting low, don’t take any chances; fill up when you see a station.


With a population of more than 155,000 and nearly 30,000 visitors on any given day, Maui has parking challenges. Lots sprinkled throughout West Maui charge by the hour. There are about 700 parking spaces at The Outlets of Maui in Lahaina; shoppers can get validated parking here, as well as at Whalers Village. Parking along many streets is curtailed during rush hours, and towing is widely practiced. Read curbside parking signs before leaving your vehicle.


While on Maui you can rent anything from a subcompact to a Ferrari. Rates are usually better if you reserve though a rental agency’s website. All the big national rental-car agencies have locations on Maui, but Dollar ( ) is the only major company on Lanai, and Alamo ( ) is the only one on Molokai. There also are local rental-car companies, so be sure to compare prices before you book. It’s wise to make reservations far in advance, especially if you’re visiting during peak seasons or for major conventions or sporting events, as car rental companies often sell out completely during these times.

Rates begin at $20-$31 a day for an economy car with air-conditioning, automatic transmission, and unlimited mileage, depending on your pickup location. This does not include the airport concession fee, general excise tax, rental-vehicle surcharge, or vehicle license fee. When you reserve a car, ask about cancellation penalties and drop-off charges should you plan to pick up the car in one location and return it to another. Many rental companies offer money-saving coupons for local attractions.

In Hawaii you must be 21 to rent a car, and you must have a valid driver’s license and a major credit card. You can use a debit card at most rental agencies, but they will put a $500 hold on your account for the duration of the rental. Those under 25 will pay a daily surcharge of $10-$25. Request car seats and extras such as a GPS when you make your reservation. Hawaii’s Child Restraint Law requires that all children under age four be in an approved child-safety seat in the backseat of a vehicle. Children ages four to seven, and those who are less than 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh less than 80 pounds, must be seated in a rear booster seat or child restraint such as a lap and shoulder belt. Car seats and boosters run $7-$12 per day; some companies have a maximum charge per rental period.

Maui has some unusual rental options. Aloha Campers rents older VW Westfalia Campers and newer Honda Elements for $99-$149 per day, depending upon the season, with a three-day minimum. And if exploring the island on two wheels is more your speed, Hawaii Harley Rental rents motorcycles. Hawaiian Riders also rents luxury cars. Prefer an earth-friendly automobile that gets 35-50 miles to the gallon? Bio-Beetle Eco Rental Cars run on clean-burning diesel fuel that comes from renewable sources like recycled vegetable oil.

Car Rental Resources

AA Aloha Cars-R-Us. | 800/655-7989 |

Adventure Lanai EcoCentre (Lanai). | 808/565-7373 |

Aloha Campers (Maui). | 800/482-2070 |

Bio-Beetle Eco Rental Cars. | 808/873-6121 |

Discount Hawaii. | 888/292-1930 |

Hawaiian Discount Car Rentals. | 800/955-3142 |

Hawaiian Riders. | 800/440-7029 |

Hawaii Harley Rental. | 800/230-0021 |


Getting around Maui is relatively easy, as only a few major roads hit the must-see sights. Honoapiilani Highway will get you from the central Maui towns of Wailuku and Kahului to the leeward coast and the towns of Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kahana, and Kapalua. Depending on traffic, it should take about 30-45 minutes to travel this route. Those gorgeous mountains that hug Honoapiilani Highway are the West Maui Mountains.

North and South Kihei Road will take you to the town of Kihei and the resort area of Wailea on the South Shore. The drive from the airport in Kahului to Wailea should take about 30 minutes, and the drive from Kaanapali in West Maui to Wailea on the South Shore will take about 45-60 minutes.

Your vacation to Maui must include a visit to Haleakala National Park, and you should plan on 2-2½ hours’ driving time from Kaanapali or Wailea. The drive from Kaanapali or Wailea to the charming towns of Makawao and Kula will take about 45-60 minutes. And you must not miss the Road to Hana, a 55-mile stretch with one-lane bridges, hairpin turns, and breathtaking views. The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau’s red-caped King Kamehameha signs mark major attractions and scenic spots.

All major roads on Maui are passable with two-wheel-drive vehicles. You should exercise caution on Kahekili Highway between Waihee Point and Keawalua, which is somewhat treacherous due to sheer drop-offs, and the southern stretch of Piilani Highway between Ulupalakua and Kipahulu, which has sections of extremely rough and unpaved roadway. Both roads are remote, have no gas stations, and provide little or no cell-phone service, so plan accordingly.

In rural areas it’s not unusual for gas stations to close early. Use caution during heavy downpours, especially if you see signs warning of falling rocks. If you’re enjoying the views or need to study a map, pull over to the side. Remember the aloha spirit: allow other cars to merge, don’t honk (it’s considered rude), and use your headlights and turn signals.

Emergency Services
AAA Help. | 800/222-4357 | .

Previous Chapter | Beginning of Chapter | Next Chapter | Table of Contents


Previous Chapter | Table of Contents

Communications | Health | Hours of Operation | Money | Packing | Safety | Taxes | Tipping | Tours



If you’ve brought your laptop or tablet with you to Maui, you should have no problem checking email or connecting to the Internet. Most major hotels and resorts offer high-speed access in rooms or public areas. If you’re staying at a small inn or bed-and-breakfast without Internet access, ask the proprietor for the nearest café or coffee shop with wireless access.

Most Maui hotels, restaurants, and tour companies have mobile-friendly websites. Reliable Internet access from your smartphone is available throughout the majority of Maui, but can be challenging in some rural areas.


The area code for Hawaii is 808. For local calls on Maui, you need to dial only the seven-digit number (not the 808 area code). If you are calling numbers on neighboring islands while on Maui, you will need to use “1-808,” followed by the number.


Hawaii is known as the Health State. The life expectancy here is 81.3 years, the longest in the nation. Balmy weather makes it easy to remain active year-round, and the low-stress aloha attitude contributes to the general well-being. When visiting the Islands, however, there are a few health issues to keep in mind.

The Hawaii State Department of Health recommends that you drink 16 ounces of water per hour to avoid dehydration when hiking or spending time in the sun. Use sunblock, wear UV-reflective sunglasses, and protect your head with a visor or hat. If you’re not used to warm, humid weather, allow plenty of time for rest stops and refreshments.

When visiting freshwater streams, be aware of the relatively rare tropical disease leptospirosis, which is spread by animal urine. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, and red eyes. To avoid leptospirosis, don’t swim or wade in freshwater streams or ponds if you have open sores, and don’t drink from any freshwater streams or ponds. If you do exhibit symptoms after exposure to freshwater streams, seek immediate medical assistance.

On the Islands, fog is a rare occurrence, but there can often be “vog,” an airborne haze of gases released from volcanic vents on the Big Island. During certain weather conditions such as “Kona Winds,” the vog can settle over the Islands and wreak havoc with respiratory conditions, especially asthma or emphysema. If susceptible, stay indoors and get emergency assistance if needed. Periodic sugarcane burning by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company can also affect some people’s respiratory systems. A burning schedule is posted on the company’s website ( ).

The Islands have their share of insects. Most are harmless but annoying. When planning to spend time outdoors in hiking areas, wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants and use mosquito repellent containing DEET. In damp places you may encounter the dreaded local centipedes, which are brown and blue and measure up to eight inches long. Their painful sting is similar to those of bees and wasps. When camping, shake out your sleeping bag and check your shoes, as the centipedes like cozy places. When hiking in remote areas, always carry a first-aid kit.


Even people in paradise have to work. Generally, local business hours are weekdays 8-5. Banks are usually open Monday through Thursday 8:30-4 and until 6 on Friday. Some banks have Saturday-morning hours.

Many self-serve gas stations stay open around the clock, with full-service stations usually open 7 am-9 pm; stations in rural spots may close earlier. U.S. post offices generally open between 8:30 and 9:30 am on weekdays, and close between 3:30 and 4:30 pm. Saturday hours are generally short, and vary from office to office.

Most museums open their doors between 9 and 10 am and stay open until 4 or 4:30 pm. Many museums close on Sunday and Monday. Visitor-attraction hours vary throughout the state, but most sights are open daily with the exception of major holidays.

Stores in resort areas sometimes open as early as 8, with shopping-center opening hours varying from 9:30 to 10 on weekdays and Saturday, a bit later on Sunday. Bigger malls stay open until 9 weekdays and Saturday and close at 5 on Sunday. Boutiques in resort areas may stay open as late as 11.


Prices in listings are given for adults. Substantially reduced fees are almost always available for children, students, and senior citizens.


It’s a good idea to inform your credit-card company before you travel. Otherwise, the credit-card company might put a hold on your card owing to unusual activity—not a good thing halfway through your trip. Record all your credit-card numbers—as well as the phone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen—in a safe place, so you’re prepared should something go wrong. Both MasterCard and Visa have general numbers you can call (collect if you’re abroad) if your card is lost, but you’re better off calling the number of your issuing bank, since MasterCard and Visa usually just transfer you to your bank; your bank’s number is usually printed on your card.

Reporting Lost Cards
American Express. | 800/528-4800 | .
Diners Club. | 800/234-6377 | .
Discover. | 800/347-2683 | .
MasterCard. | 800/627-8372 | .
Visa. | 800/847-2911 | .

Local Do’s and Taboos

Hawaii was admitted to the Union in 1959, so residents can be sensitive when visitors refer to their own hometowns as “back in the States.” Instead, refer to the contiguous 48 states as “the mainland.” When you do, you won’t appear to be such a malihini (newcomer).


Hawaii is a friendly place, and this is reflected in the day-to-day encounters with friends, family, and even business associates. Women will often hug and kiss one another on the cheek, and men will shake hands and sometimes combine that with a friendly hug. When a man and woman are greeting each other and are good friends, it is not unusual for them to hug and kiss on the cheek. Children are taught to call any elders “auntie” or “uncle,” even if they aren’t related; it’s a way to show respect.

When you walk off a long flight, nothing quite compares with a Hawaiian lei greeting. The casual ceremony ranks as one of the fastest ways to make the transition from the worries of home to the joys of your vacation. Though the tradition has created an expectation that everyone receives this floral garland when they step off the plane, the state of Hawaii cannot greet each of its nearly 8 million annual visitors.

If you’ve booked a vacation with a wholesaler or tour company, a lei greeting might be included in your package. If not, it’s easy to arrange a lei greeting before you arrive at Kahului Airport with Kamaaina Leis, Flowers & Greeters. A dendrobium orchid lei is considered standard and costs about $25 per person.

Kamaaina Leis, Flowers & Greeters. | 808/836-3246, 800/367-5183 | .


English is the primary language on the Islands. Making the effort to learn some Hawaiian words can be rewarding, however. Hawaiian words you are most likely to encounter during your visit to the Islands are aloha (hello and good-bye), mahalo (thank you), keiki (child), haole (Caucasian or foreigner), mauka (toward the mountains), makai (toward the ocean), and pau (finished, all done). If you’d like to learn more Hawaiian words, check out .

Hawaiian history includes waves of immigrants, each bringing their own language. To communicate with each other, they developed a language known as pidgin. If you listen closely, you will know what is being said by the inflections and by the body language. For an informative and sometimes hilarious view of things Hawaiian, check out Pidgin to da Max by Douglas Simonson and Fax to da Max by Jerry Hopkins. Both are available at most local bookstores in the Hawaiiana sections.

Visiting and Aloha

If you’ve been invited to the home of friends living in Hawaii (an ultimate compliment), bring a small gift and take off your shoes when you enter their house. Try to take part in a cultural festival during your stay in the Islands; there is no better way to get a glimpse of Hawaii’s ethnic mosaic.

And finally, remember that aloha is not only the word for hello, good-bye, and love, but also stands for the spirit that is all around the Islands. Take your time (after all, you’re on “Hawaiian time”). Respect the aina (land): that is not only a precious commodity here but also stands at the core of the Polynesian belief system. “Living aloha” will transform your vacation, fill you with the warmth that is unique to Hawaii, and have you planning your return.


Probably the most important thing to tuck into your suitcase is sunscreen. There are many tanning oils on the market in Hawaii, including coconut and kukui (the nut from a local tree) oils, but they can cause severe burns. Hats and sunglasses offer important sun protection, too.

Hawaii is casual: sandals, bathing suits, and comfortable, informal cotton clothing are the norm. In summer, synthetic slacks and shirts, although easy to care for, can be uncomfortably warm. The aloha shirt is accepted dress in Hawaii for business and most social occasions.

Shorts are acceptable daytime attire, along with a T-shirt or polo shirt. There’s no need to buy expensive sandals on the mainland—here you can get flip-flops for a couple of bucks and off-brand sandals for $20 or less. Many golf courses have dress codes requiring a collared shirt. If you’re visiting in winter or planning to visit a high-altitude area, bring a sweater, a light- to medium-weight jacket, or a fleece pullover.

If your vacation plans include an exploration of Maui’s northeastern coast, including Hana and Upcountry Maui, pack a light rain jacket. And if you’ll be exploring Haleakala National Park, make sure you pack appropriately, as weather at the summit can be very cold and windy. Bring good boots for hiking at Haleakala Crater; sneakers will suffice for most other trails on Maui.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA). | .


Hawaii is generally a safe tourist destination, but it’s still wise to follow commonsense safety precautions. Don’t leave any valuables inside your rental car, not even in a locked trunk. Avoid poorly lighted areas, beach parks, and isolated areas after dark. When hiking, stay on marked trails, no matter how alluring the temptation might be to stray. Weather conditions can cause landscapes to become muddy, slippery, and tenuous, so staying on marked trails will lessen the possibility of a fall or getting lost.

Women traveling alone are generally safe on the Islands, but always follow the safety precautions you would use in any major destination. When booking hotels, request rooms closest to the elevator and always keep your hotel-room door and balcony doors locked. Stay away from isolated areas after dark; camping and hiking solo are not advised. If you stay out late visiting nightclubs and bars, use caution when returning to your lodging.


There’s a 4.17% state sales tax on all purchases, including food. A hotel room tax of 9.25%, combined with the sales tax of 4.17%, equals a 13.42% rate added onto your hotel bill. A $7.50-per-day road tax is also assessed on each rental vehicle.

Hawaii is on Hawaiian standard time, 5 hours behind New York, 2 hours behind Los Angeles, and 10 hours behind London.

When the U.S. mainland is on daylight saving time, Hawaii is not, so add an extra hour of time difference between the Islands and U.S. mainland destinations. You may find that things generally move more slowly here. That has nothing to do with your watch—it’s just the laid-back way called Hawaiian time.


Tipping is not only common but expected: Hawaii is a major vacation destination and many of the people who work at the hotels and resorts rely on tips to supplement their wages.


Guided tours are a good option when you don’t want to do it all yourself. You travel along with a group (sometimes large, sometimes small), stay in prebooked hotels, eat with your fellow travelers (the cost of meals is sometimes included in the price of your tour, sometimes not), and follow a schedule.

Tours can be just the thing for first-time travelers to Maui or those who enjoy the group-traveling experience. None of the companies offering general-interest tours in Hawaii include Molokai or Lanai. When you book a guided tour, find out what’s included and what isn’t. A “land-only” tour includes all your ground transportation but not necessarily your flights. Most prices in tour brochures don’t include fees, taxes, and tips.


Atlas Cruises & Tours.
This escorted-tour operator, in business for more than 25 years, partners with major companies such as Collette, Globus, Tauck, and Trafalgar to offer a wide variety of travel experiences. Tours run 7-12 nights, and most include Maui. | 800/942-3301 | | From $2732 .

Founded in 1928 by a man who transported visitors across Lake Lugano, Switzerland, in a rowboat, this family-owned company grew to become the largest guided vacation operator in the world. Globus offers four Hawaii itineraries that include Maui, running 9-12 nights; two include a seven-night cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines. | 866/755-8581 | | From $2509 .

Tauck Travel.
Begun in 1925 by Arthur Tauck with a tour through the back roads of New England, Tauck has since spread its offerings across the world. Its 11-night multi-island “Best of Hawaii” tour includes three nights on Maui and covers noteworthy sights such as Iao Valley and Haleakala National Park. | 800/788-7885 | | From $6190 .

This company prides itself on its “Insider Experiences,” defined as visiting hidden places not found in guidebooks, meeting local people, and sharing traditions you may not discover on your own. Trafalgar offers several itineraries that include Maui, runnin 7-12 nights. | 866/513-1995 | | From $2524 .


Driving & Discovering Hawaii: Maui and Molokai, by Richard Sullivan (Montgomery Ewing Publishing), has stunning photographs and more than 40 detailed maps of the two islands. In the book Snorkel Maui and Lanai: Guide to the Underwater World of Hawaii (Indigo Publications) authors Judy and Mel Malinowski share not only dozens of great snorkeling sites, but also a love of the Islands. Maui Trailblazer: Where to Hike, Snorkel, Paddle, Surf, Drive, by Jerry and Janine Sprout (Diamond Valley Company), features 137 hikes, 44 snorkel spots, 20 locations to kayak, and nearly 40 beaches for surfing, boogie boarding, or bodysurfing. There’s also a Trailblazer Kids section for active families. If you’re planning to do an abundance of exploring on foot, you’ll want to get either Maui Trails: Walks, Strolls and Treks on the Valley Island (Wilderness Press) or Hiking Maui, The Valley Isle (Hawaiian Outdoor Adventures Publications). For the most fascinating and concise history of the Hawaiian Islands, you should read the 1968 Shoal of Time: A History of the Hawaiian Islands, by Gavan Daws (University of Hawaii Press). And of course James Michener’s 1959 novel Hawaii (Ballantine Books) is an epic, historical novel about the Islands that he dedicated to “all the people who came to Hawaii.”