Maui welcomes visitors with aloha but selfish, thoughtless behavior will change that every time.
No more ugly Americans - These rules apply across the world and even in your home town.
1) CONTROL YOUR CHILDREN Your screaming, splashing kids might be cute to you but not to those of us getting water splashed in the face or trying to relax at the pool. Along those lines we don't want your little one hanging over the booth watching us eat and the wait-staff doesn't want them running around the restaurant while they are trying to balance hot plates and full drinks.
There are so many tours that are great for kids but many aren't. Don't choose activities you know are beyond your children interest or ability. Holding up a group while you try to coax your scared child to join in is thoughtless to the group and your little one. Maui is a wonderful place to bring your children but it's also an adult play ground too.
2) Spend the extra money and BUY REEF SAFE SUNSCREEN! The Hawaiian reefs are being killed by many of the ingredients in regular sun screen and once the coral is dead it doesn't come back. This is a really big deal and will soon be illegal to wear anything else.
3) NO ROAD RAGE Maui is a mellow place and bringing you're stressful, aggressive driving skills from home takes that away in a split second. Stop at crossings and let people walk across. Stop honking. Slow down, take a deep breath and breath in the island spirit.
4) TIP YOUR SERVER I know Maui is incredibly expensive and adding a 15%-20% tip to every meal seems excessive but it is part of the cost of a meal. Servers pay taxes on projected tips that they may or may not receive. I realize tipping in not done in most of Europe but it is expected in the USA. When in Rome, do as the Roman's and when in Maui - tip your servers and guides.
5) You came to Maui to have an island experience so don't demand everything to be just like home. You are a guest on the island and it behoves you to act like one. BE GRACIOUS AND POLITE. Don't snap at the worker at Safeway because they don't stock the same yogurt as at home. Don't give unsolicited advice. Don't endlessly complain because the service isn't fast enough or the food isn't prepared the same as home. Nobody really cares. People living here want a relaxed lifestyle and jumping to your commands just doesn't fit in.
6) Enjoy your Mai Tai's but leave the driving to us DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE Uber is available through out the island. There is also an open air ride service called Turtle Tracks that can get you around Kihei. Fun, cheap and much safer than driving.
7) LEAVE THE ISLAND ON THE ISLAND Get your souvenirs at an ABC Stores not the beach. If every one of the 3 million tourist took home a handful of sand, a piece of coral or a cool rock the beaches would be bare. It is also bad juu-juu and your fellow plane riders will appreciate not crashing into the ocean.
8) No matter where you are in the WORLD - DON'T LITTER Pack it in - Pack it out is the code of good hikers everywhere: make it yours. This is especially true with smokers. Burying your butts under the sand doesn't mean they aren't there. Recycle. Use a refillable water bottle. I hate to see the white packing peanuts on the beach and I'll bring a bag to pick up in my early walks.
9) DO NOT TOUCH THE TURTLES Sea Turtles are not a Disneyland ride and you are not the little mermaid. Riding on their backs can kill them. Following them around to get the perfect selfie is harassment, illegal and immoral. I've watched tourists circle a turtle, blocking her escape without even realizing what they were doing. They are also able to get off the sand without your help. I know they look like they're stuck but they aren't. Let them rest. Watch them from a distance - stay 10 feet away. It's fascinating to watch them eat at the rocks and to swim with them at a distance. Consider these are living beings and treat them with respect.
10) DO NOT TRESPASS. I think this is the number one complaint of locals, especially when it comes to sacred sites. Trespassing is against the law, rude and potentially dangerous. There are reasons for signs. The gentle stream might be in a flash flood area, sneaker waves can pull you across the lava and into the ocean. The rock formation is really somebodies alter and the hiking trail is somebodies yard. The signs are there for a reason, respect them.
If you want to be a good tourist, a welcomed guest everywhere you go follow my mom's golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do to you.
There's more than one way to get ripped on your Maui vacation. One will give you a headache but one can take your life.
Read the warning signs and warning flags:
Green Flag - Go !
Yellow Flag - Think twice
Purple Flag - Dangerous marine life
RED FLAG - Stay OUT!!!
If you get caught in the current in Maui don't panic. Fighting currents will exhaust you and this is a primary reason for drownings. If you're being pulled out go with it. Don't struggle, swim with the current parallel and the direction of the waves along the beach. The current itself will bring you back in. You might be a mile down the beach but you'll be safe.
Watch for lines of sandy, brown water heading out from the beach. The under tow is pulling the sand away from the beach. Another sign is calm, clear water that separates the waves. Though it looks like a great place to get in be aware of a possible strong current.
Ask the locals working at the sandwich shops, dive shops or ABC store. They'll know where to avoid. Be safe.
We've been bringing our children to Maui since they were just walking. Being outside is my idea of a perfect vacation with kids. Running and playing is what they were born to do and Maui offers so many opportunities for playing together. Our trips have been full of lots of laughter and some tears but always an adventure. Our time away from home together has deepened our relationship with the kids and built a stronger family bond. I wouldn't change it for the world.
Click here for my list of Do's and Don'ts to help you have the trip of your life complete with little ones.
Hookipa Park is two miles past Paia and just down from MaMa's Fish House . Every evening turtles pull themselves up on the beach and snuggle in along the sheltered wall for a sleep. This is certainly one of the strangest animal behaviors I've seen. Extremely cool and a must see on a Maui vacation. This is best spot for watching surfers too.
Free Regular Events in Maui -
It amuses me till no end that there is a party every Friday night someplace in Maui.
Part time Maui resident sharing my Kihei condo with guests when I'm staying in my mainland home.