Auntie Snorkel. The Best Place To Rent Snorkel And Beach Gear On Maui

Best snorkel rental maui
Where is the best place to rent Snorkel sets, Stand Up Paddle Boards, Bicycles, GoPro, Wetsuits and so much more in Kihei, Maui

Like many of our vacation rental owner neighbors, we provide a whole suite of beach gear for our guests. We offer the popular Tommy Bahama backpack chairs, 2 deluxe Tommy Bahama beach umbrellas, 3 different size/types of coolers, boogie boards, sand toys and beach games, big, thirsty cotton beach towels, a ‘sand free’ beach blanket and tote, pool noodles, a big folding wagon to tote all this stuff to the beach easily and so much more.

But with limited space we can’t offer it all. The good news is that if we don’t have it Auntie Snorkel does!

There are at least half a dozen activity rental stores within walking distance of our vacation rental condo in Kihei, but we think that the locally owned Auntie Snorkel is the best! Here’s why!

Personalized service, local knowledge, great selection, awesome prices!

Renting Snorkel Sets

Let’s start with snorkel sets. Many of our guests bring their own sets and at one point we had several sets available in our condo, but over time we felt that the generic ‘one size fits all‘ concept of outfitting a snorkeler was not the safest way to go and we removed the sets. Getting a mask to fit properly is best left to the experts. Having a leaky mask means no-fun as you constantly clear the fog or remove the water. All the while missing that turtle that just swam by!

If you don’t want to take up luggage space with snorkel gear, then renting is the way to go.

Photo by Auntie Snorkel

Auntie Snorkel offers a plethora of mask sizes and styles to fit all needs. The owners and staff will custom fit each person with their own gear. There’s even a 2 For 1 discount coupon, which at the time of this posting has a full dry snorkel set with fins renting for just $7.95 a day!

Stand Up Paddle Boards

Since Auntie Snorkel is literally just steps to two of Maui’s best beaches, Kamaole I and II, you can rent your SUP and walk it across the street and be paddling with turtles in mere minutes. * BONUS * Auntie’s is just a 5 minute walk from our vacation rental condo too!

Photo by Auntie Snorkel

Stand up paddle boards or SUP for short are in hot demand so be sure to pre-book online (don’t forget to use the 50% off coupon!)

The very best time to head out to the Kamaole beaches is early in the morning when the water is smooth and glassy. You want to venture out before the wind kicks up and makes paddling difficult. You’ll see lots of other paddle boarders doing the same thing. It’s a very popular activity on Maui! And with good reason. Both ‘Kam’ beaches offer amazing reef views and you’re sure to see a turtle or two swimming right beside you! (Photo by Auntie Snorkel)

Beach Cruisers

One of the best ways to see South Maui (the towns of Kihei, Wailea and Makena area) is by beach cruiser! Since Maui’s weather is wonderful year round, any day is a good day for a bike ride. At less than $20 a day you can cruise all over South Maui and have a blast doing it. Make sure to read our ‘Discover South Maui By Bicycle | Find Your Next Adventure On A Bike‘ post to get the most out of your rental!

Boogie Boards and Skim Boards

While we do offer a variety of boogie boards in the condo, we don’t have skim boards. Not to worry, Auntie to the rescue! Go get your skim on with one of theirs. According to Auntie’s website “If you’re looking for skim boards you probably already know what these are about. If not, skimboarding is a sport where you run down a wet beach, throw a flat oval wooden disk across the wet beach hop on and glide!! Skim boarding is like “the skateboarding” of beaches.

Best snorkel rental maui

Check out professional Skimboarder, Austin Keen skimboarding at Maui’s Makena Beach (aka Big Beach). Skimboarders are regulars at this beach and even if you don’t rent one and give it a try, this is a great beach for watching the locals – they’ll show you how it’s done local style!

Maui Island Activities & Tours

You’ll find a whole host of Island activities available on Auntie’s website. But stop by the shop and talk to the ‘Fun Specialists’ to see all of what is offered. You’ll find;

  • Luaus
  • Zipline Activities
  • Boat Tours
  • Helicopter Tours
  • Rafting Trips
  • and much more!
Auntie Snorkel is Maui’s Local Family Owned & Operated Beach Rental and Activity Shop, est. in 1985.

You can trust Auntie’s!

According to their website, “Auntie Snorkel shop has been serving Maui’s fun seekers for over 33 years, established in 1985. We are the original South Maui Snorkel Shop. When I bought the shop ten years ago from Auntie we decided to keep the name. The name Auntie is a term of respect here in Hawaii. I am living my dream. I get to meet awesome people from all over the world and share with them my love and knowledge of this magical island I get to call home. We know all the spots. I have lived here since 2001. We are the true definition of a family owned and operated shop. I answer the phones and work the shop along with my family. When you shop with us you are supporting my ohana and for that I thank you!! Why go anywhere else? We are the friendliest, fastest, cheapest and our location is the most epic!”

Owner Mark Noble is a certified ‘Fun Specialist‘ as is his co-worker Scott Johnson! On our most recent trip to Maui we were in need of a life vest for a quick fishing/kayak outing. Since we own our own life vests here in California and forgot to bring them over, we headed to our favorite rental spot and Scott hooked us right up! Auntie’s treated us like Ohana!

Guaranteed Lowest Prices

Great savings on rental prices means more money for Mai Tais!

Everything that Auntie’s Offers
RentalsDiscounts On
Weekly Rentals
Look For
Coupons Online
SUP PaddleboardsFull Face Snorkel Masks
Boogie BoardsPremium Snorkel Sets
Premium Dry Snorkel Sets with Bag, Fins and DefogPremium Fins
Beach ChairsSnorkels & Accessories
UmbrellasWaterproof Phone Bags
Keiki (kid) Snorkel SetsReef Shoes
Rubber Fitted FinsRash Guards
Flotation Belts & Life VestsReef-safe Sunscreen
CoolersSunglasses & Croakies
GoPRo Camera & AccessoriesFrisbees
Skim BoardsBeach toys - Waboba*
Surf BoardsDisposable Cameras
Football, Volleyballs, Bocce Ball sets, TennisSD cards & Phone Cables
WagonGoPro Accessories
Binoculars (great for whale season)Floating Stick for Camera
Wet suit Shirts & ShortiesPostcards
Maui ActivitiesLogo Gear
Molokini Snorkel TripsHats
Helicopter ToursRacerback Tanks
Hana Land ToursStickers
Jet Skiing
Whale WatchingR.I.P.E Juice Maui
Dolphin ExcursionsFresh Pressed Daily
Horseback RidesLocal Maui Juices
Surf Lessons
& More...


Monday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Friday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday: 7:30 am – 6:00 pm

Contact: 808.298.3021

Business Info:

Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Car Parking: Street
Bike Parking: Yes
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Good for Kids: Yes
By Appointment Only: No
Offers Military Discount: Yes 👍🏻

Auntie Snorkel is rated 5-Stars on both Yelp™ and TripAdvisor™

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do, come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *
Auntie Snorkel. The Best Place To Rent Snorkel And Beach Gear On Maui. The best place to rent Snorkel sets, Stand Up Paddle Boards, Bicycles, GoPro, Wet suits and so much more in Kihei, Maui

Best Sushi Restaurant On Maui

Best Sushi Maui 1054Togoshi

Our pick for the best sushi restaurant on Maui, 1054Togoshi

We’re sushi fanatics. We’ve eaten sushi all over the world. We’re pretty darn picky when it comes to our sushi. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about our most recent discovery – Maui’s BEST sushi restaurant.

I’m hesitant to even let the (yoga) cat out of the bag (you’ll understand the ‘yoga‘ bit in just a moment.) I fear that once I click the publish button on this post that the -hard to get reservations- for this place will become even harder to get. But in the interest of spreading Aloha, I’m going to let you all in on our sushi secret.

No Sushi – No Life. Keep Calm & Eat Sushi!

I can’t remember how we found this place – probably Yelp or Google Maps, but it’s not in a place you’d expect to find (in our opinion) the very best sushi restaurant on Maui. The restaurant is located in a smaller strip mall off the main thoroughfare of South Kihei Road, on East Lipoa Street. None of this matters because this hidden gem will delight and you’ll believe you’ve been transported to a top Tokyo sushi restaurant decorated with a Jimmy Buffett-esque style beachy theme.

The owners clearly love the beach vibe the decor conveys and I must admit, that while it’s very busy, it does make this eatery feel less like a Japanese restaurant and more like a beach cabana! It’s fun, quirky, eclectic and very artistic, and I love it!

1054Togoshi is only open evenings and reservations are required. Seating is limited to about 9 at the sushi bar and there are only two tables (that I can tell) – one that seats four and the other up to 8. There are just the two owners, the sushi chef and his wife who is hostess, server and waitress.

This duo do a fantastic job! Warm Aloha is what you feel when you’re greeted at the door. Upon being seated you’re served water and given a hot, moist wash cloth to wash your hands with. That one feature places this restaurant high up on my authenticity scale. I absolutely love when Japanese restaurants provide this simple yet important and thoughtful touch.

The menu is perfectly adequate in it’s offerings but don’t expect to find off the wall rolls dripping in aioli sauces with crazy names like Mucho-Macho Roll or Batman Roll. Nope, here you’ll find a few of the ubiquitous rolls such as ‘Rainbow‘ and ‘Spicy Tuna‘ but the real gems on the menu are the Sashimi, Nigiri, the items on the Pupu list and appetizers.

Place your food order directly with the chef and be patient. This truly authentic sushi arrives only as quickly as the chef can prepare it and depending on the time of evening – how busy the restaurant is. Trust me, every bite will be worth any wait you might incur.


Speaking of the menu, the rest of the menu offers Sake (listed considerately in order of dryness), Japanese beer, Wine, *Shōchū, Japanese Whisky, softdrinks and of course prepared ‘just right’ macha green tea.

*Shōchū is a Japanese distilled beverage less than 45% alcohol by volume. It is typically distilled from rice (kome), barley (mugi), sweet potatoes (satsuma-imo), buckwheat (soba), or brown sugar (kokutō), though it is sometimes produced from other ingredients such as chestnut, sesame seeds, potatoes or even carrots.Typically shōchū contains 25% alcohol by volume,[1] which is weaker than whisky or standard-strength vodka but stronger than wine and sake.

We tried the Takeno Tsuyu sake first – it’s delicious, unfiltered and very much on the sweeter side. Our second sake was the Tamano Hikari, much dryer and clear, crisp and smooth. I recommend both BUT not in the order that we tried them.

What we ordered!

Before this becomes the longest restaurant review in history, lets get down to business shall we. What we ordered!

We started off with the Yellowtail Carpacio with garlic, jalepeño, local greens, Yuzu soy and olive oil.

Next was traditional nigiri. But it was anything but run of the mill. The fish was as tender and flavorful as I’ve ever had and the sushi rice, perfectly formed was quite literally the best I’ve ever had. It was slightly warm, seasoned to perfection and just the right texture. Magnificent. I could have just eaten an entire bowl of just sushi rice! I also must say, that it is better than any I had in Japan.

My companion opted for the Rainbow Roll and for a standard roll, it did not disappoint.

I went back for more nigiri. Oh my!! Big pluses for me are the ginger, which doesn’t contain food dyes and the GENUINE wasabi the chef uses. More points in my book! All in all I tried the Hamachi, Kanpachi, Yellowtail and one other on the special menu that I don’t recall the name. Be sure to try something from the ‘Special’ menu!!

This is the 12 piece Sushi “A’ combination. Which my other companion had and said was amazing. It was so amazing that we didn’t get a photo of it before it disappeared. Photo by Wayde T. via Yelp.

And finally I opted for a spicy Hamachi roll. Decadent!

The Nuts & Bolts

We found the prices on par with the other sushi restaurants on the island (except for Morimoto Maui which is very expensive, though delightful but we left very hungry!). The portions were slightly on the smaller side but you are getting extremely high quality fish and the price reflects that.

The service is on par with what you’d expect for just two people working and doing it all. Some reviews online complain about this but I’m a ‘go with the flow’ type and it never bothered me as I didn’t find the service to be slow. In fact, the service we got was great, super friendly, we didn’t wait too long, and were generally very satisfied. This restaurant is clearly a labor of love for the owners and if you’re patient and adopt a ‘Maui Time’ mentality (I recommend that for ALL things on the island) you will greatly enjoy yourselves.

Reservations are a must! Fortunately we got in on the same day for our first visit (and yes, there was a second visit in the same week, it was that good)

Note that LAST CALL (for both food and beverages) is at 8:30 and they mean it. Though they did bend it a bit for a 2nd glass of Sake for us.

Overall, both of my dining experiences were great. The food was great and the prices what I’d expect for the quality.

Bottom line, WE LOVED IT!

So what’s the deal with the Yoga Cat?

My seat featured a very nice book entitled ‘Yoga With Cats’ which is hilarious, and propping it up is the cat, in (I believe) the forward fold position! Such a hoot!


Mon Closed
Tue 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm (closed 4th Tuesday of each month)
Wed 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Thu 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fri 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Sat 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Sun 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Contact: (808) 868-0307 (Call well in advance to make reservations, but DO make reservations. Walk-ins might not be seated)

Location: 95 E​.​ Lipoa St​,​​ ​S​ui​te A-104​, ​Kihei, HI 96753

Rating: ★★★★★

Prices: $$

More info here

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do, come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

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Best Sushi Restaurant On Maui - 1054Togoshi Vacation Rental By Owner in Beautiful Maui #BookDirect

Native Intelligence – Where To Buy The Best Hawai’ian Made Goods, Souvenirs And Locally Crafted Gifts On Maui

Native Intelligence

Native Intelligence – Maui’s best shopping for Hawai’ian cultural gifts.

Shopping for and bringing home gifts and souvenirs for friends and family members is often one of the best parts of a vacation. Your vacation to Maui is no exception!

But when you’ve seen all the run of the mill t-shirts, hats, and plastic tchotchkes (made in China) the idea of bringing home gifts not made in the Hawai’ian islands can lose it’s appeal.

That’s when a visit to Native Intelligence will inspire you! Native Intelligence is filled to the brim with authentic Hawai’ian culture, local artisan crafted goods and authentic Hawai’ian souvenirs you will be proud to own. Located in the quaint town of Wailuku, this one of a kind shop offers clothing, stationary, jewelry

From the owner’s website:

“About Native Intelligence (NI)

Based in Wailuku, Maui – Native Intelligence is more than a traditional retail establishment. The goal of Native Intelligence is to champion cultural traditions, craftsmanship and good designs while perpetuating Hawaiian values. By showcasing local artisans and creatives who strive to protect and evolve the culture, Native Intelligence is an advocate for both culture and community.

Our mission is to create a retail environment allowing customers to experience a wide selection of merchandise that is Hawaiian by definition. Neither a museum nor gallery, Native Intelligence strives to be a constantly evolving retail space that has something for everyone.

Through the various practitioners who try to perfect ancient skills; to new businesses that reflect a contemporary sensibility, Native Intelligence will present the spectrum of what is good in Hawaiian design. Working with community leaders and neighborhood schools, we hope to extend the educational programs and resources beyond our doors. As our name infers, Native Intelligence encourages the efforts of those who exemplify the best and brightest in Hawaii and Polynesia.”

NI is more than just a store filled with unique and locally made gifts, it’s a treasure and source of culturally inspired supplies used by the local community. Items such as Hula supplies, Kapa and fresh flower leis like no others!

Examples of Leis sold by Native Intelligence!

From L to R Kukunaokalā, Sea grape, Heʻe, and Kukui, Blue Jade Vine (center) and Kukunaokalā, Heʻe berry, Sea Grape, and Waimaka Gula (photos via NI Facebook)

Engage, enjoy and discover with the first ever NI ʻIke film featuring Kumu Kaponoʻai Molitau, as he discusses the sacredness of hula pahu and the profound meaning behind the mele ʻAuʻa ʻIa.

Artful Living!

Be sure to check out their Ni’ihau shell necklaces. These are genuinely one of a kind pieces of art. If you’re not familiar with Ni’ihau shell jewelry then you are in for a treat. According to Ni’ihau Cultural Heritage Foundation’s website; “Legally, this term refers only to shells actually gathered on the shores of the Forbidden Island. However, the term generally refers to three different shells that are commonly used to make Ni‘ihau shell lei:  kahelelani, momi, and lāiki, as well as a fourth one, kāmoa, which is frequently used to add contrasting color.” (p.s. you might have also recently seen actor and native Hawai’ian Jason Momoa wearing a Ni’ihau shell necklace during the week of his Aquaman premier – on the Jimmy Fallon show!)

I think my favorite purchase was this NI Designs Island Chain T-Shirt with the design in the form of a molecular structure. “Based off of a molecular structure, the design of “Island Chain” is united and bonded. Each island is unique, but Hawaiʻi is only Hawaiʻi when all the islands are connected. “All Hawaiʻi stand together.” -Mele by Liko Martin”

My other unique purchases include a gorgeous Koa wood hair stick and Breadfruit (or Ulu) block print note cards by Kanaka Prints. But there were so many wonderful items, it was hard to choose.

Visit The Store

Plan your visit to Native Intelligence while visiting Maui, but if you cannot, then be sure to visit their website. There you’ll find an assortment of items for sale as well as more information about their wonderful business. Wailuku is a sweet town in Maui that is worth strolling around. You’ll love getting out of the ‘busy’ towns of Kihei and Lahaina to enjoy the quieter life in Wailuku!

If you love regular doses of eye candy, then make sure and follow Native Intelligence on Instagram and Facebook!

Address: 1980 Main St #2 Wailuku, HI 96793

Phone: (808) 249-2421

Store Hours: Monday-Friday: 10:00-5:00, Saturday: 10:00-4:00, Sunday: Closed

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *

Native Intelligence - Where To Buy Hawai'ian Made Goods, Souvenirs And Locally Crafted Gifts On Maui Vacation Rental By Owner in Beautiful Maui #BookDirect

Last Day On Maui? What To Do, Where To Go, Things To See

Last Day On Maui
Last day on Maui? What to do, where to go, things to see.

Wondering what to do on your last day in Maui? Often folks traveling to Maui plan their whole vacation except for what to do on the last day, the day you have to check out of your vacation rental. Several of the airlines offer late evening fights and many travelers opt to take that late flight to eek out every last hour on the island that they can. Do you blame them? No way, Maui is so amazing and fantastic that we all want to stay as long as we can.

Last Day On Maui

But the problem arises when check out is at 11 a.m. and your fight doesn’t leave until 10 p.m. What do you do in between checking out of your condo and checking in at the airport?

In today’s post we’ll give you lots of ideas of activities, places to visit and things to see on your last day in Maui.

Extra Day & Late Check-Out Options

The first and best option is to purchase an extra day at your condo if it’s available. There will be times when it won’t be as new guests will be checking in but if it is, I highly recommend this option. Of course this will have to be planned well in advance with condo owners to ensure you can take advantage of this convenience.

By doing this you have the convenience of taking your time to get ready for your flight and you keep your luggage with you in the condo. You can do day activities like go to the beach one last time, golf, swim at the pool, shop for last minute gifts and souvenirs and so one. It’s definitely worth the price of one night’s stay for all of this convenience.

When it’s available we offer late check-out for a nominal fee, as do many condos. This must be arranged in advance.

If either the extra day option or late check-out aren’t available due to budget restrictions, or if the condo is just unavailable the list below will help in planning your last day on Maui.


Last Day On MauiSo it’s 11 a.m. and you have to vacate the condo you’ve been enjoying. What to do?

Let’s start with planning your day by finding a safe option for storing your luggage while you adventure out.

It is generally considered a bad idea to leave your luggage or any valuables in your car if it is unattended. Unfortunately petty theft and car break-ins are all too common, even in the land of Aloha and the last thing you want to do is lose your luggage and valuables after a wonderful trip to paradise.

One option for our Kihei Akahi guests (and I suspect many other condo complexes as well) is to leave your luggage safely in the office until 5pm. If you plan on staying at the condo property for the day, you can leave your luggage in your rental car trunk – it should be safe so long as it’s not in plain sight. However, if you have souvenir chocolates or any other item that might not do well in the heat of the trunk, consider leaving it in the office.  The Kihei Akahi staff leave promptly at 5pm so make sure not to be late in retrieving your bags. Our guests can also ‘borrow‘ a key for the condo pools and tennis court for the day but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Another option is to call the airlines to see how early you can check your luggage. If you can drop your checked-baggage early, then you can play for the day worry free. This option, of course, only applies if you are checking baggage. What if you have only carry-on luggage?

A final option for luggage storage is to take advantage of the Queen Ka’ahumanu shopping center’s free luggage storage option. They have a guest services center where you can check your baggage in for the day while you play. They even offer free luggage tags and coupons for shopping in their shopping center!

The one small disadvantage to this is the shopping center’s location. It’s in Kahului, about 35 minutes from our condo in Kihei (and about 15 minutes from the airport). Not an issue if you plan to visit Iao Needle, or Wailuku museums, or Paia and the upcountry area, but might be a bit of a timing issue if you head out to Lahaina. For more information visit Queen Ka’ahumanu’s web page.

What to do!?

Now that you have your luggage dealt with, you can decide how to spend your last day on Maui! Here’s a list of ideas!

■  Relax at the condo pools, guests of Kihei Akahi can ‘borrow’ a key for a $10 fee, return it before the office closes at 5pm and guests can get their $10 deposit back. If you didn’t bring a towel with you, you can purchase inexpensive beach towels at ABC, Walmart or Whaler’s General Store.

Last Day On MauiI’ve often just used my sarong (also inexpensive at ABC), they dry you off fairly well and they dry out pretty quickly, and if it’s not dry by the time you need to leave for the airport, it can just go in your luggage in a plastic bag. They don’t take up much space.

Another option is to pack a Turkish towel, they’re absorbent but thin and don’t take up much room in your baggage. (I have no Amazon affiliation, the links are just examples, I’ve also seen some very nice ones on Use keyword search ‘Turkish towel’ as well as

For our Kihei Akahi guests, showers are available at the lower pool as well as a refrigerator to keep your lunch or snacks for the plane.

■  Go check out a new restaurant that you’ve been wanting to try (plan in advance for Mamas, The Millhouse or other popular places) There are many wonderful places to try upcountry, in Lahaina, Kahului, Wailuku and Kihei and – below you’ll find a list of suggested eateries near the airport.

■  Bliss out at a local spa. Make a spa appointment at one of the nice Wailea hotels. They will have showers, generally offer pool and facilities use and may even store your luggage while you’re getting pampered. Call around to the hotels in advance to book and ask what they can offer.Last Day On Maui

■  Visit Maui Tropical Plantation – Maui Tropical plantation offers 45-minute tours, guests are led through private Plantation grounds aboard their tram vehicle. Tickets are $10-20.  More info here.

■  Visit Maui Ocean center – great way to spend the afternoon filling your heart with all things ocean! More info here

■  Head Upcountry to see;

  • Surfing Goat Dairy offers 30 minute tour includes feeding the goats and cheese sampling, Mon-Sat Every half hour, 10am – 2:30pm, Sunday Every half hour, 10am – 1pm ($8 for kids $12 adults) More info here.
  • Hali’imaile Distillery – Makers of Pau Vodka, Fid St. Gin, Paniolo Whiskey and Mahina Rum*  Tours
  • Ocean Vodka Distillery – Makers of Ocean Vodka, in the nifty blue bottles* – Tours
  • Maui WineryVisit MauiWines & Ulupalakua Vineyards and Ulupalakua Country Store
  • Pineapple plantation tours – multiple tours available, check out how pineapples are grown and what happens to them once they’re harvested.
  • Shop in Makawao Town, check out the bucolic town of Makawao, Paniolo town and artist community. Lots of shopping or ‘window’ shopping. Great spot to grab lunch too.
  • Visit Hui No’eau Visual Arts Centerself guided tours of this artist community
  • Farm To Table lunch tour or Seed to Cup Gourmet Coffee Breakfast Tour at O’o Farms
  • Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm – offers walking, guided card tours and picnic lunch
  • Head to Haleakala Summit – It may not be sunrise or sunset, but the view is amazing and the Mars like landscape is stunning. Park entrance fees apply.

Most if not all will require advance booking so plan accordingly and book as early as you can.

*Please drink responsibly and elect a designated driver when wine or spirit tasting.

■  Head to Hookipa beach to see the turtles. They often hang out at the far east side of
the beach and often there are more than a dozen beauties dozing in the sunshine. Be sure to practice Pono (do the right thing), sea turtles are federally protected and harassing, touching or getting too close is against the law. Keep at a distance, take lots of photos and enjoy.

Hawaii MAUI | Hookipa Beach Park | Resting Turtles_14DEC2016.v2
Sea turtles basking on the beach in Ho’okipa.

■  Go play miniature golf near Ma’alea Harbor – They also offer bumper boats, rock climbing and extreme trampolines. More info here.
Last Day On Maui
■  Spend the day in Lahaina, go early in the day and make sure to leave plenty of time to beat the evening traffic.

■  Commemorate your trip with a Tattoo. If you want a tattoo to memorialize your Maui vacation, this is the day to do that. Plan well in advance, make an appointment – since tattoos need time to heal out of the ocean and sun, it’s recommended to get one at the end of your vacation rather than the beginning. Tattoos done at the beginning of a vacation will preclude you from enjoying the ocean and sunshine.

■  Take a morning kiteboarding lesson at Kanaha beach park by the airport. More info here.

■  Try a helicopter tour. AirMaui offers flights from 45-75 minutes long and many options to view different parts of the island.

■  Go beach exploring, Maui has so many fine beaches, find one that you haven’t been to yet and head out. If the beach doesn’t have a shower/bathroom you can stop back at Kamaole I or II and rinse off there before your flight. No towel? Use a sarong and pack a small bag to use to shower up.

■  Visit one of Maui’s escape rooms. What’s an escape room you ask? Wiki describes as; “An escape room, also known as an “escape game”, is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms.”

■  Walk through Iao Needle State Park. A .6 mile walk through this scenic and beautiful park is well worth the visit. This park is steeped in rich Hawaiian history. Have lunch in Wailuku. More info here.

Last Day On Maui

Restaurants near the Airport

■  Cafe O’Lei at the Dunes – American style with island influence. $$ 15 minutes +/- to the airport.

■  Mama’s Fish House – Seafood/Hawaiian influence, local foods. $$$$ +/- 24 minutes to the airport. Perfect for lunch on your last day. (reservations required well in advance)

■  Zippy’s – Fast Food, Hawaiian/Comfort Food – local favorite (think Denny’s) $$, +/- 15 minutes to the airport.

■  Marco’s Grill & Deli – Italian, American Deli – especially popular with the breakfast crowd on their way to the airport $$, +/- 8 minutes to the airport.

■  Da Kitchen – Hawaiian, Fish & Chips, Burgers – local style,  $$, +/- 8 minutes to the airport.

■  Bistro Casanova – Mediterranean, Italian, Tapas Bars, $$ +/- 12 minutes to the airport.

■  Paia Fish Market – Local Seafood, Fish & Chips, Salads Pasta, $$, +/- 20 minutes to the airport. A little further out, but well worth it (personal favorite) and take advantage and tour Paia town.

■  Acevedo’s Hawaicano Cafe – Mexican/Hawaiian – grab and go and head to beach, (5 stars on Yelp), $$ +/- 10 minutes to the airport.

■  Poi by the Pound – Local style Hawaiian Grinds, $$ +/- 8 minutes to the airport.

■  Fork and Salad – Freshest Fast Food, Salads, Sandwiches, Soups, $$ +/- 10 minutes to the airport.

■  Tin Roof Maui – Hawaiian/local, comfort food. Local favorite/local gem. Closes by 2pm, sells out fast, order online as the line will be out the door. Take away or eat at their picnic benches. Or order out and head to the beach in Paia.  Award winning chef. $, +/- 10 minutes to the airport.

■  Polli’s Mexican Restaurant – Popular local following. $$, +/- 30 minutes to the airport. This one is a little further out, but worth the drive -or if you’re already in Makawao doing an upcountry tour, add this restaurant to your list.

Timing – Rental Car Return,  TSA/Security and Agricultural inspection

Plan enough time to drop your rental car off, get through the ag inspection and  TSA security lines. They can be long.

Arriving at the airport

You’ll need to leave yourself a good window of time to return your rental car. Since all rental car returns are off site for now (the construction of the new on-site airport car rental facility is due for completion in May of 2019) be sure give yourself time to wait in the drop off line and catch the shuttle back to the airport.

TIP- If you’re traveling with a group and have multiple pieces of luggage, drop everyone and all the luggage at the airport and send one person with the car to the rental car return.

If you dropped your luggage early, then you’ve already likely sent your checked bags through the ag inspection station. If not, then you need to, all checked bags must be scanned through the Agricultural Inspection Station and receive a sticker stating that they’ve passed inspection. Make sure to declare any agricultural products.

If you haven’t checked in via your smart phone app and if you’re checking baggage, you’ll need to wait in line at the airline counter or self check-in. On busy days, lines can be long.

Next is the TSA security line. It is often very long.  Kahului Airport was never really set up to handle the post 911 TSA security checks so the airport line snakes through a long section of the airport’s corridor.  Recently, this line took me approximately 30 minutes to get through.

Be prepared for Maui’s own version of TSA security. ALL food must be taken out of your carry on bags.  This is in addition to the standard measures that all travelers must take such as removing any electronic item larger than a cell phone from carry-ons, shoes, belts and jackets off etc. For a full list of what is allowed in your carry on luggage visit the TSA’s website.

Maui Travel Packing GuideTIP – carry a Reusable/packable shopping bag (as mentioned in our Ultimate Maui Packing Guide – the kind that folds into it’s own pocket like Chico Bags do. You can put any food souvenirs and plane snacks in the bag to make it fast and easy to get through the TSA line. Once you’re through and waiting at the gate, you can repack these items into your carry-on bag.

After you’ve passed through the TSA security line, you can expect to encounter one more Agricultural Inspection.  This is for your carry on bags. Be sure to declare any agricultural items including food or snacks like fruit salad or any fresh fruit, plants, leis etc. This inspection station is generally very quick with little or no line.

Best To Avoid

Things I don’t recommend doing on your last day.

Don’t make the drive all the way to Hana either the front side or back side. Traffic can be an issue and you could be delayed getting back. But there are some stops along the road to Hana where you can hike to waterfalls, get some great photos. and see some amazing things that don’t take you all the way to Hana town.

I don’t recommend getting a late start back to the airport if you’ve gone to Lahaina for the day. Traffic in the afternoon, early evenings can be bad coming and going to Lahaina, even with the new Lahaina Bypass road. Make sure to leave enough time if you’re traveling at peak commute hours.

It’s best not to go to the far west side of the island or try to drive around that way. The road is harrowing on a good day and should always be driven slowly with plenty of time allowed to go all the way around. Your last day is not the best day to attempt this trip.

Don’t go scuba diving. Experienced divers know that you don’t dive and fly within 24 hours. Your last day is not the day to take a scuba class. The commingling of these activities, when not planned for properly, can be physically dangerous and even fatal.

Do you have a favorite ‘Last Day On Maui‘ activity? Share it with us in the comments below.

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

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Last Day On Maui? What To Do, Where To Go, Things To See - Vacation Rental By Owner in Beautiful Maui

Your Ultimate Guide To Reef Safe Sunscreen | Protect Our Ocean Reefs

Guide to Reef Safe Sunscreen
Your Ultimate Guide to Reef Safe Sunscreen

Updated September 8, 2022

Hawaiʻi recently became the first of the United States to pass legislation prohibiting the sale of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, two common chemical ingredients known to harm coral reefs.

The law, if signed by Gov. David Ige, is slated to go into effect in January of 2021, giving manufacturers and retailers time to transition to reef-safer sunscreen options.

EDITED:  On July 3, 2018 Hawaii Governor David Ige signed this bill into law making history and moving toward saving our Hawaiian reefs!

Savvy Hawai’i travelers don’t need to wait to start making a difference. We recently posted a snorkel & scuba guide about the fact that worldwide, coral reefs are in danger and switching to a reef-friendly sunscreen option is one way you can help.

Studies have shown that the two banned chemicals do cause damage to coral reefs. Craig Downs, a scientist whose 2015 peer-reviewed study found oxybenzone was a threat to coral reefs. “Lots of things kill coral reefs, but we know oxybenzone prevents them from coming back.” It also affects sea urchins and kills algae, a source of food for sea turtles, he said.

He found as much as 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotion ends up in coral reefs annually. Other ingredients often found in sunscreen, and after-sun lotions also contain mineral oil or petrolatum products. These are both also implicated in coral death and damage.

“According to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, coral reefs are crucial to marine and human life.

In addition to protecting sea creatures, the Smithsonian said, the reefs provide food, medication and tourism jobs, among other things — at a value of $30 billion to $172 billion per year.

Don’t be fooled by misleading advertising.  Many companies will claim that their product is ‘Reef Safe’ when in fact it contains one of the chemicals listed above or mineral oil, another coral reef toxin. Perfect example – Sun Bum promotes their sunscreen as ‘Reef Friendly’ yet the first four ingredients (Avobenzone 3.00%, Homosalate 5.00%, Octisalate 3.00%, Octocrylene 10.00%) are from the list of reef killing chemicals above. Granted it does not contain Oxybenzone or Octinoxate, but the ingredients list leaves me dubious.  This is where you, as a consumer must do your due diligence and read the ingredients labels.

Our friends over at EcoWatch have a wonderful post on the ‘Greenwashing’ of sunscreen products. According to their article;

Quote from Ecowatch

Unfortunately, people also pose the greatest threat to coral reefs,” according to the Smithsonian. “Over-fishing and destructive fishing, pollution, warming, changing ocean chemistry, and invasive species are all taking a huge toll. In some places, reefs have been entirely destroyed, and in many places reefs today are a pale shadow of what they once were.” ” (Washington Post)

Coral reefs occupy less than 1% of the ocean floor, yet are home to more than 25% of the ocean’s marine life.

In an effort to protect Hawaii’s reefs, Hawaiian Airlines last month began offering passengers free samples of natural sunscreens without those ingredients. The airline is also encouraging its passengers to learn more about Hawaii by showing an 11-minute documentary on each flight about the environmental challenges affecting reefs. (CNN)

Did you know Sunscreen chemicals can also be found in your urine within 20 minutes of application, which is why sewage is a leading carrier of these chemicals. So be sunscreen smart wherever you live, to do your part to protect your skin and coral reefs. (EWG)


Here’s what YOU can do when visiting Maui and the surrounding Hawai’ian Islands (and of course anywhere you travel.)

  • READ THE LABEL. Look at the ingredients list and avoid buying or using sunscreen and personal products that contain Oxybenzone and octinoxate, avobenzone, avobenzine, octinoxate, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, homosalate or oxtisalate/octocrylene.
  • Avoid sunscreens containing petrolatum, commonly known as mineral oil, which takes years to biodegrade, and are known to be harmful or fatal to aquatic life and waterfowl.
  • Avoid sunscreens with high content of Titanium Dioxide. This mineral does not biodegrade and is found to react in warm seawater to form hydrogen peroxide which is harmful to all sea life.
  • Skip the spray on sunscreens that rely on the ingredients listed above. Their spray carries in the wind landing in the ocean nearby and on unsuspecting sunbathers.
  • Seek out mineral based sunscreen. Non-nano zinc oxide (zinc oxide is the only single active ingredient that protects against UVA and UVB rays) and low content titanium dioxide are the preferred mineral based sunscreens. (titanium dioxide mineral does not biodegrade and is found to react in warm seawater to form hydrogen peroxide which is harmful to all sea life.
  • Be a smart shopper. Many companies and retailers are beginning to make the transition and are selling ‘Reef Safe’ sunscreens, and many can be found in Maui already. If you’re concerned shop online and bring with you on your trip. Otherwise shop the natural food markets of Maui, they carry a large selection.
  • Don’t always Trust labels.  Many sunscreens claim to be reef safe yet contain toxic chemicals. Essentially the only safe sunscreen is non-nano zinc or non-nano titanium dioxide.
  • Ghostest with the mostest. Many don’t like the white that is cast on skin with the use of mineral sunscreens, not to worry, several companies make tinted reef safe sunscreen (see our resource list) that help prevent the ghost-with-the-most look. BUT, if it’s cool for our local surfers, it’s good enough for me! Or do as the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council says and wear your white as a badge of honor, knowing you’re a reef and marine life protector!!
  • Wear a rash guard and hat. These provide sun protection and you’ll use less sunscreen.
  • Beware of products claiming to be ‘Reef Safe’ yet still have one of the active ingredients listed above (I’m looking at you Alba Botanica, which lists their Coconut Clear Spray SPF 50 as ‘Reef Safe’ yet contains Avobenzone – 3.0%, Homosalate – 15.0%, Octocrylene – 8.0% and Octyl Salicylate – 5.0% plus a whole host of other unpronounceable inactive ingredients. Their mineral sunscreen is reef safe)
  • Think Eco-Friendly. Even if you live away for the ocean, keep in mind that the chemicals you wash off your body eventually find their way into the water table and ultimately into the ocean.

TIP- The FDA recommends not using aerosol sprays on children because they are more likely to inhale the product into their lungs.

If you can’t say it, don’t spray it!

TIP- Be sure to inspect the label to make sure the mineral says that it is “NON-NANO.” Although these products may rub on a bit whiter, they do not penetrate the skin, placenta or blood brain barrier. Many brands also make tinted versions!

One other very important thing to also consider is the effect these chemicals have on our bodies. According to the Environmental Working Group’s piece on The Trouble With Ingredients in Sunscreens, many of the chemical sunscreens adversely effect our hormone and endocrine systems. If these chemicals are killing entire ecosystems, what must they be doing to our body?

We know that oxybenzone acts like estrogen in the body, alters sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women. It’s also implicated in relatively high rates of skin allergy.

Here again, you can be your own best advocate as well as ocean hero by reading the list of ingredients. It’s not just the ‘active ingredient’ that you’ll want to be on the look out for, take a look at the Inactive ingredients as well. Many sunscreens have chemical based inactive ingredients. According to the EWG;

‘One ingredient in particular is a cause for concern: methylisothiazolinone, a preservative. This year, EWG has found methylisothiazolinone is listed on the labels of 94 sunscreens including six marketed to children. Methylisothiazolinone is used alone or in mixtures with a related chemical preservative called methylchloroisothiazolinone. Laboratory studies indicate that methylisothiazolinone is a skin sensitizer or allergen. Over the past several years, physicians have reported serious cases of serious skin allergies, most notably in children exposed to methylisothiazolinone, from baby wipes and other products meant to be left on the skin (Chang 2014).

Oxybenzone damaged reef polyp

Do we really want this on our skin or in our environment?

On a very personal note, I’ve used sunscreen religiously on my trips to Maui over the last 25 plus years. I’ve used all the name brands containing a plethora of chemical ingredients, and without fail every year I would break out in a ‘sun rash’ if I exposed my skin too long while wearing chemical sunscreens.

Finally, about 5 years ago, I switched to a zinc based natural sunscreen. I bought one made specifically for babies as they have such tender skin, my reasoning was that it had to be better and more gentle than what I could (at the time) find in Maui. I’ve since found several others that I really like.


Here’s a list of truly ‘Reef Safe’ sunscreen companies you can try with some notes about each. In no particular order.

Stream2Sea. Personal favorite, sells a tinted version that I like.

Here’s a list of truly ‘Reef Safe’ sunscreen companies you can try with some notes about each. In no particular order. But the first one listed is our personal favorite. We are not affiliated with and receive no benefit from listing any of the brands below.

Maui Surfer Honey  Our all-time favorite. TIP – lightly pre-moisten your skin with coconut oil, then apply Maui Surfer Honey. It helps it go on smoothly and leave less of that ‘ghost’ look that zinc based sunscreens tend to provide. Personally, I don’t feel that this brand leaves much of it all but a little coconut oil really helps!

Stream2Sea. Excellent choice, they also sell a tinted version that I like.

Badger Another well-known and excellent brand.

Kokua Suncare

Babo Botanicals I like their fragrance free version.

Raw Elements A favorite of Maui locals

Raw Love Sunscreen Another favorite of Maui locals

Hawaiian Sol I like their SPF 15, pleasant smell, not too white

Sea & Summit Organic

Mama KULEANA Made on Maui!

Suntegrity Skin Care produces some tinted sunscreens

All Good

Goddess Garden Organic Offers a spray version of their mineral sunscreen.

The Honest Company Offers a spray version of their mineral sunscreen.

Kabana Organic minimal ingredients.

Deter Mineral Reef safe Rated #1 By the Environmental Working Group

Additional reading resources.

Maui Coral Reefs – The Essential ‘Pono’ Guide (pono = do the right thing)

Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide

Ban Toxic Sunscreens Fact Page

Reefs At Risk Reef Safe Sunscreen Guide

Reefs At Risk The Cover Up Film

Be Reef Safe’s Sunscreen Guide

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *

Guide to Reef Safe Sunscreen - Vacation Rental Maui

Guide to Reef Safe Sunscreen - Vacation Rental Maui

25 Of The Best Rainy Day Activities On Maui

Best Rainy Day Activities On Maui
The Best Rainy Day Activities On Maui

You come to Maui for the ocean, beautiful scenery, fantastic restaurants, relaxing atmosphere, amazing activities and to have a relaxing vacation. You most likely don’t expect it to rain!  But sometimes it does!  During this 2018 winter season, Maui has seen an unusual amount of rain. That much rain can put a hitch in your ‘sunny beach time‘ giddyup!  Not to worry, we’ve put together the most extensive Best Rainy Day Activities on Maui guide to help you find something wonderful to do while it’s raining!

We chose to buy our condo on the ‘dry’ side of Maui. Kihei is considered the desert area and though we do get rain, it’s generally short-lived. Even still, this year we saw some torrential downpours and I actually bought an umbrella on Maui for the first time.

It’s hard to rely on the weather forecast because the weather can change in a matter of minutes. You just have to adopt a ‘live in the moment‘ attitude and Ho’o Nanea or go with the flow.

Parts of Maui get rain every day, or nearly every day. The Hana side is the wettest side of the island and rain is expected over there. Maui is made up of hundreds of micro-climates and if it’s raining in one area, generally speaking one can find sunshine on another part of the island.

Let’s take a look at all the activities and adventures you can take in when it rains on Maui.  These are, of course, listed in no particular order.

1. Head to a sunnier part of the island.  Well seasoned Maui travelers know that if it’s raining in Lahaina, come to Kihei – it’s probably sunny. If your plan was to lay on the beach and soak up some rays or snorkel and play in the ocean and Mother nature has other ideas, then have a look at some of Maui’s web cams to see if there’s a dryer spot you can lay your towel down and have a swim. (TIP– when you’re homesick for Maui, you can visit the webcams while you plan your next trip!)

2. Take in a Free Hula/Polynesian Show. There are several places that offer free live Island style entertainment, not just hula but other types of free things to do such as Ukulele lessons, crafts etc. Check out these places for free activities Shops At WaileaLahaina Cannery MallQueen Ka’ahumanu Shopping Center (Kahului).

Photo by

3. Shop Till You Drop.  There’s no shortage of shopping to be found on Maui and since we just mentioned three of the largest shopping malls on Maui, you might as well do a little shopping while you’re there. Look specifically for Maui Made products so that you’re supporting the local economy and artists. A few other places to take in some shopping is the open-air Kalama Shopping Market (Kihei), Kahana Gateway Shopping Center  (Lahaina) and Maui Mall (Kahului).

4. Island Art Party in Kihei.  Talk about a custom island souvenir! Get in touch with your inner artist. (From their website) Put on apron…Order a drink…have a seat…it’s time to paint and party! No experience necessary. Just follow along as a Partista ( Party Artist) provides step-by-step instructions in creating the featured painting. More info here.

5. Take in a movie.  Maui has 3 movie theaters (one in Lahaina and two in Kahului) and one slated to open soon in Kihei.  If you’re like me, you never seem to find time to make it to the movies at home. If it’s raining, go take in a movie and most likely by the time the show is over the rain will have stopped.

6. Visit Maui Ocean Center. Come face-to-face with sharks, stingrays, turtles, and thousands of vibrant tropical fish at Maui Ocean Center – The Aquarium of Hawaii!  Read our post on visiting the Maui Ocean Center.

7. Check out a live show.  Live entertainment can be a great way to ride out the rain storm.  One of my all time favorites is Ulalena (update 7/23 – Ulalena is no longer performing), Ulalena is a world-renowned Hawaiian theater production dedicated to telling the story of Hawaii’s people. Burn’n Love the best Elvis show this side of Las Vegas [Edited to say that Burn’n Love has closed it’s doors and is no longer, much to the sadness of the fans that truly loved the show – I’m leaving the video up for all to see how fun it was]! The Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku offers live plays and entertainment. If you dig magic, then go see Warren and Annabelle’s Magic Show.

8. Get the royal treatment at a Spa. Who doesn’t love a massage?  Go ahead and pamper yourself, you’re on vacation. (TIP– Check for a coupon)

9. Try one of Maui’s Escape Rooms. What is an escape room you ask? An escape room is an interactive adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. Great activities for families, friends, birthday parties, celebrations and even businesses because they rely on team building exercises. At the time of this posting, there are presently 5 different escape rooms to try on Maui.

10. GlowPutt Golf. The original Glow in the Dark Miniature Golf Course.  A staple in the Hawaii entertainment landscape for more than 10 years. Check it out.

Best Rainy Day Activities On Maui

Maui is made up of hundreds of micro-climates and if it’s raining in one area, generally speaking one can find sunshine on another part of the island.

11. Wine Tasting and Winery Tour.  Head upcountry (drive safely) to Maui Wine and enjoy sipping some island made pineapple wine or try one of their sparkling wines!  We love Maui Winery and have posted about them before.  More info here.

12. Watch channel 7 – The Maui Visitor channel on TV.  If you’re the type that never can sit still, embrace the vacation mentality and why not just lay back and watch a little TV. The Maui Visitor Channel always has fantastic,  informative shows. Pour yourself your favorite beverage and kick back! It’s ok to be doing nothing, you’re on vacation!

13. Stay in, Play Games, Enjoy Family Time!  In our crazy-busy lives we don’t often stop to just enjoy family time. There are plenty of games in the TV cabinet so why not pull a few out and have some family play time.  You won’t regret it!

14. Read.  Along that note of staying in and just relaxing, why not pick up a book from our lending library (there’s one available at the lower pool), or from our condo selection of books (take one, leave one) and kick back and relax.  We have several guide books for you to read and you can spend the time planning your next Maui adventure.

15. Try your hand at GlassblowingMoana Glass in Lahaina. Wow, here’s a cool activity rain or shine. Check out the finest glass art and glassblowing experiences where you can blow your own glass pieces – now there’s a souvenir!  (TIP– Check for a coupon, at the time of this posting there was a $50 off coupon)

16. Makai Glass. Speaking of glass blowing, if you’re upcountry doing one of the other rainy day activities, why not also try Makai Glass studio. They have a cool observation deck where you can watch the action take place below.

17. Go Museum Hopping.  Maui has lovely museums and a rainy day is the perfect time to go explore them.

Makawao History Museum

Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum

Old Lahaina Prison

Bailey House Museum

Baldwin Home Museum

Wo Hing Temple Museum –  858 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761

Hale Pa’i Printing Museum

Hāna Cultural Center

Another lesser known museum is the  ‘Story of Hawaii‘ Museum located at the Queen Ka’ahumanu shopping center in Kahului. More info on the museum here.

18. Visit Maui’s historic towns. Head upcountry and do some exploring around Maui’s quaint and historic towns. Visit Paia, Makawao, Kula.  Bring your umbrella and don’t worry if you get a little wet. You’re in Maui – and if you’re lucky enough to be in Maui, you’re lucky enough!  These sweet towns offer wonderful opportunities for strolling, shopping, and dining.

It’s raining and the kids are driving you nuts! Get out there and find an adventure. There’s no shortage of things to do on Maui even when it rains!

19. Visit Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center.  If you’re upcountry doing #18 on our list, then you’re just around the corner from the Hui No’eau VAC. Check out their art exhibitions, do a guided tour or pick up a handmade one of a kind piece in their artist’s shop.  Stop in for a visit. More info here.

Best Rainy Day Activities On Maui

20. Explore Front Street Lahaina UPDATE: Lahaina is closed.Take your umbrella and head over to Lahaina to walk up and down Front Street.  Lahaina boasts many art galleries, restaurants, shops, museums and of course the Banyan Tree. You’ll find plenty to do even if you do get wet in the process. You won’t be sorry – Maui rains are like a warm shower.

21. Visit Dan’s Greenhouse.  If you’re in Lahaina, hey, why not hit up Dan’s Greenhouse for a live souvenir! Dan’s is located across from the south-east corner of Lahaina’s famous Banyan Tree and sells exotic plants. But the fun comes in the form of parrots and pigs! Dan’s specializes in exotic flora and fauna! More info here.

22. Take a submarine ride adventure. Lahaina is home to Atlantis submarine – if the weather isn’t too bad and just drizzly, then this might be a good option. Not so good if it’s storming.

Atlantis Submarine Ride Maui

23. Try out a new cafe or restaurant.  Maui has no shortage of great cafes and restaurants and a rainy afternoon is a perfect time to venture out and eat. Here’s your chance to go visit a restaurant, either nearby or across the island that you’ve never tried before.

24. Go visit the penguins at the Hyatt Regency.  The Hyatt in Lahaina is host to half a dozen African black-footed penguins and they’re quite a site. Daily penguin feedings happen every morning at 9:30 am in the Penguin Habitat in the Atrium Lobby More info here.

25. Chase a Rainbow!  The saying goes ‘No rain, no rainbows’ so why not make the best of the rain and find a rainbow. Maui is know for it’s stellar rainbows and the pot of gold at the end IS the island of Maui!  Go out and chase!

Maui rainbow with Palm Tree
Bonus Activities & Updates

We’re bringing you updates to the list as we find more fun stuff to do while you visit Maui – And.It.Rains!

Bonus #1 – Let the kids (big kids too) bounce off some of that energy at Ultimate Air Trampoline Park. An indoor trampoline bounce-o-rama! More info here.

Do you have a favorite rainy day activity for Maui? Leave us a message in the comments section below and let us know!

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *

Best Rainy Day Activities On Maui - Vacation Rental Maui

Experience A Traditional Hawai’ian Welcome With A Maui Airport Lei Greeting

Maui Airport Lei Greeting
Experience A Traditional Welcome With A Maui Airport Lei Greeting

Maui Airport Lei Greeting
Vintage United Air Lines Lei Greeting Advertisement

Nothing says you’ve arrived in Hawai’i like a traditional Hawai’ian lei greeting!  Why not have your vacation start with being warmly greeted with a Maui Airport Lei Greeting as you arrive?

Many visitors to Maui travel from long distances to check Maui off their bucket list. For many, this is a once in a lifetime vacation so make sure you experience the luxury of a traditional lei greeting as you land in this tropical paradise.

Fragrant flower leis can last for days and their intoxicating scents can keep your condo smelling like you’re immersed in a tropical garden.

Here’s a list of a few companies* that offer lei greeting for your Maui airport arrival are;

Discount Hawaii Activities & Tours – (also listed as Get Leid Hawai’i) their lei greetings range from $20-$40 depending on the type. Certain types of floral leis need to be ordered several days in advance.

From their website;

Experience a traditional welcome to the Islands with a Hawaiian flower lei greeting at the Kahului Airport! Your friendly lei greeter will wait for you at the bottom of the escalators prior to entering baggage claim at the Kahului Airport and welcome you with a fresh flower lei. Reserve a Hawaiian lei greeting for yourself, or make a special gift for a family member or dear friend. This is also a great gift idea for honeymooners or first-time visitors to Maui.

You can choose between a variety of leis, including standard leis, leis for men or very fragrant tuberose leis. We only use the best flowers available – dendrobium orchids, carnations, plumerias, tuberose or superior combinations of these flowers. The type of flower used on any lei is subject to season and availability.

A lei greeting is a warm and wonderful way to begin a Hawaiian vacation and experience the aloha spirit. Reserve your lei greeting at the Maui Airport today and enjoy this special Hawaiian custom.

For more info visit or

Maui Airport Lei Greeting

Greeters Of Hawai’i – Offers standard orchid to Exotic lei greetings at all island airports.  Certain leis are available for Kahului Airport in Maui.  Prices range from $25-$50 and can include Keiki (children/candy) leis to the traditional men’s ti leaf (pronounced like ‘tea’)

From their website;

One of the joys of visiting Hawaii is taking part in the custom of wearing flower garlands or leis.

The custom of wearing leis was brought to Hawaii centuries ago by the Polynesians. But some archaeologists and historians believe leis predate the Polynesians, perhaps originating 17,000 years ago with primitive humans, who wore necklaces of bone and probably wore others made of flowers, fruits or foliage.

Because flowers were closely associated with their gods, the early Hawaiians believed leis of flowers or leaves were always appropriate gifts for supernatural beings — and for one another. The gift of a lei conveyed greetings, love, admiration, cheer and good wishes.


The tradition of presenting leis to visitors started in the steamer days, when people came to the Islands on ships. Disembarking visitors were greeted by a riot of colorful leis and lei vendors. New arrivals selected leis as their first symbol of Hawaii’s beauty and friendliness. It is said that many departing visitors would throw their lei into the sea as their ship passed Diamond Head in hopes of the lei floating back to the beaches of the Island. This would signify that he or she would surely return to the Islands someday.

As time went by, Greeters of Hawaii extended its reach well beyond the airport greetings, diversifying into flower farming, retailing at airports throughout the state and mail order gifts.


Men wear leis almost as frequently as women in Hawaii. Special occasions such as birthdays, graduations, marriages, holidays and feasts call for leis. But leis also are worn merely for the pleasure of their beauty and fragrance. It’s acceptable to buy a lei for yourself.

For more information visit

Maui Airport Lei Greeting

Maui Airport Lei GreetingLeis Of Hawai’i – Has been in business since 1984 and their website looks to be from the same year, but all kidding aside they also offer all island airport lei greetings. Prices range from $25 on up

From their website;

It is our pleasure to introduce LEIS OF HAWAII, a specialized Airport Lei Greeting Service in business since 1984. We service all major Hawaiian Islands, Honolulu International, Maui Kahului, Kona Keahole and Kauai Lihue for arrivals or departures from areas such as airports, cruise ships, hotels, luau functions, and convention meetings.

Our courteous uniformed greeters will help create a perfect first impression to start your Hawaiian vacation.

After deplaning, clients should recognize their name sign. In the traditional way of saying Aloha, a lei, specially selected from one of our four service categories, will then be presented.

For more info visit

Maui Airport Lei Greeting –  The image of Hawaiian lei greeters welcoming visitors with outstretched arms, holding beautiful flower leis, has become an iconic symbol of the Islands. In fact, since the dawn of tourism in Hawaii, lei greeters have been an integral part of the Hawaiian experience. Hawaii greeters are responsible for giving malihini (visitors) their first taste of the aloha spirit as they arrive in the Islands.

From their website;

Experience true Hawaiian hospitality as you are greeted with a fresh flower lei and a warm “aloha!” An airport lei greeting sets the tone for your entire Hawaiian vacation. It’s a tradition you won’t want to miss!, a Hawaii Flower Lei company, has been Hawaii’s most trusted airport lei greeting company since 2001. You’ll feel like you have a friend in the islands as you are offered assistance to baggage claim or directions to your connecting inter-island flight. Arrange your traditional airport lei greeting for arrival on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or Hawaii Island now!

Delivering Aloha!
We also deliver fresh leis, flowers, and gifts to your Hawaii hotel or residence. Have a special Hawaiian care package delivered for your arrival! We make it easy to pre-arrange lei delivery for your special event, night on the town, anniversary, or just for fun while you’re visiting the islands.

For more information visit

Hawaiian Airlines offers a Lei Greeting as one of their premium services, so if you are flying Hawaiian (and it’s our personal airline of choice, though we have no affiliation with them) check out their options.

More information here

Maui Airport Lei Greeting

TIP – NEVER throw your lei into the ocean. The string used to make your lei can strangle and injure aquatic life (think sea turtles, dolphins, fish etc) – BEST practices are to remove the flowers first and then toss the flowers into the ocean. Mahalo!

TIP – Groupon often has coupons or deals available for Maui Kahului Airport Lei Greetings (and many other activities) Price shop! Some of the lei greeting offers are more expensive than the standard lei greetings offered by the companies above. Check them out

TIP – These are but a few of the many companies that offer a lei greeting service. Search Google for more.

Maui Airport Lei Greeting

*We have no affiliation or experience with these companies. They are simply listed here for your reference.

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *

Maui Airport Lei Greeting Vacation Rental Maui

The Ultimate Maui Travel Packing Guide

Maui Travel Packing Guide

I often read posts on Facebook Hawaii & Maui travel groups where the upcoming Maui traveler asks ‘What should I pack for my Maui Trip?”  This can be a tricky question to answer since we all have unique itineraries, travel plans and adventures when we visit Maui. But I think we can all agree that we’re trying to find that perfect balance of packing enough ‘stuff’ but not over-packing and today we’ll go over this with our Maui Travel Packing Guide.

We want to pack for ease of travel (i.e. not getting held up at TSA), not over stuffing our carry-on so that we have to check it, having enough room to bring back a few items and so on.

Let’s have a look at some packing ideas to consider for your upcoming island paradise vacation. I’ll break today’s post down into Essentials, Basics, Optional & Tech/Gear and then add in a few of my favorite TIPS and ideas that I’ve gleaned over my many years of traveling to Maui.


Sunglasses & prescription glasses –  if needed, packing your spare prescription glasses is a good idea in the event that you lose yours. If you have polarized sunglasses they really help if you’re floating in the ocean to counteract the glare. A leash is always a good idea. More than once I’ve been glad to have my glasses on a leash!

Prescriptions and Medications – Don’t forget to pack enough (in their original containers) to last the duration of your visit to Maui. Especially important for international travelers.  Chain store pharmacies are located all over the island so no worries if you do run short.

Reusable Water Bottle – keep empty, once you’re on board have a flight attendant refill it from bottled water (not advisable to drink the ‘tap’ water from the plane). Take to the beach with your favorite beverage. Maui has recently enacted new recycling restrictions and the more you use your reusable bottle, the less trash is put into landfill. Remember everything you throw away on island has to go somewhere.

Swimsuit / Swim trunks – 1 to 3 pair. Having more than one means that if you come in from the beach or pool for a while, you’ll have a dry one to change into if you go back out.

Light jacket/hoodie – Evenings and sunsets can be cool – especially if the breeze has kicked up or if you’re nursing a sunburn. Great if you’re planning a sunset boat tour too!

Documents – ID, Boarding passes if you’re not using an Airline app on your smart phone, itinerary, check-in instructions, passport if you’re an international traveler, prescriptions if needed.

Proper footwear – such as sneakers, closed toe walking shoes, water shoes or Teva type sandals. Anything you would feel comfy wearing over lava rocks or hiking on a slippery trail in. Teva’s are great for this as they are amphibious and designed just for this purpose.  If you’re not much of  a hiker and plan to be mostly on the beach for your trip, some water shoes (aka Aqua Socks) are great for snorkeling in spots that have lava or rocky entrances. But please don’t walk or step on coral. It’s ‘no pono‘ to step on living coral.

TIP– Keep in mind that some activities require closed-toe shoes such as a Zipline adventure, horseback riding and so on.

Reusable/packable shopping bag – the kind that folds into it’s own pocket like Chico Bags do. This will come in very handy for shopping (though we do provide reusable shopping bags in our condo and they can be bought on island at ABC store and just about everywhere.)

Shorts – I pack between 2 and 3 pair

Tops – 3 or 4, including a few tank tops, and maybe one nice Aloha Wear top. If I’m traveling during the winter on the Mainland, I wear a long sleeve shirt on the plane. I pack it in my carry on for my departing flight so I can change into it on the plane. At times the planes are like a flying ice-box.

Underwear/Bra/socks – eh, take what you feel you need, just remember we offer a washer and dryer as well as a drying rack for delicates.

Pajamas – pack a lightweight pair.

Slippahs – aka Flip Flops or thongs. Essential on the island. You can always buy them in Maui and ‘Locals’ are a favorite brand among those living in the islands. They can be found at Longs and a few other stores. Keep in mind that it’s a custom as well as a gesture of respect on the islands to remove your shoes upon entering someone’s home. You will most likely see plaques and signs in homes reminding you ‘Mahalo for removing your shoes’.

Hat – The intense sun makes this an essential. Wide brims are best! If yours is packable, bring it! But not to worry if you can’t pack it, there are plenty for sale on the island.

Maui Trip Packing Guide
Avoid this! Pack light, save time and $$


Sarong/Beach cover-up – Great for wearing to and from the beach/pool.  Alternative is to wait until you’re on island and head to the Kalama shopping center (and outdoor market full of various vendors) or ABC stores and purchase a Sarong. I use sarongs as a skirt, a shawl, a towel, a blanket, an impromptu bag and a pillow. They’re very versatile and inexpensive and cover a multitude of needs.

Jeans/pants – One pair, wear them on the plane. You most likely won’t wear them again unless your activity requires it such as horseback riding or heading to the Haleakala summit.

Sundress/Skirts/Nice outfit –  I have a few light sundresses that I like to take, they’re made of rayon type material similar to sarongs and pack up small in my bag. I also take a miniskirt or two. One nice outfit – You’ll want to dress up a bit if you have plans to attend one of the many fabulous luaus or if you have reservations for one of Maui’s higher end restaurants – no need to go over the top – even in dressing up on the island, it’s really pretty casual. In most if not all restaurants Aloha Wear is perfectly appropriate.

Rash Guard – these are great for keeping the intense sun off, snorkeling when the water temperature feels a little cooler. Don’t worry if you don’t have one yet, they sell them all over the island and the big box stores down to the mom & pop shops are sure to have a good supply and better selection than the Mainland.

Optional & Tech

Headlamp – great to have for late night beach walks or if you do sunset on Sunday at Little Beach.

Camera gear – travel tripod, GoPro accessories for great ocean shots, memory cards, extra battery packs,

Phone charger & gadget cables – Self explanatory. We offer several USB charging stations in our condo to keep all of your electronics powered up but you’ll need your power cord.

Extra Battery Pack – and speaking of powering up. We’ve blown out our phone battery taking videos, pictures, texting beach photos to friends etc. Having one of these inexpensive back up chargers are great! They’ll run you less than $20 on Amazon or elsewhere and are great to keep your music and phone going at the beach.

Water & sand-proof Cell phone case – if you don’t already own one, they’re sold at ABC stores and it’s wise to have at the beach. I’m pretty low-tech and have been known to just slip my cell phone into a quart sized Ziplock bag. So if you’re low-tech like me pack a few baggies if you’ve got them, they’ll come in handy.

Binoculars – if it’s whale season (late November through early April) you might want a pair for whale watching from shore or even a boat cruise.

Backpack-  If you think you’ll be hiking (and there are some world class hikes on Maui) then you’ll want a decent backpack. Nothing fancy is needed but something to carry your gear. If you can, use your backpack as your personal carry-on item.

Pen – you’ll need one on the plane before you land in Maui. The state of Hawai’i Agriculture Declaration forms are passed out and need to be filled in. If you followed the tip below to not bring in any fresh fruits or vegetables then you check the box stating that you have nothing to declare. Easy peasy. If you’re declaring agricultural items you’ll need to do your homework before you leave for Hawai’i. Having a pen will streamline the process for you and most likely make you the most popular person in your row since not many others will have a pen handy.

Neck Pillow – The flight to Maui from the San Francisco bay area is about 5 hours. I do like to nap on the plane so a neck pillow is a savior! Or go double duty – I often travel with an inexpensive cashmere shawl. I picked it up at Macy’s on sale and it’s big enough to act like a blanket on the plane, or I can roll it into a neck pillow. Easy to carry as I just wrap around my neck. When I get to Maui, I just put it in my packable shopping bag and hook it on my carry-on handle.

Haleakala Summit Visit – This is the one activity on Maui that requires winter clothing. If you’re planning on catching the sunrise at the Haleakala summit (which is 10001 feet in elevation) you’ll need to pack accordingly. On my recent visit, we did the 3 a.m. trek up the crater and I cannot recommend it enough. The things I packed were;

  • Wool beanie hat
  • Packable down jacket (the kind that is thin and packs into it’s own pocket, mine actually becomes a neck pillow for the plane so double duty!!
  • Warm socks
  • Thin layer of thermal underware
  • Jeans
  • Sneakers

I layered up with a tank top under all of my warm clothes and packed a pair of shorts to change into. As we descended the summit after sunrise, I just peeled layers as the temperatures increased.  Expect it to be in the low 40’s for sunrise, or equally as cool if you do sunset trek. Keep in mind that the summit got a nice dusting of snow in February of 2018 so it can be rather cold. I am sure our Canadian guests are laughing at the notion that 40º F (4º C) is cold.

I’ve put together a sweet printable packing list that you can download and print out. Scroll down to the sign-up form to receive our newsletter and we’ll send you the link to download this Maui Packing Checklist.

Travel Tips

Here are some Tips that might save you packing space or travel time.

Pack half as many clothes and twice as much money.

TIP-  pack a lightweight pair of shorts, t-shirt and slippahs in your carry-on. About 20 minutes before you land, go change out of your travel clothes and when you land you’ll be dressed for the local weather. I generally wear my jeans on the plane and change into a lightweight mini skirt and tank top. They roll up pretty small in my carry on bag -or- here’s where that packable shopping bag comes in handy, just roll up your jeans, shoes and shirt that you just changed out of and put in the shopping bag, tie to your suitcase after you deplane.

TIP-  Don’t pack bulky clothes. It’s the tropics, lightweight, breathable fabrics are best such as cotton or linen.

TIP-  Pack half as many clothes and twice as much money. I know this is a Hawai’i travel cliché but it’s really true. Each trip I look at what I actually wore vs. what I brought. Almost always half of what I bring never got worn.

TIP-  We’re pleased to offer our guests brand new, en-suite full sized washer and dryer (and free detergent too). You won’t need to bring as many garments when you can toss a load of clothes into the washer every few days.

TIP-  If you find that you have to check luggage and you’re traveling with a partner. We have found that if one person stays and collects the checked bags while watching all the carry-on bags, the other can quickly hop on the rental car shuttle and beat the lines. Renting a car can take up to an hour if there are lines at the counter. Maui moves s..l..o..w compared to the Mainland pace and I know, I’m always itching to get to the condo so I can slip into my swim suit and hit the beach. Then just circle back through the terminal and pick everyone and all the luggage up in your rental car.

TIP-  Getting through TSA quickly and easily. Sounds like an oxymoron I know, but there are things you can do to streamline going through the security checks. First off make sure you only have TSA approved items in your carry-on. If you’re not sure if you can bring it, check the TSA ‘What Can I Bring‘ page.  The latest regulations require removing your electronics including laptop and even iPads now. We provide a starter set of hotel-sized toiletries such as bar soap, shampoo and conditioner if you want to skip bringing liquids and get your shampoo etc on island. All major big box stores can be found on Maui so no worries there.

TIP-  When leaving Maui, ALL FOOD must come out of your carry on. It would be wise to just keep it in a separate bag (you know, that reusable shopping bag I mentioned that you bring earlier in this post) and once you go through TSA you can then pack it in your carry on. This regulation of no food in carry-on luggage is something I’ve only seen in the Maui airport and only just recently. So yep, take those mac nut chocolates and bags of taro chips out of your carry-on until you’re through TSA screening. Additionally, if you’re traveling with any agricultural items check with the Hawai’i Department of Agriculture to make sure that they are allowed and that you declare them when going through the Ag inspection stations.

TIP-  Remember when packing to leave for Maui or any of the Hawai’ian islands. Fresh fruit and vegetables are NOT allowed into Hawai’i – you can make your own meal for the plane containing fruits and veggies but must consume them prior to landing or leave them on the plane. If you forget and deplane with any prohibited food, there is an Amnesty Bin on the right as you exit the waiting/arrival area just before you head down the escalator.

TIP-  Streamline your carry-on/personal item. The less you pack, the faster it will be when you have to remove and repack at the end of the screening.

TIP-  Before you depart for your vacation, take a serious look at what you’ve packed and then edit ruthlessly. You really will be surprised at what you can do without clothing wise. If you find you’re desperately missing one particular article of clothing, just head to one of the many shops and find yourself a little souvenir clothing.

Assuming that you’ve followed the other tips mentioned here, you can save yourself some money by not checking luggage. You’ll breeze right to the car rental shuttle and be on your way to the beach.

And also assuming you’ve streamlined your packing down to the bare essentials then you should have room for plenty of souvenirs for friends and family. I generally try to only pack one side of my carry-on bag, leaving the other empty for Chocolate Macadamia nuts and such goodies like that.

Things you don’t need to pack or buy because we provide them in the condo;

  • Hair dryer
  • Vanity Mirror
  • Iron (we provide both iron and ironing board)
  • Yoga Mat
  • Makeup face cloths
  • Umbrella
  • Cooler/ice packs
  • Reusable grocery shopping bags
  • Beach Towels (we provide thick, oversized beach towels)
  • Beach Bag (the sand-free kind)
  • Beach ground cloth (sand free type)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Starter pack of toiletries (soap, shampoo etc)
  • Starter Coffee packet and filters
  • Dish Soap (not that you would pack this but we do provide it!)
  • Starter paper products/trash bags

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Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

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Maui Trip Packing Guide - Vacation Rental Maui
FREE PRINTABLE Maui Trip Packing  - Vacation Rental Maui
FREE PRINTABLE Maui Trip Packing CHECKLIST - Vacation Rental Maui

Catch A Ride With Turtle Tracks – Kihei Maui’s First Electric Shuttle

Turtle Tracks Maui
Catch A Ride With Turtle Tracks  – The $3 Ride With The Aloha Vibe!

Update: The original owners of Turtle Tracks have retired the business. Per a Facebook post, new owners are due to take over. When they do, we will update this page with new info and their website. Mahalo! (1•31•2022, new website is up

You’re staying in South Kihei but have dinner plans in Wailea and want to try all.the.tropical.cocktails. Whatchya gonna do? Call Turtle Tracks of course!

Call or Text for a ride


Turtle Tracks is the brain child of husband and wife team Pam and Gary Zeemin, and they’re living the dream. Leaving Oregon behind to start up Kihei’s first electric shuttle servicing South Kihei Road from Foodland down to Wailea. They began taking folks for rides up and down South Kihei road in late November but they’re fast becoming a Kihei institution. You can’t miss their bright green 6-seater golf-carts on steroids!

Turtle Tracks Maui

From their page: Just $3 per ride and more fun than Uber! We are Maui’s first and only electric powered public transportation. We will deliver you safely to your destination and ensure you have fun along the way. Happy hour, luaus, shopping trips or just a ride to the beach, we’ve got you covered! We can transport up to 5 passengers at a time in each of our 2 vehicles. Call or text for pickup!

Turtle Tracks Maui

Turtle Tracks is currently running two 2018 Polaris Gems, each of which seat 6 people.  They come equipped with seat belts, and have available booster seats on board for the kids.  By law, all child passengers need to be over 4 years old and 40lbs.  Because the Gems are electric vehicles and battery powered, they have zero emissions and are great for the environment.

Turtle Tracks Maui

Their Turtles are Neighborhood Electric Vehicles and they are street legal on roads that have speed limits of 35mph or less. They operate on South Kihei Road, and provide service to Wailea. Each Turtle can transport up to 5 passengers at a time. UPDATE 8/9/2018 Turtle Tracks is now operating between Azeka shopping plaza down to Wailea resorts.  A great improvement for shopping and quick trips to the post office, Longs in Kihei and some great restaurants in the Azeka area such as Nalu’s, Fork & Salad, Miso Phat Sushi. 

Turtle Tracks Maui

Booking a ride is super easy!  Call, text or wave them down.  You can call for a ride, you can make an appointment for a ride at a later time or just flag down one of the green Turtles when you see them shuttling up and down South Kihei road!

Turtle Tracks Maui

Turtles run from 1pm to 9pm daily and fare is $3 per person. Remember to tip well ! (original prices started at $2 but has recently gone up slightly)

Turtle Tracks Maui

On our most recent trip to Maui, it was prime season in the middle of February. We headed over to Fred’s for the very popular Taco Tuesday and found the wait to be more than half an hour and there were several dozen others waiting for a table. We were hoping for dinner during sunset so I phoned the ever popular Five Palms and was able to snag an ocean-view table reservation but it’s a mile from our condo – so not far enough to justify taking the car but also too far to walk and make the reservation in time. LIGHT BULB! I called Turtle Tracks, as I had just seen the Turtle that passed us on South Kihei road going in the other direction. In less than 5 minutes the next one came along to pick us up.

Turtle Tracks Maui

Gary was super friendly, dropped us off right at the front door of Five Palms and we made our reservation in time! Perfect in every way with the bonus of having open air shuttle that allows you to feel the ocean breezes and catch the beach scenery!

Such a great option if you want to bar hop, try out happy hours, ditching the car, walk to the store but want a ride back with all your groceries, go grab a quick bite to eat, transport to a different beach without fighting for a parking spot!

Gary gave us a few fridge magnets to leave for our guests. I’ll definitely be using the Turtle Tracks shuttles in the future and recommending them to our guests! It’s really just a brilliant business to start in Maui and we wish them all the best in their future on Maui!

​Call or Text for a ride


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Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *

Catch A Ride With Turtle Tracks - Kihei Maui's First Electric Shuttle - Vacation Rental Maui

Sharing Our Favorite Island Style Poke – Best Poke On Maui

Best Poke Maui

One of the delicious treats we eat as soon as we land in Maui is some fresh island style poke.

I wrote the following in a recent blog post about Local Style Foods;

Poke – It’s not sushi, it’s poke. And it’s pronounced PO-keh! Many pronounce it like ‘Pokey’ as in ‘Do the Hokey Pokey‘ but the sure-fire way to blend in while traveling in Hawai’i is to pronounce it correctly. Most often Poke is made from Ahi (yellowfin tuna), shoyu sauce (we say shoyu in Hawai’i, the mainland says ‘Soy Sauce’), onions, and any number of other flavors like sesame oil, avocado, seaweed, oyster sauce, Sriracha and more.

Our favorite ‘weekday‘ Poke comes from Foodland grocery store in Kihei. What do I mean by ‘weekday’? Think of it like ‘weekday wine’ – perfect for every day and we have our favorites. But don’t compare to high-end restaurants or a $200 bottles of wine. Still, Foodland wins every time for us.

If you’re not sure if you like poke or not sure what flavor you love best, just politely ask for a free sample to try.  A close runner up for offering great poke is Tamura’s which is a local liquor store/deli that can be found in 4 locations on Maui with one being located on Dairy road just after you leave the Kahului Airport! Perfect stop for when you’ve just gotten off the plane and you’re starving because the airplane food was yuck!


But for today, I’ll focus on the poke from Foodland. Generally speaking, there are dozens of flavors to try. Most are ahi based and others a little more ‘exotic’ such as muscles and taco (octopus).

The word “poke” comes from the Hawaiian word for “to slice or cut.” The main ingredient can be anything from ahi to tako to shellfish.



For the ahi variety you can try ‘California Roll’ with tobiko and avocado or ‘Spicy’ with a Sri Racha based sauce, another favorite is the ‘Wasabi-Oyster Sauce’.  There is the more basic ‘Shoyu’ sauce, or Poke Avocado. I tend to gravitate to the spicy or oyster sauce variety and often order a 1/2 pint container with a mix of both.


Perhaps you’re not sure if you like poke (trust me, if you like seared ahi, sashimi or sushi, you’ll love poke) – no worries, just ask for a sample or two. The gal that works the counter at the Kihei Foodland wears a perpetual smile and is always so pleasant – offering up samples.


Feeling brave and ready to try out some real island flavors? Why not sample the pickled garlic, kimchee cucumber, or other island specialties.

For our guests staying at our condo, we offer a local’s ‘Maika’i Savings Card’, attached to the house keyring.  Be sure to take it along on your grocery trips to save money on in-store specials like their delicious poke.


Foodland is easy to find, it’s located on South Kihei Road, across from Kalama Park (the park with the giant whale out front) and just a few minutes drive or a good half-hour walk (each way) from our condo – Once inside the store, the Poke counter is located in the back right.



Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

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Best Poke Maui - Vacation Rental Maui


Get Your Shop On At The Maui Swap Meet

Maui Swap Meet
Get Your Shop On At The Maui Swap Meet

Looking for some great shopping in Maui? Then look no further, the Maui Swap Meet is held every Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the University of Hawaii Maui College (formerly known as the Maui Community College) just off of Ka’ahumanu Ave in Kahului – Directions & Map below. Check their website for more information. It’s the largest open air market on Maui and has been running since 1981!

You’ll find hundreds of vendors and free parking.


• Bring some reusable shopping bags to carry home your loot

• Wear a hat

• Wear sunscreen

• Bring an umbrella

• Get there early if you’re shopping for fresh cut flowers from upcountry

• Come hungry, there’s a lot of food to try

• Be Polite if you are bargaining, living on Maui is expensive and many vendors here are doing this as their second or third job to afford living in this Island Paradise.

• Be adventurous. You’ll find unique foods here to try for the first time. Like Manapua, or Malasadas. Never had a fresh coconut? Now is your chance! Yum!

Maui Swap Meet

Don’t let the name ‘Swap Meet’ fool you. At this local market you’ll find everything from tourist souvenirs to local honey to freshly made banana bread and everything in between. It’s a lot of fun to shop and pick up souvenirs, T-shirts, fresh fruit and veggies, fresh baked banana bread. If you’re like me you love a fresh cracked coconut! You can find Malasadas, fresh juice, hot dogs and more.

Maui Swap Meet

It’s well worth the visit for the local style grinds (food) and availability of fresh local fruits and veggies. Make sure to pick up some ‘Apple Bananas’ or a delicious ‘Custard Apple’ (Cherimoya). On my most recent trip I bought an amazing Custard Apple from one of the vendors. It’s not a fruit that we find often on the Mainland and it’s well worth trying. Have a vendor help you pick a ripe one or almost ripe one. They should be a little bit soft.

Maui Swap Meet

You’ll find over 200 vendors selling food, crafts & more. Small admission fee (at the time of this posting it is $0.50 per person.

Maui Swap Meet

Maui Swap Meet

Maui Swap Meet

Maui Swap Meet


Maui Swap Meet

Maui Swap Meet

Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,

come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Maui Travel Guide to receive the latest travel tips, special events and to find out what's happening in our Island Paradise! * Your privacy is paramount to us. We will never share or sell your information! *

Maui Swap Meet - Vacation Rental Maui

Ultimate Guide To Hawai’ian Islands Local Foods

Ultimate Guide To Hawai'ian Islands Local Foods

It dawned on me as I was writing The Essential Guide To Food Trucks Of South Maui that I mentioned many food dishes (grinds) that were truly unique to the Hawai’ian Islands.  I guess I have some explaining to do so I’ve put together this Ultimate Guide To Hawai’ian Islands Local Foods.  A primer of sorts to help you out when reading menus while visiting Maui or any of the gorgeous islands in the Hawai’ian archipelago. Where I can, I share our favorite spots to find these unique local-style Island delicacies on Maui!

Present Hawai’ian Island food culture is a melting pot of many international influences.  You’ve got Portuguese, Native Hawai’ian cuisine,  American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Polynesian sometimes all rolled into one meal!

When you put all of these food cultures into an equation, the results are infinite and nothing less than unique and creative!

Ultimate Guide To Hawai’ian Islands Local Foods

Desserts and Sweets

Let’s start with dessert items shall we, because who doesn’t love dessert?

photo by Ululani’s Shave Ice

Shave Ice – Shave ice or Hawaiian shave ice is an ice-based dessert made by shaving a block of ice. To be correct, it’s ‘Shave Ice’ not Shaved Ice! While the product can resemble a snow cone, snow cones are made with crushed, rather than shaved, ice. Served in a cone or cone shaped cup, flavored syrups are added to the ice, which are absorbed by the ice instead of surrounding it, shave ice in Hawai’i is often flavored with local ingredients such as guava, pineapple, coconut cream, passion fruit, li hing mui (salty dried plum), lychee, kiwi fruit and mango. The toppings are very unique to Hawai’i too! Look for mochi balls, sweetened condensed milk, adzuki beans, ice cream! You won’t find toppings like shredded toasted coconut or adzuki beans on the Mainland! Our favorite Shave Ice spot is Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice located in north Kihei! (and walk next door for fresh out of the fryer Malasadas at Sugar Beach Bakeshop!)

Haupia – Haupia is a traditional coconut milk-based Hawai’ian dessert often found at luaus and other local gatherings in Hawaiʻi. Think of it as coconut finger jello. The traditional Hawaiian recipe for haupia calls for heated coconut milk to be mixed with ground pia (Polynesian arrowroot, Tacca leontopetaloides) until the mixture thickens. Due to the lack of availability of arrowroot starch, some modern recipes for haupia substitute cornstarch. Don’t worry if you fall in love with Haupia while visiting the Island, you can buy packets at the local grocery stores and take it home with you or order online too! But it’s also simple enough to make from scratch at home. Check out the how to video if you love this local-Hawai’ian yummy pudding!

Portuguese Sweet Bread – or Pao Doce, that was originally a Christmas and Easter tradition. Portuguese sweet bread is a bread made with milk, sugar and/or honey, eggs, yeast, flour and sometimes lemon peel to produce a subtly sweet lightly textured loaf or rolls. If you’ve ever found ‘King’s Hawai’ian Bread’ on the mainland you get an idea of what this yummy bakery goodie is all about.

Kulolo – Kulolo is a Hawai’ian dessert made primarily with baked or steamed grated taro corms and either with grated coconut meat or coconut milk. Considered a pudding, kulolo has a solid consistency like fudge and is often served cut into squares

Malasada – Hawaii’s favorite fried treat. A malasada is a Portuguese confection, made of egg-sized balls of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and coated with granulated sugar. Think Mainland donut holes on steroids. There’s an upcoming blog post that I’ll do on the divine Malasadas from the Sugar Beach Bake Shop. Suffice it to say that they are amazing – and all Malasadas are not created equally!

Cinnamon Malasada

Ice Cream Mochis from Leonard

Mochi Ice Cream – Mochi Ice Cream is bite-sized ice cream wrapped in mochi, a sweetened rice dough. Pretty much anything Mochi, not just Mochi Ice Cream is popular in Hawaii. Why not try Butter Mochi, or Mochi Balls on your Shave Ice or Mochi’s cousin Chi Chi Dango (another confection made from rice flour).


Technically speaking many of the items listed here could fall under the snack category but here are a few that are specifically – just snacks.

Crack Seed – Crack seed is a category of snacks that originated in China. It is highly popular in many regions, such as Hawaii. Crack seed are basically preserved fruits that have been cracked or split with the seed or kernel partially exposed as a flavor enhancement. The flavors are varied, ranging from extremely sweet and salty to sour flavors. Flavors can include rock salt plum, li hing mui, honey mango, licorice peach, or any kind of combination of fruits, flavors and type of preservatives used. What originally was a preserved fruit has become a favorite snack in Hawaii and a sample of a cultural food.

Li Hing Mui – Basically a salted, dried plum but also a flavoring. You can find variations such as seedless, shredded, sweet, sweet-sour, red, white etc. Eaten as a snack , Li Hing for short, is a a ‘crack seed’.  But the flavoring – which is ground up plum skin mixed with various other flavors and red color – is sprinkled on fresh fruit, added to tropical drinks, shave ice, you name it. An acquired taste for most and the ingredients of present day Li Hing Mui don’t exactly convey as ‘health food’ (think red and yellow food dye with aspartame)

swap meet

Taro Chips – One of my favorite snacks (and I like to start my trip to Maui eating them on the plane, Hawaiian Airlines currently offers them on their snack menu.) The Hawaiian Chip Co. makes (in my opinion) the best taro chips. They are not overly salted like ones from another major chip company. They’re just perfect for snacking on the beach! I love their starchy goodness and rarely do I not eat an entire bag.

Have you gone into a sugar coma yet?  Mouth puckering from the thought of  sour pickled plums? Yea, me too. Let’s move on to some main dishes shall we.

And speaking of Taro, let’s talk about…

Poi – I recall stories from my Tutu (grandmother) of my mom eating fresh poi as a baby during the years they lived on Oahu. I’ve eaten poi several times, but it’s been a while. Note to self; eat poi again on next trip to Maui!  According to Wikipedia (and I use their reference to make sure I get it right)

Poi is a Hawaiian word for the primary Polynesian staple food made from the underground plant stem or corm of the taro plant (known in Hawaiian as kalo). It is a traditional part of Native Hawaiian cuisine.

Poi is produced by mashing the cooked corm (baked or steamed) until it is a highly viscous fluid. Water is added during mashing and again just before eating to achieve the desired consistency, which can range from liquid to dough-like. As such, poi can be known as “one-finger,” “two-finger,” or “three-finger” poi depending on the consistency, alluding to how many fingers are required to scoop it up in order to eat it (the thicker the poi, the fewer fingers required to scoop a sufficient mouthful). Poi can be eaten immediately when fresh and sweet, or left a bit longer to ferment.

For me, poi was a bit like the kindergarden paste of my childhood in texture, not that I ate paste as a kid, has a mild flavor and would be a staple that I imagine is like growing up with hot oatmeal for breakfast.

poi @ ono hawaiian foods

Main Dishes

Loco Moco – This is some kind of meal and how it came to be is a bit of a mystery to me as the combination is not one I’d ever come up with (the history of this local and widely polular dish is known and is said to have come from Lincoln Grill in Hilo).  Imagine this, a plate of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, then smothered in gravy/sauce and finished off with an over-easy fried egg.  There are of course variants to this dish but generally speaking these are the ‘bones’ of it.

Hawaii: Loco Moco

Manapua – Manapua is a Cantonese barbecue-pork-filled bun (Cha siu bao).  In Hawai’i, Manapua’s  name is a shortening of the Hawai’ian mea ʻono puaʻa, meaning, “delicious pork thing.”  This Dim Sum item consists of a white bun with a dark pink-colored diced pork filling. Manapua has come to mean any meat-filled or bean-paste-filled bun made with the same dough and includes locally created versions with hot dogs, curry chicken, kalua pig, and even ube (purple yam), which is a popular vegetarian version of the manapua. In Hawai’i, freshly prepared or prepackaged frozen manapua may be found in dedicated bakeries, restaurants, food trucks, swap meet vendors and chain convenience stores. Which side of the fence you reside on , steamed or baked will provide you with endless debate among locals.

Oyster Sauce Chicken Manapua and passion orange drink

Mixed Plate/Plate Lunch – typical plate lunch consists of white rice, macaroni salad (more on that later), and a meat of your choosing, such as pork, lau lau (more on that later too) maybe mahi mahi, katsu chicken or teriyaki beef.  “The best plate lunches are simple, unassuming meals made in small, non-franchise, hole-in-the-wall, joints owned by local and ethnic families for generations.” says Amberloo of TripAdvisor.  Likely the best Plate Lunch nearest our condo will come from Da Kitchen, a local institution. You’ll also find Spam Musubi on their menu. Da Kitchen is about a 5 minute walk from condo door to Da Kitchen door. In fact, if you want to try many of the local foods mentioned in this post, Da Kitchen is a good place to go as they serve up so many local-style dishes. When ordering, if your server asks “toss or mac” – you’re being asked if you tossed salad or macaroni salad. Plate lunch purists want two scoops, and white rice (not brown, ‘brown rice’ might be white rice covered in shoyu). UPDATE: Da Kitchen Kihei location and their central location has closed due to COVID and the downturn in the economy.

Spam Musubi – Spam is an immensely popular item in Hawaii. Go figure. And when you look at the quintessential island-fusion fast-food item, well… you get Spam Musubi. What the heck is it you say? It’s the ultimate portable snack or lunch food on the islands and is as ubiquitous as flip flops and sunscreen here. A hunk of fried/grilled spam sits atop a block of white rice wrapped in nori in the tradition of Japanese omusubi.

Macaroni Salad – Not a fan here but if you are then you’re in the right spot if you’re in Hawai’i! This ubiquitous pasta salad, nearly always served via ice cream scoop is accompanied by a same-shaped scoop of white rice (or two) and just about every place has it on the menu.

Plate Lunch Special

Saimin – Probably the ultimate local comfort food. Saimin (rhymes with eye-bin) is Chinese in origin but has blended over the years to be truly unique to the Islands. According to Hawai’i Magazine “One of Hawai’i’s most traditional local foods, saimin is an iteration of a Chinese egg-noodle soup that was developed during the Islands’ plantation era. You can taste how the recipe has been touched by Hawai‘i history’s different immigrant groups, primarily the thin Chinese chow mein-inspired noodles wading in a Japanese dashi broth. As more migrations followed, more ingredients informally entered the mix—green onions, kamaboko, kimchi, Portuguese sausage, Spam—to create the recognizable bowls of saimin you see today. It’s become so iconic you can order it at sporting events at Aloha Stadium, even McDonald’s locations across Hawaii. Star Noodle on Maui is one of the island’s go-to saimin shops.

Hamura Saimin, Lihue

Poke – It’s not sushi, it’s poke. And it’s pronounced PO-keh! Many pronounce it like ‘Pokey’ as in ‘Do the Hokey Pokey‘ but the sure fire way to blend in while traveling in Hawai’i is to pronounce it correctly. Most often Poke is made from Ahi (yellowfin tuna), shoyu sauce (we say shoyu in Hawai’i, the mainland says ‘Soy Sauce’), onions, and any number of other flavors like sesame oil, avocado, seaweed, Sriracha and more. Our favorite Poke comes from Foodland grocery store in Kihei (you can read more about our favorite island Poke here ). If you’re not sure if you like it or not sure what flavor you love best, they will give you a free sample to try.  A close runner up is Tamura’s which is a local liquor store/deli that can be found in 4 locations on Maui with one being located on Dairy road just after you leave the Kahului Airport! Perfect stop for when you’ve just gotten off the plane and you’re starving because the airplane food was yuck!

Shoyu – As mentioned above, in Hawai’i we call soy sauce by the name ‘Shoyu ‘ and it’s as much a staple as ketchup and mustard on the mainland. So though Shoyu isn’t unique to the Islands, but what we call it is really a regional thing. Wanna sound ‘local’, don’t ask for soy sauce.Ultimate Guide To Hawai'ian Islands Local Foods

Have a favorite snack or meal that you think is quintessentially Hawai’ian and ‘Local’? Leave us a comment below and let us know your favorites!

(Please note that where I use the term Hawai’i or Hawai’ian, I’m specifically referring to the local-style associated with the Hawai’ian Islands)

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Ultimate Guide To Hawai'ian Islands Local Foods
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