So many activities to do on this beautiful and dynamic island, where to begin???
Here are some of the basics that you should know when planning your Maui adventures.
A few cautions while enjoying your Maui adventures:
The laws of physics, gravity, and mortality do apply to our islands environments. If you do not practice an activity like say "cliff jumping" why risk your health and well being by trying such activity on your well deserved vacation? Be safe, and don't take stupid risks :)
The most dangerous element of nature in Hawaii is the ocean. It is unpredictable and deserves extreme caution even on a calm day. When venturing to the ocean in Hawaii it is best to check with the locals regarding where it is safe. At county beaches, see the life guards and inform them that you are visiting and want to know the safest area. We like to keep our guests safe and the ocean is our number one fatality maker in Hawaii.
As a tour director for many years on island, I can say without a doubt the most dangerous land creature is the distracted driver. Whether a local on a cell phone while driving (which is illegal btw), or a tourist driver exhibiting lack of orientation aka. lost, you will see some strange driving on Maui. Locals hardly ever use turn signals properly, if at all. They are often in a hurry to make a living on this expensive island, so if they are tailgating you simply pull over and let them by. Imagine if your commute to work was through the disney land parking lot? Except Maui is open 24/7/365 :). Also never take on another persons road rage. You have traveled far to get here, avoid the "finger" or unnecessary horn usage as this is just NOT how the islands work and you will get "stink" (trouble, bad behaviors, the occasional fight, etc.)
Depends on what your elevation and winds are. The higher you ascend Maui's mountains the cooler it gets. The average is 3 degrees drop in farenheit temperature per 1,000 foot gain in elevation. This translates into a 30 degree drop from sea level to the summit of Haleakala at 10,000 feet elevation. It can get below freezing on the summit at night.
Winds and rain are stronger on our northern and eastern shores, creating quick changes of weather from moment to moment. Travelers should have light layers and some rain protection if venturing into these areas. Rains can be quick and passing, or can last the whole day. We use a trick in the islands when planning a days excursion to the "wet side" call a business in the region you will be traveling and ask them "What is the weather like today? what has it been like lately?". This is the most acurate way to get real weather for Maui. Most Hawaii weather forecasts are Oahu-centric
Light winds, and arid conditions persist on our west and south shores. Water hydration, and sun protection are the concern in these areas. It is easy to get sunburned in Hawaii as our sun angle is much greater than most regions of the world. We are at the same latitude as the Sahara desert, and Mexico city, places you would definitely avoid unprotected sun exposure so take measures accordingly.
The island is made up of volcanic rocks, it is brittle, jagged, sharp, and constantly breaking. So cliff edges, lava fields, even mountain hikes are all subject to abrupt changes in topography. Real footwear is recommended for real adventuring. Lava rock can cut skin easily, cuts should be sterilized as our environment is rich in bacteria often leading to staph infections.
If going on a hike or adventure solo, please tell your hotel, conceirge, or a friend where you are going and when you will be back. Therefor we know where to find you if you are lost. We have many rescues of visitors on the islands every year. Make yourself easy to find, have bright clothing with you in event of a search for you.
Maui is a very safe place compared to most of the world, however it is recommended you be aware of your surroundings and belongings regardless. Most crime here is property theft from unsuspecting guests losing track of their belongings. No need to be hawkish, but don't be naive either. When walking away from your vehicle for a long hike or short, make sure you have not left valuables visible in your vehicle. Also be aware that how you behave will dictate your experience, so try to be nice at all times, even if there is a jerk in your path. Picking fights with locals is NOT recommended. They may be having a crappy day, but your not so don't go there. :) We pride ourselves in watching after the visitors to our island, you are the life blood of our economy so never consider yourself alone here. Reach out and get help if help is needed. Aloha
Hitch-hiking is common here, you might even hitchhike if you had to pay what we pay for gas! Not all hitch hikers are bad, but then again not all hitch hikers are good either. It is legal to pick up hitch hikers on Maui, and they often are a great source of unexpected information. Use your best judgement when accepting or refusing hitch hikers.