Looking for information on what NOT to do on Maui?
Maui is a magical place filled with majestic beauty and a host of amazing activities. We should we all work to preserve that natural environment. While locals are working hard to spread the message of how important it is to respect the “'Aina”; many tourists are oblivious to some of the mistakes they may be making.
That said, keep reading to learn what not to do on Maui. Ever!
Disrespecting Hawaiian Culture
Something that many tourists both from the mainland US and other countries don’t understand is that the Hawaiian islands were not a part of the US until very recently; even if they do know that Hawaii only joined the union in 1959, they may not be aware of the dark events that lead to that decision.
Hawaii was a US territory since the 1800’s, however, this occupation was not one void of mistreatment and tensions between the native Hawaiians and the foreign occupants. American plantation owners have been occupying sacred land across the islands which came hand-in-hand with the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.
These tensions continue to this day which is why it is imperative that those that visit the Hawaiian islands are aware of the traditions and sacred sites that remain vital to the culture here in Hawaii. This spans from not disrespecting sacred sites like Iao Valley, Hale remnants, and beaches like Red Sand to name a few. It also spans to respecting both the native Hawaiian language and the creole language of Pigeon which is used across generations to this day.
Respecting the Land ('Aina)
One thing that has become central to the missions of Hawaiian residents when it comes to tourism is making sure that visitors respect the land, or 'Aina in native language. While some planes like those of Hawaiian Airlines include an informational video on the dos and dont's of visiting Hawaii State; many either choose to ignore it by not watching or leave their headphones in and miss the important message.
Some of the main things that we encourage tourists to consider when visiting Maui is making sure that you leave no footprint. This includes picking up any and all trash, not taking or leaving anything in any park, beach, or hike; as well as making sure that you aren’t defacing any nature or sacred landmark here in Maui.
There can be tensions between locals and visitors because many visitors do not respect the land or ocean. Some visitors go on private property, take sacred rocks, fish where they are no allowed, leave trash behind and conduct themselves with an attitude of entitlement; these tensions have only escalated since the reopening of the islands after the pandemic. To give context; when there was less foot traffic in Maui from 2020-2021, many witnessed a massive healing and resurgence of plant and animal life as well as, and most importantly the coral reef and marine life.
You don’t have to volunteer for beach cleanups during your vacation (although the community would love it if you do) but make sure you are doing your part by cleaning up after yourself, be kind and even the small things like making sure your sunscreen is reef safe and no spray sunscreen.
[caption id="attachment_8302" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Don't chase turtles or other marine animals.[/caption]
Don’t Put Yourself at Risk on Your Maui Vacation
This might seem obvious but it’s more common than you think! While our Monk Seals are cute and that hike seems like a good time– it’s not worth it if you are risking yours and everyone around you’s safety!
One common no-no we see all the time is visitors trying to touch wildlife. A big PSA that we would like to offer is if you see a monk seal or a turtle, especially, lying on the beach; it isn’t dead, just sleeping!
Besides our marine animals; we even see some people displacing local kittens and deer. While there is a large population of both– there are many different precautions when interacting with even the most unthreatening wildlife here in Maui.
Besides not messing with the wildlife, whether that is kittens or a wild boar– make sure that you are watching yourself and where you step. Unfortunately, due to tragic accidents a lot of iconic hiking and swimming spots are off-limits and illegal for both tourists and locals to visit. Off-limits is not an invitation to break the rules.
When an area is marked off-limits, restricted, or sacred there is a reason. If you are looking for a good hike to an amazing swimming hole it is not necessary to go off the book. Stick to what both locals and your guide say is safe and accessible– you’ll have an amazing time and not be at risk to any injury!
What NOT to do In Maui
Overall, when it comes to planning an amazing vacation in Maui it’s not that hard. Just because some things are ill-advised and off limits does not mean that you have to settle for a “regular” experience.
Maui has so much to offer from whale watching and snorkel tours to great golfing and even dune-buggy rides! There is truly fun for every family member to be had! Stay humble and listen to the locals and guides for the best experiences Maui has to offer.