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Preparing for a Successful Maui Trip During COVID

Covid-19 cases have dramatically risen over the past month in Hawaii

Private community pool at the Ho’olei at the Grand Wailea

Governor Ige has asked visitors to avoid non-essential travel to Hawaii until the end of October 2021.

We’ve seen many people in the resort areas cancel their upcoming trips because of this. The pace of our real estate practice has slowed down a bit the past couple of weeks, so I wanted to take this opportunity to elaborate on some frequently asked questions I get from our clients.

Am I subject to a mandatory quarantine when I arrive? 

Our recent summer family trip to the Pacific Northwest

You will not be subject to the 10 day quarantine period on Maui if you have been vaccinated for Covid 19 in the US, or if you can show a negative COVID test 72 hours before your departure to Hawaii.

Are all of the restaurants and bars still open?

Boy’s night at Maui’s Best sushi restaurant, Koiso

Most of the restaurants here are still open. Starting this week of September 15th 2021 on Maui however, everyone over 12 years old must show a Vaccine Pass (proof of vaccination) to access restaurants, bars, gyms and other high risk establishments.  According to Maui Mayor Victorino, those who don’t have proof of vaccination, may be allowed to use outside seating areas at restaurants if available. All Maui restaurants and bars will need to close no later than 10 pm and all customers are to remain seated and not socialize with other parties while dining. It will be very interesting to see how this unfolds over the next couple of months.

What if I Have Been Vaccinated? Make sure to register on the Hawaii Safe Travels Program.

At this time, visitors to Hawaii who have been vaccinated in the United States do not need to get a pre-travel COVID test. 

You can upload proof of your Covid-19 vaccination card to the Safe Travels website in addition to bringing a physical copy of your vaccination card to Hawaii.  It’s highly recommended you do this a couple of days before traveling as opposed to sitting at the airport waiting for your flight. You’ll be issued a wristband from your airline at the gate which will save you a lot of time when you arrive at the Kahului airport.

A few Tips for a successful vacation on Maui during Covid

Stand up paddle boarding on the West Side this past weekend

The recent surge of visitors to Maui this spring and this summer has created a large rise of demand and lack of availability for certain items on the island.  Seems like there is a shortage of everything these days. Here are a few suggestions you need to know to make your upcoming trip as enjoyable as possible.

1. Reserve a Rental Car ASAP

Tested the Turo app with my 4runner as a rental

When Maui was shut down for travel in 2020, several of the local rental car companies went out of business.  Many of the larger rental car companies also shipped back a lot of their inventory to the mainland. As Hawaii reopened to travelers and tourism gained momentum, there’s been a major shortage of rental cars. The demand for rental vehicles far exceeds the supply, and prices are very high to get anything decent! 

I highly advise making your rental car reservations far in advance and be prepared to pay at least $200 bucks a day during peak seasons. I also highly recommend renting a car through the Turo app which is like Uber for rental cars where you rent through a private party. And speaking of Uber, don’t expect to always be able to get an Uber on Maui (especially late at night). There’s a shortage of Uber drivers here on Maui and this is not San Francisco 🙂

2. Make Dinner Reservations Far in Advance

Dinner at the one and only Mama’s Fish House with their trademark tablecloths

If you have a favorite restaurant like Mama’s Fish House, Koiso, Spago, or Lahaina Grill, you will want to book these places MONTHS IN ADVANCE! Our indoor restaurants are still at 50% serving capacity due to local restrictions, and even greater restrictions may be coming soon. Many restaurants also have worker shortages due to layoffs when our islands were completely shut down. 

Many people who used to work in the restaurant industry have either moved off the island, or have chosen not to go back to work because they are getting federal and state handouts.  Either way, if you want to eat at the best restaurants like Mamas, manage your expectations accordingly and come prepared with reservations. If you come to Maui without dinner reservations, Paia Fish Market and Coconuts are always 2 good casual restaurants you can walk into.

3. Act Responsible and Live Pono

Consider being a traveler and not a tourist. Respect and embrace the local culture and Maui community. While on vacation, people can get careless. For example, if you have not gone on a bike ride for a couple of decades, you might not want to bike down Haleakala for a 10,000 foot descent. If you’re an experienced biker on the other hand, then you may consider signing up for a tour down the mauna at the Haleakala Bike Company. Common sense is not so common anymore on Maui. 

Picture courtesy of Dom Marino

Likewise, after sipping cocktails by the pool all day, you might not want to go on an evening swim 100 yards out from the shore in Wailea.  Tiger Sharks are supposedly the most active at dusk and at dawn while they are hunting for food. You can help reduce your risk of shark encounters and shark attacks by staying out of the water completely during these times of day. Sharks also don’t have the best vision, so they will be more likely to confuse a human for other marine life when visibility is low.  So don’t swim by any river mouths that are flowing as a general rule of thumb.  Always avoid brown water. Both in streams and the ocean. Learn more about our ocean safety tips here.

Amazing picture of Haleakala courtesy of Dominick Marino

While hiking on Maui, you must be extremely careful. Always have a hiking partner and bring plenty of snacks and water and a fully charged cell phone to make emergency calls if needed. If you see a lot of rain clouds high up in the mountains, pay very close attention before jumping into any ponds or rivers further downstream.  Flash floods can occur and they can happen very quickly. If you watch the local news and there is any heavy heavy rain or a flash flood warning in the forecast, please exercise caution. I would avoid driving the road to Hana, hiking and swimming in areas with streams all together during these times. We have also compiled our hiking best practices and recommendations here based off of our first hand experience growing up hiking Maui.

Travel Pono Message from Hawaiian Airlines: Travel Pono means to explore with care, offering your kōkua (help) to preserve our natural resources, cultures and communities.

I was born and raised on Maui.  In addition to being a hyper local real estate advisor, I pride myself on being a local fixer for our exclusive clients and customers. Please feel free to reach out to me regarding this blog and any general Maui lifestyle recommendations.

Contact a Maui Real Estate Specialist

The Sayles team is a group of real estate professionals who are committed to delivering a higher level of customer service to exceed the demands of our clients. Our extensive market knowledge, negotiating skills, and hyper local expertise on Maui have earned us the reputation of being industry leaders, and the #1 team for Coldwell Banker in the state of Hawaii.

With over $140M in closed transactions YTD in 2021, our energy and 150 years of collective experience gets results. Hope you have a wonderful day, and please let us know if you are interested in buying or selling. Our entire team is here to support you and advocate for your family.


Anthony Sayles R(S)


One thought on “Preparing for a Successful Maui Trip During COVID

  1. Fabulous blog! Applause! Applause! Handsome Anthony. You are indeed a fabulous real estate expert and became Ohana right away.

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