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Top Ten Things Not To DO On Maui When You Visit

Being born and raised on Maui, lots of our clients ask me what they should do to have fun. There are many lists out there of things to do on the valley isle, but there are rarely suggestions about what you should not do.  Here is my list of the top ten things not to do while on Maui.


Learn about the numerous Kihei condos for sale

Or go on a timeshare presentation just to save a few bucks on a luau or an excursion. Timeshares are the biggest rip offs on Maui today. Don’t fall for the trap. Why the heck would you pay thousands of dollars for a condo with tiny square footage that you might visit for a week or two each year? That combined with the fact that you have zero equity in the place, and pay the highest property tax rate on Maui. You will also have to pay your fair share of ongoing HOA fees and any future assessments if applicable. Do yourself a favor and rent a hotel room or VRBO instead.

#2 DO NOT Litter

Please help keep our beaches litter free

Maui is a beautiful place and our residents intend to keep it that way. Under no circumstances throw any trash out of your window while driving or leave trash behind at the beach.  As a general rule of thumb, “If you pack it in, make sure to pack it out.” Bring a backpack with you to remote areas to ensure no trace is left behind.  Cigarette Smoking is prohibited on all beaches.  In addition to a $500 fine from the DLNR, you might get punched in the face by Unco for leaving your cigarette butts at the beach.


Photo courtesy of Dominick Marino

Maui pretty much has one road that goes around the entire island including the road to Hana. While there are epic sights along that way, many parts of the road to East Maui are one way with several long stretches of windy bridges that meander through steep cliffs without any guardrails. That being said, just because you’re going 2MPH  trying to avoid death by driving off the cliff’s edge doesn’t mean locals aren’t trying to pass you during their daily commute. Never stop on one way bridges to take photos.  As previously stated in the Maui activities blog, please for the love of God: LET LOCALS PASS.  If a local driver pulls behind you and starts tailgating you, please pull over at the next available stop.  This will save you lots of stress and possibly getting into a road rage incident.


Most of the crime on Maui is typically not super violent. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a shooting or stabbing on the news here like they have on the mainland and on Oahu. We do unfortunately have a lot of petty theft including vehicle theft and break-ins. Do not leave valuables in your rental car where they are visible.  Don’t leave them in the trunk either.  Rental cars have specific barcode stickers on the windows which are easily identified by thieves. Be particularly careful at unattended parking areas like beach parks, remote hiking trails (ie: Twin Falls, Bamboo Forest, the Blow Hole, Etc) or other places where it’s obvious that you will be away from your car for a while. If you see shattered glass on the ground when you pull your car up to a new area, survey says you should consider parking somewhere else. Also don’t leave your valuables unattended at the beach or the  hotel pool as they can quickly go missing and not show up in the lost and found (Anybody seen the White Lotus!)l.


Always exercise common sense and use the buddy system when in doubt. Never swim, snorkel, fish, kayak, stand up paddle, or surf alone in the ocean. Please make sure somebody else accompanies you at all times and has your back.  Be super careful jumping from heights, especially into unknown waters. Maui beaches are infamous for being exposed to frequently changing wind and weather conditions. There are strong ocean currents at many of our beaches as well as dangerous shorebreaks (ie: Makena Big Beach). Always face the ocean while in the water. Never ever turn your back to the ocean and listen to lifeguards when instructed. Pay close attention to the “high surf” and “strong current” and or “shark sighted” signs and red flags when posted on some of the more populated beaches. They are there to protect and advise you of sketchy conditions.


Hawaii’s tourism business brings thousands of visitors into contact with our coral reefs every year. Uneducated and unsupervised snorkelers who inadvertently touch or accidentally walk on living coral reefs can have a significantly negative impact on them over time.  Coral reefs are studied to be one of the most biologically diversified ecosystems in the world. They play a very important role in preserving natural diversity and providing a home to thousands of species of marine life.  One particular species of marine life you definitely do not want to step on is the black sea urchin known locally as Vana. Stepping on Vana can literally ruin the rest of your year.  The puncture wounds on your feet from the Vana spikes will cause severe pain immediately.  It really sucks.  If you step directly on top of a Vana with full force, you can get dozens of jabs in a single step.  Each spike can then splinter deeper and deeper into your skin.  These are next to impossible to remove with tweezers. In addition to the shooting pains from the initial puncture, Vana spikes can also cause severe swelling, redness, and bacterial infections. If the lacerations are more deep, severe long term complications can include muscle aches and pains, and scar tissue in the surrounding areas when spikes solidify themselves in your body.


Due to our close proximity to the equator, Maui’s marvelous weather can sneak up on you, and the tropical sun rays can burn your skin quickly.  Even on an overcast or a cloudy day, you can get roasted if you’re not careful.  This can result in a few days of misery early on in your trip.  Please make sure to wear reef safe sunscreen as many sunscreens contain ingredients that can harm our coral reefs.  The coral reefs on Maui have seen a tremendous amount of damage and coral bleaching because of the chemicals contained in lots of sunscreen. Please do your part to protect and preserve our natural reef and ecosystems for the future generations to come. Please avoid sunscreens containing Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, and Butylparaben


I’ve learned this the hard way over the years.  Be careful staring at people (particularly alpha males) on Maui.  This is taken to be an insult by many.  If you see a man with tattoos all over his face and neck, you might want to look the other way.  This might sound obvious to most, but be very careful making eye contact too long in general.  People don’t appreciate it, and you can get in trouble with somebody you don’t want to fight with before you know it.  If a person confronts you for staring at them, it’s best to just walk away and avoid any confrontation.


Photo courtesy of Dominick Marino: Windy roads down Old Haleakala Highway

If you haven’t ridden a bike for a while.  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.  It’s super sketchy and not worth the risk.  Accidents can easily occur in variable weather conditions. If you’re an experienced biker on the other hand, then you might reconsider this activity.


Our local environment, both on land and in the sea, is super super fragile. Please show respect, and treat it like your kids lived here. It is against the law to take sand and rocks from the beach home with you. It is also illegal and highly discouraged to take lava rocks from Haleakala National Park. IF THERE’S ANYTHING NOT TO DO ON THIS LIST, THIS IS IT.  If you take rocks from Haleakala, be prepared to face the fire Goddess Pele’s punishment.  Year after year, Haleakala National Park gets 100s of boxes of lava rocks returned to them by visitors who shouldn’t have stolen them in the first place.  Letters of apology to Pele often accompany these rocks along with sob stories with references of terrible misfortune in their lives they attribute to the taking these rocks.  This is no joke or wife’s tale. Trust me you do not wanna steal lava rocks from the Haleakala crater.

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 “Top Ten Things Not To DO On Maui When You Visit

  1. I liked your article what NIT to do while visiting Maui! You are right on! Nice job and hope the tourists read this and follow it!

    Mahalo plenty-


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