There is a collective sigh of relief after a year of hardship for the vacation industry in Hawaii. While some countries continue to restrict tourism, Hawaii now has welcomed back a thriving visitor industry. The freedom to travel has opened the gates for those businesses reliant on island visitors and vacationers are celebrating long awaited air travel to paradise. Tour operators are reporting high demand while activities such as luaus and boat trips are continuing to operate at a reduced capacity. These tours are consequently sold out months in advance.
The Maui Bucket List
Maui offers endless possibilities for every age, ability and vacation vision. While some dream of a vacation spent under the shade of a beach umbrella, others seek adrenaline and unique adventures. It’s all possible with some forethought. Snorkeling Molokini or a romantic sunset dinner cruise are a few of the must do Maui activities. If you don’t want to miss out, or just want to skip the disappointment of a sold out reality, it is time to start making reservations for Hawaii now. The Open Table app is a useful tool in booking dining reservations and an activity specialist can help to find the best deals on available excursions.
Post Pandemic Activities
Many small businesses on Maui did not survive the shutdown of 2020. Others were able to survive or even found the opportunity to expand operations. New activities to try in Hawaii now include the Maui Chocolate Tour in Lahaina. Guided cacao farm tours and chocolate tastings offer an indulgent ‘farm to bar’ journey at the state's largest chocolate factory.
Looking for something more adventurous? How about rappelling down a waterfall in the rainforest? Rappel Maui is a unique, exciting and adventurous experience located in a lush valley in Haiku (transportation provided).
I asked an Activity Specialist what their absolute favorite tour is and without hesitation the answer was the West Maui/Molokai helicopter tour. There is simply no better way to take in the incredible beauty of the island in a short amount of time. Due to the fact that the Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanoes, sharp ridge lines dominate the majority of land and development is confined to valleys and flat coastlines. Much of the island can only be viewed from the air and a helicopter tour offers the ideal vantage point.
Testing Requirements and Mask Protocol
Rental cars are in high demand with low inventory but there are other ways to get around. Many tour operators in Hawaii now offer transportation and the ease of sightseeing without navigating.
As of June 15, 2021, travelers in Hawaii now are not required to do pre-travel testing or quarantine for COVID-19 when traveling between islands so you are free to roam between 8 major islands. Don’t discard your mask just yet, as they continue to be required on planes, at airport terminals and inside business establishments. While outdoors, the only mask you’ll need is one with a snorkel attached. Beach rentals are a necessity, as is snorkel gear for underwater adventures.
All travelers are strongly encouraged to get a voluntary post-arrival test 72 hours after arriving into Maui County. The second test is completely free to travelers, who provided a pre-departure test.
Other travelers (those not vaccinated in Hawaii) can continue to bypass quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test result from a test taken from a trusted partner no more than 72 hours before beginning the final leg of their trip. Anyone without a negative test prior to departure must quarantine upon arrival. The negative test result must be uploaded onto Safe Travels or printed out prior to departure and hard copy in hand when arriving in Hawaii now.
For up to date Covid testing and mask requirements, visit HawaiiCovid19.com.
Planning in Advance
Whatever activities you have on your to-do list, it is crucial during this time to plan your vacation in advance with the help of an activity specialist. Boss Frog’s Hawaii recommends reserving your vacation activities at least two months prior as they are seeing more visitors than ever and limited availability in Hawaii now. Another tip from the experts? Catch the sunset 45 minutes late for that tropical red sky best paired with a cold mai tai.