Maui, Hawaii

Category: Travel

Life in our new COVID-19 reality

Aren’t these strange dystopian times we are currently living in? It is so surreal that the entire world is facing this same COVID-19 crisis at the same time. We here on Maui are fortunate to face social distancing and school closures in the tropics instead of say in winter-bound Edmonton. Maui itself has two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at this time.

The Governor of the State of Hawaii asked two days ago for a 30 day halt to travel to the State of Hawaii to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help slow the demand on our healthcare system. He is however unable to stop flights from arriving, that would be something the federal government would need to decree. All cruise ship stops are currently halted for 30 days (ships can refuel and resupply but noone may disembark).

Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino announced new public health emergency rules for Maui County effective this Friday March 20th at 7:45AM. As I read it, restaurants and cafes can still serve take-out (no dine-in), public attractions are to close, the Road to Hana (together with all its roadside stops) is closed with exception to local traffic (all tours including private drivers are halted). Grocery stores, convenience stores, banks and others will remain open per the article.

If you are on Maui, do read the article. Beach parks remain open, sounds like golf remains available. We are encouraged to go outside and exercise, just maintain social distancing.

the view from the Kihei Surfside hallway this afternoon. A little overcast.

What does this all mean for your Maui booking?

First, we and our condos are still here. The condos are being well-cleaned and sanitized and are ready for guests. After a busy winter season Sig is tackling some of his maintenance projects. And did you hear we replaced a number of our mattresses last month?

If you have booked your Maui vacation rental with me, please contact me directly. I have reached out to all our guests arriving through end of April to discuss the terms of your contract and reschedule your stay.

For all non-Airbnb guests, if you have a balance payment due, please contact us before making your final payment. If you are more than 60 days away from your arrival, you can still cancel and get your deposit back subject to the terms of the rental agreement. We certainly hope that travel will again be possible in the next few months.

What does this mean for us?

Well, as with everyone else in our industry we are currently experiencing many cancellations/reschedules. We will continue to pay our cleaners even for the cancelled cleans to help them remain financially afloat. We very much look forward to COVID-19 settling down and the world becoming more stable again. And we look forward to welcoming you here on Maui for your next Maui trip! Hopefully in one of our beautiful Maui Oceanview Condos.

In the mean time, one would hardly believe it’s high season. In the past two days I’ve twice been able to easily turn left from Keonekai onto South Kihei Road at the unregulated intersection. I wonder just how slow it will get…. Hopefully not for long, our tourist economy will be hurting for a long time.

Safeway update – well stocked, except I noticed there was no rice, no pasta and little fresh meat available. I did not check for toilet paper.

Comment »

Corona Virus Concerns

revised March 14, 2020

You have been busy planning your Maui trip! This is an exciting time! Please browse our Maui blog for trip ideas.

Yesterday President Trump announced a 30 day ban on travel from European Union countries with the exception of US citizens in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. It is bizarre to think this is happening.

Maui is not a port of entry for travelers from any of the higher risk parts of the world (Asia or Europe). While we understand some guests are hesitant to travel due to Corona Virus, at this time the State of Hawaii has not issued travel advisories.

At this time there have been two presumptive positive cases of Corona Virus, both on the island of Oahu. Both patients are in quarantine. As of March 14th, it has been announced that two tourists arrived on Maui with symptoms, continued to Maui where they tested positive.

If you have tested positive to Corona virus or are experiencing symptoms, please do not travel.

Kamaole 3 beach
Kamaole III Beach

We highly recommend guests purchase trip cancellation insurance and all our guests have initialed and agreed to our cancellation policy in their rental agreement. If you have purchased trip cancellation insurance, please double check if it includes ‘cancel for any reason’ insurance. To my knowledge this is the only policy that will issue refunds for trips cancelled due to Corona Virus.

We do not specifically endorse any trip cancellation insurance company as we have not ourselves had any experience with having to cancel a trip and collect. Again please carefully review the terms of your policy.

You are welcome to contact us for further information on your Maui trip. We look forward to welcoming you to Maui!

Comment »

How do you fold up those beach chairs?

my Tommy Bahama beach chair – sadly not at the beach!

You’re probably wondering what this title is about. If you’ve been to Maui, you’ve likely seen people struggling with beach chairs. They are so convenient to have and quite comfy to sit in. But when it comes to folding them up…. there is a trick to it.

Here is a little how-to video on how to fold up the Tommy Bahama beach chair as sold at our local Costco. These are convenient backpack chairs with a little cooler compartment and an additional bag to store other stuff in. No, they are not theft proof, please never leave anything of value unattended at the beach.

Once you are ready to fold up the chair, the trick is to stand behind the chair. You stand on the cross bar, lean over the chair and lift on both arm rests simultaneously. The chair will easily fold up, making it so much easier to carry and store.

Please, before you bring the chair into your rental car and/or the condo, knock off all the sand. Sand is corrosive not only to the chair itself, but also really beats up the condo flooring and closet tracks.

What other beach gear do we provide at our condos?

Each of our Maui Oceanview Condos is outfitted with 2-4 beach chairs, 1-2 boogie boards (please, use at your own risk), one beach towel per person and a cooler. Sometimes other guests will leave beach umbrellas behind, so before you go out and buy one, check the beach gear closet. However, they have a tendency to fly away unless drilled properly into the sand, so we do not provide them.

Not staying at one of our condos?

Before you run out and buy a beach chair, check your condo. They may provide them. If not, these run about $34/each at our Costco in Kahului. However, then you have chairs to dispose of at the end of your trip. You could also check with a nearby snorkel or activities store. Often you can rent them.

Comment »

Kahului Airport rental car tram

Just under a year ago the new rental car facility opened at Kahului Airport. I’ve been admiring it and the new rental car tram every time I drive to and from the airport, but to date I’ve not had the opportunity to check it out. When I arrive on Maui, I’m coming home – and as such I haven’t rented a car on Maui in nearly ten years.

Yesterday I had to pick my husband Sig up from the airport. I left home early with intention of going for a tram ride. Unfortunately the kids are too old to want to go, but once a boy mom, always a boy mom 🙂 It’s a train ride after all!!

You can check out my blog post from last year for info on the car rental facility. But here’s my report from last night.

I parked near the train house and since I had just missed the tram, I opted to walk to the rental car facility. The signs said ‘8 minutes’, but it seemed shorter. Of course, I didn’t have any luggage in tow and I was the only one walking. It’s a nice partially covered walk which will be handy for shade in the daytime and should it be raining.

As you get close to the facility, the ramp goes uphill – not a problem if riding the tram.

The lobby sure is nice. And I particularly like the old fashioned clock. The tram is reminiscent of Maui’s sugar cane train history.

tram
the car rental arrivals facility

Here’s a short video I took getting into the tram at the car rental facility

How was it?

Ok, it was fun. I enjoyed my little adventure. The ride itself isn’t terribly smooth, the cars jiggle and swing around a bit, but totally fine. The car was empty, I think I had just beat the rush as there were both an Alaska Airlines and Westjet flight arriving when I got back to the terminal. If our kids were still little, I’d pick a quiet time, park in airport parking and take them for a tram ride. I got off the tram with a big smile on my face. Yes, several people were hanging out at the OGG arrivals station – they clearly thought I was a little crazy. No matter.

Comment »

Maui for Christmas

Christmas is the busiest time of year here, with many visitors choosing to come to Maui for Christmas.

Here are some tips when planning your Christmas vacation.

Book your condo early.

Did you know, three of our five condos are already booked for Christmas next year? Don’t despair – many condos on Maui still available for December 2020. However, the planners plan, and in order to have good selection to choose from, start the process about 9-12 months in advance. DO check the cancellation policy and do purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Book your rental car early.

Seriously? Yes. Car rental agencies on Maui always run out of cars late December/early January. This is despite the fact that they ship in extra cars (you can often see them lined up in fields near the airport). Do not plan on ‘just getting a rental at the airport’ this time of year as you may end up out of luck. This happened to our Palms at Wailea guests a number of Christmases ago.

Rental car rates do fluctuate wildly throughout the year. Book something now and then check back regularly to see if you can get a better price (see this blog post for details. It’s from 2015 but the principles still apply).

Line up your flights.

I’m not sure when the best time to buy flights is as we never travel over Christmas. However, from what I’ve been told, airlines usually release seats about 300-330 days in advance. I have seen airlines have seat sales closer to peak times (though I don’t remember noticing Christmas seat sales). I often shake my head thinking there is no way people will find a hotel or condo last minute to match up with the good airline prices. You could take your chances and wait and see if there are last minute deals and hope you can line them up with your condo rental (condo rental dates are typically inflexible), but personally I’d not leave my flights up to chance. You could end up with a beautiful rental and very expensive last-minute flights to get to it.

Then, sit back, enjoy knowing you will be on Maui for Christmas next year, and enjoy this Christmas!

It’s a little different….

When we first moved to Maui over nine years ago, we were prepared for different. After all, Maui for Christmas is just going to be different from ‘freezing rain and cold for Christmas’ which we always had on the West Coast. I remember being in awe of poinsettias planted in outdoor flower beds. And palm tree trunks wrapped in Christmas lights. And a distinct lack of Christmas lights on homes (power is expensive at 35 c/kwh so many just don’t decorate with lights). And having to run our air-conditioning at Christmas.

I’ve gotten used to the lack of a white Christmas. In fact, I love sitting on our lanai for our traditional Christmas Eve pupus (appetizers), with the railing wrapped with Christmas lights.

Comment »

New Car Rental Facility at OGG

It’s finally time – time to unveil the new car rental facility at Kahului Airport (OGG) here on Maui! Work began 3 years ago in April 2016 and according to the Maui News article construction is now complete. The new facility is scheduled to open May 15th. It’s been a long time coming.

Most airports I’ve traveled to have those handy car rental facilities that you walk to directly from the terminal. Currently here on Maui you catch a shuttle which then takes you to an off-site rental car location – it’s just a short 2 minute drive at most. It’s been fine. But on the off chance you can’t get the car you want at your agency, you then have to walk a ways to the next car rental company to see if they have one.

The new car rental facility is very lovely looking. Honestly, they have added some neat Hawaiian features to the building, I think it looks great. But the best part about the new facility are the two old-style sugar cane train trams that take you from the arrivals area to the new rental car facility. The old sugar cane plantation days may have come and gone here on Maui, but it’s a neat nod to the island’s history. I’ve also seen an old-style clock at the rental car terminal. I just may need to check it out next time I pick up friends/family from the airport.

By the way, no, you don’t have to take the tram. If you’re going to departures, it’s not that far a walk – just across the street. And you could just walk from arrivals too. In fact, after the long flight, it may feel great to get out and stretch a bit. Depending on the time of day, sleepy kids and amount of luggage you have with you.

Kahului car rental
the new ‘sugar cane train’-style tram cars (photo taken in September 2018)

Maui’s sugar cane history

Sugar Cane plays a significant role in Maui’s history since it’s commercial introduction to the island in 1848. Several sugar cane plantations and mills popped up around the island. Owners brought in workers from China, Japan, Puerto Rico, Korea, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia and Scandinavia. It was a hard life, but these people settled, started families and their descendants make up a significant portion of the island’s population today. Check out the Maui Sugar Museum across from the last remaining (now abandoned) Sugar Factory in Kahului. The last sugar cane crop was harvested in December 2016.

Comment »

Canada’s new marijuana laws and the United States

Effective October 17th, 2018 marijuana will be legal in Canada. I haven’t paid much attention to this news story as neither Sig nor I are interested in drugs. It’s been over 8 years since we left Canada moving to Hawaii – and so while we peripherally monitor Canadian news, a lot of it doesn’t necessarily affect us.

However, if you live in Canada, please be aware that while numerous states within the US have legalized cannabis, it is still very much a federal offense to be in possession of or use cannabis. There could be serious consequences at the border.

Also note, marijuana is NOT legal in the State of Hawaii. We do have medical marijuana permits, but you need a permit specifically from the State of Hawaii to use medical marijuana here (out of state, and out of country are not accepted).

Again, I have NOT researched this, but highly recommend you do well in advance of crossing the border into the US (and coming to Hawaii). Even though now legal in Canada, using marijuana (in Canada or the US) could have serious consequences (including denial of entry) at the border. What a bummer to find out enroute to your vacation!

Here is an interesting and informative article by the LA Times.

Comment »

Kahului Airport Car Rental Construction

A few weeks ago I was at Kahului Airport to pick up friends from their mainland trip. If you’ve had to park at the airport in the past year and a half, you will know it’s been a bit of a gong show. Parking has been cut up to 50% percent during the construction of the new car rental facility. Parking has always been a bit tight, but it’s been extreme with people creatively parking where they shouldn’t, making the parking lot even tighter than it should be. The past few weeks it has eased up, as the airport has re-opened former parking spots. Thank goodness!

What are they doing exactly?

The car rental facilities at Kahului Airport have always been off-site, with arriving would-be-renters having to catch car rental company specific shuttle buses to get to their rental counters/car pick up locations. In April 2017 construction began on a new joint car rental facility along the airport road just before you get to the terminal. There will be a solar-powered monorail line with carts that continuously run to and from the terminal, shuttling passengers back and forth. Cool, right? We can’t wait for it to be completed!

Kahului car rentalTwo weeks ago when I was at the airport I got a good shot of one of the new monorail cars which is already parked on the monorail line. Very cool. Unfortunately I have not been able to take a picture (yet) of the new car rental facility – there is just no place to pull over safely and take a picture. But it is looking really good.

From what I can find online, this project isn’t set to complete until next May, so you’ll have to wait to actually check it all out. But I for one am glad that there is an end in sight for this Kahului Airport construction project.

Flight Tracker Apps

By the way, if you are meeting someone at the airport and wondering where their flight is at, or wondering where that plane overhead is going, there are neat flight tracker apps available. I like Flightradar24 on my iPhone (I have the free version with ads). You can search by flight route, or look at certain spots on the global map. It is really cool. Check it out – what flights are tracking to your location right now?

Kahului Airport
this was our friends’ arriving flight – showing their flight route. Click on any of the airplanes or even helicopters for more information about them.

Comment »

June 2-9 Cancellation Special!

I just had a call from a guest who needs to cancel his June 2-9, 2017 booking at our beautiful Maui Kamaole I-103 condo!

Maui Kamaole
Welcome to Maui Kamaole I-103

How about a Maui getaway? We just renovated this condo this past fall. It is an over-sized one bedroom, two bathroom condo. California king bed in the bedroom and a queen Murphy bed (the kind that hides in the cabinet) in the over-sized living. No need to sleep on a pull-out couch!

Sleeps 4 guests.

$160/night plus $135 cleaning and 13.417% tax. Minimum stay is 4 nights.

Call 808-281-7934 to book, or send me an email!

Comment »

Active Volcano Tour on Big Island

I know, this is a Maui blog, but sometimes people ask – where do you go on vacation? This weekend I took my kids to Big Island (the Island of Hawai’i) to see its active volcano Kilauea from a helicopter! What an adventure!

Hawaii’s volcanic history

The Hawaiian Islands have been created by the movement of the Pacific (tectonic) plate over a hot spot in the crust where lava erupted and formed volcanoes/islands. Of the inhabited islands, Ni’ihau is the oldest volcano remnant, then followed by Kauai, Oahu and Maui Nui (Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Kaho’olawe). Big Island is comprised of five volcanoes – Mauna Kea is the tallest (13,796 feet) and is considered dormant. It is home to the world’s largest observatory. Mauna Loa (13,678 feet) is still considered active, with its most recent eruption in 1984, streaming towards (but not reaching) Hilo. Check out this schematic which explains it well.

active volcano
Creation of the Hawaiian Islands

The active volcano

Kilauea is Big Island’s newest (above ground) volcano. It holds the distinction of being the world’s most active volcano, with non-stop activity for the past 33 years. That’s right – there has been something going on here for the past 33 years. Sometimes active lava flow, sometimes just rumblings. For the past year it has had an active lava flow, ‘gently’ making its way down and reaching the ocean.

We booked the Circle of Fire helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian. Seeing the volcano from the air was amazing. We started by checking out Rainbow Falls (in Hilo), then flew up along the most recent lava flow from Mauna Loa (from 1984) to Kilauea crater where we saw plenty of steam and some red hot lava!

active volcano
Birdseye view of Kilauea crater (with a flash of orange lava)

Then off to the Pu’u O’o vent where we saw more lava and from where currently lava is flowing (under a black crust) to the ocean, creating new land as it goes.

 

active volcano
Lava meets the sea where the steam rises) – you can see newly formed landmass in the ocean

Blue Hawaiian’s staff in Hilo was very professional, the helicopter clean and in good condition. I would very much recommend them. In fact, this is my second Blue Hawaiian tour – check my blog about my West Maui Mountains and Molokai helicopter tour with them.

A few thoughts…

In the past few years Big Island has torn up several hurricanes, drenching the Puna district, but tearing the hurricanes apart and shifting them away from Maui (we are so thankful). I somehow envisioned these mountains to be visually more impressive, maybe more mountainous. But it turns out, just like Haleakala, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea have gentle slopes which makes their size very deceiving (especially Mauna Loa). They are shield volcanoes, their shape has to do with the composition of the lava that flows out (see here for a better explanation).

active volcano
approaching Big Island by airplane from Maui – those mountains don’t look that impressive…

Recommendations

Initially we were only going to fly to Big Island for the day. However, someone reminded me that Hilo is on Big Island’s rainy side… what if the helicopter ride was cancelled due to weather? Yes, they will reschedule, but when flying over only for the day, you don’t have much flexibility. We opted to spend the night in Hilo which allowed us to explore the National Park on our second Big Island day. Turns out our flight day was perfect with blue skies. Day two was rainy.

Here is a short (blurry) video clip of the activity at the crater taken from the Jaggar museum outlook.

Admission to Hawaii’s national parks is $20/car with re-admission for one week. We chose to buy the 3 park annual pass for $25 which allows us to check out all three of Hawaii’s national parks (including Haleakala here on Maui).

Comment »
1 2 3 7