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Do’s and Don’ts for Tourists: UPDATED

Hāna Highway Mile 10 Falls. PC: Hāna Highway Regulation / Maui Now graphics

*7/10/19 – Updated

*6/27/19 – We’ve updated the list with a couple of suggestions from our readers, thank you for participating. We will continue to add any helpful and well-thought out tips to this list, mahalo.*

In light of Maui ranking highly on yet another top ten destination [1] list, as well as having a number of visitors who have been getting lost [2] or into trouble [3] out there lately, Maui Now thought it might be best to put together a Do and Don’t list for the 2 million tourists a year with whom we share our islands with:

  1. Don’t swim alone. Research shows that drowning and being attacked by sharks [4] have one thing in common: Victims are usually swimming alone when it happens. Use the buddy system and decrease your risks in the water.

2. Do take precautions when you go hiking [5]. Bring water, a first aid kit, a fully charged cell phone and let your hotel concierge know where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone for. Also remember to check if flash floods are imminent because otherwise you’ll get trapped behind rapidly rising waters [6].

3. Don’t stop in the middle of the road to take a picture. Hawaiʻi has most of the same parking laws as the rest of the country, and that includes not blocking traffic [7] with your rental vehicle. Tourists heading to Hāna are infamous for this when they stop in the middle of an already narrow highway to take a picture of a waterfall. The second worst offenders are tourists who stop traffic in West Maui to take a picture of whales.

4. Do be respectful of locals fishing and diving. Many residents fish and dive to supplement their food supply and for sport. Please if you see fishing lines or dive floats/flags in the water and do not disturb them.

5. Don’t disturb sea turtles resting [8] on our beaches. Whether it is the green sea turtle, which is listed as a “threatened” species, or the less common Hawksbill sea turtle [9], which is listed as an “endangered” species, both should be left alone. For more information contact the state Division of Aquatic Resources.

6. Do practice aloha while driving and restrain from honking your horn at others on the road. You may not like the reaction you get. (Hāna residents are exempt from this if visitors continue to ignore tip #3.)

7. Don’t turn your back on the ocean. One minute you’re posing for a picture and the next minute you’ve been knocked over by a wave and eating sand. Or worse. Always respect the power of the Pacific [10].

8. Do keep an eye out on the weather. June to November is Hurricane Season in Hawaiʻi [11] and this year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a more activity than usual [12].

9. Don’t ignore danger. Obey any warning signs posted, if you see a lifeguard ask them and be mindful of your physical limitations. For example, if weren’t a strong swimmer before you came to Maui you probably won’t be able to magically swim better when you get here. Use common sense.

10. Do pay a visit to our locally owned family stores and not just the shops and restaurants at your resort. Fukushima Store, Kaohou Store [13], Tasaka Guri Guri [14], Sam Sato’s [15], Pukalani Superette [16] and Takamiya Market are not just places to shop they are a part of island history. Komoda Bakery [17] for example has been in operation on Maui for more than 100 years.

11. Don’t leave trash behind. Our beaches and hiking trails are very well used and that means sometimes trash cans are overflowing with garbage faster than maintenance can keep up. Bring your own trash bag just in case and leave the ʻāina (land) in better shape than you found it.

12. Do stay off of private property. You might want to turn around if while hiking you see a “no trespassing” sign. You could also be on private property if you see a sign that says “Kapu.” (The word refers to the Kapu System which forbade certain things in ancient Hawaiʻi but nowadays it usually means “get outta here.”)

13. Don’t try to drive around certain parts of the island. There are certain areas in Kahakuloa and Kīpahulu where there’s only room for one lane of traffic, and if you do end up grill to grill with another vehicle someone is going to have to reverse back until they find enough space to let the other vehicle pass by. To make matters worse, you’ll usually be trying to drive backwards without accidentally steering off a cliff and and tumbling into the ocean. Sound a little dangerous? That’s the point.

14. Do realize that some areas are more dangerous than others. Kaanapali Beach is beautiful but there’s a dangerous ocean current that can get swimmers into trouble if they’re not careful. Big Beach in Makena has a shorebreak that can cause serious injuries. Do your research beforehand and keep yourself safe.

Anything you would like to add to this list? Write down your suggestions in the comments below.