How does the unique geography of Maui provide a special platform for Maui Activities and Maui Tours?

Apr 12, 2022 | General Information

Maui County (which includes the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai) has a unique geography that allows the activity industry to offer a unique set of Maui activities and Maui tours. Many islands will offer the same types of activities but each island is of course different. Maui really has some special circumstances that provide for very special experiences that are not available on any other island.

The Crater of Haleakala
Haleakala is the largest mountain on Maui and it rises 10,000′ above the sea. At the very top of the mountain you will find an enormous crater that descends 3,000′ and is 21 miles in circumference. Inside the crater you can view a series of cinder cones that create an amazing lunar landscape. Just seeing this spectacle is amazing in itself and we have numerous sightseeing excursions that will take you there for the view. The most amazing time to see it is at sunrise when you will see every possible color under the sun shimmering in rays descending through any wisp of cloud that may be hovering above. The same site can be seen on one of the bike tours we offer that take you to the top to view the sunrise. They will then descend to the park headquarters at the 6500′ level where you will mount a bike and coast down the mountain to the sea. Helicopters also will take you to see the crater but not quite as early as you will want to view all the Maui sights in the daylight hours. Hikes will also take you into the crater on 6 or 7 hour tours that will really put you in the middle of the ‘crater experience’.

One of the most famous locations on Maui is the area called Hana which occupies the eastern coastline of the island. This is an area of ‘triple canopy’ rainforest so dense that you would have a difficult time walking through it without a machete. Tropical trees, plants, fruits, flowers and scents abound and come to life amidst hundreds of waterfalls, streams and fresh water pools. The road to Hana is chiseled out of enormous cliffs that descend straight down to the sea and this windy road slowly snakes its way over a total of 52 one lane bridges. It takes a full day to visit there by car and return but we offer quite a variety of sightseeing excursions which will take you there and explain everything about the history, flora, fauna, geology and any other question you may have. Helicopters are also another great way to visit this area and truly allow you to see the enormity of the Hana region which cannot fully be seen by any other means of transportation. If you do not see it from the air, you will only be able to view it from the perspective of the road along the coastline. If you are interested in hiking in this area we have tours for that too and if you are really adventurous we have tours that allow you to rappel down the middle of a waterfall.

The Humpback Whales visit Maui every year during the winter months. They make the long journey all the way from Alaska and they spend there days mating, calving and ‘having fun’. They do visit all of the islands in the Hawaiian chain but their most popular spot is Maui. Maui County is composed of the islands of Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe and Maui. They are all essentially the very peaks of a great underground volcano that rises tens of thousands of feet from the ocean floor and are separated at the very top by shallow channels of water that are no more than about 600′ deep. These channels provide the perfect locations for the whales to ‘hang out’ as they are protected ‘by in large’ from the open sea. During the months of December, January, February, March and April you will be able to see these magnificent mammals from any one of the dozens of whale what boats that you will find here. During these winter months, this is the most popular activity on the island and because of Maui’s unique geography this is the very best island to see them on.

Another interesting geological feature of Maui County is the small crescent shaped island of Molokini. This is an extinct crater head that peeks its head up just above the ocean surface ascending from the shallow seafloor just off the coast. The island is located just four miles out of Maalaea Harbor and it provides the perfect opportunity to snorkel at a truly exotic location. Morning is the best time to go as the ocean is at its calmest and we have dozens of boats of all varieties that will make the journey to take you there. These half day tours will take you to visit the coral formations and plentiful fish found in the caldera and often they will also take you to visit another location just off the coast of Maui where you will be able to see turtles.

As mentioned above, the island of Lanai is one of the islands of Maui County located just 8 miles west of Lahaina on Maui. The entire island at one time was owned by the Dole Pineapple Company and for decades it was the sole source of income for its residents. It was the perfect growing climate for them as they were grown at the top of the island at perhaps 1000′ elevation. There is fairly limited rainfall on the island and the rest of the island is arid with many beautiful beaches along its perimeter. Today the island has a couple ritzy hotels and a beautiful golf course. We have tours that will take you from Lahaina on Maui to the island to snorkel at its underwater marine reserve at Manele Bay and some of them will provide a short sightseeing tour to the top of the island to visit Lanai city which was the hub of the island during the era of the pineapple plantations. Without question however, the most popular tours found here are the snorkeling tours that cross the channel from Lahaina to the eastern coastline where you will find the longest expanse of uninterrupted coral reef in the state. All manner of boats will cruise the distance to enjoy the beautiful snorkeling to see many species of fish but also turtles as well. It is likely that you will see dolphins off this coastline also and some of the tours we have go out expressly just to spend time with the dolphins. This of course is also a favorite hangout for the famous Humpback Whales during the winter season.

Molokai is also an island of Maui County and it also lies approximately 8 miles off the coast of Kapalua on Maui. The people of Molokai love there privacy and there are few activities that we offer there. The main tour we provide is an air tour from Maui that will take you to Father Damien’s famous leper colony which is found on its north facing coast on the beautiful Kalaupapa Peninsula. This was the area, in the late 1800’s where Hawaii residents who had contracted the then incurable Hansen’s Disease, or leprosy were taken an put into isolation so as not to infect others. The primitive conditions found there at the time were very hostile and difficult until the priest from Belgium, Father Damien, came to dedicate his life to seeing that they had a better life. The story is one of sadness, tragedy and great courage and today we have fantastic tours departing from Maui that will take you on an amazing ‘flight seeing’ tour of the gorgeous north coast cliffs in route to a landing at the airstrip at Kalaupapa. This 5 or 6 hour tour will then show you the sites of the peninsula including Father Damien’s church, the old hospital and residences on the island. This area was one of great tragedy but also an area of amazing beauty and you will leave with a profound respect for the work that was done here years ago by Father Damien. Another fantastic tour we offer on Molokai is not on the island but ‘over it’ in a helicopter. Some people believe that the northern coast of Molokai with it’s ‘highest falling waterfalls’ descending thousands of feet to the ocean below, are the most beautiful helicopter flights that Maui County has to offer.