What are the Top 10 most popular Maui Categories?

Jul 1, 2019 | General Information

As we do on each of the islands, we will give you a ranking here of the 10 most popular Maui activities and Maui tours. This is important information for you, particularly on Maui, because, the activities that are most popular are also the ones that book up first. Many of the activities available here are absolutely remarkable in terms of how soon they fill up. Some luaus are booked a minimum of a month in advance and that becomes even longer during the busy seasons. This also applies to other activity categories as well so this is handy information to know.
Here at Tom Barefoot’s Tours we have checked the archives and reviewed our records over the past 10 years to develop an accurate rating of the most popular activity categories. Below, you will find a list of the top 10 most popular categories of activities and tours on Maui starting with the 10th and working down to the first place ranking.

#10 Inter-Island 1 Day Tours
Now this is a category that really makes sense. This will save you ‘time’ and ‘money’ and allow you to make the very most of your vacation. Many people visiting Maui obviously enjoy it here and love to partake in the activities that are available. So many people however would love to visit other islands at the same time. The number of people who want to visit and pay tribute to Pearl Harbor is enormous as is the number of people who want to visit the volcanic activity on the Big Island. When you take a 1 day tour from Maui to Oahu or the Big Island or Molokai or Lanai you will be able to enjoy seeing the sights you wanted but are able to leave all the tedious logistics behind. In most cases you will simply meet at the Kahului airport early in the morning and be transported to the island of your choice. You will be picked up on the other end and toured to your particular area of interest and returned to the airport in the early evening and returned back to Kahului. No need to make arrangements for another hotel room, another rent-a-car or to spring for an expensive round trip ticket. You do it all in one day and return to your same hotel bed that same evening.

#9 Sunset Sails and #8 Dinner Cruises
Although these two categories are actually different, in many ways they are essentially the same and it is no coincidence the they rank one on top of the other. The only real difference between them is that the dinner cruises include dinner and the Sunset Sails activity and buy discounted tickets” href=”https://tombarefoot.com/activities/cat/sunset-sailscruises/30″>sunset sails or sunset cruises just include drinks and Hawaiian pupus. They are both out on the ocean at sunset time for about two hours and come in as the sun is setting. This is one of the most beautiful times of day on Maui and the views from the vantage point of the ocean looking back on the island are spectacular. In all actuality you will be out between the cluster of islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe. One of the only differences is that the dinner cruises will generally cost more while the cocktail cruises are often enjoyed for the cocktails prior to attending a restaurant afterwards on the island.

#7 Bike Tours
The Haleakala downhill bike rides have been with us here on Maui since the early 1980’s. In all honesty, there has been a large decrease in these tours which began at the start of 2018 and if this rating would have dealt with the time since then instead of including the decade prior as well it probably would not be on the list of the top 10 at all. Like many other places on the planet, some of the special features of the island (in this case, the Crater of Haleakala) were being threatened by the extreme popularity of the event. For many years tours would ascend to the summit of the crater for sunrise and after viewing it would descend on a bike ride down to the coast. The increased numbers of people wanting to attend eventually overwhelmed the capacity of the park itself and limits had to be set. Now days you have to prepare well in advance to take one of these tours but if you are wise enough to have planned ahead you will still be able to enjoy the wonderful experience that made this category of activity so popular to begin with.

#6 Sightseeing Excursions
There is no guesswork as to why this category of activities made the Top 10 cut. For being a relatively small island only 48 miles from tip to tip it contains so much in the way of beautiful sights that just beg to be seen on a sightseeing excursion. The Crater of Haleakala is 10,000′ high and at it’s top you will find an immense crater descending 3000′ deep with a circumference of 21 miles. The topography of the landscape is like the surface of the moon and the tours to see the spectacle of the sunrise here are legendary. If you have a full day to spare you will not be disappointed by a coastline trip along the winding road to Hana. This tropical paradise is filled with waterfalls, streams and freshwater pools at every turn of the road and the jungle is as thick a triple-canopy forest as you could ever imagine. Fresh fruit simply falls from the trees and flowers highlight the roadway in all directions. Tours are also available to visit the Iao Valley, Kahakuloa, Lahaina, Upcountry areas such as Makawao and Kula and there are even very special ‘food tours’ that will guide you through the the rich food traditions of the many different people who make Maui their home.

#5 Snorkeling Lanai
Maui has many different snorkeling areas but one of the very most special is off the coast of its neighbor island of Lanai. The eight mile trip across the channel to Lanai is beautiful and in the winter time is filled with whales. Once you arrive at the eastern coastline of Lanai you will be treated with the longest continuous reef in the state and these mostly remote snorkel spots will allow you to enjoy the pool all to yourselves. Aside from beautiful reefs and colorful fish this is also the home of pods of spinner dolphins who inhabit the coastline in the hundreds. If it is an ‘ocean day’ you are after, a day at Lanai should be at the top of your list.

#4 Helicopter Tours
Fully 80% or so of the island of Maui can only be seen from the air. You have no idea how much acreage lies inland of the roadways which surround the island’s coastlines. In many places, trying to walk uphill from the roads will only put you into an impassible jungle. From your first moments in the air in a helicopter you will for the first time realize the enormity and the remoteness of the island. You will be able to see seemingly endless miles of jungle with riverbeds, waterfalls, inland pools, streams and more and more foliage. As far as the eye can see you will not be able to locate one house, one road, one car or one person. This is the real Maui and this is where our helicopter tours will take you. Have you ever seen a 3000′ free falling waterfall? This could be in your future on one of our fabulous Maui helicopter flights.

#3 Zipline Tours
Here’s some excitement for the thrill seekers. It was only after the turn of the century when the first zipline came to Maui (it was actually the first zipline in the United States). Since then we have become the home to seven or eight different zipline courses. Their is a zipline course for almost everyone. We have those that are suitable for children. We have ziplines that fly through the canopies of the forests. We have ‘double ziplines’ that challenge you to race against your partner. We have ziplines with amazing views. We have ziplines that will take you two-thirds of a mile at a crack. We have ziplines that fly 600′ above the ground and we have ziplines that will jet you down the mountain at speeds often in excess of 50 miles per hour. Yes, Maui is just made for your zipline fantasy and that is why it clocks in at the number three position.

#2 Molokini Snorkel
The small crescent shaped island of Molokini, just four miles off the coast of Maui, is a spectacle all on its own. It is officially referred to as an underwater ‘caldera’ and is one of only three such ocean filled formations on the planet. The sharp edges of this perfectly round crater just peek above the surface of the ocean and create the perfect ‘tea cup’ shape for coral, fish and sea life to live in. This fantastic snorkel spot is a protected underwater sanctuary and the area above the water is a protected seabird sanctuary as well. The best time to visit is going to be in the morning when the ocean conditions are ideal. There are a number of vessels that will take you there so you have your pick so long as there is availability which is something we often run short on. Do you want a large boat, a small boat, a power boat, a sail boat, a double deck boat or a raft? Regardless, we have the one that will be just right for you.

#1 Luaus
It is often said that Maui has the very best luaus in the state. That very well might be true based upon the rate at which they fill up. We have one luau that is booked a month in advance throughout the year and much longer during the busy seasons. Many of our luaus are offered on hotel grounds and we have one that limits its guests to just about 200 which is likely the smallest commercial luau in the state. If you are staying on the west side where you will find Lahaina, Kaanapali and Kapalua or if you are staying on the south side in Kihei, Wailea or Makena, you will have a luau within a couple miles of your location. Think about booking your luau early. Remember, the luau is the most popular category of activity on Maui.