So you’re finally on your way to Maui. First things first: Great choice! Maui is home to some of the highest ranking beaches in the world, miles upon miles of coral reef, vibrant sea life and even a dormant volcano. But don’t just marvel at this island’s beauty, take advantage of the opportunity for some serious ocean fun.
You’ve probably already started your bucket list for Maui and we’re guessing you’ve already thought of some obvious must-do’s. A mecca of surf culture, Maui’s beaches are a magnet for surfers and windsurfers, whether you’re a seasoned pro or taking your first lesson. If extreme sports are not your thing, don’t panic. There are many other exciting ways to get up close and personal with Maui’s glistening waters.
Stand Up Paddle
A little-known alternative to surfing, you may never have heard of SUP! Also known as Beach Boy Surfing, stand-up-paddling has its roots in ancient Hawaii. Popularized by Waikiki’s Beach Boys, these surf instructors used to stand on their longboards and use a paddle while taking pictures of surfing tourists. With a quicker learning curve than surfing, this sport is quickly gaining popularity worldwide. On an SUP board, you can explore Maui’s gorgeous coastlines and catch small, gentle waves all while getting a killer workout on your core stabilizing muscles. Surf schools all over Maui offer lessons as this emerging sport is catching on like wildfire.
Snuba—is that a typo? Actually, snuba is a hybrid of of two popular ocean activities. Neither fully snorkel nor fully scuba, snuba tries to find a happy middle ground between the two. Your breathing apparatus is attached to a long hose leading to the raft above, so unlike snorkeling, you won’t be restricted to taking repeated breaths of air at the surface. Without the inconvenience of having to carry an air tank, this means that you can spend more time underwater hanging out with the fishies – no diving certification required! Many Maui boat tour companies offer excursions to amazing underwater destinations such as Molokini, under the watch of expert snuba instructors.
If you’re looking for a way to discover Maui’s sea life in a low-impact, environmentally-friendly way, sea kayaking may be the option for you. In addition to providing great exercise, sea kayaking is also a wonderful way to take in Maui’s beautiful coastal scenery. It is also a great mode of transportation to take you to popular snorkel destinations such as Makena Landing (Turtle Town), where you can come up close and personal with Hawaii’s beloved green sea turtles. Paddle along breathtaking sea cliffs in Pali, and a colorful coral reef home to hundreds of underwater species. In the wintertime, sea kayaking is the most intimate way to glimpse whales migrating to Maui’s warm waters.
Ocean rafting adventures in Maui are an invigorating way to discover its remote coves, sea caves, shipwrecks and lava arches. These inflatable crafts are no luxury ride, so be prepared to feel the sea spray – you’re in for an exciting high-velocity, bumpy ride! On these exhilarating excursions, your Captain will battle the swells and sometimes you may even go airborne. Ocean rafting is not for the faint of heart, but for those seeking a thrill, they’re a blast. Spinner dolphins, flying fish, and an array of other exciting marine life often make appearances alongside the raft. Hold on tight, you’re in for an exciting ride!
What better way to wind down your trip than with a serene sunset cruise? Maui’s sunsets are famous for a reason—an explosion of color in the sky, they offer a stunning backdrop to take the best photos of your trip. It is no coincidence that so many couples opt to get married in Maui, as nothing spells romance like the glow of dusk. Sunset cruises on catamaran or large vessel depart from Lahaina and Maalaea Harbors, and there are sunset dinner sails by sloop that depart from beaches such as Kaanapali. Once the winds have died down, it is the perfect time to enjoy delectable cuisine, champagne and mai tais as you glide along Maui’s calm evening waters.
So, you see—there is much more ocean fun to be had in Maui than traditional surfing, and many activities that you may not even have heard of before! Don’t refrain from giving some of these a try…after all, the best time to try something new is on a pressure-free vacation! Whether you prefer to kick back and relax or get right into the action, do not try to resist Maui’s magnetic waters.
About Roxanne Bichard: A Montreal-based travel-blogger, Roxanne writes for Luxury Retreats, an elite travel broker specializing in luxury Maui vacation rentals. A world traveler, she has glimpsed everything from camels to belugas in the warmest and coldest of climates, but has a soft spot for Hawaii.