This is the season of giving, sharing and spending time with family and friends. Even though Maui’s COVID-19 numbers have remained relatively low, how do you go about planning a vacation in the middle of a pandemic? Many of us have cancelled trips and vacations, and been physically separated from distant family members for most of 2020, and everyone wants to be safe.
This holiday season does not have to be all doom and gloom because of COVID-19—it’s just time to take a new view on celebrating. This includes safe gathering and also staying connected while choosing not to be together.
If you have decided to travel to Maui in this special six-week holiday period through the New Year, we have some great tips. It may be different, but still a vacation to remember. It’s 2020 holiday story with a twist!
Fun Holiday Ideas During COVID-19
You won’t be gathering shoulder to shoulder at an event or activity, but you can still have fun. Here is a list of what you can do during Maui winter holiday trip.
Go on a boat trip. A few of the larger boat operators have worked out how to safely take guests snorkeling or diving by reducing capacity allowing social distancing. Maui Classic Charters, Pride of Maui and Pacific Whale Foundation are just three of the larger snorkel boat operators. Lahaina Divers is the premium scuba dive operation on the island that goes to the most dive sites. Once stationary on the boat, you can remove your mask if you choose, and enjoy fresh air and a scenic tour passing distant islands. Then, jump in the warm Maui waters and explore the underwater realm.
Due to the State limiting boat passenger capacity, advance recommendations are strongly recommended.
Take an outdoor tour. Nature and wildlife are great to explore in Maui’s diverse microclimates. Visit a Maui Butterfly Farm in West Maui, or Alii Kula Lavender in Upcountry Maui. In South Maui, you can rent a kayak or go on a scenic guided tour. Or pump up the adrenaline a on a Northshore Zipline tour.
Tour by Car
Partway to Hana. Many are asking visitors to avoid driving all the way to Hana town in order to protect Maui’s enclave of indigenous people and a community with limited health resources. However, there is a fun trip part way, and you don’t have to get up early. Stop in Paia for lunch at the Fish Market or Milagros. Further down the road, make sure to pull over at Ho’okipa and watch the surfers, or if the wind is up, windsurfers. You can walk down to the lower parking lot and see a Green Sea Turtle nesting ground. However, please admire from a distance and don’t tread on the nesting grounds. It is against the law, and hey, turtles need their undisturbed beach time too. Your destination is Twin Falls, where, as the name implies, you can view two waterfalls (weather permitting). It’s an easy hike, but flip flops are not recommended. Don’t forget to patronize the Twin Falls Farm Stand—this is how the people that live on the privately owned grounds can afford to keep the area maintained and open to the public.
Drive Upcountry. Some of the most stunning views are on a drive to Ulupalakua to visit Mau’s Winery. Even if you don’t imbibe, the journey and bi-coastal views are worth the trip. The winery has a mini museum of the history and culture of the area, which was the playground of Hawaiian royalty. Intertwined is the paniolo (cowboy) culture of this still working ranch. Across the street is the Ranch Store, where you can munch a buffalo burger, homemade soups or other delicious fare. Stop on the way back for a refreshing beverage and clay-oven roasted pizza at Kula Lodge (reservations recommended), another spot with stupendous views, wonderful grounds with tropical flowers and plants, and a great gift store across the parking lot.
For an alternate or add on journey, travel all the way to the top of Maui and explore the rim of a volcano at Haleakala National Park. Note reservations are required if going for sunrise.
Hit the Beach
Of course, what most people come to Maui for is our beautiful beaches. Check out our rundown of favorite beaches, and don’t forget your reef safe sunscreen!
Take it outside. Right now, it’s safer to gather outside in the fresh air than inside. This works out great if you are staying in a Destination Maui Vacation condo! In addition to each unit having an outdoor Lanai, there are also barbeque areas. Or, you could make individual packed meals and head to the closest beach park!
Keep your distance: Everyone at the gathering should maintain at least six feet of physical distance from anyone they don’t live with. Put down beach towels and chairs strategically to maintain the 6 feet of distance. Remember the keiki (kids)— they’re not used to physically distancing, so you may need to help them.
Remember not to kiss, hug or touch each other while gathering. There are safer ways to show your aloha right now!
Keep it small: Gatherings to five people or fewer are ideal. Maui County’s strict gathering limit of 10 persons is strictly enforced, not just by law enforcement, but also by concerned residents.
Serve food safely: Instead of setting out food family style or passing it around, have one-person plate meals for others and don’t share utensils. This minimizes the number of people who are nearby and handling the food.
A great option for vacationers is to order food for pick up or delivery that arrives as individual servings, eliminating both the need to cook and to handle food. Easy peasy!
Masks are required: Hawaii’s slogan is, “if you have to ask, wear a mask.” However, you are not required to wear face coverings In your condo, car or a few other instances. Here are a some recent clarifications which will make vacationers happier.
Face coverings are not required:
- While outdoors when physical distance of six feet from other individuals (who are not members of the same household/living unit/residence) can be maintained at all times.
- When persons are stationary and adequately separated, such as occupying a pool lounge chair, beach chair, or towel; however, face coverings must be worn while walking to and from the pool or beach area.
Face coverings are required:
- In public indoor spaces, except when eating, drinking or smoking.
- On sidewalks, hiking trails, and in parks and similar areas, unless actively engaged in strenuous outdoor physical activity, provided adequate physical distancing is both possible and practiced.
- In any open-air or partially open mall, marketplace, lobby, atrium, or similar facility.
- Where specific facility rules, such as for sports, bars, and restaurants, are established.
Chose your favorite video call platform, and connect with distant loved ones over the holidays. Use Santa Club to book a video conversation with Kris Kringle. The $50 experience includes up to three children and even allows you to keep a recording of the video.
Generally, wherever you come in close contact with others requires a mask. Maui has a high level of compliance, and don’t be surprised if you are reminded to put on your mask.
You can have a great time on your Maui vacation as long as you keep a positive mindset, be careful about your gathering choices and mask up when around others outside your household. Welcome to Maui!