Known for its breathtaking beaches and tropical landscapes, Maui is a beautiful island and the second largest one in Hawaii. Unfortunately, a recent wildfire has swept through West Maui, destroying thousands of acres of land and devastating a large population of locals. While many tourists had gotten the message of staying off of the island as a sign of respect during the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Maui officials and locals alike are now asking visitors to return to help boost their economy. US Senator Brian Schatz took to social media to clarify that Maui is not closed off to visitors. He also encouraged everyone planning trips to Maui to push through with their plans and those wanting to visit to consider exploring the Southern parts of the island.
If you are one of these people on their way to visit Maui, be sure to remain mindful by respecting locals who have been through this tragedy. Below is a guide on simple ways you can observe this mindfulness for the culture, the environment, and the people during your Maui trip.
Being the second largest island in Hawaii, having reliable transportation is a necessity to be able to navigate the area. Luckily, renting a car at Maui airport is very accessible for visitors. It is also highly recommended as car rentals are customizable depending on the visitor’s needs, whether smaller economy models or larger SUVs and vans. Additionally, all-electric vehicles such as Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf, which do not create tailpipe emissions, are available for those who want to take advantage of a greener option and help preserve Maui’s environment. Through the simple act of utilizing this business’ services, you are not only provided with value-for-money transportation throughout your stay, but you are also helping Maui’s economy by bringing in revenue and keeping people running the business employed.
When looking for hotels or vacation rentals in Maui, be sure to research whether they are implementing eco-friendly practices. Many of these accommodations, such as Maui Coast Hotel Kihei, are working to reduce their carbon footprint through various ways such as using solar power panels, investing in energy efficiency appliances, providing free bicycle use for guests, and many more. Staying at these eco-friendly hotels and vacation rentals will help you offset your own carbon footprint from travel. In addition, be mindful of how you behave in your accommodations—from conserving energy by switching off appliances that aren’t in use to reusing towels and avoiding having them replaced daily. Alongside this effort, you can also pack sustainably and avoid fully relying on hotel amenities like water bottles, straws, and tissue rolls by bringing your own.
Dining in Maui’s diverse culinary industry offers plenty of opportunities for visitors to show mindful supportiveness. Choosing locally-owned establishments on their own greatly helps with Maui’s economic growth and lets visitors enjoy authentic cuisine and delicacies. Additionally, many local restaurants, such as the Hali’imaile General Store and Pacific’o on The Beach, feature Hawaii’s farm-to-table movement. This is a thriving movement that emphasizes the use of locally sourced ingredients. It has become even more important in the aftermath of the wildfires, as it supports local farmers and ensures a steady supply of fresh ingredients for restaurants. On top of choosing these establishments, you can leave positive reviews of their restaurant on food sites, share your pleasant experiences on social media, purchase any available gift cards for future use, or even simply tip generously.
Besides its scenic tourist spots, Maui is home to a variety of cultural activities available for people of all ages. Support their culture by purchasing traditional craft products like kapa kilohana (decorated barkcloth), kāhili (featherwork), and lauhala (braided leaves), or learning about the Hawaiian tattooing practice (kākau). Visiting cultural sites like Iao Valley State Park and the Hawaiian ancient temples is also a great way to immerse in some of Maui’s best spots while learning more about its rich cultural heritage. By participating in these activities, you can ensure that these cultures are appreciated and live on. On top of this, it will also promote cultural tourism and provide economic upswing. However, you must do your part in researching beforehand, being mindful of signs when visiting cultural sites, and respecting any other rules set by either your guide or the site itself.
Want to head somewhere else after your Maui stay? Check out our article about Kauai, the “Garden Isle” of Hawaii, and discover more breathtakingly beautiful places for you to visit.