A destination that has it all, from great food to exceptional coastlines and sunsets, Maui is an unparalleled vacation spot for celebrating romantic occasions or a simple getaway. Travelers visiting the Valley Isle during the COVID-19 pandemic can continue to make lifetime memories discovering its outdoor attractions safely and sustainably.
Starting Your Getaway at Your Hotel
Maui has several top-notch hotels that offer an array of experiences for travelers of all ages and types. Looking for a mix of adventure and intimacy during your stay? At the Sheraton Maui Spa and Resort, one of our hotel partners where guests can earn HawaiianMiles and enjoy special deals, its location and amenities complement the island’s natural beauty. The 23-acre resort sits at the end of the famous Ka‘anapali Beach with mauka (mountainward)-to-makai (oceanward) views property-wide, beachfront dining options, a relaxing spa, top-of-the-line snorkeling, cultural activities and more.
Tetsuji Yamazaki, the hotel’s general manager, explained how his staff carries out their pledge to health and safety throughout the guest experience:
“At the Sheraton Maui, we are adhering to Marriott International’s Commitment to Clean - our elevated health and safety protocols. With health and safety a top priority for us, our Commitment to Clean includes many standards such as reduced capacity in elevators, frequency of cleaning and disinfecting, with a special focus on high-touch areas like elevator buttons and handrails,” Yamazaki said. “Also, there are hand-sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas and signage to remind guests to maintain social distancing. In our lobby and other public spaces, we have installed plexiglass partitions at the check-in bays and bell desks, for example. In addition, we have made numerous operational adjustments…and of course, face coverings are required by everyone throughout the hotel – both employees and guests."
Preparing for your Adventure
Though we love relaxing on the beach, we recommend renting a car to experience Maui’s natural beauty, postcard-worthy spots and small towns. If that's the route you go, our car rental partners like AVIS have adopted stringent health and safety protocols to keep drivers safe as they adventure the island. (Please visit your selected rental car company’s website for the latest COVID-19 protocols and updates.)
While sightseeing, we ask all of our guests to recognize their kuleana (responsibility) in respecting the ‘āina (land) and kai (ocean), the people, and the culture of Maui. This means always wearing a mask in public and the presence of others, especially when social distancing may be difficult, reducing your use of single-use plastics, picking up your ‘ōpala (trash), and observing safety and educational signs at all sites. These best practices help us protect and preserve the many wonders of the Hawaiian Islands. Please familiarize yourself with and follow Maui County’s latest COVID-19 protocols.
Diving into Maui’s Oceans
Those with strong sea legs can venture beyond their hotel's shoreline and experience Maui’s tropical waters. Various ports house a variety of eco-tour businesses worth exploring, including PacWhale Eco-Adventures, the commercial subsidiary of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation. One of our employee's favorites, the company offers opportunities to see wild marine life from a safe and respectable distance, and tours, from sunset sails to snorkel adventures, that engage guests in its conservation initiatives.
To keep tour participants safe, the company's protocols include staggered boarding, temperature checks upon check-in, a mask requirement, reduced onboard capacity to maintain safe distancing, and more. All profits raised from its tours fund critical research, educational programs and initiatives to conserve Maui’s rich biodiversity and ecosystems.
Exploring the National and State Parks
Plan to wake up early at least one day and drive up to Haleakalā National Park for an extraordinary sunrise adventure. Haleakalā, meaning House of the Sun, is the largest dormant volcano in the world with a crater that offers unrivaled views and terrain, ranging from Mars-esque dunes to vast open fields of wildflowers in the warmer months. Arrive by dawn on a clear morning to catch the sun peeking over the crater walls and colors that spread across an endless sky. (Reservations, made up to seven days in advance, are required for all sunrise visits.)
Outdoor lovers may explore the park and spend the day trekking the crater’s trail system. All visitors to this Native Hawaiian site should respect native species and restoration areas.
When planning your visit, we highly recommended you monitor the weather to avoid dangerous conditions and bring warm clothing as summit temperatures can dip below freezing. With the public’s health in mind, the park has temporarily closed various facilities such as campgrounds, cabins and visitor centers. Visitors must wear a face mask when near others and keep it close by throughout their entire stay.
Joining Haleakalā on East Maui’s list of natural gems is Wai‘anapanapa State Park, a 120-acre site with rich blue waters that contrast with black sand beaches, lush greenery and native forests. While the park is closed for camping due to COVID-19, visitors can still wander the park with their masks on and social distancing in mind, lay a blanket in its open areas, and take in broad views of the rugged and historic coastline. Be cautious when ocean conditions are rough and observe all posted safety signs.
“Visiting one of Hawai‘i’s incredible state parks should be on everyone’s itinerary. But for us to keep these sites safe for everyone, we ask all park visitors to do their part by social distancing and wearing a mask when around others,” said Dan Dennison, senior communications manager at the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Keep it Simple and Support Local
If keeping a simple itinerary is your preference, grab food to-go from a local restaurant and enjoy a picnic on a beach or park. This easy and safely distanced activity is best enjoyed at sunset and is another opportunity to support Hawai‘i businesses!