(UPDATE: SO SENSITIVE! This is not an “us or them” stance. There are unconscientious people both visiting and living here. This post was written for those that treat our land as a disposable playground. Let us know how you feel in comments, and we’ll get back to you. ALOHA to ALL!!!!)
Many visitors to Maui get ready for paradise by shutting off their brains and pretending anything goes on our island. Yes, this is one of the most beautiful and welcoming places to visit on the planet, but that doesn’t mean you can be careless or disrespectful.
We’ve listed 16 things we see bad tourists doing every day on Maui.
This is a no-brainer. Bring your ALOHA and you’ll get it back. If you don’t, understand that even though this is paradise, we have problems too. Some people are unhappy and grumpy, just like everywhere else. Smile and move on.
Use crap sunscreen that kills the reef
BUY REEF SAFE SUNSCREEN! If you use anything else, it will float off your skin and kill our reefs. This is a really big deal. Please also let it soak in before getting in the water. There’s little point to putting sunscreen on then jumping in the water immediately afterwards.
Drive like a mainlander
Let people merge in, be prepared for others to let you merge in, drive the speed limit, beware of pedestrians, and don’t honk! We don’t use the horn in Hawaii unless there’s imminent danger. EXCEPTION: Driving through the Pali tunnel between Maalaea and Lahaina. That really ought to be mandatory, seeing that it’s fun.
Let your kids go wild
Discipline doesn’t go out the airplane window once you’re on vacation. Don’t let your kids run amuck just because they’re also on vacation. You can ruin other people’s hard-earned trip as well as upset people who live here. It’s a peaceful place, and your kids should do their best to be conscientious, which starts with you!
Leave valuables in a rental car
Theft is a problem everywhere, and when you’re visiting a popular tourist destination (even if it’s in the rainforest), keep your valuables either on you or at your hotel. There are 3-4 pretty standard rental cars on Maui, and every resident knows which cars are tourists. If you leave your bag in view, your window can get smashed and your goods taken for good.
Bring Maui home
You’ll undoubtedly find beautiful shells, coral, rocks, sands, and other goodies worth taking home. You may not think taking a handful of sand from a big beach will amount too much loss, but consider the almost 3 million other tourists that come each year. If you all do this, our beaches become rocky shores. Plus, you don’t want to end up like the Brady Bunch. Bad joo joo.
Attempt to speak pidgin
Just don’t. It comes off as patronizing.
We see this everyday. ESPECIALLY from smokers. Don’t leave your chemical-ridden butts on the ground. Clean up after yourself. That can of Coke can be recycled. Our landfills are limited.
Tip like crap
We find that a lot of people tend to tip poorly, even when they get good service. It could be that visitors feel they won’t be back to that restaurant ever again, so why not save a few bucks? Or you could be from a country that’s not used to tipping. Well, many people survive on this expensive island from their meager tips. It’s hard enough to get by with average tips. If your server does a great job, 20+%. If they don’t do a good job, tip less.
Plan too much
“Let’s do the Road to Hana, Haleakala Crater and make dinner reservations for our first full-day on Maui!” No, you’ll end up hating yourself, driving dangerously, and upsetting everyone around you. It’s too much. Enjoy this island in a leisurely manner.
Drink and Drive
Alcohol is synonymous with vacation for many visitors. That’s fine, but plan ahead and get rides or stay close to home. There’s already too many bad drives on this island, adding intoxicated ones brings the annual death toll up.
Move to Maui and live in the bushes to do meth
Too many people feel that if they hit rock bottom, moving to Hawaii will fix everything. It won’t. You’ll just be poorer. It’s an everyday challenge to have empathy for these people who do meth and live in the bushes. If you’re prone to poor choices, deal with it at home and get help.
Ride a Turtle
If a green sea turtle comes up to you when you’re swimming or snorkeling, check it out without crowding it. If you swim to the turtle, you’re looking at fines and pissed off locals. If you try to ride it, there’s a good chance you can kill it. Keep your distance and enjoy these beautiful creatures calmly.
Rent motorbikes or scooters and drive like an idiot
Yes, you can legally ride without a helmet. Many people find this follicle freedom luxurious… until their scalp is being scraped off the pavement. Just because we rent scooters doesn’t mean you should drive them on the Pali at night. Use your head!
This is a big problem. We still have some guidebooks that tell you to go where you shouldn’t. There’s so much to see on Maui without having to trespass. So much can go wrong, including dangerous situations like rock slides, flash floods, and angry locals.
Treat the ocean like a big safe swimming pool
Every time we go to Big Beach (Makena Beach), we watch at least a few tourists getting JACKED by the shore break. Because the water is pristine and perfect, people assume it’s safe. We’d love to get a record of spinal injuries per year at Big Beach. And we also see people going snorkeling in big surf. Bad idea. You won’t see anything good and you’ll likely drown. And then there are people that swim too far out without notifying anyone only to find themselves drifting out to sea.
Hike off trails
A little different from Trespassing above. You’ll find many parks that have great hiking trails, and even though it’s a park and totally legal, if you go off trail there are many dangers. Flash flooding is a real thing. People die. Stick to trails with signs.
Hopefully you’re not “that guy” and you behave on your vacation. What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.