One of the first things to expect on your Maui vacation is the variable weather conditions. Although the island is just 727 square miles, it features plenty of microclimates. The reason why is because within that relatively small range of miles, you can go from sea level to an elevation of 10,023 feet at the summit of Haleakala. Not only that, but the presence of the West Maui Mountains adds even more dynamic to the weather patterns of the aptly nicknamed Valley Isle.

Overall, the weather on Maui tends to be pleasantly warm throughout the year, because the ocean acts as a temperature buffer that helps prevent excessive heat and cold. It also helps that Hawaii is closer to the equator than any other state in the nation. That is, if you enjoy warm weather. The waters around Maui are so hospitable that humpback whales consistently show an overwhelming preference for its southern and western coastlines in the winter months when they come to breed and give birth to their offspring.

Aside from these general qualities, many visitors have found themselves surprised by five minute spates of rain thrown down from relatively blue skies near the North Shore, or by the freezing cold temperatures at the summit of Haleakala at night. If you enjoy sightseeing, you’ll want to know the basic weather trends of Maui, so you can avoid any inconvenient surprises.

Before we plunge into the weather patterns of various areas, it’s important to know that the winter months tend to be the wettest, thanks to the prevailing trade winds that come from the north. For reference, winds coming from the south are known as Kona winds. Wetter months tend to arrive around mid-November and persist until late March. Of course, this varies year to year, and it’s also worth keeping in mind that any part of the island can get rainy or crystal clear days in the winter. Now, let’s talk about typical weather patterns in specific areas.

1. If you’re looking for the warmest, driest conditions on the island, you’ll find them in South Maui, which gets the lowest rainfall and provides many miles of gorgeous white sand beach, along with a number of outstanding snorkeling spots. This area includes Kihei, Wailea, and Makena, in that order as you proceed south, down the coastline. When the trade winds are blowing from the north, this is one of the last areas of the island that those winds reach. This also means that the waters along this coast are protected from the swells that come with the trade winds. When the much less prevalent Kona winds come from the south, conditions are windier and the water is choppier.

2. West Maui tends to be almost as dry, and includes Lahaina, Ka’anapali, and Kapalua, in that order as you head north along the coast. The further north you get, the more likely you’ll get some rainfall. Kapalua, which is the most northerly of the group, tends to be the greenest of the three, but you have to go quite a bit further north to find rainforest. Because the trade winds tend to come from a northeasterly direction, you’ll find calm waters off these shores, unless a Kona wind from the south is kicking up the swells.

3. Central Maui tends to be dry, but Kahului is close enough to the North Shore that rain clouds will sometimes get blown in by the trades. Above Kahului, on the lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains, you’ll find Wailuku, which features a lush landscape and frequent showers. Clouds regularly gather at the peaks above, fed in part by the humidity of the jungle environments that are established in that area. The rain tends to form its own cycle at this location.

4. North Shore Maui features regular showers, particularly in the winter months. They often consist of no more than drizzle, coming and going suddenly, which makes this part of the island a great place for rainbows. The regular but inconsistent rainfall is owed to the trade winds, which bring storm clouds to North Shore before they get to the rest of the island. That is, if they get to the rest of the island. Although the elevation of the North Shore is low and not much of an obstacle, these clouds will often drop their rain there and dissipate as they move inland, away from the ocean humidity that formed them. Some of the island’s finest surfing locations are found here because of the swells delivered by the trade winds. In fact, the North Shore is considered by many to be the windsurfing capital of the world because the conditions are so ideal for the sport.

5. Upcountry includes a wide variety of microclimates because it describes several areas on the slopes of Haleakala, facing Central Maui. Toward the northern and rainier side, you’ll find Makawao, with Olinda perched above it. In the middle, there is Pukalani, with Kula up above, both of which tend to be dry. Last but not least, on the south side, you find Ulupalakua, which tends to get little rainfall, unless the less prevalent Kona winds bring storm clouds in from the south. Another distinct quality of the Upcountry areas is the pronounced temperature change that you’ll discover as you climb in elevation. You’ll find the air cooler and less humid the farther up the mountain you go. At the top of the mountain, temperatures can reach freezing levels at night in the winter. Even if you visit the Crater during the day in summer, you’ll want to wear some layers. The air is not only cold, but thin at about ten thousand feet, so be careful not to overexert yourself.

6. East Maui is dominated by Hana and a rainforest microclimate. The trade winds bring storms not only to the coast, but up against the slopes of this remote side of Haleakala. Hana can get around 80″ of rain per year, but those levels fluctuate quite a bit depending on the location within this expansive area of the island. When traveling from North Shore Maui to East Maui, you’ll pass through Haiku, which is another of the rainiest regions of the island, thanks again to the trade winds.

We hope that this handy guide will help you prepare for the weather conditions that you might encounter on Maui. It could also help you decide where you want to find accommodations, and areas where you might like to try some Maui tours and activities. Our Maui ocean tours operate from Lahaina Harbor, one of the calmest, sunniest locations on the island. As for questions about our tours, you’ll find our contact information at the top of the page if you need our assistance. Mahalo!

Hawaii’s marine life comes in a rainbow of colors, from the black and yellow hues of our butterflyfish to the red and blue tints of our parrotfish. These vibrant creatures keep guests coming for our Maui snorkel tours time and time again. Their flashy colors wouldn’t exist without the sunlight, and all its various wavelengths bouncing around and reflecting back at us. But what happens in the dark? Light can only penetrate to 656 feet into the ocean. Now, consider that the average depth of the ocean is about 14,000 feet. You can just imagine how much of the ocean’s residents live in complete darkness. Well, almost complete darkness. As it turns out, glowing marine life is more common than scientists originally thought.

Based on some recent discoveries, scientists have found that an incredible three-quarters of marine animals create their own light, which is known as bioluminescence. On April 4, 2017, a study published in the journal Scientific Reports helped to quantify how many species are capable of producing light.

It turns out that the majority of sea life can glow, including jellyfish, squids, worms, and many others, not just the popularized angler fish that lures prey with their little flashing lights. Scientists are also starting to look more carefully at which species are bright versus dim. Most are subtle with their glow, which made their abilities easy to miss, especially given the limitations of many camera types. Also, when you’re in an environment with no outside light source, a little of your own goes a long way. Most of these creatures are careful with their light levels, because they don’t want to attract predators by being too flashy. In fact, many can turn their lights off when they’re feeling cautious.

One of the most fascinating aspects of these recent discoveries is that the researchers found that bioluminescence included approximately 75 percent of creatures across all layers of the ocean, not just the deeper waters. This was just as surprising to scientists as everyone else, because it was commonly assumed that deep dwellers were more likely to glow. Since their research has only been performed in Monterey Bay, off the coast of California, there’s always a chance that the percentages will shift as more locations are studied around the world. That being said, if depth isn’t a factor, we may soon find out that the vibrant Hawaiian marine life that flourishes in our coral reefs is a little more brilliant than we thought.

The study found that the largest of these¬†bioluminescent creatures were the jellyfish and siphonophores (like the Portuguese man ‘o war). In fact, 99 percent of the species in those groups were found to produce light. As if people didn’t find jellyfish mesmerizing enough! The biggest share of the glow found specifically between 4,920 feet and 7,380 feet actually came from marine worms. Below 7,380 feet, around half the bioluminescent organisms were larvaceans, free-swimming little filter feeders.

Another exciting part of the study to consider is that bioluminescence may be able to help marine scientists estimate the number of animals in the deep ocean. Once they find out the proportion of animals that glow, they could possibly measure the brightness of the surrounding bioluminescence to estimate the total number of individuals in the area.

If you happen to be a fellow marine life enthusiast and you want to learn more, you can read about the study published in Scientific Reports. In the meantime, we hope to see you aboard one of our Hawaii snorkeling tours.

Maui is a wonderful place for a corporate retreat, especially if you want your employees to know that they deserve something special in terms of a destination. It's tough to top Maui in terms of enjoyment, and that's a big factor that helps boost your other activities, such as team building exercises. In the mix, there are fabulous accommodations, balmy temperatures, unparalleled natural beauty, and of course, the activities. That's where we might be the perfect fit for your needs.

Although we do normally book many small groups per outing on our tours, we often accommodate private Maui ocean tour activities. We've done sunset dinner cruises for weddings, snorkel tours for big groups of families and friends, and we have many options for tours that include groups visiting for corporate retreats and conferences. Booking an ocean activity provides a wonderfully intimate group setting where everyone gets to have fun in the moment while strengthening working relationships and sometimes networking.

With that in mind, consider a few possibilities. A private Molokini Snorkeling Tour, a private Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise, or a private Maui Whale Watching Tour. Have your own creative tour idea in mind, or looking for a specific kind of outing? Give us a call, and we'll work out the details to find out if we can make it happen!

Do some people in your group get seasick? We operate out of the scenic Lahaina Harbor in West Maui, where the waters are often remarkably calm when the weather is pleasant, which it usually is. Not only that, but our boats were specially designed with stability in mind. Their size is another asset in terms of a smooth ride. For example, our Maui Princess, a 120' yacht, is the largest boat operating in Lahaina.

We have the capability to provide the smoothest ride off Maui's coastlines and to accommodate more guests than many of the other tour companies. Our fleet includes the Maui Princess, Kaulana of Maui, Lahaina Princess, Prince Kuhio and Molokai Princess. With so many delightful crafts to choose from, you're sure to find one that suits your needs. In terms of availability, it helps us if you book as far ahead of time as you can. That way we can avoid issues with scheduling. If you have any questions about our tours, private or no, you'll find our contact information at the top of the page. We would be happy to assist you! Mahalo!

A Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise for Your Easter Holiday

Undecided on your Easter Sunday plans? If you're going to be spending your holiday here on the island, it's true you'll find a long list of choices, but what could be better than a Maui dinner cruise at sunset aboard Lahaina's biggest yacht, the Maui Princess? Not only is she the biggest, but also designed with state-of-the-art technology to provide you with the smoothest possible ride, so you can take in the flaming sunset views and enjoy your delicious dinner while gliding serenely through the glassy waters off Lahaina's coastline.

You'll be seated at one of our all premium upper deck tables where you can enjoy the views to the fullest and soak in a whole new perspective on the majestic West Maui Mountains. Our menu options currently include your choice of one of the following four entrees:

  • Prime rib (carved on board)
  • Roasted chicken
  • Macadamia nut encrusted mahi mahi fillet with buerre blanc sauce
  • Vegetarian patty with marinara sauce

The following sides will be included:

  • Garden salad with croutons & papaya seed dressing
  • New potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Dinner rolls
  • Cheesecake with seasonal fruit glaze

After you enjoy your sunset dinner, a myriad of twinkling stars will begin to appear in the sky, along with all the dazzling little lights of Lahaina, and the neighboring islands. This is when the live music tends to inspire dancing, helped along by our full bar. Three alcoholic beverages are included with your trip with a valid photo ID, but you can purchase more for $4 – $6 each if you choose. Just make sure to plan for safe travel back to your accommodations!

Speaking of travel, if you're coming from South Maui, we recommend giving yourself an hour to get here, just to be safe. If in West Maui, we recommend giving yourself a half-hour for driving. To simplify your plans, you may want to see our Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise page for details on our courtesy bus service in both the South Maui and West Maui areas. Check-in time is from 4:45 to 5:00 p.m. daily. Currently, if you book online, you can save 10% off your ticket, which comes out to $80.95 per adult.

Don't forget that we operate out of the lovely Lahaina Harbor, adjacent to the Front Street Banyan Tree. That means that you can plan to explore the many charms of Lahaina Town before your cruise. You'll find delightful boutiques, colorful art galleries, and fascinating museums and historic sites all around, not to mention the tranquil ocean that runs along this delightful beach town. We should have you back in the harbor by 8:00 p.m., so you may still be able to do some exploring afterwards, depending on the day you choose to take the cruise with us. We hope you have an unforgettable evening aboard the Maui Princess! Mahalo!