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Maui Canyoneering Waterfall Rappelling Tours

Meet us out on the famous Hana Highway in the Puohokamoa Valley. We’ll hike a quarter mile through the rain forest to the top of a ridge above a 300-foot-deep valley. Our first rappel is down a 60-foot cliff for practice, and you may do this more than once, depending on your group and tour. Then we’ll rappel down 30- and 50-foot waterfalls. There will be opportunities to swim beneath the waterfalls. During most of the year there’s wild fruit to eat along the trail.
One guide at the top of the cliff makes sure you begin the rappel safely. At the bottom of the rappel we have a second guide who belays you. That means that (s)he can control your descent if necessary and stop you at any time or guide you gently to the bottom if necessary. Your guides’ first priority is your safety. The exit is a 300-foot ascent up a steep, but well-built trail. You should be in good condition to participate in this trip.
Wrapped snacks and bottled water are provided, as well as changing rooms and bathrooms near an overlook down the canyon to a panoramic view of the ocean.

For more information or reservations please call 808-270-1500 or chat with us online.

Road to Hana: Motion Sickness Concerns?

faqs about rappel mauiBecause its reputation is infamous, the Rappel Maui staff is often asked about the long and winding Road to Hana. 

How twist-y and turn-y is the Road to Hana? And will I get carsick during the ride?

For the most part, the Hana Highway is just a normal highway as it wends its way from the busier town of Kahului (where the OGG airport is), to the crunchy hamlet of Paia, where the sign says, “Do not feed the hippies.” The views become more wide open as the highway traverses the North Shore, past the surfing, windsurfing and turtle rest stop attraction of Ho’okipa. (Ho’okipa means“hospitality” in Hawaiian.) Onward are some sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean from higher elevations, but the Hana Highway does not truly become that infamous Road to Hana until after the mile marker reset to zero at the corner of Hana Highway and Kaupakalua Road in Haiku. 

Why Does the Road to Hana Get So Much Publicity?

At the Twin Falls fruit stand, or approximately mile marker 2, the Road to Hana scenery becomes more jungle-y and lush, but the twists, turns, switchbacks and one-lane bridges don’t come along until about mile marker 5.  This is also where you’ll want to take in the roadside beauty.  There are miles of bamboo, the ocean, waterfalls and rainbow eucalyptus trees. (No one painted them, we swear.) You’ll also notice that the road makes it impossible for the driver to focus on anything but the road, so be aware that the driver will miss some of the views. You’ll arrive at the site at about mile marker 10. That means the drive is particularly motion-worthy for about 5 miles of your journey, as you can see on the map. map of road to Hana to Rappel Maui activity site

It’s a slow-motion trek once the curves begin, both because of the narrow lanes and the habits of visitors trying to get a glimpse of a roadside waterfall while driving. If you’re prone to carsickness, stock some chewy ginger candies, to help with nausea. They are also just plain delicious. 

To speak in more detail about the drive to and from the activity site or the Road to Hana, please call or use the online chat function to talk story about making your tour the best part of your visit to Maui.  Or check out these other related question and answer posts to learn more. 

Best of Maui by the Numbers

Maui No Ka Oi: “Maui’s the Best”

Why Maui is Number One (and a Lot of Other Numbers)

If you read travel-related media, you’ll find that Maui consistently ranks high for “best of” categories. In fact, it spent 20 years at the top of Conde Nast Traveler’s Best Island in the World list. Here are some numbers of all kinds about why Maui is one of the greatest travel destinations in the world.

Ranked No. 1, Travel & Leisure, for Top Island in Hawaii

Ranked No. 5, Road Affair, for Most Beautiful Island in the World

The island of Maui has 10 of the world’s 13 climate zones.

12 of the more than 300 reviews at TripAdvisor, mention the cookies we serve for dessert during the picnic lunch

Ranked No. 14, Travel & Leisure, for World’s Best Islands

Ranked No. 15, US News & World Report, for Best Honeymoon Destination

Ranked No. 38, The Flight Network, The World’s Best Once-in-a-Lifetime Journeys

There are 600 turns in the road on the famous Hana Highway–You’ll experience about half of it before reaching the activity site

Call 808-270-1500 to ask about your own number one adventure on Maui. We’re open 7 AM to 7 PM, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

What Will the Weather on Maui be Like Next Week?

The Weather Forecast is: Who Knows?

It’s very common for us to receive a phone call or a chat request from someone who says, “My tour is next week, and the forecast calls for rain.” A shrugging-type response is common. While it may be true that the forecast calls for rain, it doesn’t mean much to locals. That’s because, for the most part, your run of the mill online weather forecast for more than a few days in advance will not be accurate. Most reporting that isn’t island-specific is reporting weather that’s happening in some vague, central location, like an airport that is nowhere near your destination. The truth is, there is no way to make an accurate prediction of island-wide weather on Maui more than a day or two in advance. And even then, there have been lots of times when a “100% chance of rain” brought nothing but sunny skies and vice-versa. Why is the Hawaii weather forecast so tricky to predict? For starters, it’s a tiny spit of land surrounded by surrounded by deep water–big water, ocean water. There are somewhat reliable weather patterns around the island, but large or severe weather systems moving along the Central Pacific are, literally, hit or miss on the huge Pacific canvas.

Weather Trends Based on Micro-Climates

With the exception of periodic unstable weather patterns and cooling or rainy fronts moving past the islands from offshore systems, there’s a different kind of local weather forecast based on the island’s micro-climates. The western shores of Lahaina and Kaanapali are usually sunny, with winds picking up late morning. The southern shores of Kihei and Wailea are usually hot, dry and sunny. The north shore gets the lion’s share of the wind, and Haiku is where most of the north shore rain falls. As you travel the windward (north-northeast) side of the island toward Hana, the weather becomes increasingly wetter.  The summit at Mount Haleakala is usually very windy and at least 15-20 degrees cooler than the coasts. In fact, there’s ice or snowfall at the summit each winter. Kula, Makawao and Pukalani are at higher altitudes, and lie within the volcano’s rain shadow, which means they enjoy cooler temperatures and less rain than the north shore towns.

Will it Rain in the Rain Forest?

In a word, yes. The Rappel Maui activity site receives at least a little rain every day. It’s what keeps the waterfalls flowing and the landscape green. It’s the reason we operate rain or shine. When heavy rains or prolonged rains cause the waterways to flood, we stay out of the direct flow of the stream, and use rappel stations that are a safe distance from high or swift water. The more severe the flooding, the farther away we get from the stream.  Unless we’re expecting a tropical depression or storm, we probably won’t be able to tell you exactly how much rain there will be in the rainforest more than 48 hours in advance of your tour. The El Nino and La Nina years can sometimes make weather patterns more predictable. Because of the nature of the Rappel Maui activity, along with the activity location, the activity is very rarely cancelled due to severe or dangerous weather.

Island Topography and Geography

Maui’s land features are the main determinates for most of our weather patterns.  What most visitors don’t understand is that, while the island is relatively small, each one of the Hawaiian Islands has a collection of micro-climates. That’s why, if you call us very concerned about the amount of rain your’re watching from your Kaanapali hotel the day before or day of your tour, we will tell you that the weather for one part of an island is usually completely different from another, even if there’s only a few miles (as the crow flies) between them. Maui has more than a dozen micro-climates, for example, and so the weather in Lahaina and Kihei will likely be hot and dry most of the time, while the mountains within eyeshot of these locations are sometimes the wettest place on the earth.

Wind Direction Plays a Part in Weather Approaches

When offshore weather is approaching from the south and blows northward, it’s known as a kona wind. When weather is blown from the north toward the south, its know as a trade wind. Trade winds are the most common wind direction, and are responsible for keeping the island pleasantly temperate and vog-free.

We’re Here to Talk Story

Do you want to talk about the weather? We are ready to take your call and give whatever insights we can about the island and its ever-intimate relationship with nature. Our phone hours are 7 AM to 7 PM, Hawaii time, every day of the year. Or get your fingers tapping and chat with us online.

What’s the Water Temperature in the Waterfalls?

So, How Cold Is It?

One of the most frequently asked questions we encounter from guests is, “What’s the water temperature?” or “Maui water temperatureHow cold is the water?” Stream water temperature is a little chillier than the ocean water, especially during certain times of the year. Another question we’re often asked is if it’s necessary to wear a wet suit top while rappelling waterfalls. Since everyone has a different idea of what cold is, we’ll give you the following facts: The normal annual range of water temperature for the network of streams that travels through natural gulches and man made flumes is 20-27 degrees C or 68 to 80 F. The stream that contributes to most of the waterfall flow at the Rappel Maui activity site averages about 23 degrees C or 73 degrees F.

These are shallow streams with flow that fluctuates with rainfall and other factors. There may be a daily range of a few degrees, and can follow the trends in air temperature.  Stream water temperatures are warmer June through September. They’re cooler November through February.  The weather is usually a little wetter during the winter months as well. Heavy rainfalls make streams fuller or raise the possibility of flooding.

How to Prepare

If you know that you’re sensitive to chilly water temperatures, it doesn’t hurt to bring a thin wet suit top.  Most guests do not find it necessary, but nice to have.  If you bring a wet suit with you and decide not to wear it, you can remove it and stash it into the backpack we provide for you.  Alternatively, a long sleeved rash guard or quick-dry shirt works well, and the flotation device you’ll wear during the tour also serves as a warmth layer. If you’re looking for a wet suit top once you arrive on Maui, most of the dive and snorkel shops carry them for sale or rent.

While your mileage may vary for comfort level with water temperatures, it’s rare for the water temperatures to be intolerable. The amount of time guests are submerged in the pools and streams is limited.  Please call or chat with us to discuss your experience.

How to Book Activities & Tours in Hawaii

Are you  going to book activities and tours while in Hawaii? Being a good consumer when planning your Hawaii vacation can save you time, money and frustration, and ensure that all your memories of Maui are great. Good consumerism can apply to anything, and making a reservation for doing an activity or taking a tour excursion in Hawaii is no exception.  Here are some tips for travelers from the Hawaii State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. You can get this and much more information from DCCA at their web site.

travel agencyThere are a few different ways to book an activity:

  • Direct with the tour operator–You can usually call the tour company directly to book or make a reservation online.
  • With an activity desk or hotel concierge–These are the booths or desks you see in the lobby or around town. Activity desks can also sell tours online.
  • With a travel agent–These are agencies that also sell other kinds of travel services, like cruises or airline fares. They might be location-based or online.
  • As a discounted or free gift after having attended a sales presentation–These are activity desks that also ask you to attend a time share or other pitch in order to claim your reservation.

Who Can Operate an Activity Desk?
The State of Hawaii regulates activity desks, and an activity desk must obtain a registration from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s Professional and Vocational Licensing Division before it can operate. You can find out if a company is properly registered as an activity desk at the CCA web site or by calling (808) 587-4272.

What Information Are You Entitled To?

An activity desk must clearly display the name and telephone number of the activity provider whose activity is being booked or sold. And, an
activity desk provider must disclose to you, in writing, if a discount offered for an activity requires you to first attend a sales presentation.

What Should You Look for Before You Book Directly With an Operator or a Desk?

An activity desk should be able to provide the following information, or get the information if they don’t have it immediately handy:

  • Where the excursion or activity is located and figure out how you’re going to get there
  • Where you will need to meet and whether transportation to the site is included
  •  What’s included in the cost, and if there additional fees like equipment rental or meals
  • If the activity is appropriate for you, and you meet the restrictions or requirements the operator may impose. Assess whether you are able to meet the physical demands of the activity. Some high adventure activities may not be appropriate for pregnant women or individuals with certain health issues.
  • What the cancellation policy is.  Be sure you understand it. Make sure you understand under what conditions a refund may be available.

 Pro Tips:

Be wary of deals that require you to book 60 days in advance. (Most credit card companies will only allow you to dispute a charge within 60 days of purchase.)
Ask if there are any limitations on what you can bring. Plan ahead if purses, handbags,or backpacks are not allowed.
Ask if you can bring your camera and if you can take pictures or video. If not, ask if pictures will be available for purchase.
Stay cool, drink plenty of water and don’t forget reef-safe sunscreen.

Bringing Generations Closer

We’re often asked what the minimum age is for the classic rappel tour, as families with active children enjoy the prospect of creating memories on Maui with their children. Rappelling and outdoor activities are great for bringing multi-generational families together.  Some children and teens even decide, after taking their rappel tour, that canyoneering is their new sport of choice. The outdoors rock!

The minimum age for the Rappel Maui classic tour is 10, with a minimum weight of 70 lbs, and a minimum waist measurement of 22″.   “What’s the maximum age?” one guest asked over the phone.  For the classic tour, we don’t necessarily have one, and  during the summer of 2017, an 81-year-old man completed a Rappel Maui tour with his family of two generations. He was not the slowest or the least graceful person on the course, and he went out for a nice dinner afterward. Renaissance man, indeed.

Whatever your activity level and appetite for adventure,  there’s probably an outdoor activity on Maui for you to discover. Thank goodness it’s a jungle out there.  Call us to discuss your multi-generational outing or ask about a senior discount.