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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.

When You Have Questions About Rappel Maui, But Were Afraid to Ask

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RAPPEL MAUI, ANSWERED

If you’re the curious type, but aren’t ready to call us with your specific questions, we’ve put together this unabridged list of facts to help you understand the nature of a Rappel Maui tour. This list serves as an addendum or the extended dance remix of the original, much shorter FAQ that we’ve put together. Thanks for being thorough!

WHAT IS YOUR TOUR LIKE?
The Rappel Maui tour is a fun and active experience for anyone over 10 who wants to experience the excitement and beauty of Maui’s rainforest and waterfalls through the sport of canyoneering. Please see the other considerations and restrictions for tour participants. It’s a recreational tour that requires no previous climbing or rappelling experience.  Follow these links for more about what it’s like, who can join us, when tours run, and how to book. Of course, you can always call with your questions about Rappel Maui at 808-445-6407 between 7 AM and 7 PM, every day of the year.

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAKING MY RESERVATION ONLINE OR OVER THE PHONE?
The only difference in making your reservation online vs. over the phone is that you can make an online reservation any time of the day or night. Check availability or make a reservation now. Our reservation phone hours are 7 AM to 7 PM Hawaii time, 7 days. Call 808-445-6407 to make a phone reservation.

HOW MUCH DOES A RAPPEL MAUI TOUR COST?
The classic tour costs $228.12 per person. That includes tax, transportation from Central Maui, all gear (with special footwear), and lunch. The cost to accompany the tour without participating in the rappelling is $156.25.  The extended tour, the Extreme Zip Rappel Tour, is $290.63 per person.

WHAT IS CANYONEERING? WHAT IS RAPPELLING?
Simply put, canyoneering is the exploration of canyons. Some necessary activities associated with exploring and traveling through canyons are hiking, scrambling, jumping, sliding, rappelling, and swimming. Rappelling is the practice of using ropes, anchors and other equipment to descend (and sometimes ascend) a vertical or nearly vertical surface. When we conduct our rappelling tours, we use harnesses, ropes, and a redundant system of anchors to descend natural wet and dry jungle walls.

SHOULD I REMOVE ALL MY JEWELRY BEFORE RAPPELLING?
Out on the pitches and trails, it’s best to keep things simple and un-blingy. Remove any pieces of exposed jewelry that might catch on equipment or rocks. You will also be using your hands quite a bit, and they will likely contact hard, rough and muddy surfaces, so if you’re worried about damaging rings with or without stones, we do recommend removing them.  We don’t, however, recommend leaving any valuables in your car.  Either leave jewelry in your hotel safe, or bring it with you so that you can keep it in the dry keg in your backpack.

WHEN DO YOU OFFER TOURS?
We operate tours daily, with a maximum of four tour times per day. Look online or call to ask about availability for any particular time slots. Classic tour times are at 6:45, 8:00, 10:30, 9:15 and 11:45 AM. The Extreme Zip Rappel Tour time is 8:30 AM, and operates 1 to 3 days per week. Note that these are the departure times from the Central Maui park & ride lot. If we’re picking you up at your hotel, or if we’re meeting you on the way to the rappelling site, you’ll board the van at different times. Just call, chat or email us to ask questions about Rappel Maui or the tour details.

HOW MANY RAPPELS WILL I DO DURING THE TOUR?
Usually 3 on the classic tour, 4 or more on the extended tour. The format may be different if you’re taking a custom private tour. Call to ask us about custom private tours for small or larger groups.

I’M CONSIDERING A RAPPELLING TOUR, BUT I’M SCUBA DIVING FIRST. WHAT’S THE MAXIMUM ELEVATION DURING THE TOUR?
The maximum elevation of the tour is encountered in Haiku, during the drive from Kahului to the rappelling site, and is about 750 feet above sea level. Once you enter the rappelling site, there’s no more elevation gain, as you’ll descend first, and walk back up to the beginning elevation at the end. If you’re continuing on your own to Hana after your rappel tour, please note that you may encounter elevations of 1,000 feet above sea or higher during the drive.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN A GROUP?
There are two guides assigned to a maximum of eight participants.  When making a tour reservation, your group may include other parties.  To make a reservation exclusively for your party of one or more people, call to ask about a private tour. Please call us to make a reservation for a party larger than 8.

CAN I TAKE PHOTOS OR VIDEO DURING THE TOUR?
Yes. There are lots of opportunities to capture your memories on a still or video camera. You can mount your GoPro to your helmet, or, if you don’t have a waterproof camera, you can keep your digital camera or smart phone in the dry keg that we provide, along with a backpack for your use during the tour. You can also keep other small, non-waterproof or fragile items in the dry keg, such as car keys and watches. Pro tip: Place water-sensitive items in a sealed plastic bag before putting them into your dry keg. There is a professional photographer at the site most days, and photo packages are available for purchase after your tour.

WHERE DO I GO TO MEET YOU?
We pick you up at a park & ride lot in Central Maui, on Highway 310 at the corner of Highway 30. Get directions and a map to the meeting location. Please arrive 15 minutes before your tour departure time.  If you don’t have transportation, we can pick you up at your resort/hotel for a minimum of 2 guests. (South side pickup fee is an additional cost of $25 per person for a round trip ride; west side pickup fee is an additional $35 per person, round trip.)

HOW MUCH DOES THE TOUR COST?
The 6.5-hour tour costs $219 per person, plus tax. The extended tour costs $279 per person, plus tax. Price includes transportation from Central Maui, equipment (including footwear) and lunch, snacks and water. You can book online anytime or by calling 808.270.1500 7AM-7PM, 7 days. South Maui hotel transportation is available for $25 per person; $35 per person from the west side. Ask about pickup and return times, and booking your reservation with hotel transportation.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?
There’s hand sanitizer and cold running water at the rainforest site, but no shower or soap. There are changing rooms & bathrooms for you to use after your tour. Bring clothing to change into after the tour, and a towel. We give you a dry box with your backpack to keep your non-waterproof items dry during the tour, but bring your non-waterpoof items in a seal-able plastic bag.  If you like to keep it neat,  bring a separate or plastic bag for your wet swimsuit and clothing.

WHAT IS THE RIDE LIKE TO THE SITE?
We pick you up in a white 15-passenger van clearly marked with the Rappel Maui logo, and make a 1.25 hour drive to the rappel site on the scenic Hana Highway. Along the way your guides are happy to answer questions about the island, Hawaii culture and history and the tour. You’ll be able to make a bathroom stop in Kahului (10 minutes from the meeting location) or in Paia (30 minutes from the meeting location.)  There are also facilities at the rappelling site, along with private changing rooms.  On the ride to Hana, you’ll travel past charming North Shore towns like Paia and surfer-approved beaches like Ho’okipa. As you go, the road becomes a little less straight, and the roadside vegetation a little more green and lush. You’ll see waterfalls on one side of the road, and the infinite sea on the other–relax and enjoy the views.

WHAT IF I’M STAYING SOMEWHERE CLOSER TO THE RAPPELLING SITE THAN TO THE MEETING LOCATION?
If your accommodations are on the way to the rappelling site, or if you’re coming from Hana or continuing on to Hana after your tour, please call us for an alternative meeting location and mention where your accommodations are when making your reservation.  If you’re coming from Paia, Makawao-Pukalani,  or Haiku, we can also meet you at a location that will save you time on the road.

WHERE DOES THE RAPPELLING TAKE PLACE?
The canyon where we rappel is located in the Puohokamoa Valley, located on the Hana Highway, approximately halfway to Hana. It’s about 1 hour from Kahului, and 1 hour 15 minutes from Hana. We’ll send you specific directions about where to meet us at the site once you make your reservation.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM PRONE TO CARSICKNESS?
Your guides are experienced drivers of the Hana Highway, and are great at keeping the ride as smooth as possible, but if you know that you or a member of your party is likely to experience some carsickness along the way, let us know when making your reservations. We can either make the usual accommodations, like putting you in the front seat of the van and making sure that your guides carry plenty of ginger candy, or we can meet you at the rappel site.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I’M TOO SCARED TO MAKE THAT FIRST STEP?
It’s normal and natural to feel nervous about making  your first descent–we welcome beginners and experts alike. Your guides have accompanied all kinds of guests, from children to seniors and beginners to seasoned canyoneers; they’re great at helping adventurers face the challenge of doing something as unusual as walking down a waterfall–and doing it safely. Listen to your guide’s instructions and tips–they know some great techniques for minimizing nervousness and maximizing enjoyment. And if you decide that making one or more rappels isn’t for you, there are hiking trails to the bottom of each descent. You can stay with your party and enjoy the waterfall pools and scenery without making that step over the edge. If you know that you want to accompany the tour, but don’t want to rappel, you can make a reservation as an observer.

IS RAPPELLING SAFE?
Although a rappel tour is full of excitement and thrills, your guides’ first priority is safety. That’s why your tour group size is small (maximum size of 8), with two guides assigned to each group. Your guides are highly-trained in canyoneering techniques, first aid, swift water rescue and wilderness rescue. They receive ongoing training during the year, and maintain certification in Red Cross CPR.  Our courses and equipment are monitored daily and equipment is carefully evaluated and retired when appropriate. When heavy rains and severe weather cause the streams to flood, we use the rappel stations that are a safe distance from the water. And everyone wears a helmet from the tour’s start to finish.  These are a few of the precautions that make a Rappel Maui tour safer than a day at the beach. Read these related posts on questions about Rappel Maui, why the tour is safe, how we keep it safe, and what kind of excitement you can expect from a day in the rainforest.

DO I NEED TO BE SUPER ATHLETIC TO DO THE RAPPELLING TOUR?
The most important skills in having a great day of rappelling are listening and attentiveness, with the most physical exertion happening at the end of the tour. After the three descents, you’ll hike a well maintained trail under the cool forest canopy back up the 300 vertical feet to the top–it’s like walking up multiple flights of stairs (an estimated 15 flights or so).  At the supply shed, you’ll be able to change clothing in one of the private changing rooms.

WHAT IF I’VE NEVER BEEN RAPPELLING BEFORE?
You’re in good company. Most of our guests are first-timers or are new to the sport and skill of canyoneering. If you’re interested in learning the how-tos of canyoneering, or further skills you’ve already developed, there are a number of classes offered from beginning to advanced/specialty.

WHAT ARE YOUR RESTRICTIONS AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS?
You must weight between 70 and 250 lbs to participate in the Classic Tour, and you must weigh between 90 and 230 lbs to participate in the Extreme Zip Rappel Tour. All participants must measure between 22 and 48 inches around the waist. The minimum age is 10 for the Classic Tour, and 14 for the Zip Rappel Tour. You must be in good general health, and have no neck or back issues. The activity (including the observer/hiking option) is not appropriate for people with some medical or physical conditions or pregnant women. You must also be able to speak and understand spoken English well, and without an interpreter or translator. This is not a safe activity for those using some medical devices or medications. Please ask us before making a reservation if your condition precludes your participation.

IS IT COMMON PRACTICE TO TIP THE GUIDES?
If you feel that the service your guides provided was exemplary, tipping them is one way to express your appreciation. You can bring cash with you to the tour, or you can call the reservations line to authorize a charge to your credit card for any amount. You can also email us about your experience with your guides, or use a social site like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, TripAdvisor, Yelp and others.

Thanks for checking out some frequently asked questions, Rappel Maui style. Please call, email or chat with us for further assistance.

How Scary is Rappelling?

“So, I just have a question,” the person on the other end of the phone says, “how scary is rappelling?” That’s a tricky question, given that there are different kinds of scary, and the fear factor in any adventure is personal. If you want to know for yourself, read on, or call us at 808.270.1500 to talk about your day.  You can also see firsthand what Audrina Patridge thought of her first rappelling trip when she and the show 1st Look came to visit.

Rappel Maui-Glori takes on waterfall rappel like proWhat Kind of Scary Can You Expect–and Not Expect?
It’s NOT haunted house-scary. There are no “gotchas” in a Rappel Maui tour–and we keep it that way on purpose, no surprises.
It’s NOT unsafe-scary. We don’t take risks with equipment, best practices or behavior. Period.
It’s NOT prison camp-scary. There are no snakes, no rabies, no malaria, no dengue fever. There’s plenty of bottled water to drink, snacks to eat, and hand sanitizer/running water at the picnic area.
It’s NOT amusement park-scary. Unlike a roller coaster ride or even a zip line, rappelling is not a ride that happens to you. Once you begin your descent, you’re in control of the action and the pace. You’re the boss, with your guide team there if you don’t know what to do, or need a hand.
DO expect to feel the kind of scared that comes with doing something exciting, thrilling, that you don’t do everyday. Like walking down a tropical rainforest waterfall on one of the most remote islands on Earth, for example.
If you are feeling afraid at first, DO expect to feel a sense of accomplishment and invincibility afterward. Like you faced your fears and conquered them.

Rappelling Realness
You may not look graceful during all of your rappels. You may want to take a “do over” before you feel like you’ve got your ninja moves down.
Rappelling down natural, wild terrain may cause a broken nail, a scraped shin or some bruised skin. We’ve seen our friends show these off later, while telling and retelling stories about their epic day. We heard one young photographer say, “Mom, turn so that your scratch shows.”
The outdoors are messy; you may find the water chilly–or exhilarating. You will wear unusual equipment, get wet and gritty, and stay that way for a few hours. You might not look good in a helmet. You might follow a 10-year old who looks like a circus-performing monkey on her first rappel ever. Those are the realities of taking on one of the best adventures on the island. Let’s say that the “scary” stuff dissipates for most people long before everyone is finishing their dessert cookie at lunch.

What to Expect When You’re Rappelling

You will feel excitement from your surroundings and the experience. There’s the roar of the falls, the birds and breezes in the trees, the sensation of intense sun or soft shade of the tree canopy. Your senses will be stimulated. If the cliff exposure or the heights are turning your adrenaline up to 11, tell your guides; they are experts in focusing energy in the right direction. And you’ll find the built-in support of others on your tour, even if they are complete strangers, surprisingly inspiring.

Best Bets For Good Times
DO try to relax. Take photos and videos for sharing later.
DON’T worry about being inexperienced. We cater to people who don’t do this every day; that’s why the very best in the business are on the team.
DO listen up, look around, laugh out loud.
You can do this!