Tours

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Tours

Guided tours are a good option when you don't want to do it all yourself. You travel along with a group (sometimes large, sometimes small), stay in prebooked hotels, eat with your fellow travelers (the cost of meals sometimes included in the price of your tour, sometimes not), and follow a schedule.

Tours can be just the thing for first-time travelers to Maui or those who enjoy the group-traveling experience. None of the companies offering general-interest tours in Hawaii include Molokai or Lanai. When you book a guided tour, find out what's included and what isn't. A "land-only" tour includes all your ground transportation, but not necessarily your flights. Most prices in tour brochures don't include fees, taxes, and tips.

General-Interest Tours

Globus has 10 Hawaii itineraries that include Maui. Tauck Travel and Trafalgar offer several land-based Hawaii itineraries that include two or three nights on Maui. Both companies offer similar itineraries with plenty of free time to explore the island. Tauck offers a 13-night multi-island tour called "The Best of Hawaii." Trafalgar has 7-, 9-, 10-, and 12-night multi-island tours. EscortedHawaiiTours.com, owned and operated by Atlas Cruises & Tours, sells several Hawaii trips ranging from 6 to 11 nights. These are operated by various tour companies, including Globus, Tauck, and Trafalgar.

Tour Contacts

Atlas Cruises & Tours. This escorted-tour operator has been in business for more than 25 years, and partners with major companies such as Collette, Globus, Tauck, and Trafalgar to offer a wide variety of travel experiences. Tours range from 6 to 11 nights, and all include Maui. 800/942–3301. www.atlastravelweb.com.

Globus. Founded in 1928 by a man who transported visitors across Lake Lugano, Switzerland, in a rowboat, this family-owned company grew to become the largest guided vacation operator in the world. Globus offers 10 Hawaii itineraries that include Maui, ranging from 6 to 12 nights; two include a seven-night cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines. 866/755–8581. www.globusjourneys.com.

Tauck Travel. Arthur Tauck started his company in 1925 with a tour through the back roads of New England. Tauck offers an 11-night multi-island tour, "Best of Hawaii," which includes three nights on Maui, and covers noteworthy sights such as Iao Valley and Haleakala National Park. 800/788–7885. www.tauck.com.

Trafalgar. This company prides itself on its "Insider Experiences," defined as visiting hidden places not found in guidebooks, meeting local people, and sharing traditions you may not discover on your own. Trafalgar offers four itineraries that include Maui, ranging from 7 to 12 nights. 866/513–1995. www.trafalgar.com.

Special-Interest Tours

Culture

Elderhostel, a nonprofit educational travel organization running tours under the name Road Scholar, offers several guided Hawaii tours for adults 50 and over that provide in-depth looks into the culture, history, and beauty of the Islands. For all programs, travelers must purchase their own airfare if coming from outside Hawaii.

"Tall Ship Sail Training: Sailing the Hawaiian Islands" is a six-night sailing adventure through the Hawaiian Islands aboard the SSV Makani Olu, a 96-foot, three-masted schooner.

"The Entire Island Is a Classroom" is a six-night tour to Molokai that examines the island's historical and cultural significance to Hawaii, and includes a day trip to Kalaupapa National Historic Park.

Ecotours

"Hawaii's Humpback Whales and Marine Environment" is a six-night Road Scholar tour that provides visitors with an in-depth study of these gentle giants that migrate to Hawaiian waters.

Want to participate in a service project and observe the migrating humpbacks? "Sun, Service, and Whales" is the theme of an eight-night trip organized by Sierra Club Outings. You learn about local culture and tradition, and swim, snorkel, hike, and whale-watch. The four-night "Service and History in Kalaupapa" lets you work and study on Molokai's dramatic Kalaupapa Peninsula.

Contacts

Elderhostel. A nonprofit educational travel organization running tours under the name Road Scholar, Elderhostel offers several guided Hawaii tours for adults 50 and over that provide in-depth looks into the culture, history, and beauty of the Islands. For all programs, travelers must purchase their own airfare if coming from outside Hawaii. "Snorkeling Hawaii's Spectacular Marine Environments" is a nine-night exploration of top snorkeling spots. Local experts discuss the region's diverse marine environments, coral reefs, and aquatic creatures, and a local family hosts a traditional backyard luau. "The Friendly Isle Is a Classroom" is a six-night tour to Molokai that examines the island's historical and cultural significance to Hawaii, and includes a day trip to Kalaupapa National Historic Park. 800/454–5768. www.roadscholar.org.

Sierra Club Outings. Want to participate in a service project and observe the migrating humpbacks? "Sun, Service, and Whales" is the theme of a seven-night trip organized by Sierra Club Outings. You learn about local culture and tradition, and swim, snorkel, hike, and whale-watch. The seven-night “Waterfalls, Waves, and Service in East Maui” gives participants an opportunity to experience an area of Maui that’s full of charm, warmth, and relaxation, while participating in both planned and spontaneous service projects. 415/977–5500. www.sierraclub.org/outings.

Hiking

The World Outdoors has been organizing and leading adventure trips for more than 20 years. Its "Hawaii Three Island Hiker" is a seven-night hiking tour to Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai. Included in the per-person price of about $3,900 are accommodations, meals, interisland airfare, shuttle transportation, and professional guides. The trip is rated moderately easy to moderate.

Contacts

The World Outdoors. This company has been organizing and leading adventure trips for more than 20 years. Its "Hawaii Two Island Hiker" is a five-night hiking tour to Maui and Kauai. Included in the price are accommodations, meals, interisland airfare, shuttle transportation, and professional guides. The trip is rated moderately easy. 800/488–8483. www.theworldoutdoors.com. From $3,400.

Luxury

Included in Pure Maui's high-end adventure and spa vacations are private accommodations at elegant estates and villas, all meals prepared by a personal chef, activities, and on-island transportation. Among the options are "Adventure Boot Camp," "Family Adventure," "Learn to Surf/Yoga," "Romantic Getaway," and "Ultimate Golf Getaway" programs. The company can also create customized vacations. Vacationers must purchase their own air travel between Maui and their gateway city.

Contacts

Pure Maui. Included in Pure Maui's high-end adventure and spa vacations are private accommodations at elegant estates and villas, all meals prepared by a personal chef, ocean and land activities, entertainment and culture, and on-island transportation. The company can also create customized vacations. Vacationers must purchase their own air travel between Maui and their gateway city. 866/787–6284. www.puremaui.com.

Sports and Wellness

Imagine learning how to "hang 10" on the perfect wave on Maui. SwellWomen offers six-night "Surf & Yoga" retreats that include accommodations, daily yoga and surf sessions, stand-up paddling, activities such as hikes and snorkel trips, one-hour massages, meals, and snacks prepared by a private chef.

Contacts

SwellWomen. Imagine learning how to "hang 10" on the perfect wave on Maui. SwellWomen offers six-night "Surf & Yoga" retreats that include accommodations, daily yoga and surf sessions, stand-up paddling, activities such as hikes and snorkel trips, one-hour massages, meals, and snacks prepared by a private chef. 800/399–6284 or. www.swellwomen.com.

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