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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.
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.
Atlas Cruises & Tours (800/942–3301. www.atlastravelweb.com.)
Globus (866/755–8581. www.globusjourneys.com.)
Tauck Travel (800/788–7885. www.tauck.com.)
Trafalgar (866/544–4434. www.trafalgar.com.)
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.
Road Scholar (800/454–5768. www.roadscholar.org.)
"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.
Elderhostel (800/454–5768. www.roadscholar.org.)
Sierra Club Outings (415/977–5522. www.sierraclub.org/outings.)
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.
The World Outdoors (800/488–8483. www.theworldoutdoors.com.)
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.
Pure Maui (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.
SwellWomen (800/399–6284 or. www.swellwomen.com.)
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