FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT ARE THE GENERALLY ACCEPTED CUSTOMS FOR TIPPING GUIDES/INSTRUCTORS?
Anywhere from 15-25% is the standard gratuity in the United States. Our guides and instructors work diligently to give you the best experience possible on the water. If you felt your experience was top notch, one way to express your appreciation is by tipping your guide.
WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?
We love seeing our guests, but we do not have a storefront for you to visit. For that reason, we ask that you use the directions we send to you via email with your confirmation. Please do not use Google maps to direct you to “Aloha Outdoors” because your tour is on the water, not at our baseyard.
WHAT DO I DO WITH MY PERSONAL ITEMS, WALLET, CELL PHONE, KEYS ETC.
Small personal items such as a cell phone, keys, wallet can go in the guide’s SMALL drybag. Please do not leave valuables in your car.
WHAT IS THE DRIVE TIME TO THE DEPARTURE LOCATION FROM KAANAPALI, LAHAINA, KIHEI, ETC?
- To Olowalu is approximately 20 Minutes
- To Makena Landing is approximately 1 Hour
- To Olowalu is approximately 15 Minutes
- To Makena Landing is approximately 45 Minutes
- To Olowalu is approximately 25 Minutes
- To Makena Landing is approximately 15 Minutes
- To Olowalu is approximately 30 Minutes
- To Makena Landing is approximately 5 Minutes
DO YOU OFFER AFTERNOON TOURS?
Due to the way the wind and waves pick up on Maui, afternoon conditions are typically not safe to conduct tours. For this reason, we do not regularly schedule tours in the afternoon. Occasionally when the conditions are calmer than usual, we open up late morning tours, but not more than a couple days in advance.
DO YOU OFFER TRANSPORTATION?
Unfortunately, we are not equipped to provide transportation.
IS THERE (FREE) PARKING AVAILABLE?
Parking is available at all departure locations. It is, however, seemingly unconventional on Maui compared to other places. Be prepared to park on the side of the road, not in a marked parking lot.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
- Credit card If you made your reservation over the phone, your credit card number we have on file will be used to hold your reservation. Please bring a credit card to make payment the morning of your tour.
- Money for gratuity and merchandise.
- Sun protection Hat, sunglasses, water shirt are all optional for sun protection. If you choose to wear sunblock please consider caring for our beautiful ocean and reefs without harming the marine environment by choosing a “Reef Safe” product. We carry “Badger Sport” natural and organic sunblock which is available for purchase before your tour, just ask your guide.
- Towel and a dry change of clothes for after the tour – One thing to keep in mind is that everything you bring on the tour will get wet.
CAN I BRING A CAMERA?
You are welcome to bring a camera but keep in mind a couple factors: anything you bring with you is likely to get wet or fall into the ocean, our Guides take photos for you so you can kick back and enjoy your experience.
WILL THERE BE BREAKFAST OR LUNCH PROVIDED?
We provide water in reusable bottles and a small snack such as a granola or fig bar.
ARE WE REQUIRED TO KNOW HOW TO SWIM?
- All kayak tours are private and allow you to go at your own pace. You will be wearing a life vest and our guide will be there to work with you to ensure you are comfortable each step of the way snorkeling for your first time.
- Canoe tours require at least four guests in order to operate and you may be on a canoe tour with other people not in your group. Out of consideration for others in the group as well as our guide who is monitoring everyone, we do require everyone on a canoe tour know how to swim.
- Surfing requires a significant amount of swimming to get to the break and new surfers are likely to fall into the water. Because life vests are too cumbersome to wear while surfing, we do require everyone participating in a surf lesson know how to swim.
- Stand up paddlers are not required to know how to swim although it is recommended.
WHEN IS WHALE SEASON?
The official season recognized by the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary runs from December 15th – April 15th. It is possible for whales to show up earlier and stick around later. Though nothing is quite like the experience of whale watching from a kayak or canoe, it does require human power. Due to this, we limit our season to January 1st – March 31st
DO YOU OFFER DISCOUNTS?
We offer a 20% discount to Kama’aina with a Hawaii ID only. Only persons with a Hawaii ID in your party will receive the discount.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AGE FOR SURFING, KAYAK, ETC.
- All children are different and you know YOUR child the best when it comes to their comfort levels. Below are our minimum ages but ultimately its up to you to determine how your child is going to respond to being in the ocean.
- Kayak – recommended for four years and older. Smaller children will sit in the middle of the kayak between two other guests.
- Canoe – recommended for four years and older. We do need all participants to launch and land the canoe as well as paddle throughout the tour. So although it is possible to allow one or two smaller children on the canoe, keep in mind the remaining guests will need to provide all the paddle power not coming from the smaller children.
- Surfing There is no minimum age for surfing, but there is an ability limitation. Kids must be comfortable swimming in the ocean and paddling a significant distance to the surf break. For children under age 6 we recommend booking a one on one private lesson.
- SUP – There is no minimum age for SUP, but there is an ability limitation. All participants will be on their own board (not paired with a parent or instructor), therefore they must have the strength to paddle. Age 8 and older is recommended but if you would like to discuss younger please call.
CAN MY 80 YEAR OLD MOM PARTICIPATE IN A KAYAK TOUR?
We really feel like age is just a number, but there are physical requirements to participate in a kayak tour. Guests must be stable enough on their feet to launch and land the kayak and we recommend either both guests paired up in a kayak are physically capable of paddling or are paired up with a very strong paddler.
DO YOU SUPPLY LIFE JACKETS? WHAT ABOUT FOR SUP?
We supply life jackets for canoe and kayak tours. It is possible to use a life jacket for SUP, though we do not recommend it as it constricts your range of motion. But don’t worry, you’ll be connected to your SUP Board by a leash and therefore never further than a couple feet away from it.
CAN I SWIM WITH WHALES?
It is against US federal law to swim with whales in Hawaii. In fact, it is illegal to approach a humpback whale within 100 yards on any vessel (Boat, kayak, sup..) or no vessel at all. For more information on viewing regulations in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, please visit the NOAA website.
CAN WE SWIM WITH DOLPHINS?
Paddle Maui observes the recommendation put forth by Dolphin SMART, a self-regulating body that encourages responsible viewing of dolphins and marine life so as not to disturb their natural behavior. Research has shown that humans swimming with dolphins interrupts the natural behavior of the dolphin. Check out their website for complete details.
WHAT IF THE WEATHER IS BAD?
The weather in Maui is constantly changing and is comprised of several microclimates. National weather websites tend to paint a forecast with a wide brush stroke without taking into consideration the microclimates. We closely monitor several localized weather forecasts so as to make the best decision about the weather before your tour. We usually make the call to relocate or cancel the day before a tour. Occasionally we will make the decision onsite the day of your tour. We do not cancel our tours and lessons during rainy weather. You are going to get wet anyway right? We will, however cancel our tours if the conditions are unsafe. High wind, large waves and lightning are examples of unsafe conditions. In the event of unsafe conditions, you will be presented with the opportunity to relocate to a different departure with better weather, reschedule for another day or cancel without penalty.
WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY?
Due to the fact that our tours sell out on a daily basis we have a strict 72 hour cancellation policy. If you cancel or change your confirmed reservation within 24 hours of scheduled check in time we will charge your credit card the full price of the tour. If you cancel or change your confirmed reservation 24-72 hours before your check in time we will charge a 50% cancellation fee. If there is a medical reason you need to cancel your tour, please provide a doctors note and we will make an exception.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I BOOK MY TOUR?
During busy seasons such as winter and spring breaks, we recommend booking at least two weeks in advance of your visit.
DO YOU HAVE GIFT CERTIFICATES?
Yes! Give us a call and we would be happy to process over the phone.
DO YOU HAVE OPTICAL SNORKEL MASKS?
Unfortunately due to the many variances we do not offer we do not at this time offer optical masks. There are, however, shops that rent them at very affordable rates.
HOW STRENUOUS IS THE KAYAK TOUR?
Because all our tours are private, you can set the pace you would like to paddle with your guide. That being said, due to the nature of the wind on Maui, the Olowalu and Honolua departures tend to encounter higher winds on the tour. For this reason we recommended more experienced paddlers join us in Olowalu and Honolua.
WHAT TIME DO WE CHECK IN?
The check in time for all tours is the time listed on your confirmation email, you do not need to show up earlier than the ‘start time’.
WHAT ABOUT SEA SICKNESS?
Sea sickness can get the best of us at any time. If you have never been in the ocean, you may want to speak to your doctor about his/her recommendations for preventing sea sickness.
CAN I GO ON YOUR TOUR IF I AM PREGNANT?
We do not have restrictions on women who are pregnant. Please bear in mind the following:
- In order to get back into a kayak after being in the water, you must lay on your belly.
- Some women who have never experienced sea sickness may feel ill while pregnant.
- We always recommend checking with your doctor before participating in physical activities.
WHY DO I NEED TO ENTER MY HEIGHT WEIGHT AND SHOE SIZE?
We use this information to choose appropriately sized gear such as life vests, snorkel gear, surf boards, kayaks etc.
DO YOU HAVE PHOTOS TO PURCHASE?
We provide free photos of your tour, taken by your guide and emailed within 24 hours of your tour.