On August 8, 2023, Maui was struck by multiple devastating fires that destroyed the thriving, historic town of Lahaina and a portion of Kula, in Maui’s upcountry region. The repair and healing that comes after a disastrous event is tough beyond measure and disheartening to see the island in such a state of grief. So, we’ve been asked a lot by future and potential guests: Should we even still come to Maui for our vacation? There’s not a straight answer, but the answer we’ve gathered from local folks and businesses, as well as feedback from guests who have visited post-fire, and our own opinion is yes, you should still visit Maui (but with some caveats). Here’s why (and be sure to visit our Maui fires FAQ)... The portions of the island that were destroyed - Lahaina and Kula - although heartbreaking and irreplaceable, are small compared to the entirety of Maui’s general land mass. Despite the damage caused by the fire, Maui still has areas to explore that are not close to the affected regions and plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy. The island is still very much open and welcoming visitors, with the exception of the west side of the island near Lahaina and the residential area of Olinda/Kula that was burned. That leaves Haleakala and upcountry, Road to Hana, north and south side beaches open, as well as great hikes on the northwestern side in Wailuku. Still plenty to do and explore! Our local economy (and truthfully, the economy of the state, as Maui's tourism impacts all of Hawai'i) really depends on visitors, and we’ve gathered that most all local businesses would love visitors. Without businesses being patronized, it’s nearly impossible to pay employees a wage. Many businesses also use their proceeds from sales to financially support the community that has been in need, but without visitors this too is a challenge. The caveat is we are still asking that our guests and other visitors to avoid the west side of the island until there is more clarity and repair in that particular area. While the county takes next steps for the west side to be honored and rebuilt over time, plan on visiting one of the many other areas listed above that are open and welcoming visitors today! Also, consider this: when visiting Maui take advantage of the opportunity to help with the island's recovery efforts. Many organizations are working to restore the island to its former glory, and volunteering your time or donating to these groups can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. While the August 8th fires caused significant damage to Maui, the island benefits from respectful visitors supporting our businesses and lending helping hands. By visiting the island and participating in recovery efforts, you can help support the local community while experiencing all that Maui has to offer. If you’re curious about how you can enjoy your camper van trip responsibly and respectfully, we’d love to chat to help you plan your visit!
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