Local Island Experts
What are the Top 10 most popular Maui activities and Maui Tours?

What are the Top 10 most popular Maui Categories?

Hawaii's Largest Selection of Activities

As we do on each of the islands, we will give you a ranking here of the 10 most popular Maui activities and Maui tours.  This is important information for you, particularly on Maui, because, the activities that are most popular are also the ones that book up first.  Many of the activities available here are absolutely remarkable in terms of how soon they fill up.  Some luaus are booked a minimum of a month in advance and that becomes even longer during the busy seasons.  This also applies to other activity categories as well so this is handy information to know.
Here at Tom Barefoot's Tours we have checked the archives and reviewed our records over the past 10 years to develop an accurate rating of the most popular activity categories.  Below, you will find a list of the top 10 most popular categories of activities and tours on Maui starting with the 10th and working down to the first place ranking.   

#10  Inter-Island 1 Day Tours

  • Now this is a category that really makes sense.  This will save you 'time' and 'money' and allow you to make the very most of your vacation.  Many people visiting Maui obviously enjoy it here and love to partake in the activities that are available.  So many people however would love to visit other islands at the same time.  The number of people who want to visit and pay tribute to Pearl Harbor is enormous as is the number of people who want to visit the volcanic activity on the Big Island.  When you take a 1 day tour from Maui to Oahu or the Big Island or Molokai or Lanai you will be able to enjoy seeing the sights you wanted but are able to leave all the tedious logistics behind.  In most cases you will simply meet at the Kahului airport early in the morning and be transported to the island of your choice.  You will be picked up on the other end and toured to your particular area of interest and returned to the airport in the early evening and returned back to Kahului.  No need to make arrangements for another hotel room, another rent-a-car or to spring for an expensive round trip ticket.  You do it all in one day and return to your same hotel bed that same evening. 

#9  Sunset Sails and  #8 Dinner Cruises

  • Although these two categories are actually different, in many ways they are essentially the same and it is no coincidence the they rank one on top of the other.  The only real difference between them is that the dinner cruises include dinner and the sunset sails or sunset cruises just include drinks and Hawaiian pupus.   They are both out on the ocean at sunset time for about two hours and come in as the sun is setting.  This is one of the most beautiful times of day on Maui and the views from the vantage point of the ocean looking back on the island are spectacular.  In all actuality you will be out between the cluster of islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe.  One of the only differences is that the dinner cruises will generally cost more while the cocktail cruises are often enjoyed for the cocktails prior to attending a restaurant afterwards on the island.  
  • The Haleakala downhill bike rides have been with us here on Maui since the early 1980's.  In all honesty, there has been a large decrease in these tours which began at the start of 2018 and if this rating would have dealt with the time since then instead of including the decade prior as well it probably would not be on the list of the top 10 at all.  Like many other places on the planet, some of the special features of the island (in this case, the Crater of Haleakala) were being threatened by the extreme popularity of the event.  For many years tours would ascend to the summit of the crater for sunrise and after viewing it would descend on a bike ride down to the coast.  The increased numbers of people wanting to attend eventually overwhelmed the capacity of the park itself and limits had to be set.  Now days you have to prepare well in advance to take one of these tours but if you are wise enough to have planned ahead you will still be able to enjoy the wonderful experience that made this category of activity so popular to begin with.

#6  Sightseeing Excursions

  • There is no guesswork as to why this category of activities made the Top 10 cut.  For being a relatively small island only 48 miles from tip to tip it contains so much in the way of beautiful sights that just beg to be seen on a sightseeing excursion.  The Crater of Haleakala is 10,000' high and at it's top you will find an immense crater descending 3000' deep with a circumference of 21 miles.  The topography of the landscape is like the surface of the moon and the tours to see the spectacle of the sunrise here are legendary.  If you have a full day to spare you will not be disappointed by a coastline trip along the winding road to Hana.  This tropical paradise is filled with waterfalls, streams and freshwater pools at every turn of the road and the jungle is as thick a triple-canopy forest as you could ever imagine.  Fresh fruit simply falls from the trees and flowers highlight the roadway in all directions.  Tours are also available to visit the Iao Valley, Kahakuloa, Lahaina, Upcountry areas such as Makawao and Kula and there are even very special 'food tours' that will guide you through the the rich food traditions of the many different people who make Maui their home.

#5  Snorkeling Lanai

  • Maui has many different snorkeling areas but one of the very most special is off the coast of its neighbor island of Lanai.  The eight mile trip across the channel to Lanai is beautiful and in the winter time is filled with whales.  Once you arrive at the eastern coastline of Lanai you will be treated with the longest continuous reef in the state and these mostly remote snorkel spots will allow you to enjoy the pool all to yourselves.  Aside from beautiful reefs and colorful fish this is also the home of pods of spinner dolphins who inhabit the coastline in the hundreds.  If it is an 'ocean day' you are after, a day at Lanai should be at the top of your list.
  • Fully 80% or so of the island of Maui can only be seen from the air.  You have no idea how much acreage lies inland of the roadways which surround the island's coastlines.  In many places, trying to walk uphill from the roads will only put you into an impassible jungle.  From your first moments in the air in a helicopter you will for the first time realize the enormity and the remoteness of the island.  You will be able to see seemingly endless miles of jungle with riverbeds, waterfalls, inland pools, streams and more and more foliage.  As far as the eye can see you will not be able to locate one house, one road, one car or one person.  This is the real Maui and this is where our helicopter tours will take you.  Have you ever seen a 3000' free falling waterfall?  This could be in your future on one of our fabulous Maui helicopter flights. 

#3  Zipline Tours

  • Here's some excitement for the thrill seekers.  It was only after the turn of the century when the first zipline came to Maui (it was actually the first zipline in the United States).  Since then we have become the home to seven or eight different zipline courses.  Their is a zipline course for almost everyone.  We have those that are suitable for children.  We have ziplines that fly through the canopies of the forests. We have 'double ziplines' that challenge you to race against your partner.  We have ziplines with amazing views.  We have ziplines that will take you two-thirds of a mile at a crack. We have ziplines that fly 600' above the ground and we have ziplines that will jet you down the mountain at speeds often in excess of 50 miles per hour.  Yes, Maui is just made for your zipline fantasy and that is why it clocks in at the number three position.
  • The small crescent shaped island of Molokini, just four miles off the coast of Maui, is a spectacle all on its own. It is officially referred to as an underwater 'caldera' and is one of only three such ocean filled formations on the planet.  The sharp edges of this perfectly round crater just peek above the surface of the ocean and create the perfect 'tea cup' shape for coral, fish and sea life to live in.  This fantastic snorkel spot is a protected underwater sanctuary and the area above the water is a protected seabird sanctuary as well.  The best time to visit is going to be in the morning when the ocean conditions are ideal.  There are a number of vessels that will take you there so you have your pick so long as there is availability which is something we often run short on.  Do you want a large boat, a small boat, a power boat, a sail boat, a double deck boat or a raft?  Regardless, we have the one that will be just right for you.

#1  Luaus

  • It is often said that Maui has the very best luaus in the state.  That very well might be true based upon the rate at which they fill up.  We have one luau that is booked a month in advance throughout the year and much longer during the busy seasons.  Many of our luaus are offered on hotel grounds and we have one that limits its guests to just about 200 which is likely the smallest commercial luau in the state.  If you are staying on the west side where you will find Lahaina, Kaanapali and Kapalua or if you are staying on the south side in Kihei, Wailea or Makena, you will have a luau within a couple miles of your location.  Think about booking your luau early.  Remember, the luau is the most popular category of activity on Maui.




Hawaiian 'Info Bites'

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This is a story of failure. This is also a story of success. Whether the balance tips in favor of success or failure is a subjective decision and you can decide.

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Adventure travel is one of the most popular segments of the travel industry. In recent years there has been tremendous global growth in adventure travel.

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Nothing will bring shivers down your spine faster than the site of an 8 inch centipede (in Hawaii, they can actually reach a foot in length). When you see one it is always startling as they are seemingly there for a moment and then they are gone.

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More than just helping visitors to enjoy Hawaii’s attractions on land, on water and under water, and in the air, Tom Barefoot’s Tours is committed to preserving and protecting nature’s bounty in the state.

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January 15, 2016 was a date that people will remember. Surfing history was in the making. The place was the surf break of Jaws on the North Shore of Maui.

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Oahu will have the strictest single-use plastics ban in the state based on a controversial bill passed recently by the Honolulu City Council. Faced with the daunting prospect of getting rid of huge stocks of plastics containers, many food industry leaders opposed the measure.

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The water temperatures on beaches in Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island attract visitors any time of year.

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Sea turtles ('honu' in Hawaiian) are one of the most interesting forms of sea life to be found in the waters of Hawaii These sea turtles, which are primarily the 'Pacific Green Turtles' are found on all the Hawaiian Islands and in fact are directly related to species of turtles that are found throughout the entire planet.

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Questions about sharks and shark attacks are some of the most frequently asked questions people ask regarding their upcoming trips to Hawaii. Although the minds image of such horrific attacks are prominent in ones imagination the reality is that these happen very infrequently and in fact they actually happen less frequently over the course of a year worldwide than do deaths associated with taking 'Selfies'.

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Have you ever seen a beach with green sand? Well you have a chance to do so if you are going to bevisiting the Big Island. Actually you are going to have to really want to see it because it is located off the main road and down a very bumpy dirt road which leads to 'South Point' which is the very furthest point south on the Big Island as well as being the very furthest point south in Hawaii and for that matter the very furthest point south in the United States.

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Just as reliable as Old Faithful at Yellowstone Park, the mysterious Box Jellyfish of Hawaii will arrive on its shores between 8 and 12 days after each full moon.

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Goats, just like pigs, were not endemic to Hawaii, and were brought in by humans presumably to provide a source of food. Each in tern rapidly turned wild when allowed or encouraged to roam and the consequence today is that the land of Hawaii is rapidly being ravaged and destroyed by both animals.

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Honolua Bay is roughly half of the Honolua-Mokule’ia Bay Marine life Conservation District. (See article on MLCDs) Most of the Bay is usually quite well protected unless winter swells roll straight in and conditions can change rapidly.

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This is a question that comes up quite regularly with regard to helicopter tours on Maui. Obviously weather can be very different on alternate days but in what ways will it really affect your flight.

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Anyone who wants to enjoy Big Island Activities and Big Island Tours certainly prefers to be blessed with a day of perfect Hawaiian weather. On most days in Hawaii, the weather cooperates beautifully, but sometimes can be unpredictable.

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When you come to Hawaii you almost certainly will attend the famous Hawaiian feast called a luau. This is a celebratory feast of epic proportions in which hundreds of people gather together to essentially eat, drink and be merry.

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Maui County (which includes the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai) has a unique geography that allows the activity industry to offer a unique set of Maui activities and Maui tours.

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Generally speaking, you could not be on a better island to enjoy great weather than Kauai.  Consequently, enjoying Kauai activities and Kauai tours is as good as it gets as well.

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Everybody knows that biking down the slopes of Haleakala is a big industry on Maui, but do you know how it began. I do, and it has been a curiosity to see how it has adjusted, morphed and grown over the course of years.

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Visitors to the Big Island are always concerned about how the volcanic activity will effect their Big Island Activities and Big Island Tours. Although it is impossible to predict nature, we are providing you here with a chronicle of past volcanic events in hopes that this will give you an over view of one of the most continuous dramatic geologic events in recent years.

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One of the reasons you are undoubtedly coming to Maui is because of the great weather here.  Another reason you are probably coming to Maui is to enjoy some of the great Maui activities and Maui tours we have here.

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One of the biggest concerns visitors to Oahu have is how the weather might effect the Oahu activities and Oahu tours they reserve.  Some people think they should wait until the day before an event (or even the day of the event) to make reservations to assure themselves of having the best weather possible.

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This is an extremely personal call since each type of boat is very different. Keep in mind that you will be going to see the very same areas but the issue being discussed is simply regarding the type of vessel you will be taking.

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Plant life in Hawaii works hand in hand with the geology of these islands to not only keep expanding the Hawaii footprint with new land being made by the volcanoes but nature also does its best to regenerate this barren rock into beautiful forests.

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Like Dorothy would say in the Wizard of Oz,'we're not in Kansas anymore'. That is the way that all visitors should view their relationship with the beautiful oceans that surround Hawaii.

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Newcomers to Hawaii are often completely perplexed by Hawaiian words and are simply just stumped to the point that they can't even possibly make a guess as to how to pronounce a word.

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There are many fish that can be caught in the waters off Hawaii but one of the favorites for sport fisherman and gourmet chefs alike is the Mahi Mahi. These fish are fun to catch and fun to eat.

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So why is Maui considered the world's Mecca for windsurfing? It's true that there are many places on the planet that windsurfing is possible and many places where it is continuously enjoyed.

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If you'd like to see what one of the original Hawaiian inhabitants looks like, take a look at the photo of the Monk Seal below! The original human Hawaiians arrived in Hawaii from the South Pacific Islands about 1600 years ago, the Monk Seal arrived in Hawaii about 4 million years ago.

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Everyone’s favorite things to see and do on Oahu probably include snorkeling and mingling with sealife in the turquoise waters of Hanauma Bay and strolling down the long beautiful arc of sand at Kailua Beach.

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The glider rides are fantastic! They are fun and they are very different. As far as seeing large portions of Oahu from the air...........this won't be in the cards.

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On Hawaii's Big Island protests by Native Hawaiians have flared for years against the construction of an 18-story telescope atop the volcano Mauna Kea.

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When I first came to Hawaii in the early 70's and worked in a major hotel I was surprised at the number of tourists who would call housekeeping to come and remove a gecko they may have found on their wall or on their window screen.

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The simple answer is......there are certain things you have to do at least once! You're coming all the way to Hawaii, would you not go to a luau? Would you not jump in the ocean? So yes, you'll have to go see the sunrise or you'll feel you missed out.

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If you are concerned about sharks in Hawaii, you have good precedent to be concerned. Over the past couple of centuries of history regarding shark attacks there has been plenty of evidence confirming attacks have taken place and people have lost their lives.

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Well this is the question every angler wants to know. As usual, as every fisherman will tell you, your fishing 'juju' always depends on the 'day' and yes, 'luck', 'karma' and 'having your good deeds rewarded'.

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Stand Up Paddling (SUP) is perhaps the single best exercise available to you in Hawaii to provide you with optimal physical conditioning. You may want to give this a try while you are here to see what all the rage is about as SUP has gone 'off the charts' in its popularity.

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Most people will overlook the value of taking a helicopter flight of Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island when they first arrive on the island.

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Sandalwood has always been one of the most enjoyable fragrances to be used in spa treatments the world over. Its likability is almost universal.

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We all know that Hawaii is a very unique place. In addition to its volcanic origin and diversity of beauty and attractions, the islands attract visitors because of their geographic isolation.

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Parasailing wasn't introduced as an activity in Hawaii until the early 1980's. It was popular from the start but it was operated in a completely different manner in those days.

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As is true of most life forms who find themselves introduced to the Hawaiian Islands, wild or feral pigs like it here, they thrive here and they are multiplying in great numbers here.

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Perhaps the ultimate symbol of Hawaiian culture known throughout the world is the Hawaiian flower lei. For decades Hawaiian visitors have been greeted at the airport with the gift of a flower lei placed ceremoniously around their neck and shoulders accompanied by a kiss.

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Of all the aspects of Hawaiian culture that are known in mainland America and other countries perhaps the one most notable icon is the Hula Skirt. Everyone has seen the cheesy or 'camp' car dashboard attachment of a hula girl with skirt that moves side by side as the car moves and turns with the traffic.

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The next Hawaiian island is being formed right now and is expected to make its debut on the world stage in (perhaps) tens of thousands of years. The island already even has a name, Lo'ihi.

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Could there be any doubt that dolphins love to have a good time. Being animals at the top tier of intelligence in the animal kingdom the dolphin often spends its spare time simply frolicking and having fun.

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The very largest of the Marlins are the Blue Marlins and of all the possible trophy fish found anywhere in the world, this is the prize! Yes, they are found in large numbers throughout the islands of Hawaii but they, and related species, are found throughout the tropical and subtropical oceans of the world.

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Possibly the most colorful bark found on any tree in the world can be found in Hawaii and it is referred to as the Rainbow Eucalyptus. Originally coming from the Philippines this beautiful tree can now be seen in various places in Hawaii and is most famously found on the Hana Highway where a beautiful stand of trees can be seen just off the roadside.

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The islands of Hawaii are one of the largest resort destinations in the United States and this is not because of their spectacular beauty alone but also of course because of the fabulous weather found here.

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Many life forms have in various ways found their way over vast distances to the Hawaiian Islands and then have evolved and adapted to the conditions they found here.

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The Big Island is located south of the Tropic of Cancer. The sun's rays, this close to the equator are much more intense than many Hawaii visitors are used to.

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Water temperature is a constant concern for people coming to visit Hawaii. This is one of the most asked questions we receive from Hawaii visitors prior to their arrival.

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The mongoose was deliberately brought from India to the islands of Oahu, Maui and Molokai in 1883 to assist with the rat problem that existed in the sugar plantations.

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In most places chickens are in cages but in Hawaii there is a large population of feral chickens who live in the wild. This is true of all islands but to a larger extent on the island of Kauai where it is speculated that large quantities of birds were loosed from their cages during both hurricanes Iwa and Iniki and have been wandering in the wild ever since.

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Since day one the islands of Hawaii have been a magnet for all sorts of life forms that could make the long journey from anywhere else on the planet to the islands.

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Tours & activities account for about 10% of global travel spending annually. Increasingly travelers around the world and in Hawaii are seeking out activities and tours that exactly fit the experiences that they want, their values, physical capabilities, and other personal needs and preferences.

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The ancient art of fire dancing that shows up in the history of luaus began hundreds of years ago by the people of Polynesia. Although it’s not possible to pin-point exactly where in the 4,000 square miles of Polynesia fire dancing began, it is believed that the Maori people of New Zealand actually were the first pioneers in the long evolution of the fire dance from its origins with “poi.

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Walking on the soft white sand of a beautiful beach in Hawaii is what we all dream about. Are we aware how truly amazing this exercise is for us however?

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The accolades are endless regarding the beauty of the Na Pali Coastline on the North Shore of Kauai. Why do so many people think this is the most beautiful piece of coast line they have ever seen? It is because this is the most beautiful piece of coastline they have ever seen.

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So many of the things we observe about whales and their behavior are a mystery to us. Explanations about many topics regarding whales are simply conjecture or best case likelihoods but in reality are only good guesses.

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Humpback whales are found in every ocean in the world. Their Latin name, Megaptera novaeangliae ("big wing of New England") refers to giant pectoral fins which can grow up to 16 feet long.

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Every Hawaiian island is different and they all have special activities that are unusual and well suited for that particular island.  There are special Maui activities and Maui tours that fit the bill for this island as well.

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In the following list provided by Tom Barefoot's Tours, you will see the most popular categories of Kauai activities and Kauai tours based upon popularity.

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Maui has snorkel spots all around the island. There are plenty of places where you will find both fish and coral formations. What you may not find so easily is good access to your snorkel location, and a safe place to snorkel.

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Yes there are literally hundreds of Oahu activities and Oahu tours that are available on the island.  What many people don't realize is that Oahu has some really unique tours that you simply wouldn't expect.

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Kauai Tours and Kauai Activities are very different than those found on the other Hawaiian islands.  The primary reason for this has to do with the geography of the island of Kauai.

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The Big Island delivers primordial experiences, and these experiences translate easily into Big Island tours and Big Island activities as you will shortly see.

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Since the mid nineteen hundreds the highest mountains on the Big Island and Maui have been the homes of some of the most expensive and sophisticated observatories on the planet.

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Horses became important in Hawaii, and in Kauai, as a result of the introduction of cattle to the islands. In 1793, Captain George Vancouver brought the first cattle to the Big Island.

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Hawaii is lucky enough to have three islands where you can take a submarine ride. Atlantis Submarines operates from Waikiki Beach on Oahu, from Kailua-Kona on the Big Island and from Lahaina on Maui! If you haven't taken one of these adventures you are missing out and here is why.

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Where ever you come from you are most certainly familiar with the mosquito. Perhaps unpleasantly familiar. Not only do they cause bites and itchy welts on the skin but they can occasionally be a carrier of various diseases such as Malaria, Dengue Fever or Zika.

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So, most people will determine which month they will visit Hawaii based upon vacations and time off work, time off from school or weather conditions in their local regions.

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First of all, let's define a breach. A breach is often considered to have occurred when a whale launches above the ocean's surface with over 40% of its body completely out of the water.

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Diamond Head Crater is perhaps the most recognized geologic formation in the Hawaiian Islands. With the most recognized beach in Hawaii at its base (Waikiki Beach) it is no wonder that Diamond head is such an iconic feature.

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Each of the Hawaiian Islands of Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island, will generally have a couple of companies that will offer a 'doors off' flight.

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There is no question that of all the helicopters flown in Hawaii, the A-Star helicopter and its newer cousin, the ECO-Star, are the aircraft of choice used by most helicopter touring companies on Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island.

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The chances of swimming with dolphins while you're on Maui are less then they are on the islands of Oahu or Hawaii. The big reason why it is not likely that you will actually be able to get into the water and swim with dolphins on Maui is that in order to do so on a regular basis, you need to be able to predict exactly where they will be.

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There is something exciting about seeing a shipwreck. It's intriguing and somehow mysterious. The huge tanker that is wrecked on the eastern coast of Lanai makes a visit there all that more exciting.

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People are always curious to know about the dangerous creatures we have here in Hawaii like poisonous snakes and poisonous insects. There are of course no poisonous snakes in Hawaii but the fact is that considering the quantities of species that live in Hawaii we actually have relatively few animals or insects that can do you significant harm.

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Related Islands

Maui Activities top the charts in terms of the number of different activities found on any island. Here is a listing of the various categories of Maui Tours in their general order of popularity followed by recent reviews.

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