Island hopping by plane is one of the ways to get around in Hawaii, but if you fancy a boat ride you can get a ferry from Maui to Lanai or Molokai islands. You can also take a private boat or a yacht and go on a whale watching tour with champagne and all other tidbits, but be aware of people trying to sell you a timeshare!
Beware of timeshare trap in Lahaina when booking Maui to Lanai trip
When we came to Lahaina, the main port town for booking ferries from Maui to Lanai, we were approached buy a Diamond Hotel representative, who promised us a massive discount on a 7 hour tour. Of course, I was super excited, but we walked away and went to check out some other tours.
Another local tour organiser offered us an exciting deal with no ‘timeshare’ involved. And that’s when the Diamond Hotel deal started to sound suspicious!
We went back to the woman, sat in her office and only when we mentioned the ‘timeshare’ she revealed the hidden truth behind her generous offer. Suddenly it made sense how a $400 trip can be discounted to $180 for two.
We were explained that the timeshare involves us getting to the Diamond Hotel Resort where we would have to listen to a 90 minute presentation about the hotel and then stay there all day, hang around the pool, enjoy cocktails (at our own expense)… All sounds pretty good for someone who has tons of time and just wants to lay around the pool all day, but we wanted to see a little bit more than just the hotel grounds.
If you are travelling independently like us and value the little time you have on the island, make sure you check if you have to buy a ‘timeshare’ before signing a ‘good’ deal.
Maui to Lanai by ferry
Instead of a fancy and very appealing all day trip on a yacht, we just booked a public ferry, which was pretty good. It wasn’t too busy and we could easily move around watching the amazing sea life from the top deck.
To board the ferry to Lanai go to the public loading dock in front of Pioneer Inn. To get back to Maui, board the ferry at the public loading dock at Manele Harbor. Last boat leaves Lanai back to Maui at 6.45pm.
A 90 minute round trip from Maui to Lanai by a public ferry costs $30 per person one way, You should be able to book ferry tickets on the day and then just wait for your slot.
The trip from Maui to Lanai was beautiful, with dolphins spinning around, flying fish zooming through the waves and sparkling ocean splashing into the boat.
Through the whole journey, I was spying the water for humpback whales. But unless you know where and when they gonna decide to surprise you, you can forget about taking a good picture. Humpback whales are a total show off ! They blew us all away with their water fountains, tail waving and sudden jumps.
Explore beyond Lahaina while waiting for a ferry
Lahaina is a village tucked away in West Maui mountains. It’s a beautiful, but a very busy and touristy place since most of the whale watching boats leave from here. The warm waters here are so inviting, that the whales come back to the bay every year to raise their calves.
Having some time till the next ferry, we had a little stroll and enjoyed a drive out of the town further along the coast. As soon as we got out of the overbuilt resort area, we could finally see the beautiful coastline.
As we drove further, we finally came across the more true Hawaiian spirit! We bought here some insanely delicious oat cookies with cranberries end finished them all by time we got back to Lahaina.
See you later, we are off to the beach!