FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS, ANSWERED
If you’re the curious type, but aren’t ready to call us with your specific questions, we’ve put together this unabridged list of facts to help you understand the nature of a Rappel Maui tour.
WHAT IS YOUR TOUR LIKE?
The Rappel Maui tour is a fun and active experience for anyone over 10 who wants to experience the excitement and beauty of Maui’s rainforest and waterfalls through the sport of canyoneering. It’s a recreational tour that requires no previous climbing or rappelling experience. Follow these links for more about what it’s like, who can join us, when tours run, and how to book. Of course, you can always call us for information at 808-445-6407 between 7 AM and 7 PM, every day of the year.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAKING MY RESERVATION ONLINE OR OVER THE PHONE?
The only difference in making your reservation online vs. over the phone is that you can make an online reservation any time of the day or night. Check availability or make a reservation now. Our reservation phone hours are 7 AM to 7 PM Hawaii time, 7 days. Call 808-445-6407 to make a phone reservation.
HOW MUCH DOES A RAPPEL MAUI TOUR COST?
The classic tour costs $228.12 per person. That includes tax, transportation from Central Maui, all gear (with special footwear), and lunch. The cost to accompany the tour without participating in the rappelling is $156.25. The extended tour, the Extreme Zip Rappel Tour, is $290.63 per person.
WHAT IS CANYONEERING? WHAT IS RAPPELLING?
Simply put, canyoneering is the exploration of canyons. Some necessary activities associated with exploring and traveling through canyons are hiking, scrambling, jumping, sliding, rappelling, and swimming. Rappelling is the practice of using ropes, anchors and other equipment to descend (and sometimes ascend) a vertical or nearly vertical surface. When we conduct our rappelling tours, we use harnesses, ropes, and a redundant system of anchors to descend natural wet and dry jungle walls.
SHOULD I REMOVE ALL MY JEWELRY BEFORE RAPPELLING?
Out on the pitches and trails, it’s best to keep things simple and un-blingy. Remove any pieces of exposed jewelry that might catch on equipment or rocks. You will also be using your hands quite a bit, and they will likely contact hard, rough and muddy surfaces, so if you’re worried about damaging rings with or without stones, we do recommend removing them. We don’t, however, recommend leaving any valuables in your car. Either leave jewelry in your hotel safe, or bring it with you so that you can keep it in the dry keg in your backpack.
WHEN DO YOU OFFER TOURS?
We operate tours daily, with a maximum of four tour times per day. Look online or call to ask about availability for any particular time slots. Classic tour times are at 7:00, 8:30, 10:00 and 11:30 AM. The Extreme Zip Rappel Tour time is 9:30 AM, and operates 3 days per week. Note that these are the departure times from the Central Maui park & ride lot. If we’re picking you up at your South Maui hotel, or if we’re meeting you on the way to the rappelling site, you’ll board the van at different times. Just call, chat or email us to ask about the details.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RAPPEL MAUI CLASSES AND THE TOUR?
The classic tour is a 6-hour long experience that’s strictly recreational, and is operated daily. The extended tour is a 7.5 to 8 hour experience, and is open to first-timers and beginners. It operates 3 days per week. The classes are for those who want to learn the sport of canyoneering from an instructor and master guide. There are multiple courses focusing on a variety of skills and skill levels and are scheduled in advance. Take a look at the Courses page to learn more about the offerings and how to register.
HOW MANY RAPPELS WILL I DO DURING THE TOUR?
Usually 3 on the classic tour, 4 or more on the extended tour. The format may be different if you’re taking a custom private tour. Call to ask us about custom private tours for small or larger groups.
I’M CONSIDERING A RAPPELLING TOUR, BUT I’M SCUBA DIVING FIRST. WHAT’S THE MAXIMUM ELEVATION DURING THE TOUR?
The maximum elevation of the tour is encountered in Haiku, during the drive from Kahului to the rappelling site, and is about 750 feet above sea level. Once you the rappelling site, there’s no more elevation gain, as you’ll descend first, and walk back up to the beginning elevation at the end. If you’re continuing on your own to Hana after your rappel tour, please note that you may encounter elevations of 1,000 feet above sea or higher during the drive.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN A GROUP?
There are two guides assigned to a maximum of eight participants. When making a tour reservation, your group may include other parties. To make a reservation exclusively for your party of one or more people, call to ask about a private tour.
CAN I TAKE PHOTOS OR VIDEO DURING THE TOUR?
Yes. There are lots of opportunities to capture your memories on a still or video camera. You can mount your GoPro to your helmet, or, if you don’t have a waterproof camera, you can keep your digital camera or smart phone in the dry keg that we provide, along with a backpack for your use during the tour. You can also keep other small, non-waterproof or fragile items in the dry keg, such as car keys and watches. Pro tip: Place water-sensitive items in a sealed plastic bag before putting them into your dry keg for extra insurance.
WHERE DO I GO TO MEET YOU?
We pick you up at a park & ride lot in Central Maui, on Highway 310 at the corner of Highway 30. Get directions and a map to the meeting location. Please arrive 15 minutes before your tour departure time. If you’re staying in South Maui, we can pick you up at your resort/hotel. (South side pickup is for the 8:30 AM tour time only, with pickup at 7:40 AM, or the 11:30 tour time, with pickup at 10:40. The fee is an additional cost of $25 per person for a round trip ride.)
HOW MUCH DOES THE TOUR COST?
The 6.5-hour tour costs $219 per person, plus tax. The extended tour costs $279 per person, plus tax. Price includes transportation from Central Maui, equipment (including footwear) and lunch, snacks and water. You can book online anytime or by calling 808.270.1500 7AM-7PM, 7 days. South Maui hotel transportation is available for $25 per person; $35 per person from the west side. Ask about pickup and return times, and booking your reservation with hotel transportation.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?
There’s hand sanitizer and cold running water at the rainforest site, but no shower or soap. There are changing rooms for you to use after your tour. Bring clothing to change into after the tour, and a towel. We give you a dry box with your backpack to keep your non-waterproof items dry during the tour, but for extra insurance, bring your non-waterpoof items in a seal-able plastic bag. If you like to keep it neat, bring a separate or plastic bag for your wet swimsuit and clothing.
WHAT IS THE RIDE LIKE TO THE SITE?
We pick you up in a white 15-passenger van clearly marked with the Rappel Maui logo, and make a 1.5 hour drive to the rappel site on the scenic Hana Highway. Along the way your guides are happy to answer questions about the island, Hawaii culture and history and the tour. You’ll be able to make a bathroom stop either in Kahului (10 minutes from the meeting location) or in Haiku (40 minutes from the meeting location.) There are also facilities at the rappelling site, along with private changing rooms. On the ride to Hana, you’ll travel past charming North Shore towns like Paia and surfer-approved beaches like Ho’okipa. As you go, the road becomes a little less straight, and the roadside vegetation a little more green and lush. You’ll see waterfalls on one side of the road, and the infinite sea on the other–relax and enjoy the views.
WHAT IF I’M STAYING SOMEWHERE CLOSER TO THE RAPPELLING SITE THAN TO THE MEETING LOCATION?
If your accommodations are on the way to the rappelling site, or if you’re coming from Hana or continuing on to Hana after your tour, it makes sense to meet us along the way, or at the site on the Hana Highway. Just ask us about your specific meeting time when making your reservation. If you’re coming from Paia, Makawao-Pukalani, or Haiku, we can pick you up in an alternative location that will save you time on the road.
WHERE DOES THE RAPPELLING TAKE PLACE?
The canyon where we rappel is located in the Puohokamoa Valley, located on the Hana Highway, approximately halfway to Hana. It’s about 1 hour from Kahului, and 1 hour 15 minutes from Hana. If you’re meeting us at the site, we’ll send you specific directions about where to meet us at the site once you make your reservation.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM PRONE TO CARSICKNESS?
Your guides are experienced drivers of the Hana Highway, and are great at keeping the ride as smooth as possible, but if you know that you or a member of your party is likely to experience some carsickness along the way, let us know when making your reservations. We can either make the usual accommodations, like putting you in the front seat of the van and making sure that your guides carry plenty of ginger candy, or we can meet you at the rappel site.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I’M TOO SCARED TO MAKE THAT FIRST STEP?
It’s normal and natural to feel nervous about making your first descent–we welcome beginners and experts alike. Your guides have accompanied all kinds of guests, from children to seniors and beginners to seasoned canyoneers; they’re great at helping adventurers face the challenge of doing something as unusual as walking down a waterfall–and doing it safely. Listen to your guide’s instructions and tips–they know some great techniques for minimizing nervousness and maximizing enjoyment. And if you decide that making one or more rappels isn’t for you, there are hiking trails to the bottom of each descent. You can stay with your party and enjoy the waterfall pools and scenery without making that step over the edge. If you know that you want to accompany the tour, but don’t want to rappel, you can make a reservation as an observer, for a reduced rate of $150 per person plus tax.
IS RAPPELLING SAFE?
Although a rappel tour is full of excitement and thrills, your guides’ first priority is safety. That’s why your tour group size is small (maximum size of 8), with two guides assigned to each group. Your guides are highly-trained in canyoneering techniques, first aid, swift water rescue and wilderness rescue. They receive ongoing training during the year, and maintain certification in Red Cross CPR. Our courses and equipment are monitored daily and equipment is carefully evaluated and retired when appropriate. When heavy rains and severe weather cause the streams to flood, we use the rappel stations that are a safe distance from the water. And everyone wears a helmet from the tour’s start to finish. These are a few of the precautions that make a Rappel Maui tour safer than a day at the beach. Read these related posts about why the tour is safe, how we keep it safe, and what kind of excitement you can expect from a day in the rainforest.
DO I NEED TO BE SUPER ATHLETIC TO DO THE RAPPELLING TOUR?
The most important skills in having a great day of rappelling are listening and attentiveness, with the most physical exertion happening at the end of the tour. After the three descents, you’ll hike a well maintained trail under the cool forest canopy back up the 300 vertical feet to the top–it’s like walking up 3 or 4 flights of stairs. At the supply shed, you’ll be able to change clothing in one of the private changing rooms.
WHAT IF I’VE NEVER BEEN RAPPELLING BEFORE?
You’re in good company. Most of our guests are first-timers or are new to the sport and skill of canyoneering. If you’re interested in learning the how-tos of canyoneering, or further skills you’ve already developed, there are a number of classes offered under the tutelage of our own master guide and canyoneering guru Dave Black. Learn more about canyoneering classes.
WHAT ARE YOUR RESTRICTIONS AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS?
You must weight between 70 and 250 lbs to participate, and your waist must measure between 22 and 54 inches. The minimum age is 10. You must be in good general health, and have no neck or back issues. The activity (including the observer/hiking option) is not appropriate for pregnant women. You must also be able to speak and understand English well.
IS IT COMMON PRACTICE TO TIP THE GUIDES?
If you feel that the service your guides provided was exemplary, tipping them is one way to express your appreciation. You can bring cash with you to the tour, or you can call the reservations line to authorize a charge to your credit card for any amount. You can also email us about your experience with your guides, or use a social site like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, TripAdvisor, Yelp and others.