Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel
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TravelPod Member ReviewsBanana Bungalow Maui Hostel Wailuku
I was horrified when I first got there at how unkept it was but had to remind myself that I had just spent a year focusing on cleaning .I was also not real comfortable with the coed bathrooms. Once I let go of that it wasn't too bad. Meeting other people like myself made up for the conditions
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel Wailuku
Pay in cash & get a receipt
As a woman traveling by herself, this hostel provided a means to get out and meet people, however....there are a several things that could be run better. When booking a reservation be careful to document everything and check and recheck your bookings as they say they do not have means to check it. I found this out the hard way. The staff (not including the manager) was courteous, fun and outgoing. The tours were great and included days trips where you saw sights not on a "normal" tour. My favorite was the "Road to Hana," where you can get a huge loaf of banana bread for $4 and walk through a bamboo forest (beautiful!). I didn't rent a car and didn't feel the need to have one as they have shuttles. Just be aware that for the beach shuttle there must be 2 people going or you are not guaranteed a ride back. A cab ride to and from the airport will cost you about $15 if you don't catch the shuttle.When they mention there is a common room for everyone to stay and hang out it is only partly true. Management insists that everyone leave when it's 10 pm ish, which might be good for you or it might not. There were plenty of creepy critters around, be prepared with shower shoes and you might want to bring your own clorox wipes...If I had to do it all over again I would, but I would prefer not to run into the management.
Maui's Best Hidden Value
For the adventurous traveller (not "tourist"!) who is more concerned with seeing the real Maui instead of the standard Disneyland version, I could not recommend Banana Bungalow highly enough.
Start with free airport pick-up and return, throw in a different tour seven days a week (free but you are asked to tip your driver/tour guide, who does not get paid) and round it out with simple, old but clean accomodations and you have the makings of a great Maui vacation for a fraction of what most visitors will pay. Banana Bungalow is in Wailuku, a laid-back town on the upswing with a cafe featuring live music, antique, gift, bric-a-brac and used book stores and excellent restaurants all within a 10-minute walk, plus a dramatic view of the west Maui mountains at the doorstep. The hostel stays busy with visitors from all over the world, but the 10pm-8am quiet times are strictly observed. I found the staff and guests to be friendly, eager to help or give advice, and in general a nice bunch of folks to hang out with. Best of all, there is NO NEED to rent a car or deal with the hassle of trying to navigate amidst all the befuddled tourist drivers--just remember to sign up for the next day's tour.
We went "Snorkelling With the Sea Turtles" Thursday, exploring the reefs full of colorful fish (and some cute turtles!) at two different beaches. For lunch we had delicious fish tacos by the roadside, and afterwards we shopped for handcrafts and souvenirs in Kihei.
Friday's trip was the Whale Watch on a Pacific Whale Foundation boat. Bring your binoculars! Even though it was late in the season, we got lucky and spent most of the trip captivated by a mom humpback, her baby, and one or two other adults. Our driver then took us to the cool town of Paia, featuring lots of nice little shops, restaurants and a nearby beach.
Monday we did a little of this, a little of that--some hiking in west Maui visiting the Iao Needle and a nearby park, lunch in Paia, swimming at Baldwin Beach and at a natural pool with a waterfall, watching the windsurfers and kiteboarders at Ho'okipa, ending with a peaceful sunset...
Tuesday was the not-to-be-missed "Road to Hana" trip. Along the gorgeous way we stopped for heavenly banana bread, visited a black sand beach and a pepper sand beach, hiked in a bamboo forest to a 300 foot waterfall, swam in a freshwater cave, and took a tiny cliffside path to a deserted red sand beach that had water of the most indescribeable blue you can imagine.
I cannot praise the tours or the drivers highly enough. They showed us the out-of-the-way places, answered our questions patiently, told us when it was or was not okay to leave our things in the van--sadly, it is not safe in many parts of Maui. In fact, most cars are left empty and unlocked so as to prevent thieves from breaking windows to get in. Some reviews about BB mention that it is not in a good part of town, yet I spoke with many of the shopkeepers who disagree. They explain that things have been improving rapidly in the last couple of years now that the area is being restored. As for my own experience as a single woman, I never felt uneasy walking about town in the day or evening, and certainly had no problems at the hostel.
I had a private room to myself the entire week ($40+tax per night), and, with six bathrooms in the building, never had to wait to use one. I slept like a baby every night--I'm sure all the swimming and hiking helped! The backyard is a tropical oasis with mango and other trees with plenty of places to lounge in a chair or hammock with a book and couple of newly-made friends.
Do NOT expect to like BB if you are a prima donna or a plastic person. Instead, stay somewhere generic like the Maui Beach Hotel (at $125+tax per night), in an industrial area of Maui next to the airport, where the only thing you can walk to is a mall (bor-ing!) so you will want to rent a car ($45+ per day) and pay for the more commercial tours ($49-99 a pop). Or shell out $150-200/night for something on the Disneyesque South Shore. If I ever get back to Maui, I'll be staying at the Bungalow and doing the rest of the tours--including the 12-mile volcano hike and sunset viewing...
You need car if you stay here...
Wailuku is far removed from the hot spots (except the needle), so you will need a car if you want to enjoy a stay here. The price is very agreeable and the location is okay. Some say that is unsafe at night... I didn't find this to be the case. The bunk-bed room ("TV room") was okay and the shower facility were adequate. The free internet was nice. Hey, Maui is an expensive place, so this was a great deal. Next time I go I will look into camping on the beach though.
Great place, but Don't go out at night.
Banana Bungalow is a great place to stay if you are wanting to save some money. My wife and I had a great private room for only $55 a night. The workers were kind and helpful, and the grounds were very relaxing and well kept with lots of plants and trees and hammocks and daily cleanings of the hot tub. My only complaint is that the hostel is in a shady part of town and walking around at night could get you in trouble. Also, the tours are a great way to see the island on the cheap if you do not want to rent a car. For a hostel in expensive Hawaii, this stay is above average.
I stayed there for 3 nights last week. It is not a star hotel, but the staff always try their best. I opted for a private room. It didn't have a fan, but the lady on duty gave me a portable fan. The area is not cutsy, just not much activity at night. May be somebody who lives in a suburb and always cocoon themselves in a car might find the area scary. As a person who have lived mostly in downtowns, I didn't find the area spooky. We are OK as long as we dont keep valuables visible in the car and lock it. The staff are all young, enthusiastic ones and most of them work and stay there so somebody is always there in the campus to respond to guests' needs. They volunteer as guides on the trips. And, they do their best to help guests. I had a fabulous time on their 12-mile day hike in Haleakala, at the end of which we watched the sunset from the summit . Man, the variety of people I met !!! It was fun.
It is crowded but always full of life. There were people palying guitars, singing etc.
Now for some brickbats : Parking is tricky especially during the week. But the staff help as much to help find a parking spot closeby. I found the foot mats in the bathrooms dirty, but otherwise it was clean.
Very cool place
I stayed at the Banana Bungalow in June 2004 and loved it. I had a privat room and it was clean and roomy. It's a great place to meet wonderful people and I stayed there two full weeks. The tours were great fun. You see the best of Maui and have nice company. I would stay at the Banana Bungalow again.
Banana Bungalow: okay hostel in a bad location
This hostel is in a bad area. I would strongly advise that you DO NOT rent a car and park it anywhere near the hostel unless you want it broken into or stolen. Instead, take advantage of the airport pick-up and drop-off which the hostel offers free of charge. Another disappointing aspect about the BB is that its rooms have no ceiling fan and it can feel as if you are being baked in an oven. To make matters worse, a couple of rooms are missing window screens which makes the mosquito problem quite serious. If you are planning to get a private room be sure to get the ones located at the corners of the building with windows on opposite walls to let the air circulate. When I stayed there for a few days, my wife and I had to change the beddings because they were dirty and found that our bed was full of white bug powder. Be sure to secure your doors at night because hoodlums in the area tend to gain entry into the BB in hopes of stealing anything. In all fairness, I can say that the BB has a very nice and accommodating staff as well as wonderful tours and a good facilities. The tours, while initially free, are really not. You are expected to tip a certain amount to the guide. If each person is expected to give 5 or 10 bucks then it aint quite free--the BB should just say 10 dollars per person instead of being so coy. That being said, the tours is what makes staying at the BB worthwhile. If you have to have your own car then I would just stay at the Northwind Hostel a few blocks away. It has ceiling fans which really makes all the difference. I kid you not. Plus the distance away from the ghetto makes a huge difference because you just don't want to feel like you and your property are in constant danger.
This place kicks A$$!
i visited the banana bungalow back in october of 2003. i loved the hostel. the only bad part about the place is there isnt anything to dry your hands on in the bathroom. and they had a bad BED BUG problem, but luckily it wasnt in my dorm room. other than that this place was way kool. the Tours were great and free (but it looked bad if you didnt give a 5 or 10 dollar tip after the tour was over) but i didnt mind giving a tip. it was well worth it. i met people from all over the world who were staying at the hostel, i sure had a blast!! also the TV show "COPS" was on location down the street and i got to be in it. that was kool too! i am planing on going back there this year for another 3 or 4 week vacation. who knows maybe longer. they really run a good hostel there. staff was accomidating too. VISIT THE BUNGALOW BY ALL MEANS, you wont be disappointed!
Needs a little Fix Up
The price was definitely what hooked me. I was looking for a clean, decent and safe place to stay. The Hostel staff was friendly and accomodating and the other travelers were so warm. It wasn't in the safest of areas and one night we were awakened to the sound of a terrible fight taking place in the housing projects across the street.
At least 8 police cars came screaming in front of the hostel and there was a lot of tension outside. A little scary to say the least. Also, it wouldn't take much to fix the place up a little bit - repaint the rooms and put in some decent beds with clean linens (our bedspread was literally crusty). But I will say that I would stay there again. I met some absolutely wonderful people and the gardens were lovely with tropical birds singing in the morning and the smell of flowering and fruiting trees filling the air.
How Long Are You Staying?
Someone once told me "To experience the world, you need an open mind". From the outset, the Banana Bungalow is an old, rundown Hostel in the middle of a rundown area of Maui. But the longer you stay, the more you begin to love the place. When i first saw the Banana Bungalow "ad" on their website, I thought i had struck gold, what with the free internet, jacuzzi, tours, kitchen..etc and all for $32 a night! When i arrived, i realised that some things are cheap for a reason. The Banana Bungalow has many things which aren't worth cheering about, the place is rundown, the dorms are cramped, the private rooms are dank and the matresses haggered. But there's also much to like! It's gardens are a cool place to relax and enjoy the company of others. There are plenty of private bathrooms. There is free Internet access, 3 Huge Fridges, Kitchen and cutlery, TV, Games, Hammocks...but the best thing? They're the tours, I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed them. Everyday they whisk you to a different part of the Island. One day, you're hiking up a volcano, the next, you're on a nude beach in Makena! It gets better when you make friends, add some beers and you can have a magical night under the Maui Stars. Wailuku town may look rundown, and in many respects it is, but it's also a great place! Very friendly, lots of shops and restaurants (esp Tasty Crust). If Luxury is what your after, then look elsewhere. If you're after an inexpensive bed, lots of interesting and friendly people, clean showers and free transport, there's nowehere better on the Island.
TripAdvisor Reviews Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel Wailuku
Travel Blogs from Wailuku
Am Flughafen war es dann wohl oder übel so weit...ich musste mich von meinem treuen, roten Begleiter verabschieden. So schnell würde ich wohl keinen Mustang mehr fahren. Am Flugterminal erwartete mich die nächste Überraschung...mein Flugzeug für die Reise nach Maui war eine gerade mal 8-sitzige Propellermaschine. Zuerst war mir noch etwas flau im …
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... lava rock and coral for one of the first white residents. Dr. Baldwin was a missionary and physician who ministered to the natives, the home still having a few items from the Baldwin family (including some of the doctor's tools), as well as furnishings from that era. It's interesting to look around it.
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... tree and a calamondin tree were growing right outside the clubhouse! Autumn so wanted to eat the calamondin right off the ground, but I'm still only 95% sure that it was a tropical fruit and not a poisonous berry, so we'll stick to buying them from our local farmer! :) On our walk, we found some other really unique plants and flowers as well as what Autumn called "nougats" which she insisted on carrying home. She later ...