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“great way to see Maui with limited funds”
Review of Camp Olowalu

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Camp Olowalu
Eugene OR
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“great way to see Maui with limited funds”
Reviewed 7 February 2010

My partner and I spent three weeks camping here and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Our original plans were to camp at all of the availalbe camping spots on the island- both state and fedral but after driving the island and looking at the other camps decided to stay on at Camp Olowalu. Good basic ammeneties- not sure what others expect for a camp ground but I found everything I needed and the showers and sinks were a bonus- most of the camping spots in Oregon do not have this option. Enjoyed the fact that I could walk to several spots to snorkel and was close to a store. The garbage was emptied daily, the porta potties were cleaned every other day and the other campers were quiet and respectful. I am returning in Feb of 2010 and am planning on camping again here! Also I have reommended it to many of my friends that want to go to Maui and have always hesitated due to cost. I spent less for three weeks camping than I did to fly there!!! Maui for three weeks under 2000.00 for two- Who can beat that?

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank noh8tred_n_life
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Eugene, Oregon
1 review
Reviewed 23 June 2009

My Boyfriend and I just returned from Maui a couple days ago, It was an amazing trip and a big part of what made it so great was this charming little campground. It has so much character, the people running it are very friendly and all of the people we met there and our camp neighbors were very respectful and peaceful. We enjoyed watching the stars from the beach everynight and the bamboo showers were amazing and not even cold!
we stayed up Haleakala and hated it, Drove The road to Hana and we missed our basecamp so much we drove all the way back that night to stay at Olowalu...lol
we love this place and I would highly recommend it!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank FrecklezNFlamez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Utah
1 review
Reviewed 16 March 2009

My wife and I stayed at Camp Olowalu campground after having a horrible experience at both of the other State Beach Parks. We were so grateful to be able to find this camping gem online after we had arrived to Maui. This campground has wireless internet access that actually allowed me the wonderful opportunity to work from the beach literally as I had some Internet work that had to be done, while I was on vacation (as usual). I was able to boot up my laptop and get online right away and keep my boss happy so I could get back to my wonderful Views and Beaches.

We found that the state parks did not offer any kind of security at night, nor any on-site live in manager or staff. We also were witness to several visitors who had been attacked or robbed while sleeping in their tent.

We were able to stay amongst world travelers, as well as locals that offered great insight to many cultural and historic information about Maui and Camping in Hawaii. Everyone we met was friendly and also enjoying their time here.

This campground has two beautiful outdoor showers with Rain Shower heads, they are stone tiled with bamboo walls for privacy - they are cleaned daily and have crystal clear refreshing mountain spring water coming from a private spring in mountains nearby. There are ample bathrooms and water and outdoor sink facilities which are well maintained. They also have trash and recycle bins everywhere which helps to keep the camp sites clean as they are emptied daily.

We also were amazed at the wildlife, we never saw so many whales in our life, and the snorkeling was awesome. After being at some of the resort areas and beaches we were drawn to come back to Olowalu to really be able to experience the raw beauty of Hawaii and its Natural features.

  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank TreeCamper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carleton Place
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2009

We camped for 7 nights in Oahu and eagerly looked forward to staying at Camp Olowalu. We chose it through research on the web and a travel guide.

This campground was dark, dingy, and damp. No tent sites had sun and were overgrown. The ground for tents was muddy and wet.

The facilities(term loosely used) were dirty and it seemed like there were only a couple of taps, sinks, and toilets for more than 20 sites. The campgrounds website states that campers can only stay for 14 days, but a number of sites looked like they had been occupied a lot longer than that.

The county and state authorities need to visit this campground and withdraw support until it cleans up. It is neither safe nor clean. We chose to stay in Hana which proved a much better experience. Our last night we stayed just down the road from Olowalu and although there is no water it seemed a much safer spot.

We had a wonderful adventure in Hawaii and we are so glad we passed on the Camp Olowalu experience, as it would have an otherwise great holiday.

I highly recommend the state campgrounds, and while the county campgrounds are a little iffy they do have some security.

  • Liked — not one thing
  • Disliked — filthy, dark, dingy
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank SidT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
WNY
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 January 2009

We stayed at Camp Olowalu on and off for most of our 2 week vacation in Maui. Overall we thought it was a good choice. It is located adjacent to beachfront state land. The campsites are nestled under a tree canopy. It is very close to one of the nicest protected coves for snorkeling, which contains a huge and shallow reef, great for beginners as well as experienced snorkelers.
During the time we stayed there, the trash cans and recycling bins were emptied regularly, and the pit toilets were clean and well stocked. There was no trash and other campers were clean and considerate. There is an outdoor shower and sink for cleaning dishes. There is also an enclosed shower area with a tiled floor that was clean and well maintained. There is only cold water, but hey, it's the tropics! The staff was friendly.
It seems that some of the people staying there are long-term, but everyone was nice and polite and there was never noise or any other problems. You must park in an area that is separate from the campsites but this reduces the noise in the camp, and it always seemed safe.
One thing we wish they offered is a common area for tent campers to use during rainstorms and wind. Some of the tent sites are small and don't have a picnic table, and some don't drain well during significant rain events so choose your site with that in mind. It would be great if there was an area for people to leave behind things that they don't want to take home so that other campers could use them (i.e. partial cans of propane, sunscreen, etc.) We also would have liked to have access to a outlet for charging cell phones, batteries, etc.
There is an excellent market nearby where you can get coffee, juice, and bentos.

Stayed January 2009
Helpful?
3 Thank weedwanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 December 2008

Be warned:

Never camp at Camp Olowalu, Maui, unless you enjoy filthy conditions in a permanent homeless camp, trash overflowing for days on end, and absolute lack of management.

I spent five nights at Camp Olowalu, Maui, from Nov. 11-16, 2008, and each day the place grew more grim.

At first glance, the campground is in a fine location and quite beautiful. It's located six miles south of Lahaina, Maui, and far enough from the main road that car noise and constant traffic are nearly unnoticeable. The camp sits in a fine grove of Kiawe trees, and there's plenty of shade, fresh water showers, an outdoor sink for dishes, three portable toilets, and the ocean laps at the camp's door on the south side.

However, after five days at the place, Camp Olowalu's true character came out.

Here is a list of problems, which I sent to the Hawaii State Department of Health and the Maui County Health Department, both of which are investigating and plan to take action against the camp's owners:

1. Permanent homeless camp. Olowalu campground is home to many of Maui’s homeless people. While they certainly deserve a good, safe place to stay, the camp's owners should have the courtesy to warn visitors that the best campsites are all taken by the campground’s permanent residents, people come and go at all hours, driving in and out of the parking area, and the entire campground is worn down and worn out from overuse. Some of the camp's inhabitants had lived there six months or more, as I learned from personal interviews with them. Campgrounds are not built for permanent residents.

2. Trash. The trash situation was unacceptable, with cans constantly overflowing and little to no effort to empty the trash for days on end. I asked the camp's manager personally about the trash issue because I didn’t want to camp where the trash is allowed to spill out on the ground for days. The camp's manager, Noelani [--], assured me that trash was emptied each day. It was not. I stayed five days, and even came back for a sixth, but left without staying because the trash cans were still not emptied. I also left notes for the management about the problem, but trash was not emptied. Rats were in the trees each night, huge rats, attracted to the trash spilling onto the ground.

3. Filthy Showers. The showers were not cleaned once during my five-day stay, but were used (along with the sink area, which was full of nasty food scraps left by the camp's permanent homeless residents) by literally dozens of people daily.

4. Urine and feces. Since the campground is inhabited by permanent homeless residents, the entire area is littered with human feces and urine. Even though portable bathrooms are provided, which I used every time I needed to use the bathroom out of respect for others who might camp after I left, few people use the bathrooms. As a result, the woods, bushes and nearly the entire campground are full of toilet paper scraps and, yes, piles of human feces. I nearly stepped in human poop several times during my stay, which is absolutely unacceptable and not a problem at properly managed campgrounds.

5. No management. In nearly a week at Olowalu, I never saw anyone associated with management venture into the campground to inspect the place and see how it’s doing. Moreover, the tent camping check-in window was never open, and no one bothered to respond to my note that reported the ongoing trash problem.

6. Cats. The cat problem on the Islands is not a surprise, but the long-term residents of the camp are exacerbating the problem by buying huge bags of cat food and feeding the cats, without providing spay and neuter services or medical care, which only makes more cats and encourages them to continue hanging around the campground. I love cats, but those animals should not be fed or encouraged in any way.

7. Clan battles. Yes, there were many times during my short stay that clan battles arose between the campground’s permanent residents. In one instance, one clan had a full-on yelling match that lasted for nearly an hour in the middle of camp with another group of permanent campers. The result? The entire day was ruined for several campers, including myself, who no longer felt comfortable or safe staying at Olowalu.

After spending time and money to travel to Maui for my first-ever visit to that lovely island, I was left to spend my last two nights on the island guerilla camping in places that were not safe nor legal to camp in, but which were far better than Camp Olowalu.

I hope the campground's owners take the advice I gave and the Health Department's concerns to heart, and address the issues so that future visitors will not suffer the same filth and problems.

Please go to Maui for camping and fun, but avoid Camp Olowalu like the plague.

Jason in Seattle, Wash.

Helpful?
13 Thank JasonBSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Camp Olowalu

Property: Camp Olowalu
Address: 800 Olowalu Village Rd, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761-9702
Region: United States > Hawaii > Maui > Lahaina
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 41 Speciality Lodging in Lahaina
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Camp Olowalu is an affordable alternative to hotels while being even closer to nature. Visiting this rustic retreat is like visiting Hawaii the way it used to be - a peaceful and fun tropical paradise year-round. Experience some of the best whale watching, snorkeling, and kayaking Maui has to offer right off our beachfront property. Hike multiple nearby trails and discover the traces of ancient Hawaii. Adventure is waiting for you right outside your camping grounds. We offer our cabins for group events and tentalows and the camp sites for individuals ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Camp Olowalu Hotel Lahaina
Camp Olowalu Maui/Lahaina

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