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The Most Badass Hostel I've Ever Stayed In - Review of Banana Bungalow Maui - Restless Heart
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The Most Badass Hostel I’ve Ever Stayed In – Review of Banana Bungalow Maui

 

I knew after somehow living through 4 years of 8 month long, 40 below winters that I needed to go somewhere hot to keep myself from becoming a tense bitter frozen to death person, as I’ve witnessed happen to other teachers that have spent too long in the north. Luckily there is a week off in May called Goose Break where everything shuts down for a week while everyone goes goose hunting. I’ve been invited to the goose hunting before and have gone and stayed at people’s camps and had campfires, tried goose, gone skidooing on the just starting to melt a but lake (yes, only just starting to melt in May) and slept in tents but this year I needed heat and while the geese were flying up north, I would be flying down south.

Without a particular destination in mind I watched ticket prices on Google Flights and started researching options. I knew I wanted somewhere not too expensive, with a variety of activities (I’m not a just sit by the beach and do nothing for a week kind of girl) and easy to get around without a car (I don’t drive anywhere but up north, yet). During my research, I came upon the Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel and it was their free tours with all transport included that actually made me decide on Maui as my destination, plus the fact that the tours and things to do on Maui looked awesome.

I wasn’t disappointed. I got some heat and had a great time in Maui without spending all my money, and the Banana Boat Maui Hostel turned out to be the most Badass hostel I’ve ever stayed in.

Here’s why:

 

1.Free Tours (I mean how can you say no to free tours?

 

A stop on the Road to Hana tour

A stop on the Road to Hana tour

How it works is that each day the hostel has a free tour of the day that you can sign up for. They have two mini vans and a couple of guides who take you all around Maui. The guides do all this for free. You are just supposed to tip them, and trust me, you will want to tip them, and well, because they and the tours are awesome.
I arrived in Maui a day late because of flight delays so I ended up missing out on the Monday tour, so the first tour I did was the Tuesday Road to Hana tour. Out of all the tours I did this was the best one and a great deal. It’s full day 12 hour road trip (although mine ended up being more than 12 hours due to some crazy misadventures involving a giant tree) that includes stops for fresh baked banana bread, gorgeous black sand and red sand beaches, a BBQ food truck, a hike to a 50 foot waterfall, plus the beautiful view you get during the drive. Hint: Sit on the driver’s side.

Other free tours I did were: snorkeling with turtles in West Lahaina (Wednesday), more beaches, drinking too much Mai Tai,  and watching the sunset (Thursday),  and checking out the artsy hippy side of Maui in Paia + a keg party (Friday). Unfortunately the other super awesome sounding tour – Hiking Haleakala Volcano Crater was cancelled the Saturday that I was there due to wet weather so I ended going with a friend I met at the hostel. (yay, friends you make in hostels!)
 

2. They know the secrets spots of Maui

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Cave jumping and swimming

 

 

Going to all these places with the Banana Bungalow guides was great because they know all these secret spots that I would have never know about otherwise like the caves that we dove in on one of the stops on the road to Hana, the beach where I snorkelled with turtles bordering the hotel that you can get access to by parking in their parking garage for a couple dollars, the place we went to that had $2.50 Mai Tai special, and assorted other little trails and cheap drinking spots they showed us.

 

 

3. They don’t follow the rules 

 

 

A lot of these secret trails mentioned above had signs that said things like “danger – do not enter – certain death beyond this point” written on them but our guides just stepped right over the ropes, walked right past the signs and kept going and we followed. I’m also not sure about the whole parking in the hotel parking in order to use their beach thing being allowed but we did it anyway!
 

4. They know how to have fun

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From a keg party to showing us the best spots to cliff jump, they know how to have fun at this hostel. Even when we were stuck driving back and forth for 3 hours because of the killer tree, our guide played good music and came up with drinking games for us to play in the van.
 

5. Even if you’re not in your twenties you can still have a good time there.

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Because when you’re over 30 you can afford to drink Prosecco on the beach

 

Before I went and hearing about the reputation of it being a party hostel, and although I am totally a party girl myself, I was a little bit concerned about being the only one who had passed the age of 30 there. Sitting in the garden/party area just outside the hostel on the first night watching 21 year old girls twerking to get ugly backpacker guys’ attention, guys hanging upside down and drinking out of kegs, and people making out like drunken teenagers around me, I kind of felt like I’d accidentally wandered onto to the set of one of those MTV “dating” show full of 20 years old that all drink too much, hook up and then cry and fight. But then I discovered a cool group of older girls hanging out in the corner watching the goings on with the same look of amusement and horror as me, and we got together, chilled, got stoned in the bushes and hatched up some plans for some cool adventures together like getting up the next day at 4 AM to go watch the sunrise at Haleakala Volcano.
 

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That sunrise!

 

 

Things that are not so great:

If you want to visit Hawaii and you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend, I completely recommend this hostel but there are a few things that weren’t so great.

1.The location

It’s kind of right in the middle of the Island in the damp rainy part so you can’t really just walk outside and chill by the beach.  However with the free tours going to cool spots everyday and the pretty decent public transport, it’s easy to get around. And being in the middle means it’s quick to get to any other part of the island, rather than having to go all the way across.

2. It’s not the cleanest hostel

It’s in the damp part of Maui and everyone spends their days there at the beach and trekking jungles and climbing volcanoes and naturally dragging all that sand, jungle mud, and volcano dust back into the hostel. Despite the staff’s best efforts to keep it clean, all that dirt plus the dampness means it never quite feels clean. But you will be spending most of your time in Maui getting sandy and dirty so the sooner you embrace it, the happier you will be and the more fun you will have.

 

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Chilling on the Beach with a bunch of fellow Quebecers that I met at the hostel

 

3. There are no freezers in the kitchen

I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of frozen food so I could eat cheaply while I was there only to discover there are no freezers in the hostel 🙁

 

4. Sometimes you don’t want to deal with the drama of an episode of  MTV’s “Are You the One?” while you are on vacation.

Twerking competitions, crying girls, lovelorn guys yelling down the hallways of the hostel for the girl they “love” (and just met) at 1AM, that one guide that seems to be sleeping with everyone… enough said, this is what happens when you hang out in a place with too many drinking people under the age of 25 .

While that show is my secret guilty pleasure, I don’t necessarily want to be smack in the middle of an episode while I’m trying to relax and get my drink on during an evening in Maui. Find the cool older people and go chill in a hidden spot.

 

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