More about Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel
When i first saw the place i did not like, actually! but the minute we had the staff explaining everything for us, i started loving that hostel!
they are responsible, interested in helping the travelers and very nice.
the best thing about this place are the tours!! Just PLEASE be careful with the saturday tour because it is really hard!! it is not the walk (12 miles) itself that is bad, it is the last 4 miles that is up a hill that is veryyyyy veryyyyy, VERYYYYYYYYY steap!!!! and it never finishes. and when you think you are finishing, believe me, you are NOT!!! and you gotta run then, because otherwise you are gonna miss the sunset!
other than the saturday trip, everything is great!!! you can use their computers ( a little slow, but good), they have many showers, so you do not have to wait 5 hours to take a shower.
i would stay there again, for sure!!!!
enjoy your stay!!!
Wouldn't recommend it
Wow, there's alot to say about this hostel. Good and bad. The worst thing were the bedbugs. Everyone I spoke to, and myself had been bitten by them. The hostel is also pretty dirty, maybe also because everyone can get a cleaning job in return for a free night at the hostel. The first two days I had to take cold showers, but after then I discovered there was also a shower upstairs with warm water (thank god!). Beware that there are people jumping into the jacuzzi naked every night.
There are also always semi-wild cats walking around and being fed in the common room. Dorms on the street side are extemely noisy, you can't sleep there unless you have good earplugs.
The common room is not cozy at all. No couches, and just plastic chairs. Also, its in a middle of nowhere town. You have to take the bus for 20mins or half an hour in order to get vegetables or fruit.
Apart from that, I liked the atmosphere. I found alot of friendly people residing there, most of who did an exchange for cleaning or receptionwork.
The manager was very unfriendly, and also a blond/pink haired girl working there was extremely impatient and grouchy.
But other staffmembers were the total opposite and very helpful and friendly. I guess that's what you get when you just let everyone work here.
The 'free' tours they offer are awesom, but again, you don't have a guarantee that you will have an experienced or friendly tourguide. Plus, from day 1 you are told and pushed into giving them tips (the manager holds a speech before the tour that you should give 20 dollars at the end of the day), so you're mislead if you look on their website and think that its really free.
Even though, even 20 dollars is not much considering what you get, but I didn't like the misleading of 'free'.
Hopefully you can decide for yourself if this is a place you would want to stay. I stayed for 4 nights, and liked it all in all, but next time I won't go back there.
You get what you give!
I was at the Banana last year, i went there because many friends recommended it as a friendly environment place where you get to meet people all around the world and have fun + the free tours and the cheap price sounded like paradise!!!
The hotel rooms are horrible, 2 bunk beds one sooo next to the other that you barely have space to change clothes or stretch out! They give you one sheet for the whole staying (i stayed for a month!), my room was next to the reception so it was pretty noise in the night and i had to see this old guy (i think is the administrator) running around just wearing shorts and always in the bench in front of reception which was a horrible view. That same night the hostel bugs started to attack me and still now 5 months later i have some marks of that.
Once i was there i met some people at the hostel and they were headed to the banana in waikiki so i wanted to join them and asked at the reception if i was able to have some of my money back for the time i was not staying there and put that on the banana in waikiki and they told me they couldn´t do that! They were very unhelpful in that sense!!!
Good things? Internet, bbq, lots of young people to hang out with... the trick to survive here without a car is to make a group with others and then either rent it between the 5 of them or ask someone for a ride. The hostel is in the middle of nowhere and the only nice restaurant around is like 6 blocks down but won´t let people under 21 to stay in after 9 pm so big bummer if you travel with someone younger. Nice place to hang out though they have live music and shows. Try to go there in a large group because you will find very unfriendly locals on the way.
The jacuzzi is nice but dirty, people will usually go there to smoke pot and make out so if you are not into it just avoid going there. You will see lots of bugs around there too.
The tours are great but as they say many times they don´t pay their tour guides therefore the tour guides really don´t give a hummm about you. I had a friend that found really hard to keep track with the tour leader and she was not helpfull at all, she just kept going even though she asked her for help. Gotta be in good shape to participate in that.
If you still want to go i would recommend to get a private room, and go in a group so you can rent a car and not depend on the hotel tours.
Despite the reviews here.......Banana Bungalow is a great place !!!
I also went with a really open mind because I also read some of the not so favourable reviews and was a little worried. When I arrived on Maui airport around 1pm I called the hostel and they picked me up at the airport at 2pm. Their airport pick up time.
On arrival at the hostel, checked in and got a small tour and explanation about the hostel. I got the 4 bed female dorm room just next to the reception (street side.......noisy but earplugs work !). The room is small with 2 wooden bunk beds. When I got my sheets and put them on the bed I saw the anti-bedbug powder I thought... oh ooh....looked in the seems of the matress but it was ok. I asked for an extra blanket at the reception and got it right away. My first night would be the test........bedbugs or not?
It was all fine!! No bedbugs!! Slept great for the entire week I stayed there! And did not hear any guest at the hostel (and the hostel was almost full when I was there) complaining about bed bugs!
The hostel is a bit run down, but still ok!
The staff was really great and lots of fun!
Had lots of fun with the guests staying there, all very nice people at the time I stayed there!
The tours ...............are GREAT, definately a must do! And the guide that took us most of the days was funny, very friendly, helpfull and made sure we had a wonderfull day! And why complaining about tipping USD15 or USD20. Its really worth it!
Especially the Road to Hana tour is amazing!
I had a great time on Maui..........thanks to Banana Bungalow!
intermingled but saves your money
My friend and I stayed in Banana Bungalow for two nights. The room was ok, there's nothing but beds and a night stand. Our room #9 was located right next to the road/back yard where the hot tub was. Oh and the window was broken.. A lots of lots of people from different countries were staying in the hostel and you could hear them talking all night long. There were few shared bathrooms, not very clean...
We joined the free tour on Thursday, the turtle tour. They took us to the two different beach which were very beautiful. Then we stopped by Kihei area to see sunset/had time for dinner and little shopping. The tour guides were very friendly, so were the desk clerks at hostel.
There's a "very old fasioned" shopping mall near the Hostel (Kaahumanu shopping center). There's a free bus ride from the shopping center, very convenient (tell the bus driver you want to go to the North Market street.)
We may stay in Banana Bungalow again "IF" the bathrooms would be renovated..
Tolerable & cheap
The banana bungalow was my very first experience with staying at a hostel. Because of this I did my research, I read all the reviews (both tour guides & on the internet) and checked out all of the pictures that I could find on the internet - there was definitely mixed reviews: some good while others not so good. But because of the affordable price I thought that I would give it a chance and book a night's stay... telling myself that if I don't like it I can always get a room elsewhere...
I arrived and was met by the front desk person - he seems pretty cool, very tanned and relaxed... A traveller himself - you see they have this arrangement whereby you can work at the hostel in exchange for a free stay... anyways, I expressed my concerns upfront and requested to see the room & facilities before I accept the room key... he was willing to oblige - which was pretty cool... I checked it out & told myself that it would be tolerable for a couple of nights.
My first night: I had trouble sleeping because there were "guest" outside at 2am partying... I had to yell out of the window to get them to settle down. Even though there is "quiet time" from 10pm-8am, this is not always observed. After a couple of reminders, the noise stopped. I made sure that I mentioned this to the front desk the next morning... after that, I had no noise issues. However, it was not uncommon to see people sleeping on the hammocks outside... (I wondered about that... but decided not to question it...)
My friend and I decided to stay for the duration of our trip (10 days). As long as you see it as a place to rest your head, you'll be fine. It's not a ritzy place but what can you really expect for $65/night anyways? This got us a private room with two twin beds - which is probably the way to go, since I had the chance to get a glimpse at the dorms & it's pretty close quarters & depending on who your dorm-mates are, it might be "interesting"....
There was this dorm that I walked past in order to get to our room... the door was almost always open... well, one time as I was walking past I happened to look in and noticed a naked guy... he was cute so it was alright.... but at the same time - he was not the only one in the room at the time... his dorm mates were sleeping?
The hostel is located in the "happy valley" part of Wailuku. It is just that - there is no shortage of marijuana... I was approached and offered twice (first 2 days) & asked if I smoke the stuff... This 'aroma' is not unusual...
I'm told that Happy Valley is not a safe neighbourhood - it was described to me as Maui's hood... it's in a fairly run-down part of Maui... but as two single girls we were able to get around safely & not hassled... I guess if you exercise the proper precautions you will have no problems.
The tours are probably the best part of the stay at the two-storey "bungalow"... though rushed most times... I got the sense that the tour guide that I had (most days) really cared...I was on the "Hana tour" and was experiencing some 'motion sickness' We stopped at a road stand and got some ginger - it helped to settle my tummy... needless to say he got a good tip that day!
Oh that's another thing - they advertise that the tours are "free" but it is expected that you tip the guide between $10-20 US... which if you think about it is not that bad - advertised tours to Hana would run you about $89-150/day...
ok but could be better
First of all, what everyone says about the area the hostel is in is completely true. The people who work there even recommend you don't go out alone once it gets dark and there were 2 thefts while I was there. Also due to the location there really is nothing to do at night.
Other than that I liked it, the place was clean, the tours were ok for the price (of a tip). The lodgers had it's usual dead beats and no hopers but everyone is friendly. Would I stay again? Yes, only due to the fact that this is the best Maui has to offer hostel wise.
Best bang for your buck
I arrived in Maui, only to find my original accomodations were under repair, and the Banana Bungalow was coveniently nearby, according to the taxi driver. It was the best thing that ever happened in my life. Great staff, great travellers, and incredibly affordable, yet wonderful daily tours!
another paradise lost...
The place is distant,but hey! in the fast turning busy Hawaii that is convenient,more Peace.
That may turn ugly,dangerous by merauding locals.
They take you away of it to Natural spots well known,in compensation.From the tropical forest to volcanic wasteland.
Warning!_hike thru volcano is not a hike,but even on flat and asphalted road waaaay too long.You barely have time for the snapshots,in order to make it "on time"...Not natural.
Problems at organiziing(?)
Staff not helpful,but furtive and predatory on the tipping policy(!)
Plus,they keep aloof of guests as locals and even territorial about the facilities guests(you,paying)....waaay coooool,not.
But for blue Hawaiiana try to get with Brian,he will take you away of to the best drinking holes and "pakalolo" planters....