As long as I remember Hawaii has always been on my list of dream vacations. Those surreal sunsets and enchanting tropical landscapes are just postcard perfect! No wonder it’s called a drop from the heaven. Although there were five amazing islands to choose from, MAUI was our obvious choice for it’s diverse landscapes and activities.
To put it in the words of locals Maui no ka oi literally translates to Maui is the best!
For your convenience, I have mapped out all the places, restaurants and of course happy hours 😉
Maui offers two prime locations where most vacationers prefer staying. South and West maui. While west maui is more developed and easily accessible from shopping malls and dining places around Lahaina, south maui is full of luxury resorts and vacation rentals. It’s called Beverly hills by the sea for a reason.
I love me some sunsets and infinity pool, so we chose to stay at Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, South Maui. The rooms are kinda on the expensive side, starting from 300-350 $ per night for a ocean view room, including breakfast. Just for this trip, forget about your budget and treat yourself 😉 There is a small shopping complex right next to it if you ever want to over indulge yourself 😀
In the kaanapali region, I can vouch for Hyatt Kaanapali Beach, and Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club. They are amazing places to relax with private stocked up beaches.
North of maui offers budget friendly and some of the less explored enchanting places. Check out Airbnb for some more pocket friendly options.
If you plan to visit the Road to Hana and Haleakela summit, driving from south maui is far more easier than it’s western counterpart.
THINGS TO DO:
Lahaina is a small tourist town with cute little stores decked up along the shore. There are quite good beaches along the coast which aren’t too crowded. Enjoy a stroll on an evening and visit the most famous Ululani’s shave ice at the Front Street Lahaina & Banyan Tree Park. If I may also suggest the best flavor – Macademia nut Icecream topped with sunset hues shaved ice! *slurp*. Other places to explore are : Heart near Nakalele Blowhole and the dragon teeth, they are on the far north along the west coast.
- Haleakala summit
If you see the top 10 things to do in maui, this would top the list- Sunrise at the Haleakala summit, be sure to be there by 4 am in the morning to experience one of the most magical sunrises ever. The summit is located 10,000 ft above sea level and you would literally be on cloud 9 if not more but man is it cold. Temperatures are extremely chilly than normal, so be prepared with the gear and bring along your hiking shoes if possible 🙂 To top it off with a cherry, you could also do a bike ride downhill for that adrenaline rush!
Lavendar Farms : The bloom season is usually through late June to early July. It’s on the way to the summit.
It’s one of the most appealing place you ought to visit when you are in Maui. It’s all about the journey, with a blend of lush green vegetation, beaches, waterfalls..you name them, just about anything alluring! Be warned though, the roads are extremely narrow and curvy with hairpin turns. It would make you nauseatic if you have motion sickness, take all the precautions necessary well in advance.
Start early in the morning if you don’t plan to stay there. Hana is a sleepy town, so don’t overdo it by more than a couple of days. Book your hotel well in advance and plan it thoroughly, as there aren’t many places to eat or stay, brownie points if you stock up from a grocery store at south/ west maui.
I’ll list some of the best places with mile markers to visit along the way here, click on them to take you to the google pictures.
- Mile Marker 2.1 Twin Falls
- Mile Marker 10.6 Garden of Eden
- Mile Marker 17 1/3 Halfway to Hana, Hana Farms : try their awesome warm banana bread, it’s the best in town or at least I think so 😉
- Mile Marker 31 Kahanu Garden
- Mile Marker 32.2 Waianapanapa State Park (Also called the Black sand beach, just Uh-mazing!)
- Maui Tropical Plantation : Above picture does all the justice than me writing a whole bunch of adjectives.
- Paia Town
- Maui Ocean Center
- Kapalua Coastal Trail : Be sure to check out the timings, when we went, it was closed for restoration as it was not accessible due to heavy rains.
The only thing that disappointed me with the beaches were, they aren’t as pristine and serene as I wanted them to be. I’d probably blame Caribbean for setting me those high expectations. Neverthless, being the water babies that we are, we swam till our heart’s content. For those who prefer to find an aloof corner by the beach or infinity pool, watch the mesmerizing sunsets glory from a distance, maui is for you.
…and while you are there , why not enjoy a Mai tai or two right? Don’t forget to keep this handy for those happiest hours:
- Central maui – Mill House bar (3-5)
808 on main wailuku (4-7)
- North maui – Cafe des Amis – Paia (4-6)
Cafe Mambo – Paia (3-6)
- South maui Monkeypod kitchen wailea (3-5:30 and 9-11) – excellent sunset views
- West maui – sea house restaurant (2-5)
sangria grill + cantina (4-6)
- Upcountry maui – casanova italian (5-6)
- East maui – hana ranch restaurant (4-6)
Hands down the best place in maui for snorkeling – Molokini Bay and we went with sailtrilogy for the sail boat experience. Molokini is a beautiful crescent shaped extinct volcano, now also a bird sanctuary. Take an early trip to avoid over crowding, which apparently scares the marine life around. If you love your Nemo’s and Dory’s , you will find it’s entire colony here and be rest assured, you will have a ball of time. Also, look out for humpback whales along the way!
Luau is a Hawaiian feast accompanied by traditional dances. Maui offers them in a lot of places, and most often you can get a discount with the hotels you check in with. Old Lahaina Luau and Feast at Lele are two of the most famous ones.
Some things to consider while planning out your trip :
- Stick to a coast while you are planning any activities, cause you don’t want to waste time driving all day long and having too less to see cause you really , I insist REALLY need to soak up all that beauty!
- In the map below, the roads in red are not well paved/constructed, so it’s advised not to travel along these roads after dark or just avoid them completely. If you plan to do Road to Hana in a day, make a list well in advance to go there and back.
- Be sure to bring a map with you while driving on the road to Hana, since there is no cellular signal there and look out for the mile markers, they are easy to miss and impossible to re-route on the narrow roads.
- Get the Gypsy app $5 if you don’t carry a GPS. Also, an extra portable phone charger.
- Get your own snorkeling gear and lots and lots of sunblock. The sun is very harsh at this part of the world.
I hope this post will help you plan a visit to this little paradise on earth!
Beautiful Picture credits: Apurva Rallabhandi