My top ten ways to make the most of your island adventure
While speaking to a bunch of business men over Mexican one evening the topic of Maui came up. A lot of these managers cover the West Coast including Hawaii...lucky indeed. I decided to look up tickets for my husband and I to take a long awaited honeymoon. After finding an amazing deal on Hawaiian airlines I didn't think. I booked. We spent 6 wonderful days on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Below are the top ten favorite adventures, eats, and tips I have to make the most out of the beautiful island of Maui.
1) Rent an Airbnb. It will come as little surprise to anyone that I am not a resort person. It all seems fake to me. Plus if you haven't read my Coffee Habits post you may not be aware but I have very high culinary standards for my morning and evening beverages #wineandcoffeelove. I found an amazing house 15 minutes from Paia (a small town on the North side of the island) for the price of a mid-range resort stay. It had an amazing wrap around balcony, outdoor shower and soak tub, large surrounding land with coconut and mango trees, and a full kitchen. It is amazing to watch the sunset with an ocean view and the wind in the trees. Trust me you won't miss the resort living. PS there is a Whole Foods and Costco literally 1 mile from the airport. We went there to stock up on wine and other necessities (just can't think of any other than wine right now). There are amazing local grocery stores that I love to explore and with airbnb you can! Local coffee is a must!
2) Rent a Car. Yes Lyft and Uber has made its way to the island. But you want your own car. Everything is within driving distance (about an hour to cross the island's short ways down the middle). And as you will read soon driving the Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride (aka Hana Trail) is an experience worth having. I rented a jeep (because I love them) but you can rent pretty much anything. Although most cars on the island are Jeeps, GT Mustang convertibles, and local cars.
3) Road to Hana. This was absolutely my favorite part of the trip. Yes it does take an entire day but you won't be sorry. Download an app (you can download tours to work offline because there is very little cell reception). I used the Shaka Maui app. It has offline audio and map guides that are interlaced with Hawaiian history, turn by turn directions (even offline), and local Hawaiian music. We took the top of the Jeep and had a full 360 view.
The stops along the way are incredible. Things you would easily miss without the audio guide. Roadside lava caves, black sand beaches, lunch and bathroom stops, and hike recommendations. However the cherry on top of this amazing scenic drive is the hike at the end. So make sure you leave about 2 hours to do the hike at the end of Hana Highway. It 4 miles total 2 miles up (and 2 miles down) passing two waterfalls through a truly magical bamboo forrest. There were guava trees lining the path were we picked fresh guava as a snack. The waterfalls were amazing. The final waterfall is a towering 400 foot drop and has a rock bottom that you can walk along. The bamboo forrest is other worldly and truthfully one of the most beautiful and magical views and sounds (bamboo in the wind) I have ever heard. My husband is not a hiker and this was his favorite part of the trip as well. It is a must. You will not regret it. To enter the 7 Scared Pools and the entrance way to the trail you must pay $25 per verchile. KEEP YOUR TICKET. You can use it to get into other national parks like Haleakalā mentioned below. A LOT of pictures below. Enjoy :)
4) Haleakalā Sunrise. This doormat volcano is in the middle of Maui. It is so named because the valcano mouth is positioned so that the rising sun looks as though it is emerging fro the volcano.
You are above the cloud line and literally feel like you could touch heaven. You have to reserve a spot for sunrise because it is so popular. Do this as early as possible because they do sell out. Although if you are desperate you can call or look online for lottery tickets daily at 4pm. As mentioned above KEEP YOUR TICKET from here of Hana HWY 7 Scared Pools or you will have to pay twice. It is very cold at almost 10,000 feet so bundle up as best you can or bring blankets and hot coffee. The app we used for the Hana trail also had a audio tour up to Haleakalā. I bought the whole package with all the audio tours for the island. They strike a good balance of direction, local music, and facts...although the narrators accents and fake laugh is a bit scary (in a humorous way).
5. Mamma's Fish House. It is a classic for a reason. We were so upset when it looked as though they were booked solid until November. HOWEVER if you watch closely on Open Table you are able to see appointments as they cancel and we were able to get an amazing reservation. Their menu and cocktail list is spot on. Get ready to get your wallet out. But you won't be too sad about it. #worthit Make sure you tell them in the reservation notes if it is a special occasion. We told them we were celebrating and they brought me a beautiful lei and we literally had the best table in the house. If you are a party of two ask for the table in the small enclave directly to the left as you enter in front of the ocean in the first room #toptable
6. Paia Fish Market. Mamm's Fish House is famous for a reason. However my meals (yes we ate there twice) at Paia's Fish Market were incredible. I have one word for you: opakapaka. This is a type of Hawaiian white snapper. IT.IS.AMAZING!!! It is a cross between a meaty fish (like swordfish) and a flakey fish. I am obsessed. I had it prepared with white wine, garlic, lemon, butter, and capers. My husband had it blackened. Both were good (mine was better). They have three locations across the island and very reasonable prices.
7. Front Street. This little street is a cross between Magazine street in New Orleans and a beach front town. There are amazing and interesting shops lining a beautiful ocean front view. We found an amazing European Vintage Poster shop were my husband spotted 4 original Andy Warhol for Chanel posters never released from the 1980s right before he passed. They will be hanging in my office shortly. If you are looking for gifts head here on Saturday as there is also a wonderful artist market at the end of the street.
8. Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees. As you may have noticed I am a bit obsessed with nature and the outdoors. So when I heard the term "Rainbow Eucalptus Tree" I wanted to jump into the jeep and head straight there. They are scattered along the road to Hana so be sure to stop on your drive. These amazing trees have a unique bark that make them literally look painted on. Brilliant bright greens, reds, oranges, and yellows. It only takes a few moments to find them and you will never forget it.
9. Maui Ocean Center. We took a day off from hiking and beaching to head to the aquarium. Our expectations for aquariums is very high given that New Orleans' Aquarium of the Americas is hands down the best aquarium I have ever been to. However this did not disappoint. They have a wonderful aquarium with local sea life. They have great staff that do fun and informative presentations multiple times daily. Get there in the morning before the tours come and it gets too crowded. Definitely worth walking around and gaining some knowledge of Hawaiian marine life.
10. Snorkeling/Surfing. The reef here is one of the most beautiful in the world. The water is warm which makes being in the water a wonderful experience from the start. If you want to see turtles make sure you stay 10 feet away from them (Hawaiian law) and look for a spot with rocks as that is where they feed. The fish sighting is amazing. I especially enjoyed going snorkeling post the aquarium because I could identify some of the wild life. I didn't get to try surfing but it was my one miss and definitely on my list for next time!
Near miss: We almost went but missed going to a Hawaiian Luau. This is where you will see the hula dancers and where they roast the pig (although we found out that only place roast an actually pig all the rest are buffets- It is the Old Lahaina Luau and they book up months in advance. It is pricey...but looks like fun for next time. We bought the Chanel posters instead. I am not sad about our choice ;)
Maui was incredibly magical and absolutely worth going to more than once. Special shout out to my boss Tim who gave me so many recommendations. We will return!