Maui is beautiful, the weather is warm, water is crystal clear, the landscape green and the people are so mellow and friendly. No ones in a hurry!
When you look on trip adviser there’s an overwhelming number of things to do, places to see
and experiences waiting to be had. After hours of research and multiple recommendations from friends. Here’s my not to missed hit list.
Few things to note before hand:
I recommend staying around Lahaina, we stayed in Kaanapali at Kaanapali Beach Hotel (it wasn’t the most lush hotel but it had everything we needs and it opened up onto (one of the top beaches in Maui).
We hired a Chevrolet Trax, it’s a must for the Road to Hanna, Haleakala National Park (Volcano) and several other spots. Unless your planning on getting absolutely sunburnt and leaving nothing in the car when the roof is down – then get a convertible ;)
To watch sunrise at the Haleakala National Park (Volcano) it’s really freakin cold! Pack pants, jumper, beanie. Make sure you pack your snorkelling gear for impromptu turtle sittings. Everyone is really dressed down, didn’t get a chance to wear any of my nice clothes or heels.
Aside from the stunning beaches, here are the top 5 things you must do in Maui:
1. Explore Lahaina
Lahaina is a reply cute town with lot of galleries everywhere, souvenir shops, restaurants facing the beach. We quickly learnt the seafood is great regardless of where you go and how much you spend.
Try the calamari and At Koa’s Seafood Grill, an ocean from restaurant served delicious as entree and Mahi Mahi as main, its pricey though. $$$
Head to Fleetwood’s on Front Street (owned by Mick Fleetwood) for a Mai Tai (local cocktail) and to watch the sunset on the roof top bar. $$$
Our fave restaurant was actually a cheapy called, Aloha Mixed Grill, situation at the far north of Front Street next to the Old Lahaina Luau (see below). You may be tempted to try the Hawaiian Traditional dish, don’t hahah you may not like the “authentic” flavours. Do however, try the Loco Moco, it was amazing, yet so simple. It’s basically a tender burger patty on rice with gravy overall it, topped with a fried egg. $
Tip: Grab a copy of the local mag for all the (Maui No Ka Ol) local gigs and follow the music!
2. Snorkling, Dolphins and Turtles
A snorkelling trip is a must, we did it with Lanai Dolphin Tour with Maui Adventure Cruises and loved every moment of it. We snorkelled to two different locations (selected based on the ocean conditions). One was near Lanai, we saw tropical reef fish, colourful coral, and a turtle!!! Next stop was in a really really deep part of the ocean, a little scary at first but you get use it and can appreciate the beauty. On the way back we saw 20 or so dolphins. Overall loved it, was a Maui highlight.
3. Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is a must! You’ll need a whole day, a car, swimmers, sunscreen, sneakers, a map (look for ones that are actually for Road to Hana). It doesn’t need to be a crystal clear day, so save that day for the beach.
Basic rules to follow: Drive slow some parts of the road are gravelly. Get muddy. Be curious, if others cars have parked, there’s usually something to see.
The drive is beautiful, there are so many places to stop by. We spotted at many, but these were the most impressive destinations:
- Paia – A really cute town. For a real coffee at Honolulu Coffee (Soy cap to go!) and a look around the shops. There will be other places to eat so don’t go nuts buying food in preparation.
- The first knock out location is not actually marked on the map, its between Waikamoi Ridge Trail (Map marker 9) and Garden of Eden (Map marker 10). It’s at a bend and only has a few spots to park but its worth it, you will be rewarded with an amazing inland waterfall, swimming hole and a jumping rock (if you dare).
- Upper Waikani Falls – Drive a bit passed the falls, you will reach a small parking area, take a short hike down (difficulty : medium), once at the waterfall you’ll understand the hype.
- Pau’a Ka’a State Wayside Park – Swim inland waterfall, crystal clear water
- Waianapanapa State Park – Lots to see here. Freshwater caves, waterhole in a cave, blow hole and Black Sand Beach
- Koki Beach Park – Surfing or swimming, great spot.
- Hamoa beach – Stop for another swim
- Wailua Falls – The tallest waterfalls on the drive, stunning!
- Drive Home – If you dare, continue on the unpaved road to Kaupo , it wasn’t as scary as we thought, you just need to go slow and be careful of the bends that prevent you from seeing on coming traffic. It’s a beauty and the scenery changes dramatically from a green forest to a rocky deserts.
4. Watch the sunrise from the Maui’s highest peak at Haleakala Volcano
The view from this point is spectacular! So spectacular that we left Kaanapali (area we were staying) at 2.55pm to make sure we allowed enough time to make it for sunrise. Don’t underestimate how long the drive up the actual volcano is, it took us more than 2 hours to get to the top. When we got there we were not alone, there were at least 500 others with the same intention, hence the traffic delays. First of all, make sure you have packed like I mentioned above lots of warm clothes and secondary, be prepared to wait for the rise! I pictures speak for themselves. I loved every moment of this experience, a must! Also, there’s a small $20USD fee to enter.
5. Experience a Traditional Luau
Highly recommend going to the Old Lahaina Luau. BUT.. book well in advance as it’s pretty much booked out every night. Costs about US$110 includes a show and food :) It’s the most traditional Luau (Hula dancing) on the island.