We, me, my brother and my sister-in-law, all in our 20’s and my infant nephew of 1 spent an amazing week in Maui, it was more of an active holiday, and it tuned out to be great. We explored several parts of the islands and were glad to have spent an entire week, rather 1 week was a little less. So here it goes,
Highlights of our Trip:
- Hana,and the bamboo forests on the Pipwai trail.
- Views of the islands from our condo in Honokowai.
- Snorkelling at Molokini.
- The road up from Kapalua to the airport, a very narrow but tremendously scenic road leading upto the amazing Waihee Ridge Trail.
- Swimming and jumping in the pools of the Twin falls on the road to Hana,and eating banana bread after that.
- The Makena Beach, swimming and boogie boarding.
Where did we stay:
We stayed for 5 days at a condo in Honokowai, the apartment was called Kulakane. Our condo opened into a sea front lawn, and we had some really great views of the islands.
We stayed in Hana for 2 nights again at a condo a few miles away from Hana, it’s called Hale Kilohane, a beautiful home pretty much on the sea with absolutely brilliant views of the sea,and the sunrise. There was a really good beach closeby. Our stay in Hana was the favorite part of our trip, and the weather cooperated well with us.
We rented a car for our trip, driving was great, but then it’s always difficult with a kid, who finds a car very restrictive. So we got plenty of stops, which was actually good for us.
Vegetarians that we are, we found the food scene pretty good here. Mexican, Thai, Italian were our staples, we would have loved to try Hawaiian dishes, but we didn’t find any places with a good vegetarian Hawaiian menu.
Still, some of the highlights:
- La Pinatas, Mexican food near the airport and Maui Tacos, Napili.
- Taco truck in Honokowai.
- Thai food in Hana(there’s just 1 place I believe)
- Banana bread, sugarcane juice on the road to Hana, and coconut chips too.
- Joy’s Place in Kihei, for it’s organic veggie food.
The warm weather was a delight for me after cold Northeast winters. We picked up our rental car from the airport and headed to our condo in Honokowai. The drive was quite good, especially the area around the airport. We instantly fell in love with the place, it was right on the ocean, with really awesome views of the volcanic islands. And it certainly wasn’t as built up as some of the areas we had seen in Maui on the way. We spent much of the remaining day lazing around. Sunset was quite spectacular, infact the best of our trip. We concluded the day pretty early.
We were in the mood for a nice hike, after a self catered breakfast we headed towards Kapalua golf course. It was quite pretty, the pine trees and lawns and the ocean looked quite good together, but we were in Maui for something “wilder”. We soon discovered the coastal path, which had great views and was certainly a good walk. The beach along the walk however was a little too rocky for swimming, but was surprisingly still very popular. Lunch was at Maui Tacos, which was pretty good. The afternoon was spent around the beach right next to our condo, which was pretty cool, except that there were bits of rock embedded between the sand, which was a little annoying. Not the most active day, but a great start, though we were yet to see the most beautiful parts of Maui, we already were mesmerized. Though Maui was a tad more urbanized than we had expected, the ocean, the views of the volcanic islands, the mountains pretty much made for everything else.
An early start led us to Haleakala Crater. The wind chill was tremendous, but that just added to the mystique feel of the place. Sunrise was ofcourse breathtaking, everything was so surreal! And there were so many craters. The long early morning ride and wind chill was well compensated. There are 2-3 lookout points, I would recommend checking out all of them, all have different kind of views. And I just thought sunset may not be a bad idea at all. The ride down the Haleakala mountain was quite awesome, views were really good everywhere.
Post lunch we went to the Kanapali beach, which was certainly very impressive. Good sands, good water but crowded. Still, very impressive. We spent a good deal of time here.
We had booked a snorkeling tour to the Molokini island with Kai Kanani Sailing Charters. Getting on board the boat with our baby was quite a challenge, I wish they got a pier to board. Nevertheless, everything else was perfect. We got all we wanted in the trip: the corals couldn’t have been better, tremendous varieties of fish and the biggies: whales and turtles.
Makena was the obvious destination after this, and it pretty much exceeded our expectations. The sands were even better than the ones in the north, it was warmer, and we ended up spending most of our day here. Joy’s Place in Kihei was a highlight here, the vegetarian chilli, veggie burgers were very well done.
This too was a “happening” day. We wanted to get to the Waihee Ridge Trail. We drove north towards Kahakuloa, as soon as you cross the golf resorts, everything changes all of a sudden, the landscape is now very wild, much more beautiful, very much tropical in nature. However, the road too narrows down all of a sudden, so one must be careful. The entire ride to the base of Waihee Ridge trail via Kahakuloa was very enjoyable. The trek was even more rewarding. Not very difficult, and really good views from the top. This was one of the highlights of our trip.
Lunch was at Pinatas, near the airport. Food was pretty good, especially the chimchangas. We still wanted a little more beach time, so we made a second trip to Makena which was quite fulfilling. While returning we got to see one of the most amazing sunsets in Maui, close to the windmills area.
Day 5: Road to Hana and Hana
Our impressions of the Road to Hana: We weren’t very impressed with the drive itself, although several sites on the way were interesting, especially the twin falls(where we spent several hours, the fresh water swims and waterfall jumping being the highlights) and the banana bread-sugarcane juice. Hana is like no other place in the United States I’ve seen so far. Not a single chain supermarket or restaurant. We stayed at the Hale Kilohana, a nice place we found on airbnb.com. It’s a few miles ahead of Hana, almost on the ocean, obviously with brilliant views of the ocean, a nice beach closeby and good access to the sacred pools and bamboo forests. And the entire place feels different, you do feel you are in one of the “Lost” islands, almost.
Evening was mostly about relaxing on the beach, followed by dinner. Now, be careful here, all places close at 4 PM in Hana, except the Barefoot café and the Ranch.
Day 6: Hana,the sacred pools and bamboo forests(Pipwai Trail)
We got a super early start, starting with a gorgeous sunrise. The trail was a fairly easy one leading through bamboo forests where you can actually hear the bamboos whispering. And it is pretty much like the picture postcards you get to see featuring bamboo forests. It leads upto a waterfall, which wasn’t very exciting, but the entire wall of moss and fern on the rocks was quite a sight. The descent was a bit hot,and well rewarded by the cool sacred pools. I had just discovered fresh water swimming and I had started liking it a lot more than swimming in the ocean.
Lunch was at the Thai place, we packed for dinner as well. Evening was again relaxing at our virtually private beach near the Hale Kilohane.
Day 7: Time to go back.
We again got a very early start. Breakfast was at the banana bread stand. The sweet coconut chips too are great. Later, I was dropped off at a beach near the airport, while brother and SIL and the baby went to shop. Lunch was at La Pinatas,again near the airport.
So ended our trip, with great experiences. Maui is truly a tropical wonderland. We are glad we spent an entire week and we could explore almost all corners of the island.