Maui: travel guide

When we booked our honeymoon trip to Maui, we hit up many blogs to find the “must do’s” of the island. Since they were such a huge help in restaurant and activity suggestions I thought it would be nice to provide some tips from our experience! Maui overall is a middle range island. It’s medium in size, and the tourist to resident ration is pretty middle of the line as well. There are specific islands that are more tourist driven(Oahu) and others that are mainly nature and residential(Kauai).

Bring Snacks for the flight

So our trip started with a very early flight leaving from Indianapolis and our connection was in Dallas. We flew with American Airlines and I would say we were a little disappointed overall. The flight from Dallas to Maui is about 7 hours and we were only provided with crackers and a drink, safe to say we were very hungry upon arrival. On the return flight we made sure to bring some snacks and we were prepared for no meal. I’m sure this may be different with all airlines, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry (flying 7 hours on an empty stomach is no fun). SOOO tip #1, make sure you pack a snack or meal for the long flight.

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Hyatt Regency

If you’re looking to stay at a resort, check out the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa in Lahaina. If you do decide to stay at Hyatt Regency you are able to use their large pool and kids pool, but also the Hyatt Residents club pool (this one is quieter and has an “adult only pool”), which is right next door. All you have to do is make sure you get a wrist band when picking up towels and you are able to use both Hyatt facilities!

Also, if you would like to stay in the Resort for dinner Japengo is a must go for  anyone who loves asian cuisine. They have delicious sushi (Ben ordered the rainbow roll) and the best fried rice I have ever had!

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     Snorkeling 

Black Rock is a very popular place to go snorkeling. We went there mainly because it was a 10-15 minute walk down the beach from our resort. Black Rock beach is in Kaanapali and is an easy access snorkel spot. It’s usually pretty crowded because it’s right in front of several resorts, but if you walk 5 feet into the water and start snorkeling, you’re bound to see some pretty awesome fish. While we were there we saw a lot of fish and even a sea turtle. Warning: at all the beaches we went to in Maui, the depth drops off very quickly so be careful if you aren’t the greatest swimmer (like me) or have kids! Also, make sure if you do go to Black Rock you don’t go too far beyond the point because the currents get dangerously strong!

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Honolulu Bay is a bit more hidden and wasn’t as busy. We stumbled across this beauty on a drive back from another site seeing adventure. For this area you park on the side of the road and hike maybe 5-7 minutes on a gorgeous path through jungle like terrain (it’s a very easy walk for anyone). The beach itself is all rock so it’s not ideal for anyone looking to just layout, the walk into the water is also pebbles and rocks so if you have water shoes you may want to bring them for this one. While we were there several catamarans were docked as well to snorkel (we knew it must be a good spot if tours were being brought here). The coral was really cool at Honolulu Bay and if you snorkel to the left point of the Bay there are often sea turtles (we swam with one for a few minutes and it was AWESOME)! This area is also great because it’s pretty large so even if there are a lot of people there it probably won’t seem very crowded still.

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Other Adventures/Areas to see

Nakalele Blowhole was one of my favorite things we saw/did. In relation to our resort it was about a 20-30 minute drive through spiral roads with constant cliffside views. Once you park the hike is pretty far down over lava rock. Overall, I wouldn’t rank it as an easy hike, just make sure to wear supportive shoes and NOT flip flops (like half the people I saw). The blowhole itself is pretty amazing to see, just make sure to follow the signs and not get too close cause you can actually get sucked in! The blowhole was created by pounding water that wore away at the lava shelf. Every wave that hits the coastline pushes water and air through this blowhole and creates an eruption almost like a geyser. After viewing the blowhole, we took our own little “off the beaten path” hike and it had the most beautiful view! Side note: Maui is very windy pretty much every day, but it’s exceptionally windy at the blowhole so I wouldn’t suggest wearing a hat (mine almost blew off).

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Sunrise Tour was the one “tourist” tour we did. It definitely isn’t an excursion for everyone, as it starts at 1:30 a.m. We got picked up at the resort at 2, then went back to the headquarters of the tour to get bike helmets, wind breakers, and some coffee. You get bussed up to the top of Haleakala Crater (10,000 ft in elevation), which is like an hour and a half ride. Also, if you get car sick easily make sure to grab a front seat so you can see the road as you drive. The entire drive is very twisty and has tons of turns and remember the drive up will be completely dark. Once you get to the top you can stand outside to snag a good spot for the sunrise, because TONS of people come to see this and you don’t want a bad viewing spot after all the hassle of getting up there. The sunrise is a sight that I will never forget, but the Haleakala dormitory volcano is also the home of the rare Silversword plant and Hawaii’s state bird, the Nene goose, which is pretty neat too. You are then bussed back down to around 6,000 ft and from there you cruise down the rest of the way on bicycles. Main tip: if considering this make sure to bring layers of clothing, because at the top of the summit it was around 45 degrees.

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Road to Hana is pretty much a must in my opinion. It’s a drive that winds through the cliffside coastline of North Maui and goes all the way East and down South. It’s an adventure that is filled with awesome stops. Waterfalls, beaches, hikes, volcano rock and so much more. Some of our favorite stops were Twin Falls (make sure to walk through the gate that says “experienced hikers only”), it’s actually an easy hike and leads you to a gorgeous waterfall that you can and I highly suggest you swim in.

Black sand beach I’m pretty sure was one of Ben’s favorite. Most people park on the top of the road and walk down but if you have a car that’s capable, we figured out you can drive all the way down the path to the beach. This spot had pretty much no one at it and had one of the best views. We packed lunch and ate it on this beach and Ben also swam here (he said from the water the view was even better).

Wai’anapanapa State Park was also really cool. It’s a very popular and somewhat crowded place. It had black sand/pebbles at Pa’iloa Beach and caves along side the coastline. We swam and hiked a short trail to see the water beat up against the volcano rock.

Time frame: we began around 8ish in the morning and drove to Hana and returned around 6-6:30. In miles it’s not very far, but the road itself weaves through the twists and turns of the coastline and adding in the stops, it’s definitely an all day road trip. I would suggest taking a look at the stops before leaving and picking out the few you would like to spend more time at.

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Food

Paia Fish Market was our ultimate favorite place we ate. It’s a perfect spot to grab some fresh Maui fish or enjoy some chicken tacos if you’re not a seafood fan. I ordered fish & chips and it was absolutely delicious. I’m not a huge seafood lover, but the mild Mahi-Mahi was so so good. Ben ordered the Snapper which was rolled in cajun spice and also came with fries. It was very tasty and I even liked it! Ben also ordered a side of calamari and that was good as well. Paia Fish Market provides delicious fish options along with non-seafood dishes at a reasonable price and also gives large portions!

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Dessert

Hawaiian shaved ice is where it’s all at! Let me tell you, if I could eat this after every meal I would! Our favorite shaved ice was Ululani’s. They have a few locations on the island, one that ironically was right by the pool at our resort. We tried two different flavor combos, but I would highly suggest trying some fruit flavors that are grown on the island (mango, coconut, passion fruit, pineapple). The strange but delicious thing about Hawaiian shaved ice is that they offer different toppings and also scoops of ice cream in the bottom. We never tried the toppings, although they looked delicious, but we did get the ice cream! Macadamia nuts are crazy popular in Maui and are in a lot of desserts. Sooo we decided to try the macadamia nut ice cream at the bottom of our shaved ice and it was the best choice! Oddly, the combination of the macadamia nut ice cream and shaved ice is an unexpected tasty combination.

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I of course didn’t cover every little thing, so if you have specific questions feel free to comment. Mahalo!

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