Shiny and Sparkly Maui

Trip Start Mar 20, 2010
Trip End Aug 25, 2010

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Where I stayed
1403 Lahaina Roades, Unit 308

Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Sunday, July 4, 2010

We arrived in Maui on the 4th of July, approximately 4 years from the date we were last in Maui. We were so happy to land in Hawaii and absorb the warm rays of the sun and sounds of the ocean. We kicked off our summer with approximately three weeks in Maui and our goal was to localize ourselves as much as possible.  During the first two weeks we explored Maui and looked to "blend in", then on our third and final week our friends Mark and Steffi from Brooklyn arrived.  Our condo on Front Street in Laina (Laina Roads) was really cool.. a cute condo overlooking the ocean and walking distance from downtown Laina.  Our condo was ocean front and from the time we arrived to the moment we left the door to our deck was always open, giving us an endless ocean breeze and the relaxing sound of waves. 
In Maui there are tons of things to do.  What we liked mostly were the vast array of beaches that you can find...some large and some tiny.. and some require a few minutes hike to reach. Wherever you go you are bound to see surfing, kite-surfing, windsurfing, para-sailing, snorkeling and turtles, turtles, turtles. From our condo deck alone we could see turtles hanging out on the reef that sits right outside our building.  One afternoon we counted 8 turtles, and they were huge, at least 4 to 5 ft large!  From our deck we could also see the most amazing sunsets and moon rises.  The front side of our condo building faces the mountain where we are told it rains over 300 inches of rain each year leaving behind endless rainbows to look at..almost daily.
Some highlights from our trip:
- Cute Bohemian town in the North East part of Maui.  Great restaurants, Willie Nelson owns Charlie's up there, and Mama's Fish House is up there also.  Just past the town begins the road to Hana with neat stops along the way...we did some of them.  During the winter months up here the major tow and surf takes place at Jaws.  Apparently the surfers wait all year for a small window of a couple of days in the winter where waves from Alaska come all the way over, gaining in mass and strength and come crashing against northern Maui, offering the best in class tow and surf opportunities.  Unfortunately it wasn't the season for it, but we saw tons of kite surfers, wind surfers, paddle surfers and basic surfers taking advantage of the strong trade winds up here.

Makena State Park
 - Beaches and Hiking. This is one of our favorite areas in Maui, located on the southern tip of Maui next to Wailea resort area.  We hiked through lava fields, swam in tide pools then chilled in the vast sandy beaches that this park offers.  We went here twice, once with Mark and Steffi.  Along the road to the park are vendors that sell fish tacos and big mammas with machetes that sell fresh fruit (which they will kindly slice and dice for you, and then rob you blind with over charging after you have already taken a bite).
Wailea:  One afternoon we had lunch at the Grand Wailea where we stayed last time we were here for a couple of days.  This area is beautiful and is located in Southern Maui..includes wonderful beaches with some great resorts neighboring each other and connected by a small pathway..Four Seasons, Fairmont, Grand Wailea, etc.  NIce shopping, nice restaurants, nice hotels, etc.

Snorkeling - Maui offers endless opportunities to snorkel and surf..we stuck to snorkeling. Our friend Mark couldn't get enough.  He couldn't get in the water fast enough..actually any time we got to a beach by the time we found our position on the sand and began setting up our chairs, Mark already had his flippers and goggles on and was 100 feet into the water communicating with the dolphins!  Hours would go by before we would see him again. 

Before Mark and Steffi arrived we took a charter snorkel trip with the Pacific Whale Foundation to Molokai which is an island off the coast of Maui.  At Molokai there is a dormant volcano crater underwater that offers great snorkeling opportunities.  The trip also took us to a spot near Makena Beach called Turtle Town which was to supposedly give us amazing opportunities to hang with large turtles, but we didn't see much, only two turtles.  We saw more turtles outside our condo then in Turtle Town!  In the end, the boat ride was fun and seeing the crater under water was cool, but we barely saw anything from a snorkeling perspective.  However, later on in the week we did get more chances to take in marine life at two local spots in Western Maui...Honolua Bay and Na'pili Beach.  These are two key areas for snorkeling on Maui and we saved going there for when Mark (aka Jacques Cousteau) and Steffi had joined us.  Honolua Bay is a Marine Wildlife Reserve and Na'pili Bay is a turtle cleaning station and hanging area.  Honolua Bay was absolutely stunning.  We have never seen such an amazing array of fish! and multi color coral, pink and yellow.  On this day we snorkeled for a few hours here in the morning, then we went to Na'pili.  Na'Pali beach is home to mammoth turtles.  Huge, they hang out in the coral reef caves under water then float up along the water to get air and some sun.  One minute you are trying to find them (much like easter egg hunting), the next minute you turn around and a turtle is starring you in the face.  So close, so big.  Though illegal, we did scratch their backs and they seemed to like it.  

Western Maui - Driving through Western Mauii is also one of our favorite things to do.  The road is narrow and switches back and forth along the coast revealing amazing vistas, coastlines, sea-cliffs and secluded beaches.  The grounds up here are so plush.  Along the drive you have the locals selling you home made banana bread, coconut candy, fruit etc.  As you begin to hit Kapalua there is stop you can make where you can hike down and find volcanic tide pools for one to swim in and random blow holes here and there.  
Luau's  - In order to have the full Hawaiian experience you need to go to a Luau, and they are everywhere.  You can catch sneak peaks here and there as you walk around and pass certain hotels and restaurants.  Last time we were in Maui we went to the Historic Old Laina Luau and went again this time with Mark and Steffi.  It is still the best one to go to. Fantastic show and the food is excellent.

Hiking - We did some hiking here and there. The most memorable were the hikes in Waihee (Waihee Ridge Trail) a torturous endless uphill hike, and in Makena State Park and reserve (along beaches, lavas and sea cliffs), as mentioned above.

Places where we have eaten that are worth mentioning.

Sansei Sushi - Kapalua
Malo Tavern - Laina
Aloha Mixed Plate - Laina
Pacifico - Laina (bartender was from the upper west side of Manhattan)
Hula Grill - Whalers Village, Ka'anapali
Star Noodle - Thai - Laina
Charlie's - Willie Nelson's place - Paia
Fish Market - Paia
Bettys - Laina
Laina Coolers - Laina
Maui Brewing Company - Ka'anapali
Castaway's Cafe - Ka'anapali (nice breakfasts on the beach)
Canoes - Great sunsets!
Favorite Things:  Coconut candy, Pineapples, Bikini Blonde Ale and Long Board Ale, Turtles, Sunsets, Laina Roads (our condo), Hawaiian Coffee, Honokawi Farmers Market, Christina's Yoga Instructor Julie, rainbows, and the endless numbers of surfers and beaches everywhere.

Favorite Beaches:  Baby Beach in Laina, Ka'napali Beaches, Makena Beach (and hiking), Honolua Bay Beach (Marine Reserve - best snorkeling), Mokuleia Beach (aka Slaughterhouse Beach in Kapalua)
Boxes not checked:  The road to Hana still remains a box to be checked.  Though we traveled up to and past Paia, we didn't go the extra drive into Hana.  There were many recommendations that if we were to go and fully appreciate the village and surrounding parks/beaches we needed to stay at least one, if not, two, nights there.  So the next time we come back to Maui, which will be soon, we will do just that. 
In the end we grew very close to Laina and felt very much at home.  We loved where we stayed and everyone was so nice and welcoming. The count down begins now as to when we can get back here.

July 4 - July 23

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Kara on

Okay, this is the part of your journey that makes my heart hurt! You're really bringing me back to our honeymoon--most of it was spent on Maui. Wish we'd thought to tell you to check out Life's a Beach, a local dive in Kihei. Next time you're back. Also, we have recommendations for when you do the road to Hana--one breathtaking sight in particular. Mahalo!

Kara on

One more thing. Are you guys familiar with the Revealed series of Hawaii guide books? Totally worth picking up copies for your next two islands. Their restaurant, beach, and vendor suggestions never steered us wrong.

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