Maui Travel Guide

Sunset

I have never done a travel guide for any destination until now. We have been to Maui twice so far and have loved it both times. It has the perfect amount of activities to do but still give you some beach/relaxing time. There are no big cities, so you feel like you are getting away. We went five days the first time and 10 days this time. We still have a few things we still haven't been able to do/see/eat.

The island of Maui is a lot bigger than you think. It covers approximately 727 square miles. You can hang out in one area or explore different parts of the island. Expect at least a 30-minute drive to get around the island. We always get a beachfront condo, so we have a kitchen to cook some of our meals to lower our trip costs. We brought a Yeti full of frozen meats this last time. Our first stop on the island is Costco to load up on eggs, water, booze, and other snacks. Here are some suggestions to do while you are in Maui:

Things to Do:

Haleakalā National Park - You are going to be stuck on the mainland time zones. Hawaii does not observe Daylight Savings so depending where you live, your body could be starting six hours earlier. Especially after a long day of traveling, you will probably go to bed fairly early that first night. Why not wake up at 3 AM and go see the sunrise? We stayed in Ka'anapali so the drive to the summit took about two hours. Dress accordingly. It was below freezing at the top when we went in January. You are 10,000 feet above sea level, so you will be above the clouds. There are a lot of excellent views. Seeing the sunset is an alternative option.

Just before sunrise at Haleakalā National Park

Sunrise at Haleakalā National Park

Road to Hana - Plan to start the drive to Hana early. It is going to take you at least 2.5 hours to get there if you do not stop along the 50+ mile journey. There are 600+ curves, and the speed limit is 25 mph or less. My arms were sore the next day from all the turning. You probably want to stop and get some banana bread or check waterfalls/beaches. Black Sand Beach is on the way to Hana. I say it is a must stop. The sand is black from the lava, and there are lava caves to explore. Once you get to Hana, you need to make a decision. Do you want to stop here or continue another 15 miles to the Pools of 'Ohe'o aka Seven Sacred Pools? It is a part of Haleakalā National Park so you can get in with no charge if you kept your three-day pass. The roads are dicier on the way here so be careful.

Black Sand Beach

Pools of 'Ohe'o aka Seven Sacred Pools

Whale Watching - Humpback whales come down from Alaska to mate or give birth between mid-December and mid-May. Going on a whale watching tour is awe-inspiring. These magnificent beasts treat the waters on the west side of Maui as their playground. If you go during the peak season, it is essentially whale soup. They are everywhere, and you can see breaches from the beach or your hotel. We have been on three whale watching tours with Pacific Whale Foundation and have loved them. They are a non-profit organization. Do not forget to bring your camera with a longer lens. And an extra battery...

Humpback whale breaching

Snorkeling/Beach Days - All the beaches in Hawaii are open to the public. You will see cars parked on the side of the road. Take advantage of it. Just make sure you do not trespass to get down to the beach. Bring your snorkeling gear. There are a lot of great snorkeling spots. Black Rock, Turtle Town, Napili/Kapalua Bay. You will see all kinds of sea life. We did not have time on this trip, but we really want to go on a snorkeling excursion to Molokini Crater and Lana'i next time.


Iao Valley State Park - The park is a lush rain-forest. It is the second wettest spot on the island. There are trails to explore inside the park. Bring your swimwear if you want to cool off in the streams.


Nakalele Blowhole/Heart Shaped Rock - If you head north from Lahaina past Kapalua, at mile marker 38.5, you will find this attraction. The road to here is windy and narrow at times. Do not wear flip flops because it would be a great way to twist your ankle. It does require a moderate hike down. You will be rewarded with a geyser shooting up to a 100 feet column of water into the air. Try not to get close to the blowhole. You could get sucked in. The rougher the seas, the better the results. If you look to your right, you will see the Heart Shaped Rock. It is about a foot wide, so it is easy to miss it.

Nakalele Blowhole

Heart-shaped rock

Plantations & Farms - If you want to escape the heat or the sun, there are some fun options. Check out a tropical plantation or a pineapple one. If you head past Kula, there is a lavender farm and a goat dairy farm.

Maui Tropical Plantation

Sunset - If you stay on the west side of the island, you can enjoy this beauty most nights. If you do not, go on a sunset cruise. Depending on what time of the year you go, the sun could set behind one of the surrounding islands.

Luau - We have not gone to one before, but there are quite a few options though.

Things to Eat:

Banana Bread - If you head to the Nakalele Blowhole, you will see Julia's Best Banana Bread. I took some back to Texas. I might have to jump on another flight to get some more. You also can get banana bread at the Halfway to Hana Stand or Aunty Sandy's if you are making the drive to Hana. If you are down in Kihei, Maui Bread Company is also a great option.

Banana bread from Julia's Best

Hula Pie - Sure, you can have a delicious meal at Duke's Beach House. But if you are not capping your meal off with some Hula Pie, can it really be that delicious? Hula Pie comprises of macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and macadamia nuts.

Hula Pie from Duke's

Huli Huli Chicken - This is an elusive dish for me. The first time in Maui we saw a stand on the side of the road by the beach. A couple of days it was gone. But on the way out of town, we saw it again. Apparently, that location is no more. We did not do the Road to Hana this time, so we missed out on a new place in Hana. There is also a spot in Kihei with limited hours. What is Huli Huli chicken? Huli-huli chicken is a chicken dish cooked directly over kiawe wood and basted with a sweet huli-huli sauce. Yum.

Huli Huli chicken
Lava Flow - It's the Hawaiian version of the piña colada. The difference is that there are bananas and strawberries in the Lava Flow. So refreshing.

Lava Flow from Honu Seafood and Pizza

Loco Moco - typically consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. You might see Portuguese sausage or Spam as well. The ones from Sea House, Slappy Cakes, and Tasty Crust were hearty and fulfilling. We need to try the one from Da Kitchen. It is loaded.

Loco Moco from Sea House

Plate Lunch - You will see a protein with rice and mac salad dish on a lot of menus. A quick and easy grab and go meal.

Fish plate from Fish Market Maui

Poke - is essentially cubed sashimi (raw fish). You can find it on a lot of menus. You can even get it at Costco.

Poke from Pacific'O

Coconut's Fish Cafe - The best fish taco I have had. They use 17 different ingredients to make it. So fresh and tasty.

Fish taco from Coconut's Fish Cafe

Da Kitchen - There are two locations on the menu. It is going to take us a few trips before we can get through this menu. I have no idea where you would start because everything sounds so good. One of the items you must order is the Fried Spam Musubi. Very unique.

Fried Spam Musubi from Da Kitchen

Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop - A great little spot. The banana pancakes were a nice way to start the day. Order pie for sure. Order a few actually. I do not think anyone would judge you if you just ate pies as your meal.

Banana pancakes from Leoda's

Banana cream pie from Leoda's

Mama's Fish House - Make a reservation. This will be probably your most expensive meal of the trip. It is worth it and delicious. The stuffed fish hit the spot, but I enjoyed Amber's Panang fish curry more. I love the Asian flavors.

Mama's Stuffed Fish from Mama's Fish House

Ahi and Mahi-Mahi Panang Curry from Mama's Fish House


Maui Brewing Company - With two locations one the island, it is a great place to wind down or just hang out. While there is food on the menu, the brews should be why you are here. There is a big beer tasting menu to work your way through. The Pineapple Mana wheat is my favorite.

Pineapple Mana from Maui Brewing Company

Tasty Crust - There is not much to this local spot. All you can expect is a good meal without costing a lot of meal. Whatever you order, order an extra pancake on the side. It might be the best pancake we have ever had.

Loco Moco from Tasty Crust

Star Noodle - A lot of the noodles are made in-house. Amber got the ramen, and I got the garlic noodles with Spam. I think it is a companion dish, but I turned it into a main dish. So good.

Garlic Noodles with Spam from Star Noodle

Ululani's - We love the shaved ice from here. They use real fruit puree or cane sugar. I wanted to get one from here every day, but it did not work out. They are so good though. Do not forget to get a topping or an ice cream bottom.

Shaved ice from Ululani's

Until next time, happy smoking...

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