Aug 31 2008

My top 5 list of things to do in Maui Hawaii

Relaxing on the beach in MauiHere is my report from my wedding/honeymoon/vacation in Maui. First of all I have to say that Maui is a wonderful place. My wife and I had a great relaxing time and a wonderful wedding ceremony.

We stayed in a beautiful condo in South Kihei which has the most amazing beaches on the island (and also the most sunshine). During our time in Maui we also rented a car and explored the island on our own. I can only recommend Maui to anyone who loves the beach and warm tropical weather. Here are my top Maui picks. All these places can be easily explored by car (and you don’t need a 4W drive either).

1. Road to Hana

The road to Hana is one of the great driving tour on Maui. The landscape is amazing with beautiful views over the rugged windward side of the island. During the drive there are many waterfalls and hiking opportunities to explore the rainforest. We used the book “Maui Revealed” as our guidebook and for the most part the places that they recommend are fantastic. However we noticed that some of the waterfalls didn’t have a lot of water and one was even dried out.

Trina at a waterfall on the road to Hana.

One of the main beautiful waterfalls on the road to Hana.

The waterfalls are definitely one of the highlights of the road to Hana. Swimming below a waterfall is a great experience. I recommend for anyone to bring reef shoes, since the ground below the waterfall can be very slippery and ruff. Also you can’t really see the ground once you are in the water (the water is very cold by the way, but also refreshing).

Scenic coastal view on the road to Hana.

Scenic views on the road to Hana.

Many waterfalls require a short hike in the rainforest, so if mosquitoes like you bring some good bug-off. The drive can be difficult sometimes. The road is narrow and curvy and requires a lot of breaking. Hana itself is not very spectacular and we didn’t find a good place to eat. It might be a better idea to stop at one of the local places at the road that offer BBQ, than try to find an actual restaurant. After Hana the rainforest stops and you can find some good beaches. We had planned to travel around the east side of the island by car, but found out that the road was closed due to an earthquake that happened in 2006. As you can see on the picture there was no other way to go but turn around, since this was the only road. Unfortunately we had not planned to drive all the way back along Hana, so this part of the trip was so pleasant. I definitely can’t recommend driving the road to Hana by night, so get back early enough!

2. Haleakale crater

Haleakale Crater

This is the main crater of Maui with an elevation of over 10,000 feet. It is quite a drive up there, but the road is nice and smooth and easier than the road to Hana. The mountain is often surrounded by clouds, but once you are high enough you leave the clouds behind and it gets sunny again. The air up there is very thin and you should bring a sweater since it’s cool and windy. There are some good hiking trails up there and on a good day you can see the big island.

3. South Maui lava fields and secret beaches

Secret beach in south Maui

One day we drove all the way to the end of the road in South Maui. We left the car at Perouse Bay and did a nice hike through the lava fields. You are basically surrounded by lava and the path is quite ruff. Bring good shoes and sunscreen, since there is no shade. It took us around 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to a beautiful hidden beach with great snorkeling. This is a wonderful hike to start early in the morning, you have to watch the trail though, since there are not many signs to navigate by.

4. Blowhole and west Maui drive

Found some company in Lahaina!

The drive around west Maui is a must if you visit the island. Lahaina offers great shopping and an historic town. Further up north you find some very nice beaches and amazing scenery with a rugged coastline. One of the highlights for us was the Nakalele blowhole. A short hike from the parking lot the ocean presses water up this hole in the rocks and creates some amazing fountains. A great place for a salt water shower, which can be quite refreshing on a hot day. The road around the Westside is very narrow with a one lane street along the coastline, so I recommend driving very careful.

5. Snorkeling with the turtles

You don’t have to take an expensive ocean tour to snorkel with the turtles. We actually found that the turtles like to be close to the beach and can be watched easily while snorkeling. We saw the most turtles while snorkeling at Maluaka beach next to the Maui Prince hotel. This is only a short drive from Kihei and this beach is most of the time not very crowded. It’s good to arrive early though, since the wind starts to get rough around noon.

Of course there are many more great places to see and also we haven’t taken any of the tours to the neighboring islands. We definitely plan to come back and explore more of Maui’s beauty.

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