Thanks to Chelsea we spent the last week in Maui.
Get the Book!
Glenn recommended and nicely gave us a copy of Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook. Get it! It was very helpful in terms of figuring out what to do, with what companies, where to eat, had great maps and everything.
Also, read it before you go! I didn’t and wish I had. That way we could have hit the ground running and had activities scheduled from the get go. Also I would have brought a few more things (bug spray, water-proof camera) instead of buying the over priced version there.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Marriott Wailea the smaller of the two “large” tourist areas. While it didn’t have as many restaurants as Lahania, it still had a good number of nice ones. Our hotel was nice, had several pools (including a nice infinity one), we had a view of the ocean (though it wasn’t as ocean front as we would have liked), good cocktails ($10) and our room had a very comfortable bed. I think I slept 10-12 hours every night.
What Kind of Car to Rent
Definitely go convertible. We got a Mustang one from Budget. Next time we might get a Jeep since some of the roads we drove were pretty rough and there really aren’t any freeways to open up the Mustang on. Though I did hear others complaining about how hard it was to get the Jeep top down as compared to the Mustang’s.
There were whales (north pacific humpback) everywhere. You could see them from the hotel pool, when driving, when going scuba, sailing, etc.
Capturing a whale on film proved to be pretty elusive. Here’s the best photo I got of a baby whale:
Here’s a video of us waiting for whales:
Driving West Maui
Not thinking much of it, one afternoon we drove from Wailuku to Kahakuloa to Kapalua to Kanaapali to Lahaina (in other words, counter clockwise around West Maui). It’s not a long drive in terms of miles but it is a slow drive. Very winding road, one lane for many stretches and if you ever missed a turn it’d be a long tumble down to the ocean. Several times we had to back up to negotiate sections when another car was going the other direction.
Along the way we stopped at a blow hole. Here’s a video of it getting the best of me:
We did the drive from Kahului to Hana and then kept going while most people turn around and go back the way they came after the seven sacred pools. On the way to Hana we took in the scenery and stopped at a few spots. The waterfalls were all kinda tame since it hadn’t rained recently.
We ate lunch in Hana. There really aren’t many food options so you may want to get a box lunch from 808 deli in Kihei before leaving. By the end of the day we were definitely starving and for the hours and hours of driving past Hana there was no where to get even a chocolate bar.
We did stop at the black sand beach:
And the seven sacred pools:
Powered Hang Gliding
To mix up our drive to Hana we went powered hang gliding with Armin. You can find some videos on YouTube from other folks to see what it’s like (we were too cheap to get the $70 video). I was expecting a serious hang gliding operation but we met Armin at the Hana airfield, a tiny airfield that he flew into with his Cessna. He’s got the one hanger there with the only powered hang glider.
Being afraid of heights, the whole thing scared the shit out of me but it was cool once I relaxed to see the same scenery that we were driving through from a completely different vantage point.
We opted for 45 minute flights. I’d recommend the hour flight and ask him to take you up to Haleakala.
I’ve never been scuba diving before and I was surprised to find it out it took three days to get certified so we opted for an introductory dive with Maui Dreams instead.
It was blast! Though we had to meet at the boat at 6:30 AM which is a little early for a vacation.
We also didn’t get to go to their dive location of choice since it was too windy. But we did get two dives in, about forty five minutes each and saw lots of little fish, some turtles, and at one point a huge power catamaran drove over top of us (fortunately we were 30 feet down).
I took a group lesson with Goofy Foot Surf School. It was two hours and there were only three people in the group. I got up first try, wasn’t that hard. In two hours I rode about five waves. The paddling to catch the waves is exhausting.
Given that it was crazy windy I really wanted to go sailing and was excited to learn that you could sail on America II, an America’s Cup contender! Unfortunately it was out of commission for the week with a broken engine. Oh the irony!
Instead we went on a champagne sunset cruise on Scotch Mist II, a Santa Cruz 50. It was pretty breezy so we didn’t do much sailing, they reefed the main and called it good.
There’s lots of places to rent gear from so we rented gear for the week and whenever we felt like it pulled over and went snorkeling.
We had lots of great meals. Here are some of the favorites:
808 Deli had great sandwiches (good breakfast sandwiches too).
Nick’s Fish Market at the Fairmont had the best service, great fish too. And when we were too cold to walk back to our resort we found out they had a complimentary shuttle.
Pacific O was the best meal we ate.
IO by the same folks as Pacific O was pretty good too!
Moose’s was surprisingly good for a “chain” pub (okay there is only 3 locations and they’re all in Hawaii).
Cool Cat boasts the best burgers on Maui. Their Ahi sandwich was pretty good too.
Next time I’d like to get out and snorkel or scuba at Molokini, see a sunrise or sunset at Haleakala (we ran out of driving energy after our last two drives… plus you need to wake up at 3 AM to catch the sunrise) and go kiteboarding (it wasn’t windy enough the day I scheduled it).