It's been over a month since we returned from Maui but I'm only now really working on my travel diaries. These posts are some of the most time consuming because I overthink them. But I probably don't need to worry about it too much for a place as awesome as Maui. I can't really make it look bad. Instead of trying to cover everything, I'm just going to highlight some of my favorite things that. Here it goes!
Maui is not city like at all, so we knew we would be spending a lot of time out in the nature. The beaches in Maui are beautiful, but we aren't the type to lie on a beach all day, so hiking was one of the best activities for us. While staying in Kaanapali, we decided to take a drive through the top of the island to hike the Waihee Ridge Trail, Even though the drive was less than 30 miles, it took around an hour and half because the roads get extremely windy and narrow. The views, however, were breathtaking - sometimes literally because I found myself holding my breath when we'd pass by an oncoming car with about an inch to spare. It was raining on our drive so we weren't surprised to find a foggy and muddy trail when we finally arrived. There weren't a lot of people because of it. We didn't have to get very far at all before seeing the beauty of the trail. The rain came and go. At first I was a little self conscious about getting wet, but after a while, we became completely soaked and that's when I felt totally free. It wasn't like we could get any wetter, and despite the rain, it wasn't very cold. The fog never cleared up so we didn't' even really see the "view", but it was an exhilarating experience. I'd love to go back while it's sunny but I don't regret going on that day a bit.
We did a few more small hikes here and there, notably one on the Road to Hana of which I can't recall the name (I do remember, and will probably never forget, that I slid from the mud and fell hard on my butt at the end of that hike). One that is definitely notable is the Pipiwai Trail, located at the end of the Road to Hana, about 10 miles past Hana Town. It was about 4 miles round trip and after a long day of driving, I wasn't sure if we could finish it. But once you're on this trail, it's hard not to finish because the scenery was gorgeous yet ever changing. One minute you are gazing at a waterfall that looks like a painting, the next you are immersed in a dense bamboo forest.
Maui may not look big, but there are pretty few roads, most of which are windy or mountainous so it takes deceptively long to get from point A to point B. That's okay though, because when you're on Maui time, road rage is not an issue; and if you're in a huge rush, you're probably doing Maui wrong.
Other than the drive to Waihee Ridge Trail that I talked about above. We also drove from Paia town all the way to Kaupo, and then of course, did the world famous drive that is the Road to Hana. Oh yeah, we also took a drive through ALL the hairpin turns up to Haleakala Summit, so we pretty much drove everywhere. There wasn't one bit of these drives that wasn't scenic. The roads were easy to navigate because they were usually the only ones in the area and there were clear mile markers all along the way, but there often wasn't phone signal on these drives. For our source of information on the best spots to stop by, we used Maui Revealed, one of the most popular guidebooks that we actually saw in both of our hotels. But our version was much newer and that made us feel less stupid for lugging it all the way from LA. Plus we got to do our research using it before the trip!
Our drive from Paia to Kaupo let us pass through the agricultural parts of Maui, which were incredibly peaceful and lush. The twists and turns in the road made me feel like I was in a game of Mario Kart! The best find on the way was definitely a secluded and unnamed black sand beach. There wasn't anyone around when we got there and the waves had washed away all footprints that might have been there.
The Hana Highway is maybe the single most popular attraction on Maui. But really it's a series of tens of attractions, all beautiful and worth experiencing if time allows. We did the drive on our second to last day and it was definitely a full day activity - we left our hotel in Paia at 6:30am, skipped a lot of attractions to save time, and still didn't make it back before dark. And trust me, you would rather not drive on the highway when it's dark. At this point on our trip, we had already been so spoiled with gorgeous views that I actually felt a slight sense of disappointment for a little while. But that didn't last long because there was simply too much beauty at every turn. We only made some relatively short stops to see some waterfalls, parks, and to eat some snacks. The pictures are much better any words I have, yet they are only a fraction as pretty as the scenes are in real life. If you ever make the drive, I strongly suggest you download the Shaka Guide. It's an audio tour guide that integrates with GPS, so it follows your every step of the tour and tells you all the directions, stories, and suggestions you would ever need. It worked perfectly for us and we did not have a bar of cell phone signal most of the way. Technology these days!
Relatively, food wasn't as big of a part of our trip as I anticipated. However, there were a few very memorable food moments that I want to mention.
Mama's Fish House: This was the splurge meal of the trip and it was worth every penny. We had the surf and turf (best lobster I've ever had) and their famous stuffed fish baked in macadamia nut crust. The atmosphere was comfortable yet the service was impeccable. It's definitely an experience not to be missed. If you go, make a reservation as early as possible and maybe go before it gets dark because it's situated on a beach. We had a late dinner and didn't get to appreciate the view to the fullest.
Coconut Glen's Ice Cream: This is a vegan ice cream shack on the road to Hana. If you pass by it, TRY IT. Best vegan ice cream ever. Also, the guy who served the ice cream to me was one of the most handsome people I've ever seen, so...
808 Grindz Cafe: Everything you could ever want from a Hawaiian eatery. It's affordable, comforting, friendly, and full of warm gravy. We had to wait in line for a bit for an amazing breakfast. I wouldn't have minded going back there again either.
Writing this post has made me so nostalgic for Maui, but I think I'll wrap it up for now. Have you noticed my clever section titles, by the way?? Hikes, Drives, and Bites. I'm quite proud of them, haha. In fact, I'm going to write another blog post soon on "nights", detailing the hotels we stayed at during our time on Maui.
I'd love to know, have you been to Hawaii? What has your experience been like? If you've blogged about it before, I'd love to read it!