I’ve been hearing good things about Maui for years now, and finally took the plunge to check the island out on my Fall trip.
Days 1-3: Rest & Relaxation in Wailea
Unfortunately for me, the first 3 days of my stay in Maui were spent in my bed… reason being that I got sick after numerous shenanigans in the good city o’ New York. Fortunately for us, however, we got serendipitously upgraded to a 3-bedroom villa at the Fairmont Kea Lani. This meant more relaxing in the comfort of my room, rather than next to the (always crowded) pool. We also checked out the Four Seasons Resort’s Spa, since there were better reviews of it than our own. Their signature Ultimate Cocoon Treatment was just aight – it actually made me seasick because of the levitating bed. The massage itself was pretty unmemorable, too.
Overall, I still find resort-ing in SE Asia to be much superior to the American experience. Not only are the resorts situated in more beautiful, remote places, but the services and dining options are of a much better value.
Days 4-6: East Maui & the Road to Hana
To plan my Maui trip, I had consulted Maui Revealed (by Andrew Doughty) for my itinerary. I ended up reading the book cover-to-cover to identify the stops we needed to make on our road trip through Maui. I found the book to be helpful, but after speaking with some locals about the book various individuals claimed it was misleading travelers to dangerous terrain (Red Sand Beach, for example). There were a few places mentioned that we had wanted to visit (Red Sand Beach, Olivine Pools), but we ultimately backed out due to numerous “DANGER” signs and tombstones. If you are going to use the book, use your common sense and when in doubt, ask the locals!
On our 4th day on the island, we checked out of the Fairmont and proceeded to do the northern bit of the Road to Hana. We stayed in Hana for two nights at the Travaasa Hana Resort, during which we checked out a few more places along the Road to Hana that are within a 30-min drive of Hana. We concluded our Road to Hana trip by checking out on the 6th day and heading South then West to take the Upcountry route back to Wailuku. Along the way, we stopped at Kula Lavender before stopping at the Haleakala Sliding Sands trail for a bit of volcanic hiking. All of our stops along the Road to Hana (minus all the waterfalls since there were too many) can be seen in my map.
It’ll be a bore to cover everything on the Road to Hana, but here are some of the better photographs (and hence, experiences?) from the trip:
Days 7-9: Day Trips Out of Wailuku and Into West Maui & the Haleakala Sunrise
After getting back into the center of Maui and settling in to our Bed & Breakfast at The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono, we went out on several day trips to see the west side of Maui. Not a lot of pictures here, because the west side of Maui is basically the home to the other resorts not in Wailea. We actually tried to drive all the way around the west side of Maui, but the road was closed just past the treacherous Olivine Pools (which we didn’t go to because the waves were too strong). We ended up driving back down the side of Maui, swam at Black Rock Beach, and turned in early in Wailuku. We woke up at 2AM the next day to catch our Haleakala Sunrise tour, which took us all the way to the summit and back. In the afternoon, we did the Waihee Ridge Trail, which we weren’t able to do because of the road closure the day before. We finished our trip off with dinner at Mama’s Fish House and some turtle observation at Ho’okipa Park.
Highlights of my trip
Although difficult to endure, the Haleakala summit sunrise is definitely at the top of my list from this trip. If it weren’t so cold, I think it would have been a great place to meditate and to reflect. The Sliding Sands Trail was definitely very unique – I had never done a trail inside a volcano, and never so high up in altitude (10,000 ft)! I also enjoyed watching the turtles come to rest on the beach at Ho’okipa Park. They moved ever so slowly, but it was mesmerizing to watch them come out of the ocean one by one.
Nibbles for thought…
- I really appreciated how Hawaiians have a deep understanding and respect for their land and nature. After traveling to several other island-states, I find Hawaii’s appreciation for their waters and land to be unrivaled.
- Water terrifies me. I didn’t swim in any of the waterfalls along the Road to Hana because I am a terrible swimmer and I know I would be swept away if a flash flood comes by.
- It would have been awesome if I knew how to surf. The waves looked amazing, and I really wished I had more time to learn to surf with an instructor. But… I guess I should learn to swim better first *shrug*.
- Eat and live local. There was not a day where I didn’t wonder just how everything I was eating, using, or seeing came to be on the island. Hawaii, being the most remote islands in the world, need to import a majority of the goods its population use. My being in Hawaii just magnified my awareness for how much my carbon footprint was, coming to and visiting these islands. I tried to eat local as much as I can, from the fruits in season to the fish that was caught.