First and foremost, HAPPY NEW YEARS, I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays with their loved ones. This was probably my favorite Christmas since I was able to spend it in freaking Hawaii! I know, I am super spoiled. This was a trip that I will cherish forever and will be very hard to top. Today I am going to provide you all with a detailed report of my itinerary while I was on the beautiful island of Maui. I hope this post will inspire others to travel to Maui or provide you with information if you are already planning to take the trip. It was an action packed adventure during our 8 day stay . I hope you all enjoy!
December 20, 2018
We woke up bright and early to take full advantage of our first day in Maui! We all gathered around the table outside of our condo to think about how we would like to spend our first day. We checked out the activities in our Maui Revealed book, which I would highly recommend for anyone visiting Maui, it is well worth the buy. It essentially lead the way when it came to figuring out our itinerary. We decided to start the day by walking across the street from our condo to Kahekili Beach Park. We walked along the beach for over an hour to familiarize ourselves with the area, while soaking in the Hawaiian sun.
During our walk we stopped at an art gallery that was located right across from the beach. We were greeted by the sweetest employee Kelli. She recommended that we eat at Pacific’O for lunch and even gave us a coupon to use. We assured her that we would be back to purchase some of the beautiful local art that was within the gallery. We zipped right on over to Pacific’O and we were very satisfied with our first Maui meal. I got the southwestern chicken wrap and there was not a crumb left behind. We were seated right on the water and we enjoyed views of Lanai while we ate. There were also many different island guests that were learning how to surf right in front of us, so that was amusing to watch. We even saw whales surfacing in the distance!
After lunch we decided to hang around our condo and work up our appetite again because later that night we were going to an authentic Luau. We made reservations at the Old Lahaina Luau about one month in advance because that was an activity we didn’t want to miss out on. I recommend everyone else to book in advance because it does fill up quick! There are two different reservations that you can make, tables & chairs or traditional. We booked the tables & chairs because the traditional option was sold out already, but both packages include the buffet, 2 drinks per guest, and the show. Our show ended around 9 and we were pretty jet lagged so we decided to call it a night.
December 21, 2018
We started the day off nice and early again, but this time we were going whale watching. We were all excited for this activity, especially because it was all of our first time going so we didn’t really know what to expect. We booked to go whale watching with the Pacific Whale Foundation and they were great. They all are educated marine biologists who study the whales and focus more on research and preservation rather than turning a profit, as they are a non-profit organization. The excursion exceeded all expectations. We had a whale swim underneath our boat and even surfaced right next to our boat. Thinking about that moment still gives me goosebumps, it was incredible. We could see whales blowing water out of their blow holes as far as the eye could see. Whale watching is a must do activity!
After we got done with the whale watching we were starving. A women handing out ice cream suggested that we eat at Kimo’s and she even gave us a coupon! Every person we came in contact with handed us a coupon for something. We were seated right on the water at Kimo’s and we enjoyed another beautiful view of Lanai while we ate. I had a pretty tasty cheeseburger and it was huge!
By the time we were done eating it was still early afternoon so we decided to go on a hike. We ended up hiking the Lahaina Pali trail, which we found on AllTrails, and it gave us a pretty good workout. The trail was made out of lava rocks and there were some portions of the trail where you would have to use all fours to get up, but the views were amazing! We saw multiple whales surfacing all over the ocean as far as we could see. Definitely worth the hike if you are ready to put in some work to get to the top. Pack plenty of water because it gets very hot when hiking the trail. There is little to no shade.
That evening we made reservations at Warren and Annabelle’s for the 7:30 show. There are two different admission options: purchasing just an admission ticket for $69 or purchasing the Royal Flushing package discounted to $46, which included a combination platter of appetizers, choice of dessert, two cocktails and Gratuity included. We ended up getting the royal flush package, but we wish we would have just purchased the general tickets instead. The show was very entertaining and had me laughing throughout the entire performance. If you like card tricks mixed with comedy, this is the show for you.
December 22, 2018
We had another early start to the day because today we planned on horseback riding at Makena Stables. It was about a hour and a half car ride from our condo in Lahaina and our ride was scheduled to start at 9:30. This was another one of our favorite activities because everyone that worked at the stable were incredible. We had a private 1.5 hour horseback ride through the woods and onto the beach that provided awesome views of Ahihi Kinau, La Perouse Bay and the islands of Hawai’i, Kaho’olawe, Molokini. The stable has been on the island for 35 years and gives you a unique quality riding experience. They were incredibly welcoming and we even learned facts about horses that we had never known before! This is another must do activity!
Once we were finished riding the horses, we decided to walk along La Perouse Bay on the Hoapili Trail. We heard that a Hawaiian Monk Seal was spotted along the bay so we were hoping to get lucky and catch a glimpse. The Hawaiian Monk Seal is endangered species so it is pretty rare to see one up close. We began our walk through the lava rocks to get to the bay and that was a sight to see. It was a beautiful area! We ended up stumbling upon the area where a baby Monk seal was hanging out and was being protected by the Monk Seal Response Team. The two volunteers actually took the time to educate us a little more about the seal, so we hung out to watch it swim around about 20 feet away from us. We felt pretty lucky to have that experience! Side note: if you decide to hike the Hoapili Trail, I recommend that you were closed toe shoes, preferably shoes with grip on the bottom. There was a guy that slipped and hurt himself due to not wearing the proper attire and ended up having to be flown out by a helicopter. Please be careful if you hike there!
When we finished hiking we were starving so we took a locals suggestion and got lunch at Monkey Pod Kitchen. If you are looking for a great Mai Tai, get one from there. They are amazing! I could drink those down like juice, so be careful! But they sure do hit the spot. We ended up splitting the Hawaiian pork pizza with fresh pineapples and jalapenos on top and it was delicious. I highly suggest getting drinks and dinner there!
After our late lunch we drove back over to Lahaina to catch the sunset. It was our first night that we were actually able to sit down and watch the sunset. That was another one of my favorite activities. The sunsets there are beautiful and romantic. I loved being able to watch the sunset with Jeff by my side.
December 23, 2018
Today was the day that the Road to Hana trip began! We were able to make 9 stops on the road and it was quite the experience. The drive can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete since it’s fraught with narrow one-lane bridges, hairpin turns and incredible island views. The road has 620 curves and 59 bridges. The road leads you through flourishing rain forests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools and dramatic seascapes. A couple tips for those who plan to drive the Road to Hana:
- You will lose cellular service as soon as you start on the road, so make sure to have an offline copy of your directions saved on your phone or printed off.
- I highly suggest downloading the application Road to Hana Maui GyPSy Guide. The tour app uses the device’s location to play the commentary AUTOMATICALLY. No cell network signal is needed while driving. All you have to do is drive, listen and decide which places you want to stop at (and those you might decide to skip). It was $5.99 but it was worth the purchase!
- Stop in the town Paia, which is right before the road starts, to use the restroom and buy food for the car ride. Bathrooms are hard to find on the Road to Hana and food can be pricey if bought on the road. We stopped at Paia Gelato and bought delicious subs for the trip.
- Bring plenty of sunscreen and bug spray. The Road to Hana is runs through a rain forest and the misquotes love it there. Take my tip and spray yourself before you start making stops on the road!
Before we started our official journey on the Road to Hana, we made a quick stop at Ho’okipa Beach. We stopped there first because it is a go-to surfing spot on Maui. It’s also a world-class windsurfing destination. We enjoyed stopping to watch many different people surfing the huge Maui waves!
Once we pulled out of the Ho’okipa Beach, the Road to Hana began. We were able to make the following stops:
Twin Falls located at mile marker 2
Huelo Lookout at mile marker 4.5
Garden of Eden at mile marker 10.5
Keanae Arboretum at mile marker 16.7
Keane Peninsula at mile marker 17
Upper Waikani at mile marker 19
Waianapanapa State Wayside Park at mile marker 32.2
December 24, 2018
Today we woke up at our Bayhouse condo that we rented for the night. Everyone is told to either drive down the road to Hana by 4 pm or stay the night on the road because it gets too dark and dangerous to drive down. We knew it was going to be another long adventure day so we stopped and had an amazing breakfast at the Travaasa Hotel. That morning it had been raining pretty hard, but by the time we were seated it stopped raining and a beautiful rainbow formed right near the hotel. They ended up opening all the windows, which turned the restaurant into an open-air restaurant. We were then able to see the beautiful rolling hills and palm trees overlooking Hana Bay and Kauiki Hill. I highly recommend stopping here for food if you are on the road to Hana. Jeff claims that he had the best breakfast he has ever had there.
Once we finished breakfast we jumped back on the road and made two more stops:
Wailua Falls at mile marker 45
Oheo Gulch and Pipiwai Stream Trail Hike at mile marker 42
By the time we finished the second stop it was pouring down rain so we made the decision to start heading back down the road. But first we needed lunch! We stopped back in Hana and ate at The Ranch and it was another delicious experience. Hana definitely had the best food, in my opinion. When we finished lunch we got back on the road, but now we headed to the Haleakalā summit. Since the government shutdown happened while we were in Maui, we were able to drive through Haleakalā National Park for free! Usually there is a fee to enter. However, when we made it all the way up the 10,023 ft summit, it was too foggy to see the anything! We were pretty bummed that we weren’t able to see anything, but it’s definitely on my bucket list to go back and see. Another must do activity!
December 25, 2018
Christmas day was spent relaxing by the pool, walking on the beach, and eating two amazing meals made by Jeff and Ken along with endless Mai Tais. It definitely will be a day that I will cherish forever. Coming to Hawaii was the best gift I ever could have asked for.
December 26, 2018
After having such a nice relaxing Christmas, we were refreshed and ready to start the day off with an early start. We had reservations to go snorkeling at Molokini & Turtle Arches with the Pacific Whale foundation. We were very excited to do this activity because of how much fun we had going whale watching with them. The water was so clear you could see 120 feet down. We were able to swim with multiple turtles, saw an eel, and watched a school of fish swim all around us. It was so much fun!
When we were heading back to the marina we noticed a hump back whale swimming pretty close to our boat. Before I knew it, the whale breached right next to our boat and created a huge splash. I was so stunned it gave me goosebumps! Only one person was able to catch it on their phone and she was kind enough to send it to me. Like I said earlier, whale watching is a must do activity in Maui.
Later that night we went to Lahaina Fish for dinner. They had very delicious food and it sits right on the water. It is another great spot to go to if you are wanting a meal with a view. The restaurant is part of a strip mall full of boutiques and art galleries so we spent the rest of the evening walking through all the shops.
December 27, 2018
Today was our last full day in Maui and we wanted to do nothing but completely relax near our condo. Our cute little home away from home was located right next to the pool, so Jeff and I decided to go swimming to start the day. While we were swimming my mother, Kelly, and step-father, Ken, went to check out the Olivine Pools. The Olivine Pools are swimmable tide pools located on barren lava along the ocean’s edge on the back-side of West Maui.
Later that night we went to Monkey Pod kitchen for dinner again because the Mai Tai’s are seriously so good. This time we went to the one in Lahaina, right down the street from our condo. We got there right before the sun was setting so we were able to enjoy our last official meal in Maui with a beautiful sunset.
Leaving the next day was rough, but I will definitely be going back. Maui is an amazing place and I completely understand why people purposely miss their flights home to stay there forever. When I do return to Maui, I plan on doing the following activities that we were not able to do this trip:
- Going to Haleakalā summit to watch the sunrise
- Going to Haleakalā summit to watch the stars
- Go back to Wainapanapa State Wayside Park and find the heart shape rock and blowhole
- Going to Wailua Overlook
- Going back to Oheo Gulch when the park is fully open and able to get a closer look
- Hike through the Bamboo Forest Trail at mile marker 6.5 on the Road to Hana
- Visit the Haipua’ena Falls at mile marker 11.5 on the Road to Hana
Thanks for reading and I truly hope that all of you will get the chance to experience Maui once in your life!