Hawaii is known for its beaches, scenic beauty and laid back life style, the Island of Maui, the second largest Island in the archipelago truly lives up to the hype. With two dormant volcanos, pristine beaches and rugged nature, Maui has plenty to offer everyone whether you seek adventure or just a laid back relaxing vacation. Having spent the past few days on the more urban island of Oahu, we flew in to Kahului Airport arriving early afternoon after a 45 min flight. A light rail took us to the rental car center and we were on our way to Kaanapali, where we had a reservation at the Aston Mahana. After checking in and a little rest, we walked over to the Honoapiilani Food Truck Park for dinner, the food was ok and a little pricey, but then Kaanapali is a major tourist drag on Maui. Got some groceries (our rooms were quipped with kitchenettes) and called it a day.
After breakfast we were off to explore the ‘road to Hana‘. Our first stop was the town of Paia, there are many restaurants, kitschy shops and art galleries and is quite worth the stop. From Paia we headed out towards Hana, stopping at the Twin Falls on the way. The falls are not too spectacular but worth the stop for a little swimming or diving. Lunch was at the roadside Garden Grove Café, this vegan café offers some decent options, although the vegan ice cream was okay-ish. Further down the highway is a privately owned arboretum “The Garden of Eden“, it is very well maintained and we spent about a couple of hours exploring the place. our last stop for the day was Wailua Valley State Wayside, by the time we got there we estimated that it would be late by the time we reached our hotel back in Kaanapali, and we decided to skip the last stretch to Hana and headed back. Has dinner at the nearby China Boat Restaurant, the food was pretty amazing and very reasonably priced, I would highly recommend it.
The following morning we headed out to the ‘reverse road to Hana‘ headed to the Haleakala State park. The park is home to some unique flora and fauna and a dormant volcano lies within the park boundary. A very popular excursion is to see the sunrise from the summit of the Haleakala volcano. The volcano creates climate zones on the Island, with one side of the volcano being dry and warm and the other side much cooler and very wet. In fact it is quite windy and cold at the summit and a jacket is a must if one wants to walk around.
We decided against driving to Hana after the visit to the park as part of the road this way is not paved and it wasn’t clear whether the insurance on the rental car would cover this part of the trip (as several forums had warned us of this issue). For dinner we headed to the Beach Club and Restaurant at the Aston Kaanapali Resort, the food and views were excellent but the drinks were not up to par but it was a good experience overall. Our final day on Maui was more relaxed and we visited the Maui Butterfly Garden and the historic town of Lahaina. The butterfly garden was a big disappointment, the staff were well informed and welcoming but there wasn’t much to see, more so since we have been to the Smithsonian!. Lahaina lived up to its repute, it had a very lively vibe to it, and despite the obviously touristy shops there was a definite local color to the place, we spent a few hours exploring the town and had a late lunch at the Lahaina Fish Company and had some great ice ream at Lappert’s.
We had a late night flight out of Maui to Seattle and we headed to the Airport. After eight days of exploring we were a little worn out but saddened to leave the islands. In retrospect, I would suggest spending at least a week on any one of the Islands for a more relaxed and complete exploration of the Island. I would like to mention the many travel sites available online really helped me plan a very enjoyable trip, a special shout out to Shaka Guide, a must read before planning a trip to Hawaii. I hope to be back to the Islands in the not too distant future, until then……a hui hou!