Last September Zach and I took a trip to Maui, Hawaii for 8 days and had the BEST time. Plus, we got engaged! I figure it’s about time that I do a round up of what we did, where we stayed, where we went, what we ate, etc!
We opted for a convertible Camero and LOVED it! Everyone said you need a jeep for The Road to Hana, but that’s not the case whatsoever. Maybe the roads used to be bad, but in 2018 they were great!
We went the Air BnB route and stayed in a groud level condo at Kehei Akah. Our room had a washer/dryer, one bedroom, full kitchen, one full bathroom, large living room, patio, and access to a pool. We would 100% stay there again.
Surfing (very mild) at Kalama Beach. Zach went across the street to Maui Wave Riders Shop and rented a surfboard and shirt. There was a dog out there surfing named Church and it was the cutest! You can purchase lessons and actually learn with the dog - maybe I’ll do that next time.
Scenic drive to Ahihi-Kinau natural reserve lava fields and saw little wild black goats along the side of the road. Head up, you will not have any service out there.
Yoga with goats. This was one of the coolest things we did and we found it on the Air BnB “Experience” section. It’s literally in the STUNNING backyard of someones house. They were incredibly nice, you get to feed the goats, the goats LOVE to be all over you, you get time at the end for photos, and can rent a mat through them.
Drove to top of Haleakala Crater which was recommended from everyone to do at sunrise. However, you are required to book tickets in advance and they had been sold out for months so we just went in the middle of the day on a whim after Goat Yoga. It was cool, but if you’re short on time I think there are cooler things to do. It’s a little chillier up there so bring a sweatshirt. I definitely got sick on the way back down the mountain because of the twists and turns and perhaps the altitude so heads up.
Road to Hana. This was for sure the best part for us, but we like to explore. It’s an ALL day thing so be prepared. We planned it out the night before and used the GyPSy app (download it before you leave because you won’t have a lot of service) and it was AWESOME! Seriously use it the entire trip, not just Road to Hana. Bring extra shoes with you - I wore flip flops but you’d be more comfortable in sneakers but be ready for them to be wrecked if you like to explore and climb rocks, walk, etc like I do, a bathing suit if you want to swim, towel, sunglasses, camera, snacks, and a car charger for your phone. Here is a detailed itinerary of what we did and where we stopped:
Stopped at Ho’okipa Beach to watch surfing,
Hiked at Waikamoi Nature Trail (muddy and rooty),
Garden of Eden where Zach proposed at the Keopuka Rock Overlook which is a scene from Jurassic Park. We bought presents at their little gift shop and took lots of photos here.
Ke’anae Arboretum where you will see rainbow eucalyptus trees and taro fields.
Ke’anae Peninsula where you’ll see lava rocks, big crashing waves, little fishies in tide pools, old church, and lots of locals camping.
Had passion fruit coconut ice cream (vegan) at Coconut Glen’s (delicious)
Mae ate ahi tacos at “Up in Smoke BBQ” (side of road)
Wai’anapanapa Beach is a must! Black sand beach with a crazy lava rock blowhole and sea arch. Zach saw a weasel (they’re invasive in Hawaii.
Got a Gold Coast pineapple at Ono fruit stand on side of road
Stopped on side of road at Wailua Falls. It’s a very tall waterfall that you can see from the road if you don’t want to stop.
Seven Sacred Pools (has an entry fee, but got in free bc of it being the same park as Haleakala State Park). View is incredible and it looks like you’re in another country! You can’t swim in pools anymore because it’s dangerous and they have lepto bacteria from weasels
Skipped bamboo forest hike bc we were tired.
Turned back towards home and stopped at general store right after Hana. The store was full of random stuff, food, light sockets, etc. no AC.
Drove back with gypsy app and learned about history of Hawaii.
It took us 13 hours from Airbnb to Hana and back, but we spent more than normal at Garden of Eden since we got engaged there!
Scuba Diving with Barry. I HIGHLY recommend this as well, and no experience is needed! It was another thing we found on the Air BnB “Experience” section. You will meet Barry and do a mini learning lesson and quiz on shore. Then you get your gear and he takes you out into the ocean. I freaked out during the small lesson in the ocean and almost quit because it was scary to me at first. He was very encouraging, but firm and explained that you CANNOT just shoot up to the top of the water (like I did) because it’s super dangerous. Once I calmed down, I passed my mini test and was able to go out. If you’ve never done it before it’s kind of insane honestly. Nature is freaking crazy! You’ll get to go down by the reefs (you can’t touch them obviously) and see fish. THANK GOD we didn’t see any sharks or anything. The whole time I was like, “Mae if you see a shark you cannot shoot up to the top!” Scary, but worth it. Truly a badass experience. Barry takes photos of you and you can purchase packages. We bought everything because hello, when will I ever do that again?
Ho’okipa Beach to see the resting sea turtles at sunset. This is a MUST! This happened accidentally - basically Zach and I love to talk to the locals when we travel and ask them what we should do. We don’t overly plan our trips in advance and this was recommended to us by a local. Go right before the sun goes down. Park in the parking lot and walk down to the very narrow beach. You will see people surfing and to the right is a small rock wall. You probably won’t notice them at first, but there are giant turtle coming ashore slowly. Do NOT cross that rock wall and do NOT ever, ever touch a sea turtle! Admire with your eyes and enjoy them from a far. You also have to be quiet while you’re there not to disturb the turtles so if you have a screaming child with you, this might not be for you. This is not a “tourist attraction” so only go if you’re going to be respectful.
Kehei Market Place. Just a small shop area run by locals where you can buy souvenirs.
Old Lahaina Luau. This is a MUST! It’s seriously so well organized, you’re greeted with a drink and lei, you walk around listening to amazing live music while stopping at various stations set up to learn about history like learning to throw a net like they did back in the day, learning a dance, get your photo taken at sunset, and more. You will need to book this in advance. I booked it about a month in advance and got sets on the ground closest to the stage which was awesome! The food is buffet style but so incredible and Zach (who is vegan) could actually eat there which was surprising. Everyone is so nice, the drinks are included, and the show is AMAZING. 10/10 you have to go.
Go out one night and admire the stars. We pulled over on the way back from the Luau because it was crazy how many stars you can see!
Molokini snorkel and sea turtle trip. We booked this on a whim through Boss Frogs shop. You will have to wake up early and be on a boat with other people and hope the wind isn’t too bad. We ended up ok because of how early we went out, but did have to leave Molokini because of the wind, but we had already had plenty of time there so we lucked out. You will snorkel there which is awesome and you’ll see a lot of fish, eel, corals, etc! Then they drove us to “Turtle Town” and we got to snorkel again, but this time with sea turtle! Again, don’t touch them and stay out of their way. They are such beautiful creatures! If you get boat sick, I wouldn’t recommend this.
So look, Zach is vegan so this might not be the best place to read food recommendations as we were limited to only going places that also had something for him.
Nalu’s South Shore Grill
Jersey Mikes (look, basic I know but when you’re starving and vegan you do it)
Coconut Glen’s (on Road to Hana)
Up in Smoke BBQ (not vegan on Road to Hana)
Ono Fruit Stand for Gold Coast Pineapple (on Road to Hana)
Veg-out Food truck
Da Nani Pirates Food Truck
Threes Bar and Grill
Beach Street for breakfast (once we found this place we stopped going to Starbucks)
Hawaiian Moons Natural Food (kind of like a tiny Whole Foods)
Old Lahaina Luau (dinner and a show - A MUST)
Mendo Food Truck