Ahh…Hawaii, just saying the word Hawaii makes me feel insta-relaxed. My experience of Hawaii is limited to a trip I did to Maui, I know each Island has it’s own particular flavour and vibe and I aim to visit some of them at some point – Oahu for something more upbeat, Kauai for more quiet… Maui was my choice as it offers a bit of something of everything it seems.
Rounding up what to see and do on Maui or in Hawaii without it being an epic read is really tricky, so this has been written as a quick guide to sum up some of the main points of interest for a quick jaunt to marvellous Maui. Here are my referrals/non referrals for your trip.
Lets be honest, there is no ‘bad’ beach, it’s Hawaii. I stayed in Honokowai, West Maui which meant the nearest beaches to flop on were between there and Ka’anapali. Keka’a (North Beach) down to Kahekilli was great, nice snorkelling in parts – lots of Turtles, and quiet. As you head towards the hotel cluster and mall of Ka’anapali the beaches can get pretty busy. The snorkelling around Black Rock was really good but the beach was a bit hotel-front/hectic for me. South Maui offers a selection of outstanding beaches but one beach I do recommend visiting is Big Beach. Man this beach is just gorgeous! You wont find facilities and there will be some people there but seriously, this beach is beautiful. My advise…just visit any of the beaches and you will not be disappointed.
2. Lahaina Town
It’s a cute looking place bustling with people, restaurants and shops. It is a tourist town, with tackiness, and tourists! But there is an old world type feel merged with the tackiness that is quite charming so it is definitely a place to visit. There is a rather spectacular Banyan Tree – yep a tree, but it is worth a look, it’s root structured canopy is really impressive. The only thing is I felt a slight wrong end of town type vibe under the mysterious branches. You’ll be fine though. There is also the Jail, I smile and chuckle writing this as it’s so so tiny and really there’s not much to see at all but I like anything historical so I went, and I am glad I did. A burger and milkshake in Cool Cat Café is recommended.
3. Old Lahaina Lu’au
Yes I know, I know, could it be any more cliché and touristy! Well you know what, I did it, so save your judgements. I put my judgements aside and just went with it – as we joined in the organised fun in a well managed crowd controlled and timed to perfection kind of way. It was enjoyable and if you go with the flow you will enjoy the entertainment depicting Hawaiian history. Just do it.
Pa’ia is a funky tiny town. It is a place to stroll around and meander through a variety of weird and wonderful shops. The people can be a bit weird and wonderful too! It is definitely not mainstream and there are no sights as such but it has it’s own unique character. There are tons of coffee shops, a health food store and cool cafes. I enjoyed a delicious vegetarian option off of Café Mambo’s unexpected menu – I remember things like Kalua pig salad. This is the last town as you head on the Hana Highway expedition so a great place for breaky.
5. Snorkelling Trips
I have mixed feelings about this type of thing. You get a boat ride out to a lovely snorkelling sight, lunch, snorkelling gear and a boat ride back but you do this with a mass of people. The snorkelling is always good and in this instance the sight was Molokini – a sunken crater which has the clearest water and fantastic marine life. It’s a doubled edged sword for me, the general public can be generally pretty annoying – claiming their seats, fighting for the buffet, lining up to jump off the boat etc. plus the usual photographer snapping photos and then selling ‘your only chance for this memory’ to you. But the snorkelling is fantastic and a boat ride is fun. The Dolphins on the way back were so great to see. It’s up to you, I am glad I did but I went in knowing what too expect for the excursion.
6. Drive around and Hana Highway
You will hear everyone talk about Hana highway, and there is good reason for this. The point of navigating the road to Hana and beyond is not about reaching Hana at all but about the drive itself and the sights along the way. It is gorgeous. You will be driving through the most luscious green tropical environment, so so different from the rest of the island. The road is winding and long and up and down and at times pretty hairy, even scary but it’s that which makes the journey. If you research the many waterfalls and caves to stop off at and explore, you will experience a lot of what the island has to offer of itself. Do some planning as to what you want to see along the way, expect some rain but enjoy it…breath it in.
Things to do but not top of the list.
• Visit the resting place of aviation’s greatest Charles Lindburg – beautiful area and churchyard.
• Find Dragon’s Teeth at Kapalua, West Maui – unusually shaped lava formation. It’s rocks.
• See Nakalele Blowhole, West Maui. It’s cool, it’s a blowhole – the fun part was trying to find it and finding yourself wondering around the grounds of The Ritz.
There are loads and loads of different activities to do and this is a mere drop in the tropical ocean, but hopefully this helps anyone who is having a little Maui vacay in deciding on some things to do… or not to do.