What we did:
Eight days in Maui split into four days in West Maui, two days traveling to and from Hana (and exploring sites in between), and two days in Hana. We thought this was the perfect allocation of time in Maui. I would not recommend driving in the morning to Hana and driving back in the evening.
Money. Take lots of it.
You will need it
Second indispensable item:
A kitchen. By cooking breakfast and lunch in West Maui, we saved about $50 per day. In Hana, the only two dining options are two expensive bad restaurants so a kitchen is a necessity. Luckily, nearly every accomodation option in Hana has a kitchen.
Best new experience:
own private ice-cold waterfalls
among the gorgeous green forests on the road to Hana and the Pipiwai trail.
- Worst new experience: Feeling like we couldn't make it back to the beach on our arduous swim against the current from the Black Rock
Hana. Billed as the "last undeveloped tropical paradise in Maui," only 709 people live in this town with one small general store, two restaurants, and an abundance of waterfalls, beaches, and forests. The beaches are rocky black sand and better for surfing and boogie boarding than sunbathing. The Haleakala National Park includes the O'heo Gulch, or Seven Sacred Pools, a series of rushing waterfalls and pools, that were flooded when we saw them due to the pouring rains from the night before. We spent that day slowly meandering and swimming our way through the incredible
. Most visitors rush into Hana for one day, driving three hours through on the famous "Road to Hana," arriving in Hana, and turning right back around. In my view, the Road to Hana, while beautiful, doesn't match the beauty found in Hana itself. If you are looking for resorts, gourmet restaurants, and bars, then don't go to Hana because the town does not even have air conditioning. Instead, this place is all about ignoring man-made luxuries and experiencing the intensity and beauty of nature.
Kahului. The retail center for Maui, the town is merely a hub for the airport and rows of strip malls and stores. I would not stay at a hotel in Kahului unless I had an early morning flight out of the airport.
Pineapple - luscious, golden, amazing pineapple. But, nearly everything we ate was good. Patrick had fresh fish with nearly every meal and I was impressed by all of the produce we ate, especially the juicy ripe mangos and creamy avocados.
- Favorite restaurant: Plantation House in the Kapalua Resort. Though expensive, these were, without a doubt, the best meals of our trip. Highly recommended (though make reservations for early in the evening so you can see the sun set over the golf course).
: The Pipiwai Trail in Hana, the best hike we have ever done.
Do this also
: Go and see the Alii Kula lavender fields near Haleakala. Patrick is convinced that all the workers there are members of a cult because they all seemed so happy. I chalk up their happiness to the pervasive soothing scent of lavender.
The gift shop is any lavender lover's dream. I purchased a couple of sachets and some lavender sugar.
: Really there was no bad attraction. But, if I had to pick, the Hana Highway --- yes, it's beautiful and the views are incredible, but, oh, the nausea. Thank goodness for Dramamine.
: Dolphins - bottlenose and spinner! I was sitting on the beach at Lanai, after our excellent sailing trip with Paragon Charters, and a school of dolphins swam right up near the shore. Patrick was on the other end of the beach taking pictures of, as he put it, "cool rocks." I tried yelling to him to come over and see the dolphins but he didn't see me, and when he finally came back from photographing the waves hitting the stones, the dolphins had moved to the other side of the beach. He ended up getting some
good pictures of them jumping and spinning
in the air (hence their name) but missed out on the shots when they were very close to the shore.