I think it’s safe to say that my exploration of the Hawaiian islands has been unusual and haphazard at best. While a long time dream destination for me, my first visit to the enchanting islands was only two years ago and then as a part of a work conference in Honolulu. Like any good traveler though, I made sure to book extra time at the end of the conference and my partner joined me as we retreated to the quiet island of Lanai for some much needed R&R. Then, only a few months later I was asked to participate in the progressive social media campaign Visit Lanai; a week when my partner and I returned to this little spot of paradise to explore it in greater depth. But that’s it. That’s the totality of my Hawaiian experiences and none of it includes the islands about which I get the most questions, including Maui. That’s all about to change next week when I make the trek to Maui and finally get to see what all the fuss is about.
The trip is sponsored by the Maui Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the goal isn’t just to show my readers that Maui is a nice place – I think that fact is fully ingrained in our mass psyche. But rather it’s to show the width and breadth of activities available on the island and what makes it a superb vacation destination. I like to think I know a fair amount of travel and tourism, yet the only thing I can tell you about Maui is that there’s a road involving Hana about which everyone raves and…well that’s about it. Oh, I imagine there’s a palm tree and beach, but that’s just a guess. So, join me as I peel back the delicious Maui onion and see what there REALLY is to do, see and experience on this popular Hawaiian island.
Since it’s Hawaii, the schedule is a bit loose, which in effect is perfect for Hawaii. My previous experiences there have shown me that rather than a tightly scripted life, those lucky few who call the islands home instead prefer to take life more organically and I’ll try to comply. I say try because I am an East Coast, Type A personality who likes to know what time to do everything BUT I’m trying to reform my uptight ways.
I begin my adventure with a drive on the road to Hana, stopping along the way to discover whatever needs discovering. The pot at the end of the rainbow is a two-day stay at the famous Travaasa Hana Resort, which just won first place in the Conde Nast reader’s choice awards for Hawaiian resorts. Travaasa isn’t your average resort; instead they’ve built a holistic retreat where the property IS the experience. The goal here is to unplug, relax and recharge. Yeah, I’m worried too but you know what? I need that, I need to put the computer down and instead experience nature and relaxation. I’ll let you know if paramedics need to Medevac me out.
That’s not to say that the resort is all Downward Dog and meditation, there are plenty of activities of which I plan to avail myself including horseback riding, fish net throwing, coconut husking, and walking tours of nearby Hana. Sounds perfect to me.
But the trip to Maui isn’t all about finding my inner Loper, it’s about discovering the majesty of the island. After I leave Travaasa my schedule will be full of new and exciting adventures including biking down a volcano, sailing canoe classes and I hope a ukulele lesson or two.
My favorite part of any travel adventure though is discovery, and there are many tiny towns and historic centers for me to investigate on my own. Makawao, Hana and Lahaina are all firmly in my sights and I can’t wait to learn more about these unique towns and villages. I’m also excited to participate on a Maui farm tour, one of the few activities friends and family have recommended to me since they learned I’d be visiting the island. Thanks to a unique set of conditions, Maui has turned into a food lover’s paradise and I’m really looking forward to discovering small, locally owned farms and dairies to see what makes them so great.
So that’s the 30,000 foot view of my adventures in Maui, I’m sure there will be many more cool activities to populate the list, but it at least gives you a good idea of what I’ll be seeing and doing. Please be sure to follow along the hashtag #seeMaui on Twitter to see what I, and the other trip participants will be seeing and doing as we discover the beauty and majesty of Maui firsthand.
Any recommendations for what I should definitely not miss on Maui?
All photos courtesy of Photo: JD Andrews, earthXplorer media inc.