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.
7 thoughts on “Discover Maui Travel Itinerary – Follow Me As I Explore the Island”
How exciting!!!!!!!!! I’m such a BIG fan of Hawaii!
Oh Maui…so VERY VERY beautiful! Could this be the trip that finally converts you to a fish eater? Holy cow, the fish is good there. (and, I’m guessing you don’t actually want me to search for the name of the sushi place where we had the best sushi ever) I also think I ate my weight in pineapple and papaya. :) Be sure to drive the entire Road to Hana – if you can rent a jeep, that’s the way to do it. Pack sandwiches (there’s a picnic place right before the road that will pack you a lunch!) and eat by a waterfall. There’s also a beach there that’s known for some of the best bodysurfing in the world…definitely give it a try!
Oh Maui…my favorite place on earth.
There is so much to do… Starting with your trip to Hana – stop in Paia for ginger candy if you get motion sickness. There are fruit stands and tons of photo ops along the way. Lots of cool waterfall areas to explore and a bamboo forest that’s really cool. I also had the banana bread ever a bit off the beaten path on my way to Hana. You also MUST see the rainbow trees. So cool. While in Hana the black sand beach is a must see.
Depending on which side of the island you are staying on after your Hana trip depends on what you should do…
East – Paia is a cute hippie town with good restaurants to visit. The sunrise/bike ride down Haleakala is life changing. Upcountry is gorgeous and relaxing. But makena is one of my favorite beaches on the island. I always get a taco from Jawz and a shave ice on the way out. Take beers if you go! If you like snorkeling/scuba go out to Molokini – sooo cool!
West Maui (my one true love) – Kapalua is gorgeous but I think Napili is where it’s at. Lots of locals hang out there and you get a great view of Molokai. There is also a little resaurant with the most amazing fried rice. Driving around the back side of west Maui is pretty and there are cool local places to stop for food/pictures. There is a lady with some fabulous candied coconut too. Lahina is a must visit. There is a lot to do/see. Kaanapali is fun but I personally like lahina better. Going into the west Maui mountains is pretty but I wouldn’t make a day of it.
Like you said; go with the flow and follow the locals – they really know where the best food/beaches are!
That sounds awesome! I’m sure your type A personality will be fine. I’ve never been to Maui or Hawaii, it’s quite far away from London, but please do try the ukulele. And surfing. I would love to go surfing over there. Looking forward to reading what you get up to!
Do you realize how lucky you are? It is a special place and I hope you discover the real Maui. There are so many things to do, you could be there for months and not do them all. Definitely go snorkeling with the green turtles, best places are probably Secret Beach and Kapalua Bay beach. Drive to La Perouse Bay and try to spot a Monk seal. Hang out at Venus pool or Olivine pools(opposite sides of the island).
In Kipahulu, make a fruit smoothie with a human powered(you) bicycle at Laulima Fruit Stand, check out Lindbergh’s grave at Palapala Ho’omau Church. If you need more ideas check our blog, we’re avid promoters of Maui. Makes me wonder, why aren’t we going on this trip ;)
Thank for the suggestions and of course I know how lucky I am!
the photo of the sunset on the horizon is just magical. i agree that the most enjoyable part of traveling is the discovery because every place is a unique experience on its own. the culture, the cuisine, the people etc. learning while traveling is such a blessing. more happy discoveries for you. thanks for sharing.
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