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Top Things to do – Maui, Hawaii

The beautiful Island of Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Also known as the “Valley of Isle” as it separates northwestern and southeastern volcanic masses. It offers beautiful vacation time where you can enjoy watching wild ocean waves, mystical sunrise/sunsets, fabulous beaches ,enjoy fresh-caught seafood, endless Mai Tais and much more..

We visited Maui in January end and had 3 days planned to explore the gorgeous Island. The tropical island welcomed us with beautiful sunny weather. So Happy! 

Here are the things to include in itinerary.

Watch Sunrise in Haleakala National Park

Sunrise at Haleakala National Park is one of the top things to do when you visit Maui Hawaii. Yup, it’s tough to get up so early and drive 2 hours to the Haleakala National Park, but we didn’t want to miss the sunrise at any cost and we succeeded. It turned out to be one of the most memorable and breathtaking sunrise to watch the sun rising over the horizon above the clouds. Overall worth the effort and was a spectacular experience.

Travel Tip – a reservation is required to watch sunrise at Haleakala National Park. You can reserve online at National park website for $1 upto 60 days from the date. Click here for reservation. In case you have not able to secure advance reservation  try your luck with small number of last minute ticket which releases online two days beforehand.

Don’t like to get up early, no worries! We heard the Sunsets are beautiful too.. and after watching sunset you can wait a little more for Stars and look up for Milkyways.

Bring warm layers, it gonna be very cold and windy up on the mountain.

The sunrise

Iao Valley State park Drive

Iao Valley is one of the wettest place on earth, averaging over an inch of rainfall everyday. “The Iao Needle” aka Kukaemoku is an iconic landmark of the Iao Valley state park, Maui. The 690 meter high peak is also known to locals as phallic stone of Kanaloa i.e. Hawaiian god of Ocean (Interesting fact!). 

Travel Tip – Iao valley state monument entry is free (except parking fee $5 – its limited) || Bring raincoat as you are in a Rainforest area || 

The Iao Needle

Drive Hwy 340 aka Kahekili Hwy

Many people didn’t know about Hwy 340 (aka Kahekili Hwy). It is as crazy as Road to Hana – Narrow Roads, Yield to incoming vehicles, Falling Rocks, One lane bridges, Cliff hugging roads and obviously spectacular views . Honestly, we had no idea about this impressive road… while driving from Iao Valley to Nakalele Blowhole Google showed us two options and we picked Hwy 340 by chance. 

Travel tip – Make sure you have enough gas as you will be driving in remote areas with no gas station. || Our suggestion would not to drive at night, pass this road during day-light. Sunny days would be better compare to Rainy ones || You wont be able to drive faster than 20mph and in many area 5mph – so it is not for impatient drivers

Juice Time
shoreline
The rugged road

Nakalele Blowhole and Heart shaped rock

Nakalele means “the leaning” in Hawaiian. Nakalele Blowhole is famous for its powerful natural geysers where ocean water gets trapped in the lava tube needing to escape, hence the blowhole is born and so as the rainbow. It It is beautiful , but dangerous. When you reach near the bottom of the slope trail, look around and you will find the Heart Shape rock – The Instagram beauty.

Travel tip – Wear hiking shoe and carry a water bottle. || If you want to see rainbow on the mist, try to visit during a  sunny day. || 

The mist
The Heart
Do you see the rainbow ?

Luau

I would like to tell you first about Luau, in case you have not heard. Luau basically means Hawaiian feast held outdoors with entertainment. Food menu in Luau goes back hundreds of years prepared in an underground oven called an Imu. The featured food includes laulau , Kalua pork, Poi, lomi salmon and poke. This is mainly a non veg set up and include few veg dishes. 

We did some research and based on location, timing and availability we booked Luau at the Wailea beach Marriott aka Te Au Moana in Maui, Hawaii. Great food and fun filled entertainment.

Travel tip – Get tickets in advance. We booked it from here and received some discount.

Hula Dance at Luau

Road to Hana

When you are in Maui Hawaii, you gotta take the ravishingly gorgeous drive called ” Road to Hana”. The drive is around 64 miles (Kahului to Kalepa) We heard that drive isn’t easy. Yes, there are 54 one lane bridges and serious hairpin turns but its worth the risk. We took the reverse route and I tell you we were very happy with our decision (lesser crowds at view points). We started early morning, drove on the backside of Haleakala National Park, hiked at rugged trails, admired many waterfalls and beaches along the road, enjoyed delicious food and juices along the road and saw sunset at Ho’kipa Beach Park, thus ending our beautiful day.

Travel Tip – Rent a car if you would love to explore leisurely. || Get full tank gas before you start as there are limited Gas stations || If you don’t want to drive there are many tours available to take you to Road to Hana Journey. || Don’t Miss Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread near Halfway to Hana || Always pullover for locals if you are driving in slow pace.

Bamboo Trail
Big Waves
Road to Hana

Wai’anapanapa State Park

Dark black sand and deep turquoise ocean makes a beautiful landscape that dazzles everyone. Wai’anapanapa State Park is one of the popular spots in Road to Hana which offers plenty of things to do – walk  around gorgeous black sand beach, hiking along the ocean cliff, Lava tube with mind-blowing picture opportunity during low tide and more.

The Black sand Beach

Watch Sunset at Ho’okipa Beach Park

At the end of the day, if you are near Paia town you should definitely go and watch beautiful sunset at Ho’okipa Beach park.

The Sunset

Shave Ice at Ululanis

When you are in Hawaii – Shave Ice is a must try. You can have Shave Ice anywhere you want and flavor whatever you like, however our suggestion – Ululanis Shave ice at Maui (any location – we had in Paia) and order Shave ice flavored with Mango, Guava and Strawberry and Coconut ice-cream base. 

Paia’s Fish Market

We found this place while we were on hunt for good Fish menu in Paia, Maui. Great rating and delicious food, specially if you are looking for fresh-caught seafood. We ordered Fish tacos with potato chips and salad + Fresh lime Juice. Yummy! I would definitely recommend you to try if you love fish.

paia

There are few more places we would have loved to explore if we had extra time. 

1. Monokini Island – the island famous for Snorkeling. (Since we were visiting Hanauma Bay, Oahu – we skipped this one)  

2. Old Lahaina town – To just roam around and feel the vibe of oceanside town. 

3. Lavender Farm at Kula, Maui  

 

Where to stay:

Hawaii is not a budget friendly destination at any point of the year. Only thing to avoid extra cost would be to book in advance. There are lots of Hotels and Resorts on the west side of Maui which you can book directly with Hotels or via online.  There are other hotel option in the North shore of Maui. You definitely need to search for hotels based on your budget and Itinerary. 

Also, you can look for Vacation Rental on Airbnb  or Vrbo , both sites are very helpful. If you sign up Airbnb with my link , you get upto $55 off. 

We look for affordable stays wherever possible as we don’t spend much time in the hotels. After a lot of research we booked a Guest house –  “God’s Peace of Maui” in Makawao, Maui. Its an hour and half from Haleakala National park summit and 20 mins from the start point of Road to Hana.

 

How to reach:

Only way to reach any of Hawaiian Island is via flight. It is not a budget friendly destination, however you can try to save money by being flexible in terms of dates. We went in January end and we got few good deals in terms of flight and hotel stays. 

There is one airport in Maui – Kahului regional Airport. There many flights run between Islands of Hawaii, if you are willing to visit Big Island, Oahu and Kauai

 

Getting around:

The most convenient and the best way to get around Maui is by Car preferably Jeep. The roads are good except few parts like Road to Hana or Hwy 340.  We rented a Jeep via Expedia – very easy way to book (You can always book and cancel/modify later). Other options are guided tours you can join.

Finally, keep some time to wander and see where the roads take you . You cannot do everything when you are traveling, so just relax and enjoy the journey!  

Hope this blog inspired you to plan the holiday in Maui, Hawaii.  Pin it or Bookmark this post for future reference.




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