MAUI

Our tips and tricks for getting the most out of your trip

 

Maui

 

The second largest of the Hawaiian islands, Maui is known for its 30 miles of sprawling beaches, volcanic formations, and countless waterfalls. While most of its 250,000 visitors per day travel far and wide to revel in its tranquil atmosphere and take in the scenic beauty, some visitors, like us, are more drawn to the unique adventures this particular island offers.

 

On the agenda:

Nakalele Blowhole

Iao Valley State Monument

Honolua Park/ Bay Beach

Snorkeling at Black Rock Beach 

Road to Hana

Caveman Falls

Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread

Black Sand Beach

7 Sacred Pools

Hana Lava Tube

Wailea

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Nakalele Blowhole

Poelua Bay, Wailuku, HI 96793

Open 24 hours

Free

 

Things to know:

 The road getting there is windy but beautiful.

Parking is limited to a turn off (dirt area) on the east side of the road.

There are no lights on the road or trail so it’s best to go while there's daylight.

The trailhead is located near mile marker 38.

You will need sneakers, hiking shoes, and/or our favorite, Barefoot 3’s (see our "essential tools for this trip" section), for the steep trail that descends through (sharp and sometimes wet) rocks worn by centuries of salt spray. Flip flops and sandals are not recommended.

Depending on the time of year, you may want to bring a sweatshirt for the sea breeze and water spray off.

You will need to cross wet rocks to get to the actual blowhole, which is marked by a yellow flag pole with a life saver attached.

The blowhole is most active in the afternoon when tides are a bit higher.

Be careful not to get too close to the blowhole as people have been sucked in. 

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Iao Valley State Monument

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Iao Valley State Monument

Wailuku, HI 96793

Open from 7-6p

$5 entrance fee

$10 parking in the lot or free outside of the yellow gate 

Credit cards are accepted at the self pay machine

Animals are not allowed

Bathroom facilities on site

Things to know:

It’s a 0.6 mile out and back paved hike to the scenic view of the Iao needle.

At the top of the hike there is a sign you should ignore (hint, hint). If you "break the rules" you will be pleasantly rewarded. 

***RULE BREAKERS: bring good hiking shoes as the 2.5 mile out and back hike will bring you through bamboo, mud, rocks, and water. There is also a 892 ft elevation gain so bring plenty of water and snacks.***

Near the trailhead of the Iao needle hike, there is a beautiful stream you can hike along and post up to enjoy a snack, picnic, or swim. 

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Honolua Park/Bay Beach

Honolua Bay Access Trail

 Lahaina, HI 96761

Open from dawn until dusk

Free

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Things to know:

Parking is limited off the 30 on the west side of the road.

Wild chickens and roosters roam free here.

This site has unmarked graves so, out of respect, keep on the trail.

The .6 mile out and back nature walk takes you through a beautiful forest that feels enchanted.

The trails ends at the Honolua Bay Beach.

The beach is not a “proper” beach with sand. Rather, you must climb over large boulders to get in and out of the water. 

The bay is a popular site for snorkeling and if you plan on doing so, be prepared to share the waters with tour boats.

 

For snorkel rentals visit BossFrogs.com

Rates: $12 /day or 2 for 1 weekly.

Free afternoon snorkel trip or free underwater camera for a day with weekly rentals.

Snorkel rentals include mask, snorkel, fins, carrying bag, anti fog solution.

 

You can also visit local thrift stores for snorkeling gear (and lots of other beach gear) at a discounted rate as well. 

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Black Rock Beach

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Located in front of the Sheraton Hotel

2605 Kaanapali Pkwy

Lahaina, HI 96761

Public parking is located in a garage - the first 2 hrs are free with validation.  

Validation is available with a purchase from the Sheraton’s beachside restaurant.

Things to know:

 

Great place for cliff jumping and snorkeling.

Heavily populated, so get there early.

We saw many sea turtles in the mid afternoon nearest to the base of the cliff. 

 

For snorkel rentals visit BossFrogs.com

Rates: $12/day or 2 for 1 weekly.

Free afternoon snorkel trip or free underwater camera for a day with weekly rentals.

Snorkel rentals include mask, snorkel, fins, carrying bag, anti fog solution.

 

You can also visit local thrift stores for snorkeling gear (and lots of other beach gear) at a discounted rate as well. 

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Road to Hana

Caveman Falls

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Near mile marker 2

Haiku, HI 96708

Open from dawn until dusk

Free, limited parking on the side of the road

Free entry with donations accepted

Things to know:

 

The hike to Twin falls is about 1.8 miles, out and back.

Caveman is a little bit further down the same trail, past Twin Falls.

It is less crowded than the twins and just as cool - if not more so.

It is located on private property but locals, tourists, and hikers are all welcome.

Wear water shoes to visit this one (visit our "essential tools for this trip" section for recommendations) as the rocks get slippery and you will have to traverse some water. 

The waterfall stands at approx 40 ft high.

This is a fresh water pool, so the water is not as buoyant (or safe) for cliff jumping, use caution.

There is a steep, narrow, muddy trail on your right, just before you reach the pool, where you can climb up to the top of the waterfall. You will need to use vines and tree roots to pull yourself up the side of the cliff.

There are small falls and pools at the top of Caveman falls and the view looking down is awesome.

Aunty Sandy's Banana Bread

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210 Keanae Rd

Ke’anae, HI 96708

8:30a-2:30 p daily

Free parking on premises

Things to know:

 

This is the best banana bread on the island.

Get here early, they tend to sell out of it fast!

They have a limited amount of picnic tables on site.

There is a park within walking distance where you can eat the bread, sea side. 

The park has its own parking lot as well.

The closest restroom is also located at the park.

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Black Sand Beach

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Waiʻanapanapa State Park

Near Mile Marker 32 

Hana, HI 96713

Open 7a-6p

$5.00 entrance fee

$10 parking fee

Things to know:

Reservations are now required to enter the park.

Camping is allowed with a permit.

Showers and restrooms are available on site.

No animals or alcoholic beverages are permitted. 

Be sure to get there early to avoid the crowds.

Make sure to check out the tide pools and lava cave in addition to the black sand beach.

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7 Sacred Pools

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Haleakala National Park

Hana, HI 96713

 

$30 per vehicle

$25 per motorcycle

Open from Sunrise to Sunset

 

Things to know:

For “safety” reasons, the pools are no longer open to swim in or to view at ground level.

If you’re clever, you can hike along the road outside of the parking area and find ways to get down to the upper pools.

If you aren’t a rule breaker, you can still get a decent view of the pools from the trail inside.

The trail is a .6mi loop with a scenic view point to take photos.

The Pipiwa trail is also worth checking out since you’ve already made it this far. 

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Hana Lava Tube

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205 Ulaino Rd

Hana, HI 96713

 

Open 10:30a-4p daily, 365 days a year

$12.50 per person entry fee

5 and under are free

Free parking lot on premises

Things to know:

 

This is a self guided, out and back experience.

Approx 40 minutes.

Because it is an underground cave like tube, it is completely black.

You are given a flashlight up admission to take down with you into the tube.

There are no bats or mosquitos in the cave.

It is a comfortable temperature in the cave.

There are hand rails to help with your footing.

There are sections where the ceiling gets low. If you have claustrophobia issues you can forgo those areas and still enjoy the experience.

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Wailea

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Things to know:

Known for it’s incredible beaches, scenic ocean views, and incredible golf courses, this side of the island is where you’ll want to come for a more private, romantic experience.

It’s about 30 minutes from the Kahului airport.

Most of the resorts, spas, fine dining restaurants, and high end retail stores are located here.

The Grand Wailea resort hotel has one of the best luau’s on the island.

Make sure you book your reservation early as they tend to book up pretty far out in advance.

The Grand also has one of the best water parks on it’s property, boasting water slides for kids and an adults only pool with a swim up bar.

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Essentials for this trip

Go Pro

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When embarking on an island adventure we wanted to make sure we had all our basis covered. From time lapse videos of our ride on the road to Hana, to underwater video of our swim with Green Hawaiian sea turtles, the water proof Go pro was our favorite tool this trip. And, what made it even better, was all the gadgets our kit came with. Having our hands free kept us in the moment and our worries at bay, thanks to the incredible durability of this handy little camera - available here

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First Aid Kit

It goes without saying that if you’re going to be riding around an island on a motorcycle, and hiking through bamboo forests, you should probably have a first aid kit with you. This handy bag had us covered from aches and bites to burns and wounds - available here

  

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Gregory Hydro Pack

Free up your hands and enjoy extra storage space with this backpack that carries up to 3L of water. Adjustable straps make it comfortable to wear and a conveniently accessible straw makes it easy to stay hydrated, especially during your more strenuous hikes - available here

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Body Glove 3T barefoot shoe

These shoes are incredibly handy when it comes to anything water related. With a tough, rubber sole, they protect your feet from sharp rocks while minimizing slips during hikes. Their built in drainage system keeps you, quite literally, light on your feet and they're exceptionally great to wear while snorkeling should you encounter any coral - women's available here   men's available here

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Alba Sunscreen

Not only does this sunscreen smell and feel great, it’s great for the environment - something Hawaiians take very seriously thanks to their precious reefs and ecosystems. Alba sunscreen is free of chemicals known to harm the ocean and kill marine life - available here

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Off Deep Woods

This one is a must for all the mosquitos and insect bites you’re bound to endure during your adventures. Just make sure you spray it indoors and/or away from marine and plant life, which can be harmed and/or killed as a result of its chemicals - available here

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Bug Bite Thing

This is the perfect gadget to prevent the persistent and very annoying itch of any bug bite that might ruin or, in the very least, distract you from enjoying your vacation - available here

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Turkish beach towel

We absolutely love Turkish towels for their simplistic beauty, large size, and lightweight design. They take up little space in a backpack or beach bag and air dry very quickly. Plus, they look super cute when fashioned as a sarong - available here

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Travel Frother

Coffee can be expensive on vacation and, if you don’t consume dairy like me, difficult to find. I always bring a travel brother with me so I can enjoy affordable, coffee shop quality brew, just the way I like it - in the comfort of my lodging - available here

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Sandwich Tupperware

We found sandwich Tupperware like this at a dollar store on the island for $3 each, which came in handy during our backpacking adventures. Each set consists of three pieces plus an ice pack, which kept our salads, sandwiches, and sides fresh,  cold, and neatly separated - available here

Restaurant Recommendations

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1285 Front Street

Lahaina, HI 96761

10:30a-10pm

Parking lot on site

Reservations only (during COVID)

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Above: Garlic noodles 

Below: Pad Thai

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What makes this restaurant so incredible, aside from its delicious and beautiful Asian dishes, is the outdoor only, sea side dining with ocean views from every table. Be sure to make reservations early as this one books up quickly and pretty far out in advance.

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658 Front Street #102

Lahaina, HI 96761

7:30a-10:30p

Happy hour from 2-5p

Walk-ins only, no reservations

Street Parking

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Above: Local fish sandwich

Below: Crispy Coconut Shrimp

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Known for incredible drinks and great bar food, Down the Hatch is a line up, order, take a number, and they’ll bring it to your table place. The ambiance is perfectly island-like, with all the dining located in an open air courtyard. Expect a wait as this is a very popular stop for all meals. Be sure to try one of their signature cocktails that come in very fun glasses - our favorites were the Lave Flow and very Hawaiian Pog Foam Mai Tai. 

Hawaiian Plate Lunch

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Above: Chicken Terijaki

Below: Chicken Katsuya

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No matter where you are on the island, you're sure to find a spot where you can eat like the locals and enjoy a traditional, Hawaiian "plate lunch." Don't expect a lot of glitz and glamour - this is all about the food.  

Accomodations

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1415 Front Street

Lahaina, HI 96761

 

Centrally located to old town Lahaina, our accommodations were within walking distance to restaurants, pharmacies, and grocery store(s). While no beach or water access is available from the hotel, it does sit sea side with ocean views and lanais available in most rooms.

We chose this hotel predominantly because every room has a kitchen with a sink, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, stove and oven, making food costs much more affordable than having to eat out for every meal.

A bonus was discovering a washer and dryer available on site, as well as free beach gear that is made available to guests.

Other things to note:

There is a parking lot on premises.

There are no televisions in any of the rooms.

There are no AC units in any of the rooms - sea breeze only!

Children are not permitted - quite literally because of the proximity to water.

 

- AND - 

**You must have proof of quarantine bypass in order to stay here during the pandemic**

Favorite Discoveries

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Holle Fine Art Gallery

839 Front Street

Lahaina, HI 96761

9:30a-10pm daily

Street parking only

 

This is by far one of the most amazing art galleries I’ve ever been to. 

With ocean views and incredible art, from paintings to sculptures, it’s definitely worth stopping in for a look.

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Royal Kona Coffee

This was the first time I tried flavored coffee, but I’m pretty sure the delicious flavor came from the Hawaiian beans. This coffee was absolutely delicious and nuanced. We loved it so much, we have it delivered to our home now. 

Star Noodle

Down the Hatch

See our adventures in action

Watch a preview of our trip and to get a first hand look at each adventure that awaits, be sure to check back!

Maui Teaser