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Photography by Ready Set Jet Set
Aloha from Maui! After spending 6 days on the Big Island of Hawai’i, we took the one-hour flight over to the island of Maui. Sandy beaches and sunny days where the jungle meets the ocean – Maui is truly paradise on Earth.
MAUI THINGS TO DO
1. MAUI THINGS TO DO: HELICOPTER TOUR AROUND MAUI
$4 million dollar ride around the island on Maverick Helicopters – seriously the best way to see Maui’s coast, jungles, and waterfalls of Maui! The Hana Rainforest experience by Maverick Helicopters is a 75-minute ride – 40-minute round-trip flight along the north coast of Maui in an ECO-Star helicopter with views of Hāleakalā and a 30-minute landing in the Hāna Rainforest.
Maverick Helicopters offers other tours around the island of Maui like Molokai Voyage, Maui Spirit, and Sunset Odyssey.
2. MAUI THINGS TO DO: WHALE WATCHING IN MAUI
8,000 – 10,000 Humpback whales visit Hawaii annually from December to April so I highly recommend booking a whale watching tour in Maui! We went on a whale watching tour with Trilogy and their luxury sailing catamaran was a beautiful way to experience the waters of Maui. We saw several whales and their babies on the morning tour while eating breakfast and sipping cocktails on the catamaran.
3. MAUI THINGS TO DO: DRIVE ROAD TO HANA
Road To Hana is the legendary road to Hana that’s only 51 miles but it can take 2 – 4 hours to drive it because of the 620 curves and 59 bridge (the majority are one-lane bridges). We rented a convertible and drove the Road To Hana in 2 1/2 hours. I personally didn’t find it as scary as everyone says since I drove a manual camper van around the entire country of Iceland through the snow blizzards. I highly recommend driving Road To Hana if you’re visiting Maui – just be sure to pack snacks, leave early in the morning and drive carefully.
We only had time to visit the Black Sand Beach in Waianapanapa State Park. We took pictures on the black-sand beach, sea caves, and walked the hiking trails.
4. MAUI THINGS TO DO: HO’OKIPA BEACH PARK
One of the world’s most famous windsurfing spots so drive up and watch boardsailors from around the globe take on the large, wind-blown waves.
5. MAUI THINGS TO DO: WALK KĀ’ANAPALI BEACH
This four-mile stretch of sand is the heart of Maui’s resorts so pack a picnic, water, and sunscreen and enjoy the Maui sunshine and be sure to stay for the sunset!
Other things to do in Maui:
- Haleakala National Park
- Kula Lavender Farm
- Haleakala Crater
- Molokini Crater
- Maui Ocean Center
- Valley Isle
- Honolua Bay
- Iao Valley
WHERE TO EAT IN MAUI
One of our favorite restaurants that we ate at in Maui was Japengo at Hyatt Regency Maui. The seafood is so fresh and we particularly loved the miso-glazed salmon!
ULULANI’S HAWAIIAN SHAVE ICE
You have to get shaved iced in Maui and the place to go is Ululani’s! I got the Blue Hawaii with macadamia nut ice cream, snap cap, and mochi.
MAMA’S FISH HOUSE
Mama’s Fish House was a highly popular spot that tourists and locals spoke highly of but to be honest, I didn’t love it. It’s quite pricey (I think my entree was $65) and I wish we would have had more time to try other restaurants on the island.
WHERE TO STAY IN KĀ’ANAPALI: THE WESTIN NANEA OCEAN VILLAS
The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas is located in the Moku (district) of Kā’anapali and in the Ahupau’a (refined land division within a Moku) of Honokōwai. Honokōwai was known for its abundance of fresh water, the constant supply of fish, and lush vegetation. Situated on 16 oceanfront acres of Maui’s North Kā’anapali Beach, The Westin Nanea offers one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, on property cultural center, two markets, a pool bar, and a signature restaurant.
The Westin Nanea encourages traveling with a purpose by teaching guests about the Hawaiian culture. The wings (buildings) are named after occupations or elements of the traditional Hawaiian society: lawai’a (fisherman), kapa (Hawaiian fabric), pōhaku (rock/stone), hula (indigenous dance), lauhala (Pandanus leaf), lā’au lapa’au (medicinal plants), mahi’ai (farmer), and wa’a (canoe). We stayed in the wa’a wing!
Inu Pool Bar: Located by the pool, Inu Pool Bar is the casual dining option at The Westin Nanea. I loved the crispy buffalo taco (octopus), grilled mahi sandwich, and the beer can chicken ($27 for an entire chicken so it’s great for sharing!).
Mauka Makai: We had dinner at Mauka Makai and loved the seafood hot & sour soup, Kula tomato & Maui surfing goat cheese salad, and crispy whole catch fish with beef butter rice. The entree portions are big so it’s perfect for sharing. Don’t forget about dessert. The hibiscus haupia (chia pudding and coconut sorbet) is so good. Mauka Makai sources 80% of its products within a 40-mile radius so it’s farm-to-table fresh and supports the local farmers and businesses.
Kauhale Market: If you’re staying for several days and want to do some cooking, Kauhale Market has dry foods, fresh produce, and awine and spirits collection.
Mea’Ono: we stopped by Mea’Ono every morning for a quick grab-and-go breakfast of pastries and coffee. The hazelnut croissant is so good!
The Westin Nanea’s Pu’uhonua O Nanea Cultural Center offers many activities on property and most are complimentary like learning how to play the ukulele and dance hula.
Botanical Cultural Tour: 80% of the plants on the property are native or endemic to the island of Maui. We learned about the plants like the kī (ti leaf that’s used to make hula skirts), ‘ākia (leaves and roots are crushed and used to stun fish was a natural narcotic), and kukui (Hawai’i’s state tree makes candlenuts that are used to make leis).
Star Compass & Navigation Talk: We learned about how the early voyagers navigated the ocean and stars in the sky by a highly-respected traditional Hawaiian voyaging expert.
Journey to Hana: I had the Journey to Hāna spa treatment at Spa Helani, which is located next door at their sister property, The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas. The properties sit directly next to each other and easily accessible along the beachfront boardwalk. I loved lying cocooned in the warm bed of Quartz sand (Hawai’i’s first and only quartz sand tables) while the massage therapist gave me a massage with warm bamboo sticks with and aromatherapy oils.
WHERE TO STAY IN LAHAINA: HYATT REGENCY MAUI
Hyatt Regency Maui is in Lahaina on Ka’anapali Beach on 40-acres with six free-form pool areas with waterfalls, four restaurants including Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice and award-winning Japengo, Japanese oriental garden with wildlife tours, and an authentic Polynesian lu’au. We got stay in the Hyatt Maui Presidential Suite with a stunning panoramic view of the resort, beach, and mountains!
Check out my blog post on the Hyatt Maui Presidential Suite for everything on Hyatt Regency Maui!