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To Paradise

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

    This book. Mind boggling. Described by critics as both brilliant and confounding…for me I’m going with brilliant. It’s not for everyone, but I was astonished. Here is my book review To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara.

    If you are looking for an easy read…this is not it. This book is intense and sometimes horrific. But Yanagihara has a beautiful ability to develop characters that take your hand and bring you right into the story. Or stories in this case.

    Because this novel is essentially three stories…three stories that seemingly don’t connect, but keep reading. They will. The three stories are placed 100 years apart; 1893 in New York City, 1993 in Hawaii and 2093 in New York City.

    But none of these places will be familiar to the reader. An alternate New York City exists in this book. In 1893 it’s not in the United States, it exists in an alternative country after a revolution. It’s openly Lesbian/Gay friendly. Arranged marriages are common. History is rewritten through the bold yet quiet imagination of Yanagihara.

    In the second story we find ourselves in Hawaii in 1993. Unrest, global warming, and family legacy in the island nation finds the characters searching for meaning. But wait these characters all have the same names as 100 years ago. What exactly is going on here?

    And then boom. We are back in New York in the year 2093. This astonishing third story for me was gripping, and a bit too close to home. Pandemics, intense heat, unbreathable air, and a country in utter chaos. Here the characters are honest and emotional and so believable – even given the dystopian world they occupy.

    With all this angst and uncertainty can this story end happily? The overriding theme through-out is hope; hope for the survival of the planet, our human species, family, love and happiness.

    An extraordinary work, that may take some time to digest. But I give high praise to the imagination and beautiful story telling of Yanagihara. Thank you for reading my book review To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara.

    *****Five stars for To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara.

    Read last week’s book review The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

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    Reading Wednesday

    Sixth Annual Reading Round Up 2023

    Reading Wednesday Year in Review

    As you likely know if you have been following all these years, I track my reading year from August to July. Nothing fancy, just keep a little tally in my notebook of all the books I read. This year I read 69 books, (11 fewer than last year) and today I will share with you some of my favorites, once again, for Sixth Annual Reading Round Up 2023.

    Over the past year I have written 52 book reviews, pulling into reviews my favorites of the 69 books. Fifty of the 69 were read on my kindle, four were traditional books, while 15 were audible books we listened to on road trips or in the car while home in the USA. Some of my top books of the year were on Audible…a fantastic way to enjoy a book while driving.

    So as in the past several years (see our year in review from 2022 and 2021) I’m sharing my most favorites in a Top Fifteen list, and a few honorable mentions too. Some outstanding novels, biographies, historical non-fiction, as well as Booker and Pulitzer winners. Other than the number one slot here, the books are in no particular order.

    My favorite book of the year

    My Top Fifteen

    Here are my favorites from July 2022 to July 2023;

    1. The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese One of the best books I have read in several years, Verghese is a brilliant man and writer and I will read anything he writes in the future. My favorite book hands down of this past year. Go Read This Book!
    2. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus – powerful yet sentimental this story of a brilliant woman scientist in the “women stay home” 1950’s will make you life, cry and jump for joy. Soon to be a movie too I hear.
    3. The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell – O’Farrell has a magnificent talent to weave real historical characters into fictional historical novels so perfectly you will wonder if the story is biographical. A beautiful read.
    4. To Paradise by Hanya Yanaghihara I believe in my book review of this book I used the phrase mind-boggling. Indeed it was. A spectacular achievement in fiction, difficult to explain, sometimes confounding, absolutely worth the effort. I loved it.
    5. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver – winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction 2023, this fantastic story of drug abuse, poverty and abandonment in Appalachian USA is deep and sometimes difficult to read. But read it anyway.
    6. The Whalebone Theater by Joanna Quinn – set in England before and then during WWII, the changes in Quinn’s astonishing cast of characters through the book and the war will keep you turning every page. A deep story of the meaning of family.
    7. Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris – I had never heard the historical fact that the killers of King Charles I in England escaped to New England. This part is true. What Harris does so eloquently in this book is imagine how the manhunt for these killers evolves over more than a decade. I really enjoyed it.
    8. This is Happiness by Niall Williams – Sweet, heartfelt and identifiable. This is a story about that one great love. This is a story about life. It will make you smile, cry and remember your first love and past regrets. An unforgettable and well written story.
    9. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt Author Anonymous – Before reading this great book I assumed it was a novel about a 17th century Duchess. LOL! Well you can’t judge a book by it’s cover as they say. This book is brilliant.  Duchess Goldblatt is an anonymous Twitter character who gained a giant following for her uplifting yet hilarious posts about life’s ups and downs in this social media world.
    10. Horse by Geraldine Brooks – Brooks has two books in my top 15 this year (see #14) and Horse is her most recent. She uses the human activity centered around a horse – a real horse from the past – to create this fictional story of racism through the centuries.
    11. Booth by Karen Joy Fowler – what a tale of both fact and fiction of the infamous John Wilkes Booth and his family. The trials and tribulations of this family make a great story, long before anyone shoots Lincoln. Extreme poverty to wealth and prosperity are combined with unfathomable loss of of children and property, alcoholism and rivalry, illegitimate accusations, polygamy, ego, and family love and regret. This was a perfect Audible on a long road trip last summer.
    12. The Night Ship by Jess Kidd – The real life wreck of the Dutch East Indies flagship Batavia in 1629 is the basis for this fictional novel. Wrecked near Beacon Island, the horrifying experience of the survivors of the Batavia is one of the most barbaric ever recorded. Kidd brilliantly chronicles the events in both fact and myth through the eyes of two small children in The Night Ship.
    13. The Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead – A very long saga of a book about a female pilot in the early days of pilots and airplanes. Yes it is long…but I loved it. At first I thought it was about a real person; the character is fictional but comes to life under Shipstead’s genius
    14. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks – This is Brooks second appearance this year in my top 15. Loosely based on Eyram Derbyshire, a real village that had to quarantine itself during the black plague. Brooks creates a fictional village in 1666. When an infected bolt of fabric makes its way to the isolated village from London, the protagonist Anna’s life will change forever.
    15. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron – Young Daniel and his father run an antique bookstore in Barcelona during a time when Spain and the city are reeling from war. Daniel has lost his mother, and in his grief he finds solace in a mysterious book but the search for the author will nearly kill him.

    More I Enjoyed

    A few for Honorable Mentions;

    Surprising – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid –  was a tiny bit hesitant to read this book. Because I LOVED Reid’s book Daisy Jones and the Six but wasn’t so impressed with her last book Malibu Rising. But so many people were loving on her new book so I decided to tackle it. And I am really glad I did and you should too.

    Local Author – The Whiskey Creek Water Company by Jan Walker – Walker, who lives in my local town, presented one of my favorites this year in a sweet and simple book about a tiny fictional village in the Pacific Northwest during the prohibition.

    Humor – Guncle by Steven Rowley – Gay Uncle Patrick (Gup) also known to his niece and nephew as Guncle, finds his world turned upside down when a family tragedy back home in Connecticut has him caring for his niece and nephew all summer in Palm Springs. I fell in love with the characters and this family story.

    Favorite Author – Delicious by Ruth Reichl- I have been a Reichl fan for years. Celebrated memoir author, food writer and former editor of Gourmet Magazine, her first novel is for foodies as well as anyone who has lost someone they love. 

    Favorite Author – The Museum of Extraordinary Things – I’m a big fan of Alice Hoffman, one of my all-time favorite books was The Dove Keepers a few years ago. And this novel is an earlier work of Hoffman. I suspect there is more Hoffman in my future.

    Travel Through Reading

    Two of my favorite things to do in the world are travel and read…and for the same reason. Both take you to unknown places, where you meet new people and encounter different ways of life. Both open your eyes to alternative ways of life, educate you and present new ways to think and see the world and beyond. Get out there and explore…books are the perfect way for ANYONE to do that. Just. Go. Read!

    Thanks for reading this week’s Reading Wednesday post Sixth Annual Reading Round Up 2023.

    See last week’s book review The Postcard by Anne Berest

    What am I reading now? Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (1992 Booker Prize)

    Thanks for all your support again this year. We love it when you comment, pin and share our posts. It helps us gain followers and reach more book lovers!

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Becoming Duchess Goldblatt

    This book. So much fun, even though the character (author) deals with some dark times. One of my fav books in the last few months. Here is my book review Becoming Duchess Goldblatt.

    I kept seeing this book pop up but I wasn’t really paying attention because I was busy and traveling. I tossed it on my library waitlist assuming it was a novel about a 17th century Duchess. LOL Well you can’t judge a book by it’s cover as they say.

    This book is brilliant. Duchess Goldblatt is an anonymous Twitter character who gained a giant following for her uplifting yet hilarious posts about life’s ups and downs in this social media world.

    The still anonymous author and pseudonym, Duchess (or Your Grace as she prefers to be called) found solace in this fictional character during the most dark time of her real life. A divorce spirals her into depression. She loses friends and family and income. She is trying to hold on for the sake of her child, keep working and provide a suitable home environment. But her dismal existence makes her sad and lonely, and on one particular dark day (her birthday) with nowhere to go, the author creates Duchess.

    Today Duchess Goldblatt has 60K followers including multiple famous authors and musicians including Lyle Lovett who features heavily in the book.

    What a strange situation this author found herself in. Clearly hitting a note that many people out in Twitter land didn’t even know they needed. Her humor and “grace” not only brings light into the lives of her followers, but it lifts her out of her own depression, gives her purpose, and in essence becomes her memoir.

    I bit difficult to explain this one but I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. A great page-turning read.

    *****Five stars for Becoming Duchess Goldblatt

    Thanks for reading my book review Becoming Duchess Goldblatt.

    See last week’s Book Review To Paradise by Hanya Yanaghirarya

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    Asia & Oceania Travel  --  Island Life

    Birds of Papua New Guinea

    Birds of Papua New Guinea: A Paradise for Avian Enthusiasts (most of the photos in this post are from Canva)

    PLEASE see Special Note at the bottom of this post about Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Survival Program

    Papua New Guinea, a country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, is renowned for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and incredible biodiversity. Among its many natural wonders, Papua New Guinea is home to an astonishing array of bird species. It is a paradise for avian enthusiasts and ornithologists alike. My husband and I consider ourselves amateurs, but are nonetheless enthusiastic about spotting and tracking birds in our travels. The birds of Papua New Guinea were fascinating.

    So Many Unique Birds

    With over 700 recorded bird species, Papua New Guinea boasts one of the highest avian diversities in the world. Its unique geographical location, encompasses both tropical rainforests and highland habitats. This provides a wide range of ecosystems that support a remarkable variety of bird life. From the lowland jungles to the misty mountain peaks, Papua New Guinea offers a birdwatching experience like no other.

    Raggiana Bird of Paradise

    One of the most iconic bird species found in Papua New Guinea is the Raggiana bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana). This striking bird, with its vibrant red and yellow plumage and long, elegant tail feathers, is the national bird of Papua New Guinea. The male Raggiana bird-of-paradise performs elaborate courtship displays, showcasing its magnificent plumage and unique dance moves to attract a mate. Witnessing this spectacle in person is an unforgettable experience that highlights the beauty and diversity of Papua New Guinea’s avifauna.

    Raggiana Bird of Paradise (Canva)

    King of Saxony Bird of Paradise

    One of the most amazing birds we had the opportunity to see was the King of Saxony Bird of Paradise. Although he stayed very high up in the tree, we spent a long time in a raised “blind” built for bird viewing and watched the display of the King of Saxony’s incredible head feathers.

    King of Saxony and his showy head feathers
    Watching King of Saxony high in the tree showing off his very long feathers

    Victoria Crowned Pigeon

    Another fascinating bird species found in Papua New Guinea is the Victoria crowned pigeon (Goura victoria). This large, ground-dwelling bird is known for its regal appearance, with a beautiful blue-gray plumage, a fan-shaped crest, and bright red eyes. The Victoria crowned pigeon is endemic to the island of New Guinea and can be spotted in the lowland rainforests. Its unique appearance and gentle nature make it a favorite among birdwatchers and photographers.

    Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Canva)

    Papuan Lorikeet

    One of my favorites we spotted high in the mountains was the beautiful Papuan Lorikeet which we saw at the very end of our birdwatching days. It gave us a brief show and we were so impressed.

    Papuan Lorakeet (Canva)

    Stephanie’s Astrapia

    Papua New Guinea is also home to a wide range of bird species that are endemic to the region, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. These include the stunning Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia (Astrapia stephaniae). This bird-of-paradise species has iridescent green and purple plumage. We got up close and personal with the Astrapia and although the IPhone isn’t great for wildlife photos I did manage a video of this illusive bird. Exploring the remote and untouched habitats of Papua New Guinea allows bird enthusiasts to encounter these unique and rare species up close.

    Stephanie’s Astrapia (Wikipedia)
    My video capture Stephanie’s Astrapia

    Where to View Birds of Papua New Guinea

    In addition to its diverse bird life, Papua New Guinea offers a variety of birdwatching opportunities for enthusiasts. The country is home to several national parks and conservation areas, such as Varirata National Park and the Tari Gap, which provide excellent birdwatching trails and observation points. Local guides and birding tours are available to assist visitors in spotting and identifying the numerous bird species found in these areas.

    Brown Sickle Bill wasn’t shy and he was fun to watch his unique feeding style

    Conservation of Birds of Papua New Guinea

    However, it is important to note that Papua New Guinea’s avian paradise faces numerous challenges. Deforestation, habitat loss, and illegal wildlife trade pose significant threats to the country’s bird populations. Conservation efforts, such as the establishment of protected areas and community-based initiatives, are crucial. Efforts that will preserve Papua New Guinea’s unique avifauna for future generations.

    Bird watching in Papua New Guinea offers a remarkable diversity of bird species in breathtaking natural settings. From the vibrant Raggiana bird-of-paradise to the regal Victoria crowned pigeon, the country’s avian inhabitants never fail to captivate and inspire. By exploring Birds of Papua New Guinea we not only gain a deeper appreciation for the natural world but also contribute to the conservation of these magnificent creatures. I am so grateful I had this unique opportunity.


    Because many of my readers are from the greater Seattle area I want to point out something about the Woodland Park Zoo. I often see people criticizing zoos. While this was a valid position in the past, in today’s world it no longer is. Today’s reputable zoos, such as Woodland Park, are NOT animals in the cages. Woodland Park is a conservation organization focused on preserving endangered species of the world and educating humans on their impact to wildlife. Woodland Park is home to a renowned Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program focused on the endangered Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo of Papua New Guinea. Begun in 1996 the program helps the people of PNG understand and protect the Matschies. It also educates on how deforestation and mining can cause extinction.

    Tree Kangaroo (Canva)

    The program at The Woodland Park Zoo is run by Lisa Dabek, Phd, Program Director and Senior Conservation Scientist. Originally from New York City, Lisa started studying Matschies tree kangaroos in 1987 as part of her graduate studies at the University of Washington.

    The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) is the umbrella name for the partnership between the Woodland Park Zoo’s TKCP and TKCP-PNG, an independent non-governmental organization registered in Papua New Guinea. THIS is why zoos are important.

    Do Your Research

    Thank you for reading Birds of Papua New Guinea. I hope in your travels you will seek out conservation programs to learn and get up close with local wildlife. These are the opportunities to see wildlife but in a way that is safe for both animals and humans. We have done this in many countries around the world and never engage in unethical tourist -wildlife encounters.

    Be sure to read my post from the rest of our experiences in this remarkable country My Adventures in Papua New Guinea.

    We are always grateful when you comment, pin and share our blog posts.

    Island Life

    Barbados Beaches and Beyond

    Location: Barbados Caribbean

    I’m breaking my normal rule for this island…if you only go to the beach I think it’s okay. Because the beaches here are world-class. Turquoise blue and so ridiculously warm. There are some other things to do on this island, but the beaches are the big draw and it’s no surprise. But if you do drag yourself away, here are a handful of suggestions for Barbados Beaches and Beyond.

    Worthing Beach


    The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. African slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island, which initially dominated the Caribbean sugar industry. By 1720, Barbados was no longer a dominant force within the sugar industry, having been surpassed by the Leeward Islands and Jamaica. Slavery was abolished in 1834. The Barbadian economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance. Barbados became a republic on 30 November 2021, with the former Governor-General Sandra MASON elected as the first president. Source

    Chamberlain Bridge


    The best beaches are on the West facing side of the island. From the ritzy Sandy Lane in the northwest to Miami in the SW, the white sand and crystal blue water is amazing. The east side of the island you will find a very different kind of beach, with big waves and fast current. Surfers like it at Bathsheba, but only experts should hit the surf here. We enjoyed Carlisle Beach, Rockley Beach and Worthing Beach.

    Worthing Beach
    Bathsheba Beach
    Rockley Beach Boardwalk


    The capital and largest city on the island, Bridgetown was founded in 1628 by the British. The historic core and garrison are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The once glorious colonial charm is faded and crumbling, but the town is worth a walk-about. Guided tours are available, but we used GPS My City and did a self-guided walk, hitting the highlights of the former colonial town. Don’t miss Savannah Race Track with horseracing on Saturday. Chamberlain Bridge is a perfect photo spot. We found the Screw Dock interesting and the Saint Michael’s Cathedral beautiful. The Parliament Buildings are also well preserved. We walked Swan Street to see the local people going about their daily business of shopping and marketing.

    St. Michael’s Cathedral
    Screw Dock – how they used to lift the ships out for repair

    Island Tour

    It’s actually hard to rent a car for only one day, but we managed to find a place and spent one entire day touring the island. Our favorite things on this tour day were Hunte’s Garden and Saint Nicholas Abbey Plantation and Distillery. Hunte’s Garden is a beautiful compact botanical garden built in and around an ancient collapsed cave. Years of work has created a fabulous garden paradise. Saint Nicholas Abbey is a 350 year old plantation which is still a private home and operating rum distillery. It was beautiful and interesting. Both I recommend highly. We also enjoyed the views from above the Flower Animal Cave and the upscale neighborhoods in the Saint Charles and Sandy Lane stretch of coast.

    Hunte’s Garden
    Saint Nicholas Abbey
    Sandy Lane

    Food and Drink

    Our week went by quickly and we only ate out a couple of times. We did find two really good restaurants in the Rockley Beach area as well as a Microbrewery near the town of Oistins. If you spend time on the south west coast be sure to check out;

    Tapas – We enjoyed a late afternoon lunch here with a beautiful view and delicious food with a Mediterranean twist.

    Tapas in Rockley

    Naru – Our final night we splurged on a really nice dinner here again with a beautiful view, great service and an Asian twist.

    Naru in Rockley

    Dreadhop Brewery – just outside of Oistins this very American microbrewery had great beer and great prices.

    Dreadhop in Oistins

    Worthing Square Gardens is a food truck garden, very popular and inexpensive options.

    Oistins Bay Garden is a very popular place to eat, where you can walk around and choose from dozens of outdoor fish fry eateries. We did not eat here but it was busy and looked like fun.

    Oistins Bay Garden

    Barbados Beaches and Beyond

    But if you only want to go to the beach…well, I think that’s okay too. It’s a small island, just sit back, relax and enjoy Barbados Beaches and Beyond. Learn more about this shining island at Visit Barbados.

    Rockley Beach

    Read last week’s post A Very Big Bolivian Adventure.

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    Inspire  --  Island Life

    Maui On a Budget

    It won’t be easy, but there are ways to enjoy Maui on a Budget. And through the years I have discovered several things you can do to save money. Hopefully, some of these suggestions will give you a positive visit to this beautiful island paradise without breaking the bank. So here are our suggestions for Maui on a Budget.


    When to Come

    Choose to visit the island during the off-season and absolutely don’t come over the Christmas holidays. July-October is a great time to visit and the island is quieter and you will have a wide choice of accommodations.


    Where to Stay

    There are many, many condos available for rent and you will find it less expensive to stay in a condo than in a resort. By renting a condo rather than a hotel you can cook most of your meals and not blow your budget on eating out. Condos usually offer great pools and barbeque area for guest use.



    If you have a Costco membership use it. Although the Maui Costco can be very busy, you can really save money by shopping there. We did price comparison on cases of beer and it was astonishing. Gas at the Maui Costco is also much less.

    We also found prices at Foodland and Times grocery stores were less than Safeway.


    Rental Car

    It’s pretty hard to visit Maui without a rental car. Unless you are only staying for a couple of days I highly recommend you get a car. But there are several rental agencies on the island renting older model cars for much less. We have used Kihei Rent a Car several times. The cars we have rented are Nissans, about ten years old, run great and get us where we need to be. About $39 a day this last visit as compared to $99 at the more well-known brand name rental agencies.

    Maui Sunset

    Dining Out

    Dining out in Maui is pretty expensive. There are some family friendly restaurants so be sure to read our post Maui Restaurants 2022. It also is less expensive to visit some of the restaurants where the locals go…I recommend Sam Satos and Saigon Cafe. Another really great way to save money dining out while getting to enjoy some of Maui’s best restaurants is to go to Happy Hour. Many restaurants have a daily Happy Hour and you can get a reduced menu but the same great food for much less money. Our favorite Happy Hours are Gannon’s in Wailea, Three’s Bar and Grill in Kihei, Fleetwoods in Lahaina, The Five Palms Restaurant in Kula and Dukes in Kaanapali. There are many more too, get a much more comprehensive list here Maui Happy Hours.

    Consider eating at some of the local food truck villages that have popped up around the island over the past few years. Maui has tons of food truck options now including in Kihei, Kaanapali, Wailuku, Kahalui and more. Read this for more.

    Food Trucks


    Before you spend $50 at Costco to buy a beach chair, double check with your condo to see if they have chairs available. Many condos have chairs, snorkel gear and even boogie boards available for their guests.

    If you need to rent or purchase, check out the local family that sells used equipment in their front yard, located in the 1000 block of Front Street in Lahaina. I have not purchased here but they offer chairs, boogie boards, pool noodles and floats and sometimes snorkel gear at a reduced (gently used) price. Why buy new and then discard? Recycle and reuse is the way to go!

    Gently used equipment


    The beaches are free of course (did you know every beach in the state of Hawaii is a public beach) and many beaches are great for snorkeling. You don’t need to pay for an expensive tour to Molokini to see beautiful fish and coral. Check out this list here.


    Whale Watching

    Now you won’t get up close and personal, but from late November – March you can whale watch right form the beach. There are 10,000 humpback whales that visit the waters between Maui, Lanai and Molokai every winter. With so many whales it’s not difficult to see them from the beach or from the look out point located on the Honoapi’ilani  highway between Kihei and Lahaina.



    Hiking is free and there are some wonderful hikes on Maui. Check out our post Six Great Hikes on the Island of Maui. A Maui hike also affords you the opportunity to bird watch, whale watch and enjoy the local flora of this island. By the way, if you are a Senior and have an America the Beautiful National Park Pass be sure not to leave it at home. The pass will save you the $30 entry fee into Haleakala National Park.


    Hula Shows

    Luau’s are expensive, and when you are trying to do Maui on a Budget they are out of the question. But if you want to see a free hula show during your visit, there are several places that offer shows at different times depending on the time of year. Lahaina Cannery Mall, Maui Mall, Whaler’s Village, Four Seasons Resort Wailea and Kaanapali Beach Hotel all have shows sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. See the schedule here.


    Other Cool Stuff

    Visit Ho’okipa to watch the surfers….its absolutely remarkable and its free. While you are there you will probably also see turtles. This is the beach you can almost always be guaranteed to see turtles hauled up and sunning themselves on the beach. We have also seen the Hawaiian Monk Seal sleeping on the beach here. A rare treat. Remember…the seal and the turtles are protected…stay back and enjoy from a distance.


    A lot of people try to go to Haleakala for sunrise. I admit it’s a cool thing to do. But sunset is easier and free. There are dozens of places to watch the sunset from Makenna to Kapalua, for free.

    Maui Sunset

    Maui on a Budget

    Yes you can do Maui on a Budget with a little frugal planning. It’s worth it to enjoy this island paradise, even if you are watching your pennies. Maui No Ka Oi!

    Did you see our post Maui Best Restaurants 2022 ?

    Thanks for reading Maui on a Budget. We love it when you pin, comment and share our blog posts. Mahalo.

    See last week’s post Becoming a Traveler.

    And see our most popular blogs of 2022 here Top Blogs of 2022

    Food & Drink  --  Island Life

    Maui Best Restaurants

    Updated For 2022/2023

    Location: Maui Hawaii USA

    Maui Best Restaurants – updated with new information for 2022.

    I’ve been to Maui more times than I can count and it is one of my favorite places in the world. But like everything else affected by the PanDamit, Maui has lost some restaurants (including one of my faves) while others struggle to keep their doors open. And yet still, this island is home to some amazing dining from take-out to romantic and every cuisine you can want. I have not eaten at EVERY Maui restaurant, but I feel qualified to recommend quite a few. So here they are – Maui Best Restaurants 2022 by My Fab Fifties Life.

    In No Particular Order

    The Sea House – Napili – Beautiful view ocean side at the iconic Napili Kai Resort. Fresh fish and always delicious. One of my top restaurants on the island. Reservations a must.

    A ‘a Roots – Napili – Vegan tiny restaurant in Napili Plaza, farm to table, locally sourced and so delicious.

    The Gazebo – Napili – a bit over hyped, but still delicious breakfast with huge servings. Be prepared to wait in line at this tiny spot.

    The Sea House
    A ‘a Roots
    Gazebo Fried Rice

    Star Noodle – Lahaina – One of my top favorite restaurant in Maui. Always perfect, outdoor ocean side dining. Creative menu and excellent service. Reservations recommended.

    Mala Ocean Tavern – Lahaina – Great seafood, clever cocktails, ocean side dining. Reservations recommended.

    Mama’s Fish House
    Mala Ocean Tavern
    Star Noodle

    The Fish Market – Kaanapali – purchase fresh fish and poke here to take home or order up fresh prepared fish tacos, mahi mahi and so much more. Delicious and worth the wait. Take out.

    Monkey Pod Kitchen – Kaanapali and Wailea – by the owners of Merriman’s (see below) a more casual restaurant for salads, burgers, fish and a great Mai Tai.

    Pint & Cork – Wailea – not your usual Maui vibe, this gastropub is a great place if you want a burger and a beer. Great service and reasonable prices.

    Moose McGillicuddy’s – Kihei. Sports Bar upstairs with great burgers, fish and chips, salads and more. Also downstairs (same kitchen) is Fred’s Mexican open for breakfast too.

    The Fish Market
    Monkey Pod
    Pint & Cork

    Some Casual Options

    Paia Fish Market – Paia, Kihei, Lahaina – choose your fish and how you want it prepared. Always fresh but expect a wait.

    Sugar Beach Bake Shop – Kihei – come for the malasadas. Hands down the best on the island. Other yummy stuff too.

    Cafe O’Lei – Kihei and other locations – a wide variety of family and budget friendly fish, burgers salads and more.

    Kihei Cafe – One of Kihei’s most popular breakfast locations, expect a wait but not too long, they get people in and out. Try the banana pancakes, loco moco or eggs bene.

    Sale Pepe – Lahaina – A great Italian option right in Lahaina. No view but the food is excellent and the service is great. Try the lasagna.

    Paia Fish Market
    Down the Hatch
    Sugar Beach Bake Shop

    Coconut’s Fish Cafe – Kihei – Fish tacos, salads and more at a reasonable family friendly price. Choose your fish and your preparation preference. Always fresh.

    Down the Hatch – Lahaina – Order at the counter and they will bring your food to your table. Large seating area so usually not a long wait. Nice bar options too.

    Papa ‘aina – Lahaina – Top Chef Lee Anne Wong works wonders and Papa’aina often creates special dinner events too. In the historic Pioneer Inn across from the Banyan Tree in Lahaina.

    Alchemy – Lahaina – I loved the sandwiches we had at this hidden gem above Lahaina Old Town. In more of an industrial area…you gotta search it out. Believe me it’s worth it.

    Papa A’ina
    Sale Pepe

    Something For Everyone

    Three’s Bar and Grill – Kihei – Casual and clever menu with both indoor and outdoor seating and a great Happy Hour menu. Try the brussel sprouts. I’m not kidding, they are amazing.

    Maui Brewing – Kihei and Kahana- Pizza, fish tacos, burgers and a delicious kale salad…and of course beer.

    Monsoon Indian – Kihei – my hairdresser told me about this hidden gem, located in side Menehune Shores in North Kihei. I had never heard of it. It was awesome. Very delicious and authentic Indian food with a fabulous view, perfect for sunset.

    Roasted Chiles Mexican – Kihei – Only Mexican restaurant I can recommend on Maui…delicious and authentic, locally owned and family run. If you need a taco fix while in Kihei this is the place.

    Honu Seafood and Pizza – Lahaina – another excellent pizza option but also lots of fish choices and fabulous view. The Mushroom Pizza was excellent and so was the Banana Coconut Cream Pie.

    Maui Brewing
    Honu Seafood and Pizza
    Three’s Bar & Grill

    Miso Phat – Kihei and Kaanapali – Delicious sushi and a great variety. Easy to order on line, pick up and enjoy at the beach.

    Kula Lodge – Kula – recently purchased by long time Maui restaurateur Simon Vojdani and owners of the 5 Palms Restaurant formerly in Kihei. The 5 Palms is now be part of the beautiful property at the Kula Lodge. We enjoyed the Happy Hour…but dinner is also recommended… you can’t beat the view here!

    Ohana Seafood Bar and Grill – Kihei – We went for the sushi but the day we went the Sushi Chef must have been off…bummer. But the menu has many other options from burgers to poke, tacos to calamari. The calamari was delicious..

    Manioli Pizza – Wailea – This place has a small menu but a lovely view. Several pizza options and just a couple pasta options but all very good. I really liked my chicken piccata. Budget friendly and family friendly too.

    Some the BEST on the Island

    Morimoto – Wailea – the most beautifully presented sushi I have ever had. And the ambiance is amazing at the stunning Andaz Resort in Wailea. For a special occasion or any day, just go. Great to watch the sunset too. We always come back for this one.

    Ka’ana Kitchen – Wailea – We had an outstanding meal with a view at Ka’ana. Whatever you do don’t miss the watermelon salad. Everything else is good too. Also located at the Andaz.

    Mama’s Fish House

    Mama’s Fish House – Paia – Maui’s finest restaurant in food, ambiance and service. Incomparable. Reservations hard to get but give it a try.

    Fleetwoods On Front Street – Lahaina – One of Old Lahaina’s best restaurants, if you want the roof top be sure to make a reservation well in advance, especially for sunset. A bit pricey, so if you want to save a little make a reservation for their awesome happy with great half price drinks and half price on selected appetizers and entrees.

    Hali’imaile General Store – Upcountry -One of the islands best restaurants located in a historic building in upcountry, the menu is fresh but not pretentious…just delicious and local.

    Merriman’s – Kapalua One of the best meals I have had in years, the impeccable Merrimans is where we celebrated our wedding anniversary. Amazing Prix Fixe menu for $120 per person was worth every penny. Fantastic and special place when in Maui.

    Kula Lodge
    Miso Phat

    Sam Sato – Wailuku – few tourists come here, but locals know about this amazing noodle shop in Wailuku. I love the Dry Noodles and the Chow Fun. Great kimchee too.

    The Pour House – Kapalua – no view but the ambiance is lovely and the food is divine. If you want a break from fish and Hawaiian food make a reservation at this phenomenal Italian bistro. Be sure to try the handmade fresh burrata.

    Pita Paradise Wailea – A hidden gem in Wailea. This name though…it sounds like a fast food place. It is not. A lovely menu of Mediterranean dishes with daily specials. I loved my local Mong Chong grilled fish with fresh vegetables in an aioli sauce. My husband had delectable lamb gnocchi. Definitely come here. Make a reservation during peak season.

    Saigon Cafe Wailuku – This hidden gem has been going strong since 1995…highly unusual in this day and age. But that says something about the food. We hadn’t been here in years, but made our way back up this last visit and I am so glad we did. Authentic and delicious SE Asia cuisine.

    The Pour House
    Sam Satos
    Star Noodle

    Take Out and Food Trucks Are Big Biz

    There are many food trucks on the island, but I haven’t visited them all. But if you are interested in take out options check the YouTube video we did in 2020 Tasty Tuesday Maui Take Out Food.

    Feel free to share in the comments any other Maui restaurants you love. And I’ll take your recommendations and visit those restaurants when I return to Maui in the future. I still have several I need to visit so let me know your favorites!! Mahalo! Mele Kalikimaka!

    See last week’s post Maui New Discoveries

    See our tips on visiting Napili Maui here

    See this week’s top performing pin Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

    We love it when you pin and share our posts. Mahalo!