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Island Life

    Island Life  --  North America Travel

    Maui Hidden Gems

    Maui Hidden Gems Treasures Throughout the Island

    Location: Maui Hawaii USA

    Most people come to Maui for the beach. And yes the beach is pretty incredible. I should say the beaches are incredible, because there are so very many to choose from. And I get it – the lure of the tropical ocean breeze and the lapping waves in the golden sand. It’s a perfect way to shed your stress and just relax. Ahhh…but you are missing Maui hidden gems.

    Wailea

    Maui has so much more than just the beach in front of your hotel or condo. And I want to convince you to get out and see the magic of this diverse tropical paradise and find Maui hidden gems.

    Kula Botanical Gardens

    So come with me on a around-the-island-tour of my favorite hidden places, businesses and vistas – Maui Hidden Gems.

    Start in Kula and head north for a full one or two day tour described below. Also start in Kula and head south to do the Going to Hana Backwards tour (see link below)

    Upcountry

    Our tour begins in Upcountry, away from the beaches. This interior area of the island offers a slower pace, a cooler climate and some of the island’s lushest and most diverse flora. Here’s our upcountry hidden gems;

    Kula Lodge – I haven’t stayed here but I hope to on my next visit. This hidden gem is a treasure. Even if you don’t stay, come for the pizza on their outdoor patio. Amazing.

    Pizza at Sunset on the Kula Lodge patio

    Kula Botanical Gardens – privately owned and beautifully presented, this hidden gem showcases tropical plants of all kinds, tucked into the mountain terrain.

    Maui Veteran’s Cemetery – located in Makawao, a brief stop here provides the visitor a peek into the reverence and respect Hawaii has for it’s veterans of all wars.

    Ocean Vodka

    Ocean Vodka – enjoy a tour and tasting, take some vodka or gin home, and marvel at the view from this mountain top distillery in Kula.

    And if you are inclined to do the Hana drive, we recommend you start in Kula and plan on Going to Hana Backwards. Learn more here.

    Kahului and Wailuku

    Most visitors don’t see more than the airport in these two island cities. Both cities are home to much of the islands full-time residents, government seat and industry. But hidden here are some of our favorite shops and one of our favorite Maui hidden gems restaurants.

    Sam Satos – low key and no website, this local noodle shop is rarely frequented by visitors. But it has become one of my favorite places to eat in Maui.

    Fabric Mart – I love picking up Aloha fabrics when in Hawaii. There are several fabric and quilting stores around the island, and the Kahului location of Fabric Mart is one of my favorites.

    Mochi from Maui Specialty Chocolates

    Maui Specialty Chocolates and Mochi – most visitors go home with Hawaiian Host chocolates. You’ll never buy Hawaiian Host again once you visit Maui Specialty Chocolates in Kahului. Try the Mochi too.

    Kahekili Highway (The North/West Tip Road) – Everyone has heard of the road to Hana, but Maui has another twisty, winding road with spectacular views – the hidden gem Kahekili Highway. Start this road in Waihee just outside of Wailuku and drive the lesser traveled route to Kapalui.

    Kahekili Highway

    West Maui

    Napili, Kapalua and Kaanapali make up the area known as West Maui and your drive around the tip of the West Maui Mountain on the Kahekili Highway will land you in Kapalua.

    Pineapple Hill – home to luxury homes with incredible views, Pineapple Hill can be walked on foot for an exhilarating hike. Watch for historic markers that explain the Maui hidden gems history of the Kapalua area, the Baldwin family and Pineapple Hill.

    Maui historic churches

    Kapalua Coastal Trail Labyrinth – Also called the Dragons Teeth Labyrinth this beautiful prayer labyrinth was built and is maintained by locals and is a true Maui hidden gem on the rugged Kapalua Coastal Trail. Walking the Coastal Trail is also a highly recommended activity.

    Labyrinth

    Historic Churches of Maui – throughout the island you will find many historic, often century-old structures. Some still in use today as places of worship, while others have been converted to other uses. West Maui has it’s share of this hidden gems.

    Lahaina

    Although it is one of the oldest Hawaiian settlements and was home to Hawaiian royalty, I am continuously disappointed in Lahaina. Over the past several decades Lahaina seems to have fallen from grace and needs someone to resuscitate it. Years ago it was home to shop after shop of local artisans including jewelry, sculpture and one of kind paintings. Today there are many boarded up windows and lots of tacky tourist tschotskis, alongside a handful of restaurants. Sidewalks are poor, paint is chipped and peeling and the town is a sad reminder of its former self. Lahaina does have some good restaurants worth a visit that keep this town alive. We really recommend Mala Ocean Tavern, Star Noodle and Down the Hatch.

    Additionally the Hawaiian government has lacked the initiative to preserve some of this island’s most sacred sites, that lie in ruin often behind chain link fences in Lahaina. These places are truly part of Maui hidden gems.

    Maui
    Maui Ghost Tours

    Maui Ghost Tours – take a walking tour of Lahaina and learn about the hidden gems of sacred sights, royal sights and lost sights important to the local Hawaiian people. It’s a fascinating tour.

    The Old Pali Road – as you drive from Lahaina south towards Kihei on today’s two lane highway called the Honoapiilani Highway, watch for remnants of the Old Pali Road built around the turn of the century. This old road remains in bits and pieces, a reminder of a simpler time on this beautiful island. You can walk parts of the Old Pali Road too.

    Koholo Brewing

    Kohola Brewing – hidden in a back parking lot of an industrial area of Lahaina, Kohola Brewing is a definite hidden gem of Maui. Maui is home to several outstanding breweries, but we loved Kohola’s industrial vibe and unpretentious operation. Go in search of good beer here.

    South Maui

    Kihei, Wailea and Makena make up the area known as south Maui and include some of the best beaches and hidden coves on the island. This desert area sits in the shadow of Haleakala and until the early 1980’s the road stopped at South Kihei where today the 5 Palms Restaurant is. Everything south of there has developed since then. It used to be a two day trip to get to the far end of the island. Today it takes about 30 minutes.

    Around the Island Trail

    Historic Around the island path – built in the 16th century the path used to circumnavigate the entire island, giving kings the power to control the island. Today remnants of the path can be found and accessed in many places.

    Hoopili Kings Highway – sometimes called the La Perouse Trail, this part of the old King’s Highway is the best maintained. Follow South Kihei Road until it ends, and you will be at the Hoopili path. Wear close-toed shoes and bring lots of water for this hot and barren landscape that crosses a 300 year old lava bed.

    La Perouse and Hoopilii Trail

    Secret Beaches – as you drive in South Kihei and Makena keep your eyes open for the many (often unmarked) beach access trails. Here you can find the secret beaches of Maui, often tiny coves and sometimes broad golden beaches.

    Wailea Path – if you aren’t staying at one of the fancy ocean front resorts in Wailea you may not know about the beautiful public boardwalk that runs the entire length of Wailea, about a mile and a half. A great place for a morning run, evening stroll and whale watching. Parking is available at several locations. It’s also a great way to get a glimpse at the beautiful resorts.

    Additional Hidden Gems

    Jolica Jewels

    Jolica Jewels – if you are looking for a perfect memento of your time on Maui, or maybe a special gift for that special someone, check out Maui based Jolica Jewels. Beautiful one of kind pieces of jewelry to fit any budget, all with a special Hawaiian flair, lovingly designed and created by local Jolica.

    Lei Making and Adventure Tours with Sarah – Learn to make a Hawaiian lei with a local. Go on a scavenger hunt for flowers then string together a beautiful lei. It’s easier than you think. Sarah also does tours of the island and guided hikes and salt gathering.

    Gathering flowers for lei making with Sarah

    Fresh Fish Maui – get the daily fresh catch report and order online with Fresh Fish Maui for the catch of the day delivered direct to your condo door. It’s the freshest and most delicious fish you can get on the island.

    And Those Are Our Favorite Maui Hidden Gems

    There you have it, some of our hidden gems of Maui. There is so much to see on this beautiful island, you can never see it all. So you’ll always need to come back for more. Maui no ka oi.

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

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

    The State of Hawaii and Island of Maui have strict rules regarding Covid. Please do your research when planning your trip. Learn more here.

    Food & Drink  --  Island Life

    Cooking Hawaiian at Home – Mahi Mahi

    Fresh, Local, Delicious

    Location: Maui Hawaii

    While spending more than two months in Maui we were blessed with the freshest most wonderful local seafood. When back in Washington State we get a monthly fish delivery from Alaska. That fish is incredible. And luckily in Maui we came upon a fish delivery service that sends the catch of the day right to our door – making it simple to cook Hawaiian at home.

    Fresh Fish Maui is an awesome little business with a superb product. You can also buy frozen fish and even fish that has been partially prepared such as coconut crusted or teriyaki. But we stuck to the fresh catch of the day. Each day I received a text telling me what the boats were heading in with. What could be more fresh than that? During our time on Maui we enjoyed fresh onaga, mahi mahi, ono, mong chong and ahi. It was all amazing.

    So today I am sharing two Mahi Mahi preparations here, a video I did for my weekly Tasty Tuesday series on YouTube. Both of these turned out so delicious and both recipes are unique and easy. As good as the local restaurants if I may say so myself!

    Mahi Mahi

    Check this out – Mahi Mahi two ways;

    Steamed Mahi Mahi

    Two 6 oz mahi mahi – steam on stove top for five minutes

    Lightly saute 1 T chopped garlic, 4-5 shiitake mushrooms and one chopped leek. Put on top of steamed fish. Finish cooking vegetables by pouring 2 T hot sesame oil over each piece of fish.

    Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi

    Soak two 6-7 oz pieces of mahi mahi for 20 minutes in 1/3 cup coconut milk. In food processor combine one cup panko with 1/3 cup macadamia nuts and a little salt and pepper. Dip wet pieces of fish in the crust. Fry on stove top, medium heat about five minutes each side. Top fish with toasted coconut for last minute of cooking.

    Side Dishes

    To round out your Hawaiian fish dinner consider this salad that I have made so many times while here in Maui. I found this recipe in a forty-year old Hawaiian cookbook in our condo. I had to modify it but boy is it ono (delicious)!;

    Papaya and Greens Salad with Cantonese Vinaigrette

    Greens and Papaya Salad with Cantonese Vinegarette

    1 head leaf lettuce, half papaya chopped, 1/4 cup walnuts or almonds, 1/4 cup toasted coconut.

    Mix above ingredients just before serving. Toss with vinaigrette.

    Vinaigrette

    2 T Sesame Oil, 1 T Olive Oil, 1 T soy sauce, 1 T brown sugar, 1 T rice wine vinegar, 1 T Stone ground mustard, 2 t minced ginger and 2 minced garlic cloves. Make an hour ahead and refrigerate.

    And here is another delicious side dish for cooking Hawaiian at home;

    Okinawan Sweet Potatoes (often called Hawaiian Purple Potatoes)

    Mahi with Okinawan Sweet Potatoes

    I made this dish with both purple and orange sweet potatoes for our Thanksgiving Hawaiian feast. So good;

    2-3 sweet potatoes, 1/3 cup coconut milk, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1/3 t sea salt, pepper to taste.

    Peel potatoes and boil about 45 min (they will take longer than regular potatoes to get soft).

    Drain and return to pan. Add coconut milk and mash to desired consistency. Stir in garlic, salt and pepper.

    Cooking Hawaiian at Home

    Although there are so many wonderful restaurants here on the island of Maui, we cooked and ate most of our meals at home during our nine weeks on the island. Partly to stay on budget, partly to social distance but mostly because this is the way we travel, making each destination feel like home.

    Steamed Mahi Mahi with Veg in Sesame Oil

    Delicious Maui. Delicious, fresh and local. Mahi Mahi – Cooking Hawaiian at Home. Ono.

    Read our Maui Top Five Things to Do here

    Read Going to Hana Backwards here.

    See this week’s top performing pin here.

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    Island Life  --  North America Travel

    Maui Top Five Things to Do

    Best of the Best, Maui Hawaii USA

    Location: Maui Hawaii

    Hawaii has strict Covid-19 restrictions. Know before you go. Learn more here.

    Maui is hands down my favorite of all the Hawaiian Islands. We have now been on Maui for seven weeks and still have two more weeks to go! Everything about it I love. And despite the fact there isn’t anything negative I can say about this beautiful place, I do have some favorites. So today I thought I would share with you my Maui top five things to do – best of the best.

    Top Five Beaches

    Maui
    Secret Beach Makena
    1. Keawakapu – our most frequented beach in South Kihei offers a wide sandy beach, warm clear water and gentle waves
    2. Makena Beaches – Makena also in the south, is dotted with public access to dozens of beautiful and often secluded beach. Secret Beach is worth finding. MaKena Beach State Park is a wonderful huge expanse of a beach and rarely busy.
    3. Black Beach Hana – for the sheer beauty of it, Black Beach on the road to Hana is worth a visit
    4. Baldwin Beach – on the north shore Baldwin Beach is great for body surfing
    5. Napili Bay Beach – I have not swam at this beach but it is so beautiful and has easy access at the north end of the island
    Maui
    Maui Beaches

    Top Five Snorkeling

    Maui
    Keawakapu, Kihei
    1. Black Rock Kaanapali – the beach in front of the Kaanapali Sheraton known as Black Rock is one of my favorite places to snorkel. Clear and full of fish and turtles.
    2. Turtle Rock – On a guided snorkel trip a few years ago we had the most amazing time at Turtle Rock – hundreds of turtles here.
    3. Molokini – Though sometimes crowded, a snorkel tour to Molokini is a must at least once in your life to see the abundant marine life here.
    4. Makena Beaches – there are several public access beaches on this long stretch of south Maui with some of the best and easily accessed snorkeling on the island.
    5. Keawakapu – my favorite beach, and the one closest to where we usually stay, has an easy access into the water with snorkel options at the far north of the beach around a large lava reef. Wonderful sealife, turtles and fish.

    Top Five Activities

    Maui
    Maui Zipline
    1. Old Lahaina Lu’au – the creme de la creme of Lu’aus, Old Lahaina has just recently reopened after being closed for 8 months due to the pandemic. I have enjoyed this Luau several times, and although expensive, it is worth every penny. Reservations are required.
    2. Maui Zipline – Maui Zipline is where it all began, the first zipline in the USA. Safe and fun and now reopened with even more safety features.
    3. Whale Watching – from November to April Maui is home to some of the earth’s most amazing creatures, the magnificent humpback whales. A must-do activity while visiting Maui is enjoy a guided tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation.
    4. Ghost Tours Lahaina – more of a history lesson than a ghost encounter, this walking tour with a local will open your eyes to some of the hidden history and mystic Hawaiian lore. Very informative and entertaining.
    5. Chef Prepared dinner – many local chefs are available to bring dinner to you, cooking and serving a beautiful Hawaiian meal for two to ten or even more in your condo or local hale.

    Top Five Hikes

    Maui
    Kapalua Coastal Trail
    1. Waihee Ridge – mid island, five mile roundtrip with incline to spectacular views but weather can be unpredictable.
    2. Kapalua Coastal Trail – hugging the coast from Kapalua to Napili this rugged and beautiful hike has views of Molokai, Lanai and the ocean. Windy.
    3. Halemau’u Haleakala – hike down into the crater starting at 8000 foot level where you will find easy parking. The trail is a switch back and easy for most fit hikers. Temperatures can be very cold at times.
    4. Sliding Sands Haleakala – this is a work out let me tell you, but if you are fit it’s spectacular. Bring lots of water, be prepared for wind and cold or heat and sun you never know. A great place to see the rare and beautiful Silver Sword plant.
    5. Hoapili, La Perouse – past Makena where the road ends you will find parking and the trailhead of the Hoapili, the historic Kings Road. The rough trail takes you over a 300 year old lava field to the far south end of the island. Bring lots of water, it is a hot and dry trail.

    See a great article here with more great hikes from Pride of Maui.

    Top Five Fine Dining

    Mamas Fish House Maui
    Mamas Fish House
    1. Mama’s Fish House, Paia – one of the supreme dining experiences anywhere in the world
    2. Mala Ocean Tavern, Lahaina – Tiny but local chef has created a wonderful menu
    3. Sea House, Napili – One of the best pieces of fish I have ever had
    4. Roy’s Kaanapali – Celebrated chef Roy Yamachuchi’s restaurant never disappoints
    5. Ko, Wailea – we celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary at Ko. It was incredible. Beautiful location and great service.

    Top Five Casual Dining (six in this category!)

    Star Noodle Maui
    Star Noodle, Lahaina
    1. Sam Sato, Wailuku – tourists don’t know about this hidden local gem. Best noodles anywhere
    2. Paia Fish Market (Kihei, Paia and Lahaina) – favorite among visitors and locals
    3. Three’s Bar & Grill Kihei – creative menu of delicious small plates
    4. Maui Brewing (Kihei and Kaanapali) – simple pub food with a healthy twist
    5. Star Noodle, Lahaina – simply incredible. Be sure to have the Vietnamese pancake
    6. Cafe O’Lei – Various locations. Great food, great price and prix fix menu daily.

    We have also heard great things about Kula Lodge, Kimo’s and Down the Hatch.

    Top Five Take Out Foods

    1. L & L Plate Lunch, Kihei – quintessential Hawaiian plate lunch
    2. Maui Taco, Kihei – fish tacos!
    3. Island Gourmet Market, Wailea – great selection of local cuisine as well as sandwiches, pizza and more
    4. Honolua Store, Kapalua – similar to above as well as a great gift shop
    5. Food Trucks, Everywhere and for every taste bud

    Top Five Breakfast Places

    Paia Maui
    Island Fresh Cafe, Paia

    There are several breakfast places we have heard are great (The Gazebo Kapalua and 808 Grindz Lahaina to name two) but these are the ones we have enjoyed so far.

    1. Kihei Cafe, popular, casual spot in Kihei
    2. Sugar Beach Bake Shop, North Kihei – you gotta try the malasada donuts
    3. Kula Bistro, Upcountry great Eggs Benedict
    4. Island Fresh Cafe, Paia worth the trip, healthy and inexpensive
    5. 5 Palms, Kihei, a great view of Keawakapu. Try the lox and bagel.

    Top Five Places for Drinks

    Lahaina Maui
    Waikiki Brewing Co, Lahaina
    1. Maui Brewing, Kihei
    2. Merriman’s for Sunset, Kapalua
    3. Hula Grill Kaanapali
    4. Waikiki Brewing Co, Lahaina
    5. Tommy Bahama’s Wailea (try the Mai Tai here)

    Top Five Just For the Heck of It

    Maui
    Nakalele Blow Hole
    1. Ocean Vodka, tasting and tours, Kula – an innovative entreprenueal effort on Maui worth your support. I love the gin.
    2. Spend a day shopping in Paia and Makawao
    3. Nakalele Blow Hole, Napili – a wonderful site. Don’t get too close.
    4. Sunrise or Sunset Haleakala (sunrise reservations required. Learn more here.)
    5. Drive Hana Backwards (counterclockwise) – miss the crowds by doing this drive the opposite way most people go. Read what we wrote about Going to Hana Backwards here.

    Top Four Inexpensive Golf

    Maui Nui Golf Club
    Maui Nui Golf, Kihei

    Golf can be very expensive on Maui, but if you know where to go, you can play nine or 18 holes on a budget. Here are our favorite budget friendly courses (we can’t find five, so four will do).

    1. Maui Nui, Kihei – well cared for grounds at a great price
    2. Waiehu County Golf, Wailuku – county run course with a magnificent ocean view
    3. Pukalani, Makawao, upcountry course with beautiful views, sometimes wet
    4. The Dunes at Maui Lani, Kahului, beautiful course built on natural dunes.

    That’s My List

    So if you are thinking about visiting Maui for the first time, or are planning to return for another visit, check out some of my top fives – you can’t go wrong with any of them.

    Maui
    Wailea Sunrise

    Be a Kind & Generous Visitor

    And remember, Maui took a big hit during the 7-month closure during the pandemic. The local people lost jobs, income and businesses closed permanently, on this island that depends on tourism. If you can afford to visit Maui, you can afford to make a donation while you are there. Many local agencies can use your support now. The Maui Food Bank is one that is helping some 32,000 local residents who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

    Help breathe life back into the local economy by shopping and dining at locally owned stores, supporting locally run activities, taking time to talk to and understand the local people and their culture, and donate to a local non-profit agency that is helping the local people.

    Mahalo!

    Read My Favorite Islands Around the World here.

    Read Maui Now – Open for Business here.

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    See this week’s top performing pin here.

    Island Life

    Going To Hana Backwards

    Location: Maui Hawaii

    We weren’t going to do the road to Hana this time – we’ve done it before, more than once.  So it wasn’t on our list. But somehow we ended up driving it today – backwards. Let’s talk about Going to Hana Backwards.

    Well, not actually backwards, but the opposite way that most people do the road to Hana.  And now, I’ll never do it the other way again.

    The Road to Hana (Canva)

    We were just going to go to Oheo Gulch and do the four mile round trip hike to the waterfall.  This hike is also known as the Pipiwai Trail (formerly known as the Seven Sacred Pools, which are neither sacred nor seven).  So we thought we would go in the backdoor, up through Kula and along the roughest part of the Hana road which many people never see.  By the way, many people still think this road is impassable.  It is not.  And also many people think the rental car agencies say you can’t take your car there.  Most do not.  Read your agreement to be sure.  The road is perfectly drivable in the Hundai rental car we have.

    Driving that part of the road you get to have it mostly to yourself.  The views across to the Big Island are beautiful on a clear day, and even on a cloudy day the crashing waves on the jagged rocks below are magnificent.

    We planned to return to Kihei on this same stretch of road, but decided after our wonderful hike to go visit Black Sand Beach just North of Hana.  And then it seemed to just make sense to take the road all the way around.

    Black Sand Beach (Canva)

    When you head north from Hana back to Paia late in the afternoon you are moving with the majority of traffic, given that most people turn around at Hana and head back late in the afternoon.  This actually works in your favor because the caravan of cars going the same direction makes for easy access on the many one lane bridges you cross on the Road to Hana.  Very limited traffic heading south at that time of day makes the crosses easy.  You rarely need to stop for oncoming traffic.

    Combine that with the nearly deserted section of road we drove in the early part of the day, we made really good time doing the entire Hana Loop.  In addition we got to enjoy breakfast in Kula, beautiful vistas of Kihei, Makena and the Big Island.  Early birds at Oheo Gulch made the parking perfecto and because we were traveling in the opposite direction of most people, we were arriving at Black Sand Beach in the afternoon just as most people were leaving there to go to Oheo Gulch.

    Maui

    Oheo Gulch

    So Backwards is the new Forwards.

    Well, when it comes to going to Hana anyway.  Try it!

    Learn more about Maui Now – Open for Business  

    Learn more Hana options here.

    Hawaii has strict Covid-19 restrictions.  Know before you go.  Learn more here.

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    Island Life

    My Favorite Islands Around the World

    Just Call Me Island Girl

    Enjoying my time on Maui I’ve been thinking about all the island’s I have been blessed to visit. It’s a long list. My favorite islands around the world are usually remote and small. But I have also loved some larger, populated and sometimes touristy islands. We are doubtful we will travel international in 2021, but as soon as we can we will be heading to some of the world’s best islands. So many islands, so little time.

    Langkawi Malaysia
    Langkawi Malaysia

    Our sudden disruption to our 2020 Grand Adventure last spring due to the virus, eliminated our visit to many islands we have long desired to see; Malta, Guernsey, Jersey and the archipelogos of Finland. We spent seven unexpected weeks on the beautiful island of Cyprus, but in total lockdown and so nothing more than our tiny neighborhood in the village of Argaka. So each of these islands remain on our to visit list.

    Maui
    Maui

    Over the past five weeks we have been living on the island of Maui, and have just extended our stay another four weeks. So in 2020 we spent six weeks on Mauritius, seven weeks on Cyprus and will have a total of nine weeks on Maui. A total of 22 weeks on islands in 2020. It’s one of the few good things about 2020.

    Prince Edward Island Canada
    Prince Edward Island Canada

    So in today’s blog I thought I would share some of my favorite islands around the world, and a brief description of why they make my fav list. There are several other islands we have visited I don’t mention here…I had to narrow it down. But if you have ever considered traveling to any of these – here are my recommendations;

    Langkawi Malaysia

    • Visited in October 2019 for 26 days
    • Average Temperature 84 F
    • 25 miles long by 12 miles wide
    • Population 65,000
    • Best time to visit November -February
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • Quiet and super inexpensive. Beautiful, clean beaches, lots of restaurants and great sunsets. Grocery accessibility is average. Very friendly people.
    • Don’t miss sunset at Cenang Beach
    • Learn more
    Langkawi Malaysia
    Langkawi Malaysia

    Praslin Seychelles

    • Visited in May 2017 for 33 days
    • What we wrote
    • Average temperature 80 F
    • 15 miles long and 7 miles wide
    • Population 7500
    • Best time to visit April, May, October, November
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • Very quiet but also expensive. Beaches are nice but having a car at least part of the time is a must if you need to shop. Groceries are very expensive and produce is difficult to get. The people are quiet but nice and it is just beautiful. Boats available to visit other islands.
    • Don’t miss swimming at Gold Beach Anse Volbert-Côte D’Or,
    • Learn more
    Seychelle Islands
    Praslin Seychelles

    Antiparos Greece

    • Visited in October 2018 for 21 days
    • What we wrote
    • Average temperature 70 F
    • Size 23 mi diameter
    • Population 1190
    • Best time to visit April to October
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • In October Antiparos was really quiet as the season ends in September. But we had exceptional weather. Some restaurants and businesses in the tiny town were closed for the season but we found everything we needed at reasonable prices. Ferries available to surrounding islands.
    • Don’t miss hiking out to Panagia beach
    • Learn more
    Antiparos Greece
    Antiparos Greece

    Huraa Maldives

    • Visited in February 2018 for 21 days
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 85 F
    • Size 1 mile by 0.5 mile
    • Population 550
    • Best time to visit November to April
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • By far the tiniest island we have been on, this very low lying Maldivian island is actually an atoll, made up of coral. The weather was incredible and we had the most relaxing three weeks of our life here. Best one day snorkeling of my life off of Huraa. Very little to do, and nearly no shopping. Note that there is no alcohol on this Muslim island!
    • Don’t miss snorkeling at Sand Island
    • Learn more
    Huraa Maldives
    Huraa Maldives

    South Island New Zealand

    • Visited in February 2017 for three weeks
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 55 F
    • Size 150 X 500 miles (12th largest island in the world)
    • Population 1.3 million
    • Best time to visit December to May
    • Where we stayed – we rented a caravan and traveled around
    • New Zealand is downright amazing. We loved both the North and South Island and we would really love to go back and visit again. This is not a laying in the sun island. Rather it is an island for all things recreational: hiking, walking, cycling, bird watching and more. Absolutely stunning. And ridiculously expensive.
    • Don’t miss hiking the Abel Tasman Trail
    • Learn more
    South Island New Zealand
    South Island New Zealand

    Mackinac Island, Michigan USA

    • Visited twice in the late 1990’s
    • Average Temperature 60 F
    • Size 2 x 3 mile
    • Population 500
    • Best time to visit May through September
    • Where we stayed Hotel
    • It’s been a long time since I visited magical Mackinac and I sure would love to go again. It is so unique, especially in the USA, to find a place with no motor vehicles. Both times I was there in the summer with beautiful weather. Renting bikes and riding around the island is a highlight.
    • Don’t miss a romantic horse drawn carriage ride
    • Learn more
    Mackinac Island Michigan
    Mackinac Island Michigan USA (photo from Canva)

    Maui Hawaii USA

    • Visited more times than I can count, and currently spending nine weeks here
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 80 F
    • Size 25 x 50 miles
    • Population 145,000
    • Best time to visit Year Around
    • Where we stayed Condo
    • I’m lucky to count myself as one who has visited every Hawaiian Island that isn’t privately owned, and hands down Maui is the best. It is expensive but beyond that everything about it is perfect – the weather, the water, the beach, the food, the activities and the fact for people who live on the west coast of the USA, it’s really easy to get to.
    • Don’t miss whale watching for humpback whales in the winter months
    • Learn more
    Maui Hawaii USA
    Maui Hawaii USA

    Lombok and Bali Indonesia

    • Visited in March and April 2018 – two weeks on Bali and one week on Lombok
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 80 F
    • Size Bali 40 x 90 miles Lombok 50 x 50 miles
    • Population Bali 4.2 million Lombok 3.1 million
    • Best time to visit May through September
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • We loved our time on both of these beautiful islands. Bali is very popular with tourists for its beauty, beaches and vibe. Lombok on the other hand is a unique, tiny and non-touristy island where we spent six glorious days doing nothing but laying in a hammock.
    • Don’t miss an authentic Balinese Cultural performance in Ubud
    • Learn more
    Lombok Indonesia
    Lombok Indonesia

    Zanzibar Tanzania

    • Visited in September 2009 for five days
    • Average Temperature 90 F
    • Size 20 x 50 miles
    • Population 1.3 million
    • Best time to visit June through December
    • Where we stayed Lodge
    • I visited Zanzibar with my sister after spending a week on a safari in mainland Tanzania. It remains one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It is also the second worst sunburn I have got. The white sand beaches are amazing. The people are quiet and kind. The seafood delicious.
    • Don’t miss a ride in an authentic Zanzibar Dhow Boat
    • Learn more
    Zanzibar Tanzania
    Zanzibar Tanzania

    Rapa Nui, Chile (Easter Island)

    • Visited in January 2015 for six days
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 75 F
    • Size 7 x 15 miles
    • Population 5761
    • Best time to visit April to June or October to December
    • Where we stayed Lodge
    • Definitely one of the most interesting places I have ever been. This tiny island out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is difficult to get to and expensive but worth it. We loved our time here learning about the Moai and the history of Rapa Nui. I highly recommend.
    • Don’t miss touring with an authorized tour guide to understand the amazing statues and history of this island
    • Learn more
    Rapanui Easter Island Chile
    Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Chile

    Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka

    • Visited in January 2018 for three weeks
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 81 F
    • Size 120 x 250 miles
    • Population 21.44 million
    • Best time to visit December to March
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • We did a five day tour with a guide around the major sites of Sri Lanka seeing some of the most amazing things including the astonishing Sigiriya ancient mountain fortress. Then we kicked back for more than two weeks in a tiny hut on the beach in Hikkadua, which ended up being “interesting” but super fun and the weather and the beach were perfect. The Sri Lankan people are some of the kindest on the planet.
    • Don’t miss Sigiriya Fortress one of the most incredible things I have ever seen
    • Learn more
    Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka Sri Lanka

    Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

    • Visited in May 2010 for one week
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 75 F
    • Size 50 x 80 miles (Isla Isabela, the largest of the archipelago)
    • Population 25,000
    • Best time to visit January to June
    • Where we stayed – we were on a small 12 person cruise
    • My first dip into my bucket list was this trip to the Galapagos Islands to celebrate my 50th birthday. Living on a boat for five nights we saw many islands and the most amazing collection of wildlife and sea life. We loved every minute of it and although it’s expensive, we recommend it to anyone!
    • Don’t miss swimming with sea lions
    • Learn more
    Galapogos Islands
    Wildlife is abundant on the Galapagos Islands

    Singapore, Singapore

    • Visited in February 2018 for three days
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 81 F
    • Size 721.5 km
    • Population 5.6 million
    • Best time to visit February through May
    • We only had a couple of days in Singapore, the teeny island city/state that is one of the most expensive places in the world. It is also one of the cleanest and most colorful, particularly at night. I hope to return.
    • Don’t miss the Singapore Gardens by the Bay at night and the amazing Singapore Botanic Garden
    • Learn more
    Singapore
    Singapore Singapore

    Nantucket Island, Massachusetts USA

    • Visited in April 2002
    • Average Temperature 55 F
    • Size 5 x 12 miles
    • Population 11,229
    • Best time to visit May through October
    • We only had a couple of day on Nantucket but we were traveling with our young children at the time and it was a great little place for a family vacation. We were there in spring before the hoard of tourists descend in the summer and it was peaceful and beautiful and historic.
    • Don’t miss a Clam Bake and riding bikes around the island
    • Learn more
    Nantucket Island
    Nantucket Island USA (Photo from Canva)

    Prince Edward Island, Canada

    • Visited in July 2007
    • Average Temperature 50 F
    • Size 30 x 100 miles
    • Population 157,000
    • Best time to visit July and August
    • We drove up to the Maritimes from Boston and enjoyed the drive as much as the islands. Prince Edward Island was still at that time very quiet and we enjoyed riding bikes, eating lobster and learning about history.
    • Don’t miss searching for sea glass at Souris Beaches
    • Learn more
    Prince Edward Island Canada
    Prince Edward Island Canada

    Honshu Japan

    • Visited in 1999 for five weeks
    • Average temperature – Honshu is a big island with multiple climates but Tokyo average summer high is 80 F
    • Size 150 x 500 miles
    • Population 104 million (2nd most populous island after Java Indonesia)
    • Best time to visit – March to May and September to November
    • We spent five weeks exploring the island of Honshu. Our kids were little and it was a magical time for us as a family. Japan is one of the most unique and beautiful places in the world. I hope to go back some day.
    • Don’t miss Tokyo, Hiroshima and Osaka
    • Learn more
    Japan
    Honshu Japan (photo from Canva)

    San Juan Island, Washington USA

    • I have visited these islands many times as they are in the backyard of where I grew up
    • Average Temperature 55 F
    • Size – there are nine islands in varying sizes. The two largest are Orcas and San Juan
    • Population 6900
    • Best time to visit – Summer months
    • We have traveled to nearly all of the islands over my lifetime growing up in the Pacific Northwest. The islands are a great place for family camping or romantic getaways. Hiking, cycling and kayaking are popular.
    • Don’t miss getting up close and personal with the famous J-Pod of Orca Whales on a whale watching tour.
    • Learn More
    San Juan Islands USA
    San Juan Islands Washington USA (photo from Canva)

    And that’s our list! We hope you have been inspired to find your own “island time” adventure. You might enjoy this article about The 26 Largest Islands Around the World.

    We thank you for reading and for sharing our blog! You might enjoy our post about our favorite things on each Hawaiian Island.

    Also check out our YouTube video about Take Out Food on Maui.

    See this week’s top performing pin here.

    Maldives
    Island Life

    Maui Now – Open For Business

    Maui Musings

    Location: Maui USA

    Hawaii has strict Covid 19 regulations. Educate yourself before planning a trip. Learn more here.

    Since international travel is out of the question at the moment, we have been working on a plan to continue our Grand Adventure without leaving the USA. Hawaii of course was at the top of our list and when they began welcoming guests again on October 15th, we were on one of the first planes to land that day. Maui now – open for business.

    Maui
    View from my lanai

    To Travel or Not to Travel

    I can’t answer this question for anyone but myself. Nor should you judge me for my personal decisions. We, as highly skilled and practiced world travelers don’t take travel or the virus lightly. We have spent a lot of time considering what and how our future will look and how travel will continue to be a part of it.

    Maui
    Quiet beaches in Kapalua

    Maui, and other places like it, where you can spend 16 or more hours a day outdoors, and easily social distance even if dining in a restaurant, is the kind of destination we are looking for. And since we have been to Maui so many times, it was easy for us to plan and execute a five week visit to a place we know well.

    Maui Now – Open for Business

    It’s like someone flipped a switch. The lights are on and Maui is back in business.

    We arrived on October 15th to our 86 unit condo to find only two other units occupied. The first few days or even weeks it was so quiet. Beaches were empty, resorts were closed, very few stores and restaurants were open. Four weeks later, more than half of the 86 units are occupied. Nearly all the resorts are open. This week marked the opening of several major restaurants and attractions. In the coming weeks even more attractions will come back on line as Maui prepares for holiday crowds. Maui Now – Open for Business.

    Maui
    Shops at Wailea working to reopen

    Lahaina and other shopping areas are starting to reopen with more than half the stores restocking and welcoming visitors. All the stores are being very diligent about staff and visitors wearing masks – a mask law is in effect throughout Maui County.

    Maui
    Old Town Lahaina was hard it by the closure

    But not everything survived the seven month closure. Like many places around the USA, restaurants and shops have closed permanently. It was just too much.

    Social Distancing Easy

    Maui
    Hiking with my hubby

    Is it safe? For me, I probably wouldn’t choose to go to a luau, but I have felt very safe at the handful of restaurants (all locally owned) that we have visited and sat outside. I have felt very safe getting take-out too. Again, for me I probably would not choose to do a group snorkel tour, although they are in full-swing. But I feel safe golfing with my husband, hiking on nearly deserted trails, and running every morning in my neighborhood. I feel safe at the beach where it’s easy to distance. We actually have avoided the collective BBQ at our condo, only using it twice in a month, in an effort to not stand around with other people we don’t know. We usually have the pool to ourselves when we go there, as most people go to the beach instead.

    Maui
    One of the few restaurants we have been to, Sam Sato

    Gathering with Friends

    Maui
    Strolling in Lahaina with our friends Steve and Dori

    Completely unplanned but fun nonetheless, we happened to be here at the same time as several friends from back home. I have felt safe spending time with them in small groups. Each of them had to be tested before arriving, and each of them are practicing the same safe distancing and mask wearing rules we are. So we socialized with a hand full of dear friends and it made our visit all the more special.

    A Real Vacation and Taking a Break

    Maui
    Chilling

    Being here for a month (with one more week to go) has felt like a real vacation for me. More relaxing than many of the places we travel. Taking a social media break was a wonderful cleanse and I really needed that. I’m so glad I was able to plan and schedule many blogs and book reviews before leaving home – leaving me time to just be present here in Maui.

    Maui
    Little discoveries on my daily run

    We have spent a lot of time in the sun, although I have made a conscious effort to be more careful with my tanning (hard for me as my skin is a sun sponge). We have been just active enough and just lazy enough and just social enough and just the two of us enough to make it exactly right. Just enough as we head back to rain and dark and upcoming stress back home – where the Covid numbers are surging.

    Where Do We Go From Here

    Maui
    Blow hole at Kapalua

    We continue to work hard to stay healthy but of course who knows what the future holds. If Covid has taught me anything it’s that I am not in control. In fact I just read a line in a book that I loved – “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” That’s a quote from Anxious People by Fredrick Bachman. And ain’t that the truth. Making plans you have no idea if you can keep is the new way of life in the time of Covid.

    Maui
    Maui morning

    So we head home November 20th and prepare to be with our family for the holidays, deal with some medical issues and prepare the house and ourselves once again for a departure. Mid January we head to Palm Desert where we plan to spend two months, Arizona for another month and Utah for a few weeks after that before heading back to Washington State in May.

    These are our plans…hahahaha.

    The Grand Adventure, a bit of a kink in the road, but it goes on.

    We love it when you pin and share our blog. Aloha.

    See this week’s top performing pin here.

    Read our post My Favorite Thing to do on Each Hawaiian Island

    Learn more about Covid rules for visiting Hawaii here.

    Island Life

    Maui Musings

    On Island Time

    Location: Kihei Maui USA

    Here we are. Day ten already, Maui Musings on Island Time. So blessed to be here and feel safe and healthy here. Realizing now how hard hit this place is economically. I’m glad we didn’t cancel and can contribute in a little way to bringing it back to life. Here is our story, day ten.

    Getting Here Wasn’t Easy

    We came so close to canceling so many times. We didn’t want to lose any more travel money, and we had made these reservations so long ago…back in the days of carefree travel and no pandemics.

    Maui
    Our view

    Neither myself or my husband had received our negative test by the time we boarded the plane. On arrival my negative test was in my inbox. Arne was still waiting. In fact he would wait another 12 hours until it arrived. So Hawaii told him to go into quarantine and stay put. When his tests arrived he immediately uploaded it to the Hawaii website per all the instructions but it would be another 36 hours before he received his official release from quarantine. My advice would be NOT to come unless you can get the rapid test because the red tape seems to be taking a long time. We talked to a woman today who has been waiting four days…and she is ignoring quarantine.

    By the way when Arne received the email that he was free to leave quarantine we ran down the stairs and jumped in the ocean. A perfect celebration.

    Where We Are

    We call it the Lund Condo, owned by Arne’s uncle, at the Kihei Surfside, as far south as you can go in Kihei at the Wailea entrance. We have been here many times over the past 23 years. It’s a remarkable place and we are blessed to have access to it. The view is unsurpassed. In fact the unit had some major work done to it last February, and then everything shut down. So we are the first guests to enjoy all the new and beautiful tile work.

    Maui
    Maui rocks

    Since we have been here so many times, we know the area well and it feels like home turf. We are very sad to see one of our favorite restaurants next door has permanently closed. I know there are more too that didn’t survive the shut down.

    Even though we have been here many times, we have never stayed as long as we will stay this time. It will really feel like home by the time we say Aloha in late November.

    What’s Open What’s Not

    Since we were one of the very first visitors to arrive on opening day, the first two days the island was so quiet. Our condo which has 85 units only had one other occupied unit. The beach was empty.

    Maui
    Pool to ourselves

    Ten days later the condo now has about a dozen occupied units but the beach and pool are still lightly populated. When walking around most people are wearing a mask, but not at the beach where it is very easy to distance. Everyone is masked up inside the stores. But if I’m being honest here, visitors are more resolute with mask wearing than locals…so far.

    Maui
    Empty beach

    The large and fancy resorts near us in Wailea are all closed, with opening dates in early November. There is a beehive of activity at these resorts as the staff prepares the grounds and insides for guests. There have been no guests since March.

    Maui
    Grand Wailea Resort still closed

    Small restaurants are open, but most of the large restaurants are still closed. The famous Mama’s Fish House is scheduled to open November 6th. Old Lahaina Luau is scheduled to open November 20th. Today for the first time we saw some snorkel tours heading out from the harbor next to our condo. Slowly, slowly things will come back to life.

    Our Approach

    We have not been to any restaurants. We went to the grocery store on our first day and stocked up and went again today on day ten. We have been cooking and eating clean and healthy and delicious.

    Maui
    Golfing

    We have been running and doing yoga on our own each day…very easy to distance. In the past I have taken yoga classes here but this time I will continue my own practice to be safe and solo.

    Maui
    Hiking

    We took a hike where we saw only three other people. We went golfing and it was easy to distance. So far, we have just done a lot of things quiet and easy. Beach time, pool too. All distanced. Feeling safe and healthy. In fact, it’s really not any different than home…well except the weather. That’s a lot different.

    Maui
    Eating healthy at home – Taco Salad

    Socializing

    We have several friends on the island, some from back home and some who are here permanently. We plan to get together with them, in pairs so to keep it easy to distance. We hope to invite several couples over to watch the sunset with us here at the Kihei Surfside. It’s a great place and makes a perfect evening with friends…distanced of course.

    Social Media Purge

    Over the past ten days I have had great success staying off social media…it’s actually easier than I thought it would be. I’ve checked in a couple of times, but not every five minutes per usual, and it feels good to just take a break. My blog posts will continue to post automatically and I will check in from time to time.

    Maui
    The Mug

    Meanwhile, time for a gin and tonic I think. A little Aloha and down time is just what the doctor ordered. Maui Musings, on island time. Wish you were here….

    Mahalo!

    Learn more about Hawaii’s reopening here.

    Did you see our blog on Travel Friday My Favorite Day Hikes in the Pacific Northwest?