Follow:
Topics:
Browsing Tag:

hawaii

    Island Life  --  North America Travel

    Traveling Deeper – Finding the Real Maui Hawaii

    Location: Maui Hawaii USA

    During our recent two months on the beautiful island of Maui we set out to explore the island more deeply; to learn more about the local efforts to sustain, preserve and protect. Below we suggest some of the ways we found to experience the island more profoundly. Traveling Deeper – Finding the Real Maui Hawaii.

    La Perouse Hooapli Trail

    If you visit Maui, I’m sure your primary goal is to lay on the beach or by the pool and relax. But I implore you to take some time to learn a bit about the native people, the wildlife on both land and sea, the plants and geology and the history. Because you really need to make the effort – unlike many places we have traveled, these things aren’t necessarily glaringly in your face. It’s unfortunate because although a luau is nice, a more authentic option to learn about the ancient Hawaiian people would be my preference. You must go in search of the real Hawaii if you hope to respectfully show your appreciation to this fragile island by finding the real Maui Hawaii.

    Below is a list of interesting things we did for the first time during our most recent visit to Maui. Even if you only do one or two of these things, your eyes will be opened. You will learn about the delicate ecosystem and sacred legends of this island.

    Wildlife

    Kealia Pond Wildlife Preserve – is a National Wildlife Preserve operated by the National Wildlife Service. A boardwalk provides people of all abilities to view the preserve and pond, birds and wildlife as well as the well presented interpretive signage.

    Kealia Pond Wildlife Preserve

    Maui Ocean Center – The Maui Ocean Center and Aquarium is a wonderful way to learn about the sea life of the ocean surrounding Maui. And a brand new incredible 3D movie called Humpbacks of Hawaii will just blow your mind. Worth every penny.

    Maui Ocean Center

    Hawaii Wildlife Discovery Center – This brand new exhibit in Whaler’s Village Kaanapali is designed to help visitors understand and respect the local wildlife as well as the local Hawaiian native people’s connection to the land and the sea. Many hands-on displays for the keiki too. Great for the whole family.

    Hawaii Wildlife Discovery Center

    Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary – The mystery and intrigue of the humpback whale is one of the most amazing things about the waters that lie between Maui, Lanai and Molokai. From November to May these gentle giants return each year to mate. There are many whale watching tours available as well as many onshore spots to watch these magnificent creatures.

    Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary

    Geology

    Kapalua Coastal Trail – one of the best and most accessible hikes on the island takes you through a magnificent lava flow in West Maui. Here you will also see the delicate nesting sites of the Shearwater Birds. Often you can witness whales, dolphins and turtles from the high cliffs.

    Kapalua Coastal Trail

    La Perouse Bay and Trail – visit this remarkable place to view Haleakala’s fury in it’s last eruption in 1790. The miles and miles of beautiful lava can be traversed on the old Kings Highway trail and you will have beautiful views of the Big Island to the South.

    La Perouse Bay and Trail

    Haleakala – Haleakala is sacred to the Hawaiian people both in ancient times and today. This incredible landscape is a National Park and there are many trails to enjoy and the views are spectacular. The NPS cares for this fragile space and the endangered species that are found only here.

    Haleakala Endangered Silver Sword

    Indigenous Plants

    Maui Nui Botanical Gardens – Dedicated to the conservation of the native plants of the island, you will be astonished to learn how many plants you think are native to Hawaii are not. The island plants that the ancient Hawaiians used for food and medicinal purposes are quite different than some of the flowering beauties you see all over the islands today. The gardens are small and not perfectly kept, but still very interesting.

    Maui Nui Botanical Gardens

    Eating Local

    O’O Farm – one of my all time favorite experiences on Maui. This fantastic organic sustainable farm is astonishing in the beautiful upcountry area of Kula. Morning tours with breakfast and coffee or lunch tours are available. You will enjoy food that is 100% grown and cultivated on Maui. O’o Farm is one of several local efforts underway on the island to provide restaurants fresh, organic and locally grown produce. Now that there is no sugar cane grown on Maui, the land is slowly being cultivated with new crops including citrus, coffee, avocados and more. Definitely visit O’O Farm. We loved it and learned so much.

    One of five courses at O’O Farm

    Hawaii Seafood Month (October) – of course you can enjoy amazing seafood in Maui any month of the year, but October is Marine Stewardship Council’s Seafood Month. This is a time to eat local and sustainable seafood, and local chefs such as Chef LeAnn Wong at Lahaina’s Papaaina offer special events. We attended an amazing dinner with many local fishing families and chefs and learned so much about local efforts to sustain and preserve the abundance of the sea.

    Hawaii Seafood Month dinner at Papa’aina

    Travel Deeper Finding the Real Maui Hawaii

    Whether you are visiting Maui or any other place on this amazing planet, traveling deeper is a way to really experience the land, the sea and the people and culture. We enjoy finding ways in all of our destinations to celebrate the diversity of our world by experiencing food, culture, history and nature. Give it a try the next time you visit Maui. Traveling Deeper – Finding the Real Maui Hawaii.

    See our post Best Maui Restaurants 2021 here.

    See our post Maui Top Five Things to Do here.

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

    Island Life  --  North America Travel

    Napili Surprise – Our New Favorites

    Location: Napili Maui Hawaii USA

    We have always stayed in Kihei when visiting Maui. Kihei is in the southern part of the island, with a dry and almost desert like climate. But this time we are house sitting for our friends, and are finding we are loving the west side and the experience of many new things. Although I have spent so much time on the island of Maui, it never ceases to surprise me! Here are some thoughts – Napili Surprise Our New Favorites.

    Napili Surprise

    Napili is a tiny hamlet tucked in between Kahana and Kapalua about three miles north of the more well-known and touristy Kaanapali area. Technically all these places mentioned above are part of the city of Lahaina, but each has a distinct flavor of its own.

    Napili is book ended by Kapalua on the north, which I would describe as affluent and upscale, home to the renowned Kapulua Golf Club. On its south flank Napili borders Kahana, more simple and family oriented with condos but also many local residential neighborhoods.

    Napili

    It’s actually hard to define where Napili begins and ends, but for my purposes in this blog post, my reference points are from Kapalua Beach to Kahana Sunset Condos along the Lower Honoapiilani Hwy.

    Climate and History

    Napili has a long and rich history going back to its first Polynesian settlers arriving in the 8th century. Wet and lush, the region was and still is a prominent agricultural area for native islanders.

    Dragon’s Teeth Labyrinth

    Although not the rainiest part of the island, Napili’s annual rainfall is four times that of the arid Kihei area. While we were here we saw spits of rain nearly everyday, but only two times was it significant enough to keep us from our plans. Much of the rain happens overnight or early morning from my observations. And due to this, there are rainbows every single day. So beautiful.

    Maui Rainfall Map – Napili in the yellow zone while Kihei is in the red zone

    During our six weeks living in Napili we have loved the low-key local vibe, especially since we have been living in an apartment complex of locals rather than in a tourist resort. The school bus comes each morning and neighbors are friendly and it feels very much like home.

    Our Favorites

    The Napili surprise – finding our favorites in this small little village has been very easy. There are a few ocean side resorts, and I hope when people stay in one of those, they get out and see some of this tiny town. For instance;

    Napili Plaza – the only shopping area in Napili, the plaza is home to a small but great grocery store (the Napili Market), as well as hair and nail salons, mail services, a coffee shop and bakery, a boutique and a handful of small restaurants which are all worth a visit.

    A’ A Roots – I’m not vegan, but I am very much into healthy eating and sustainable food and that is the mission of A’ A Roots, a small vegan restaurant in Napili Plaza. When we visited the inside was still closed due to Covid, but they had a few outside tables and take away as well. We had a fantastic meal for lunch and it’s a not-to-miss spot in Napili.

    A’ a Roots

    Slack Key Show – Grammy winning George Kahumoku Jr and a group of very talented local artists perform twice a week at the Napili Kai resort. This fabulous series is in its 18th year and is a great way to learn about Hawaii’s love of the slack key guitar, as well as the ukelele. This concert was an amazing Napili surprise and we enjoyed it very much.

    George Kahumoku Jr.

    Kapalua Coastal Trail – Although named after Kapalua, the trail begins in Napili and heads north through Kapalua. This trail offers astonishing views of the ocean, the island of Molokai and sometimes whales and dolphins. At the northern end of the trail you will find the Dragon’s Teeth Labyrinth, definitely worth a visit. If you are up to it, from the Labyrinth take Office Road up the hill past the Honolua Store to Pineapple Hill for a beautiful view and work out.

    Kapalua Coastal Trail

    Napili Farmers Market – walking distance from our apartment and Napili Plaza is the twice-a-week Napili Farmers Market. Held every Wednesday and Saturday, the market changes regularly but offers local produce, honey, baked goods and crafts. We purchased some delicious Baba ganoush and flat bread.

    Sunset at Honokeana Bay – This rocky bay is a bit difficult to access (look for the gravel trail between Honokeana Cove and Napili Point Resorts), but is a beautiful place for spotting sea turtles and for watching the sunset. Check it out.

    Honokeana Bay

    Honu (Sea Turtles)– The native Hawaii Green Sea Turtle is protected under the endangered species act since 1978. It is against federal law to touch or harass these beautiful creatures either in the water or on land. Every beach we visited in Napili offered a great way to view the turtle population from the beach. The Honu have increased in number since they became protected, and as frequent visitors to Maui we definitely have noticed an increase in Honu sightings. Napili is a great place to watch these beautiful creatures from a respectful distance.

    Green Sea Turtle (Canva)

    Check out this link below of a video we posted on Instagram of a green sea turtle.

    https://www.instagram.com/reel/CVRbNDXl_ot/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

    Napili Bay – This beautiful bay is a great place to snorkel, swim and enjoy the sandy beach. There is a small public parking area on the south end of the beach. A handful of small condos front the beach as well as the historic and beautiful Napili Kai Resort.

    Napili Bay and Beach looking south

    The Sea House Restaurant – One of my top restaurants on the entire island, the gorgeous beach front restaurant The Sea House is in the Napili Kai resort on the north end of beautiful Napili Bay. Make a reservation and don’t miss a beautiful evening at The Sea House. Funny story, when we ate there it started to pour down rain but my food was so delicious I carried under the eaves to finish it…I didn’t want to miss a bite!!!

    Napili Kai Resort and The Sea House Restaurant

    The Gazebo – So this is one of those places that gets a reputation and then it explodes…some people waiting hours to eat macadamia nut pancakes or a mountain of fried rice with eggs. I’m not sure it warrants a two hour wait, but the view is nice, it’s fairly inexpensive by Maui standards and it’s kind of a local icon. If you don’t want to wait for hours arrive by 7am for the 7:30 opening.

    Mountain of fried rice at The Gazebo

    On the Fringe

    Technically not in Napili, we also spent a lot of time at Kapalua Bay and Secret Beach in Kahana. Additionally we frequently visited The Fish Market on the border between Kahana and Kaanapali as well as the long stretch of Kaanapali Beach. Our favorite beach was Secret Beach in Kahana, because, as it’s name implies, we usually had it to ourselves, except for the dozens of green sea turtles that call this beach home.

    Talking to Green Sea Turtles at Secret Beach, Kahana

    Surprising Maui

    Through the years and our many visits to this beautiful island I continue to be astonished by the variety of hidden gems we find each visit. You will never see everything because Maui constantly changes and evolves while remaining graceful and beautiful and friendly. Maui – The Valley Isle. Napili Surprise – Our New Favorites.

    Maui No Ka Oi.

    See last week’s blog post Maui Top Five.

    See this week’s top performing post on Pinterest here My Self Care Journey With Noom

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

    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.

    A re-share from October 2020 –

    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!

    See last week’s post Maui Hidden Gems here

    Read My Favorite Islands Around the World here.

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

    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.

    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.

    North America Travel

    My Favorite Thing To Do On Each Hawaiian Island

    I’ve spent the majority of my Hawaii vacations on the island of Maui, and it is my favorite of all the islands. But I have been lucky enough to visit each of the islands, most for several days and one for just a day. So I thought I would share with you my personal favorite thing to do on each Hawaiian Island.

    My first visit to Hawaii, 1977. I was seventeen.

    The Island of Lanai

    Sailing around Lanai with my son

    With only two hotels on this island, known as the Pineapple Isle, you might consider a day trip from Maui. It’s a great way to visit this tiny island, where Hulopoe Beach is my favorite thing. The marine preserve at this beach is home to tide pools, turtles and wonderful marine life. The golden sand beach is beautiful and it’s a perfect snorkel spot.

    The Island of Kauai

    Na Pali Coast Kauai

    The oldest and lushest of all the islands, beautiful and green Kauai is known as the Garden Isle. There are many amazing things to see and do on this beautiful island, but my favorite is Na Pali Coast Wilderness. There are several hikes to get into this beautiful but very remote area. However, don’t attempt hiking here unless you are an experienced hiker.

    The Island of Hawaii

    Manta ray night swim on the Big Island

    The Big Island is the youngest of the inhabited island and is an amazing sight with the recent lava flows and stark and barren landscape. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is amazing, but my favorite thing to do on the Big Island is to do a night swim with the manta rays in Kona. Swimming with the manta rays is one of the most amazing things I have ever done.

    The Island of Oahu

    Koko Head Crater Hike Oahu

    The most populous of the islands, nicknamed The Gathering Place, Oahu is home to the state capital of Honolulu. This is the first island I visited back in 1977 and I fell in love with Hawaii. There are so many things to do on this island, but it is also very crowded with tourists. Shopping and dining are popular and of course going to the beach and snorkeling. I loved the quieter and more laid back North shore. But my favorite thing I have ever done on this island is hike up the Koko Head stairs. This “hike” is a scramble up a very steep, uneven, ancient railroad track. It’s 1048 stairs up. It is hard but it’s still my favorite thing to do on Oahu.

    The Island of Molokai

    Mule ride Molokai

    The Friendly Isle is very much that. This island feels the most like what I imagine Hawaii was sixty or so years ago. There is lots to do on The Friendly Isle, but my favorite thing, unfortunately is currently closed. Taking a mule ride down to the Kalaupapa Leper Colony is an amazing experience. The history is fascinating and the beauty is sublime. I hope this attraction can reopen. You can get to the colony by flying, but the mule ride is just so awesome. While on Molokai be sure to visit Kamoi Snack-n-Go ice cream shop! It’s owned by my dear friend Kimberly and you will love the ice cream!

    The Island of Maui

    Maui – heaven on earth

    Maui no ka oi. The Valley Isle. My favorite island and one of my favorite places in the world. I love Maui. I just tried to count how many times I have visited Maui and I think it’s about 8…but maybe 10. Anyway in all those visits we have done pretty much every attraction and seen every destination there is. I have a favorite beach (Keawakapu), a favorite restaurant (Mama’s Fish House), a favorite place to run (Wailea Beach), a favorite hike (La Perouse), a favorite farmers market (Upcountry), a favorite snorkel spot (Blackrock Kaanapali) and a favorite public golf course (Maui Nui). I even have a favorite yoga studio (Maui Yoga Path).

    But what is my most favorite thing to do on the beautiful Valley Isle? Absolutely Nothing. I love to sit with my morning coffee or my afternoon gin and listen to the waves and breath the clean fresh air and count my blessings.

    Lucky girl that I am.

    My favorite thing to do on each Hawaiian Island. Fabulous Hawaii. Aloha.

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

    See this week’s top performing pin.

    You might also like Snorkeling Around the World

    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?