It’s one of my favourite places on this planet. Sandy beaches span forever, whales breach in the gorgeous blue ocean and palm trees sway in the light island breeze. Somehow this place also manages to have abundant lush greenery, mountains and sunshine too. I guess you really can have it all.
I have been visiting Maui annually since I was eleven and it is always a highlight of my year. People talk about having a happy place, well this whole island is mine.
This year we only had a week long trip. We didn’t have time for everything there is to do on the island, but we did a lot ! It was my boyfriend, Ryan’s first time visiting. I had so much fun showing him around!
Our condo is in Kaanapali at the Honua Kai Resort. There is a boardwalk along the beach and it is the perfect place for early morning runs. The nightlife in Maui is pretty minimal, but mornings are bustling with people getting their workouts in before it gets too hot. It was awesome to see so many people being active.
Our first day was pretty low key. We had arrived late the night before and after our morning run, we spent most of the day relaxing by the pool and ocean. In the afternoon we headed to Lahina to do some shopping and have our favourite shave ice from Local Boys. At Local Boys, they put ice cream below the shave ice and a special Hawaiian cream on top. It is SO yummy! We showed Ryan the famous banyon tree and the marina. Last year I saw a little reef shark from the dock, (sharks are literally my worst fear, brb still crying) but thank god there were none this year or I may never have gotten Ryan to go into the ocean!
On our second day, after our morning workout, the weather really went downhill. The great thing about Hawaii is that it can be torrentially down pouring on one end of the island, while beautiful and sunny on the other. We chased the sunshine to Wailea. Shopping may not be Maui’s strongest suit, but we had fun walking around the Shops At Wailea and then relaxed at the beach. We didn’t this time, but if you are there and have a chance, it is always fun to check out The Grand Wailea hotel. For dinner, we ate at Star Noodle, an asian restaurant opened by Top Chef finalist, Sheldon Simeon!
For the next three days, we rented surf boards. It was a blast. We didn’t have a rack, but the surfboard rental company was able to strap the boards to the roof of our rental minivan. It seemed a little sketchy, but it worked!
We like to surf at Olowalu. The view from the water is amazing and the waves area typically bigger than Lahina ( plus I have yet to see a shark here….Yes, I know it is still the same ocean, but it gives me a little peace of mind haha!).We grabbed lunch at one of our favourite spots, Leoda’s ( fun fact, it was also started by Chef, Sheldon Simeon). They have such yummy, fresh sandwiches and some of the best desserts on the island. The line spanning out the front door says it all.
We came back to the condo and relaxed for a bit before hitting up Duke’s happy hour. Some friends came over for dinner and then my Mom and sister, Claire went to pick up Claire’s friend Ava from the airport.
We were out surfing again bright and early on day four. Afterwards, we grabbed smoothies from the Olowalu juice truck and headed to our favourite spot for snorkeling, Turtle Bay . Every time I have been here for the past ten years we have been able to swim with turtles. We have been told it is a turtle cleaning station. The water access is not the easiest because you have to climb down a small rock, but the snorkeling is well worth it! Happy hour today was spent enjoying beautiful views at the Napili Bay Sea house.
Day five was by far our busiest day. We surfed in the morning, returned our boards and then packed up for our afternoon adventure. We were heading to the Bamboo forest ( my first time visiting). The drive was long but absolutely gorgeous. Traveling up through the mountains and down by the coastline, the views are hard to beat. At one point the road becomes one narrow lane, gravel and very windy. When you are going around a corner, signs instruct you to honk as a preventative measure for head on collisions. We finally arrived and had to be fairly quick hiking as my Dad did not want to drive that crazy road back in the dark.
The hike was amazing. We passed by huge waterfalls and walked through towering tunnels of bamboo. The dense green forest seems to stretch on endlessly. The final waterfall was one of those is-this-really-real-life level breathtaking moments. Unfortunately it down poured for most of the hike. I wore flip flops which was not a great choice in all the mud, but to experience those views, I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
We were covered with mud and starving when we reached the car. We piled in and raced the darkness to the town of Paia. I love Paia! It is a hippy town with tons of cute boutiques and real deal surfers. We arrived too late to visit the shops ( though we were too dirty to try on clothes anyways) but we were just in time for pizza! The Flatbread Company is another one of my favourite Maui restaurants ( apparently they have another location in Whistler, but you would never guess it is a chain). The ingredients are very fresh and mostly organic. Maybe it was because we were so hungry and food always tastes better when you are starving, but it was probably some of the best pizza I have ever had ( and I’ve been to Italy!!). With very full bellies and heavy eyelids, we hopped in the car and headed home.
Our sixth day was more laid back. We worked out in the morning and then went to Wailer’s village for some shopping. Ryan bought some souvenirs and we walked the boardwalk back. We relaxed by the pool and then hosted our own happy hour. We even taught my parents how to play beer pong on our deck which was pretty funny. Next we headed to Lahina for dinner at Honu. The Ahi bruschetta here is a bit pricey, but it is to die for! Ahi is served everywhere on Maui. It is so fresh and delicious. After dinner we walked around Lahina and visited the cookie monster aka Ryan’s new favourite store, the Honolulu Cookie Company ( they have lot’s of yummy cookie samples).
Sadly, day seven was Ryan’s last day. We made pancakes with fresh Maui pineapple and then Ryan and I hit up the Royal Lahina Tennis Ranch. Tennis has recently become a new hobby for us. I am awful but we always have lot’s of fun! It was so hot I thought I might actually melt.
On my last day, I played tennis again, but this time with the fam. A bird died on our court which was a bit traumatizing, but overall we had fun. Afterwards I went for a beach walk with Mom and then had to pack up. We had dinner with some friends at the Lahina Yacht Club and then headed for the airport.
I’ve only been back for a few weeks and I am already craving a trip back. Maybe it is because most people are on vacation, but everyone seems happier in Hawaii. The sun is shining, and stress is a foreign concept . I can’t wait to return and experience all the endless beauty.