Maui was the first (of two) stops on our Hawaiian adventure. As you all know, this was a family vacation with Vishnu’s parents. His brother and his brother’s girlfriend were also supposed to join us, but unfortunately, they had a change of plans. When originally deciding which islands we would visit, the six of us came together after talking to family/friends and consulting different sites, and we picked Maui and Kauai. If we had a little more time (and money!), I would’ve loved to spend a couple of days on Big Island as well. Next time for sure!
Overall, Maui is a beautiful island with so many different aspects to it. As Vishnu would say, “the juxtaposition of the water and the mountains is beautiful.” Personally, as much as I loved Maui, I found it to be pretty commercial. At times, it felt like we were in Southern California…not that I complained or anything!
In true Parita fashion, I’m going to share where we stayed, what we did, and what we ate. And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me!
Note – Vishnu and I are behind in life and haven’t downloaded the pictures on our SLR yet. What you see in this post are pics from my iPhone! I didn’t want to delay this post any further, so for now, this is what you get!
WHERE WE STAYED
Because six of us were originally going on this trip, we opted for villas/condos instead of hotels. When we found out Niel and Neelam couldn’t joint us, we thought about switching but decided to stick with the original plan.
We stayed at the Kapalua Villas while in Maui. Our two bedroom/2.5 bathroom condo could’ve easily housed six people. Honestly, we had a lot more space than we needed, but it was nice.
The villa itself was beautiful. It felt like home with comfortably beds, a washer/dryer, spacious bathrooms, etc. The only regret when it came to this villa was the location. Everything we did in Maui was centrally located, but we stayed on the northwestern side of the island. It took us at least 30-40 minutes to get to and from. However, other than that, I would highly recommend the Kapalua Villas!
WHAT WE DID
Snorkling by the Molokini Crater
Our first excursion on the island of Maui was snorkling by the Molokini Crater with Sail Trilogy. The boat ride to the crater took almost an hour, and what a bumpy/choppy hour that was. Over 70% of the people on our boat ended up sick. Thankfully, Vishnu and I were both spared!
Once at the crater, our captain conducted a mini snorkling orientation for the group, and then we were off! Even though it was a bit overcast, we were still able to see lots of different fishes and sea creatures, as well as coral. Vishnu loved this more than I did. In fact, he was the last one back on the boat when it was time to return to shore. My little fish!
Road to Hana
In my opinion, the Road to Hana is a must when visiting Maui. But word to the wise – this is an all day adventure. We left home at 6:45 am and returned around 7:00 pm.
The Road to Hana in its entirety is about 64 miles. It starts in a town called Paia, and it ends…well, it ends where you want it to given how much time you have and how everyone is feeling. The road itself is quite windy and dangerous (especially at night). Luckily for us, it wasn’t too crowded, so we (Vishnu) were able to navigate it comfortably.
Vishnu and I would HIGHLY recommend using the Shaka app as you explore the Road to Hana. We loved learning about Hawaiian history, and let’s be honest, this thing prevented us from missing most of the major sites! We even explored some ‘off the beaten path’ type places because of it. It was the best $5 we spent on the trip!
Overall, we probably made about 12-15 stops along the way. My favorites included Ho’okipa lookout (great wave action!), Honomanu Bay, Upper Waikani Falls, and Wai’anapanapa State Park (black sand beaches!).
Of course, we got pretty hungry on this 12 hour journey. I read a lot about the smoothies at Huelo Lookout, so that was on my must stop list! My FIL’s smoothie was awesome…I think it was called the Haleakala Sunrise. Regardless, it was yummy! We also stopped for some fresh baked banana bread at Aunt Sandy’s. It honestly tasted like it came straight out of the oven – dense, flavorful, and warm. And finally, for lunch, we stopped at the Nahiku Marketplace and enjoyed some delicious Thai food (Pad Thai for me!) from a stall labeled THAI FOOD! Again, so fresh and tasty.
Haleakala National Park Sunset
Haleakala National Park is home to the dormant volcano Haleakala. People usually make the hour or so drive up the volcano to see the beautiful/colorful sunrise and/or sunset views. Because we had so many early mornings, we opted for the sunset views and were not disappointed in the least. Word to the wise – bring a warm jacket to take with you because it’s at least 30 degrees cooler at the top than it is at sea level. Brrrr…
WHAT WE ATE
In addition to the delicious food we ate on the Road to Hana, we also hit up some pretty fantastic restaurants during our time in Maui.
Monsoon India – We ate here with Vishnu’s aunt and uncle one night after driving around the island for a bit. For an Indian restaurant in Maui, it was pretty decent! The dishes we ordered were rich in flavor. However, while this place was great, I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to eat here. There are plenty of other more Hawaii’esque’ restaurants to choose from.
Mama’s Fish House – Mama’s Fish House is a treat yo self kind of restaurant as it quite pricey. If you’re willing to dish out a bit of $$$, this place serves delicious fish dishes (hence the name!) and quite the vegetarian meal as well. Vishnu and my in laws loved their ahi, mahi mahi and sea bass, while I really enjoyed a Maui Tempeh coconut curry dish. But perhaps the highlight of our meal was the chocolate pie we gobbled up at the end (it was like a Twix bar being combined with Oreos!).
Frida’s Mexican Beach House – Personally, I was super excited about Frida’s, as Mexican food is one of my favorite cuisines. And I wasn’t disappointed. The veggie enchiladas I ordered were really good (although I wish they were smothered with cheese and not covered!). Overall, I think Frida’s is a must visit restaurant – not only is the food plentiful and delicious, but the relaxed atmosphere and fun servers make the dining experience that much better.
Slappy Cakes – Brunch at Slappy Cakes wasn’t all that exciting, but it did the trick. The savory dishes are good but not great. However, the pineapple banana pancakes we ordered to share tasted delicious (can’t wait to recreate at home).
And that, my friends, is our trip to Maui in a nutshell! Up next…Kauai (my favorite island!).