ALOHA

a list of 10 must do’s during your maui vacation

one year ago today, on my birthday, we were getting massages by the ocean, eating just caught shrimp ceviche, sipping mai tais poolside, swimming under waterfalls, enjoying a luau at sunset, and taking in all of the breathtaking scenery maui hawaii has to offer. this year I’m packing up boxes and moving from one airbnb to another in zero degree temps. so i decided to reminisce and post about the amazing week we had and share my ten must do list for your vacation to the most magical, amazing island!

visit as many beaches as you can

of course youre gonna visit beaches when you go the maui. Maui has some of the worlds best beaches and my favorite part about the beaches is that they are all different. Literally two beaches a mile apart will have completely different sand whether it is its color or texture…and it was so fascinating. you have your white sandy beaches, but we also found red sand beaches, a black sand beach, pebbled beaches, etc. Maui has 30 miles of beaches and none of them are private beaches. There are no beaches off limits.

Because all of the beaches are unique with their own character we wanted to see as many as we could, so unlike other vacations where we would pack a beach bag and lounge at the same beach all day, relaxing, swimming, and drinking cocktails, we rented a car and for one entire day drove up and down the west and upper west side of the island and stopped at as many beaches as we could!

eat local- street side food vendors

what i fell in love with about the island of maui is how so much of the island has been preserved and untouched. of course, maui having such high tourism, you’ll see your costco and your mcdonalds, but when you really explore the island outside of the airport and your resort, you’ll see the not so commercialized parts of the islands that have remained untouched by progress. in these parts you will find the locals who make living by selling and trading the fruit from their land and farms along the side of the road. every time we saw people making or selling food, i had to stop. we got fresh banana bread, juice, fresh fruit, and even stopped and had a local family cook an entire meal for us on their property with food they had just caught that morning. be open and an eager to learn, respect and appreciate their culture.

road to hana

the road to hana is the 52 mile hana highway and hana is the town that the highway run through on the east side of the island. the route is famous because of all of the beautiful nature, breathtaking views, and untouched landscapes. you’lll see everything from rainforest to unbelievable beaches to waterfalls. although the route is called a highway, a lot of it is actually on a bumpy dirt road, with 600 curves, some around cliffs, and lots of one-way bridges. for that reason we decided to hire a driver. we used Maui’s Private Guide, Bryan. He was super knowledgable about the maui, showed us some of the more “secret” less known spots, and took us the back way of hana highway to avoid crowds and tourist traps. the part of the island that is less inhabited and less traveled, which is exactly what we wanted to see.

there are plenty of articles on the internet that talk about the different stops along the highway and what mile marker to find them at if you want a more details guide of the road to hana. on our day exploring the hana highway we had a swimming hole with a waterfall all to ourselves, watched locals surf, experienced the largest waves I’ve ever seen in real life, explored a lava tunnel, walked through a bamboo forest, swam in the waianapanapa caves, and learned all about the history of hawaii.

do go chasin waterfalls

why are waterfalls to magical? I’m obsessed. and hawaii and the most beautiful and largest waterfalls in the world that you can see from from forever away. you have to make it a priority to go see at least one waterfall. we saw a number on our road to hana tour and even got to swim under one! i had to make amar go with me.. go was not down! the water was soooo cold!!

lu’au

a tradition to the hawaiian culture. a “party” where a pig is roasted and women and men take part is traditional hawaiian dance. our hotel we stay at in maui, the hyatt regency, had one of the more well known luau’s on the island called Drums of the Pacific

learn the history and culture of the hawaiian islands

between bryan (our road to hana tour guide), talking to locals, and the luau, we learned a lot about the rainbow state, its history, and their culture. we were there right before christmas, so we even learned learned how to sing ‘merry christmas’ in the hawaiian language! it was fascinating to learn that hundreds of years ago, the island was ruled by different kings, who ruled different parts of the land and that today, those families are still considered royalty to the native of the islands. but the most bizarre, and almost spooky things we learned about is about the hawaiian island of Niihau. it is considered the forbidden island and even most native hawaiians don’t know much about it. this island has been privately owned since 1864 when it was purchased from one of the original kings. it was purchased to preserve the traditional ways of life for the native hawaiians. we were told there are only about 200 people still living on the island along with free roaming animals. there is no access to the outside world and no internet, but it is not somewhere you want to  try and explore. it is said that the native people on the island will kill anyone who tries to visit the island by boat. we first learned about the island from our hana tour guide and immediately started doing google searches when we got back to our hotel… and it seemed to be a topic of conversation the rest of the trip!!

watch the sunset on the beach

the most gorgeous sunsets you’ll ever witness. something we tried not to miss any night. below is a picture i took on my iphone, unfiltered, and had printed on a canvas when we got home!

shop local

you must bring back some kind of souvenir from your trip. there were two places we went shopping at in maui. downtown lahaina, near our resort at the hyatt regency, and paia town. we purchased a painting from a local artist who was creating his artwork on the side of the street in lahaina and captured our attention. he took us into the back of a nearby shop where he has all of his artwork displayed. we also spent part of a day in paia town, a small town near the airport, a hip, lead back town, home to a lot of the local surfers. its also home to willie nelson and his son. lots of good local restaurants and shopping i both places.

Grilled Fish, Blackened Fish, Seared Fish, Sautéed Fish, Fish Tacos, Fish Sandwiches, Fish anything!!!

if you love seafood…or even if you don’t like seafood, you have to try the fresh catch by all of the local restaurants. i think thats all i ate while i was there because you’ll never get fish as fresh back on the mainland… or at least in ohio where we were going back to. we had ahi tuna, ahi poke, and mahi mahi. my two favorite places to eat were Paia Fish Market in Paia Town and Lahaina Grill (where we celebrated my birthday).

relax

when there is so much to see and do on such a beautiful island, which more a lot of people may be a once in a lifetime experience, its hard to just sit back and relax. the island is so peaceful… it feels like you’re in heaven. make sure you’re giving yourself enough time on the maui to explore and experience all of the maui attractions and nature, but to also lay back on a beach chair (or hammock) with a good book and a cocktail with the sound of the ocean in the background. after all, you are on vacation!

MAHALO & MELE KALIKIMAKA

(thank you and merry christmas)