The post-holiday blues and start to the new year have led to a serious case of wanderlust. Since we don’t have any trips on the books at the moment, I’ll have to live vicariously through memories from trips of the past. In an effort to reminisce, and hopefully provide some helpful information, I’ve compiled a 5-day guide to our recent trip to Maui.
DAY 1: Arrival and Getting Settled
The biggest surprise to me about Maui was that the main (and often times only) road follows the coast of the island. This makes for incredible views along the drive but often takes much longer to get from point A to point B. We stayed at an Airbnb in Kaanapali Beach which served as the perfect home-base for our week in the tropics but was a 45-minute (without traffic) drive from the airport and Costco. I would highly recommend stopping at Costco after arriving, before you take the trek across the island, to stock up on food, snacks, and alcohol for your stay. Use the first day as an opportunity to get settled and mentally prepared for a week of adventure.
DAY 2: Road to Hana
First, you should plan to spend all day on this outing – our journey took over 14 hours but we knew that going in so it wasn’t a big deal. Second, do some research but don’t over-plan. By “over-plan” I mean that you shouldn’t over-commit to too many stopping points. The more you read about the highway the more you’ll find there is to see but if you over-commit you’ll find yourself rushing through the drive to get from destination to destination. I would encourage you to enjoy every beauty-filled mile. Our two attractions were (1) Pipiwai Trail and Waimoku Falls and (2) Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach. Check out my full post on the Road to Hana here.
DAY 3: Snorkeling at Kapalua Beach and Dinner in Lahaina
Kapalua Beach was by far our favorite beach – the water was crystal clear and full of sea life, the beach offered chairs and umbrellas for rent (totally recommend it) and it was not overly crowded. We ended up spending at least a few hours there each day. Check out my full post on Kapalua Beach here.
Lahaina is just down the road from where we were staying in Kaanapali Beach (about a 7 minute drive) and offers great shopping and restaurants. We tried to eat at our Airbnb most nights as to not break the bank but we splurged one night for a sunset dinner on the rooftop of Koa’s Seaside Grill. Even if you just grabs drinks and apps, the sunset view is beyond worth it.
DAY 4: Sunrise from Haleakala National Park
Haleakala translates to house of the sun and the sunrise is definitely worth the 2:00 am wake up time. The observation deck is at the summit and 10,000 feet above sea level so it’s breathtaking in more ways than one, read: it’s freezing at the top. After leaving the national park, we ventured to the nearest town for breakfast and the only spot open at 6:00 am was Serpico’s in upcountry Pukalani. Try the Loco Moco breakfast (hamburger steak, brown gravy, rice and 2 eggs on top) and be sure to get the fried rice. SO DELICIOUS.
We ventured around upcountry Maui for a bit, through the cowboy town dubbed Makawao, and eventually stumbled upon Surfing Goat Dairy. A dairy farm offering tours, a petting area with baby goats, samples of cheeses and desserts and a small restaurant. Just down the road from the goat farm is Ocean Vodka Farm and Distillery. There is plenty to explore in upcountry Maui but if you’re like us – you’ll need a nap at the beach to recover from the 2:00 am wake-up call. Check out my full post on Haleakala National Park here.
DAY 5: Kaanapali Beach and Cliff Jumping from Black Rock
One evening, we ventured over to the Cliff Dive Grill at the Sheraton Maui to catch their evening Cliff Diving Ceremony off Black Rock.
As the sun begins its slow dive into the ocean, torch lighting signals the nightly ritual of Lele Kawa (cliff diving). Legend tells us the last chief of Maui, Kahekili (Thunderer), proved his spiritual strength by leaping from sacred Pu’u Keka’a to the Pacific. With sunset painting the sky, a young cliff diver honors his heritage each evening by re-tracing footsteps in the sand on Kaanapali Beach. A chant of old Hawai’i begins the progression of our warrior; the echo of the conch shell announces his arrival. He leaves a trail of glowing torches surrounding the lagoon as he makes his way to Black Rock. Upon reaching the summit, he offers his torch to the ocean below, casts his flower lei into the sea; and finally takes the breathtaking dive from Black Rock into the rolling surf below. – Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa
Wrapping up our last day in Maui, we decided to close our vacation with a symbolic cliff dive of our own. We swam through the sea of snorkelers to climb black rock and after our feet couldn’t take the harsh volcanic rock any longer, we made it to the top. With no choice but to jump, we took the leap.
Ideally you’d spend more than five days in Maui which would lead to a lot more rest and relaxation but this list will get you started on the basics. Let me know if I missed anything, it’s definitely on my bucket list to go back.