Piece of Paradise

How often do you come across phrases like “the highest/tallest/biggest -peak/mountain/lake/road in literally every search of travel destination. When I hunt for what I want to see, I specifically look for what is special or best to experience at the place vs simply knowing if it the tallest building. Not that I hate facts, I just simply prefer to learn more about the uniqueness of the place. If you are one such person, here is our perspective on Maui, one of the five islands of Hawaii we recently visited.

Budget

Don’t we all love the numbers!! Here is a approximate budget for how much a 5 day vacation would cost in the island of Maui for 2 people. Of course I am going to give you a rough estimate. This might differ based on the time you are visiting or how you plan to spend your days in the island.

  • Flight from Mainland USA to Maui – $800.
  • Accommodation per day – $150
  • Car rental without insurance – $60 per day
  • Sight seeing (this includes helicopter rides, snorkeling trip, entrance tickets) – $800
  • Food – $60 per day

If you are thinking about just relaxing and enjoying the beaches, then you will find all the luxury resorts in the west/south west of the island. They are customizable based on food options, Luau dance shows, sea activities and much more. I would say you can expect to pay anywhere around 300$ per day up to “your idea on luxury” on these resorts.

But if you want to be adventurous and experience the island for its nature, this island offers you beautiful waterfalls, rain forests, beaches, sunsets and not to forget the food. You can go around the island in about 5 days, if you are smart about booking your accommodation around the island, then you do not have to rush back to your place on the other side especially on the windy roads.

Garden of Eden

Road to Hana

Road to Hana starts from Pa’ia town, closer to the airport and takes you all the way to the west. If you decide to stay in the east and take a bus tour, you can cover this route in a day. The tourist bus will make several stops along the road, covering the major spots. But we would suggest you rent a car and drive. Instead of heading back, try to stay in Hana. It is so worth it. Try to reserve your accommodation well in advance, as there are few places available and it is quite expensive as well. You get to spend more time at each stop this way. Our favorite spots on this route:

  • Ho’okipa Beach Park – Mild waves for surfing,
  • Twin Falls – Good place to take a dip. Has a food stall in the entrance where you get fresh coconut, sugarcane juice and of course pine apple.
  • Maui Garden of Eden – You have to pay to get inside. If you do not have much time, skip this. But if you do have time, you get to see peacocks, beautiful lookouts and a Rudraksha tree. We knew there was one in Kauai, but this was a surprise!
  • Wailua Valley State Wayside. – This is a quick stop over. Climb a few stairs and you get to see the dense forest few feet above and its gorgeous.
  • Pua’a Ka’a Falls and Hanawi Falls – All the famous Hawaiin Food trucks lined up in one place. We enjoyed trying Poke bowls, fresh smoothies and shrimp. They close at 2 pm which is a bummer. So if you do not get to eat her do not worry. There are food trucks parked all along this route and you can choose per your craving at the minute.
  • Must try Food along the Hana route – Banana bread, coconut ice cream, sugarcane juice, Hawaiian bbq chicken, Poke bowl, fresh smoothies, tacos and shave ice.
  • Wai’anapanapa State Park – Beautiful black sand beach, with lava tubes, freshwater caves and blow hole.
  • ‘Ohe’o Gulch aka “Seven Sacred Pools” – Most tourist buses do not take you this spot as they turn back after Wai’anapanapa. You will also notice that the roads are more narrow and windy. Located on the other side of Haleakala park, you will see the change in landscape when you enter. The rain forest reveals with lot of birds chirping. The sacred pools do not disappoint. You get to witness the waterfall directly flowing into the ocean.
  • If you dare to take a unpaved road and do not mind driving longer to get to the east then take the road south. If not, it is better to head back the same route (Road to hana) to get to the east, as it is faster and has a better laid road.
Hanawi Falls
Temporary tattoos
Taking a dip at Twin Falls
Seven Sacred Pools

Haleakala National Park

A dormant volcano right in the middle of the island, which takes you 10,000 feet above sea level. Within a few hours drive, this trip will take you above the clouds quite literally. Most people opt to go for sunrise, but we headed for the sunset. Couple of reasons. You have to reserve in the national park website well in advance if you decide to see the sunrise as you need the permit to enter early morning and if you want to see the sunrise you have to wake up at 3 am and drive. We chose the sunset as we wanted to hike the trails in the volcano and also stay after sunset to see the stars. Win – win! Surrounded by water thousands of miles, and minimum light pollution from the small towns, you can imagine how our star gazing experience would have been. Yes. Out of the world!

Haleakala Sunset
Hiking in the crater
Above the clouds

Activities

We loved snorkeling in Molokini crater, the helicopter ride (takes you to the Jurassic Park scenes), zip lining and Luau dance. In between spent a lot of time at the beaches and made impromptu stops to enjoy the beauty the island offers.

The drizzle in the rain forest!

Tips

  1. Save your national park tickets. It could be helpful for parking and sometimes taken at multiple spots. For example, our Haleakala ticket valid for 3 days was accepted in Sacred pools as it is part of the park.
  2. Most Luau show will take place in Wailea or in south east part of the island. If you are taking the Hana highway to south, you cannot get to Wailea. You have to get to Kahului as there is no road connecting. This will take longer if you are driving from Hana,so plan accordingly.
  3. Allow plenty of time to get to airport if you are staying further away. As you are in an island and if there is a traffic jam you are pretty much stuck on the road as you cannot take a detour because of the mountains.
  4. Credit cards are accepted in most places but have cash with you for food trucks.
  5. There is a Costco right by the airport. Gas is pretty expensive.
Lava Tubes

Hope you enjoyed reading our blog. Leave a comment 🙂

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