Island Guide: Aloha! Maui
Maui is one of my favorite places on this planet so far. There is warm and clear ocean water, lots of sunshine, waterfalls, rainforest, sea turtles and poke!
Stay at an Airbnb
Kihei, Lahaina and Pa’ia are both affordable and fun locations to stay at while in Maui. Kihei has a more local vibe than any other city I’ve stayed in Maui. There are a lot of grocery stores and convenient city things, but amazing beaches as well. Lahaina has a lot going on with bars and restaurants everywhere and a young party vibe. Pa’ia is more of a hippy town, low key and close to the Road to Hana, in recent years there are more trendy places popping up on the main drag.
Stay at Mariott Wailea
The Marriott Wailea is a quiet resort style hotel in Wailea, a quiet part of the island to relax and unwind. It has spectacular snorkeling right off the coastline, there are loads of sea turtles here! It was pricey, but the views and infinity pool were great to lounge at.
Explore the Road to Hana
The road to Hana is a must-see in Maui, and most people go clockwise. I recommend going the opposite way around. It's a little bumpy, but you’ll skip the loads of traffic and also the crowds going to the same stops along the way. I've done this trip 3 times and by far this is the best route.
Get your guide also has a Full day sightseeing tour of the road to Hana if you prefer sightseeing with a guide over driving and navigating yourself.
Tip: If you get car sick I recommend taking some dramamine well ahead of time. There are many twists and turns on this windy road.
Road to Hana: Try Pineapple Wine at Maui Wine
There is a winery and a general store at the beginning of this route where you can stop for snacks, wine tasting, and a bathroom break. Maui Wine opens at 10am if you want to time it so you can get some pineapple wine tastings at the beginning—or just buy some for later that evening. If you forgot snacks or plan on hiking you can grab some snacks or a sandwich at the general store. Definitely have some food and water handy because its not always easy to find on the Road to Hana.
Road to Hana: Pools of 'Ohe'o (7 Sacred Pools)
The first place you should go is Pools of 'Ohe'o (commonly referred to as the 7 sacred pools). As long as the water isn't too high you can swim in these. At the same location, there is a beautiful 5 mile round trip hike to the 400ft Waimoku Falls from there. On the way you wander through luscious greenery, a bamboo forest, see a massive banyon tree, and finally you get to the falls. It's well worth the trip.
Road to Hana: Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach
The next stop I would hit up is the Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach. The sand is literally quite red and the bluffs above the beach are stunning. If you have time you can hang at the beach for a while and get into the ocean. The currents can be strong though so be careful, especially if you have kids.
Road to Hana: Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach
My favorite spot visually is the Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach. The colors of the crystal blue ocean and lush greenery against the black sand are stunning. I could've roamed around for hours, but unfortunately we didn't have a lot of time to explore. If you have the opportunity I would try and stay mid way somewhere along Hana so you can take your time to see all the sights.
Snorkel with Sea Turtles
Bring your own gear (or rent some for pretty cheap) and snorkel with sea turtles. There are many locations to see them right off the coast of Maui but the most I’ve ever seen are off the coast of Kihei. Start at Kamaole Beach Park III and swim around the rocks and reef to Kamaole Beach Park II. I saw several turtles every time I swam that route. They are everywhere!
There are also many amazing snorkeling tours you can take with Get Your Guide:
There is a Dolphin and snorkel adventure from Lahaina to Lanai. I did this once and it was pure magic.
A 5-hour snorkel or snuba to Molokini Crater. Molokini has a plethora of fish and of course, lots of sea turtles as well. Or you can do a Lana’i or Turtle Town afternoon snorkel.
Get Dive Certified with Maui Diving
Maui is an amazing place to get dive certified. I tried to get certified in Monterey, CA first and it was freezing and murky! In Maui, the instructors are very patient and relaxed, and they take you down to about 10 feet of crystal clear water to practice your dive skills. This is nice because if feels safe. When we went down the first thing we saw was a sea turtle swimming over us with the light rays shining through the water. It was magical!
Dive with Sea Turtles with Maui Dive Shop
We went diving the morning after Hana. I've seen a sea turtles every time I've gone diving, and even a few times when I've gone snorkeling in Maui. Maui Dive Shop were top notch! They prepped all our supplies for us, as well as a great spread for breakfast and lunch. I'd highly recommend them. Can you see the large turtle sitting on top of the shop wreck below?
Bike down Mount Haleakala
Take a tour with Maui Bike Co. This tour meets in Pa’ia, and then a shuttle drives you to the top of Mount Haleakala. They equip you with helmets and bikes to start an exhilarating trip downhill for 23 miles. I’ve taken the both a sunrise tour and a 9am tour. 9am is preferred so you can enjoy all the shops and restaurants on the way down the mountain. If you're an adventure junkie like me, this is way to do Haleakala! Read more
Stop at Paia Bowls for a delicious acai bowl before the bike ride to Haleakala trip. It’s right on the way into town.
Hike Waihee Ridge Trail
Waihe’e Ridge Trail on the east side of Maui boasts lush green rainforest and dramatic ocean views as you hike the steep path up the mountain. Read more
To Eat & Drink
Dine at Mama's Fish House
If you're going to splurge on a great meal (or many!), make a reservation at Mama's Fish House in advance of your trip. It's crazy expensive but it's the best meal I've ever had on the island, and I've been to Maui five times. To give you an idea it's around $50 a plate, $18 a drink. Make the reservation at least 3 weeks in advance, that’s how popular this place is.
Get a flight of beer at Maui Brewing Co.
Try some delicious local craft beer in either the Kihei or Lahaina location. The Kihei is newer and nicer, boasting a large outdoor patio and expansive interior as well.
Grab a cocktail at Southshore tiki lounge
This Tiki Lounge in Kihei often has live music on the patio, and delicious tiki drinks of all kinds to try.