Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hawaii Favorites: Maui

So, if you're new here I'm obsessed with the Hawaiian Islands.

I wanted to go forever and finally made it last year for my birthday (May 2014).  I ended up going again last September and then again for my birthday this year.

Trust me if I could I'd go back right now.  I'm already trying to figure out when I can go back.  I don't know, there's just something about the islands, even though it's crazy expensive and you feel somewhat lonely if you're not part of a honeymooning couple.  I still love it there.  I feel super safe traveling there by myself and there's so much freedom in being able to get up and do things and go wherever you want.  

People keep saying aren't you sick of it? To be honest every time I've gone I've seen different stuff, visited some favorites and had amazing adventures.  

Anyway, I'm going to do a post for each of the islands I've been to.  

Current total visits:  
Maui 3
Big Island 2
Oahu 2 
Kauai 1

Maui is by far my favorite island...some of my favorite places are there and I've always had great weather and the most amazing sunsets:








Favorite shave ice:


*Ululani's - hand's down my favorite on all four islands (it's only available on Maui though). I usually stick to any of these tropical flavors - guava, liliko'i, pineapple, coconut, and tropical punch.  Another reason I should go back to Hawaii - I just found this shave ice place on my most recent trip!






Favorite shops:


Maui isn't really a shopping destination but I've managed to find a few awesome shops :)

*Pearl in Paia - really cute home store, a bit pricey but really unique souvenirs. There are tons of cute shops and restaurants in Paia, definitely plan a trip here if you're on Maui.  






*Banana wind - sounds weird but they have lots of shells responsibly sourced (since you can't take any from Hawaii)


Favorite restaurants:

*My favorite restaurant on Maui has always been Mama's Fish House.  If you google best restaurant on Maui it will most likely be in the top 5 if not number 1.  I've been three times now and I always make my reservation pretty much as soon as I book my flights.  They didn't have my favorite dessert the last time I went and I didn't get the perfect seat next to the open windows but it was still an amazing experience!







*My new favorite I discovered near my hotel (I stayed at the Makena Beach & Golf resort) - Nick's Fish Market.  The food was amazing, the drinks were out of this world...the service was almost too much - I think I had 5 different people checking in on me.  

They even have a guy that runs up with a torch and lights all of the tiki torches before sunset.  Now I nearly jumped out of my seat and ran away because he ran up out of no where with a crazy getup on and a giant club so I was pretty sure he was coming to attack us...but now you know not to yell out curse words in fear like I did :)







*I really liked Monkeypod Kitchen for lunch - good burgers and they have Kona brewing company beer!  (not far from the hotel either)





*If your hotel has a buffet do it at least once - it's probably going to cost about $40/person but you have to experience it at least once.  Now that I've done it I try to do it at least once per island - and I'm not even a big breakfast person.  



Favorite things to do:

*Whale watch out of Lahaina harbor.  I've gone on two now...haven't seen any whales since I've gone at the end of the season each time.  (Whale peak season is December-April).  I feel I have to go again just to see the whales!



*Nakalele blowhole (love rock) - this is not for the faint of heart.  People will tell you it's SO easy.  No.it's.not.  I thought I was going to die.  You'll see idiots doing it in bare feet.  

You literally have to walk/hike/at times sit down and scoot down the side of this rocky cliff to get to this blowhole (they have a few of these on the islands where the pressure of the ocean forces the water up through a 'blowhole') to the right of the blowhole is my whole reason for doing this crazy 'hike' - there's a heart cut into the cliff with the most amazing colors in the rock formation.  Trust me you'll take 50 photos of it just because you risked your life to get there.  






*Road to Hana - you have to do this at least once in your life.  Drive it yourself?  Nope, not me.  I took an all day tour and we did the whole road to Hana.  It was a bit pricey but totally worth it in my opinion.  When you start hanging off the side of the road you'll realize you have no desire to try to drive this on your own (especially considering if you're renting a car you likely have a nice Mustang or Charger and if you get it stuck the rental company will most likely charge you a fine and you'll pay major $$ to get towed outta there)






Other favorites:


These aren't must dos but I enjoyed them!

*Kula botanical gardens - if you like seeing some of Hawaii's exotic plants this is a great place to check them out






*Ali'i gardens - focus is on lavender.  I took a picnic here but couldn't figure out where I could eat it.  PS there are a TON of bees so if you're allergic might want to steer clear of this one.  It is beautiful though.  










*Aquarium - now make sure you don't go when a school bus of kids has planned their field trip like I did...it gets a little hectic.  






*Shops at Wailea - I just love the shops here (many that I've listed are here) and the vibe is very tropical 






*Whaler's General store - there are a few locations on most of the islands. They are pretty touristy but I love them because you can pick up shells, cheap souvenirs (by Hawaii's standards), snacks and WINE.  Maui Splash is my ultimate favorite and it's pretty inexpensive here. 


*Crazy Shirts - yes it's touristy but they have the best quality tshirts - I have a giant stack since I've been picking up a few every trip (they make great gifts too!)







*Na Hoku jewerly - I've made it a tradition (albeit an expensive one) - to purchase a new necklace on each trip.  Here are my three so far:









*My favorite drinks can all be found on this island - I've already mentioned Maui Splash wine (which you can get on the mainland but you'll pay quite a bit for shipping).  

Hawaiian Sun juice drinks - love them! Aloha maid are great too. You can get some on the mainland but it's only one or two varieties - there's a whole wall in the Times on the island!


I also love Maui Brewing company root beer but it can be tough to find. 


Finally, Wailua Wheat is my favorite beer from Kona brewing company.  The brewery is on the Big Island but you can get it pretty reasonably priced on Maui (and not at all on the mainland so drink up!)





Traditions


*I have lots of traditions that I've mentioned above but one of those most important is splurging on an amazing lanai/view from my hotel room.  Traveling alone sometimes I don't feel comfortable right away going out to watch the sunrise or sunset and the lanai is perfect for taking photos, relaxing, reading, having a drink, etc.  Here are a few of my lanai views on Maui.  






*I also always create a heart on the sand out of found rocks on the beach.  Here are a few from some of my past trips (on all of the islands - you'll see the different sands/rocks)












Do you have any must-dos on Maui? I'd love to hear them!
-Alisa


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