One of the reasons we chose to go to Maui for our honeymoon was the variety of activities that it offers! From hiking, surfing and snorkelling, to sun tanning and turtle watching...there is ALWAYS something to do in Maui! Here are our TOP 5 activities:
1. Hiking the Sliding Sands Trail, Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park stretches across 30, 000 acres of land. The highest peak is 10, 023 feet above sea level. To begin the Sliding Sands Trail, you drive to the summit of Haleakala where there are clean bathrooms, an info centre and INCREDIBLE views (you are above the clouds!!). We did the 1/2 day version of the Sliding Sands Trail hike, which involves hiking down 2.5 miles (this trail descends 2, 800 ft. in the first 4 miles) to the Ka Lu'u o ka O'o cinder cone, before turning around and hiking back up. The descent takes about an hour and the climb up takes 2 hours. The scenery is stunning because it does not feel like "MAUI" at all- it's desert.
2. Snorkelling, Molokini
Maui is known for it's clear, warm water (people travel from ALL over the world just for the water) SO you have to spend lots of time in it when you're there! One water activity we LOVED was the snorkel tour we did to Molokini, a partially submerged volcanic crater. It's about an hour and a half boat ride out to the crater, then you snorkel for an hour before riding back. The boat ride was FUN and RELAXING and the snorkelling was great, too! (TIP: we did the afternoon snorkel tour because it was cheaper. We found out after that there are more fish in the morning....so next time we'd pay the extra money and go earlier!)
3. Mopeding, Lahaina
I always love renting a moped when I travel. It's such a fun, cheap way to get around and see a place like a local. It also just feels RIDICULOUS to ride on main roads wearing a dinky helmet and maxing out at 30mph ha ha. We rented mopeds in Lahaina and spent an afternoon scooting around. This is a great activity to do on a 'down' day, somewhere near the end of your trip when you're pooped and don't want to exert too much energy! :)
4. Road to Hana (do in 2 sections)
The Road to Hana is probably the most popular activity on Maui. It's a 64.4 mile long drive with 615 hairpin turns and 50 one lane bridges, through stunning rainforest. You begin the drive in the town of Paia. Along the way there are many stops you can make. David and I stopped at 11 places. The highlights were TWIN FALLS (where you hike through the rainforest and find waterfalls and natural pools to swim in), Ke'anae Arboretum (where you can see black sand beaches) and the seven sacred pools (located in Haleakala National Park) where you can swim and hike through a bamboo forest ..... SO COOL. We loved the Road to Hana so much that we did it TWICE.
Warning: It is an ALL day adventure (give yourself 5-6 hours).
5. Bike Haleakala
There are a few bike companies that offer a sunrise bike tour down Haleakala. The sunrise tours fill up fast, so book your tour as soon as you arrive in Maui to ensure that you get a spot. To do the sunrise tour, you meet at the bike shop in Paia at 3am (rough, but worth it). They give you your gear (warm clothing, helmet, bike lock) and then drive you to the summit of Haleakala, just in time to watch the sunrise. It's actually STUNNING. You're so high up that you're above the clouds....I've never seen anything quite like it. After the sun rises, you are given your bike and you have all day to ride back down to Paia. It is an extremely easy ride (it's all downhill, so I think I peddled 3 times MAX ha) but the views are phenomenal and it's fun to experience Haleakala in that way.
David and I decided to go ALL OUT on our honeymoon! We know that there's such a limited time where going on BIG trips is feasible (**before kids**), so we want to do a few big trips in the next couple of years!
For our honeymoon, we wanted to go somewhere that neither of us had been before. We wanted it to have opportunities for relaxation and activity. AND, we wanted it to be warm, obvi. Maui was an easy choice! (It also happens to be where MY parents went on their honeymoon which is pretty sweet!)
I'm going to break this GUIDE to MAUI down into three sections: Where we STAYED, what we DID, and what we ATE! Stay tuned for these posts!!
^STOKED to be heading to MAUI....before the 13 hours of travelling!!! ha
David and I were in Maui for 12 days and we stayed in 3 different locations, so we really got a feel for the island- geographically and culturally.
The first place we stayed at is called Star Lookout. It's a home that's located at the 2900' level on the southwest slope of Haleakala (a massive volcano). Homes in the area are worth $10 million MINIMUM (Oprah owns a ranch on the same road as Star Lookout), so you can imagine the views! Star Lookout is far enough away from the fast-paced, tourist/resort atmosphere, to make you feel like a local, yet only a short (30 minute MAX) drive away from all the tourist action! David and I enjoyed walking to the local restaurant, Grandma's, for breakfast (and lunch....and snacks....ha), waking up to stunning views of the ocean and entire island of Maui, hiking the local trails and running along the mountain edge. We give this place 5 STARS and would recommend it 100%. (Note: This is not a hotel. However, there is a full kitchen where you can make your own meals, a laundry facility, a BBQ and a hot tub which you can use as much as you'd like)
^Views from the backyard!
^on the front porch
After 5 nights at Star Lookout, we were really sad to leave. What made it bearable, was that we were heading to the Grand Wailea. If you're not familiar with this hotel, it's a 5 star, Waldorf-Astoria resort that has appeared in countless movies (including a personal favourite, Just Go With It) and boasts an unbelievable water park/pool area, beautifully groomed grounds and staff that aim to please. The Grand Wailea is the definition of LUXURY. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a warm "Aloha" and fresh flower leis. Bellboys promptly took our luggage to our room where they gave us a tour and explained how to use the lights, safe, T.V. etc. David and I went to the pools immediately. THEY ARE INCREDIBLE. There's a lazy river, at least 5 water slides, a rope swing, a water elevator (I KNOW, RIGHT!?) and lots of beach chairs to lounge on. The fitness centre is clean, well equipped and has free fruit and headsets (MAJOR score!! ha). We would totally recommend spending a night or two here (basic room was $700 American per night) just to experience total luxury!!
The third place we stayed at was the Royal Lahaina Resort! Unfortunately this was our least favourite spot. Lahaina is a town that looks like people were pouring money into it like 30 years ago....and then they just stopped. There are some big, nice resorts that need some serious updating!! The resort itself just seemed outdated. It did have a pool that was nice, an ocean-side shuffle board, a board walk and beach access....but it just wasn't a 'WOW'. There was no fitness centre (they did offer private/semi-private fitness classes), no laundry facility (or laundry service), and really bad parking!! It seemed more like a 3 STAR hotel than a resort (which it claims to be). Instead of staying in Lahaina, we'd recommend staying at one of the larger resorts in Ka'anapali (ie. The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas).
There are SO many great places to stay at on Maui. Whether you opt for the more secluded private home in Kula, the 'over-the-top' fancy Grand Wailea, or a hotel like the Royal Lahaina, we're SURE you will leave Maui with plans to return! Enjoy!
Hi! I'm Mrs. Julia Dawe,