Hawaiians say that “Maui no ka oi,” or that
“Maui is the best.” And we agree.
~Jim Byers/Toronto Star
|Wailua Falls falls an impressive 70 meters into a beautiful pool and is easily visible from the road, not far from the town of Hana|
1. Go whalewatching. From November until March or so, humpbacks frolic in the waters between Maui, Lani, Molokai and Kahoolawe. The Trilogy boats offer great tours, as do other companies.
2. Take in the sunrise at Haleakala, the massive, dormant volcano that dominates east Maui. Better yet, avoid the crowds and make it a sunset viewing.
3. Tee it up at Kapalua or Ka’anapali, or try the majestic courses at Makena or Wailea. Too tough on the budget? Save a bundle and play the municipal course in Waiehu, near Wailuku. Not the best conditions but several holes right on the Pacific.
4. Sample Maui’s sophisticated restaurants. Merriman’s in Kapalua has top-notch views, remarkably inventive seafood and a killer wine list, while the nearby Pineapple Grill sources 85 per cent of its menu from Hawaiian products. At Mama’s Fish House, you can find out what captain caught your fresh mahi mahi or ono, and where he caught it. It’s been a Maui favourite for decades, right on the beach near Paia..
5. On a budget? Try a mixed plate lunch. For the price of an appetizer at the upscale joints you’ll get a huge helping of shredded pork, plus two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, a bit of cole slaw and some poi (made from taro roots), because we all need a few more carbs at the end of the day. Not a fan? Go to Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaia for Kalua pig chunks served in a grilled cheese sandwich with gravy, then ride around the island four times on a bike to work off the calories.
6. Take the drive to the tiny village of Kipahulu, not far from Hana, and pay your respects to Charles Lindbergh. The famous aviator is buried next to a small church and lies a few meters from one of the most glorious coastal views in creation.
7. Take the kids on the Sugar Cane Train. There isn’t much sugar cane left in West Maui, but the train ride near Ka’anapali is always fun for youngsters. And most adults.
8. Shop your heart out. There are plenty of high-end options in Wailea or the more affordable Whalers Village in Ka’anapali. Lahaina has a great main street, with tons of galleries, t-shirt shops and jewelry shops.
9. Check out the small-town atmosphere of Wailuku. Market Street has a couple of fun and funky shops that are definitely worth a stop if you want something more “real” than the touristy parts of the island.
10. Ditch the city shoes and wear sandals for an entire week. But, please, and we can’t stress this enough, please don’t wear socks with your sandals. As a Hawaiian might say, “It’s a bad look, yeah?”
11. Check out the surfers and the windsurfers at Hookipa Beach near Wailuku. Incredible stuff.
12. Bike down a volcano. Numerous tour companies will take you high up the slopes of Haleakala (house of the sun) in a van and let you cycle down, past glorious views and several quaint communities.
13. Ride a zipline. Some operate upcountry on the slopes of Haleakala. There’s also one on West Maui in the hills above Ka’anapali.
14. Slurp on the sweetness of a shave ice, Hawaii’s version of a snow cone.
15. Grab a mask and snorkel and wade in. There’s great underwater scenery just a few metres from the beach at Kapalua and at La Perouse Bay, as well as the Olawalu reef near Lahaina.
16. Learn to surf. Try any of the schools in Lahaina, just try to avoid going at low tide so you don’t scrape any exposed bits on the reef.
17. Do the drive from Kapalua to Wailuku via the north coast, stopping at the blow hole to watch the water get pumped high into the air through a hole in the rocks.
18. Wander into Makawao and check out the Aloha Cowboy store, which has an ultra-sexy logo featuring a hula girl with a cowboy hat. Stop into Komoda’s for some Portuguese donuts.
19. Sample the wine (well, not the pineapple wine) at Ulapalakua. They make a very good merlot-syrah blend for about $15.
20. Swim in a waterfall pool on the way to Hana.
21. Connect with your inner Jimmy Buffett with a local beer and a burger at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Jimmy doesn’t have any connection to the place, but don’t let that stop you.
22. Check out the art on display at the Grand Wailea. It’s almost a museum of its own.
23. Hire a fishing guide and try to catch a wahoo or a giant swordfish.
24. Live the good life at Honua Kai, a new and quite plush resort on north Ka’anapali beach.
25. Try bodysurfing at Ka’anapali, Makena or Napili Beach. No equipment needed, but be careful with the big waves.
26. Buy a half-decent ukulele and stay at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel so you can get a lesson from Sam Ako. He’s wonderful. You can learn a few chords in a few minutes.
27. Take a day trip to Lanai or Molokai, Maui’s sister islands. Or book a room overnight.
28. It sounds touristy, but everything I read says the Old Lahaina Luau has fine music and dancing, plus great food.
29. Try a serving of poke, Hawaii’s version of ceviche (marinated fish). It’s out of this world.
30. Ditch the bacon and order some nicely spicy Portuguese sausage with your scrambled eggs.
31. Stop at the Wailua waterfall near Hamoa for a stunning view of nature’s power.
32. Stroll the historic streets of Lahaina, taking time to visit the Baldwin house occupied by missionaries and the nearby Ho Wing Temple, which illustrates Chinese life on Maui and also exhibits old Hawaiian films shot by a guy named Thomas Edison.
33. Stop at the Keanae peninsula for coconut or banana bread on your way to Hana and admire the taro patches and the pounding surf against the jet black lava rock.
34. Visit the Iao Valley, a beautiful nature spot where King Kamehameha slaughtered his Maui opponents in a fierce battle more than 200 years ago.
35. Swim naked at Little Makena Beach. Technically it’s illegal to sunbathe nude in Hawaii but nobody seems to mind.
36. Stop at Café Romantica in Nihiki for Hans Mayne’s incredible strudel-like dish with poached apples, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, raisins and macadamia nuts.
37. Snap a photo of the neon sign in Lahaina that says “Jesus Coming Soon.” It’s the sign the Eagles talked about in their sensational tune, “The Last Resort.”
38. Line up a Kapalua hills hike or learn about Hawaiian history through the various programs at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua.
39. Rent a condo with a barbeque and grill your own steaks by the water as the sun goes down. It’s considered rude to do this without a drink in your hand, preferably something with rum.
40. Take an outrigger ride early in the morning in Kihei with Kimokeo Kapahulehua. You’ll be happy you did, and you’ll learn a lot about Hawaiian culture.
41. Visiting in October? Check out Halloween night in Lahaina, where almost anything goes in terms of costumes. They say there’s a budding Halloweeen show down in Paia, too.
42. Raining? It happens from time to time. If so, take the kids to the Aquarium at Maalea.
43. Get some Spam musubi; a serving of sushi-style rice with Spam on top, wrapped in a band of seaweed. It’s an acquired taste, but they still love their Spam in Hawaii.
44. Check out the Maui Tropical Plantation near Wailuku. There’s a tram ride kids will enjoy, plus it’s a working plantation with lots of beautiful fruit trees and other plants. There also are gardens on the road to Hana, including the Garden of Eden.
45. Explore the caves and the black sand beach at Wainapanapa park, near Hana.
46. Go parasailing. It’s silent and eerie and thrilling, and the views are simply magnificent.
47. Rent a kayak and explore the coast. Best done in the morning, especially down in Kihei, where it gets windy later in the day.
48. Walk the beach. Makena is a particularly long, glorious bit of sand. Ditto for Ka’aanapali.
49. Catch one of the slack key guitar concerts held at the Napili Kai Beach Resort on Wednesday nights. Grammy Award winner George Kohamoku Jr. leads the way. There’s also a monthly show at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului.
50. Buy a Hawaiian shirt. Come on, you know you love them. Really? Okay, then send one for me.