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EasternSon
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Who's Been To Maui?

Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:11 pm

Hello All,

On a whim, I cashed in a chunk of Mileage Plus miles for two round-trip, first class tickets to Maui for me and my wife.

We'll be heading there in March of next year, and since we booked without thinking about it too much, we didn't do a lot of research about the island.

Has anyone here ever been? Is there anything I shouldn't miss?

My wife and I will likely try paddle boarding, take some surfing lessons (which we try every beach vacation), do some hiking, do a luau, and a helicopter tour.

Is there anything else we should put on the list? Any insights on vacationing there?

Looks like we're staying at the Royal Lahaina Resort on the West side of the island. Oh, and we're renting a car.

Thanks for your thoughts!
"The only people for me are the mad ones...." Jack Kerouac
 
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Tugger
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:33 pm

Been there, in that area (but rented a condo) and had a blast. Don't have much time to comment now but I will to this:

Quoting EasternSon (Thread starter):
Oh, and we're renting a car.

If you are going to drive to Hana and around the island then rent the convertible. Bite the bullet, I know it is almost double, and just do it.

While you can't and don't want to drive the highway with the top down and the blazing sun can be tough sometimes, if you are just driving in the slower parts and enjoying yourselves seeing things, there is nothing like seeing everything all around you. Also we discovered that for a notorious drive like the road to Hana or going up to see Haleakala, it can help relieve the car sickness some people feel (my wife experiences it), we think it is because you are out in the open so the twisting view isn't as bad. And I know we were not supposed to do it but we ended up circumnavigating the entire island, and it was a blast and beautiful. It turned the driving into another part of the experience, we put the top down, slowed down, and just enjoyed.

Tugg
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PacNWjet
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:34 pm

Go Snorkeling.

Take a whale watching cruise.

Go to the summit of Haleakala.

Drive the road to Hana.

Visit the Maui Ocean Center (a very good aquarium with indoor and outdoor exhibits).

Have a fancy dinner (there are numerous fine dining establishments on Maui).

Visit Iao Valley and Iao Needle.

Go window shopping in Lahaina.
 
aerobalance
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:35 pm

Maui no ka oi!

All of the above, enjoy and relax. Personaly, it's snorkelling near Lahaina and golfing. Enjoy the sunlight and weather.
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EasternSon
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:42 pm

Thanks to each of you.

Snorkeling will be included in the paddle boarding tour we do, I think. We've snorkeled just about every beach vacation we've taken. Aruba, Curacao, Bermuda, Tahiti, etc. My wife doesn't enjoy it as much as I do because she's uncomfortable in the water, but she does it because she knows I love it.

I'd love to play golf, but on a six day vacation, taking an afternoon away from the wife seems counter-intuitive to the point of the vacation.

I've heard the Road to Hana isn't that great of a thing to do. People say it takes all day, and isn't really all that interesting. Should we pass?

Are there things to do in the Iao Valley and at the Needle? Or is it more just a natural/beautiful/see the majestic beauty of Maui location?

We enjoy natural beauty, don't get me wrong, but like the adventure to go along with it.

Thanks!
"The only people for me are the mad ones...." Jack Kerouac
 
daviation
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:37 pm

EasternSon - there is a fantastic golf course (Kapalua Golf Course) directly opposite the Napili Beach Resort. It is not far up the road from your quarters at Lahaina.

I think the Road to Hana was fabulous, but I took a guided tour. When I saw the road itself, I didn't think I could drive it; at any rate, I didn't think I'd enjoy it or see very much since my eyes would be glued to the road. It's really very worthwhile. If your level of adventure is high, then go ahead and drive yourself! I'm sure you'll love it. Don't forget to buy some fresh banana bread at one of the road stands.

I thought Haleakala was very worthwhile too, but it is just nature/beauty. Ditto for the Iao Valley. Breathtakingly beautiful, but not much to do.

I can recommend Star Noodle, the best restaurant I experienced on Maui, and close to Lahaina. You need reservations.
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TWA772LR
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:17 pm

Rent a jeep wrangler. Nothing like driving around Hawaii in one of those. There is a company, I forget the name, that does snorkeling trips off Lanai but you board in Maui. You said your wife doesn't enjoy snorkeling that much, but the fresh pineapple sliced of the vine and homemade banana bread they serve can't be beat. Also, they give you drinks! Watch out for the fast food places, they are outrageously expensive (as compared to the mainland US).
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Jetsgo
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:39 am

I highly recommend you check out VRBO for condos as opposed to settling on a hotel, especially the Royal Lahaina. This doesn't mean it's a bad hotel, but for that price you can usually get an ocean view or sometimes an ocean front condo. We're going for a week in January and staying in a 3/3 ocean view condo at Aston Papakea for $395/night.

As for things to do, Haleakala is a must. On a good day you can see Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island. Consider doing the bike tour where they shuttle you to the top and you ride down hill the 23 miles. Absolutely fantastic and requires little to no physical effort - we're certainly not athletes that could normally ride 23 miles. Also, if you decide on a luau, the Old Lahaina Luau is the best by far. Pricey, but it's second to none. I found the helicopter ride better suited for Kauai, however if you don't see yourself ever visiting there I'd say go for it in Maui then.

Below is a link to Maui Revealed, a very detailed and informative guide book that everyone should have when visiting the islands. The few bucks it costs is peanuts compared to what you're spending just to be there, so why not make sure you're doing it right?

http://www.amazon.com/Maui-Revealed-...e-Ultimate-Guidebook/dp/0983888736

We go to Maui just about every winter so feel free to PM me with any further/detailed questions.
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EA CO AS
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:39 am

Quoting EasternSon (Reply 4):
I've heard the Road to Hana isn't that great of a thing to do. People say it takes all day, and isn't really all that interesting. Should we pass?

I've never done it, but common sense always tells me a day at the beach and/or snorkeling is always better than a day spent in a car. Been to Maui several times now and each time Hana is suggested to me, I always end up thinking the beach sounds like a far better use of my vacation time.
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KaiGywer
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:20 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 1):
If you are going to drive to Hana and around the island then rent the convertible. Bite the bullet, I know it is almost double, and just do it.

Not sure if we got lucky or what, but we ordered a midsize car, since as you say, a convertible was twice the cost. When we went to get our car, they offered to upgrade our car to a convertible for $8/day. Yes please!

Quoting PacNWJet (Reply 2):
Go Snorkeling.

Agreed. I forgot the name, but there is a half submerged crater west of Maui.

Quoting daviation (Reply 5):
Don't forget to buy some fresh banana bread at one of the road stands.

And fresh pineapple.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 8):
I've never done it, but common sense always tells me a day at the beach and/or snorkeling is always better than a day spent in a car. Been to Maui several times now and each time Hana is suggested to me, I always end up thinking the beach sounds like a far better use of my vacation time.

We drove to Hana and back (couldn't circumvent the island at the time due to the road being closed). There are so many places to stop along the way, including a waterfall with a small lake below where you can go swim. I loved that day.
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flybaurlax
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:45 pm

I think dedicating a day to drive around the complete island (as much as you can) is definitely worthwhile. We drove all the way around the west and north end from Lahaina up and around then down to Kahului, then down to Hana, and up around the other other side. It takes pretty much the whole day, but it's a blast. If you don't like to drive, or aren't an experienced driver in winding roads along cliff sides, then maybe it's not for you.

If you go early in the morning, La Perouse Bay is where the spinner dolphins rest. It's beautiful just to see the volcanic area.

If you go snorkeling, this is one of the best places to go on Maui. http://goo.gl/maps/iBRha. Otherwise Honalua bay west/north of Lahaina is beautiful too.

Quoting PacNWJet (Reply 2):
Go to the summit of Haleakala.

  

Hike along the Iao Stream in the Iao Valley State Park.

I have been to Maui many times just for the weekend, and I try to do something different every time. All of the above have proven to be amazing.
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Tugger
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:43 pm

Quoting Jetsgo (Reply 7):
I highly recommend you check out VRBO for condos as opposed to settling on a hotel,

  
That's what we did, a nice two bedroom place the other side of Honokowai Beach Park from where you are going to be. I really like the area.

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 9):
Not sure if we got lucky or what, but we ordered a midsize car, since as you say, a convertible was twice the cost. When we went to get our car, they offered to upgrade our car to a convertible for $8/day. Yes please!

And it was worth it wasn't it? I think we paid somewhere around $65-70 a day when all the fees and taxes were added. Not horrible in my book but I started out with a nice enough car that would fit us all and our luggage that was around $40 a day. And I will point out that people should remember that luggage part especially with a convertible. We were a family of four and had the ubiquitous Mustang convertible and our luggage and bodies filled that car up for the drive to our condo, most was in the trunk but one bag went between the kids in the back and a small one under my wife's legs. Of course that was just for the drive to and from the airport, the rest of the time everything was fine but it is something to remember with a convertible.

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 9):
Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 8):
I've never done it, but common sense always tells me a day at the beach and/or snorkeling is always better than a day spent in a car. Been to Maui several times now and each time Hana is suggested to me, I always end up thinking the beach sounds like a far better use of my vacation time.

We drove to Hana and back (couldn't circumvent the island at the time due to the road being closed). There are so many places to stop along the way, including a waterfall with a small lake below where you can go swim. I loved that day.

The thing to remember is to just slow down and make the drive and the sights along the way be the event. It is a beautiful drive, with lots of places to go to along the way, from waterfalls, to beaches, to a pretty neat and quaint Pi'ilanihale Heiau Kahanu Gardens, to just anywhere you see along the way that looks interesting and has a place to park. We decided to stay overnight in Hana just so we could go slow and explore. Anytime someone came up behind me I would pull over the first chance and let them go on as we weren't in a rush, we weren't trying to get to Hana, we were driving "The Road to Hana". I think it took us about eight hours to do the drive. And we did learn that Hana is nothing to get excited about (and quite frankly the locals really aren't too excited about all the tourists that show up daily), it is small and doesn't have an awful lot to do really, they don't even have many good places to eat (just one or two really). But it is pretty enough and the place we stayed was right on the water and it was nice.

The next day we thought about going the way we came but we had the whole day ahead of us so we instead did what the rental car company said we were not allowed to do and went south around Maui's windward side. Narrow road, sometimes really bumpy, and needs to be done slow, oh and make sure you are OK on gas as there is none along the way (it's not that far a distance of a drive but cell coverage is limited if any and it just isn't traveled that much). But the drive is beautiful and again there are places to stop and swim and explore.

And speaking of drives rental companies often say you aren't allowed to do, I also recommend driving the north leeward drive as well. Again the road ain't all that great and it is narrow in many places, but he view and the drive is beautiful with fresh food stands to stop at and places to explore. We circumnavigated the entire island.

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
There are many kinds of sentences that we think state facts about the world but that are really just expressions of our attitudes. - F. Ramsey
 
wingman
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:52 pm

The crater is Molokini and I think it's on the southwestern section off of Makena, some of the best diving in the world in my opinion and I'm sure the snorkeling is also quite good. If you dive check to see if B&B is still operating, those guys leave the Makena dock at 5 AM and were always the first onsite at the crater. You'll be wrapping up the big first dive just as the flotilla of tourists arrive from Lahaina. There's nothing quite like a dive that starts with the sunrise and you're the first in. All you can hear in the winter months is whale-song.

Agree with everyone else's recommendations but would also add some more options:

Near Kihei is Kamaole Beach State Park, a very nice a secluded beach with 10X fewer tourists than Lahaina beaches.

Don't skip the road to Hana, like the Big Island this side is where all the greenery is. The west side is dry as a bone. And you should add stops at the bluffs where they surf Jaws (you might get lucky and catch some 12+ footers rolling in).

Last, on the way back from Hana stop at Mama's Fish House for dinner. If you're going to blow your wad on one expensive romantic dinner, make this the place. It's overpriced but you can't really put a price on the setting. Your wife will be very happy with this choice, trust me.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:59 pm

Two things:

1) Snorkeling with the Pacific Whale Foundation. A nonprofit conservation group that runs AWESOME tours.

2) Star Noodle in Lahaina. Srsly. You don't want to miss it.
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PacNWjet
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:05 pm

Quoting wingman (Reply 12):
Last, on the way back from Hana stop at Mama's Fish House for dinner. If you're going to blow your wad on one expensive romantic dinner, make this the place. It's overpriced but you can't really put a price on the setting. Your wife will be very happy with this choice, trust me.

  

Agreed. The food is outstanding but even with the warning be prepared for sticker shock. My wife and I went there with her parents who took us to Maui for the week. My in-laws paid for most meals so my wife and I treated them for lunch at Mama's Fish House. That one meal probably equaled the amount of money my wife's parents spent on all our other lunches combined. You won't find any fresher seafood unless you caught it yourself. The fish are all caught that morning and the menu lists the boat that hauled it in. Absolutely amazing seafood preparation.
 
EasternSon
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RE: Who's Been To Maui?

Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:48 pm

Wow, awesome advice all around, and it is greatly, greatly appreciated!

With regard to the Road to Hana, my wife doesn't do well in cars. She gets really anxious and nervous on bad roads. I see it being nothing more than a day of her clutching the dashboard and yelping with every treacherous turn. Which, unfortunately, makes me incredibly nervous, and would take all the fun out of the day.

We looked into VRBO, and unfortunately, a lot of the places we liked were much more expensive than the resort price we got (only about $250 a night for a standard room which we don't plan on spending any time in), or were booked for the week we're going. VRBO was my first thought, but given the price, and the fact that there are restaurants, a concierge and breakfast at the resort, we opted for a (little) bit of luxury.

Snorkeling is a must for me, so thanks much for the recommendation about the crater.

For the car, we just rented a midsize. I didn't opt for the convertible, but that may change when we get there. Again, we don't plan on spending a ton of time driving around the island, and the extra expense didn't seem worth it.

Hiking Haleakala and Iao will definitely be on the agenda. Are there guided tours, or do we just drive up and hop out of the car?
"The only people for me are the mad ones...." Jack Kerouac

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