What Am I Missing in Maui?

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My husband and I are coming up on our 5th anniversary trip to Maui.  This will be his first trip to Hawaii, so I’m hoping he enjoys it as much as I have on prior trips…especially since if he doesn’t it will be almost impossible to return thanks to the pretty long flight!


As usual, the trip is shorter than I wish it was, so we won’t get a chance to do anything and everything there is on Maui, but I want to make sure we aren’t missing any seriously “must do” Maui things.  I have been to Maui before, but it was a for an even shorter visit, and to a different part of the island than this time.  This time, we hope to be at the new Andaz shortly after it opens (assuming the Sept 1 date sticks, which seems likely), so we will be in Wailea as opposed to my last trip in Lahaina.

So far things in strong contention on the list are:

  • Mama’s Fish House
  • Monkeypod
  • Sunrise from Haleakala
  • Spa time (likely trying out the Omakase at the Andaz)
  • Lay by the pool time
  • Stare at the ocean time

My husband is also partial to doing something like an ATV tour, so that is a potential activity, but frankly I’m partial to being a little lazy on this trip.

I would love to hear if there are some “Maui must do” things we are missing, especially if they are in or near the Wailea area.  Also, if you have any advice on the things already on our list, that would be great, too.  You guys were fantastic with Kauai recommendations, so thanks in advance for the Maui tips!  I am very excited for this trip and looking forward to trying out the new Andaz…and of course sharing all the details here.

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  1. If you have a spare day, try to drive the “Road to Hana”, one of the most beautiful drives anywhere, there’s like a waterfall at each turn.

  2. Tasaka’s Guri Guri

    Surf at “Jaws” ;o)

    Bike ride at Haleakala

    Snorkel/scuba at Molokini

    Swim with the manta rays

  3. Hopefully, you will be able to lie on a beautiful beach by the ocean rather than by a pool, which you could do anywhere. Just sayin’. These are some of my favorite things to do on Maui, besides lie on the beach and watch a sunrise from Haleakala : a luau! (some are better than others, so ask around or ask the concierge); helicopter tour; road to Hana and black sand beach at Hana; whale watch cruise, if they are there; enjoy the fresh pineapple and seafood… Hope you have a wonderful time!

  4. Since you are staying on that part of the island you could experience a more, um, shall we say “natural” experience at the unofficial but widely used clothing optional beach at makena (little beach” just a few minutes drive away!

  5. Snorkel and swim with the sea turtles (rent your equipment first day (snorkel bob’s etc.) and keep for the week/days you are there in your car).
    There is a petroglyph trail behind Leodas (if you go there)
    Go to a farmer’s market and sample/buy local produce, meet the locals too.

  6. For how many days will you be there exactly? Definitely do sunrise at Haleakala at least once in your life. Since you will be up early, and on that part of the island, on the way back from Haleakala, instead of returning to Wailea, take the road to Hana – another thing you must do at least once in your life. True to the adage, “it’s the journey, not the destination” that’s important here – lots of waterfalls to see along the way, and just a spectacular drive, assuming the weather cooperates. After you get to Hana, you can continue along the “back side” of Haleakala – I believe it’s now a paved highway, but back in 1996, it was a rocky, unpaved road that the rental car agencies said you can’t drive – oops, we did 🙂 Then, again, along the way back to Wailea after driving the back side of the volcano, if you have time, and if the winery is still open for tasting, stop at Tedeschi Vineyards in Ulupalakua. This is a full day itinerary, but doable *as long as little C isn’t with you* since if C is with you, she [s]might[/s] will get cranky after a long day! Enjoy!

  7. I second what jetsetr above says. Haleakala at sunrise and then road to Hana when you come back down. Beautiful scenery . It’s a must do.

  8. Definitely Mama’s Fish House.

    Snorkeling around Wailea is fantastic; we had a great kayak/snorkel tour with Hawaiian Paddle Sports. There is also good snorkeling right off the beach near the Grand Wailea. Molokini Crater has very good snorkeling and diving but can get crowded.

    Road to Hana is good but plan for a full-day trip from Wailea and start early to avoid traffic. It’s even more fun if you can get a sporty rental car (lots of curves and 90+ one-lane bridges). It’s a good trip to do when the little one isn’t along since it’s a long day of driving for a toddler.

    Haleakala sunrise bike trip was a letdown for us; not worth the 2:30 a.m. pickup time (might be worth it if you’re just driving up and can leave a bit later though).

    I second the Maui Revealed book; it also exists as an app with all the info in the book.

  9. After just moving away after living there five years and in Hawaii for ten, I’ll give it to you straight…

    Skip Mamas. Seriously, it’s great food but WAY overpriced. If you insist on following the crowd, do it for lunch to fill your tummies at half the dinner cost. And if you do go there, at least bring your suit and dip in the pools right there beachside – much more of an experience than just looking at it from the restaurant.

    On that note, I would walk along the perimeter of some of those cane fields right across the highway. Nobody will chase you out, but do it for a half hour before your swim before your lunch and you’ll get a much greater appreciation of sugar and its source.

    Definitely do #2. It’s also expensive, but way better value for the dollar. Plus, people don’t go there, often, unless staying at the Grand Wailea. Be prepared to drop $150 and make a reservation.

    Also definitely consider #7. It’s not so much about the clothing option side of things as it is – hey, how often can you actually swim naked in warm, clear water, in a safe, mutually-inclined environment? Sure, there will be folks playing frisbee or walking the beach in the nude, but we’re all God’s creatures, right! Seriously, you’ll love it – break some personal barriers.

    I would skip Hana. A lovely trip, but unless you both really, really want to dedicate a day in the car with lots of ins and outs, skip.

    Star Noodle is good, so maybe if you do want to hit a/the only Top Chef contestant restaurant in Hawaii. Order a few dishes. Gary (VFTW) recently posted on this and if you do go I would follow in his footsteps by ordering lots of dishes.

    Honolua Bay is quite nice…tie it into the Star Noodle trek. A short little tramp through the forest leads you to a really pristine, clear water bay. Good for snorkeling and swimming.

    Perhaps add a visit to Maui Brewing Company (in Kahala). Seriously yummy rotating micro-brews on tap. Food, eh. If they have the Double Overhead IPA, do not hesitate to order one of those instantaneously!

    I completely concur with folks that a Haleakala experience should be on the list. I would suggest the sunset, as this allows you to do a short little hike beforehand and have dinner on the backend – granted, sunset time is late. Sunrise is super nice too, it’s just cold. Truly. I’ve done both, many times. The sunset scenario offers greater potential because you have the whole day beforehand to maximize as well – just make it an active day and let a pool day at the Andaz follow.

    For kix I would suggest trying the Elk Burger at the Ulupalakua General Store – 100% million dollar grass fed views for those precious elk. Might as well do the vineyard while you’re across the street!

    Also think about walking a bit of the King’s Trail (from La Peruse to Kanaio Beach). It’s all lava, only 2 miles (go early in the am) and “raw.”

    Lastly, make sure you do eat a bit of local food. If you see some roadside poi – go for it!

    Have fun! I have my Andaz Hyatt two free night coming up in November and am uber excited to have that new hotel for 36 hours!

  10. I can second sunrise from Mt Haleakala:


    But I’D also suggest checking out Lanai Garden of the Gods and Shipwrecked beach. It’s only a short ferry ride.


    Whatever you do, get off the resort (except for the Hyatt Diamond Breakfast), even though it’s a new one, you’ll be surprised by the activities you can find.

  11. Don’t know much about geology,
    don’t know much about Hawaiianography,
    but I would check out the HUKILAU CAFE and see if Lucy and Henry are still showing up there every day. You might hit the 3500 First Date.

  12. @Cindy Star Noodle is really excellent, but it’s a really good drive to Lahaina. The key I think is to call ahead before you leave Wailea, drive, and have a shortened wait 🙂

    @Mommy Points – jealous you get to try the Andaz before I do! Who’d have thunk it?

  13. One of our favorite beaches is Po o’ lena lena. It is in the Wailea area and usually has great waves for boogie boarding. Also, if you get up to Lahaina, we recommend going to Warren and Annabelle’s for a fun night of entertainment. They do an amazing slight of hand magic show. I am not normally into magic but what they do is amazing!

  14. These are great suggestions. My wife and I will be at the Andaz too starting on September 6 before moving over to the Westin Maui. All on points of course!

  15. Oh no, after many trips to Maui, I would hate for you to spend a short trip being constantly on the run with little time for finding the relaxation and aloha Maui is famous for. The Road to Hana CAN be interesting but is also called by some the Road to Divorce with its extremely long time commitment and incredibly winding roads. Haleakala, if you choose to do it, can also be done at sunset so as not to have to get up at 3 a.m. The bike trip down is considered too dangerous for most. With a short trip, I’d never do both Hana and Haleakala and possibly neither. What we love: Snorkel from shore (Kapalua north of Kaanapali would be perfect in Sept. and also puts you next to the Coastal Trail–a lovely way to take a walk.) Eat breakfast up there at the Gazebo–get macadamia nut, pineapple, and banana pancakes while hubby gets fried rice and share. May be a wait but fun to visit others in line. Staying in such a new special hotel you’ll want to maximize your time there. Little trips off-campus mixed with lots of resort time will make a perfect trip.

  16. All the suggestions above are great. My two cents:

    The Road to Hana is a must and if it hasn’t rained in a bit and/or you have a Jeep, it’s fun to continue on past Hana and return via the backside of the volcano. Turning around in Hana and driving right back is kinda a drag. If you go around though, you can stop at the Tedeschi winery and in the upcountry paniolo (cowboy) town of Makawao, for a taste of a different Maui. The road is generally in good condition but is gravel part of the way and has many sections when it is not quite wide enough to let two cars go past each other.

    And, as others have suggested, you can combine it with the Haleakalaa sunrise (though amazing, it is, in the end, a sunrise, which I am sure you’ve seen before, so I am not convinced you would want to wake up at 2:30 am on a short vacation to see it). As to the bike ride, I bike hundreds of miles a week but I would forego the bike ride down the volcano – it’s a white-knuckle descent and you won’t see much since you will be watching where you are going.

    I would do Mama’s Fish House for dinner before your flight if you are taking a red-eye, as this leaves a fantastic memory/taste of your vacation for the long flight home (though I suspect you’d go there for your anniversary dinner). Either way, make a reservation!

    There is a paved path between the resorts in Wailea that you might enjoy jogging/walking on in the morning – and you’ll probably be awake pretty early due to the time difference.

    If you like snorkeling, get Snorkel Maui book. But for sure, get Maui Revealed. It is fantastic and it does have a list of great snorkeling sites, though it’s not as extensive in that regard as Snorkel Maui.

  17. The Road to Hana is definitely a huge highlight of Maui. You can actually circle the east side of the island going by that road and it’s actually even easier to go there from Wailea than it is from Ka’anapali or Lahaina. It does require a full day, though.

    If you do go to a luau, I’d recommend the Old Lahaina Luau. I did quite a bit of research on this when I went and it’s the most authentic. But I really love Polynesian drum dancing so that was super entertaining for me!


  19. Check out Tedeschi Winery, which isn’t too far from Wailea. Even more than the wine itself, the views on the drive to the vineyard are amazing. There are also some nice local cafes in the area.

    Of course Makena beach…

  20. Loving all the suggestions. Just about spit out my tea when I read “Road to Hana” can be the “Road to Divorce”! I don’t think we will have a full day to do that on this trip, but I do hope to do it when we spend a longer time in Maui (assuming I can get Josh to understand why Hawaii is worth the long flight). Hope to do Haleakala though waking up that early sounds…fun? Isn’t as painful early in the trip with the time change though. Will be doing some surf lessons on Oahu before heading to Maui.

    Also love all the suggestions to not do too much and relax – that is probably the #1 goal above all else…though I sit still for long periods of time about as well as jumping jack.

    Dad, I’ll keep an eye out for “Lucy” for ya. 😉

    As much as Little C would love a return trip to Hawaii, she will be with the grandparents while we are on this anniversary adventure.

    Getting even more excited for the trip reading everyone’s suggestions!

  21. While the road to Hana is fascinating, I’d recommend *not* driving the other direction, north of Lahaina and around the island towards the airport. That road becomes slightly less than one lane wide with cliff on one side and dropoff several hundred feet on the other. It’s a total lose-lose if you meet somebody, as one of you has to back up. And that person needs to then try again. It *SUCKS*. Oh yes – the cliff that goes up rains rocks.

    Also, remember that your rental car will have fine print saying “no unpaved roads”. Not that I ever ignored that clause 🙂

  22. Oh yes – I was going to say that sunrise or not, driving to the top of Haleakala is magical. Well worth the time. If you’re going to drive up for sunrise, leave extra time. There are parts of that road where you don’t want to be driving quickly.

  23. The Road to Hana is fine for the passenger but no fun for the driver.

    The General Store at Ma’alaea Harbor is a great place for lunch…great fish sandwiches.

    I emailed a former coworker when we were there for her recommendations (she’s been going every year for the last 20 years) and here is what she said:

    These places are in Kihei which is just up the road
    Café O’Lei Kihei
    2439 South Kihei Road
    Kihei, HI 96753-7288
    (808) 891-1368
    A reasonably priced place to have a very nice dinner.

    Eskimo Candy
    2665 Wai Wai Pl
    Kihei, HI 96753-8178
    (808) 879-5686
    Very casual. Picnic tables outside

    Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar
    1881 S Kihei Rd # Kt116
    Kihei, HI 96753-7924
    (808) 879-0004

  24. Seconding the recommendation to snorkel at Molokini (and then off Wailea with sea turtles). The Trilogy boat cruise, while not cheap, is a nice combination of lazy and active. Two meals covered, beautiful views, and a great activity.

  25. As some others suggested, Mama’s is a perfect place to eat before you head back home. Leave some extra time to savor the atmosphere. Yes, it is overpriced, but the service is terrific and every bite is delicious. If you’re planning on doing some spa time, consider the Grand Wailea Spa. If you mention you’d like to book the Hawaiian Airlines Honu magazine deal, you get an hour to use the spa and the different baths and plunges are amazing! You also get an exfoliation, a couples massage, and lunch at your choice of restaurants for roughly $300 for two people. They accept SpaFinder gift cards as well, so you can save by getting them at Costco and then using them there for the reduced package price. So relaxing! We also did Haleakala sunrise on our first morning (so waking up at 2 am was like waking up at 7 in Texas and didn’t really hurt) but plan for cold. Take every blanket and a hat and gloves,fleece and shoes other than flip flops because it is so so cold. It is pretty special though. Hope you have a great time!!!

  26. Just got back in July from our 4th trip. My fav spa is Grand Wailea. I enjoy the multiple spa tubs, pre-massage. Then sitting on the best balcony in Wailea before/after massage. Also enjoy floating in the ocean at sunset & watching the sun drift below the horizon while in the water. We just like to be lazy in Maui since we both work 24/7 on the mainland. 🙂

  27. Skip the drive to Hana for sure! Drive 10 miles in, you’ll get to see what the whole drive looks like and you won’t waste a whole day in the car getting car sick because of the windy turns and 10 mph traffic.

  28. #1 Road to Hana

    #2 Road to Hana

    #3 Road to Hana

    tip-Very often there’s fog in the volcano crater and you can’t see much.

  29. Haleakala and Mama’s for sure. We also like breakfast at Longhi’s in Lahaina. Good prices (at least for Maui) and the quiches and other baked items are always great. Also, check out Gary’s review of Star Noodle. Booze cruise is always fun, too.

  30. We were just in Maui at the beginning of July and stayed at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas with our 2 pre-school daughters. Here is what I would recommend: Your flight will probably arrive in the late afternoon/evening. I would suggest that you stay at the Courtyard by Marriott next to the airport for 1 night. Why? Due to jet lag, you will most likely wake up early in the morning – perfect for seeing the sunrise on Haleakala. When you land, pickup your rental car (we asked for full size and got a Volkswagen CC! It was great for road to Hana!). Get some dinner, check into the CY and crash. Wake up early and go see the sunrise on Haleakala (which is a much shorter drive from the airport than it would be from Lahaina). After your sunrise, grab breakfast and drive the road to Hana. Because you will be getting an early start, you will beat the traffic and the idiots stopping in the middle of a curvy road to snap a picture. Next tip, spend 1 night in Hana. That way, you can enjoy the road and scenic stops without feeling rushed – but only do half of the stops (save some stops for the return trip). When you arrive in Hana, have dinner somewhere (the Hana Ranch has some decent burgers and a happy hour). Spend the night, then wake up to drive east a few miles to the “Seven Sacred Pools”. Take a dip, snap some nice pictures, and then start your drive back on the “road to Hana” to Lahaina. If your travel time matches ours, you will be rolling by Mama’s Fish House around 3-4PM. To be clear – this is a splurge – food/drinks are pricey but very good. Try to get a table next to the beach (and if you tell them you are celebrating your 5th anniversary, they will try to accommodate). Leave Mama’s and go check into your hotel in Lahaina. Bring your snorkel gear, there is surprisingly good snorkeling off many of the hotel beaches. Two other restaurants we enjoyed: Leilani’s on the beach in Whaler’s Village and this place called “Lulu’s” in the Cannery Mall (good food and brews on draft, prices were reasonable). As far as activities, we took surfing lessons for the first time with Maui Waveriders and that was definitely one of our highlights for the whole trip. All of us were able to ride several waves, my 3 and 5-year old girls totally looked liked naturals!

  31. Forgot to mention that there is a great app for iPhone/Android that gives commentary to Haleakala and Road to Hana (those two are sold separately or you can just buy Maui for the whole island). We bought the Maui app and liked it a lot (sync your bluetooth phone with the car so you can hear the commentary through the stereo). See http://www.gypsyguide.com/apps/Maui.php

  32. +1 on Leoda’s.

    Check out the ziplining adventures. As far as the Andaz, the Sept 1 date is sticking. I just got my invite to the opening ceremony and I’ll be writing a post and taking a walk through snapping shots at the official “opening.”

  33. Just got back from Maui in late July and stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Lahaina. I wish we could’ve pushed the trip later to go to the Andaz, but our dates didn’t line up. Definitely do Haleakala early in your trip so the early wake up isn’t so bad, you’ll want to leave by 2:30am. We did the Road to Hana right afterwards and stayed in Hana that night. I don’t think there are any reward redeeming hotels in Hana, so it’ll be out of pocket but it beats making the return trip and getting back later that evening. And, do the south side of Hana Highway, it really isn’t a bad drive and is much less crowded. We also did a Helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian tours and it was great. We did a snorkel tour out to Turtle Town, which was awesome to see the turtles, but Molokini wasn’t that spectacular after snorkeling in the Caribbean. Have a great time!

  34. So many recommendations here! How wonderful. I just want to add this regarding the Road to Hana. I’ve been going to Maui and Kauai regularly since 1985. On my first trip to Maui, hubby and I did the Road to Hana. With the nearly thirty years of HI memories accumulated since, guess which one still sticks out in our minds! Yup, the Road to Hana day. Go! Maybe you’ll only go once in your life, but please make it part of your life.

  35. My best tip would be to go to Costco upon landing and buy spafinder gift cards to be used at the Grand Wailea. You can get $100 worth for $80. Then, find someone who will ‘buddy’ up with you so you can do the Hawaiian Airlines special at the Spa Grande in the Grand Wailea Hotel. It is normally $298 for two people. With that, you BOTH get an hour in the Terme area before your massage enjoying ‘the waters’, a papaya body scrub, 50-minute massage, and lunch at the Molokai Bistro at the Grand Wailea. It is the nicest spa on the island in my opinion and the costco-purchased spafinder money essentially pays for your 20% tip!

    Do book early and ask for a more ‘seasoned’ massage person as the treatment rooms may be assigned by seniority and some of the rooms have exquisite views!

  36. Also – it by chance your booking miles for your airfare and you end up with a single night to stay somewhere – a first night on Maui stay at the Inn at Mama’s Fish House can be a great intro to island life. Nore what connections you find from where you live but if you land mid-afternoon, pick up your car rentalo and drive over to Ho’okipa Beach to watch the windsurfers, maybe find some shave ice somewhere, then check-in at The Inn at Mama’s Fish House. Have a nice meal at Mama’s that evening, maybe poke around Paia Town. In the morning, e
    enjoy the solitude on the little beach in front of your unit before packing up and having breakfast in Paia at Charley’s. Then swing by costco when the open while enroute to Wailea!

    Man I love Maui.

  37. Last thing – so sorry for the multiples…

    PERFECT ADVICE! – Due to jet lag, you will most likely wake up early in the morning on your first day – perfect for seeing the sunrise on Haleakala. If you plan on doing sunrise up there – do it on the first day.

    We have been to Maui around 20 times and I have been up to Haleakala 5 or 6 times, never at sunrise and it is spectacular any time of day. The last time we were there we enjoyed a guided cart tour of the lavender farm up in Kula. The advantage of doing the cart tour is that they often cut flowers for you and make it into a beautiful bouquet for you that you can take back to your room to enjoy. We toured the farm on one of our last days while there this May and we brought the flowers home in our carry on and enjoyed them for a few weeks. Lots of Protea’s and other tropical flowers up there.

  38. To echo what others have said, The Road to Hana is a really fun, winding road to drive. The black sand beach (just before Hana) was our favorite.

    The sunrise atop Haleakala is about as spectacular as sunrises get.


    We enjoyed a ride on the America II sailing yacht. Just don’t sit port forward (or do you want want a wet ride).

    The Nakalele Blowhole is fun if you have never been to a blowhole before…its a steep and dangerous climb.

  39. Sunrise at Haleakala is worth it…..but I’d pair it with a bike ride down the mountain from there too. I think the company we signed on with was the Haleakala Bike Company for the trip. They’ll even take you up the mountain for the sunrise before-hand. It was a memory my wife and I enjoyed very much.

    Also splurge a little and rent a Jeep or convertible instead of the standard economy car. We really enjoyed the open-top Jeep on the Road To Hana. Very fun!

  40. Maui Revealed is definitely the best guide book. I also highly recommend the hike along the King’s Highway mentioned earlier from La Perouse bay (it’s in the book). It is south from Wailea at the end of the road and is a ~2 hr hike each way across a “martian” lava landscape to a secluded beach oasis. We took the more coastal route on the way out (3 hrs) and the straight line route on the way back and it was awesome. You definitely need good shoes (we wore hiking boots) and lots of water and sunscreen but it is an amazing experience and a bit of an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

  41. Napili Beach is worth seeking out. The beach is reef protected so the sea is really calm for easy snorkling.

    In the Napili Beach area, Pineapple Grill at the Kapalua golf club is a nice place to eat casually outdoors.

  42. I will leave the activities to the other recommendations on this page. But would head to Makena, as its awesome and very secluded and relaxing. Stop at a local spot or even Safeway get some Poke and you are set for a day of R-n-R. I concur with #2, well worth it. I highly recommend Sarentos on the beach, http://sarentosonthebeach.com/
    call let them know its your anniversary and you want a table on the beach. It maybe the only restaurant where you are literally on the beach and the food is ourstanding. Mamas fish is good but very expensive, for what you get. Would eat just about anyplace in Paia, also good place to shop for groceries and such.

  43. Born and raised on Maui, and one of my all-time favorite places is Haleakala. It’s worth the drive, and the watching the sun come up from way up there (10,000+ feet) is unreal. One warning, though: you’ll have to wake up REALLY early for this.

    Oh, and you absolutely MUST go to Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice. There’s one near the airport…a perfect way to start your vacation. Seriously, this place has a cult following. You’ll see why.

  44. Hana was the highlight for me. To see the best of Maui (or anything in Hawaii), I highly recommend downloading the GyPSy Guides. Not sure if other formats exist, but we downloaded the iPhone version. They were fantastic!

  45. Seriously, skip Mamas Fish House. Your time will be better served at either Sansei Sushi, or better yet, Star Noodle in Lahaina. Both are so good and not to hard on the wallet. Star noodle gets really busy for lunch and dinner, so eat early or late to skip the crowds, or order to go! The Malasadas are a MUST and one order is just not enough. Snorkle up at Honolua Bay. It is a marine sanctuary that the charters take people to by boat, but it is 7 miles outside of Kaanapali. A very easy drive and a short walk to the water down a dirt road. Follow the rest of the people saving a few dollars doing it themselves. Skip Molokini. It is too expensive for what you get. After staying at the Westin Villas, I much prefer the reef of their beach. Plenty of sea life, turtles, and such without the crazy expenses.

  46. I’m on the yes side for Road to Hana. Surprised former locals haven’t suggested The Sly Mongoose dive bar in Lahaina. Diamond in the quite rough edges. Aloha Mixed Plate is good, too. Aloha and enjoy your vacation! 🙂

  47. I second the one vote (that I noticed) for Ululani’s Shave Ice. You really must add that to your list. We are addicted! Make sure you get the ice cream on the bottom, and my husband recommends the snow cap as well. My favorite flavors include lilikoi (always), peach, pineapple and passion orange. There’s a small shop near the airport or you can just make the short trip from your hotel to Kihei to visit the nice shop there. Don’t even bother with any of the other shave ice places. While in Kihei, I also recommend Coconuts for some really delicious fish tacos (very casual and no view, but nice and clean).

    We did Mama’s for lunch one year. It’s a really gorgeous setting, so I’d maybe go for that (go when it’s still light out), but honestly the food was just ok.

    Monkeypod is pretty good, but I’d definitely recommend going during happy hour because you’ll get such a better value and won’t feel so ripped off if you don’t like it (3-5:30pm and 9-11pm).

    I see you’re going to skip the Road to Hana this trip and I think that’s a good idea; wait and do that on a longer trip. I would suggest driving to Lahaina one afternoon or evening so your husband can experience the downtown area, plus I think it’s a nice ride. Star Noodle is in a really unromantic location, but the food is good. Otherwise, you’ll find tons of more visually appealing restaurant settings with nice food in Lahaina.


  48. As a local..i would suggest eating at spots that Locals would eat at…go to the Pukalani Market, Sam Satos, 808deli..go snorkeling at “fish bowl” near makena…

  49. Well, you didn’t say when you were going, but the Humpback Whales start arriving in mid November.

    I’ve been to Maui 55 to 60 times over the years since the first time in 1980. Always stay in a condo in Kihei, have have stayed on points at the Grand Wailea a couple nights.

    My suggestions are:
    Skip the Hana thing. The best part of Hana is the 10 miles or so past Hana, to O’heo Gulch. Then drive the back way back. Very passable and much shorter. A rental car will do it with ease. But for me, there isn’t enough rice on that island to get me to go there again. (Charles Lindbergh grave is just past O’heo Gulch, as is Sam Pryor’s).

    As stated by a few above, skip the dinner at MaMa’s. Way over priced, and very ‘touristy’. There are too many really good local places that serve fresh fish.

    And if you want it fresh, buy it at Costco, and grill your own one evening. Most of the fresh fish now comes from the Marshall Islands, not the Hawaiian Islands. Been over-fished for too many years.

    “Da Bride” likes the Spa at the Grand Wailea, kinda costly, (I’m told) but Costco has the Spa cards that can be bought either at your local Costco, or the Maui Costco, that provides a 20% or so discount. Can’t swear to it, but it might be usable at the Andez too. Ask b/f you buy and try.

    Some of the best snorkeling is past Little Beach, across the lava rocks, into a cove, but almost as good is the lava jetty between Kam 2 & 3. Lots of large Green Turtles there. Good for just watching from the Kam 3 beach/park, cold beer in hand, and a camera too.

    ATV? if that is really a must do, why not just rent a jeep for a day, and take it where “No tourist care to drive”.

    I try to get to Maui 3 times a year from home airport PIA. (October is only a month away) A long trip, a long day, especially on the outbound. But certainly worth it.

    Have a good time.

  50. I recommend Kihei Cafe for a really good and cheap breakfast. Especially if you’re on the go in the morning.

    Sunset at Haleakala is much easier as you don’t have to get up so early. It is just as pretty. You can explore Paia town beforehand, it’s on the way. Paia Fish Market has good food.

    Also, a quickie from where you’re at, drive down south from Wailea, past Makena (Big) beach, and keep going til the road ends in a gravel parking lot. You’ll drive through out-of-this-world lava fields and there is an easy hike into them at the end.

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