Enjoying Wailea Beyond the Doors of the Andaz Maui

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On our trip last month to Hawaii, we had very limited time on the ground, so we opted to do more relaxing and less exploring.  It is in my nature to go-go-go, but I almost always return home from trips exhausted because of that pace, and since this trip was an anniversary trip, we wanted to just chill…or at least do that to the extent that I could.  Because of that, we honestly didn’t do too much on Maui beyond what was offered in the Andaz Maui, and on the amazing beach in front of the resort.  However, during our two nights we did do a couple things in Wailea beyond the confines of the Andaz, so I wanted to share those details here.  For a much more comprehensive list of suggestions on Maui and in Wailea specifically (many of which I hope to use on a future trip), go to the comments section of this post.  There are dozens of things we hope to eventually do listed there!

This will be the final post in this series on our Hawaii trip; here are the previous posts.

Planning an Anniversary Trip to Hawaii

Flying to Hawaii in United Business Class

Westin Moana Surfrider in Waikiki

Flying Hawaiian Airlines from Honolulu to Maui

Review of a Room and a Suite at the Andaz Maui at Wailea

The Pools at the Andaz Maui at Wailea

On-site Restaurants at the Andaz Maui

The ‘Awili Spa at the Andaz Maui at Wailea

Big Beach and Little Beach:

About a 10-12 minute drive from the Andaz is Big Beach in Makena State Park.  Little Beach is in the same location, albeit with an additional walk past Big Beach.  This beach is big and beautiful, but the waves can get pretty big at certain times during the day.  There is a lifeguard stand, though if you think you are likely to need it, I would skip getting in the water. My favorite thing about the Big Beach were the large shaded trees.  In fact, we bought some shrimp tacos from a truck that was in the parking lot and had a picnic at a table under a large shaded tree while just watching the ocean (cash only).  It was one of my favorite parts of the trip because it made you just sit still and feel like you were actually in Hawaii.


I have eaten on a beach many times, but rarely while under natural shade, without getting swarmed by bugs, and without being so hot and humid that I was miserable.  Here the temperature and scenery were perfect.  The shrimp taco wasn’t bad either (though it was huge – get a fork).



To get to Little Beach we turned right after entering Big Beach and kept walking until we came to a small trail up a hill.  We climbed over the hill and to the other side where Little Beach is tucked away.  Note that there is no ADA access to Little Beach: although minimal, there is some climbing involved.  Little Beach lives up to its name by being much smaller, but what it might lack in size it makes up for in personality.  This place was a bit like a hippie time-warp, though mostly in a good way.  We missed the famed Sunday night drum circle, but went on a Monday morning and some folks were still camped out on the beach from the night before…many sans clothing since this is a clothing optional part of the beach.


We don’t have too many photos of Little Beach as it wouldn’t have been a very nice thing to do since most folks weren’t quite dressed for the prime time internet…or then again maybe they were, just not for this corner of the internet.


Me on Little Beach

You certainly don’t have to want to shed your swimsuit to enjoy Little Beach, but do be aware that others will likely just be swimming and sunning in the suit God gave them, so steer clear if that is something that would make you or your crew uncomfortable.

Monkeypod Kitchen Restaurant:

I would love to say that I ate at various delicious spots in Maui such as Mama’s Fish House, Star Noodle, and more.  However, the only restaurant on my list that I made it to was MonkeyPod that is located literally a minute from the Andaz Maui.  This joint has 36 craft beers and works with local farmers to attain the “freshest, highest quality ingredients possible”. I think they nailed it and the food and drinks here were fresh and delicious.  We went for happy hour when some of the drinks and food items are a bit cheaper.  Happy Hour happens twice a day from 3:00 PM – 5:30 PM and 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM.


Drink Specials:

  • Draft Beers: $4.75 for beers originally $9 and under,  $7 for over $9
  • $6 Ocean Vodka cocktails
  • $6 white and red wines by the glass
  • $8 culinary cocktails

Food Specials:

  • 50% off all appetizers (with a few exceptions)
  • $9 pizzas (not including the daily specialty pizza or the famous lobster pizza)

Eating outdoors at Monkeypod

I had the Monkeypod Mai Tai that was $8 during happy hour instead of the normal $12.  The menu describes it as made with old lahaina light rum, maui dark rum, lime, orgeat, orange curacao, honey-lilkoi foam.  It was strong and scrumptious.

20131017-161848.jpgWe also ordered the raw bar with Sesame Ahi Poke, Shrimp Ceviche, Tako Poke.  This is not discounted for happy hour, but was worth it.


The Smoked Taro Hummus with upcountry romaine, cucumber, and radish was discounted 50% during happy hour and we ate every drop.  It was a perfect snack to go with our afternoon drinks.


Da Kitchen:

On our way back to the airport to fly home we stopped off at Da Kitchen that is located in a strip mall about 10 minutes from the Andaz Maui, as I was craving a huge pile of white rice, teryaki chicken, and greens before we left.  I have no photo of the lunch since I inhaled it in the car on the drive to the airport, but it did the trick.  This is not at all a fancy joint, but serves huge portions at reasonable prices.  Josh seemed to enjoy his burger, though it was insanely greasy from what I remember!


We didn’t make it to see the sunrise on Haleakala, drive the Road to Hana, snorkel at Molokini, eat at Mama’s Fish House, or do some of the countless other things that I know we would have enjoyed on Maui, but that’s okay.  We are lucky that this hopefully won’t be a “Once in a Lifetime” visit to Maui.  We hope to return in the not too distant future (for longer next time), and I think we made the right choice in taking our limited time on this trip to just enjoy swimming and sitting on the beach eating shrimp tacos.

As you may remember from the first post in this series, my husband was reluctant to go to Hawaii.  He thought it was too far, too expensive, and too over-hyped to be worth it.  He trusted me enough to give it a try and he loved it.  The laid-back atmosphere, delicious food, beautiful beaches, and perfect weather were enough to win him over.  I’m thankful that we can now look forward to future visits to the islands together.  Now I just have to convince him that Kauai is just as awesome.

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  1. Spot on review MP! I was in Wailea about a week before you went out there and it is just spectacular. Sad I wasn’t there when you were there to share a drink a Mai Tai at Monkeypod! My only issue with Monkeypod when dining there was the flies when sitting outdoors. Hope you didn’t have too much of an issue with those.

    For Haleakala, no need to do the sunrise there, but it is a must see while on Maui. This time we went right when arriving at the airport (~11AM) and boy was it wonderful. Very little traffic and spectacular views in the daylight. It felt like we had the entire top of the volcano to ourselves. Plus, there was very little cloud cover at that time. Also, going right when we got there made it so we could just relax the rest of our vacation!

    • Sean, sorry we missed you as well! Would have loved to have a drink at Monkeypod. We didn’t have an issue with flies while we were there, thankfully. Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip to Haleakala, we just couldn’t fit it in on this trip. Next time for sure!

  2. I love Da Kitchen! Its such a great place to get some local
    food on the cheap. And you are right about the portions. It is the
    perfect place to eat when traveling frugally!

  3. I loved Wailea too! Stayed at the Fairmont in May, and can’t wait to get back there. We also loved Pita Paradise that is in the same shopping center as Monkeypod. Their greek salad and pita was amazing! I’d recommend you trying it if you go back.

  4. Hi Mommy. We’ll be doing a similar anniversary weekend at the Andaz, late January. Arriving into Maui late Friday evening, and departing Sunday afternoon. My question is…is it worth to rent a car or just book a car service/taxi? It doesn’t seem like we’re going to have lot of time on our hands to explore either…

  5. LITTLE BEACH!!! – First off I love your blog and I don’t
    even have kids…lol As a native Californian who has been going to
    Maui and its Big Beach and Little Beach since I was a kid I wanted
    to add that people PLEASE RESPECT the diversity and laid back
    attitude displayed at Little Beach…It IS a NUDE BEACH …please
    don’t come over the rocks from Big Beach to gawk at the people
    laying out there…if you aren’t cool with that then please don’t
    come….however if you are then you are more than invited!! I just
    don’t want the place to be ruined by tacky tourists who don’t
    respect other people’s ways…THANK YOU FOR LISTENING :-))

  6. I have the same question as John K. I will be at the Maui Andaz for 2 days and 2 nights during the week of Thanksgiving. And I am debating on whether is is worth it to rent a car or not. How far is the hotel from the airport? Is there a hotel shuttle or airport bus that I can take? Any idea how much a taxi would cost? Or do you recommend renting a car in order to see some other parts of the island? I was thinking that we would spend most of the time at the hotel and hopefully could walk to cab to surrounding areas.

  7. Aloha Miles, we really liked it and you won’t leave hungry!
    AMC, mmmm, sounds yummy!
    Ken, yeah everything on Hawaii is a bit pricey. I would put it close to NYC prices for food. As an example, our shrimp taco from a food truck was about $10 for one. Breakfast at the hotel was about $40 per person, and you see the happy hours prices for Monkeypod.
    John, I would rent a car if the price is pretty good, just in case, but with that short time frame you probably won’t use it very much. There are some easy and close things to do in Wailea like we did, but I think if you try to push it and get around much of the island in a weekend you will lose much of the relaxed vibe that you are likely going to Hawaii to get.
    Andy, I agree, though unlikely many would end up there by accident. Very laid back place to hang out.
    Mark, the hotel was about 25-30 minutes from the airport I think. I would rent a car personally, and do not believe there is a hotel shuttle. I’m sure there are cabs, but it isn’t like in NYC where you would just flag one down. I would rent if it was me.

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