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Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

Washington State
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Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

Short trip report of days so far. I still have a few days left.

I've really enjoyed my time here on Maui for the first part of my trip. Flight here was perfect, not even a tiny bit of turbulence and a great seat mate. (trust me, the stranger you sit next to on a plane can make all the difference in whether your flight is good, great or “please let me out of this plane asap!”.) Alamo car rental was superb, best and easiest car rental ever with the Kiosk and my reservation in hand. Didn't have to "argue" with the upsell, I could just "Decline" all that I didn't want right on the screen, and be on my way, choosing from a lineup of cars. I got a small Ford Fiesta (on purpose, I could have had an upgrade, didn't want anything bigger than that). It's been a great car, given I have driven all over the island and upcountry and still have a lot of gas.

See my review on Maui Seaside hotel, that went very well. Getting into the cottage I reserved and paid for through VRBO after the first two nights at the hotel proved a bit more difficult since she was still "cleaning" when I showed up at 4:20 (she asked me not to come until 4 since she had appointments all morning.) Guess the owner was doing the cleaning herself in spite of the rather large cleaning fee she charged, and just couldn't get around to it to give me the cottage at the time she said she would. Made the day a bit hard since all my stuff was in the car in blistering heat all afternoon. I'll do a review of the cottage at the end of my stay, but let's just say for a budget it worked just fine. Probably wouldn't stay here again, though it was fairly close to everything. She advertises you could walk or bicycle to the Kam beaches but I wouldn't at this time of year unless you are used to the heat and have lots of cold water, it is much hotter and more humid than I've experienced in the past and that would be a long walk with a bunch of gear, or even just a bag with a drop cloth and sunscreen. It’s doable, just not my thing, I’d rather save the walking for the sand at the beach.

My agenda this first week has been very simple. I did an entire day upcountry since I was staying in Kahului. I never found the lavender farm, but really enjoyed my time at the Tedeschi winery and all the views and cool pull out stops on the way there. There was one small period of time way up on the flank of Haleakala with very windy turns and narrow roads with sheer drop offs that the skies opened up and drenched every vehicle on the road to the point we all simply stopped, and sat. Then, when it slowed and we thought we could continue, the pavement started to steam and we were enveloped in a cloud, so we.... sat some more. I even tried to take a picture as it was surreal but all I got was a white page. Then it cleared and we were on our way again. After the winery, I thought I would still try to find the road to the lavender farm, but when I turned on what I thought I identified as that road, I just drove and drove and it got narrower and tighter turns and began to feel just like the road to Hana. I ended up in Haiku. Finally asked directions and this lovely young girl at the register gave me the "local" shortcut directions, but didn't tell me that road would get even hairier and scarier with very sharp turns, and no visibility. I was very glad to come out on the Hana Highway and make my way to my favorite lookout over Ho'okipa point. I spent quite a while there. It was a very nice day, with amazing views, great little churches and older buildings and turn-outs to stop at. I was going to stop in Paia for an ono burger at the Fish Market, but the traffic was so bad in and out of there and it was very hot, and I was pretty tired of driving so just headed for my hotel. This was the day I ended up with fast food. Tsk, should have had the ono burger.

Most of my days since coming to the cottage (with the exception of the Maui swap meet yesterday which I loved, and then caught a movie afterwards) have been spent exactly like this: get up very early, see if there is a cane burn obscuring the Kihei beaches, if there is, head north. Spend time at Kealia pond boardwalk and the beach in front of it, (this beach is great, hardly any people, wide sand, low surf, smooth and quiet and very pretty). Watch for the burn to be done, go back to cottage for lunch. (I got a few groceries at Safeway and Foodland and have been stretching that for a week.) Eat, take nap while cottage heats up, read, relax and chill in cottage until it is too unbearably hot there too. Shower, clean up, go out for happy hour (see my reviews for Tiki Lounge and Mulligans on the Blue.) I'll be back at Mulligans tonight for the Irish music. I have a couple cheap eats at happy hour prices, one drink, or two if cheap and have plenty of leftovers for one or two more meals. Loved the mahi mahi fish n chips at Mulligans. The mai tai (only needed one drink) was only 6.00 on happy hour, my bill for that entire late afternoon was 13.00, and a great time. Tiki Lounge was quite a bit more, the pina colada was 9.00, (very weak, and too sweet, I swear it was all coconut syrup and no alcohol). Good personal pizza though and I had that for two more meals. This was a bit more than I wanted to spend per meal so won't be back to that one, though I could cut costs by having another beer instead of the "foo-foo" drink. I just promised my kids I would have one of those kind of drinks and take a picture. :)

No cane burn this morning and spent a lovely time at Kam Beach 3 which is my favorite. There were some heavy smokers that showed up right next to me, and I don’t much care for that at the beach, plus it became rapidly crowded quite early since it was Sunday and I’m sure all the families that work were heading to the beach for a great weekend day off, so I left around 9:30. I was hoping to see a whale spout, or a turtle but didn’t get that wish. I know it is quite late for whales so that was a thin hope, but I sure would love to see some turtles and a few fishies. I didn’t buy snorkel gear, and there isn’t any at the cottage, (I’m used to condos which many times have a lot of things to offer their renters), but since others were enjoying snorkeling at the black rock area at the right of Kam beach 3, I figure I will probably rent gear for one day and try my luck there earlier in the day, again before it gets too crowded. Back at the cottage, I'm enjoying some time and actually having internet for a bit, it's been off and on "mostly off" at the cottage, so hope it continues till I can actually post this. I was going to do a blog, just never have internet long enough to even bother with that.

A few more days, I plan to do mostly more of the same. I just love the beach and the views and the sand are free!

Edited: 05 May 2014, 00:08
Orlando, Florida
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1. Re: Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

Great TR, Flwrgrdn! And I LOVED your thread title!!! So true. Sorry you couldn't find the Ali'i Lavender Farm, it's one of our faves, but sounds as though you had some cool upcountry experiences!! Thanks so much for sharing! I look forward to more. :-)

Nanaimo, Canada
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2. Re: Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

I am so glad you are having a great time, and just figuring it all out as you go along.

I am amazed that the cars would stop on that road up Haleakala! It must have been quite the downpour to stop the cars. Better to be safe though, that is for sure.

No fan at all in the cottage? Not a ceiling fan either? That is too bad, if you have to leave the cottage because it is too hot.

I am glad you enjoyed Mulligan's. We have enjoyed their happy hour on two separate occasions, right before Uncle Willie shows up. Great views from up there too.

Enjoy your time on Maui, and don't worry about the blog. Hope you can find some honu tomorrow. If nothing at Kam 3, walk along the ocean, towards Kihei Boat ramp (south) and you will come out to a big green space and the Kihei Surfside. There are usually turtles along the rocky shoreline there. And if you keep walking, along the end of the Surfside, you will find Keawakapu Beach. Easy entry into the water there. And 5 Palms in the Mana Kai for happy hour ;o)))

Destination Expert
for Oahu
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3. Re: Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

Sounds like you are having a nice relaxing trip.

I took a look at that cottage on VRBO I thought I saw some AC units in there too bad the walk the beach to the beach was embellished a little in the listing.

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4. Re: Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

Sounds like a great trip so far! :)

Destination Expert
for Maui
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5. Re: Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

You are enjoying my kind of trip...in local parlance "whateve's". I too am sorry you missed the lavender farm, maybe next time!

S W Arkansas
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for Kihei, Maui, Hana, Haleakala National Park
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6. Re: Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

Nice relaxing trip. No cane burning Sat or Sun..thankfully. But the trades have died and it is hot and muggy. Thank goodness the vog isn't too bad. Bet you are hot. We have been running our a/c at the Kihei Resort vrbo we are in.

You might want to try Three's for Happy Hour 1/2 price on some good appetizers. It's in the Kalama Plaza.

That was some downpour you were in, wow. Some of those UpCountry roads are really curvy. .."local shortcut"..lol.

Enjoy the rest of your stay. What complex are you in?

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7. Re: Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

Sounds like my kind of trip! Sorry you missed the lavender farm.

Destination Expert
for Maui
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8. Re: Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

Thank you for sharing and good attitude! Sounds like you have been having fun just hanging and going with the flow. Hope you continue to get more great beach time.

Destination Expert
for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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9. Re: Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

Nice report! Sorry the cottage didn't live up to its billing.

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: Maui on a budget: the best things in life are free!

Snorkel the reef in front of Hale Pau Hana, start at Kam II and follow it around to Kam I. There are always turtles there when we snorkel... Have a great trip!