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First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

Pearland, Texas
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First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

Long post, but thought someone might find our reviews and itinerary worthwhile….

We’ve traveled quite a bit and Maui was the best vacation we’ve ever had. I have pretty high expectations, and was in awe almost the entire time at how beautiful it was; every new thing/view was prettier than the last.

We stayed at the Wailea Marriott Resort & Spa, which was amazing and perfect. We loved the beautiful walk behind the resort and all of the green space. I am a total beach person, but also loved that it was not directly on a beach, as it made it seem so uncrowded; not to mention how pretty the water was hitting the black lava rocks. We also enjoyed the proximity to everything we wanted to do.

We downloaded the GyPSy application for the whole island, and loved learning all about Maui. Another tip: we came from Central Time, and never fully adjusted to Maui time – we were up by 5:30 each day, saw the sunrise, grabbed breakfast, and loved being the first people on any beach or journey by 7:30. We’d explore and relax our way through the day, make sure we did dinner/sunset and usually crashed in bed by 8:30. Obviously the night life didn’t matter to us, and we loved taking advantage of every second of daylight.

How our schedule played out….

Landed around 2:15pm Maui time. Got bags, rental car and headed to Safeway for snacks and drinks

Poolside meal and Mai Tai at resort

Check out resort and Wailea and Ulua beach

Haleakala sunrise – as recommended by concierge, left resort at 3am to make drive one hour 45 minutes to top of volcano. Sunrise wasn’t until 5:45ish, but worth it to be there an hour early to see stars and watch how the sky changes as sun begins to rise. 39 degrees at sunrise was quite chilly. Afterwards, we did a few of the small hikes.

Rented snorkel gear and beach chairs from Boss Frogs in Kihei.

Nap and lunch by Infinity pool at resort

Ulua beach to snorkel

Sunset Dinner at Gannon's at Wailea Golf Course – Happy hour drinks and tapas good; amazing view

Stroll around Shops at Wailea – live music on Wednesday evenings

We drove as far south as you can go to La Perouse Bay. Good snorkeling at cove in Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve. Saw a 600 lb monk seal snoozing on adjacent cove.

Big (Oneloa) Beach – Gorgeous beach with golden sand and crystal clear water; beautiful views of Kahoolawe Island. Ate lunch at food truck in parking lot – tacos good, smoothies best we had.

Black Sand Beach/Turtle Town – very pretty and quaint

Hot tub at resort

Luau at Marriott – nothing spectacular but we had a great time. We purchased premium seats for $10 extra each, and enjoyed front row seating, eating first, and making friends with others at our table. Loved that we could stumble back to our room on foot.

Road to Hana – left Marriott at 6am to try to beat tour buses. Stops included Hookipa Beach Park to watch surfers. Tried to see Twin Falls, but there was actually a swift low water crossing that you had to cross on foot that we weren’t comfortable with, so turned back. Kaumahina State Wayside Park – beautiful views of coastline. Keanae Arboretum – a pretty hike; up close look at special colorful bark trees. Keanae – beautiful little area with a small snack bar where we got another good smoothie. Wailua Valley State Wayside Park – quick stairs to gorgeous views of three waterfalls. I think we also saw the “Three Bears” Falls about here, which were amazing. Waianapanana State Park: Jumped in the cave and relaxed on the black sand beach. Park has very interesting history. Thai lunch in Hana. Oheo Gulch – Sadly, pools were closed to swimming because of potential for flash flooding, so after driving/exploring for 9 hours, we did the hour hike each way to the 400ft Waimoku Falls. It was worth it.

Returned via road less – yes we know you’re not supposed to, but after 11 hours on the journey, we were exhausted and hopeful that it would be as easy as we’d heard. Besides a few scary blind cliffside switchbacks, it was, and we made it back in two hours as compared to the estimated four from Oheo. We later learned that there had been a mudslide around MM 14/15 (I think) that shut the road down for six hours that evening. I think I would have cried had we been stuck sitting in the car for six hours after such a long day.

Dinner at Fred's Mexican Cafe in Kihei – food was average.

Breakfast at Kihei Caffe – food was awesome.

Watch paddle boarders at Kam Beach.

Big Beach – we went back we loved it so much.

Back to Ahihi-Kinau Cove to snorkel again. – easy in and out, all reef, quite a few colorful fish.

Picked up another taco/smoothie from food truck and had a picnic at Black Sand Beach.

Infinity pool at resort - whales jumping offshore

Water slides at the resort

Trilogy South Maui Sunset Cruise out of Ma'alaea Bay – We really enjoyed this experience. The “sunset cruise” even turned into a whale watching cruise when we spotted and followed several breaching whales. It was early May, so we thought it was incredibly special to get to see them. The three crew members were incredibly friendly, food was good. Very relaxing evening.

Stopped at an “outlet” store on main highway back to resort, which was totally not worth it. Prices were higher than we’d been seeing in touristy type shops.

Decided to spend the day checking out the west side of the island.

Breakfast at Old Pioneer Inn in Lahaina – food good

Saw Banyan Tree – was pretty incredible it was so big. Merchants set up all around it.

Drive to Honolua Bay – decided not to snorkel there as people were getting out saying it was murky.

Kapulua Bay Beach – Kind of tricky to find it tucked in amongst the resorts, but glad we did. Beach was beautiful, albeit busy, and the snorkeling was great. Loved being able to enter off sandy beach, and reef just a few feet out. Saw lots of colorful fish and a huge sea turtle.

Lunch at Hula Grill Barefoot Bar in Ka'anapali – loved ambience, food and view here. One of my favorite restaurants and meals.

Ka'anapali Beach – Saw Black Rock but decided not to snorkel because lots of people jumping off of it.

Back to Lahaina to walk and shop – lots of fun, quaint stores. Also got a Shaved Ice, which was just ok.

Sunset drinks along walk behind our resort.

Dinner at Migrant at Marriott – awesome view and excellent food.

Walk along walk behind our resort

Wailea Beach

Lunch at 808 Deli in Kihei - Sandwich was delicious, but a little pricey. Shopping, return Boss Frogs, gelato from store in same center as Boss Frogs was awesome

Pack and checkout of resort

Pool slides

Infinity pool- ordered snacks. Poolside food/drinks good, albeit quite expensive.

Shower in locker room offered by hotel – a very cool amenity because we were able to enjoy entire day by beach/pool before red eye flight home.

Dinner in Paia at Cafe Mambo – ordered the Pork Fajitas for two, which was possibly my most favorite meal entire trip and could have served four people. Sad to leave so much good food behind.

Airport to fly home.

Miranda, Sydney
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1. Re: First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

Hi Heather - loved your report. Isn't Big Beach one of the most gorgeous places on Earth??? When we go back to Maui, we will definitely put in a few days there again.

Thanks again - looks like you had an amazing trip.


Nanaimo, Canada
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2. Re: First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

You were able to pack a lot in to your holiday, and had a great time! So.... is the next trip booked yet?

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3. Re: First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

Heather, loved your trip report! Thanks for posting it! Makes me want to be on Maui right now.

How many night altogether did you have? It sounds like a great mix of going and doing and still relaxing. Marriot's infinity pool is very cool, isn't it? We walked around a bit when we went to Migrant. Had great sunset view from there. And my favorite part about it was meeting Chef Sheldon Simeon. Did you watch him on Top Chef 2 seasons ago? So cool.

<<Also got a Shaved Ice, which was just ok.>> That's what I thought of shave ice too, until I tried Ululani's. I'm betting you had something else? We love Cafe Mambo too! I like the duck fajiotas even better than the pork.

So... is the next trip booked yet?

* Edit - LOL! Joan! great minds

Edited: 16 May 2014, 23:54
Milwaukie, Oregon
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4. Re: First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

Sounds like you got in plenty of beach and pool time....always a priority for me after long day trips such as Hana and Haleakala. I also like the low key vibe at the Wailea Marriott. I usually prefer condos, but did enjoy a couple of nights there a few years ago. Plenty of open space and breathing room. Thanks for the report.

Destination Expert
for Maui
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5. Re: First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

>>> Infinity pool at resort - whales jumping offshore <<<

Well, that's just my favorite sentence in your post :-) Doesn't get much better than that. Glad you had a meal at Cafe Mambo - always a favorite stop for us on that side of the island. You squeezed a lot in to your time there and it looks like you had a great time. Thanks for posting.

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6. Re: First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

Don't you just love that infinity pool! Really nice time you had. You were so lucky to see a Monk seal. I have been here a long time and have never seen one. Not even on Oahu where they were know to hang.

Destination Expert
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7. Re: First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

Well you sure did it right! Thanks for coming back and sharing.

Edmonds, Washington
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8. Re: First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

""We’ve traveled quite a bit and Maui was the best vacation we’ve ever had. I have pretty high expectations, and was in awe almost the entire time at how beautiful it was; every new thing/view was prettier than the last.""

This says more about you than it does Maui.

Really great reporting.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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9. Re: First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

Thanks so much for the report. What a great time you had!!

Glad you didn't get stuck with the mudslide. I guess there is more than one reason to take the backside!! In all actuality if there is nothing blocking the road you only saved 20 minutes off your drive by going along the southern route.

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10. Re: First timers back from AMAZING trip to Maui.

So glad to hear that Maui lived up to your expectations and that you were treated to whales in May!

Thanks for sharing. :)