We decided to keep our car for the remainder of the trip, though originally we were only going to keep it long enough to do the Road to Hana. While I think many folks like to stay at the resort without venturing beyond it, we were just too cheap. By having the flexibility to go to nearby towns, we found that you could get better deals on paddle boards, boogie boards, meals, etc. And we liked the exploration.
But I understand why people just stay at the resort–it sure is beautiful. But for this post, rather than tell our day-to-day activities, I will give the highlights by town/area.
Kehei was the next town up the beach from our resort. We ended up going there a lot. We discovered the Kehei Caffe for breakfast. The banana macadamia pancakes were super good. It is the type of place where you stand in line, pay cash, eat fast, and don’t linger. It has a charming breakfast “soup kitchen” feel.
We also ate at Cafe O’ Lei in Kehei twice. We hate duplicating restaurants but this one was just too good. They have a very reasonably priced lunch–a Hawaiian mixed plate with a mahi mahi option that I devoured. I may have licked my plate. We also had dinner at their sushi bar and loved the experience. We sat next to a local (Boston transplant) crane company owner who knew every member of the staff.
Right under Cafe O’ Lei is a store with rental equipment and excursion bookings. We rented a beach chair and a boogie board there and also bought cheap luau tickets in exchange for attending a time share presentation that was painful. But it saved us about $180, so whatever. I actually found it to be a funny study in human behavior.
The Luau was at our resort. (No I am not pregnant, but this picture sure does make me look it!)
A few days later we rented paddle boards in Kehei close to the water. We saw sea turtles, beautiful fish, and even had dolphins swim in front of us. We loved it.
Lahaina has a cruise ship dock–beware. On cruise ship days, there are crowds that make wondering the town a little less fun. We wondered anyway but didn’t find anything to buy. There was a pretty harbor and a huge tree in the center of town.
We ate at Aloha Mixed Plate for lunch. I am glad we went there because it is “real Hawaiian food,” but I can’t say I would ever crave the food we were served. We had the pork plate that was served with rice and macaroni salad. Too many carbs and not enough flavor. We also got some coconut shrimp. They were super good. The best part about the meal was the service and the cost. I think we spent $20. It is a good place to go for a cocktail because they are about 1/3 of the resort cost.
I also had a sno-cone in Lahaina. I just felt like I had to try them in Hawaii. Snow Beach in Austin is way better.
We drove to Lahaina again to eat a Teddy Burger, which Scott fondly remembered from a trip to Oahu. I wouldn’t make the trip back, but sure did eat my whole burger with a pineapple on top. Yum.
To the east of Lahaina, we found some incredible waves.
We sat and watched them for a long time before finding some marginally smaller ones for Scott to play in. DT Fleming Beach Park was super fun, but the waves were still a little big. They made Scott nervous. I read.
Paia was our favorite place. It is on the north part of the island.
It was quaint and seemed pretty authentic. We ate at Paia Fish Market one day. And Mama’s Fish House is close by too, which I mentioned on Maui No.1. The fish market was no nonsense, counter ordering, table sharing, etc. We loved it.
On the other side of the sign, we found this.
Scott was in heaven. He would love to learn how to kite board. It looks incredibly difficult.
Just west of these waves we found a place where Scott could boogie board. It was just west of Paia.
The Haleakala Crater
The Crater is 10,000 feet high, but from the bottom it looks like a hill. It is about 40 miles to the top and 30 degrees colder. The top looks like the moon.
We drove to the top during the day, though many go for the sunrise. We just could not muster a wake-up at 3 am to drive to the top. Instead, we picked a day that looked clear and headed up. That served us well because the view on a clear day was incredible.
A few observations from our trip:
It was hard to find authentic parts of town. The economy of Maui is primarily supported by tourism, which means that everything is touristy. Going into the trip knowing this helped, but I think my next trip will be to some place a bit less travelled.
With pictures like these, however, it is no wonder the place draws a crowd.
We went to Whole Foods and bought coffee, breakfast, and snack supplies. We also bought ceviche, crab dip, and a few other items we had for dinner a night or two. It was a nice way to bring down the cost.
We went to a day spa up the street from our resort to save a little cash. We loved the experience. I would recommend the Maui Zen Day Spa to anyone who wants to save a little. We each got a very high-quality massage and spent $140 less than we would have if we received the same service at the resort.
We loved our trip and were so glad we went. We came back rested and rejuvenated.