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An Insider’s Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Name a tropical holiday destination more iconic than Hawaii. Oahu, the capital of the Hawaiian islands, welcomed me with such warmth and loveliness. It’s hard to imagine a better place to recuperate! Upon landing, I knew I was ready to dive deep into the relaxed lifestyle the islands are most known for. But to my surprise, my time in Oahu showed me a different side to the iconic Hawaiian vacation we’re all familiar with. Certainly its beloved beaches are gorgeous, but in my short time exploring I discovered Oahu’s excellent food scene influenced from both east and west (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filippino and Thai), nature trails, historic culture, street art, boutique hotels and more. Today, I’m excited to share an insider’s guide to Oahu, Hawaii.

But to my surprise, my time in Oahu showed me a different side to the iconic Hawaiian vacation we’re all familiar with. Certainly its beloved beaches are gorgeous, but in my short time exploring I discovered Oahu’s excellent food scene influenced from both east and west (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filippino and Thai), nature trails, historic culture, street art, boutique hotels and more. Today, I’m excited to share an insider’s guide to Oahu, Hawaii.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

What To Do

Unlike the unspoiled smaller Hawaii islands, Oahu’s positioning is the perfect place to kick back while also getting the perks of a larger city. (As a New Yorker, you know I loved that!) The easiest way from the airport to the city center is through Speedi Shuttle. So often, when I get to a more remote, tropical location – it feels completely disconnected from modern conveniences. This is definitely not the case here! Here are some of the must-do activities I’d recommend first timer’s experience when exploring Oahu!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Take A Helicopter Tour

To get a completely new perspective of the island, take the Complete Island Oahu helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. I loved seeing the epic landscapes unfurl below! It’s a total bucket list experience.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Book A Sunrise Photo Walk

Wake up for sunrise and join Oahu Photo Tours for a full day tour around the island, catching some of the most photogenic spots. There’s nothing like the crisp air of a new day and seeing the most loved spots of the island before the crowds settle in.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Baydo-In Temple

The Baydo-In Temple is a non-denominational temple nestled at the ​​​​​​​base of the Ko’olau Mountains in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. Come for a meditative walk around its gorgeous koi ponds and some simple, solitary moments enjoying its endless beauty.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium on the end of the Waikiki Trolley line is one of the most popular tourist attractions to do! It’s actually perfectly situated next to a living coral reef, too.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Walk Along Kalakaua Ave

Kalakaua Avenue is where you’ll find tons of cool, boutiques, shops and malls edging right up to the beach. It’s a shopper’s Hawaiian paradise!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Kapi’olani Farmer’s Market

If you’ll be in Oahu during on a Saturday (or a Tuesday), check out the Kapi’olani Farmer’s Market! Hawaii’s agricultural industry has really zeroed in on the benefits of locally sourced foods – this is the place to try some of the freshest foods, local honey, coffee, fruits and flower bouquets!

Snorkle at Hanauma Bay

What’s a Hawaiian vacation without snorkling? Even if you’re not the most proficient swimmer, I’d highly recommend taking a dip and seeing the colorful, tropical fishes in Hanauma Bay. It’s so spectacularly beautiful!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Dole Plantation

Although it may be a bit touristy, the Dole Plantation is a must-do! The pineapple soft serve and everything else pinapple that you can imagine is lifechanging. Guinness calls it the world’s largest maze, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a massive space! The plantation itself is beautful and you can take an express train to explore it. 

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Visit the Brooklyn of Oahu, Kaka’ako

This hip, up and coming neighborhood has a ton of street art murals. I loved soaking in all the unique art! Plus, this neighborhood is home to Paiko and the popular Avocado Toast Aussie cafe, Arvo. 

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Hike Diamond Head – Sandy Beach

Escape the crowded shores and head to Diamond Head, around the bend from Hanauma Bay and the Blowhole (a favorite of Pres Obama!). ​​​​​​​The south facing views are simply stunning.

Where To Eat

With a dynamic range of cultural influences, Oahu’s food scene is incredible. You’ll find flavors from all parts of the world, fresh fruits and drinks in incredibly designed spaces. Here are some of my favorite foodie discoveries in the city!

Waikiki​​​​​​​

Beachhouse at the Moana

If you’re looking for an ocean front view with noshing on fresh seafood, look no further. Kona Lobster bisque, amazing Ahi tuna? Count me in!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Duke’s

This is a fun spot for drinks! The atmosphere is super lively on the beach. I’d imagine it would be a great spot to hang out with a gaggle of girlfriends over great cocktails!

Mahina & Suns

Located in the iconic Surfjack Hotel, Mahina & Suns does home cooking with a twist. All their dishes are inspired by the local food customs and use only the very best, fresh ingredients.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Steak Shack

Steak Shack is just what it name states – a shack right on a stunning beach that serves the most delicious steak with rice for under $10! Can’t beat it. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Waiola Shave Ice

If there’s one place you MUST go in Oahu… it’s Waiola Shave Ice. It’s a MUST. The best shave ice on the island. There’s seriously nothing more refreshing!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Diamond Head

Ono Seafood

Ono Seafood has the best poke in town! But heads up -they’re closed on Monday and Sunday… so plan accordingly.

Leonard’s

Head over to Leonard’s for an incredible malasadas (Portugese fried doughnut). It’s the perfect treat to start your day with.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Ars Cafe

This artsy cafe celebrates the art of the local area while also serving up some delicious coffee from around the world, gelato and sweets!

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Where To Stay

I obsess over lodgings that are committed to fun, luxurious or quirky details, while also giving visitors a cozy place to call their own. So, you can imagine my excitement when booking some of the coolest hotels filled with colorful island touches in well connected areas. Hotel Tonight is my go-to resource to find these stellar places, as they always do a great job listing each establishment’s unique qualities – including its architectural beauty or how photogenic the spaces are. (P.S. If you’re a meticulous hotel-lover like me, you can use the code “nyakoub” for $25 off your next stay!)

Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

A true homage to the Waikiki spirit, the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club is a vintage-inspired, visionary hotel. From the mid-century architecture and art bedecking the walls, their creative take on a local “swim club” and their perfect location on the island – there’s no aesthetic like it. Each room is totally unique and absolutely vintage inspired, making you feel like you’re inside an episode of Mad Men. Their commitment ​​​​​​​to celebrating artists was an awesome bonus too. I also loved that each evening there was some kind of cool event going on within the space, including movie screenings. It really feels like a space both visitors and locals alike love to meet up in!​​​​​​​

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach

The Alohilani Resort is an absolute serene oasis. The design of the interiors and exteriors are pristine, fresh and totally relaxing. Cabanas, shallow water pools, open air lobbies, steps from the shore… heaven, I tell you! There’s a reason it was named after the last queen monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom. I could totally see honeymooners loving this space to call home for a few days!

Alohilani’s Longboard Club and daily scheduled activities also had me completely smitten. I loved coming to their space to grab a light bite – whether it was for something to get me going in the morning or an afternoon snack – as well as dabbling in their scheduled activities, like sunset yoga, live music, Lei making and exercise classes. Not to mention, the hotel also offers two restaurants by critically acclaimed chef, Morimoto.

An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii
An Insider's Guide To Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu showed me a new side to Hawaii‘s delightful culture… and I’m so grateful for it. I can’t wait to return again soon!

Stay sponsored by Hotel Tonight.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. All opinions are my own.

North America

An Insider’s Guide To 3 Days In Maui

An Insider's Guide To 3 Days In Maui

With the Hawaiian Islands known as one of the top sought-after destinations in the world, it’s Maui that is an absolute must see. But many only know Maui for its luxurious coastline resorts and activities that solely target the highly-populated tourists. What travelers may not know is that Maui is also home to some of the most exciting farm lands, tropical greenery, and amazing plant life of all the Hawaiian islands. Its roaring hills of greenery that engulfs the island makes way for a backdrop that resembles something out of a Jurassic Park movie– making each and every turn Instagram-worthy.

As Maui’s tourism rises each year and its ever-growing popularity reaches high numbers, it can be easy to get stuck in plenty of tourist traps. This results in many missing out on all the unique and fun things happening on Maui. So before we begin, we send a fair warning to all of our readers. As one must prepare themself for plenty of time to explore the tiny nooks and crannies that this magically little island has to offer. Holding a reputation as one of the top destinations in the world, it’s surely well-deserved.

Day 1

As many travelers are drawn to the resort area of Kaanapali, which of course, is stunning in itself, the alternative is even more speculator. We suggest skipping this overly-crowd resort area and instead, head to the charming town of Pa’ia. Here, you can stay at the family owned tropical sanctuary of Mangolani Inn with ample ability to roam and have the freedom to explore Maui.

This cute “home away from home” tropical sanctuary is just steps from several amazing art galleries, restaurants, cafes, surf shops and amazing beaches in the area. With ocean views and an exclusive 6 bedroom property, this place easily boasts beach-like vibes and an airy surrounding. The tranquility of Mangolani Inn comes from their detailed aesthetics including mango tree hammocks, tropical fruits and flowers to pick, BBQs, hot tub, and picnic tables; all allowing guests to thoroughly enjoy their Maui evenings out in the open. Owners Dave and Nyla are always on-site and more than happy to share their Aloha Spirit with guests.

Head down to Hoo’kipa beach and watch surfers crush some of the most killer waves you’ll find in the world. You’ll find plenty of food trucks to grub on and scope out locals selling coconuts right out of the bed of their trucks. Take in the views of the golden sand and spectacular views or go snorkeling around the rocky outcroppings at the end of the beach (look out for the group of sea turtles nonchalantly hanging sunbathing nearby).

In the evening, be sure to snag a pair of tickets to Maui Chef’s Table. This unforgettable culinary experience at The Maui Tropical Plantation hosts weekly dinner events that resemble a dinner party among good friends and good food. The entire event is all farm to table inspired, using ingredients at their peak of flavor paired with innovative techniques resulting in an experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s an exciting, interactive event among chefs and “foodies” that encourages event-goers to get out of their seats and ask questions. It’s a fun way to meet other people and chat among fellow food and drink enthusiasts.

An Insider's Guide To 3 Days In Maui

Day 2

Today is the day you’ll want to hit up the legendary Road to Hana. This trip is practically a must on every travel site you’ll find online. There are many ways to experience this trip, and you’ll want to make sure you do it right. Pick a few designated spots such as Twin Falls or the Bamboo Forrest to stop at, rent a car (skip signing up with a tour), and peruse down this iconic road. Make sure to leave plenty of time to stop at all the local food markets along the way. The entire day is filled with exploring this twisty, two-lane road that swoops over pristine cliffs, flowing waterfalls, black sand beaches, local food stands and a bright, jungled rainforest all in the comforts of your own car.

Since this epic Road to Hana will take up most of the day, it’ll be dark by time you get back into town. Our suggestion is to swing by Maui’s famous fish market, Paia’s Fish Market. Pick up a to-go order and take it back to Mangolani Inn. Take the rest of the night to enjoy resting in the cool outdoors. Another tip: Hit up Mangolani’s jacuzzi after and call it a day.

An Insider's Guide To 3 Days In Maui An Insider's Guide To 3 Days In Maui An Insider's Guide To 3 Days In Maui

Day 3

On your last day, you’ll want to start early and head over to the other side of the island. Meet at Lahaina Harbor and hop on with Captain Seth at Trilogy Sailing to catch some epic whale watching. Prepare for your mind to be blown as every fall the humpback whales begin their southward migration from Alaska to Hawaii. This migration results in seeing hundreds of these magnificent creatures flooding the waters off of Maui. These sightings are so frequent and easy, they’re basically guaranteed. While nothing beats the excitement of watching such spectacular animals breach their bodies out of the water, unlimited mimosas and bloody marys doesn’t hurt either.

Stay in Lahaina for the afternoon and check out their lively Front Street. Pop into the art galleries and shops, or go off the beaten path and take a glass-blowing class with Moana by Ryan Staub.  If time allocates, stop by Koa’s Seaside Grill for happy hour and enjoy the ocean views over one of their delicious hand-crafted cocktails.

Now, ending your trip to Maui without seeing a luau would be quite the shame. An unmissable component to Hawaii is taking time to learn and experience the raw culture and traditions of the Hawaiian people. The Old Lahaina Luau has seamlessly executed a way to showcase a traditional hula and feast while storytelling through dimmed lights, beating drums, and oceanic views. Although this place attracts thousands of tourists each month, The Old Lahaina has yet to lose its personal touch. Through its traditional Hawaiian performance, audiences are able to grasp the history behind the culture.

The entire night is filled with mouth-watering food. Dishes include raw and natural vegetable dishes, locally grown purple sweet potatoes, a slowly cooked pig roast, as well as an incredible array of fresh seafood all piled on your plate to keep you satisfied. The night is filled with an ambiance of howls, cackling, dancing and storytelling. As this entire evening, you’ll come to find, is flawlessly executed into a performance unlike any other.

An Insider's Guide To 3 Days In Maui An Insider's Guide To 3 Days In Maui

Even with just three days in Maui, you’ll quickly come to find that the island delivers the perfect getaway experience. With a mixture of volcanic landscapes, historic towns, rich culture, and white-sand beaches, Maui does not disappoint. So, regardless of how you find your time spent in Maui, there is truly no right or wrong way to experience it. As you’ll quickly come to find, this island constantly stops you in your tracks at every turn. Of course you’ll find plenty of time for sunbathing, hiking, afternoon dips and incredible dining experiences; but if you dig a bit below the surface, you’ll find much more than what meets the eye. This small, majestic island is one of those places that makes traveling quite the addiction.

North America Outdoors

Haiku Stairs: Hiking The Stairway To Heaven

When I saw a photo of the Haiku Stairs for the first time, I said myself : ” No way, I have to get there one day!” It was an epic view – so epic that it seemed almost unreal and I couldn’t help thinking the photo was photoshopped… But after watching a few videos I knew it wasn’t.

The Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven, is a hiking trail on the Oahu Island, Hawaii. In fact it’s a military object constructed during the Second World War and used to provide the fast access to the radio station on the top of the mountain. Today it’s not used by the army anymore and the staircase became one of the main tourist attractions on the island.

An important thing about the Haiku Stairs : this hike is illegal and one risks to get a fine for doing it. The amount of this fine isn’t quite clear, different people talk of the fines between 600 and 1500 US dollars. The reason is a long-term dispute between the owner of the land and the local authorities. So formally hiking the Stairway to Heaven is prohibited and there’s a risk to be caught by police.

I was totally conscious of these facts when making my decision to climb the Haiku Stairs but two thoughts determined my choice. First, there’s no real harm to anybody caused by this hike – no damage to the nature or somebody’s property, no risk to life or health. Second, I didn’t find any stories about getting a fine told in the first person ; they’re always about ‘a friend of a friend’.  For these two reasons I decided to take a risk and do the most incredible hike in my life!

Was it hard ? Yes, it was – I got up at 3a.m., drove to another side of the island (the exact destination point is 46475 Kuneki street, Kaneohe), found a way through the jungle, avoided the security guard and climbed for one hour and a half in the darkness, using only a head light. Some parts of the staircase are damaged and you have to be very careful when passing them. Another danger – humidity: the metal stairs and railings are covered with the night dew and very slippery! I didn’t take any gloves and regretted it badly.

You don’t need to be in a super shape to do this hike but it’s quite challenging. If you are not sure of your physical condition, better to plan at least two hours for getting to the top. I was out of breath when I reached the final point of the Haiku Stairs, even though I workout every day and get used to long jogs…

Is it worth the effort? My answer is yes, no doubts about that!

It was still night when I achieved the top. In the darkness I could only see the faint lights of the highway far below. I sat on the humid metal stairs and waited. The sky became clearer slowly and I began to perceive the coast. It was time to switch on my camera and start taking photos but I was so fascinated by the view that could only stay motionless and observe. Suddenly the golden light lit the mountainside and I finally woke up, grabbed my camera and started to shoot… It only lasted a few minutes, and immediately after sunrise the clouds covered the mountaintop, creating moody and mysterious atmosphere. I was incredibly lucky to catch both the sunrise and the cloudy weather ! I honestly can’t decide which one is better for the photos…

When I was looking at the stairs following the edge of the mountain, it suddenly struck my mind that initially they were an important military object. Have the soldiers who climbed those stairs during the war ever noticed the beauty of the landscape ? Have they ever felt the powerfulness of nature and the greatness of the World ? I’m sure they have, despite the danger and risk they were running. That view many years ago has filled, I thought, the fighters’ hearts with proudness for their Motherland. And today we feel the same admiration and marvel as they felt.

Going down is surprisingly harder than climbing up. First, by night you don’t see the emptiness behind you and second, it starts to get hot very quickly after 9a.m. I seriously wonder how some people manage to do this way during a bright time of the day – they should suffer a lot under the pitiless rays of sun!

The Stairway to Heaven hiking isn’t an ordinary thing to do on Hawaii. It’s a challenge, an adventure, an experience, a risk… But a chance to find yourself in a wonderland, even if for just a few hours, is priceless. That sunrise on the top of the Haiku Stairs is a prize trophy in my sunrise collection and if I lived on Oahu I know I would do this hike again and again, just to see the golden rays of sun on the mountaintop.

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Food Hotels North America Reviews

Hotels We Love: The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui

We had the pleasure of being invited to the The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui for their 3rd Annual Wellness Weekend! Having never been to Hawaii before, I was blown away by this mysterious yet beautiful piece of Maui.

The moment we approached the property, the grounds took my breath away. The property is surrounded by majestic Cook pine trees, something I didn’t expect before coming to Maui (thinking palm trees) and there is surely no shortage of natural beauty here.

A magical Banyan tree stands tall in front of the lobby.

The views reaching out far into the Pacific are stunning from almost every window in the resort.

Light and airy hallways with artists casually painting beautiful masterpieces by the bay windows.

The hotel also offers a tour of their organic garden, led by one of the resort chefs. The perfectly manicured garden has everything from herbs, fruits, vegetables, and wild flowers. The chefs pick the locally grown ingredients for select dishes served at the resort. The garden is located behind Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment center, where the resort’s resident pigs Loco & Moco live! Be sure to pay them a visit 🙂

Plumeria flowers cover the grounds wherever you turn falling from the trees that surround the resort.

 

The three-tiered pool area is as luxurious as it is relaxing, complete with a poolside bar and it is open 24 hours.

One of my favorite experiences at the resort was the “Aloha e ka la…farewell to the day” ceremony that took place each evening at 6:30 pm in the lobby. At sunset, a beautiful Hawaiian native would echo into a shell and summon the energies of the day to allow us to say mahalo (thank you) for such a wonderful day in Kapalua. The beat of the pahu (sacred Hawaiian drum) signified the heartbeat of the day’s light and a short oil (chant) put the day to rest. It’s surely not a moment to be missed!

We experienced the hotel’s Alaloa Lounge where we sipped on Skinny Cocktails perfectly fit for Wellness Weekend! The lounge also offers an extensive menu of specialty cocktails, domestic and imported beers and appetizers and desserts. I loved the outdoor cozy couches and fireplaces. This is also the area where the Aloha e ka la ceremony happens.

Dinner at The Banyan Tree was quite the treat, highlighting locally sourced ingredients, including those form the hotel’s organic garden (see below).

My favorite was the Hawaiian poke! Incredible flavor.

The Terrace is where we had breakfast each morning and it offers a renowned plantation style buffet which is incredible, offering more options that you can count! The Terrace also offers an a la carte menu daily. The light and airy feel to the room with views of the pool and the Pacific makes for the perfect way to start a morning.

For perfect beach views, The Beach House is where it’s at. Set on the beautiful DT Fleming Beach with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, the menu offers a variety of dishes inspired by local cuisine and you’ll be engulfed by over 40 full-grown (and very tall!) coconut palms!

The white sand beach, although a bit windy, extends into a rocky cliff, making it the perfect place for photo ops and exploration.

An interesting fact that I discovered while staying at this property was that when the resort began construction, they discovered ancient burial grounds along the shores. Thus, out of respect to the ancient Hawaiians, the area is walled off and the hotel is set back a bit up on the hill. We had the pleasure of learning more about the ancient Hawaiians and the lives they led by the property’s cultural advisor, Clifford Na’eole, as he educated us on the cultural roots and performed chants that echoed in the wind.

 

 

We woke up bright and early for the E Ala E  (“Awaken”) West Maui Sunrise Hike through the Maunalei Arboretum. Perfectly secluded, we were the only hikers up there and we were guided by a well informed naturalist as we made our way into the native Pu’u Kukui Watershed, the area’s protected water source. Beware though! Puʻu Kukui is one of the wettest spots on Earth, so don’t forget to wear proper gear to protect yourself from the rain, mosquitos and muddy pathways.

Last but not least, a short 20 minute car ride leads you to the town of Lahaina where you will find tons of shops, beaches, restaurants and more! Our first stop was at Aloha Mixed Plate, located right on the waterfront and the perfect spot for lunch! p.s. the coconut shrimp was to die for.

 

For additional information or reservations, please visit The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua Maui

Hosted by The Ritz-Carlton | All words and opinions are my own.

 

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Beaches Insider Tips North America

Maui, Hawaii: 5 Things to Do On Your Island Holiday

Most vacationers head to Maui to relax, lie on the beach, sip Mai Tai’s and work on their tan. However, for those of us with an adventurous side, there is plenty to see and do for us too on this breathtaking island.


After two trips to the Hawaiian Island of Maui, I have come up with a Top 5 List for your Maui vacation, combining activities completed by me and suggested by those I have met along my travels! Travel is such an amazing opportunity to learn and experience new things as you share your adventures stories with those you meet along the way!

So with that being said, here are my Top 5 things to do in Maui!

1.    Swim, Relax & Stay at Ka’anapali Beach

 

Lined with luxurious beach resorts, Ka’anapali Beach on Maui’s west coast is a hustling and relaxing location for visitors all at once. Crystal clear waters provide a stunning view for vacationers as well as providing great snorkeling spots for those wanting a slightly more exciting experience. I have even spotted sea turtles just off the shoreline peacefully swimming in the turquoise blue water! Black Rock, located at the northern most part of the beach provides some of the best snorkeling opportunities, with mostly calm and manageable conditions.

2.    Visit Old Lahaina Town

A day trip to Lahaina is a must do on your stay to Maui. Marvel at the historic buildings, enjoy a shave ice from Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice, or simply relax in the shad underneath the impressive Banyon Tree Lahaina’s Banyon Court Park. Lahaina also offers lots of shopping opportunities for those wanting to fit as much as they can into their baggage allowance!

3.    Go Whale Watching

 

In the Winter months (December – May), whales can be seen passing through the channels on West and South Maui creating great viewing for tourists. Whales can be seen passing from the shoreline. However if you want to get that tiny bit closer, tours run from Lahaina Harbor over these months. Strict guidelines are in place that allows you to marvel at these impressive creatures from a safe distance of over 100ft, keeping both the whales and yourself protected.

4.    Drive along the Hana Highway and embrace the beautiful sights on the Road to Hana

 

Be sure to set aside a full day to explore this pristine corner of the island on Maui’s East coast. This road consists of 59 bridges and 360 winding turns with each one providing an even more spectacular view. Marvel at the black sand beaches, swim at the seven sacred pools, take in incredible views of waterfalls and truly embrace all the Hawaiian lifestyle has to offer.

5.    Haleakala Crater

 

The last on the list and perhaps the most suggested activity to do on Maui from those I have met on my travels is a trip to Halekala Crater. Home to Maui’s Highest Peak, this National Park boast impressive views of the island. A number of tours offer visitors the opportunity to explore this beautiful part of Maui, which is known for its unforgettable sunrises. Hiking trails are also on offer as well as horseback riding and bike tours.

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