The Maui Guide
This trip to Maui was my first in 18 years! Safe to say it was a totally different experience this time around. I highly recommend renting a car if you are the adventurous type and taking a few days to visit some of the places I recommend below.
The road to Hana will be a full day's trip - depending on where you are starting from or how early you go, consider staying overnight in Hana to avoid driving in the dark on the winding roads.
Spend another day exploring west Maui and a third day visiting the towns of Paia and Makawao. If you are fast like me - you can do everything in 3 days but if you want to take a few days at the beach to relax (or at your resort), then you may want to add a few more days to your trip in Maui.
A great beach option if you are staying in Paia with clean water and an option to actually go swimming as the waves are not too high. There is a big lawn and plenty of flat land so you can have a picnic by the beach. Stop by one of the organic markets on the way and pick up lunch to enjoy by the water.
A secluded waterfall with an option to go swimming. Although the current from the waterfalls is quite strong, it doesn't stop locals from jumping in the "pool" and even diving. This an easy hike and takes less than 10 minutes to get to from Hana Highway.
Garden of Eden Arboretum
A beautiful botanical garden filled with peacocks, roosters and all kinds of beautiful foliage and wildlife. The views are stunning and parts of the property have been used to film Jurassic Park.
Waianapanapa State Park
A great place to stop and take a swim between the black and red sand beaches, there are plenty of photo opportunities and the waves are not too high so you can swim comfortably.
Wailua Falls, Seven Sacred Pools and Pipiwai Trail
This is probably the reason you should come to Hawaii in the first place! Definitely one of the most beautiful, scenic and unique hikes I have ever been on in my life - maybe the most special even! Explore unique foliages like tie-dye trees, bamboo forests, unlimited waterfalls and hidden pools. Take dips in the streams, climb the 100 year old trees and be prepared for the most special surprise at the end that no amount of picture can do justice. This hike is about an hour each way, but it was so beautiful and serene that the time flew by. Be prepared for mud as it rains frequently in this tropical climate - wear hiking boots and a bathing suit.
Waihea Ridge Trail
An intense and steep 2 hour hike in the Iao Valley offers breathtaking views of the mountains that the helicopter tours cannot experience. Hike through a variety of climates and temperatures all in the hour it takes you to get to the top. The temperature is quite humid so expect to sweat and be challenged, but this is a great workout and a beautiful setting.
Somewhat of a dangerous road as it is often only one lane and winding - the speed limit here is 20 MPH max because you cannot see cars coming at you. However, if you take the chance to do this road trip, you will expect to find beautiful stops along the way like the Olivine pools where you can swim inside the ocean, the famous mushroom shaped rock, The “Heart” near Nakalele Blowhole, and other beautiful natural wonders.
Haleakalā National Park
Famous for its sunrise in the clouds, this volcanic crater is what I imagine it feels like to be walking on the moon. To watch the sunrise, you need to make a reservation ahead of time and get there early: before 6:30 AM as it gets quite busy with the tourists. You can also wait until 7 AM and experience the volcano with hiking and photographing beautiful views. Dress warm as the temperature and climate is completely different than at the bottom of the island - the high altitude over 10,000 feet makes hats, gloves and fleece jackets appropriate.
A curated boutique with outposts in Southhampton and St Barth's sells their namesake brand of swimwear and resort wear as well as a unique selection of pieces from familiar names like Sundry and Cotton Citizen.
This beachside boutique features a modern apothecary bar, a botanical bar, home goods and clothing from brands like Acacia and Citizens of Humanity.
A minimalist store selling amazing resort wear you can rock back in the city from brands like Mother Denim, Aviator Nation and Cotton Citizen.
A unique shop in the town of Makawao where you can find brands like Ulla Johnson, NSF and Chan Luu.
A contemporary store selling brands like Olympia Activewear, Frame Denim and Plant Blue as well a great selection of skincare by local brands like Kopari, jewelry and more.
This Brazilian based brand is your on stop shop to bikinis on the island. Shop from brands like Jen's Pirate Booty, Frankie's Bikinis, Acacia and so much more. The shop has a cafe in the back where you can enjoy live music and have a coffee or a cocktail.
A locally owned grocery store in the center of town (near the airport) rivals LA's Erewehon by a long shot. I found brand and products here that I haven't seen at any store on the mainland and their food is delicious, organic, vegan and gluten free.
An amazing organic grocery store in Paia selling local produce like soursop, egg fruit and papaya as well as delicious food, grocery items and a well stocked organic pharmacy. They also have an onsite cafe where the squeeze made to order green juices and brew fresh coffee.
You can't come to Hawaii without trying to poke, and the place to do it is at this Top Chef alumn's neighborhood hole in the wall. Expect long lines and a busy lunch scene so prepare to wait and get your order to go. The menu is limited but changes seasonally and offers poke bowls with furikake "dime bags", locally caught fish and sides like kale salad and even birthday cake for dessert.
Coconut Glen's Homemade Ice Cream
Stop by this tiny hut on your way to the Wailua Falls for homemade coconut (dairy free) ice cream in delicious flavors like chocolate chip and salted caramel.
This fruit stand on the road to Hana offers fresh fruit smoothies, cold brew Kona coffee and other local made snacks you can take with you during your hike or bring back as gifts.
Ono Organic Farm Stand
An organic fruit stand on the road to Hana where you can get a freshly picked coconut and exotic local fruit like apple bananas and durian.
Great coffee brewed from 100% organic Kona beans pairs with delicious acai bowls filled with local fruit like mangos, bananas and lilikoi. The cafe also serves bagels with macadamia nut "cheese", avocado and organic local greens that is a must try!
A hole in the wall vegan spot off the beaten path with delicious made from scratch food like tempeh burgers, hummus and avocado sandwiches, ginger shots and acai bowls.
Serving organic Kona coffee, nitro cold brew with options like coconut and macadamia milk, this was one of the best coffees I have ever tried. Conveniently located near the airport, make this your first stop to refuel post flight. You can also purchase local Hawaiian made snacks like coconut covered macadamia nuts and nut brittle.
A local, organic coffee shop brewing freshly roasted coffee by Maui Oma. You can also order fresh pressed juices, smoothies, organic and sugar free parties and some light breakfast options.