Magical Maui

For as long as I can remember, my dad has been saying that people who work customer service in exotic places have the best jobs. Think about it… most people they encounter are happy (at least at that moment). For the most part, the information they provide is positive and they can’t go wrong. “How’s the weather looking this week?” “Clear, warm and sunny”. “What should we bring on the tour?” “Your sunglasses, your bathing suit and a sense of adventure!” See what I mean? Why am I telling you this? Because Maui is that place. Exotic, laid back, magical… that place that my dad was talking about. The weather is perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. There’s a hint of pineapple in the air when the wind blows and you are surrounded by beautiful beaches, sunshine and palm trees. Besides, who could ever be in a bad mood with those funny little chickens running here and there? So, “Welcome to Maui. Molholo. Breakfast is served beachside from 7 am until 10 am and the pools are open 24 hours. Enjoy your stay.”

Getting There

Flights go to Maui from many US cities. The flight from Los Angeles is only 4.5 hours! I flew from NYC on Hawaiian Air nonstop to Oahu, then took a quick 40 minute flight to Maui!

Things to Do

Ride a bike down a volcano!!!! Yes….you can rent a package that includes a rental bike, Darth Vader helmet and a shuttle service that will drive you ( and the bikes) up close to the summit of Haleakala. Fun fact; The summit tops out at slightly over 10,000 feet! Oh…and Haleakala has only erupted 3 times in the last 900 years…. so odds are, you should be fine! You can do this ride with a small group, or opt for an independent ride down at your own pace. I didn’t want to embarrass anyone that couldn’t keep up with me, so we did the independent Self-Guided Haleakala Express with The Haleakala Bike Company which cost $99 pp The ride is not difficult at all, as it is all down hill. There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery and even antagonize a few bulls. How was I suppose to know that he didn’t want his picture taken? Near the end of the ride there is a neat little town called Makawao to stop at and have lunch. They also have some cool little art galleries and shops. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the Rodeo General Store will run you around $4.00. The entire ride from start to finish is 23 miles and took us under 3 hours with multiple stops and lunch. The road is shared with cars (and cows) so you just have to be aware. Dress in layers, it’s much colder at the summit!!

angry cows

Two words. Goat yoga. Yes. Goat yoga. So truth be told, it’s more about the goats than the yoga…but you already knew that. What a fun way to spend a few hours outside in a beautiful setting WITH BABY GOATS! Maui Goat Yoga is located in Kula, a beautiful part of the island with winding roads and farm stands. After the instructor goes over the rules and gives out the mats, they release the goats! It’s crazy! One minute you are doing the cobra pose, the next, there is a goat on your neighbors back…eating her hair! They literally jump on you non-stop, like a 17 year old boy on prom night. At the end, everyone is given cheerios to feed the baby goats. The best part? They encourage goat hugging and snuggling!

Spend an hour at Moana Glass Studio. We took a workshop where we learned the glassblowing process and actually made something that we could take home! They give you several choices of what you can make and give you color choices as well. I had a blast doing this! Get it? A blast. Sorry.

My masterpiece!

Get out on the water for a day. If you have read my other blogs, you already know about my rocky relationship with boats. Literally. It’s a love/hate relationship. I love going out on the boat, I hate getting sea sick on the boat. But once again, I convinced myself that this time would be different. The brochure was so enticing. Swimming with turtles, snorkeling inside a sunken crater, watching dolphins play in the water… and so much more! My first clue that there might be trouble came when the captain said that the winds were picking up quite a bit. We hadn’t even left the dock yet… “Might be a little rough out there,” he added. Translation; “We are heading into a monsoon, I hope you said goodbye to your loved ones…..and soon you will say goodbye to your breakfast.” And with that thought, off we went. The breeze was on my face…the sun was out. Everything was good. Until it wasn’t. I can’t describe how big and how fast the waves were coming. At one point the captain gave out raincoats. Another bad sign. In my mind, we were on the set of The Perfect Storm (only my captain didn’t look like Mark Wahlberg). Finally, we opted to turn around and went into a calmer little cove to snorkel with some really cool fish. The second stop was Molokini, the collapsed crater which essentially creates a kind of a fishbowl where sea life thrive. Then we stopped in another cove known as a “turtle cleaning station”. This turned out to be the best stop. I actually swam with Green Turtles and watched one (appx. 3 feet from me) while a fish ate algae off of his shell. We shared a moment. Now THAT’S worth getting sea sick for! The vomit comet we took was with a company called Blue Water Rafting. It was 175.00 per person and came with snacks , sandwiches and water. P.S. As a bonus, we did spot dolphins as promised.

Visit Maui Ocean Center Aquarium. This was one of the most beautiful settings for an aquarium. They had all of the usual residents…jellyfish, turtles, seahorses, and a really cool shark tunnel. .

Take a drive along the coast on West Maui’s Kapalua to see the sights and visit the Nakalele Blowhole. Along the way there are tons of places to pull over and just take in the views. There’s even a van on the side of the road around half way through the drive that sells banana bread. In NYC this would be super sketchy, but in Maui it’s really just a little Hawaiian lady selling homemade banana bread. When you reach the blowhole,(mile marker 38) it’s about a 10 minute hike down to the ocean. Wear good shoes. I honestly could sit and watch the blowhole for hours. It’s mesmerizing! Leave a few hours to enjoy this drive and take your time. Nobody is in a rush on Maui time.

Spend some time in Lahaina. I absolutely love this town. It’s an old whaling village with a fantastic history, fun little shops, a plethora of restaurants and the largest banyan tree in the US! Lahaina is a great place to stay for a few days if you can score a room at the historic Pioneer Inn.

Where to Stay

Lahaina- The Pioneer Inn. The absolute best deal in town. Rooms have terraces, some overlooking the pool. Walking distance to everything in Lahaina. Hotel is across from the Banyan tree where birds gather and sing at dusk. Oh! and they have a resident parrot!

Where to Eat

Fleetwood’s on Front Street- Get a table out back on the water and time it so you are there for sunset.

Prison Street Pizza- Lahaina

Cool Cat Cafe- 50s style dining on the 2nd floor of the Wharf Cinema Center-Lahaina

The Morning Rose Cafe- Great place for breakfast near Courtyard Marriott

So if you find yourself on the magical island of Maui, and you’re checking into your hotel, don’t be surprised if you hear my voice someday…”Good morning and welcome to Maui. Breakfast is served on the sunny back patio from 7 until 10. The pool is open until 11 pm and the bar serves two for one drinks from 5 pm until 7pm (where you will find me). Enjoy your stay.” And believe me, you will.

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