Our trip to Maui was all booked with excursions and flights three months in advance prior to setting off on our adventure. My husband and I, along with 4 of our other friends were setting off on this exciting vacation together. This trip was set for six days and five nights from Wednesday, March 4, 2020 – Monday, March 9, 2020 – here’s the unraveling of our trip!
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The day finally came for us to set off on our adventure to Maui at the airport.
Sadly, we didn’t get there until a little after 9pm and ours was the last flight out of the group. The first group couple had already landed and settled in the Airbnb in Kihei and gotten ready for the night. The other couple had landed half an hour before we did and had gotten the rental car and picked us up from baggage claim. The four of us were definitely in the mood for a late-night dinner and stopped at Zippy’s Restaurant in Kahului which is near the airport. Of course, we all ordered the Korean Fried Chicken.
Dinner was done! First shut eye in Maui, couldn’t wait to see the first light in Maui the following day.
Day 1 – The Skies of Maui
From sunrise to sunset and the beautiful stars in one day. We woke up around 3:00 am in the morning to drive an hour to the Haleakala National Park. Keep in mind, temperatures were around 30-40 degrees, so we were dressed accordingly – since we were from Minnesota anyway, the cold was no problem for us. There was a $5 entrance per vehicle to the general Haleakala National Park. Most importantly, visitors were required to have viewing reservations made online up to 60 days in advance via reservation.org due to limited parking space in the summit, which we weren’t aware off until a day before. Since we were late on our reservation, we were parked in the lower parking lot of the summit and walked up an uphill road which took about 15 to 20 minutes to the summit – with a pavilion at the top to view the sunrise.
We were over 10,000 ft above sea level peering over pillowed clouds and mountains. The wait for the sunrise was just the start but the best part was taking photos that were breathtaking catching the natural sun rays.
Once sunrise peaked its exuberance, breakfast was calling our names. We stopped at Grandma’s Coffee House that was probably the nearest breakfast café to where we were. Grandma’s Coffee House is a cute local spot for the locals that has been around since 1918. Their coffee is grown on the slopes of Haleakala and it was a perfect local spot to sit and relax and have some breakfast and coffee.
Next on the agenda was beach bumming. We went back to the Airbnb and changed into our swimming outfits and headed out to Wailea Resort Beach. The beach was perfect with super soft sand on the beach with clear water and soft waves. Definitely would recommend the beach for family’s with little ones.
The ocean water was quite cold to start off but as we got use to the water temperature and went underwater, the sounds of the whales took all the cold away. As we were enjoying the waves and the sounds of the whales, my husband looked up information that our Apple iPhone 11 Pro was waterproof, which was news to me. I was a bit weary about this but my husband, being the free-spirit that he is, decided he would test it out. Shortly after, a woman and her son were swimming pass us and told us that they were following a seat turtle. Right then and there, my husband ran to the beach to grab his phone and jumped right into the water and recorded the sea turtle! It was amazing!
Beach bumming for that day was short lived as we needed to shower and eat lunch prior to our next excursion. Lunch was at Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman Wailea. We had Mai tais (the best that we had on the whole trip) with some appetizers and meals.
Lunch was satisfying, then we were off to our hour commute back up the Haleakala National Park mountain for stargazing. We were definitely team no-sleep on this day. We booked the excursion with Maui Stargazing and our tour guide was Jan. Our excursion started around 3pm where we met Jan at a specific point to where we jumped on her tour bus and drove us to the top of the summit. At this point we had the opportunity to take photos of the late sun over the breath-taking clouds.
Next, Jan took us to another point on the side of the mountain as we watched the sunset while we snacked and drank some warm beverages.
As soon as the sun set, we were stargazing with Jan’s telescope as the night grew darker.
The night succumbed to an end with our hour commute back home. We saw the sunrise and sunset plus the stars all in one day. Truly experienced the Maui sky that day in full circle. Up before the sun and after it disappeared into the night. Longest day ever… literally – definitely looked forward to the next day with only the beach and waves, done and over with the cold. The funny thing, the group wanted to grab a bite to eat at Zippy’s Restaurant that night, but I was too exhausted that I wanted to still sleep in the car. Off they went to go eat and there I was getting some shut eye for the next day.
Day 2 – The Underwater Escape to The Triangle
The day was planned for snorkeling that we booked through Trilogy in Lahaina. We heard birds chirping from the Lahaina Harbor and decided to explore the area. We found ourselves at the Lahaina Banyan Court Park to find birds chirping in trees that were interconnected and tangled by their branches. It was so amazing!
As we sailed away to Lanai island, Kyle, one of the staff members and also the snuba instructor on the boat mentioned if anyone was signed up for snuba and if anyone was interested. Right away, our group did not hesitate to jump on the opportunity for this experience.
Breakfast and coffee was served on the boat as we sailed away to Lanai island. Our group was the first group to get the run-down of what to prepare and expect once we got on the island. Retrieved all of our gears and headed straight to the Hulopo’e Beach.
If you’re wondering what snuba is, it’s a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving. The only difference is that you’re not going underwater with a tank. There is a mouthpiece that connects to a floatation device by a 20-foot tube and the floatation device is filled with air. The breathing was hard to get use to at first as air was forced into your mouth rather than breathing it in. But after a while, most of us were able to let go of the floatation device and descend to the bottom of the ocean.
Snuba lasted for about 20 minutes. Once that was done, we explored the rocky shoreline and tidal pools for about a good 15 minutes and decided that we wanted to go back into the water again and go snorkeling for the remainder of the time.
If I had to book a snorkeling excursion again, I think I’ll prefer snorkeling off the ledge of a boat whether than from a beach shore. I did that once before and thought that the corals were much livelier and more colorful.
Lunch time finally came around and the staff members of the Trilogy boat cooked us lunch that included a side salad, stir-fried noodles, roasted chicken, and so much more. Once lunch ended, we all went back on the boat and sailed our way back to Lahaina Harbor.
Our sail back to the Lahaina Harbor was eventful in itself. We witnessed so many whales and at one point a mother whale and its calf was so close to our boat that the captain had to shut off the boat engine.
We were idling around for 15-20 minutes and in this timeframe the calf swam underneath the boat, luckily this boat had a net where we were able see the bottom of the boat, and I was able to crawl and see the calf swim in twirls. I’ve never felt so lucky to witness this right before my eyes. While this was happening, Kyle, stuck his phone in the water and was able to capture a footage of the mother whale diving vertically in the water. Kyle was kind enough to airdrop the footage to the rest of us for keepsakes.
We made our way to local Maui Grown Coffee shop in the area near the Lahaina Harbor.
We walked around and explored the local shops in the area and friends in my group grabbed some local ice shaved treats at Local Boys.
After our treats, we made our drive way back to the AirBnb in Kihei and made plans to check out the local night life that Kyle from Trilogy suggested, which is called The Triangle. There we danced the rest of the night away.
Day 3 – Floating Feet to the Luau
We booked our ziplining excursion with Maui Zipline Company within the beautiful Maui Tropical Plantation. This zipline excursion was perfect for beginners. I was able to capture the view with using an app called MixCam, which records both the front and back of the camera at the same time. Words were just not enough to capture all the fun and laughter we had while ziplining.
Ziplining took most of the morning, by then we worked up an appetite and was well ready for lunch. We drove by a side road food booth on our way back to our Airbnb called Huli Huli Chicken & Ribs in Kihei.
We all got ourselves chicken and ribs, walked across the street to the beach and found us a spot to sit down and grub on our BBQ. Instant picnic on the beautiful beach overlooking the beautiful midday ocean was the best eating highlight of the trip. After lunch, we went back to the Airbnb, got dressed into our swimwear and beach bummed again at Wailea beach until it was time to get ready for the Luau.
The Luau took place at the Wailea Resort. During the seating process, there were several booths for activities that included stamped tattoos and lei making headbands and necklaces. The food was served buffet style and drinks were served at the bar. Shortly after grabbing food and drinks the luau performance started. It was a beautiful performance full of hula dancers, hypnotizing trapeze and intense fire twirling performances. The night ended perfectly with all the active adventures behind us and looked forward for the following days to be more relaxed.
Day 4 – Whale Watching
Whale watching was booked through Pacific Whale. Although this day was planned for whale watching months ago, I knew that when we woke up that morning that is was not going to top our day 3 excursion with snuba/snorkeling with Trilogy… absolutely no way. But first, we had to grab breakfast and coffee.
Whale watching with Pacific Whale was more relaxed as we lounged in the interior of the boat away from the sun as we were badly burned from our days in the previous days. If we had to do it again, preferably would not book a whale watching excursion with snorkeling on the same trip as whale watching will be inevitable with the snorkeling excursion.
After whale watching that morning, we had lunch at Down the Hatch. We had some bomb food as we all ordered different dishes and had the opportunity to try everyone’s dishes.
After lunch we made a stop at Farmer’s Market Maui to grab some Acai bowls and smoothies that my friend was absolutely raving about from her last trip to Maui.
We made our way to beach bum at Kapalua Beach which was short-lived as the waves were a bit high. We decided to cut our stay there short and head back to Wailea Beach until it was ready for dinner.
Dinner that night was at Fat Daddy’s Roadhouse, also featured on Diners, Drive’Ins, and Dives.
Day 5 – Road to Hana and Back Home
Road to Hana is beautiful, but you must be prepared for the rain and the shine as this part of the island is a rainforest. Road to Hana is located on the eastern most part of the Maui island. Road to Hana is more the journey of sightseeing of the views and waterfalls and less of the city of Hana itself. We made our first stop at Ho’okipa Beach and visited wild sea turtles bumming on the beach and soon after saw a seal approach the shore, which of course we were all in awe!
After this, we made our stop at Paia Bay Coffee Shop in Paia and had some coffee and breakfast.
After our breakfast, off we were on to the Road to Hana. We were told that Bamboo Forest is one of the attractions of the Road to Hana but as we arrived, we weren’t at all prepared and dressed for the rainy weather. It was rainy and muddy as we arrived and decided that day was not the day. So that adventure was postponed until next time in Maui.
We continued on to the Road to Hana and stopped by a cute little spot where there were multiple food booths on the side of the road. We had ourselves some Huli Huli Chicken & Ribs again, Hana Pizza made fresh and cooked in a stone fire, and some fruits from the local area.
When we finally made it to the Hana, we decided to continue the roundtrip through Kihei and to Kahului to have lunch at Da Kitchen. Da Kitchen was definitely hearty and rich and, of course, featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives – I was very much satisfied with this meal! So yum!
After lunch we went back to Ho’okipa Beach to visit the wild sea turtles again and to our surprise we saw these adorable seals beach bumming and taking naps on the same beach as the sea turtles. Who needs to go to the zoo when you’ve got nature right before your eyes and them being in their natural habitat? I should mention that this beach is secluded, visitors are not allowed to go through. We were peering over an elevated balcony observing the animals peacefully.
As the sun set and we drove our way to the airport, it was a long goodbye that we were all dreading. Maui was so beautiful and so many memories were made. I was in awe of all the sights and experiences and could also wished that I had brought my parents and children to witness this magical experience. Truly blessed and lucky to have been so close with nature and its beauty… I’ll see you again Maui!