Mahalo, Maui (a Travel Guide)

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Can I just start off by saying…Maui is frikkin’ AMAZING! Seriously though. This past week has been one of the most breathtaking, exhilarating and relaxing times of my life. This trip was my second time in Hawaii, the first being about 10 years ago (a lot has changed in 10 years, by the way!). During my stay, I experienced some amazing things and saw some beautiful sights. Too beautiful to not share!

We stayed at the Sands of Kahana, a resort located right on the beach just north of Lahaina, HI.

The view from our room - the sunsets were incredible!
The view from our room – the sunsets were incredible!
The stretch of beach right in front of our condo.
The stretch of beach right in front of our condo.
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The time change was suuuper weird –  needless to say, I had a lot of energy in the mornings. 🙂

The resort was equipped with two pools, a hot tub, a full restaurant/bar on-site, grills, lawn games and beach volleyball. If you didn’t want to leave the grounds, you definitely didn’t have to. But, what fun would that be?!

The first adventure on our list – snorkeling! If you have the chance to snorkel in Hawaii, TAKE IT! Even if you’ve snorkeled other places before, there’s truly nothing like what you’ll experience in the Hawaiian waters.

There are dozens of companies that offer a snorkeling experience, but we chose to go with the Pacific Whale Foundation. They’re a non-profit organization with a mission to save and protect whales and other marine life from threats and extinction. The work they’re doing is pretty amazing, so it was a no-brainer for us. The staff was very knowledgeable and super helpful. Plus, they fed us! We had a light breakfast and BBQ lunch (with free booze!).

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Beer break – Oluwalu, Hawaii
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The water is so clear…tried to capture it, but didn’t really happen. Still pretty nonetheless! (Molokini Crater)

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While we were out on the water, something amazing happened…we saw a ton of whales!! Come to find out, prime Whale watching season starts in December, so we got the full experience –  without having to pay.

One of the many whales we saw during our five hour cruise.
One of the many whales we saw during our five hour cruise.

The whales on the snorkel trip weren’t the only ones we saw. In fact, each morning while we were having coffee on the patio, we could see whales in the distance right off our beach! It was incredible.

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The next couple of days were spent lounging and exploring all the Maui has to offer, and let me tell you…there are a lot of sites to see!

Walkway to the beach!

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One of our lounge days, we decided to take a drive to the tippy top of the island, not too far from where we were staying, and we found the most beautiful little slice of heaven called Oneloa Beach (also known as Ironwoods Beach).

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Next on our list of “things to do”… a traditional Hawaiian Luau! For this experience, we chose the Myths of Maui Luau at the Royal Lahaina Resort in Lahaina, HI.

Before the Luau starts, you can take a walk around the property, which sits right on the beach - the perfect place to watch the sun go down.
Before the Luau starts, you can take a walk around the property, which sits right on the beach – the perfect place to watch the sun go down.

This Luau is unique in that it takes the audience through the Hawaiian culture including each of its influences throughout history – from Tahiti to Polynesia, and ends with a mesmerizing fire dance. The other major Luau in Maui doesn’t include fire dancers, so if that’s something you’re into, the Myths of Maui is definitely the way to go.

The very next day, we packed up and headed out on the Road to Hana.  This is a 52 mile trip that spans across the East side of Maui – from Kahului to Hana (the town). Hana Highway is extremely narrow and twisty, and filled with so many sweet surprises along the way, so if you go (which I highly recommend!) start early – this is a full day trip, and given the nature of the road, you don’t want to drive it at night.

You can accomplish the Road to Hana in two ways – a guided van tour or DIY via a self-guided tour. We opted to do the tour ourselves and used Shaka Guide, an app that acted as our tour guide. The voice leading the way we called “Shaka Steve” – he was awesome, and not once did he steer us wrong. In fact, a few of the tips he gave, led us to uncovering some incredibly beautiful sites that were “off the beaten path”.

As I reflect on the past week, I learned a really valuable lesson.  The importance of  disconnecting from your everyday. Truly disconnecting, and allowing yourself to relax and enjoy your time. As a publicist, it’s extremely difficult for me to unplug and unwind, but this trip, I did just that. Now, as I prepare to get myself back to into the swing of things, I feel energized, and excited. The island has fueled my soul, and allowed me to recharge. And for that, I say Mahalo, Maui.

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