With Spring nowhere in site, a Hawaiian getaway sounds perfect right about now. Our guest blogger recently spent six days full of sun, surf and sushi in Maui on his honeymoon. Check out all his recommendations and live vicariously through the beautiful photos.After a year planning what we thought was the perfect wedding last October, a Hawaiian island honeymoon was the perfect finale. With less than a week to spend in paradise, we stuck to one island and maximized what it had to offer. The result? We managed to do a surprising number of things in a short time - catch the sunrise on Haleakala, snorkel at Molokini, attend the requisite luau and eat a number of great meals - while still having time to relax on the beautiful beaches of Maui.
Where to Stay
Westin Maui Resort - Located in Ka'anapali a mile-long beach area lined with resorts and condos, the Westin Maui is a beachfront resort and spa that offers the utmost convenience all around - rooms with sunset views, great amenities (like a free shuttle to Lahaina) and an ideal location with a variety of restaurants and shops nearby. Plus, the beach is phenomenal and right at your doorstep so ocean views are around every corner. Arriving at the Westin Maui in Ka'anapali and being upgraded to a room with a view (honeymooners get all the perks!) was a wonderful welcome to Hawaii. First stop - Mai Tais at the pool bar, of course. Small, strong and expensive, but just what we needed before a quick swim in one of the many pools on site. We can't say enough good things about this resort. Highly recommended.
Kamaole Sands - For a change of scene, why not try a condo and wake up to coffee and fresh pineapple on your own lanai. Located across the street from Kamaole Beach and close to upscale shops and hotels like the Grand Wailea and Four Seasons, this large complex offers well-furnished one- and two-bedroom condos, a pool, barbecues and tennis courts on beautifully maintained grounds. Friends have stayed here and say it's an inexpensive alternative to big hotels, especially for extended stays, plus you can't beat the location. We'll definitely stay here next time.
Snorkel trip to Molokini - Upon arrival in Maui we immediately booked ourselves on a boat to Molokini crater for snorkeling. Located only three miles off the shore of Maui, it is known for its clear water and great visibility of hundreds of fish. We saw plenty of beautiful fish and turtles on our morning snorkel. Scuba diving here is also popular.
Sunrise at Haleakala - Sunrise at Haleakala National Park is one of the most spectacular sites I've seen. Surprisingly, however, it is literally freezing on the summit so bring warm clothes. (We didn't and ended up wrapping up in towels which we had used at the beach.) Regardless, it's a great experience and one not to be missed. Car required for the drive up to the park.
Road to Hana - Black sand beaches, Seven Sacred Pools, apple-banana bread en route, this drive has it all. It's possible to stay overnight along the way, but most people try to do it in one day and you can if you get an early start. Bring swimsuits and beach stuff so you can stop and enjoy the beaches along the way.
Polynesian Luau - On the must-do list for most first time visitors to Hawaii is a luau. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the food was quite good, not a buffet, but family-style dishes served to our table. The show was entertaining and we made fast friends with some of the other guests, so a good time all around.
Strolling through Lahaina - We ended up spending quite a bit of time in Lahaina. A great place to walk around with lots of shops an restaurants (including a great Chicago pizza place, Lahaina Pizza Co., if you tire of all that fresh fish and pineapple), plus the bars create a fun atmosphere at night. As an added bonus, we found what we think is the best espresso in Maui at Espresso Italiano.
Visit Whalers Village - The walkway in front of the Westin Maui Resort leads right to Whalers Village. It is a really nice walk with beautiful scenery along the way and restaurants and bars in the village. We walked it almost every day.
Where to Eat
Mama's Fish House (799 Poho Place, Paia, 808-579-8488) - The ever-popular Mama's Fish House was a must-do on our list of restaurants (based on all the recommendations we received) and we were not disappointed. Amazing fish, excellent drinks and an incredibly friendly staff are just the beginning. The restaurant sits on a beautiful spot, so come before sunset for photos on the beach.
Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar (600 Office Road, Lahaina, 808-669-6286) - We had a fantastic dinner at Sansei Seafood including creative sushi rolls and a great selection of sashimi. Make reservations early as this place fills up fast. And be sure to try whatever fresh, local fish they have on the menu.
Kimo's (845 Front Street, Lahaina, 808-661-4811) - With a beautiful view over the ocean, Kimo's has good food and a fun atmosphere. Some of the more amazing tables are literally over the water.
Keep in mind: With lots of newlyweds headed to Hawaii for their honeymoons, a great gift idea is a gift card for dinner. The restaurants in Maui have a great system of saving gift cards so when we arrived at Mama's and Kimo's, they had our gift certificates for us. Very convenient and very much appreciated.
Rent a jeep: I would suggest renting a jeep in Hawaii. We were very glad we had a car, but would love to have had a jeep for the fun of it.
Golfing - So many golf courses, so little time. There are some very famous golf courses at Kapalua which I intend to play on my next visit.
Helicopter Tour: We heard only great reviews about a helicopter tour over the island and we found out that it's not as expensive as we thought, but unfortunately, we didn't have time for this so it will be on top of my to do list next time.
We are still talking about our incredible time in Maui. We hope all of you 30-something Travel readers found our tips and ideas helpful and that you have a chance to visit Maui in the very near future.
John J. Mantello, 30-something guest blogger
Resources and Souvenirs
We used Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook to plan our trip and found a lot of helpful information written by locals. Well worth the $13 price tag in our opinion.