04 May Maui in a Jiffy: Eight Must Dos on the Valley Isle
After watching so many amazing movies on Hawaii, it’s easy to see why these islands, located in the Pacific Ocean, are the perfect destination for a family, a couple or individual, as each island embodies a different attraction.
Some of our recommended must dos on Maui, the Valley Isle, include:
First stop would be Iao Valley, which is known for its waterfalls and rainbows, as well as the amazing hiking trails. It is open from 10 to 4 daily in Wailuku in North Maui, near the airport. There is also a well-marked paved pedestrian path leading from the parking to view Iao Needle, and the ridge-top lookout provides incredible views of the valley. The needle is sometimes covered in clouds, so an early start is our best bet for a good view.
Most people visit this spectacular Haleakala National Park at sunrise, but our preference is to go for the sunset and then stay and watch the stars. It is simply stunning and a lifetime memory! Another way of enjoying the wonderful sites is to go for a bike ride and, if you start at sunrise, it’s good to do it on the first full day you are on the island to get rid of the jet lag.
ROAD TO HANA
The Road to Hana is located along Maui’s eastern coastline and considered one of the last unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers. It is only 52 miles away from Kahului, but the drive can take from two to four hours to complete, because it is laden with narrow one-lane bridges, hairpin turns and incredible island views. The road leads you through flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools and dramatic seascapes. Start early, since there are plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the lovely views.
FLYIN HAWAIIAN ZIPLINE
For a bit of adventure, try “flying the magnificent Hawaiian skies” on the longest zipline in Hawaii. From the top of the mountains, you have incredible panoramic views of Maui and can see the entire central island, including both the north and south shore. You’ll cover more than 2.5 miles of the West Maui canopy, stretching from Waikapu to Ma’alaea, where you’ll cross nine different valleys and 11 different ridges. Eight ziplines range from 250 feet to a 3,600-foot monster, with heights over 250 feet and speed in excess of 50 mph! As an added bonus, you’ll gain insight into Maui’s rich history and culture, as your guides also share fun and interesting facts about the island, vegetation and history. This is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience!
If you are wanting to shop, find good restaurants and history, you will want to visit Lahaina, an old fishing village.
There is an old courthouse near the Banyan Tree that has a great heritage museum upstairs and information on the historic sites. You can take a self-guided walking tour through the old town, visit its galleries and watch the surfers. Parking can be a challenge, so it’s wise to get there early and make a day of it.
And if you want a fun evening out, be sure to check out Warren and Annabelle’s comedy magic dinner show – reservations are needed ahead of time.
FEAST AT LELE
Save another evening for a traditional luau, or better yet, the Feast at Lele, which is similar to a luau but more intimate and authentic. The scenery is breathtaking, and the food is amazing. It’s pricey but a great value for the experience. Do not forget to reserve in advance, as it is a major point of interest and sells out.
Located up country near Kula, the Lavender Farm offers delightful views of gardens that seem to just go and go with a variety of tropical flowers and plants, in addition to fields of various types of lavender.
Enjoy a cup of lavender tea and a lavender scone for a break with a wonderful view. (Tip: Bring your own cup/mug, and your tea is discounted.)
Afterward, head to the vineyards and tasting room at Maui Wine, which is close to the gardens. Tours of the grounds and wine operations are available during certain hours. By driving past the winery about five miles, you will be able to see the ‘backside’ of Haleakala and the lava flows that go down to LaPerouse Bay. If time, end the day in Makawao (the cowboy town) or Paia to find more shops and local art.
For a beautiful sunset and sand at your feet, take time to visit the Barefoot Bar at Hula Grill in Whaler’s Village (just down the road from Lahaina). Because they have live music regularly, if you request a table outside in the evening, you will have a starry ceiling while you enjoy a fabulous dinner, enormous Mai Tais and good music. Save room for their famous hula pie!
After dinner, walk through the shops at Whaler’s Village and even take a beach-walk stroll.
By using Nexion’s easy-to-use air, car and hotel booking tools, a Nexion travel professional can have you on your way to Maui in no time! One of our favorite stomping grounds is Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, which offers a tour of the stars through a hefty telescope on the property’s rooftop that you will not want to miss!