What I love about Maui, is that it's exactly what everybody told you it would be: the water really is THAT clear, and the food really is THAT good, and the weather really is THAT warm, and the people really are THAT chill. Maui doesn't have to dress itself up as something that it's not, it doesn't need the superficial trappings of exclusive resorts (although it has them all the same) and it doesn't need shirts that button or shoes that tie, it just is what it is; and what it is an island paradise, and a trip that you will never forget! It's easy to fall in love with the laid back, island culture. And it's easier still to be amazed at the natural wonders that abound on Maui. Before our trip, we briefly considered staying a shorter time on Maui, and then hopping over to some of the other islands, but we wisely decided to stay just on Maui and found that there was more than enough to be done on that island alone to fill our entire 2 weeks.
Hana Highway is an amazing trip. It follows the stunning eastern coastline of the island, and winds through the tropical forest, over dramatic river gorges, dozens of bridges, and awesome views. It's one of the greatest scenic drives in the world. It's not a long distance but because of the narrow roads and tight corners and the frequent stops for scenic overlooks, majestic waterfalls and hidden beaches to stop at it can take 6 to 8 hours. Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach is an outstanding site to see on the drive, as are the Seven Sacred Pools (though their name is a little inexplicable as that there are more than seven and they are not especially sacred). Past Hana, the roads get pretty narrow so be careful. When we rented our car at the Kahului Airport, we were pleasantly surprised when they offered us a complimentary upgrade. It wasn't until we got to the back side of the Hana Highway that we learned why everybody else was so keen on getting the smaller cars. Making it through the narrow, twisting roads in a Mercury Grand Marquis is pretty nerve wracking, and that was before a large plant fell off of a cliff face and clipped the back side of the car (fortunately there was no damage done).
La Perouse Bay where we found a family of sea turtles poking around the reef. While there's plenty of snorkeling spots you can get to for free, it's definitely worth it to get boat over to Molokini Crater and Lana'i which are amazing! And with any luck will take you past a school of spinner dolphins.
Pacific Whale Foundation not only because they do an excellent job but also because I don't mind spending money that goes to a good cause.
Without a doubt the best restaurant we found on Maui was Hali'imaile General Store. The menu was outstanding, chock full of fresh, local products prepared in creative ways. And the wine list was superb. Mama's Fish House is another outstanding place to eat. The food was great, and the ambiance was well crafted and the view was beautiful.
Grand Wailea luau and were very impressed.
Home CookingOne of the favorite local pastries is Mochi (named for the type of rice flour, Mochika). I absolutely cracked out on this stuff, and I have since had to limit myself to only making it for occasions in which I'll be going to someone else's house so that I can force any leftovers onto them, lest I eat them all myself.
1 lb Mochika (sweet rice flour)
2 1/2 Cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Cup butter (melted)
3 Cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Cup sweetened, flaked coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla and milk. In a separate, larger bowl stir together rice flour, sugar and baking powder. Pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and stir to blend. Then mix in butter and coconut and pour into the prepared dish. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Then cut into squares and serve at room temperature.
One show that should be on every tourist's Maui to-do list is 'Ulalena, a visually stunning mix of traditional and modern dance that depicts the story and mythology of the Hawaiian people, and the island of Maui.
If you're looking for some more contemporary music, there's a Hard Rock Cafe in Lahaina (we missed a chance to see new-wave rockers, The English Beat there). But there are also scads of high quality, local acts playing all over the island, check the Maui Times Weekly a free local paper.