With the Hawaiian Islands known as one of the top sought-after destinations in the world, it’s Maui that is an absolute must see. But many only know Maui for its luxurious coastline resorts and activities that solely target the highly-populated tourists. What travelers may not know is that Maui is also home to some of the most exciting farm lands, tropical greenery, and amazing plant life of all the Hawaiian islands. Its roaring hills of greenery that engulfs the island makes way for a backdrop that resembles something out of a Jurassic Park movie– making each and every turn Instagram-worthy.
As Maui’s tourism rises each year and its ever-growing popularity reaches high numbers, it can be easy to get stuck in plenty of tourist traps. This results in many missing out on all the unique and fun things happening on Maui. So before we begin, we send a fair warning to all of our readers. As one must prepare themself for plenty of time to explore the tiny nooks and crannies that this magically little island has to offer. Holding a reputation as one of the top destinations in the world, it’s surely well-deserved.
As many travelers are drawn to the resort area of Kaanapali, which of course, is stunning in itself, the alternative is even more speculator. We suggest skipping this overly-crowd resort area and instead, head to the charming town of Pa’ia. Here, you can stay at the family owned tropical sanctuary of Mangolani Inn with ample ability to roam and have the freedom to explore Maui.
This cute “home away from home” tropical sanctuary is just steps from several amazing art galleries, restaurants, cafes, surf shops and amazing beaches in the area. With ocean views and an exclusive 6 bedroom property, this place easily boasts beach-like vibes and an airy surrounding. The tranquility of Mangolani Inn comes from their detailed aesthetics including mango tree hammocks, tropical fruits and flowers to pick, BBQs, hot tub, and picnic tables; all allowing guests to thoroughly enjoy their Maui evenings out in the open. Owners Dave and Nyla are always on-site and more than happy to share their Aloha Spirit with guests.
Head down to Hoo’kipa beach and watch surfers crush some of the most killer waves you’ll find in the world. You’ll find plenty of food trucks to grub on and scope out locals selling coconuts right out of the bed of their trucks. Take in the views of the golden sand and spectacular views or go snorkeling around the rocky outcroppings at the end of the beach (look out for the group of sea turtles nonchalantly hanging sunbathing nearby).
In the evening, be sure to snag a pair of tickets to Maui Chef’s Table. This unforgettable culinary experience at The Maui Tropical Plantation hosts weekly dinner events that resemble a dinner party among good friends and good food. The entire event is all farm to table inspired, using ingredients at their peak of flavor paired with innovative techniques resulting in an experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s an exciting, interactive event among chefs and “foodies” that encourages event-goers to get out of their seats and ask questions. It’s a fun way to meet other people and chat among fellow food and drink enthusiasts.
Today is the day you’ll want to hit up the legendary Road to Hana. This trip is practically a must on every travel site you’ll find online. There are many ways to experience this trip, and you’ll want to make sure you do it right. Pick a few designated spots such as Twin Falls or the Bamboo Forrest to stop at, rent a car (skip signing up with a tour), and peruse down this iconic road. Make sure to leave plenty of time to stop at all the local food markets along the way. The entire day is filled with exploring this twisty, two-lane road that swoops over pristine cliffs, flowing waterfalls, black sand beaches, local food stands and a bright, jungled rainforest all in the comforts of your own car.
Since this epic Road to Hana will take up most of the day, it’ll be dark by time you get back into town. Our suggestion is to swing by Maui’s famous fish market, Paia’s Fish Market. Pick up a to-go order and take it back to Mangolani Inn. Take the rest of the night to enjoy resting in the cool outdoors. Another tip: Hit up Mangolani’s jacuzzi after and call it a day.
On your last day, you’ll want to start early and head over to the other side of the island. Meet at Lahaina Harbor and hop on with Captain Seth at Trilogy Sailing to catch some epic whale watching. Prepare for your mind to be blown as every fall the humpback whales begin their southward migration from Alaska to Hawaii. This migration results in seeing hundreds of these magnificent creatures flooding the waters off of Maui. These sightings are so frequent and easy, they’re basically guaranteed. While nothing beats the excitement of watching such spectacular animals breach their bodies out of the water, unlimited mimosas and bloody marys doesn’t hurt either.
Stay in Lahaina for the afternoon and check out their lively Front Street. Pop into the art galleries and shops, or go off the beaten path and take a glass-blowing class with Moana by Ryan Staub. If time allocates, stop by Koa’s Seaside Grill for happy hour and enjoy the ocean views over one of their delicious hand-crafted cocktails.
Now, ending your trip to Maui without seeing a luau would be quite the shame. An unmissable component to Hawaii is taking time to learn and experience the raw culture and traditions of the Hawaiian people. The Old Lahaina Luau has seamlessly executed a way to showcase a traditional hula and feast while storytelling through dimmed lights, beating drums, and oceanic views. Although this place attracts thousands of tourists each month, The Old Lahaina has yet to lose its personal touch. Through its traditional Hawaiian performance, audiences are able to grasp the history behind the culture.
The entire night is filled with mouth-watering food. Dishes include raw and natural vegetable dishes, locally grown purple sweet potatoes, a slowly cooked pig roast, as well as an incredible array of fresh seafood all piled on your plate to keep you satisfied. The night is filled with an ambiance of howls, cackling, dancing and storytelling. As this entire evening, you’ll come to find, is flawlessly executed into a performance unlike any other.
Even with just three days in Maui, you’ll quickly come to find that the island delivers the perfect getaway experience. With a mixture of volcanic landscapes, historic towns, rich culture, and white-sand beaches, Maui does not disappoint. So, regardless of how you find your time spent in Maui, there is truly no right or wrong way to experience it. As you’ll quickly come to find, this island constantly stops you in your tracks at every turn. Of course you’ll find plenty of time for sunbathing, hiking, afternoon dips and incredible dining experiences; but if you dig a bit below the surface, you’ll find much more than what meets the eye. This small, majestic island is one of those places that makes traveling quite the addiction.