Maui is one of the most popular destinations in Hawaii. That shouldn’t really come as a surprise, when you consider that it’s one of the archipelago’s prettiest islands. The flight from Honolulu takes only 20 minutes, which made me very happy, so getting there is a breeze.
And when you arrive, getting about is equally easy going. The place to rent cars is simple to find from the airport. This time we chose a Jeep, hopped in and started our 30-minute drive from the airport in Wailea to our hotel. We stayed at the Marriott, which has more of a resort style. Our room was very large with a kitchen, living room and balcony, and breakfast was included. We didn’t get the chance to take a dip, but there’s also a lovely pool.
Where to eat in Maui
On our first day in Maui we decided to take it easy, relax and enjoy the Hawaiian way of life. We visited Paia, which is the city where the famous road to Hana begins. It’s a super cute, small, hippy-style place. Everyone is extremely friendly and relaxed. We had a coffee is a fabulous place called Paia Bay Coffee. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of a tropical rainforest, with tables dotted around the leafy trees.
Fuelled by coffee, we wandered between the cute boutiques before going for pizza at Flatbread Company. This was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten, so it’s a foodie must in Maui. The pizza was organic and baked in a wood-fired pizza oven. You can choose from the menu or build your own perfect pizza. We also tried their salad, which was fantastic. After that, we hit the road to the east coast for a quick drive, but it wasn’t as exciting as we’d hoped.
The road to Hana
On following day we woke up early to drive to Hana. It’s a famous road with 600 turns and 54 bridges. At just 45 miles in length, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a short journey, but you’d be wrong. The numerous beautiful attractions that line the route mean you’ll want eight to ten hours to drive it. We weren’t able to stop everywhere and see everything, but we were extremely lucky with weather. Apparently it rains on the road to Hana a lot but it didn’t rain for us at all!
Our first stop en route was at the Twin Falls Waterfalls. As the name suggests, there are two waterfalls reachable in a five to ten minute hike. It was very beautiful! Along the way we also saw tropical forests, more waterfalls and stunning view points. We also got to try pineapples, famous banana bread, mango bread and a great organic chicken burrito from one of the food trucks.
The Wailua Falls and Seven Sacred Pools
The road to Hana doesn’t actually end in Hana, but a little bit after it. It is so worth it to drive that bit further! You will see the most wonderful waterfall, Wailua Falls, and later the Seven Sacred Pools, where there is a 25$ per car fee for visitors. We only saw the pools, but there are three-mile hikes there, too. The Seven Sacred Pools weren’t the only paid attraction. They also charge 15$ per person at the Gardens of Eden, which is understandable, but we decided to skip it.
By the end of the road to Hana, you can turn around and drive the same way you came. This is a suggested and safe option, but you can also drive around to the south, which is apparently very pretty but dangerous. From what I’ve heard, it’s so risky that you need to get permission from your rental company to drive there! We made it back the safer way in time to catch a stunning sunset on the way home. Find out why the road to Hana made it onto my seven best road trips in the world here.
Visiting Haleakala National Park
On our last day we planned to get up early and see the sunrise at Haleakala National Park. Here lies a volcano that is 10,000 feet high, with a summit that clears cloud level. But after checking the weather and seeing rain and clouds forecast, we decided to go there at noon because we also had a flight back to Oahu in the evening and another long flight the next day. Even during the day it was an amazing experience. You just climb higher and higher and at some point you need to drive through the clouds, which is a totally different experience to seeing them from the plane.
To get into Haleakala National Park you need to pay 25$, and if you decide to go there for sunrise, make sure you register online first. It’s also worth remembering that you’re going so high that the temperature will drop a lot. It was very cold at the top, so as much as the views were wonderful, we didn’t stay too long.
We didn’t have too much time to explore Maui completely but I am happy with what we saw in three days. This island is definitely different to Oahu. It’s less populated, wilder and greener too. I am glad we went there in the off season because the weather was still amazing but the limited parking made me wonder how people manage at peak times.