Maui's Best Snorkeling Snorkeling in Maui at Molokini or Coral Gardens with Maui Classic Charters

June 9, 2015

Beautiful Maui Sunrise at Ma’alaea Harbor!

Filed under: Best of Maui,Maui Sunrise,On Board the Maui Magic — Tags: , — Maui Classic Charters @ 7:31 am

Our guests boarding both the Maui Magic Dolphin Discovery and the Four Winds II were treated to a fabulous sunrise; mahalo to Captain Jason for capturing this shot. As if this weren’t reason enough to get up early, throw in snorkeling at Molokini Crater and other parts of Maui and you’ve got a stellar morning!

Four Winds II Sunrise from Maalaea Harbor by Capt Jason

 

 

 

May 4, 2015

Maui’s Changing of the Seasons

Filed under: Best of Maui,Maui's Changing Seasons — Maui Classic Charters @ 1:27 pm

While I’ve heard over and over that Maui only has two seasons, Winter and Summer, this could not be further from the truth. If you pay attention to the subtle changes, you’ll soon learn how the tides change seasonally, temperatures, while moderate year round, also change. Very special things are subtly happening  seasonally year round.

Winter: The Humpback Whales arrive on their long migration from the waters of Alaska to mate, birth and feed their calves. This is an amazing sight to behold and something we cherish for about 5-6 months per year, beginning mid-December. If planning your trip during Humpback season, you simply MUST try a whale watch!

Four Winds Maui Molokini Snorkel Awesome Humpback

Spring:  The beautiful blooming of the Jacarandas! For a very short period, usually late April through May, take a drive upcountry on Maui. Imagine driving under a canopy of trees filled with purple blooms!

Jacaranda tree

Summer: Delicious MANGOES! This succulent delight is probably my favorite fruit (granted, I have many since moving to Maui!). There’s nothing quite like grabbing them fresh off the tree or from local farmer’s markets. Many vacation rentals will alow some fruit picking, but always ask first (especially if on a working farm)!

Four Winds II Maui Blog Mangoes

Fall: So, we have another fave here …. delicious avocados! Any variety is wonderful as long as you know how to tell the ripeness of each. Be sure to ask the market or grower how to best gauge yours.

Four Winds II Snorkeling Blog

 

March 8, 2015

Best of Maui – Off the Beaten Path

Filed under: Best of Maui,Maui Life,Maui's Top 10,Must Do Maui! — Maui Classic Charters @ 3:08 pm

Planning a trip to Maui? You’ve most likely noticed the huge variety of things available to do on your vacation. It’s easy to
miss some of the more relaxing things to do while here. These are appropriate for almost all ages, children to Seniors, and to every type
of traveller whether solo, honeymooners or family.

1 – Snorkel Molokini: There are plenty of great spots to snorkel and scuba dive around Maui, and we like to suggest Molokini because it offers
a whole package of fun in 1 trip. As you travel on the water and see Maui from a different perspective, you may even see dolphins or Humpback whales (in
season).

FourWinds_Boat_Molokini_015_400x400

2 – Take Flight: Many of the most beautiful spots on the island are inaccessible in any other way than by helicopter tour. Feel the pwer of nature as you
hover next to cascading waterfalls, fly along rugged volcanic coastline and enjoy the majestic beauty of a Volcanic crater above the clouds. You can even arrange
flights across the channel to see the sea-cliff waterfalls of Molokai and private flights that land on the slopes of Haleakala for a champagne toast.

Maui

3 – Explore the Road to Hana: You’ll hear it from everyone and there’s a good reason for it … the journey to Hana and beyond is the paradsie most of us dream of when thinking about Hawaii. Just picture waterfalls, coastal cliff line, and lush tropical rain forests; enjoying the sights, smells, and people along the way will create memories you’ll cherish forever.

Hana Blog

4 – Pineapple Tour: We all probably think of pineapple right away when thinking of Hawaii. Why not get off the beaten path and enjoy scenic views while visiting pineapple fields with a tour of the Maui Gold Pineapple Packing Factory? Sample different varieties of the freshest pineapple you’ve ever had and take one (or more) home with you! This can be a fun and educational that teaches you a bit about
the rich history of Maui. They also offer a package including lunch at Hali’imaile General Store after the tour for a small amount more.

Pineapple Blog

5 – Relaxing Massage: When you’re on vacation, there are a few things you expect. Relaxation is on the top of most people’s lists, and getting a great massage is at the top of this list. There are hundreds of spots on Maui to get a massage, from beachside cabanas to personal in room and even small independant therapists. Find the one that’s best suited to your tastes and ENJOY!

Massage Blog

6 – Sample Local Restaurants: Maui has always attracted gifted chefs and big-name restaurant owners. In the last 5-10 years, we have experienced the newest generation of culinary brilliance with the emergence of
the very talented teachers and students coming from the Maui Culinary Academy (the school even hosts monthly events with meal service and varying themes). We’re very lucky to enjoy food from the best of the best, and
many of our Maui restaurants reflect this in every bite.

Mama's food Blog

7 – Tropical Photo Sessions: It’s usually not the first thing on people’s minds, but that’s why our Blog exisits! Private sessions with the many talented photographers on Maui are not just for weddings. Book family sunset  sessions on the beach, special anniversary gifts and events of all kinds. It is highly recommended that you book your appointment in advance. This allows you to have the time that fits your schedule best and enjoy your trip,  then take a quick hour capturing some amazing sunset moments with the ones you love. Taking your own photos will be a lot of fun, but having a professional photograph will be a lasting memory of your time on island.

Sean Hower Blog

8 – Art Galleriers: Too numerous to name, Lahaina, Wailea, Makawao, Paia and even Hana have some excellent art gallery opportunities. Depending on what you like, each area offers local art as well as famous international artists showcased in
convenient areas. Everyone offers shipping, so if you do find something special, you’ll find it waiting for you at home!

Art Galleries Blog

9 – Golfing: Not only does Maui have some top-notch, world-class golf courses, but we’ve got the views to match. There are very few complaints that come from golfers on Maui … distraction from whale breaches in the distance and
time away from swimming in the ocean. Fortunately, you can still get a bunch of beach time in a golf day here.

Golf Blog

10 – Horseback Riding: My personal fave, Mendes Ranch, offers oceanview trail rides that start at the ranch, follow along the edge of Maui’s scenic valley and to the coastline, where tour-guides will take photos of riders
in the beautiful Pacific setting. One of the things we love is that this is appropriate for all most ages.

Mendes

February 23, 2015

Maui’s Best Activities for Couples

Filed under: Best of Maui,Maui for Couples,Maui's Best Food Trucks,Maui's Top 10 — Maui Classic Charters @ 2:21 pm

Maui truly offers a little something for everyone. As a popular Destination Wedding and Honeymoon locale, a few ideas for couples seemed like a nice thing to have on hand. After living here for over sixteen years, here are just a few of my top picks. I could go on and on but it would take us months to cover that much ground! I promise to keep the ideas coming if you promise to have a wonderful time when visiting our island. I came on vacation and never went home; perhaps you will find the same charm as I and find a home away from home!

1 – Arrange an Airport Lei Greeting: What better way to begin your island get-away, whether a honeymoon or simply a vacation than being greeted with fragrant fresh flowers in the traditional Hawaiian fashion! This practice was actually started long ago when the only way to the Hawaiian Islands was by boat. Not the luxury, floating hotels we see today, passengers would reach their port of call and dis-embark looking for accommodations on land. Locals would meet them at the harbors with these hand-made “necklaces” of lovely fresh flowers and a kiss on each cheek in greeting. This practice continues on today and makes a lovely way to get you into the “Aloha Spirit”!

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2 – Drive the Road to Hana: There’s just so much to do on Maui, it’s difficult to pack it all into one trip unless you have several weeks (or longer)! One of the things no visit to Maui is complete without is the famed Road to Hana. Back in the day, so to speak, it was much more of an adventure as it was mostly unpaved … I actually have friends who have lived here since the 60’s and 70’s who can recall having to stop where they were and wait out the rain due to mudslides. SCARY to say the very least! These days, it is mostly paved but with about 42 miles that include some 54 one-lane bridges and 600 (yes, you are reading it correctly) hairpin turns (think of the shape of a paper clip and you’ll get the gist), you could still proudly don the “I Survived the Road to Hana” t-shirt after this drive.

To make the most of this trip, leave your hotel early (better yet, try to spend a night or two), pack a lunch and take your time. The journey is really the point. A CD guide is always helpful as they give you landmarks and places to stop that you might not otherwise find. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes but bring swim wear, towels and flip flops for swimming in the waterfall pools and even at the black sand beaches. A convertible is a great vehicle to have for this drive. If you have a Jeep and it rains, putting the top on is not an easy task. With a convertible, pull over, push a button and you’re on your way!

more road to hana

3 – Haleakala Crater: Sunrise, Sunset or Star-Gazing: At this altitude views of Maui are incredible. When the skies are clear you can see three other Hawaiian islands from Haleakala’s lookouts: Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii’s Big Island. Sunrises are unforgettable but sunsets can be equally as amazing and often can be less crowded. Stargazing is spectacular and the park — which is open 24 hours a day — offers stargazing programs in the summer.This rare and sacred landscape is quite a special place that practically vibrates with stories of ancient and modern Hawaiian culture and protects the bond between the land and its people. The park also cares for endangered species, some of which exist nowhere else. Come visit this special place – renew your spirit amid stark volcanic landscapes and sub-tropical rain forest with an unforgettable hike through the back country.

At this altitude views of Maui are nothing short of incredible. When the skies are clear you can see three other Hawaiian islands from various points, including Molokai, Lanai and the Big Island of Hawaii’s. Sunrises are unforgettable but this is a very well known fact and a popular attraction. It is lesser known that sunsets can be equally as amazing and often times can be less crowded. Stargazing is spectacular and the park and has become a recent attraction with both guided tours and park led evenings. The park is open 24 hours a day, making any time possible.

Whenever you choose to go, it is best to dress in layers and make sure you have warm clothing and closed toe shoes (I usually wear two pairs of socks and hiking boots). Take plenty of drinking water and snacks. Depending on the time, there are places just outside the park entrance for breakfast or dinner.

haleakala blog

4 – Have a Couples Spa Treatment: While there are a number of places to enjoy a couples “spa day” or even just have a massage for two on the beach, the Spa Grande is one of my personal faves! Voted among the “Top 10 Spas in the United States” by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure magazines, Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea is arguably the best spa on Maui and one of the most luxurious resort spas in Hawaii. Offering a wide array of treatments that reflect a balance between the traditions of the east, west and ancient Hawaii. In the words of the Grand Wailea, “Experience a harmonious infusion with one common goal – to unite one’s inner wellness and outer beauty. There is no Maui resort spa like it.”

Grand Wailea Couples Spa

5 – Visit Unique Towns: Welcome to Maui, commonly known as “The Valley Isle” and more recently, “The Magic Isle” where the unofficial motto of locals is “Maui no ka oi” or “Maui is the best.” Whether you’re seeking stunning scenery, sleepy towns or upscale resorts, you’ll find that they all pleasantly coexist here, providing something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for “buzzing action”, funky art galleries, exotic restaurants, pubs and unique shops or you want a secluded, next-to-nature experience or (or even something entirely different), Maui is sure to offer something to appeal to all tastes. An astounding variety of activities offer both the best of everything to ocean and land lovers alike with long stretches of beach, hiking trails ranging from beginner to advanced, sight-seeing (by air and by land) and water sport options. There are both guided and unguided options available for almost anything your heart desires!

Paia, Maui

6 – Dine at Mama’s Fish House: Nestled in a beautiful coconut grove, just steps from the secluded white sand beach of Kuau Cove, this converted beach house restaurant is a memory of old Polynesia on Maui’s North Shore. An award-winning menu teamed with unpretentious service and aloha spirit make Mama’s Fish House an unforgettable restaurant experience in Hawaii. Voted Maui’s Most Romantic Restaurant year after year and among the top five in the WORLD by many of the top publications, come see what all the buzz is about. Regardless of budget, no trip to Maui is complete without a visit to Mama’s. If you only splurge on one five star meal, this is hands-down the place to do it! Reservations are required for dinner and often for lunch, so plan in advance.

Mama's Fish House

7 – Snorkeling and Humpback Whale Watching: If you’re looking for a solid snorkeling experience that includes two spots, including Molokini Crater, this is definitely the tour for you!  In addition to great snorkeling, there’s the bonus of dolphin watching (about a 60% success rate of finding them) and, in season, Humpback whale watching!  The staff has extensive diving and scuba experience and does a stellar job interacting with passengers to provide guidance to the novice and allowing the more experienced folks to explore without inhibition.  This is an adventure trip and tend s to be more adult friendly, with the youngest children allowed being five years. The snorkeling sites offer an array of colorful fish and and other marine life, including sea turtles! Two meals are provided; continental breakfast, hot B-B-Q lunch the Maui Wowee burger is a MUST) and open bar of beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages.

Daily excursions depart from Maalaea Harbor, checking in at 7:00am and returning at about 12:30pm. There’s even a budget friendly afternoon private charter option from about 1:30-4:30pm if you wish to avoid a group.

DolphinCouple_Sidebar

8 – Visit MANY Beaches: Crystal clear, sparkling cerulean blue waters, tropical trade-winds, and azure skies that go on forever are what most of us picture when we think of Maui beaches. While most beaches are white or olden sand, you can find both black and even red sand (the Big Island even has a green sand beach).

In Hawaii, there is no such thing as a “private beach”. Even those multi-million dollar, ocean front estates must leave a pathway to the beach for public use. On Maui alone, that translates to over 30 miles of beaches. Locales include secluded beaches, areas where the reef has created small pools, often referred to as “Baby Beaches”, beach parks with lifeguards, picnic facilities and restrooms and more. Each has a legitimate chance to be your own personal Best of Maui Beaches.

Several of Maui’s beaches, primarily Ho’okipa,  are known worldwide as venues for international surfing and windsurfing competitions. Others are perfect for the beginning snorkeler, beachcombers, families and children. Do always remember to respect the ocean. Never turn your back on the water. If you are not an experienced beach-goer, stick to areas with life guards and always heed warning signs and you’ll have great fun in the sun.

Secret Beach

9 – Surrender to the Serenity of a Lavender Farm: In the uplands of Maui, nestled on the slopes of Haleakala are the beautiful gardens of the Ali`i Kula Lavender. Spend a day or even a few hours and “relax, rejuvenate, renew!” It is amazing how little things can change our attitude. Let your self become immersed in the sights, smells and sounds (or lack of) and find yourself immersed in utter serenity! Whether you would like to join a tour, walk the grounds alone or even plan a special event (what a lovely place for a Maui wedding!), this is a definite must for any couple looking for something “off the beaten path”

Lavendar Farm

10 – Visit a Local Winery:  It’s a different world up here, a place steeped in history and cherished by Maui’s families and visitors for decades. The grounds alone offer an escape from the hustle and bustle, a chance to slow down, soak up the scenery, breathe the air, taste the wine, even pick up a one-of-a-kind gift for loved ones back home. You may even wish to grab lunch at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store across the street and bring it back for a romantic picnic.

The atmosphere is inviting, and the attitude always unmistakably peaceful. Tedeshci Vineyards daily from 10:00 – 5:30.

Tedeschi

 

January 23, 2015

A Day of Fun on the Four Winds II

Filed under: Best of Maui,Must Do Maui!,On Board the Four Winds II — Maui Classic Charters @ 2:37 pm

These folks had such a great time they created this wonderful photo collage for us to enjoy. A big Mahalo to Emily L.!!!

Four Winds II Maui Molokini Snorkel Tour Collage by guest Emily L. on YELP

January 11, 2015

Top 10 Must Try Local Foods

Filed under: Best of Maui,Maui Life,Must Do Maui! — Maui Classic Charters @ 9:48 am

“What is the most popular food” in Hawaii is something many people, friends from other places and visitors to the islands alike, ask me all the time. There are many amazing places to eat and you can go as high (or low) end as you like; however, if you really want to “go local”, these are some of the top ten “must try” local foods I would suggest to anyone.

I have to grin (and, to be honest, chime in on conversations) every time I hear someone discussing heading to a fast food chain looking for local food (indeed, Mc Donald’s does offer a limited selection but you can do much better … and probably for the same or less money) and likely support a small, local business. Immerse yourself in the culture a bit, keep an open mind and enjoy!

mcdonalds_saimin35

With selections including the freshest seafood, organic fruits and vegetables, free-range poultry and meat, and other locally grown products to choose from along with preparations drawn from places including the Pacific Rim, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Thailand and more, we have come to enjoy a literal melting pot known as “Hawaiian food”.

1 – SAIMIN:  Thought by some to be the “ultimate hangover cure” and others the perfect comfort food, saimin is definitely at the top of the list of local favorites. In fact, it’s one of the few dishes deemed truly “local”, having been highlighted in cookbooks since the 1930s.

This Asian-style noodle soup was inspired by Japanese “ramen”, Chinese “mein” and even Filipino “pancit” or “pansit” and it is so common, that it is one of the few offerings at fast food chains mentioned previously (along with SPAM and Portugese sausage).

Typically, a large bowl is filled with whole wheat egg noodles, homemade fish or chicken stock topped off with egg, strips of green onion, bright pink fish cake and meats like Chinese roast pork, locally called “char siu” and/or SPAM.

okahara_saimin_bowl1

2 – SPAM: While we’re on the subject,  SPAM is virtually everywhere here and is one of our local go-to snacks in the form of  SPAM musubi. Fried slices of SPAM are nestled atop a rice patty and wrapped in Nori (dried seaweed sheets). This was introduced back in the plantation days by Japanese field workers.

Annual sales of SPAM in Hawaii are about five million cans and we even host a
SPAM festival in its honor. The spiced luncheon meat gained popularity in World War II days, when fish was rationed. Love it or leave it, SPAM in Hawaii seems to be here to stay!

hawaii-spam

3 – ISLAND FRESH POKE: There’s nothing like fresh ahi poke (pronounced po-kay)! There are probably more preparations than you could imagine but it is basically ahi (fresh tuna) and sometimes octopus (tako) that has been cut into bite sized morsels and mixed with Shoyu (a local kind of soy sauce with a distinct flavor), sesame oil, chili pepper water, green onion and tomato. Some other variations include round onion, seaweed, and sesame seeds. Shoyu is the one apparent constant; however, I love to hit the local markets for samples of all the different flavors. I started using apples in mine years ago and it’s a hit!

Ahi Poke

4 – BENTO BOX: The “bento box” also hails back to the plantation days. While workers toiled in the sugarcane fields, they came from places that nobody took a lunch pail with sandwiches to work.

The cultural norm for most of these migrant workers was a lunch box with steamed white rice, pickled plum (ume) to preserve the rice and meats such as fried chicken or fish, probably left over from supper the night before.

I suppose many of us still carry that tradition today all over the world! These days, most stores (especially grocers and convenience stores) sell pre-packaged bentos that you can grab on the go and tend to include more than just rice and meat or fish and are especially popular as kid’s lunches in themes. Don’t forget your chop sticks!

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5 – MALASADAS:  The Portuguese immigrants to Hawaii have contributed much to Hawaiian cuisine with sausage, soup and sweetbreads. For many of us, the hands-down favorite has to be Malasadas … hot, deep-fried doughnuts rolled in sugar. Make sure to buy them by the dozen, plain or filled with a variety of fruit compotes, or, more commonly, vanilla or chocolate creams. They are best eaten fresh … like, as you wait to pay!

malasadas

6 – MANAPUA: Another delicious snack that starts with filled dough balls is savory manapua. These lucious little dough balls are similar to Chinese bao and stuffed with fillings such as char siu pork and then steamed (rather than fried, like Malasadas). These can be found in most food stores along with dim sum. Modern-day fillings include a wide array of unexpected items, including curry chicken and other tender meats and veggies. They can also sometimes be found baked, rather than steamed. Almost like a filled sandwich.

Manapua

7 – SHAVE ICE:  Snow cone? I think not! This decadent treat  is created with ice shaved to a almost a powdery, snow-like consistency. For many locals and visitors alike, a shave ice is the only thing that fits the bill after a day at the beach or shopping. They are a rarity these days; however, every now and then, you’ll find a neighborhood stand that still hand shaves the ice. For a real treat, try it with ice cream (yes, ice cream inside!). Of course, if you’ve never had one, you should stick with the basics and order a “Rainbow” …. still my favorite after all these years!

Shave Ice

8 – TROPICAL FRUITS: I love the ability to walk right out into my yard and grab a fresh banana and/or papaya for breakfast or a snack. Some vacation cottages will have fresh fruit trees …. take advantage of this and eat up! Locals also love to add their own creative touches to exotic fruits.

With people here from all over the world, you’ll also find a wide variety of unusual preparations such as green mangoes, pickled with Chinese five spice,  Maui Gold pineapples are topped with li hing mui powder and green papaya tossed in a Vietnamese salad.

When you run across stands selling fresh coconuts with a straw, gab one … the water is delicious and refreshing! See unusual looking fruits (like something out of a Dr. Suess book)? Try it! Dragonfruit, Starfruit and Rambutan are but a few of my faves and they’re the most unusual things you may ever have seen. Just keep an open mind and dig in … you might just find a new addition to your diet!

 

tropical fruits

9 – CRACK SEED: This is a snack food that originated in China and is highly popular in Hawaii. Basically preserved fruits that have been “cracked” or split with the seed or kernel partially exposed as a flavor enhancement. There are dozens of varieties of crack seed in specialty shops and at the drug stores. Those who like hard candy and salty foods will love li hing mangoes and rock salt plums and those with an itchy throat will feel relief from the lemon strips. Looking for something different to take home for gifts? Check out the variety available in both individual portions and  a variety of sizes of pre-packaged bags.

csjars

 

January 8, 2015

Maui’s Best Shave Ice

Filed under: Best of Maui,Maui Top Picks — Maui Classic Charters @ 12:55 pm

Nope, it’s not a mis-spelling, there is no “D” in “shave ice”. This delicious treat dates back to  the old sugar cane plantation days and was introduced by Japanese immigrants. Not a snow cone, not ice cream, the modern day classic is definitely worth a try and something we take very seriously here in Hawaii! While everyone has their own personal fave, these are absolutely among the top five spots on Maui.

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice:  Hand’s down, this seems to be the best of the best, winner of Maui Time “Best Of Maui”, Maui Dish, Trip Advisor’s Top Picks, Urbanspoon and many other awards. Using 100% pure cane sugar, natural fruit juices, extracts,  premium fruit purees and carefully selected local ingredient’s, no detail has been missed. As they say in house, “One bite of Ululani’s Shave Ice and we believe you’ll agree that all shave ice is not created equal … ”

Visit them at one of two locations open daily: 819 Front Street in Lahaina and 61 South Kihei Road in Kihei.

Local Boys Save Ice: A VERY close second, Local Boys motto is “The most authentic Hawaiian Shave Ice in Hawaii”. Using the best equipment, they provide a super fluffy, fine, ice texture combined with pure cane sugar, filtered Hawaiian Spring water and premium flavors, Local Boys is always striving to keep you coming back with a great product and the true spirit of Aloha!

Available for catering or just for a frozen treat, also at two locations. Find them at either 624 Front Street in Lahina, near the Historic Banyan Tree (a must see itself!) or 1941 South Kihei Road, in the Kihei Kalama Village Shopping Center. Open daily from 10:00am -9:00pm

Local Boys Shave Ice

Breakwall Shave Ice Co.: Not your regular shave ice stand, Breakwall was conceived by a group of surfers headed home from a day at the beach, just looking for some great “grinds” and something cold. With over forty years of collective restaurant experience, they knew how important it was that they “provide a little more for a little less than their neighbors” and wanted to provide a perfect spot, from Dawn Patrol through Sunset, for people to energize, rehydrate, clean their boards and even check the surf report with free wi-fi.

In addition to the fantastic shave ice and variety of add-ons, they have a pretty complete menu from smoothies, coffees and breakfast  to sandwiches, dogs, ceviche and oh so much more! Located in Lahaina Town at 117 Prison Street.

Breakwall Shave Ice

Maui Shave Shack : AKA S & Q Coffee and Shave Ice makes the list of the top five shave ice stands on Maui with visitors and locals alike! Offering up a wonderful selection of delicious shave ice favors, toppings and combos, you can design the tasty concoction of your choice and even enjoy breakfast or lunch with a nice selection of coffees and other beverages. Their motto? “Proud to be serving some of the happiest customers on Earth” since 2002.

Find them at 2439 South Kihei Road, in the Rainbow Mall, daily except “Holidays and Super Rainy Days”.

S & Q Shave Ice

Surfing Monkey Hawaiian Shave Ice: “Paul and family – Keeping Maui Cool” … with fluffy ice and yummy home-made cane sugar syrups. What started as a small coffee stand has turned into a great place for shave ice offered up at an impressive number of locations! Visit the place with one of the coolest names around at 1881 South Kihei Road (Foodland), #1 Ritz Carlton Drive and at both the Wailea Mariott and the Fairmont Kea Lani hotels.

Surfing Monkey Hawaiian Shave Ice dump (2)

November 28, 2014

Maui’s Best Food Trucks

As we all know, food trucks are sweeping the country offering affordable and often excellent fare. This is a far cry from the corner hot dog stand! After taking a short poll, we’ve gathered a pretty good list of Maui’s Best food trucks here for you.

1 –  Jawz Fish Tacos: Going surfing or just out sight-seeing? If you find yourself hungry and see these trucks, do yourself a favor and STOP. These roadside JAWZ Fish Taco trucks can be found on your way to Big Beach or Little Beach, Makena, Maui, for your beach snacks & drinks.

Try their famous fish tacos with mouthwatering salsa or cool down with a sweet shaved ice and fruit smoothies. Not in the mood for fish tacos? Give their Giant Burritos with Killer Hot Sauces and Hot Dogs a try. You won’t be disappointed!

TACO-Trucks

2 –Da Shark Pit Maui: While other food trucks on Maui may focus on mobility, price and quick food, Da Shark Pit focuses on bringing you great tasting, high quality food. Owner, Chris Mahon,  took the time to build strong relationships with local farmers and fisherman, so you can always count on the freshest ingredients and the highest quality, making for exceptional food.

In addition to “Ono Grindz” (great tasting food), it is their mission to serve healthy eats. While the “organic, fresh farm to table” concept is not new, they definitely have perfected it and call it “Funked Up Farm Food”!

shark-pit-maui-chris-mahon-food-establishment-permit

 

3 – Donut Dynamite: The dynamic duo behind these delectable Maui goodies are a husband and wife team with extensive culinary backgrounds who simply adore making gourmet donuts! Everything is made from scratch utilizing  fresh, local ingredients whenever possible, making handcrafted, artisanal donuts using classical culinary techniques with a modern island twist to offer you some of the most unique and delicious, creative treats.

“Donut Dynamite! An explosion of flavor in your mouth!”

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4 – Sumo Dogs Maui: You may have had a great hot dog but you’ve NEVER had anything like this! Island Style Gourmet Hot Dogs with choices like an Upcountry Guava, Lilikoi Tropix, Upcountry Mango, Spicy Maui Onion or even the Pico Dog (pineapple and coconut)? You may need to check the location to find them … this is one popular truck and they do get around!

They can usually be found at the Lunch Wagon Oasis, located right across the street from the Costco Gas Station in Kahului from 10am-3pm. 

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5 – Three’s Food Truck: This great little food truck is an extension of Three’s Bar & Grille and has become quite a hit on Maui since Chefs Cody Christopher, Travis Morrin and Jaron Blosser began “sharing the love” by taking the show on the road with their Three’s Food Truck. Now you can have the their award-winning food all over the island!

While they do have a regular location for the truck, they can be found at local events and can even be booked for private parties, special occasions (including weddings!) You can even customize your menu!

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November 7, 2014

Maui on a Budget

Filed under: Best of Maui,Maui Life,Maui's Top 10 — Maui Classic Charters @ 11:17 am

Visiting Maui or any of the Hawaiian Islands can be expensive; however there are a number of ways to experience the island and still not “break the bank”, so to speak. Believe it or not, an unforgettable visit to Maui on a budget is absolutely possible!

1 – Look at different travel days and, if possible, travel during one of the few “off” seasons we have (the first two weeks of December are about the slowest of the year!).

Tuesdays and Sunday flights tend to cost a little less. Shop around and look at actual airlines, not simply web sites that do travel “bundles”. After various fees are applied, I have generally found that I spend less purchasing airline tickets directly from the airline web sites.

You may also check out travel agents. They do often have great prices as they have pre-purchased blocks of seats. While it’s not always the case, it does happen.

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2 – Check out alternatives to hotels. While there are many uber-luxurious resorts with all the amenities one would expect, they do come with a price tag.

There are a number of alternatives, including “Condo-tels” with full apartments and even vacation cottages that may be a block or less from the beach and offer all the comforts of home, Bed & Breakfast type accommodations and even affordable houses to rent. You could easily spend a week in some of these for what it might cost for one night in a lavish resort.

On inter-island trips, I have often spent most of my time in a vacation rental and a night or two in a swanky resort.

Maui Vacation rental for blog

3 – Rent a car! It doesn’t matter where you hail from, if you do not have a rented vehicle, you will find yourself stuck at your hotel, possibly having to eat out for all meals. Worse still, you could find yourself paying double (or more!) for a single cab fare that you would pay for an entire day or even two on a rental car.

We do have decent public transportation; however, if you need to be somewhere at a specific time, you really shouldn’t rely on “The Bus” unless for your return, when time is not a factor.

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4 – Cook at “home” or ask a local resident for ideas for some ideas and check out some of the great “hole in the wall” spots or food trucks and experience a bit of other cultures for a small amount of cash. Our Maui farmer’s markets are exceptional and offer eats as well as locally made products for souvenirs. Most of us living here rely on these markets and hit them once a week or more.

There are a few pretty amazing places to dine, considered by most to be “Must Do” Maui (Mama’s Fish House is the hands down fave and brunch at the Four Seasons is spectacular!) so plan a couple of great meals out but not all of them. Remember, even fast food can add up quickly.

Farmers Market blog

5 – If possible, you may wish to bring some things from home that you use on a regular basis. I read one couple’s review who thought ahead and brought enough diapers for their infant to last the entire trip! This gives you a surprising amount of room to pack keepsakes.

If you don’t have a Costco membership (sorry, no Sam’s Club on Maui yet), get one. There is a giant store just past the airport that has everything you could need to stock your kitchen, including local produce from all islands. This can save you a bundle!

This is also a great place to purchase souvenirs without racking up a huge bill.

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The cost of living on Maui IS high, there’s just no way completely around it but you can make it easier with a small amount of effort. Come on out and see why we like to say “Maui No Ka Oi”!

 

October 20, 2014

Top 10 Magical Spots on Maui

Filed under: Best of Maui,Maui Life,Maui Top Picks,Must Do Maui! — Maui Classic Charters @ 2:29 pm

There are many places to love on Maui, and all of the Hawaiian islands, for that matter. A few really do stand out so we’ve compiled a list of our picks of the top ten magical spots on on the Valley Isle. While there are SOOO many more, these are definitely worth a visit!

1 – Haleakala Crater: Possibly one of the most spectacular sunrises (or sunsets, for that matter) you will ever witness will be at Haleakala National Park. According to the National Park Service, the park “vibrates with stories of ancient and modern Hawaiian culture and protects the bond between the land and its people.”

Also a haven for endangered species, some of which exist nowhere else, this is truly a magical spot on Maui. Whether you visit on a guided tour or spend some time hiking and camping the crater, you  will find your body, mind and spirit renewed!

Visit this link to find out more: http://www.nps.gov/hale/index.htm

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2 – Molokini Crater: This is a very special spot, as you will only find about 6-8 places like it in the WORLD! A volcanic cinder cone that has eroded over the ages, the island is now a Marine Life Conservation District and Seabird Sanctuary.

Located 3 miles off the shores of Maui, it is famous for having incredibly clear water with visibility exceeding 100 feet almost every day. Home to brightly colored tropical fish of which these waters are home to around 250 species, and it is possible to see monk seals, manta rays, spotted eagle rays and much more,  this is also a fantastic snorkeling spot …. probably one of the best in the state of Hawaii!

Want to give it a try with the pros? Visit http://www.fourwindsmaui.com

Four Winds Maui Molokini Crater Snorkel Guest shot

3 – The Sacred Garden: A nursery, peace sanctuary, retreat center, botanical garden, school, creativity center and a temple, the Sacred Garden is the happy home of a variety of plants, Living Shrines, Fairy Gardens and great ideas.

Home of two walking labyrinths, meditation gardens, marblequanyin and picnic or sitting areas. Inspiration, creativity, beauty and peace are the undeniable themes of the garden.
FREE and open 7-days a week for the public to enjoy … come out and see what moves you!

Please visit: http://sacredgardenmaui.com

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4 – Haiku Mill: While not open for the public to simply visit, this is worth a mention as one of the my favorite places for events … especially weddings.

Surrounded by Old World elegance, ornate hand-picked treasures and fragrant jasmine and gardenia blossoms, guests are swept away in the spirit of old world charm and romance.

Find them at: http://www.haikumill.com/

Haiku Mill

5 – Maui Lavender Farm: I know I’ve mentioned this in a couple of other places; however, this is hands down one of my most beloved spots to spend a lazy afternoon after hiking in the crater!

Situated on the upper slopes of the mountain, you get a little bit of everything … beautiful breezes, stunning panoramic views, numerous places to just “hang loose”, meditation gardens, fields of a variety of lavender plants and even a little gift shop with the most divine offerings from food and beverages to bath and body products for people and even their pets.

Enjoy lavender lemonade and a scone while sitting amidst fragrant fields in one of the many seating areas that  have been built around the property while you watch the clouds roll by and the Pacific waters far below … ahhhh!

Visit their site at: http://www.aliikulalavender.com

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6 – La Perouse Bay: Haleakala’s last display can be seen on Maui’s southeast shore at La Perouse Bay . It’s estimated that this eruption occurred about 1790 and is part of the old King’s Trail.

While not a park, there is a monument here and if you know what to look for, the
remnants of a long ago Hawaiian history and those who called this area home.
Be careful where you walk and pay attention … that pile of rocks may well be the
ruins of a long gone hale or house.

This is also a popular surf spot but is NOT for the novice surfer. It is easy to be washed upon the sharp lava rocks … quick way to ruin a day! Watch for a while and decide whether or not to enter the water. There are days that this can be a beautiful spot to swim.

There are many sights to see and even some other places to swim along the way, so take your time, take plenty of drinking water, wear sturdy shoes and SUNSCREEN!!!

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7 – Nakalele Blowhole: This relatively easy hike does require sturdy shoes (sneakers are OK) since the trail can be steep and there are some loose rocks here and there. From the parking area, walk across the open area and start picking your way  down the rocks.

While there is no real trail to this location, you will see the cars parked,
usually a lunch truck and other hikers. It’s not easy to go too far in the wrong
direction thanks to a long drop down off the cliffs.

Eventually, the rocky terrain flattens out and you’ll see a large wet area in the rocks surrounding the blow hole. Do keep your distance and NEVER turn your back on the ocean!

While the best time to go is at high tide and when the surf is up, the water coming up must also go down and people have, unfortunately, been sucked down with it. Let a good zoom-lens get the close up shot and enjoy the show.

Nakaele Blowhole (2)

8 – Twin Falls: I was first introduced to this wonderous locale shortly after coming to Maui (unfortunately, several times after having been to Hana). I was also lucky enough to visit with friends who knew the area well. On any trip up the Hana Highway, this is an absolute MUST DO!

It is pretty hard to miss, as there is a local, VERY colorfully painted fruit stand in
the parking lot, usually fairly full of cars. Don’t make the mistake of letting this turn you off … trust me. The area is large, the lot is small and it is generally uncrowded!

Also allow yourself TIME. All too often, people on their way to Hana miss so many of the most amazing spots on the island as they rush through, get some cool photos of a waterfall and maybe take a quick swim.

Always remember, when headed up the highway, Hana is simply a destination and a sleepy little village… there is much real beauty is on the ROAD to Hana and beyond!

While this is an open area, there are people lucky enough to call this land home. A visit to the following site is helpful: http://www.twinfallsmaui.net

Twin-Falls

9 – Pipiwai Trail: Located on the back side of the slopes of Haleakala, this trail can be found a bit past Hana. This is one of my favorite hikes for may reasons. The 4 mile loop trail winds along numerous falls, which are all fed by one 400 ft massive fall so there are small pools and waterfalls all along the way and home to Banyan trees, a massive bamboo forest and so much more!

Don’t forget the more well-known 1/2 mile loop lower trail that has come to be known as the Seven Sacred Pools. Perfect for swimming and sunbathing but wear aqua shoes as the rocks are pretty slippery when wet.

To best prepare for your day, visit the National Park Service at:

http://www.everytrail.com/guide/pipiwai-trail-amp-waimoku-falls-haleakala-np-maui

Pipiwai Trail Maui

10 – The Bamboo Forest at Kipahulu: Part of the Pipiwai trail, following the board walk will lead you through a bamboo forest so tall and so dense that daylight struggles to penetrate. Before reaching the spectacular Waimoku Falls, this magical bamboo forest is something that you’re unlikely to forget. Step off the path (just a few steps), soak it all in and you’ll see what I mean!

While there are numerous places on the island that would be considered awe-inspiring and absolutely beautiful, these are some of our staff picks. Get out there and explore … you might find some places that will stay in your heart well past your vacation, if not forever!

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Read the guide books but also look at reviews from other travelers and talk to people (both locals and visitors) and find your favorite spots. Feel like sharing them with us? Please do!

 

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