Archive for the ‘Maui Top Picks’ Category

March 13th, 2015

Fun Maui Attractions for Seniors

I love, love, love Hawaii … all islands. I suppose Maui is my personal favorite for many reasons. primamrily the diversity of things to see and here. There is definitely something for everyone, regardless of age, abilities or what you most wish to do. Here are a few suggestions to get us started!

1 – Road to Hana: Prepare yourself for some of the most remarkable views of Maui’s coastlines, whether you choose to “go it alone” or join a tour and leave the driving to someone else. Even beter, spend a couple of nights there!

This well-known scenic highway winds it’s way through lush rainforests and the abundant, cascading waterfalls that line the island’s “windward” North and East coasts. While the route is often full of surprises, including about 600 hairpin turns and 56 one lane brideges, unfamiliar drivers with hairpin turns, those who decide to make the trip are rarely sorry they did!

The best advice for anyone making this trek is take your time and stop frequently to explore and enjoy. Relax and don’t try to rush through this. Purchase a guide book or CD and talk to locals along the way.

Hana Blog

 

2 – Wainapanapa State Park: Waianapanapa State Park sits a few miles North of Hana and is open to visitors every day with no fee for admission. Take some time to explore as there are stunning black sand beaches, hiking trails that are fairly easy (and worth the views!!!), caves and SO much more!

wainapanapa blog

3 – Haleakala National Park: The entrance to Haleakala National Park is located in Upcountry Maui, at about 6,000′ elevation and welcomes visitors 24 hours a day. You can enter the park on foot for $5 per person or in a car for $10, and admission is good for three consecutive days.

Sunrise is a huge draw for visitors and locals alike but sunset is often less crowded but no less stunning! Stargazing has recently joined the list of things to do and with no light pollution to hinder your views, this is quite spectacular! All can be done on your own or with any number of guided tours.

Haleakala Blog

 

4 – Iao Valley State Park: Home to numerous easy hiking trails, many of them leading to or offering excellent views of the Iao Needle. The most popular path is the 0.6-mile Iao Needle Lookout Trail, a paved walkway that leading right to the iconic rock formation and through a botanical garden. Even if you don’t plan on exploring beyond the Iao Needle Lookout Trail, make sure you bring plenty of water. Facilities are very limited; only restrooms at the beginning of the trail.

Iao Valley Blog

5 – Golfing:  Prefer greens to beaches? You’re certain to find plenty of places to put your clubs to good use! Maui is home to numerous, highly acclaimed golf courses.

Some of the more popular courses include the Gold, Emerald and Old Blue courses at Wailea and the Bay and Plantation courses at Kapalua. Depending on the courses you choose to play, you’ll find fantastic views of Maui’s coastline or volcanic formations.

Kapalua’s Plantation Course is a long-time favorite with a stunning setting, spectacular views and excellent amenities, including a pro shop and a restaurant.

Make sure to take some ime to look around and soak it all in!

golf blog

 

 

 

January 8th, 2015

Maui’s Best Shave Ice

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 28th, 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”!

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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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October 20th, 2014

Top 10 Magical Spots on Maui

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!

 

August 29th, 2014

Do We Really need a Rental Car in Maui

One of the most commonly asked questions is often “do I really need a vehicle?” The answer is a definitive YES! These are our top reasons to rent a car on Maui  as well as some tips that should help you make both your decision and driving easy.

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There are many locations to pick up a vehicle, whether for the duration of your stay or just for a day or two, it is much less costly than taking cabs and driving here is easy.

1 – The number one reason to rent a car on most Hawaiian islands is freedom to explore! Unless you plan to stay at your resort or rental the entire time, there is so much to see and do. When many people think of Hawaii, they do think of beaches and swaying palm trees … we have plenty of both and some of the best may not even be in your area.

You’re coming a long way (in most cases), so make the most of it! If you do a little shopping around, you can usually find the right vehicle for your needs and your budget.

2 – No Worries! While we do have some public transportation on the island, if you need to get to an activity or make a dinner reservation, this is NOT the way to get there. There is no control over how many stops a bus will be making and there will inevitably be times when you will have to arrive at your destination much earlier than needed because of the scheduled routes. Using this as a way to get back to your hotel works as long as you aren’t trying to make it back at a specific time.

3 – Believe it or not, you will usually save money when renting a car over taking taxis everywhere. Unlike Waikiki (on Oahu), everything is not necessarily walking distance from where you may be staying, especially if renting a home or cottage, and what is there can be pretty limited and pricey. It can easily cost more one way in a taxi than it would to have a car for an entire day.

In many instances, you can pay $50 or more just to get to your hotel in a taxi when you could have rented your own “wheels” starting at about $250 (or less) for about a week.

4 – Let’s not forget SHOPPING! How could anyone come to Hawaii and not want souvenirs? You may also be staying in a condo with a full kitchen and wish to visit our wonderful farmer’s markets and some local grocers. Remember, you need to taxi or take a bus each way and must haul everything with you, everywhere you go.

5 – Flexibility to decide what to do on a whim and the ability to jump in the car and get going is huge, in my opinion. You’ll often hear locals say “if you don’t like the weather where you are, jump in the car, drive for 20 minutes and you’ll find something completely different” and is it ever true! Wake up to rain in your North shore cottage? Drive to the other side of the island and you’ll likely find blue skies and the perfect beach day!

Just hear about one of those absolute must-do things from somebody? Get directions, look at your drive map and hit the road. You’ll also be more than amazed at some of the hidden gems you can happen across by allowing yourself some time to just cruise.

Four Winds Maui Car Rental Pic 2

Tips to remember:

1 – In most cases, additional insurance is a completely unnecessary expense. Before purchasing, check with both your personal automobile coverage and even with your credit card company. Many credit cards do cover damage when using the card to rent a car and full coverage on personal vehicles will usually cover the insured driver, regardless of the vehicle.

2 – Pay attention to vehicles  around you. While you may be on vacation, many others are trying to get to work or school. This is a beautiful place and  you will often want to drive at a slower pace and see the sights. If you  happen to look in the mirror and see a line of cars behind you, it is perfectly acceptable (in many cases, expected) to pull over when you reach a safe spot to do so, and let the traffic behind you go by.

3 – Pedestrians always have the right of way, especially in a marked cross walk. If you come to one and see someone waiting, stop and let them go. Also pay attention as you approach these spots. It is very easy to miss the fact that someone is already part way across, in a wheel chair, etc.

4 – Unless there is an emergency of some kind, do not ever honk your horn at other drivers. This is considered the height of rudeness in Hawaii. Take it easy, be polite and you’ll have a great time!

5 – As much as I dislike having to add this comment, I would be remiss if I failed to do so. Do not ever leave valuables in a rental car, even if locked in the trunk. We have virtually no violent crime here; however, locals can pretty easily identify a rental car and have no trouble getting in if they wish.

Overall, the pros definitely out-weigh the cons on this topic. Check around with the little guys and the big guns, compare prices and rent in advance if planning to be here during peak seasons. There is not a car to be found state-wide during many holidays and certain models are sold out early.

Four Winds Maui Car Rental Blog 2 (1)

 

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