Archive for the ‘Maui’s Top 10’ Category

March 8th, 2015

Best of Maui – Off the Beaten Path

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).

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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 23rd, 2015

Maui’s Best Activities for Couples

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!

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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.

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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 19th, 2015

Top Kid Friendly Activities and Fun on Maui

Planning a family vacation to Maui and wondering what to do? This can be quite the daunting task, especially if you have never visited the island. Let us take the guess work out of planning your trip and extend our years of experience with you!

1 – Road to Hana: Whether your family prefers to “go it alone” or enjoys guided tours, the Hana Highway trip is an absolute must for any visitor to Maui! The resort areas on the South and West coasts will give you the swaying palm trees and beautiful sunsets; however, when you think of lush rain forests and waterfalls, this is the place!

If you decide to take a guided tour, there are numerous folks providing options, from the most basic to very luxurious, that are suitable for just about every budget.

Should you decide to do it on your own, definitely pick up one of the many guided CD’s available and listen to it while you make the drive. They are usually a great mix of music, interesting facts and will tell you exactly where to stop along the way so you don’t miss a thing. Remember, Hana is simply the destination. This trip is all about the journey. Pack a lunch, make lots of stops and you will get the most out of the trip.

Road to Hana Aerial View

2 – Wainapanapa State Park: Just before the village of Hana, you will want to stop at this unique coastal park. This a great spot to explore, with hiking trails, caves, lava arches, a stunning black sand beach and oh so much more. Stop at the park’s office for detailed information on the many things to do before heading on into Hana and beyond.

If you have time to make a couple of days out of the trip, this is about the most budget friendly way to go. The park is equipped with outdoor camping facilities as well as rustic cabins (think summer camp … bunk beds and basic necessities, but the hot water, bathroom, kitchen and electricity will be most appreciated!). All cabins also have a lanai (porch) and charcoal grill … my family made the best s’mores here!

Wainapanapa State Park

3 – Seven Sacred Pools (Pools at O`heo): Shortly past the village of Hana, you’ll find Kipahulu. This is actually the back side of the slopes of Haleakala National Park and is vastly different. The nick-name was actually a marketing idea from a local hotel to entice visitors to make the long (and back in the day, somewhat dangerous) trek.

While there is nothing “sacred” about them and there are many more than seven pools, this is one of my favorite spots on Maui. Pack a lunch, swimsuit and towel and make sure to hit the upper trails (called the Pipiwai trails). This is a very easy walk so almost any age can do it.

There are numerous smaller waterfalls and swimming holes all being fed from the breath-taking 400 foot Waimoku Falls, an enormous Banyan Tree (like something out of a fairy tale enchanted forest) and a Bamboo forest that you can lose yourself in.

The lower pools are at the bottom of the parking area with a 1/2 mile loop trail and seven lovely swimming pools and flat rocks if you want to take in the sun.

Oheo Pools

4 – Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center: Not only is this an historic building and art gallery with stunning grounds to meander, the Hui Noeau offers fantastically fun “Family Friday Workshops”! Adults and children ages 5+ come together with family and friends for a night of creativity, fun and team work with various projects ranging from holiday themed projects to clay mugs. Not just an art class, they order PIZZA to make this extra special … who wouldn’t love to “kick it Maui style” and take home a very special souvenir you made together to commemorate your island visit?

Hui Noeau

5 – Maui Ocean Center: Kids of all ages, visitors and locals alike, are awed by the Maui Ocean Center Hawaii Aquarium daily and it’s no wonder! Among the numerous exhibits are a 750,000 gallon tank that is home to over 20 very lively sharks and a 360 degree viewing tank with glowing jellyfish. There are also a variety of outdoor touch pools for interacting with the sea life, including local sea turtles and star fish. To keep things exciting, some of these exhibits are ever-changing.

The Maui Ocean Center was built with the idea of representing the underwater world of Hawaii and everything you will see swimming around and in the

Aquarium can be found in Hawaiian waters … it is especially nice to have such an abundance of marine life all represented in one place as you never know what you’ll see in the wild.

This is an activity for kids and adults alike and is frequented by both visitors and locals. You can even enjoy overnight group sleep overs, allowing you to watch nocturnal behaviors you would not otherwise be privy to.

One of the coolest features is a long glass tunnel in the large tank which you can walk through, observing enormous sting rays, graceful sharks, and huge tropical fish swimming on bot sides and over head … pretty close to a “dry immersion” experience, in my book!

Maui Ocean Center

6 – Maui Golf and Sports Park: Whether you just want a fun way to spend the day or are planning a special event, the Maui Golf and Sports Park is fun for the entire family!

Get wet in a 4000 sq. ft. natural lava lagoon that is home to ten electrically powered bumper boats, all equipped with Master Blaster water guns, complete with two waterfalls plunging into the lagoon and an island to navigate around.

For those five and older test your skills on our 25 ft. rock pinnacle with four paths, ranging from easy to difficult. Ring the bell when you reach the top, and then enjoy the auto-belay ride back down.

Try out two challenging 18 hole miniature golf courses, all set in a beautiful tropical atmosphere with ponds and streams throughout. The courses are completely different with obstacles such as a 30 foot play-through volcano, caves, lava tubes, and loop-de-loops.

Last, but not least, Soar 30 ft. in the air on the bungee trampoline! Do multiple flips while harnessed in or just see how high you can fly!

7 – Horseback Riding: Enjoy a ride like no other as you explore the open range of a working cattle ranch on the slopes of Haleakala. Panoramic views extend from lush forest areas filled with native plant life and endemic birds all the way down to the blue waters of the Pacific 2,00 feet below!

Daily rides are open to all skill levels; even if you’ve never seen a horse, they can find the right one for you! Families are welcome (some age restrictions do apply).

They even offer individual riding lessons for ages 3 +, private parties and pony rides!

Piiholo Ranch Horseback Rides

8 – Molokini Crater: Before most visitors ever make it to Maui, they’ve read, heard about or seen details on Molokini Crater. There are only a handful of places like it in the world and we are extremely lucky that one of them is here.

The only way to get there is on a boat so you want to select the best one for your family. I may be a bit biased but I tend to believe the rave reviews and the votes naming the Four Winds II Maui’s best. Having been in activities for most my time on Maui, this is certainly the best outfitted boat for kids of all ages!

Our morning trip is the best way to make it to the crater, as wind and water conditions are at their best early. Spend about 2.5 hours exploring this awesome under-water caldera teeming with a variety of colorful reef fish, enjoy a hot B-B-Q lunch and even a glass bottom viewing room designed to provide a full immersion experience without ever leaving the boat.

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9 – Royal Lahaina Luau: Not to be mistaken with the Old Lahaina Luau, there are many luaus you can attend on Maui and have a wonderful time. This is just a very budget-friendly choice. It’s also the only one that really does cater a bit more to kids with a special “kids buffet”, offering foods the finicky eaters in your party might like better than traditional luau fare (think chicken fingers and spaghetti).

The show is held at the Royal Lahaina Resort, is entertaining enough for all ages and offers great options for all ages in your family.

Royal Lahaina Luau

10 – Surf Lessons:  Hawaii is famous for its big waves, but we also have some of the easiest waves to ride in the world, making it perfect for learning to surf. Great instructors make surfing easy to learn with simple instruction and easy-to-ride Long boards. Using the best “Soft-top” surfboards ensures safety, are easy to use and fun to ride. Hard working, experienced instructors are surfing right with you in the water giving encouragement and guidance. Our instructors will show you how to share, respect and enjoy the ocean and soon you’ll be paddling out on your own!

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These are just a few of my top picks for Kid Friendly Activities and fun on Maui. Don’t be afraid to get out explore and have a great time! You’ll make memories that will last a life-time as a family and ensure the kids will be entertained, learn new things and have fun, fun, fun!!!

 

 

 

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”!

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 7th, 2014

Maui on a Budget

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”!

 

August 22nd, 2014

West Maui Luaus in Review

If you visit Hawaii and don’t attend a Hawaiian or Polynesian Style Luau, you are definitely missing out! You can find something for just about every budget, family friendly and couples oriented and they do tend to differ from one to the next. These dinner and show combos are always a delight and a great way to connect with the Hawaiian Culture.

Some of these do sell out well in advance, so reservations are necessary and you just can’t book too far in advance. Both the Old Lahaina Luau and the Feast at Lele should be booked at least a month in advance (minimum).

1. Feast at Lele: This is, hands down, my absolute favorite luau on Maui for many reasons. While it does cost a bit more than others, it is absolutely worth every penny for those who want a First Class experience and a feeling of cultural immersion.

This is the only Maui luau that offers full table service and skips the buffet. Located ocean front in Lahaina, you couldn’t ask for a better seat for spectacular sunsets!

People migrated to the islands that have come to be called Hawaii from many areas of Polynesia and this venue does an excellent job of matching cultural aspects from each region with dinner fare … in fact, meals are served from the area being represented on stage, in courses (Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand and, of course, Hawaii).

NOTE: Looking for a night out without the kids? This luau does tend to cater to adults and is especially romantic for honeymooners (even if it’s your 20th honeymoon!)

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2. The Old Lahaina Luau: This is actually the sister luau to the Feast at Lele and was in full swing for many years before the newer opened. They are located at the opposite end of Front Street in Lahaina and is still an ocean front setting.

Here, you will find a very authentic Hawaiian luau (if you want to go completely  traditional, there is seating on the ground, on hala mats with low tables … pictured below). Not to worry … there is also  banquet style seating at tables with chairs!

This is my second pick for the entire island and is always great fun! A bit more budget friendly and much more fun for younger members of the family, the show is captivating, the drinks are free and the food is served buffet style.

NOTE: This is one of the most popular luaus on the island. Make reservations early!

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3. Drums of the Pacific: For those staying in the Ka’anapali, this is a really fun option. Located on the grounds of the Grand Hyatt, it is walking distance from the hotels on the “beach walk” and offers more budget friendly standard seating as well as a VIP option.

As with most Maui luaus, food is served buffet-style and the bar is open. Table service is limited to clearing of plates and bringing fresh cocktails (until the show starts) but you will certainly be well taken care of!

The grounds are located parallel to Ka’anapali Beach and you can still see the sunset; however, there is a nice “privacy barrier” created with a lava rock wall and flora to provide a feeling of privacy for those in attendance.

The performers are fabulous and the show’s M.C. is always entertaining (there is even a break in the show that allows guests to hop up on stage and learn a dance … you have to try this out … it’s unforgettable fun!)

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4. The Westin Wailele Polynesian Luau:  The newly designed grounds of the Wailele Polynesian Luau is held outdoors at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, also on Ka’anapali Beach and touts “Maui’s most extreme troupe of fire-knife dancers!”

The resort’s newly revitalized “Aloha Pavilion”, complete with cascading waterfalls, tropical gardens and tiki torches presents the perfect setting for guests to embark on an exciting journey to the Polynesian Islands where dance was considered not just as a form of entertainment, but as means of telling stories.

Allow yourself to be transported as the show features dances from Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti, New Zealand and Samoa. The breathtaking finale is an “extreme fire-knife dance performance”.

Enjoy a superb buffet style Hawaiian meal of traditional selections for an authentic experience. The three hour experience includes free flowing drinks all evening with Mai Tais, signature cocktails, local beers, sodas and fruit juices.

The Westin Wailele Polynesian Luau

5. Maui Nui Luau at Black Rock: Also positioned ocean front on the award-winning Kaanapali Beach, at the very far end, the Maui Nui Luau shares the music, dance and history of the islands right here at the foot of the famous cliff diving point, Black Rock.

World renowned Polynesian entertainment producer Tihati Productions presents the best in Hawaiian and Polynesian song and dance, including the spectacular fire knife dance. Enjoy Hawaiian arts and crafts and experience an authentic Hawaiian Imu Ceremony.

Discover the remarkable stories, history, and culture of the Valley Isle and Kaanapali through the songs and dances of Maui and the Pacific ….. “Discover Maui Nui Luau”.

NOTE: If you aren’t interested in the meal or are on a budget, this is one of the very few luaus to offer a special Cocktail and Show Only Package that can save you quite a bit.

Maui Nui Luau at Black Rock

10. The Myths of Maui Luau: Not to be mistaken with the OLD Lahaina Luau, this is probably the most budget friendly luau on the island. Located on the grounds of the Royal Lahaina Resort, it is often simply called the Royal Lahaina Luau.

The last rays of a spectacular sunset, beating drums and the call of the conch shell signal the start of Maui’s most exciting and longest running Polynesian luau.

You will find yourself swept away by the breathtaking celebration of traditional Hawaiian, Tahitian, Samoan and even Maori dance and music as performers “weave the legends of the South Pacific into a spellbinding performance you are sure to treasure for years to come”.

As with most of these listings, this Maui oceanfront luau features an all-you-can-to-eat buffet, complimentary cocktails and a beautiful celebration of music, drums and dance that culminates with an amazing Samoan fire knife finale that will dazzle your entire family.

VERY family friendly, this full Polynesian review even features a children’s buffet full of kid-friendly selections for those more finicky eaters.

Royal Lahaina Luau

A couple of things to keep in mind when attending your Maui luau; dress can be casual or not but a light wrap or jacket is a good idea. You may also wish to have a little cash to leave a gratuity for your servers. Whether buffet or table service, it is never expected but always appreciated.

Join in the fun, allow yourself to become enchanted and immersed in another culture and enjoy dinner and a spectacular show under the stars … the questions should not be “do we or do we not” go to a Maui luau, but which one should we attend! As you will often hear at the beginning of every show … ALOOOOOHA!!!!

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