Romance? Check. Sun and sand? Check. Adventure? Check. The most amazing time of my life? Double check. If you’ve always dreamt of spending your honeymoon in a tropical paradise – Hawaii is the place for you! Tyler and I spent a week on the island of Maui. I had never been anywhere off the mainland of the United States. Hawaii is actually a lot further away than I though (it always has it’s own little box positioned conveniently on the bottom left corner of U.S. maps). When we booked our Hawaiian honeymoon, it was a pretty surreal feeling. You start answering a lot of questions like, “How long will you stay??”, “Why don’t you just go to Florida?”, and “Oh wow, how long does it take to get there?” (which you answer with a confident “11 hours”, even though you feel a twinge of panic when you think about flying over the Pacific). Let me tell you a little bit about some of our favorite Maui spots. If you’re planning your own trip, consider these ideas, or if you’re just curious, keep on reading!
- This isn’t really a “must see”, it’s more of a suggestion. Tyler and I have never been big spenders. In fact, we’re quite the opposite. We booked our trip through Costco Travel. (You have to have a Costco membership.) I did some price comparisons and we ended up saving thousands of dollars. Plus, it made things SO easy. Everything is online. We were able to book our flights, hotel, car rental, and activities all in one spot. If you plan on staying at a resort, there are a lot of hidden “resort fees” (beach access, room service, valet parking, etc.) that are basically just a sneaky way to make their rates appear cheaper upon first glance. Just make sure you do your research! Bonus: Instead of paying jacked up tourist prices, if you have a Costco membership, stop by the Costco on Maui. Everything is priced the same as on the mainland. Tyler and I stocked up on some breakfast and lunch food to save some money!
- Makena (Muh-kayna) and Wailea (Why-Leia): Take a drive around and see how the wealthy people live. You wouldn’t believe some of the incredible houses around there. Also, just a fun fact, Oprah owns a GIANT house up on one of the mountains and had her own road built straight down to Wailea because she loves it that much. While you’re out that way, stop at Big Beach in Makena State Park. Absolutely breathtaking!
- Kayaking Snorkel Tour: Tyler and I signed up for a guided snorkel tour in Wailea. We took a two-person kayak out to a the coral reef where you can see the most beautiful colorful fish that you will only find in Hawaii and, if you’re lucky, sea turtles!! We got to see a young green sea turtle swimming around the coral reef. I’m pretty sure my heart stopped for a moment. I was freaking out. One thing to keep in mind, don’t chase them around and try to touch them. First of all, it’s illegal, and second of all, it’s really annoying for everyone else. There was a guy on our tour who started chasing this poor turtle around, pointing at it as if we couldn’t see it. Don’t be that guy. Note: If you tend to get sea sick (like me), take Dramamine an hour beforehand and go on the earliest tour possible. The water tends to get choppy as the wind picks up later in the day – a recipe for nausea. I am the queen of motion sickness – if I can do it, so can you!
- Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice: THESE ARE NO ORDINARY SNOW CONES. Once we discovered Ululani’s, we went there every single day until our trip was over. It’s like a middle ground between snow cones and sorbet. They have a huge list of homemade syrup flavors (they use real cane sugar, that’s the secret!). You can even get ice cream underneath. I have a mad addiction now, which is too bad because I think they’re only in Hawaii. The prices are very reasonable, as well. Do yourself a favor and just go with the small, or if you’re obsessive like me, the medium.
- Old Lahaina Luau: We actually booked this luau through our Costco Travel package. We had no idea what to expect. I thought maybe we’d get some pork, sit on some folding chairs and watch a few hula dancers. We show up and there are wait staff showing people to their reserved seats, asking you if you want a Mai Tai (the answer is “yes”), there’s an open bar, unearthing of the traditional pig, and an INCREDIBLE view. We were in shock for about 30 minutes. We sat at a table with three other couples and ate the best food we’ve ever had from the buffet. They performed a traditional hula dance that told the legend of Hawaii’s beginnings. There was singing, and drums, and insane hula dancing – my mind was blown at that point. Then our waiter brought us a tray full of Hawaiian desserts (-heart stops beating-). I’m just saying, if you want to see a luau, this is the one to see.
- Hana Highway: If you like adventure, this one’s for you. Take the trip of a lifetime through the winding roads (and I mean winding) of Haleakala’s rainforest (Haleakala is Maui’s eastern volcano).. It’s a white-knuckle-inducing 50-something mile drive over 54 one-lane bridges and around more than 600 hairpin turns. This is not for the faint of heart. Many locals use this road as their everyday commute, including big scary dump trucks (see photo below). There are SO many cool stops along the way. I would highly recommend downloading the GyPSy Guide: Road to Hana app. It’s a GPS based map with a narrator to guide you. The GPS part is important because you won’t have cell service 99% of the time. Some of favorite memories from Hawaii we credit to our little GyPSy friend. Stay tuned for a post about our Hana Highway adventure!
If you’re looking for a vacation that is equal parts relaxation and adventure, Maui is the place to go! You can’t possibly take advantage of everything Maui has to offer in one week, but we certainly tried! What is your dream vacation? Let us know in the comments!
*Please note: This is not a sponsored post. All links are for your convenience and curiosity! :-)*