Maui at Dec. 2020, during the Covid 19 pandemic, for 8 days.
This was our first
visit at Maui, and we love it.
This blog is all about Maui visit Overview, Planning what to do and high level Tips.
Before diving into the details here are few picture from our Maui highlights, more pictures are in the blog below and additional at the end, many more pictures in each blog post.
Links to more Blogs on Hawaii:
of the “classic” and expected Hawaiian warm weather and beach’s activities,
Maui has a lot more to offer for people that like nature, hiking, adventures
Maui offers many relaxing sand beaches; wave surfing at all levels (including
schools) and coral snorkeling experience. You can combine a half day trip to a in-land
nature destination with half day beach activity or you have few recommended options
to dedicate a full day for day trip.
Maui stay you can visit the top of the 10,000f Haleakalā National Park mountain,
hike the amazing Pīpīwai Trail, drive the “Road to Hana” with it countless
waterfalls and pools or spend some time at remote beaches …
not cover in my blogs aspects like hotel/resorts recommendations, restaurants, touristic
places or shopping.
do not cover some unique tourist attractions like surf schools or surfing
locations, diving, ATV, horses, guided tours, boat tours, evening activities
and shows, …
on nature, outdoor activity, hiking and places you can visit.
highly recommended to have a rental car for the duration of your visit. You will
need the car to get to your hotel, visiting nearby beaches or even longer day-trip
to Maui attractions.
Maui Island shape is like the figure 8 on its side with 2 large non-active volcano mountains
in both west and east sections and a large valley between them.
roads at the island are mainly located at the edge of the mountains following
the ocean coastline. The road in the main valley, between towns and the leading
to the two popular tourist areas (Lahaina and Kihei) are good.
roads in the island can be narrow, winding and twisting with one lane bridges
so take this into consideration when planning your driving and trips.
to Lahaina: When you are heading to Lahaina take the south hwy 30, it looks longer
but is a lot faster and safer than hwy 340.
on the North West Maui is not recommended for driving because it is narrow and
winding (overall drivable) so unless you have specific attraction on that road
(there are few) I will not recommend using it.
road to Hana is well-known Maui road starching along the north east island
coastline. it is winding, narrow with single lane bridges so it will take you around
2 hr without any stop. There are many places to see and visit on that road.
south road to the east section of the island (hwy 37 & 31) can be traveled and
add unique experience to your Maui visit but is less recommended if you want to
reach Hana (no need for 4x4 cars). Take into consideration that road 31 section
is not so much maintained, winding and narrow turns and partly note paved (read
more in: Maui - The road on the back side of Haleakala (hwy 31) blog).
You can divide Maui into 6
- Lahaina and the North West beaches
- Kihei and Wailea south west beaches
- The Road to Hana - The North East island coastline
- The Back Side of Haleakala
- Haleakala Mountain
the island main city and the airport. There are hotels in the city, mainly near
the large protected harbor, but Kahului is not being considered as a main tourist
most of us, after landing and taking the rental car (at the airport or at Kahului)
we will drive to our hotel/resort destination, probably in Lahaina or Kihei. You
will pass through Kahului only on your trips visiting Maui attractions.
few large sandy beaches for advanced surfers near the airport coastline east of
famous attraction in this area is the Iao Historic and state park, located at
the deep gorge of the Iao river. This is the home to iconic Iao rock needle,
high mountains, standing wall cliffs covered with lush jungle vegetation.
Lahaina and the North West
one of the two attractive tourist location in Maui, you can find here many large
hotels and resorts as also smaller less pricey places.
offers all what you can expect from Hawaiian vacation location. This area of
Maui has less rain and overall a warmer weather, long sandy calm beaches, small
bays and cove that offer snorkeling opportunities and beginner and intermediate
miles stretch from Lahaina to the north beaches is one starch of hotels and
resorts; has many restaurants and all other facilities you may need as a
Kihei and Wailea south
I did not visit this
section of the island so I will not cover it in my Maui blogs.
area offers many hotels and resorts accommodation options, long sandy beaches
and snorkeling opportunities as other tourist attractions.
The Road to Hana - The
North East island coastline:
road will take all the way to the town of Hana and beyond on the north east
side of the island.
not long, 45 miles from Paia to Hana, it is winding, narrow with single lane
bridges so it will take you around 2 hr without any stop.
road is going through the windy and rainy side of the island, you will drive
through lush green jungle, no matter what the weather forecast is showing come
prepared for rain showers.
are many things to see and visit along the road, many waterfalls and swimming
pools, beautiful beaches and jungle hikes.
most are visiting this road as a long day trip where you stop on selected
attractions along your way to Hana and at the afternoon driving without any
stops back to the hotel.
The Back Side of Haleakala
less traveled road on the “other” side of the Haleakala mountain (hwy 31).
in part unmaintained road with some bad driving conditions. Most of the people
taking the Road to Hana do not use this road to drive back home because it’s “bad
reputation” but I did not find it so bad.
Gulch park section and hike Pipiwai Trail, the best trail in Maui
it is open and if yes I recommend taking this road (hwy 31) on your way back to
drive at Oheo Gulch where you have at least 1 hr of light before sunset so you
can enjoy the road and drive it safely.
this road at the afternoon after my hike at Oheo Gulch, the drive alone,
without many stops along the way, is more than worth it and is listed as one of
my Maui experience highlights.
volcano mountain towering 10,000 feet above sea level and above the clouds, it
is Maui's highest point and one of must visit recommendation.
high area of the mountain is declared as a National Park. You can hike into the
huge desert like and colorful volcano opening, viewing points above the clouds and
if you are coming at the right time unforgettable sunset or sunrise experience.
My list of Must Do things at
Hike the Pipiwai Trail at Oheo Gulch
(Haleakala National Park), probably the best hike in Maui.
After arriving Maui, you will
probably have jetlag at the first few days, use it to your advantage:
o If you
are planning to visit mountain Haleakala at sunrise, day after your arrival is
the perfect day. You need to wake up early and drive 2 hours before sunrise to
be at the top of the mountain on time
you must have prior reservation for sunrise park entrance (on-line at the park website)!
o You can
always have your morning hike/jog at sunrise, discover more beaches when they
are still empty. Another activity can be hiking Kapalua Coastal Trail at the
west north shores.
road to Hana is also an option, it is highly recommended to start this daytrip
as early as you can. I’m not sure the first day after your arrival is ideal for
this instance driving day, probably preferred to do it on a later day.
Make sure that your hotel room has a
full kitchen and a place to eat in the room. Not only that this will reduce
your overall trip cost (everything in Hawaii is expensive) but also will enable
you to be flexible with your dining options. This is especially important
during the “Corona restaurant limitations” where many places are closed to
If you are staying at some resort,
check if there is an external barbeque (usually near the pool), it is much
nicer and faster to prepare your meet over there than inside the kitchen.
There is a Costco just near the
airport, good to buy supply right after your arrival. Try not to over-buy, you
can find large supermarkets with everything you need in any town or tourist
You can buy boogie, surfing boards
and snorkeling gear at Costco. If not, there are places that are renting such
First time we used the Gypsy guide
app that is dedicated to the Road to Hana, I recommend using it (https://gypsyguide.com/).
There is app that you will download to your phone that cover all Maui, I’m sure
it is also good.
For most cases, the beaches in Maui
have public access and restrooms, need to look for the right public parking
place and find the trail to the beach.
It looks like there is a problem of
smash-and-grab car break-ins, especially at tourist attractions places where
you leave your car on the main road. Always take your valuables with you and
leave the car without any “attractive” items (like bags).
The ocean corals are being killed
and damaged by sunscreen, please use environmentally safe (mineral based)
As in any other place, google map
is the way to reach your destination. Do remember that in some places you will
not have a reception so set your destination and driving instructions before leaving.
The only place I saw were you need
to question google map recommendation is if you set Oheo Gulch site as your
final destination (official end of the Road to Hana). In most cases it will
recommend you using hwy 31, the back side “problematic” road (see the blog
about it). You probably want to use the Road to Hana drive (hwy 360).
There are options to have overnight
campground at Maui, I will not cover this aspect in my blogs.
When hiking jungle trails,
especially in the rainy sections of the island: wear good shoes as the trail
can get muddy after rain and walking with flipflops can be difficult and
No matter what the weather at your
hotel is bring light rain gear with you, it can always rain at the east north
side of the island.
Many are renting jeeps or other 4x4
vehicle; not sure it is needed, not many real opportunities to drive off-road.
If you are driving with your roof off be prepared for rain showers, especially
at the Road to Hana.
Bring with you a mosquito repellant
for jungle trails.
Be aware, when it heavily rains (high
at the mountains) you can be surprised by flash flooding when visiting rivers
Things we did not do:
We did not sail and snorkel at Molokini
Learning how to surf
Boat sale or kayak to watch wales
We did not go to Hawaiian luau feast
and evening entertainment
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