Travel Diary | Maui
This will be our fifth year visiting the little magical isle of Maui and each year we count the days until we can visit again. In a way it feels like our second home (if only we had one there!) minus the stress of our everyday life. It’s where we unwind and truly relax. We can’t recommend Maui enough for being a relaxing tropical destination with lots of fun things to do (and eat!).
If you are considering making the trek out to Maui I’ve got some tips sprinkled throughout this post.
Tip #1 – Visit Makena Beach
Makena Beach has two sections, Big Beach and Little Beach named appropriately for the size of each section. Big Beach is by far my favorite beach of all time. It’s a long stretch of sugary soft sand that meets turquoise waters and is flanked by cliffs dotted with tropical trees. The best part – not a resort in sight for miles. It’s what beach dreams are made of. Want to feel like you’re in a faraway tropical paradise? This is the location.
Bonus Tip: Go early in the morning to avoid windy weather and crowds. Although a popular spot (on weekends especially), it never feels crowded even on a busy day.
Tip #2 – Check out the Local Food
There are a lot of delicious local food items and produce that you just can’t get anywhere else. Like the unique variety of avocados (so huge!) and mango. Plus, nothing beats a fresh, ripe pineapple. You’ll be ruined when you get back from vacation as the ones at the supermarket just don’t cut it anymore. At least that’s what happened to us. There’s a long list of amazing tropical fruit to try and the best way to to do that is to hit up the local farmers markets. Do bring cash, a lot of these places don’t have credit card readers. But so worth it!
Breakfast: Banana mac nut pancakes are my go-to and my husband Milan loves getting loco moco which is a hamburger patty over white rice with gravy and topped with a fried egg. Malasadas are a great breakfast or anytime item if you ask me. They are Portuguese donuts and are very similar to a beignet. They’re a sugar coma good time 🙂
Lunchtime: You gotta hit one of the food trucks for either fish tacos, kalbi ribs, chicken katsu or my all time fave Hawaiian scampi (and can go by other names, like shrimp plate, so can be a touch confusing). Hawaiian scampi usually comes over white rice and is garlic shrimp heaven with a touch of an island twist that I can’t quite put my finger on, but omg, it’s so good! For a wide variety of Hawaiian style food is Da Kitchen in Kahului. Bring your appetite as they are known for large portions.
Dinner: You can’t go wrong with Star Noodle‘s Hawaiian fusion style cuisine. Make a reservation to avoid the wait, but if you just can’t get one in time, it’s a restaurant that is worth the wait time.
Dessert: Shave ice! Try it with ice cream on the bottom and sweet cream swirl on top. Sounds weird? It did to me at first, but I’m so glad I went for it, the cream on top wasn’t heavy and is super tasty.
Extra Tip: Avoid Mexican restaurants in Maui. They’re disappointing at best. Do your research before choosing your food spots. While Maui has lots of amazing fresh produce, they also have a lot of just ‘meh’ restaurants (overpriced too). But when you find the good ones, they are SO good! I’ll leave a list at the end of the blog post of my all time faves.
Tip #3 – Stay in Hana (for part of your trip)
Hana is located on the East side of Maui and is a bit of trek to get out to. You may have already heard about the famous ‘Road to Hana,’ it’s a popular tourist activity and well worth it if you only have a day to go out to Hana. Try not to be in a hurry to get in or out of the area, it’s a tiny, winding road peppered with tourists who will randomly stop to look at waterfalls or get out of their cars on ancient one lane bridges (insert eye roll here) etc.
Truthfully it’s hard to see everything in Hana in a day. It’s a gorgeous, jungle, waterfall, fairytale land with the most rugged breathtaking beaches and my heart aches to back there!
Cell signal is terrible, spotty and often non-existent, planning ahead for weather, booking hotel or airbnb in advance (very little choice out there) and having cash on hand is a good idea.
Tip #4 – Be Alert of Water and Weather Conditions
If you are in a jungle or waterfall area and it’s raining flash flooding is very common as are landslides. If there is heavy consistent rain, staying out of the ocean is a good idea as murky waters bring in scary predators like sharks. Do note the warnings posted at beaches for the water conditions as they change often and quickly. Like dangerous rip tides and shorebreak.
Tip #5 – Best Time to Travel to Maui is – Depends.
It’s really hard to say when THE best time is to go to Maui as it depends on your ideal vacation or budget. For less people and cheaper travel options going during May or October is your best bet. We typically go in May and get great deals on airfare and lodging. If you are wanting to see the whales, best time to go Jan – March. If you want to see the massive (sometimes 40ft high), famous surf break Jaws on the North Shore, is during Winter, but exact timing is difficult. It’s on our must see for sure.
As promised here is a round up of our all time fave food locations:
1. Star Noodle – Located in Lahaina and no matter where we are staying on the island we make a point to go there.
2. Honu Seafood & Pizza – A restaurant that has killer food and a killer view usually does not exist, but with Honu it does. The restaurant is open to the ocean and is west facing. Let the waves crash next to you as you take in the sunset while nibbling on fresh crab.
3. Izakaya Genbe – Tiny, but very tasty Japanese restaurant. Japanese Izakaya’s feature lots of small plates like tapas. This is not a sushi place, but it is very delicious Japanese food.
4. Da Kitchen – Hawaiin plate lunch goodness at its very best.
5. Kihei Caffe – Great place for breakfast, it’s where I get my banana mac nut pancakes.
6. Cafe Des Amis – Small, adorable and serves delicious mediterranean fair. If I actually lived in Maui, I’d be there all the time. The boho atmosphere and food feeds my soul.
7. Horhitos Taco Truck – Hawaiian style fish and shrimp tacos.
8. Geste’s Shrimp Truck – Home of the best Hawaiian Shrimp Scampi. It’s off the beaten path, a locals joint and I can’t recommend it enough if you’re a shrimp lover.
9. Ono Gelato – So much local, fresh fruit goodness infused into gelato. Get the lilikoi. Get the lilikoi anything in Maui.
10. Local Boys Shave Ice – Our fave shave ice place.
If you have specific questions or if I can help you with your upcoming trip to Maui feel free to leave a question in the comments! Or, better yet, if you have a recommendation of something we should do or food leave a comment too!
*Travel Photography fun fact 🙂 I used my iphone 7+ for 95% of the photos in the post. It’s my fave camera for travel, lightweight and always with me.