Didn’t you watch Moana? So the myth goes like this, Maui (the Demigod) fished out the islands by tricking his brothers into letting him come out to fish with them. The brothers never took him out because whenever they did he would catch a scrawny little fish. but finally they decide to take him out with them and while out in the sea, Maui casts his hook, Manaiakalani which is baited with the wing of the goddess and Maui’s mother Hina’s pet bird, the ‘alae convinced he would catch the biggest fish in the sea, Pimoe but when Maui casts his hook it clings on to the ocean floor and the pressure causes him to tell his brothers to not look back and to keep on paddling forward, because if they were to look back they would ruin the quest of catching the fish but finally the brothers look back in the result of curiosity and instead of the fish God he pulls up the eight Hawaiian islands. Hawai’i, Maui, O’ahu, Kaho’olawe, Lana’i, Moloka’i, Ni’ihau, and Kaua’i.
Why the legend? I have been thinking. If I were to come to Hawaii for the very first time where would be the best place to visit first? It would need to be rich in heritage with amazing places to escape and take adventures. I would want a place where I can eat amazing local food, swim/snorkel, spend an afternoon in cabana or spa. I might like a Target or Starbuck’s just for an emergency. Most importantly I need a place to be animated with characters… that’s Maui.
Ok, before we go any further. There are a few things to know about me. I have been blogging for quite a few years. Thank you to all my followers around the globe! I love to share trends and exciting new things I discover along the way on my firstname.lastname@example.org platform each week. Before moving to Hawaii and still to this day I have been surrounded in luxury, work in luxury, and I understand the expectations of luxury. At this point in my life I have learned a lot – I am not a snob; I appreciate unique things, expect kind and genuine service, and love a great deal. I am not endorsed, sponsored or paid by anyone. Now that we got that out of the way, please know I will only share with you my experiences or things people close to me have shared along the way.
Maui…where do I begin? It is the Valley Isle however; in my opinion it does offer the best of everything. You have beautiful beaches, an extinct volcano, bamboo forests; spectacular resorts with full amenities, amazing infused local food celebrating Hawaiian, Filipino and so many more cultures. If you are visiting from a city or suburb this is a great place for you. I promise I won’t send you off the grid and into a panic attack. The island is small just about 48 miles long and 26 miles wide. That does not mean you will see it all in a day. In fact, there is so much to do on the island I have decided to share a different side of the island with you over the next few weeks. Since I lived and worked on this island (btw, I still work on this island and commute from Kauai 4 days a week) who better to share the insider tips with you?
Before you land at Kahului Airport in Maui be prepared you are arriving in Hawaii and there is very little air conditioning anywhere – that includes the airport corridors (side note – Hawaiian Lounge has AC at gate 16, if you island hop or are connecting to Honolulu pay the extra upgrade fee to go first class $25-$50, you will get access & waiting will be a pleasure). Also note that what was a small airport has now become the 2nd most popular in Hawaii. There are major renovations throughout and getting a rental car can take a significant amount of time. If you aren’t signed up for a rental car loyalty program (side note – they are mostly all free) do it. You will get in and out a lot faster.
What part of the island should you stay on while in Maui?
I will without a doubt reply…south shore. The south shore of Maui starts in Kihei goes to Wailea and then quickly wraps upward towards Makena and the lava fields. Kihei is an eclectic little beach town that has not yet been invaded by mainstream chain cafes and stores. The food is great, beaches are pristine and there is a little nightlife. I lived in Kihei and found it quaint and welcoming to guests. Many people from California and Canada have chosen to make Kihei their new home or 2ndhome. It is important to note that when the housing market crashed in the US many Canadians took advantage of the exchange rates and bought up real estate. There is not a large true local Hawaiian population living in Kihei so you won’t be experiencing the deep culture that you might find in Wailuku but it is still great!
If you keep driving through Kihei you will quickly notice everything becomes manicured and green almost instantly. You have arrived to the upscale community of Wailea. Wailea is the home to many of the finest resorts and celebrities. It is experiencing another revitalization from it’s initial introduction. The fashion forward, tech savvy, Silicon Valley folks tend to nestle here. I have also noticed the most diversity of international and American tourists. Kudos to DIVERSITY! The Shops of Wailea offers upscale luxury shopping and a few surf shops for the teens (don’t miss the newly renovated Bottega Veneta).
After you pass through Wailea you will know quickly notice that resort row has concluded. Quickly you find yourself driving through dry rugged areas. Before you know you will be at Makena State Park that has two beaches. Big Beach (Oneloa Beach or Makena Beach) is the most popular for tourists, the shore is protected and it is a great place to sunbath. A more local experience would be Little Beach (I got married there). It is just north of Big Beach and separated by a steep lava outcropping. On Sunday afternoon/evenings Little Beach hosts drumming and fire dancing. If you are up for adventure keep on driving past the state park. You will now find yourself right in the middle of a petrified lava field. It is INSANE! Take it all in. At the end of the road you will reach a black sand beach that will give you the opportunity to hike and take photos. Watch the holes and the road is narrow. YOU must do it! It is non-negotiable.
Now, here is the inside scoop of the best finds on the south shore of Maui. Are you ready?
Superb Hotel or Resort:
•Andaz at Wailea
The most modern and chic hotel on Maui. The spa is spectacular and the adjacent pool is a hidden gem. Rooms are smaller but very cool. Make sure you have dinner at Kana Kitchen. Young and trendy.
Simple, elegant and traditional. If you are looking for a special beach experience, private cabana feel, this is your place. True old school luxury. Ko is a spectacular locale to have dinner as well.
•The Residence Inn Wailea
This is a brand new hotel, not on the beach but great for families. I would much rather stay there than the dreaded Grand Wailea/Waldorf Astoria (unfortunately a Marriott in my opinion that has not been updated, has many hotel rooms and triple the amount of guests, big families and undesirable men with hairy backs)
Places to Eat:
•Poke: Tamura’s Market
•Pizza: Pizza Madness
•Lunch or Casual Dining:
Café a la Plage
Kihei Caffe (cash only) http://
•Hair Salon: J. Meier Salon
(Carlos or Whitney for cuts/wedding prep, Sarah for barber cuts)
Mulberry Seed Design