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Itinerary for 9 days in Maui in December

Old Apr 9th, 2020, 05:41 PM
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Itinerary for 9 days in Maui in December

Hi all,

I hope everyone is staying safe and well. The bright side of social distancing is more time to do travel research!

My husband and I are looking at a Maui trip in December. I have a rough itinerary but have issues and questions in a few areas. Some context about us: We love beach time (swimming, snorkeling, reading/snoozing) but also enjoy hiking and adventure. My husband also plays golf. So I've tried to structure our trip in two halves, with the first being beach and second being hiking/upcountry exploration.

Itinerary
Day 1 - arrive OGG at noon, check into resort*
Day 2 - resort
Day 3 - resort
Day 4 - resort
Day 5 - Hike Waihee Ridge Trail in the AM, then drive upcountry where we will stay the remainder of the trip**
Day 6 - Road to Hana and Pipiwai Trail
Day 7 - Explore upcountry (AM) / Ho'omana Spa (PM)
Day 8 - Haleakala for sunrise followed by hiking
Day 9 - Depart OGG 6 pm

Notes
* TBD on west vs. south Maui
** Looking at a number of Airbnb options near Haiku, Makawao, etc.

Questions
  1. I am very torn on where to stay—west vs. south, resort vs. condo. We can't afford the resorts in Wailea, but could afford a VRBO within walking distance of the beach. On the west side, we're considering the Westin on Ka'anapali as well as the Mauian Hotel on Napili Bay. After reading tons of reviews, they each have their advantages but also problems.
    • Our top priority is probably beach access. I know it's peak season, but where are we least likely to have to fight for beach space if we don't get out there first thing in the morning? Are resort beaches typically private or also accessible by the public?
    • If we stay in west Maui, could we get by without having a rental car? That would help us save money on the car itself and the daily parking fee.
  2. Is it too ambitious to do RTH and Pipiwai in the same day? From what I've read, we will start early and go straight to Pipiwai, then make stops on a more leisurely drive back.
  3. I understand the summit at Haleakala gets very, very cold. In mid-December, how cold (and windy) are we talking? Is there ever snow or ice that would make the drive dangerous?
    • We are in our 30s and in good physical condition, but going from sea level to 10,000 feet is no joke. How strenuous are the hikes from the Haleakala summit?
  4. Any recommendations on how to spend that last day before our evening flight?
  5. We would be open to condensing the second half of the trip to allow for another full beach day. Any recommendations on what to cut or condense?
Thank you all in advance for your help.
emc0011 is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2020, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by emc0011 View Post
Questions
  1. I am very torn on where to stay—west vs. south, resort vs. condo. We can't afford the resorts in Wailea, but could afford a VRBO within walking distance of the beach. On the west side, we're considering the Westin on Ka'anapali as well as the Mauian Hotel on Napili Bay. After reading tons of reviews, they each have their advantages but also problems.
    • Our top priority is probably beach access. I know it's peak season, but where are we least likely to have to fight for beach space if we don't get out there first thing in the morning? Are resort beaches typically private or also accessible by the public?
    • If we stay in west Maui, could we get by without having a rental car? That would help us save money on the car itself and the daily parking fee.
  2. Is it too ambitious to do RTH and Pipiwai in the same day? From what I've read, we will start early and go straight to Pipiwai, then make stops on a more leisurely drive back.
  3. I understand the summit at Haleakala gets very, very cold. In mid-December, how cold (and windy) are we talking? Is there ever snow or ice that would make the drive dangerous?
    • We are in our 30s and in good physical condition, but going from sea level to 10,000 feet is no joke. How strenuous are the hikes from the Haleakala summit?
  4. Any recommendations on how to spend that last day before our evening flight?
  5. We would be open to condensing the second half of the trip to allow for another full beach day. Any recommendations on what to cut or condense?
Thank you all in advance for your help.
1. Obviously everyone has different opinions, we prefer west Maui and stay in a modest condo on Napili Beach. The beach is fantastic there, the condos are low rise, modest and not expensive (unless you have sea view etc). We have stayed at Napili Surf twice and loved it, there are lots of options around this beach. I believe the beaches are all public, some are not very easily accessible by car, for example if you drive to Ka'anapali and have to look for parking which you can only do in designated beach access parking which is usually full. So staying at Napili gives instant easy beach access with bonus of seeing turtles in the water. We rented a car and there were no parking fees at the condo we stayed in. We did not like the area around Kihei so much, a bit dry, dusty but there are great beaches there too.

I would not change accommodation for such a short trip, the hassle of packing and moving up the road is not worth it IMO. We managed to see all that we wanted from our location in Napili.

2. The Road to Hana is a day trip as far are we are concerned, even if you do stay around Haiku and get a head start. Problem is people drive really slowly and if you get stuck behind someone who doesn't know how to drive around those curves, you cannot easily get past them. Or a tour bus. So you do end up taking it very slowly and you wouldn't want to rush it anyway. Doing a hike the same day might be a bit much but I haven't done that hike so I might be wrong. Maybe you can do part of it,

3. It is cold at Haleakala, ice and/or snow has never impeded our visit.
4. We usually spend it at the beach, ask for late check out and pay for it if necessary.
5. We've never been as organised as you in deciding which day we would do anything until we got to Maui. But we did have beach time almost every day combined with another activity, some days are completely taken up with an excursion eg RTH, others might be a trip to a beach thats good for snorkelling (La Perouse Bay for instance) followed a swim at Makena. There are things you haven't included eg Iao Valley, whale watching etc)


Odin is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2020, 07:05 AM
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Maui is a small enough island that you can easily stay in one place whether it is a resort on the west side or a condo in Kehei. DW and I settled for a small low rise condo (ground floor) in Kehei across the street from a public beach. Our DD and SIL were staying at a nicer place in South Kehei and were staying longer than we were. You do have to get reservations to drive up to the parking area near the top of Haleakala for sunrise. You may find that you have to settle for sunrise on a different day than you wanted. Our SIL is a friend of someone who lived year round on Maui. He took us all up in his Caddy. He had the reservation and I had the America the Beautiful card so we didn't have to pay at the bottom of the mountain.
Most rental cars are not allowed on a long stretch of the "Road to Hana" since there is no road service or towing available out there. I did enjoy the drive up to the Iao Valley. I even did the Earthcache up there and found a physical cache just outside the boundary of the park.
On our last day on Maui we checked out of the condo very early and left our stuff in our rental car at the place DD/SIL were staying and got the ride up the mountain in the Caddy. There aren't too many gas stations on Maui. The cheapest is the one at Costco not too far from OGG. We spent the afternoon with DD/SIL and friend before we left for the airport for our redeye flight to LAX via SFO (same plane both legs)
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Old Apr 10th, 2020, 07:36 AM
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Are resort beaches typically private or also accessible by the public?
All beaches in Hawaii are public, but getting to them and finding parking can be an issue.

If we stay in west Maui, could we get by without having a rental car?
I couldn't (maybe if I were staying within the Kaanapali resort), but if you're okay with just being at your condo/resort for 4 days, then it's fine. I like to be able to drive to Lahaina, etc.

understand the summit at Haleakala gets very, very cold. In mid-December, how cold (and windy) are we talking? Is there ever snow or ice that would make the drive dangerous?
  • We are in our 30s and in good physical condition, but going from sea level to 10,000 feet is no joke. How strenuous are the hikes from the Haleakala summit?
It's freezing (wrap yourself up in a down sleeping bag freezing) if you get there before sunrise. After sunrise, it starts warming up. We have hiked into the crater at mid-morning and its darn hot (do not go without water - there is nothing but a moonscape up there). It's a good hike - somewhat strenuous, but overall I'd consider it moderate. I was 58 when we did it, you'll have no problem. Also, there's no snow or ice on the road as far as I know, just very cold at the top.

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Old Apr 10th, 2020, 11:27 AM
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My opinion is you need a rental car for Hawaii, anywhere other than on Oahu and even there only if you're staying right in Honolulu/Waikiki. It would be not very practical to try to see Maui without one. Possible I guess but very limiting.
suze is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2020, 01:51 PM
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I'd stay in one place the entire time, we stayed at a condo at Papakea, in Honokawai and drove everyplace. They are nice condos but the beach is almost non existent and we drove each am to Napili and Kapalua to swim.

Remember that almost all condos have both security deposits and non refundable cleaning fees so changing condos can add up. Book an extra night, so you have a place to shower and change clothes before heading to the airport.

If you book a private home, make sure it is legal, illegal short term rentals are a problem in all of the Hawaiian islands. Ask for a copy of their permit before sending a deposit. A Tax ID is NOT the same.
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Old Jul 5th, 2020, 05:23 PM
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I live on Oahu and visit Maui regularly. I highly recommend the Kihei Surfside, pretty much the very last condo in Kihei before you enter Wailea. Spectacular beaches, gorgeous lawn between the condo and the water, and excellent management.
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