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turn_it_on Jul 29th, 2003 10:56 PM

Maui Trip Report...action-packed with details!
First of all, the reason this trip report is insanely long is because of all the trip reports I read on Maui, I never felt they had enough detail, if any at all. I?m doing this for all the people who really really want to know exactly what happened at a place, not just that we went. So there.

My boyfriend and I went to Maui July 12-19 from Oakland, California on Aloha Air (weak MaiTais, good cookies n milk)...we?re both 25 and enjoy an active vacation...we used Maui Revealed (referred to henceforth as MR), which was great, good maps, good advice...I?ve even included a freakin? outline at the start for yr perusing pleasure...thanks to everyone for the Maui advice I?ve gotten here, and I hope this helps someone...



1. Kihei Surfside condo
2. Beaches
3. Snorkeling/Snorkel Bob/La Perouse Kayak trip
4. Dining
5. Shopping
6. Hana



I cannot say enough good things about this place. The aerial photo and good review (but especially the photo) on MR helped me choose this place and we couldn?t have been happier. Every room has a lanai and an enormous view of the ocean, neighbor islands, and the expansive lawn. Yes, Kihei got VERY windy, but the air coming through always felt good (no A/C, not too much of a problem though). The living room/kitchen/dining area was light and airy, so much so that instead of sleeping in the dark bedroom (the only negative) we opened the fold out couch every night and slept in the ocean breeze. Nice bathroom, great kitchen, every utensil and appliance you could need, including coolers, CD player, and lots of beach towels. We bought some food at Foodland and Safeway and cooked breakfasts, packed lunches, and barbecued a few dinners. Barbecuing and eating outside on the huge manicured lawn watching the sun drop into the ocean with a pineapple drink was just awesome. There were times when we thought we could have sat on the lanai looking out at paradise forever. The place sits just north of Keawakapu beach (and the ocean pounding on the lava rocks out front is awesome), you just have to walk like a minute down the path toward the hotel next door to get to it. It?s a great beach! Soft golden sand, snorkeling offshore, and good boogie boarding too. Terrific views of Molokini, Kahoolawe, and Lanai. We rented it for $124/nt with a AAA discount (1 bedroom/1 bath) through CRH Maui, although they did charge a $25 service fee. They were very quick and helpful both online and on the phone though; I would definitely go through them again.

Side note: Kihei /our condo is where I got bit several times by something with severe bloodlust in its chompy little heart, leaving FANTASTIC raised bites that began to pus and leave a bumpy rash a few days later. Does anyone know what bastard did this?

turn_it_on Jul 29th, 2003 10:57 PM


First: the sun is a little bastard too, you cannot protect yrself enough. It was kinda cloudy most of the time we were there (and yes you still can get very burned), which was great because when the sun did peek out from behind the clouds, it felt like red burning death.

That said, our favorite beach was Palauea, south of Polo Beach. We went twice, very early in the morning (as we did everything everyday, it?s the only way to snorkel, plus places are less crowded), and snorkeled at the rocky points there known as White Rock. The first time we went the water was very clear, and for some reason, five days later, it was noticeably cloudier. But the coral was awesome and the fish life was high...good sandy bottom too.
Lots of shade on the beach, and palm trees near the jutting out lava point at one end gave it an awesome Gilligan?s Island feel. There were several people camped in tents there too. We were there early, so I don?t know what it?s like the rest of the day, but it was pretty empty when we were there.

A close second favorite nearby was Po?olenalena beach. The super soft golden sand is divided into sections by lava outcroppings that are pretty easy to cross, and some of the more random lava rocks formed little coves where you could set down yr towel and feel nice and cozy, maybe even with some shade. The rocky point at the northernmost end had good snorkeling, and we spent lots of time boogie boarding there on some great waves in the late afternoon. Huge beach, hardly very crowded.

We went to the black sand beach just north of Big Beach twice at sunset because we loved it so much. The sand itself is not soft at all, it feels gravelly, but it?s neat to see and there?s lots of little crabs to watch, and the first time we saw three huge sea turtles riding the waves that were literally lapping the shore--we rolled up our pant legs and stepped right in with them as they lazily floated almost on the sand!

We also went next door to check out Big Beach just to say we was really crowded...felt similar to Keawakapu though, big wide sandy beach. The shorebreak is supposed to be pretty dangerous there though (as per big signs and our kayak guide).

Spent some time at Kahekili Beach Park just north of Kaanapali beach. It has a grassy area with shade, along with another big wide soft golden sandy beach. There were a lot of snorkelers in the water but we didn?t go in here. There?s a good parking lot and facilities...all in all, a cool place to be. Lots of people.

turn_it_on Jul 29th, 2003 10:57 PM


We rented snorkel gear from Snorkel Bob. It was reasonably priced and they were nice to us but my mask kept leaking no matter what I did, which has never happened to me with rental equipment before. And they gave us a non-laminated fish ID card, which was kinda sucky.

In addition to the beaches above we snorkeled, we also went to Honolua Bay and a La Perouse snorkel/kayak trip. Honolua Bay was very cool, big yellow and blue coral, lots of schools of fish, and even these crazy tiny tiny pink jellyfish. The walk down through the trees is nice, lots of vines and stuff. The shoreline is all rocks, and entry into the bay is lousy with a capital Suck. The water lapping the shore is all sludge, filled with fallen leaves and huge slippery rocks. So you either have to put on yr flippers and walk in backwards and fall like I did (the two nasty war wounds of the trip), or put on yr flippers in the water and try not to fall on the slippery rocks with the poor traction of bare feet. Once you get past all that though, it?s very clear. We arrived around 10am, by which point it was getting VERY crowded.

Also: PLEASE don?t feed the fish, as too many people at Honolua were messes up their ecosystem and ruins the reef for future visitors. Don?t be a jerk in paradise.

The highlight of the trip was possibly the six hour kayak tour we took with Maui Kayaks. Our guide, Rich, will only take out a maximum of 8 people (and no little kids...don?t get me started on the horrors of seeing very frightened looking LITTLE kids strapped into the front of a kayak on the open ocean) in tandem kayaks (with big dry bags provided!) so it was a great group....the other outfitters who were trying to corral like twenty people just made me nervous. It began at around 7:30am at La Perouse Bay, where pods of dolphins cruise through regularly. We paddled out a few minutes and spotted some (this area was kind of crowded with dolphin chasers) and got into the water and snorkeled with them. We discovered why they?re called spinner dolphins when one jumped up in the air and spun, going totally Sea World on us. One of the coolest things is when you have yr head in the water, you can hear their echolocation sounds--very surreal.

From there we kayaked north along the bay, stopping first to snorkel at the cove called Aquarium. The water was so freakin? clear it was unbelievable. Very high fish life, very calm water, very awesome. Paddling back out, the water started getting choppy and we got to ride the waves in our kayak--totally exciting. We stopped next to snorkel at the cove called Fishbowl, just as calm and clear, and we pulled the kayaks ashore here to picnic--they packed a good lunch. Our guide also took us to the outlook above, formerly used by the army in WWII--an amazing view, we could see the Big Island , Molokini, Kahoolawe, Lanai, and Molokai all in one shot! From there our final stop was a section called the Dumps, where we swam offshore with giant turtles. We watched one in particular for a long time as he drifted between the floor and the surface, all the while completely covered in cleaner wrasse! From there we pulled straight to shore, around 1:30, pretty tired but also totally exhilarated. Our guide was great, very knowledgeable, friendly, and patient...$89, totally worth it, kayaking on the ocean is an incredible experience, and the two snorkel spots are hard to get to if you hike. Be very careful of the sun out on the water though...only our second day, and despite our efforts, we still were very red.

We went to the Olivine Pools, which, although not sparkling green like the book says, are way cool. You hike up this dusty rocky hill and you reach a point just above the shore where you can see all the pools laid out below you and you just want to race down. Dozens of pools of different sizes and depths fill the lava shelf...funky fish and crabs in them, and even a few colorful reef fish. There?s a blowhole there too...the irregular explosions are crazy and you can hear it breathing and wheezing the whole time. The ocean crashes wildly behind you and every five minutes or so a huge wave will crash over the rocks, spraying the crowd and filling the big pool--deep enough to jump in from above. The place is pretty sprawling, so although there were quite a few people we were able to eat our lunch alone with our feet in a deep round well with the ocean spray on our faces. The lava formations are great, and I totally dig the picture of me sitting in the throne of lava...the whole thing is like God?s waterpark.

turn_it_on Jul 29th, 2003 10:59 PM


We had a wonderful meal at Sarento?s, which is a short walk two doors down the beach from the Kihei Surfside Condos. We sat on the terrace, right on the railing, on the beach. Expensive, but the food, wine, dessert, ambience and service were excellent. We did this instead of a luau--we didn?t want to spend just as much money and be disappointed by a corny show and questionable food. We didn?t regret the decision for a second.

Had a good Japanese meal in Kihei at Sansei, near Foodland. Great atmosphere, upbeat and modern.

On our day trip to West Maui, we succumbed to the Hula Grill, as I was intrigued by the tables-in-the-sand thing. First of all, make reservations. We didn?t, and waited at the bar for an hour, although the tropical drinks were VERY good and the packed ambience was fun. When we were finally seated and I slipped my feet into the sand below the tables, I was immediately transported back to my sandbox days. Coarse and dirty feeling, not luxurious at all. But the food and drinks were very good (it?s a lighter, smaller menu outside) and like I said, it was a lot of fun.

Not to be missed in south Maui--the shaved ice at the Local Boy stand across from one of the Kam beaches (I forget which, it?s in the center with Bad Ass Coffee Co, looks like a shack). Coconut ice cream on the bottom, root beer flavoring, and Kauai cream on top--sexy creamy paradise in a cup.


Did all of our souvenirs-for-the-friends shopping in Lahaina. A good place to do this, as such, but what a place. Crowded, like spilling into traffic crowded. Total tacky sensory overload, not a place I would ever like to be when on a tropical vacation again. Also, a good place to be offered ?Maui Wowie? by weirdos in the Banyan Tree Park. Like, seriously. The mecca for this. But the tree was so cool, and made shiny to boot by so many butts sliding across some parts.

turn_it_on Jul 29th, 2003 11:00 PM


As much as we hated leaving the view from our lanai, we headed off to Hana.

The Hana highway is FINE, get over it.

It?s smooth and feels very safe...yes, there are one lane bridges, but it?s clear who must yield and most people managed pretty well. The views are fantastic, it doesn?t feel like yr gonna fall off the cliffside, and there?s lots of little waterfalls you can see right on the side of the road. Lots of mosquitoes in some places, less in others.

Our first stop was the Four falls of Na?ili?ili-haele (just past Twin Falls, which MR says is not so hot, but was PACKED with cars). A very cool hike through bamboo, each falls better than the next. Saw a few people on the trail, but not too many. Didn?t go in the first pool for fear of a very strange bug-lobstery creature right at the entry: black, with huge pincher arms twice the size of his body, so big he looked like he wasn?t quite managing them. A slightly strenuous and muddy hike in places, but all in all, a very quiet relaxing place to be.

Pulled over for a quick view of Lower Puohokamoa Falls, a short path through the brush lead to a wonderful full view of a dramatic 200ft falls. No one else there.

Stopped at Kenae was cool to see the ocean pounding on the lava rocks, but I felt it wasn?t anything we hadn?t seen already. Good bathrooms, and yes, the nearby banana bread was excellent.

Drove Nahiku Road. Very lush, interesting to see this tiny community. Drove all the way to the end for a great ocean view, and walked down to the small falls and pools, covered in vines, but didn?t go in because it was getting late and we needed to get to our hotel. Very mosquitoe-y.

Stayed at the Hotel Hana Malamalama in the Bamboo Inn Villa. This place was out of this world. A two story villa, made out of bamboo, a few dozen steps through banana and coconut trees down to Hana Bay...full kitchen with a big living/dining area, hardwood floors, bedroom and bathroom (with a huge open shower with a big seat and glass block) upstairs...the bedroom had a big balcony and the downstairs a big patio with a jacuzzi bathtub (fresh water, not chlorine!) where we sat both nights we stayed and looked at the immense sky filled with milky stars, surrounded by the sound of the ocean pounding on the rocks.

The beach on Hana Bay is all rocks, but it was fun to walk through the lush property down there to skip stones. A light breakfast is served in the morning in the ?lobby?, this thatched hut with no walls, overlooking the enormous fishpond and waterfall. Delicious tropical fruit and pastries were served, and I fell in love with passionfruit. We had bought a few food provisions the night before at the Hasegawa general store, a very strange conglomeration of just about everything (except possibly what you might want).

We went to the Venus pool which we fell in love with. The falls was totally dry, but the rocks around it are great and the ocean-filled pool below was wonderful. We went very early and were joined by three other people. We liked it so much we tried to go back our last day but got rained out.

Took the short hike around Ka?uiki Hill on Hana Bay to see the red sand pocket beach (not the larger famous one). It was super tiny, like my bedroom is bigger, but the color was intense and it was cool to see the rusty hillside crumbling away into sand. A fun, short hike with some cool views and someone?s private head shop stashed in a little cave.

We went to Oheo Gulch which was ridiculously crowded, like you could tell when the tour buses had arrived by the sudden burst of people streaming in. It was however, really freaking cool to see the cascade of several falls and pools straight down to the ocean. Totally recommend it, an easy hike, a great place to play, AND there?s shade.

Equally cool is the 2mile Pipiwai trail across the road to Waimoku falls. It follows Oheo & Pipiwai Streams the whole way, so it?s covered in waterfalls. We saw the Infinity Pool at Makahiku falls, but it was pretty dry, so although the water and the effect wasn?t as dramatic, the view was--you can see straight down the falls yr sitting on, a falls to yr left, and straight out to the ocean. Not a secret however, this one.

There?s several more cool falls and pools along the way, with some fantastic overlooks, and the two bridges, which lead into the bamboo forest, which is just tremendous. It suddenly gets very dark and cool, and is kinda creepy in places. But at the end is the jaw-dropping Waimoku Falls, 400 ft high, washing down an enormous cliff face, absolutely gorgeous. We were disappointed that after that long hot hike there wasn?t much of a pool to speak of (not like the huge lush pools before), shallow, rocky, and very cold. So if you pass up other opportunities to take a dip because yr saving up for the end, don?t. It is worth it though.

Dinner that is limited to three choices in Hana: Tutu?s snack shack on Hana Bay, open from 8-4 only (didn?t eat there), Hana Ranch Restaurant, which got such a dismal review from MR that we didn?t dare, and the Hotel Hana Restaurant, where we had our final dinner in Maui. The place was really pretty, open air on several sides (no walls) and right on the beach. Sorely, sorely disappointed were we though by the dinner BUFFET, which we didn?t know about coming in and which our waitress declined to even tell us the price of. Let me just say that at least the drinks were quite good and reasonably priced for Maui, even for Hana. The buffet was just very very strange, a little depressing. We couldn?t quite pin it down, but it was kinda like a sad sack pot luck that someone tried to dress up. A bowl of salad greens with three strange looking dressings, no veggies or salad toppings to speak of, too many pasta salads, good big crisp cold shrimp with weak cocktail sauce, and moving on finally to a california roll bar? A strange conglomeration under strange lighting, made all the weirder by the hot food--prime rib, bland looking chicken, funny fish filets which turned out to be pretty good, some stir fry veggies, plain white rice, and mashed potatoes. Huh? We managed to fill our plates, and welcomed dessert, which although good (and the coffee very good), felt like it came from a grocery store bakery. All this for $45 EACH. We practically fainted, then shuffled home, confused, our only solace our KICK ASS porch bathtub.

To the airport the next morning, driving down around the south side of the island, around the back side of Haleakala which was ridiculously beautiful, with the sweeping peaks on one side and the blue ocean and huge sky on the other. We could see two peaks on the Big Island for a long time, and as we rounded up through central Maui, could see the entire south coast (Wailea area) and all the neighbor incredible drive.

Our final meal on Maui was at the Kau Kau food court in the Maui Marketplace near the airport. The food at the Aloha Grill was awesome, and the bone jar shake (peanut butter-chocolate) is truly wonderful.

Best irony of the trip? Paradise ended at the Kau Kau food court. Such is life, kids.


bluefan Jul 30th, 2003 01:51 AM


Great trip report!!! One of, if not the best, I've come across on Maui!!! I'm sure it will prove to be a great resource for future visitors.

I also have to congratulate you on keeping your word of posting a trip report after you got back. It was thrilling to read and brought back many fond memories...thanks so much!!!

JohnD Jul 30th, 2003 03:40 AM

Another thanks for your detailed trip report!
If you have been to Molokini, how did the snorkeling at La Perouse and Fishbowl compare with it? Do you agree with the notion that beach access snorkeling off west Maui is as good as Molokini? Also since you kayaked in these areas, did kayaking get you any better snorkeling access than one can do via the land routes ? Was there a time of day when it was too rough or crowded to go snorkeling ?
Lastly, the bug that bit you, if you did not see any mosquitoes, sounds like a flea to me, they are very hard to see and can survive in furniture, carpeting, etc. :S-

crazieladybug Jul 30th, 2003 04:39 AM

Wow that was awesome! I love how you divided it up. Thanks so much. What time did you set out on the Road to Hana?

Austin Jul 30th, 2003 04:42 AM

Wonderful report, which I enjoyed reading. It's obvious you really, really took in all there was to offer in Maui, and helped us get a "feel" for it as well. Thank you.

dhoffman Jul 30th, 2003 06:14 AM

Thanks for the report. I am going to Maui in September and was thinking of staying in Lahina area but now I am not sure. How many nights did you spend in your condo?

turn_it_on Jul 30th, 2003 10:42 AM


No, we haven't been to Molokini, but the snorkeling at Fishbowl and Aquarium was out of this world--at least 100' visibility and shallow, you could see all the way to the bottom and look around without even putting yr face in the water! Both places were super calm and protected, and the combination of being surrounded by the lava cove and the high variety of fish, especially at Aquarium, really made you feel like you were swimming in an aquarium.

We didn't do any snorkeling in West Maui, although there were a LOT of people in the water at Kahekili Beach. The reason we stayed in South Maui is actually because we love snorkeling so much and Maui Revealed indicated a ton of great snorkeling just offshore down there, much more it seemed than W. Maui. We did some terrific beach snorkeling in S. Maui, obviously not as clear as La Perouse, but still very good.

Part of the reason we took the La Perouse kayak trip (besides loving to kayak) was to be able to access the places we went without having to take the obnoxious hour long hikes through lava fields, which a handful of people had done when we were there, but doubling up the great snorkeling with the awesome ocean kayaking was a lot of fun.

You should go snorkeling as early in the morning as you can. We got up at 5am everyday to go. The early time doesn't affect air or water temperature and the important thing is that the winds are calm (and yes, very few people). Once the winds kick up midday, snorkeling gets impossible on the choppy water, but that's when you break out the boogie board!

And regarding Molokini...I've heard (esp. from our kayak guide) that it's VERY crowded there, like yr seeing more people fins in yr face than fish fins, and one of the biggest problems is fish feeding there--when people feed the fish, it encourages the more aggressive species, wiping out the meeker ones, thereby causing not the number but the variety of fish to go down. We could see all the boats in the crater from La Perouse, and as we calmly paddled through the coves, we were very happy with our decision.


turn_it_on Jul 30th, 2003 10:54 AM


Since we were staying two nights in Hana, we set out later than most people. We were on the road around 11am...we would've liked to have left sooner, but we had to get in one more morning snorkeling at Palauea! It was a Thursday morning, and the traffic wasn't bad at all, and we were at the first waterfalls of the highway before we knew it; I don't know, it just seemed farther away on the map, maybe I'm retarded. Anyway, it was a nice surprise. However, leaving that late we didn't get to see some of the things we wanted to see, but we also spent a lot of time at the Four Falls I mentioned in the report, and the next day, which started at 5am and was action-packed, kind of made up for it.

Spending two nights in Hana, we got to do a lot of stuff, spend some really quality time, but even then we wished we had more time...I cannot begin to fathom doing Hana as a day trip! If yr really into the bamboo and jungly hiking, the waterfalls, the pools, the vistas, definitely stay a few nights, you won't regret it, there's a thousand options. If all you care about is ramming forward to the "Seven Deadly Pools" (as my boyfriend took to calling them after seeing all the tourists), and yr the kind of person that's "let down" by the fact that "pssh, there's nothing IN Hana", well, then, god help you, speed by the beauty and hit up Raging Waters when you get home so you can make a proper comparison.



Austin Jul 30th, 2003 11:00 AM

Roxy, I DO want to know where you are going next! Your reports and advice are way fun to read.

turn_it_on Jul 30th, 2003 11:15 AM


To hell with Lahaina. Seriously.

When most people speak of staying in Lahaina, they really mean Kaanapali Beach, or one of the other beachy areas a few minutes north of Lahaina. There ARE a few hotels actually in Lahaina, but if you are looking for even the slightest feel of a tropical vacation, you will be sorely disappointed staying there. Kaanapali Beach is very crowded too, with all of its high-end resorts and screaming kids.

I knew this going in, and this is why we chose to stay PRECISELY where we did (thanks Maui Revealed!). Now, before anyone gets on me for staying in Kihei, in which the main drag part of town looks like strip mall USA but with beach parks on one side, let me continue. The condo we stayed in, the Kihei Surfside, is on Keawakapu Beach, which is the first of the Wailea beaches. The condo itself was quiet, the people very friendly, fun bbqs down on the lawn at's several minutes up the road from anything in Kihei (it's all quiet residential around there), which created a nice atmosphere of getting away from it all, but with the convenience of restaurants and stores and the Wailea beaches and fancy restaurants nearby. We stayed five nights there, and adored it. We were totally puzzled by the people we've heard say "well we stayed in Wailea and we'd never do it again because Wailea is sooo boring and we found ourselves HAVING to drive to Lahaina almost every day!" Jesus, WHY? People like that don't deserve Maui. There's great upscale restaurants in Wailea (which is very pretty and well planned) if that's what you need, beautiful beaches, and funkier, ambient nightlife and restaurants in Kihei. We almost regretted the one night we were in Lahaina, we might as well have been in Ft Lauderdale. Like, I don't get what yr looking for in a Hawaiian vacation if yr looking to escape the sexy whisper of paradise every second of the day.


turn_it_on Jul 30th, 2003 11:29 AM


Funny you should soon as we got back from Miami/the Keys last March (trip report available!), I was itching to go to Hawaii (had never been and had suddenly gotten a tropical vacation fever) and immediately started doing soon as we got back from Maui I started doing research into Tahiti! I LOVE planning trips, it's half the fun... having something awesome to look forward to, something you put so much hard work into, and especially seeing how much the research pays off (our Maui trip was everything I had hoped for). I just posted some questions on the South Pacific board...the trip won't be until next summer, but I'm already excited!

I'm glad you like my reports, I'm glad someone appreciates the detail, because it doesn't seem like most people ever include enough (and I could've written pages more!). It seems like a lot of people ask really detailed questions (although the ridiculously vague "where should I go for vacation" questions are pretty rad), expecting really detailed answers, but then include very little detail in their reports. It's the details that are important, that actually help you decide what to do based on what YOU like, because just saying "I liked/hated it" or even worse "Well, I went" says nothing.

Who's writing all this, maybe I should do some actual WORK today.


Austin Jul 30th, 2003 11:46 AM

Nah, heck with the work. You are still recovering from your trip...

Tahiti! Oh my. My dream trip. I guess I'll live vicariously thru you.

Would love to read your Miami/Key report. I've been eyeing the Keys for a little family getaway. Have saved a few trip reports as a matter of fact. Your Maui one will probably be one as well. I really want to do Kauai, but hear for a family (Dh, 13 Yr old daughter and I), Maui might be the best bet. We'll see.

Anyway, is the Key trip report here? i guess I can find it if so...

lahainaluna Jul 30th, 2003 07:54 PM

Great report. I feel like I was just on a vacation to my favorite place and never left home.


JohnD Jul 31st, 2003 03:32 AM

turn it on: Mahalo for your insightful replies. :S-

lschrage Aug 1st, 2003 05:51 PM


I'm very interested in doing the Maui Kayak excursion based on your feedback. It sounds wonderful! Do you have a phone # or web address for them? Also, were they based out of Lahaina?


PJ_JUSTIN Aug 3rd, 2003 10:42 PM


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