What is unique about Maui?

Old Aug 28th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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What is unique about Maui?

My husband and I are giving up the idea of going to Europe this November (putting it off till next summer) and instead arranging a budget friendly trip to Maui. I've got a few guidebooks from the library and they are all seemingly similar. We want a little relaxation and semi-adventure for 10 days and we are lower income so most of the money will be spent before the entertainment, but we splurge when it feels worthwhile.This will be our first "real" vacation together and we've been together for 7 years, married 1 year and this will probably be the "honeymoon" since we never had one yet. We plan on some beach time and some hiking trips (we are serious hikers, we live in the North Cascades) maybe a little ameteur snorkeling as well. We are not going for the shopping, but we ARE interested in the food.
After reading some info Maui I am wondering, what is unique about it? Why do so many go back? What should we see (if you are like-minded) and what should we pass up. Also, what are your favorite guidebooks for the area? I can't seem to find one that really "clicks" with us yet.
Thanks for the help!
gardengypsy is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2005, 03:32 PM
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Hawaii has such a different feel than just about anywhere. I think they put something in the water that forces you to go back again and again.

My fave guidebook is Maui Revealed. You can see some of it at www.wizardpub.com
Suzie is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2005, 03:55 PM
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We loved Maui! We visited in July of this year and also went to Oahu. I can only speak of Kauai and BI from readings and friends' experiences. I think they are all great and somewhat unique in themselves.

I think, and it's been said before, that Maui may have a greater variety of things to see & do. We found it alittle more 'laid back' than Oahu. We enjoyed the snorkeling and driving the Pali and Hana drives, stopping to search out several of the sights listed in Maui Revealed. Also, the dining and the WONDERFULLY FUNNY magic show, Warren and Annabelles, in Lahaina.

If you go, don't miss the Farmers' Market (free samples galore!).

That said, if I was into hiking trails, I'd pick Kauai. I have a burning desire to go there and do that as well! Judging from pics, videos and reading, the Napali Coast is spectacular! There is reportedly less 'night life', however.

For details of my experience, do a search or click my name to find my trip report.

Happy Planning!


OldSouthernBelle is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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Kaua`i is not all that it is cracked up to be. Ask I2. She knows the REAL truth about that damp backwater.


Haleakala certainly is a unique experience.

iamq is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2005, 05:20 PM
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This will be our third trip back to Maui in about one week. We love it. It is by far the most relaxing place we've every been. Don't miss the Maui swap meet, held every Sat. from 7am until noon. The local artist and local farmers bring all of their goods and you can buy them for a fraction of the price you will find in the shops. As for guide books, Maui Revealed is right on. Everything they recommend is great. We will take our new edition back with us this time. We love all parts of the island. Hana was just ok for me. Yes the drive is beautiful, but I was a little disappointed after all the hype. You can find great snorkeling without taking an expensive boat trip. Maui Revealed gives great tips on restuarants, that won't break the bank. We also, stay in a condo, because I don't like spending all of my money in restaurants. One or two nice dinner's is fine. Whatever you do in Maui is great, just simply breathing the air. Mahalo
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Old Aug 28th, 2005, 05:24 PM
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Hum...it starts with the view out the window as you land among two mountains with gentle bumping on the plane...then the smell of sweet flowers that engulf you as you exit the gate...then the cooling breeze as you pick up your bags...and the warming sun that feels like whiskey flowing down your body as you leave the airport...then you see the lush green slopes reaching for heaven...and the sway of the palm trees as if they are dancing you a hula greeting...and as you drive through the small towns and pass the women in sundresses, no make-up and barefoot muching on a fresh mango...and you pass the beaches with poor yet incredibly close and happy families...you wonder why are you living like you do.
islandmom is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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Thanks for the responses so far everyone! I love reading them, great info, keep em comin!
gardengypsy is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2005, 05:46 PM
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Snorkel everywhere Maui revealed says to, and don't forget Peruse Bay after you've done a bit elsewhere (the lava flows on the way are spectacular). Go up Haleakala for the SUNSET!!, drive past Hana all the way around to go from desert to rainforest, see the petroglyphs on the way to Lahina, the Dragon's Teeth in Kapalua, Iao state park, the heiaus (sp), swim the beaches, the waterfall pools, hold your breath and dive to the inner room of the lava tube/cave at the black sand beach (state park on the way to Hana), explore and enjoy.
Save money, don't bother with boat trips, helicopter rides (unless you want to splurge), don't bike down Haleakala (so overrated), don't bother with a dinner cruise or luau, but DO explore all the beaches all over! (Maui REvealed is very helpful.)
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Old Aug 28th, 2005, 06:35 PM
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For snorkeling, we absolutely loved Honolua Bay when we were in Maui last June. Our group ranged in age from 7 yrs. to 64 yrs. Honolua Bay is north of Lahaina and is a marine preserve so there are lots of fish who are not too worried about people. We saw turtles, eels, and even squid/octopi (I don't know the difference). It is a cove so there was not a strong current when we were there. My guidebook says the snorkeling is best in the morning and calm spring, summer, & fall. My family all agreed that it was like being in a National Geographic special. Take hwy 30 north of Lahaina past D.T. Fleming Beach Park. You'll see a Mokuleia-Honolua Marine Reserve sign near a parking area. Go past this just a little ways and watch for a tiny dirt side road on the left. There will probably be other cars parked there. Park by the road and take the trail/dirt road in. The trail is an easy walk and absolutely lovely. The Snorkel Bob shops may even have a free print out map. We felt so pleased with ourselves for walking in for free when we saw one of those snorkel tour catamarans that people pay a tidy little sum for.
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Old Aug 28th, 2005, 07:10 PM
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We got there at the crack of dawn this June to beat the crowds, then were allowed by the shore patrol to watch the visiting gorging tiger sharks from above. Maybe next time! (It is a beautiful spot; stop telling people!!)
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Old Aug 28th, 2005, 08:08 PM
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why don't you try the big island. you can start your day on a black sand beach, drive to the volcano and continue up to the top of Mauna Kea and stargaze. Rainforest, desert, waterfalls, black sand beaches, quaint Hilo town or touristy Kailua-Kona. we've got it all and much cheaper and less congested than Maui
matnikstym is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2005, 05:56 AM
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Since you ask what is unique, I'll pass this along that I was reminded of as I scanned Maui Revealed.

Maui is the island with the most other islands visible off shore. Makes the view interesting and kind fo mysterious. You're always trying to figure out which one you're currently viewing!

OldSouthernBelle is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2005, 05:58 AM
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iamq: You forget I'm from the South and usually spot BS fairly quickly!!

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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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our one & only trip to Hawaii was a week's vacation in Maui (this past March at the Marriott in Ka'anapali), so I am definitely not an expert. I will say that of all the very insightful posts above, Islandmom's really stood out.

But here's my advice; don't come with expectations (okay to do some planning of course); rather, try to clear your mind before you land. Open yourself to whatever it is that Maui presents you with. Start with the little things. Notice the smells; the fact that the street & place names are often impossibly long words with few vowels!

Although Maui IS physically beautiful, it is not more so than many, many other places (no offense to Hawaii intended). That's what threw us at first, and we were even a little disappointed--this beach isn't that great; or these mountains aren't impossibly green, the guidebook lied!

Then, the atmosphere, the feeling, the impact on state of mind began to set in. That is what, in my experience, makes Maui unique.

And as a mainland American, I quickly understood that this is not only a different country (basically appropriated by the U.S.); it is a very different culture, especially from a Euro-American perspective. A non-erasable history permeates the island, in a sense conquering at least this descendant of Hawaii's original American conquerors.
beach_dweller is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2005, 12:35 PM
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The sense of *being there* is unique, like no place I've ever been. It's more than the beauty of the island. The poster above described it nicely.

I would say a trip up Haleakala is the only "must do" (no need to go at sunrise either).

I enjoyed walking around Lahaina, there's a self-guided historical walking tour you can do. If you're in that area have a meal at Mixed Plate Grill (I think is the name?). It's near the shopping center and Old Lahaina Luau grounds, it's a casual place with a great patio, serving reasonably priced local "plate lunch" kind of food.
suze is online now  
Old Aug 29th, 2005, 01:57 PM
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suze: It's "Aloha Plate Lunch". It's next door to the Old Lahaina Luau. We ate there, and, much to my dismay, LATER discovered a $6.00 coupon for it in the E-book.

Their Mai Tai's were much superior to the Old Lahaina Luau, IMHO!

OldSouthernBelle is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2005, 02:51 PM
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The intensity of the green mountains will depend on the amount of rain.
islandmom is offline  
Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 08:55 AM
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beach_dweller, that was a very nice post!
nez is offline  
Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 04:11 PM
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Wow!! Of all the things that have been mentioned not one of them is unique to Maui. Nobody has come up with one thing that is unique about Maui.
Rusty is offline  
Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 04:12 PM
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I would try to stay in the Kaanapali area or Napali is nice too. Kehei is not resort like, its more a congested little town.
nancytwo is offline  

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