Depending on where you are in the world the travel time can be intimidating, but it is well worth it once you step off the plane in to one of the most unique environments on earth. There is a lot too see and do on Maui, but here are our favorite sites, restaurants and places to stay in West Maui.
Where to stay:
Ritz Carlton Kapalua.
What can I say, it is the Ritz, one of the finest hotels you will ever stay at. Impeccable service, nice rooms, beautiful grounds and the price to match. The only drawback to the Ritz is that the beach is windy and has a powerful surf, making it not the most relaxing of environments. The pool area is a nice alternative, with friendly servers prepared to bring you coconut porters all day long. Stay here if you plan to be out and about more during the day and are not looking for a lazy beach vacation.
Sheraton Maui Black Rock.
The Sheraton does have slightly more dated rooms, but the grounds are the equal of the Ritz. The major advantage of the Sheraton is Kaanapali Beach which is exceptional, with great snorkeling, calm water and gentle breezes making it one of the best beaches in the world. Black Rock is also a historic cliff diving area and the view from the beach allows you to watch cliff divers jumping from the rock throughout the day.
Black Rock at Kaanapali Beach
Where to eat:
Breakfast- Try the Sunrise Café in Lahaina. You are a fool if you don’t get the Loco Moco( half pound beef patty, 2 fried eggs, rice and brown mushroom gravy). Be warned though, it is a gut bomb. Share it with someone if you can, and take a walk around Lahaina after breakfast to work off some calories.
See what I mean, gut bomb!
The Gazebo in Napili has great banana macadamia nut pancakes. There is usually a line, but it is worth the wait and you get a great view of the ocean and Lanai while you wait.
Lunch- Star Noodle is a great lunch spot. It is off the beaten path, but follow google maps and they will get you there. Most of the plates are small, so order 3 or 4 to share. Don’t miss the Pohole Salad, with fiddlehead ferns and Maui onion. It is a native Hawaian dish-something you will not find in anywhere else.
Dinner- Kimos in Lahaina has a great selection of Pacific fish. If you are sick to death of Salmon(as I am) try something like Opah or Marlin. Be sure to get it Kimo’s style, with basil, lemon and garlic.
Sansei at Kapalua is the best bet for Sushi. Sansei has a party vibe, I like to eat at the bar. The bartenders are always fun, and you should definitely go with their recommendations on the sushi.
So these will not be the easiest thing to get to. You will have to drive up Hwy 30 past the Ritz until you get into a very isolated part of the island. The best thing to do is google map it and screenshot the directions, because you will lose reception long before you get there. A short hike from the road will bring you to some tidal pools shielded from the raging surf, that is pounding the cliffs along the coastline. This is one of the few places on Maui where you may be the only people there when you visit. Be sure to swim in the pools and snorkel a bit. There are plenty of fish in the pools and no current to push you around.
Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park is a must see, but be prepared when you go. The temperature at 10,000 feet when you arrive will be around 50 degrees and if you are there after sunset it will be around freezing. Don't be like the many tourist I have seen on top of the volcano walking around in shorts with their hotel towels wrapped around them for warmth. Also, if you have any fear of heights this is not the trip for you-it is really high and vertigo inducing. Most people want to see a sunrise, but I recommend being there at sunset instead. You will have to get up at 3AM to get there in time for a sunrise, and the crowd is very heavy and it is freezing cold and windy. Instead get there around 5PM and hike a bit down the shifting sands trail, then settle in for the sunset. I recommend you watch from the overlook just below the summit. It will shield you a bit from the wind and the crowd will be minimal. Be warned the instant the sun goes below the horizon the temperature is going to plummet…
Make sure you bring a set of very warm clothes if you are going to Haleakala (dead of winter clothes). Also, a pair of water shoes will help you out at the Olivine pools and any other areas you may want to walk on the volcanic rock. Be sure you are coated in sunscreen, the sun is already stronger in the islands and if you go up Haleakala there are no clouds and less atmosphere to protect you. Pack it all up in one of our scout rucksacks, it is a great carry on bag and the waxed canvas and leather will hold up well in Hawaii's occasional rain storm, surf and sand.