The Island of Maui

Kahekili Highway

The day after our wedding, Anthony and I flew from Honolulu to the island of Maui. Maui, true to what we had been told, is a completely different place than the bustling island of Oahu. In Honolulu, we had dealt with endless traffic and congestion, but on Maui the pace was slower, more leisurely, and not congested at all. On the way out of Kahului we had to stop at Tom’s Mini-Mart, which Lonely Planet had told us was the best shave ice on the island. It is exactly what it advertises, a narrow shop selling mostly drinks and snacks, but it also has an old-fashioned shave ice machine. The shave ice was pretty fantastic! I mixed pineapple, mango, passionfruit.

From there, we took the Kahekili Highway to Lahaina. Not as popular as the road to Hana, the Kahekili Highway is rugged, dangerous, narrow and beautiful. Our little rental car struggled over the hairpin turns and sudden drops. Many times the road is only one lane, with no way to deal with oncoming traffic except one car deciding to back up. The views were well worth the harrowing drive! There wasn’t much traffic and we were able to pull over several times to marvel and the rugged beauty of the ocean and the cliffs. Farms dotted the landscape, and old men tried to sell us banana bread. We stopped to see the Nakalele Blowhole, which was pretty impressive. Every few seconds, a belching noise emits from the blowhole and water spews everywhere. Even thirty or so feet away, as I shot video, I was getting wet. The ocean looks very dangerous off the rocks, roaring and frothy. It’s not a far walk down to the blowhole, but there were multiple memorials to what I assume are people who have passed away in the ocean nearby, or perhaps have fallen prey to the blowhole itself – I can imagine that drowning is inevitable if someone tried to go into the mouth.

Maui

In Lahaina, we stayed one night at the Lahaina Inn.  The room we stayed in was small, but adorably decorated. We had a lanai that looked over the ocean, and down onto the bustling tourist streets. It was a contrast to the earlier part of our day spent in relative seclusion exploring west Maui. We walked around, admiring the art galleries and touristy shops, eventually settling in to enjoy pasta at The Penne Pasta Café.  We chose it because it advertised vegan cheese. We enjoyed our dinner on the patio, soaking up the warm evening air. As we wandered back to our room, searching for pressed penny machines (I collect them), we stopped to watch a Hawaiian man make wood carvings. We were so impressed by his skills that we ended up purchasing several. He was willing to carve our names and the date of our wedding into the base. A very neat souvenir.

Maui

The following night we had reservations in Kihei, so we decided to drive there, stopping to eat lunch at Joy’s Place.  After some nourishing chili and sandwiches, we went snorkeling at Malu’aka Beach. We chose this beach because it is unofficially called Turtle Beach. We were not disappointed, since we saw at least one turtle poking among the coral for food. We were also treated with schools of fish and other little creatures floating below us. The water was a bit rough, so the sand obscured our view a bit, but we had a great time paddling around and following the colorful fish. We also drove farther south to La Perouse Bay, through an old lava field. The lava came through in 1790, but it still looks fresh! Nothing grows in these fields, and you can see where people have used the lava rocks as building materials. We stayed at the Aston Hotel, which was right on the water, giving us a great view of the sunset when we arrived.  We drove over to Pa’ia for dinner since there is a vegetarian Thai restaurant there. Fresh Mint was amazing, so amazing we went back for dinner the following night as well! The service was great and the food was fantastic.

Old Pu’unene

We woke up early the following morning to go to Haleakala National Park – for which I wrote a separate post. On the way, we stopped in Old Pu’unene to investigate a used bookstore. An old sugar town, there isn’t much left except an old school building and a slowly decaying church, but the bookstore still sells old volumes cheaply. We purchased so many that we had to ship them home! I found great old hardcovers of classics by favorite authors, like Fitzgerald and Maugham. After Haleakala, we explored Makawao, a cute cowboy town. There is a charming, short main street, dedicated to art galleries and horsey accoutrements. We had reserved a night in a bed and breakfast, the Hale Hookipa Inn.  We enjoyed our night there very much. The rooms were cute and very charismatic. In the morning, the owner’s pets were wandering around the garden, just asking to be admired.

We didn’t have time to traverse the entire Hana Highway, but we were able to explore a good bit of it. Our impending flight back to Honolulu and shortage of gas stations drove us back into town quickly. We were able to walk down a few paths to some of the many waterfalls, and admire the views. Though very beautiful, I enjoyed our first winding road experience, Kahekili Highway, on Maui more. I will admit though that since we did not get to the end of the Hana Highway, that my view may be misinformed. There is always next time!

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Comments

  1. Wow! You have had a wonderful experience down here. I am glad you find Hawaii a fascinating place. Jut wonder if you ever got book your vacations down here, or you just came and let it flow. We could have given you Hawaii vacations with much ease and less hassle. But anyways, I am still glad to made good impressions and memories here in Hawaii…

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