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nfahey
August 17th, 2005, 07:30 AM
Hi Everyone!

My husband and I will be traveling to Hawaii (Maui) for the first time in February and I am so excited to find this site. I have belonged to other forums for research on other destinations we have visited but I was having a hard time finding one on Hawaii.

I'm sure I will get some great info here and hopefully be able to share some things as well.

Nancy

Fondoo2
August 17th, 2005, 08:41 AM
Welcome!! One thing for sure what this site lacks in fluff it makes up in personality ;)

Miulang
August 17th, 2005, 10:31 AM
Aloha Nancy:
Where will you be staying on Maui? In the Kaanapali (Lahaina) area or in the Kihei (Wailea) area? There are a few people from Maui (both still living on Maui or who were born and raised there and live elsewhere now) who regularly visit this forum, so ask away about anything related to Maui.

Miulang

nfahey
August 17th, 2005, 02:53 PM
Hi Fondoo,

Thanks for the warm welcome! I'm sure everybody here is great and not only will you be a great source of information but will be great friends as well. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone!

Hi Miulang,

We will be spiltting our stay between the Wailea Marriott (3 nights) and the Westin Ka'anapali Villas (7 nights). We have yet to set up a rental car yet, but we are leaning toward a convertable. If anyone would like to weigh in on this I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks again for the warm welcome!

Nancy

kimo55
August 17th, 2005, 02:59 PM
We have yet to set up a rental car yet, but we are leaning toward a convertable.



don't do convertible.
do hard top. less of a "tourist camera/valuables car" target.
besides; may get sunburned quickly.

Miulang
August 17th, 2005, 03:22 PM
With gas prices topping $3/gallon for regular on Maui, I would suggest getting a mid-sized economy car for comfort, although I've rented compact cars and they're just fine. Maui is a pretty big island to drive around, and there's little public transportation. Also, as Kimo said, convertibles scream "tourist" (as do the little Jeeps). And I wouldn't leave anything in your car or in your trunk if you value it. When you go to the beach, take only what is necessary; invest in one of those waterproof bag things that you can wear so you never have to leave anything like car keys and cash on the beach unless you want to take turns going into the water (not as much fun as if you both can be in the water at the same time).

When you're in Wailea, make sure you go to the beach first thing in the morning and leave the sightseeing for the afternoon. The wind really picks up in Kihei around noontime and unless you want to get sandblasted, go to the beach before noon. It's healthier for you too anyway because the sun won't be as intense. Kaanapali is always hot, but around midday sometimes the wind kicks up there, too.

Do research before you get there. www.gohawaii.com is the Hawaii Visitor's Bureau website. Just look for Maui activities. Around the time you'll be on Maui, the humpback whales will be in full force. It's a cool thing to go out on one of those whalewatching boats and go be among those behemoths. You could do a snorkle dive, but where most of the boats go (around Molokini, which is a national marine sanctuary), there are usually about 7 or 8 boats at the same time, so it gets really crowded. The waters around there really have lots of beautiful fish, though. The best book on Maui to get is called "Maui Revealed". But whatever you do, don't wave that book around when you're driving around the island. That book told the world about some places that the locals consider their private turf, and many locals consider that book a sellout of their land. Whenever you see a "no trespassing--kapu" sign, please respect it. The locals can be very welcoming if you respect them and the land.

If you're planning to go up to the top of Haleakala, do it while you're in Wailea. It'll be a little shorter drive (you have to get to the top of Haleakala by around 5:30 a.m. to see the sunrise, and from Kahului (where you'll get off the plane), it takes a good 2 hours to get to the observatory. Coming from Wailea, add another half hour. Kaanapali to Central Maui will take you anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour because it's a 2-lane highway and it's always congested. And if there's a traffic accident on that road, forget it. They close the road down and your only recourse would be to use a very scary county road (some places are unpaved and with no guardrails to protect you from falling down some very steep cliffs).

Go see the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium if you aren't planning to go snorkeling. It's kinda pricey, but the exhibits are fabulous. And since you're professional photographers, I bet you could get some great shots of some of the exhibits.

What kinds of activities are you interested in? Do you like active sports, seeing historical sites, sampling different kinds of food, or just lying on the beach?

Miulang

nfahey
August 18th, 2005, 07:42 AM
Thank you for such great information! I do have a copy of Maui Reveled and I will be sure to respect any posted signs indicating no trespassing. I have only gotten through a portion of the book, but what I have read so far has been very interesting and informative.

We are planning on going horseback riding one day and after reading the section of Maui reveled we are leaning toward Pony Express and the ride to the bottom of the Haleakala Crater. Do you have any opinions on this particular ride?

We will also probably avoid the converatable after all we don't want to scream "tourist" too loud :). With gas over $3 a gallon in Hawaii right now we may stick to a smaller car...here in Pennsylvania it's only at $2.70 for regular.

As far as other activities we will probably do a whale watching tour since we will be there during whale season. We did whale watching in Alaska a few years ago and we really enjoyed it. We are true "foodies" so we would love to sample some of the foods so any recommendations would be very welcomed. We would also like to relax on the beach or by the pool a few days.

I bought the sea-to-shore shoes made by Lands End for both of us. They are supposed to be fantastic and my husband and I think we will get a lot of use out of them (other than Hawaii). They provide traction for walking and are amphibious. I figured if we drive the Road to Hana we can make some stops along the way and make good use of the shoes.

I will snorkel directly off a beach, but I doubt that my husband will (unless the water is very shallow). If any of you have ever been to the Caribbean I have snorkeled on Baby Beach in Aruba (among other spots) and it was absolutely breathtaking. I don't like to go on snokeling excursions b/c my hubby gets bored waiting for me, plus there are so many great snorkel spots right off the beaches.

If anybody has any other info or ideas to share I would love to listen.

Thanks for your time.

Nancy

Miulang
August 18th, 2005, 09:36 AM
Haven't gone by horseback into Haleakala Crater, but that's infinitely better than bicycling (actually, "coasting" would be a better word for it) down the mountain! Make sure you contact Pony Express ahead of time. I think they are about the only concession allowed to do those trail rides, but lately there's been a concern about too many people making the trip into the crater (and messing up the ecosystem), and they may have already started cutting back on the number of trips the concession can take into the crater on any given day. When you're up on Haleakala and if you're interested in wine, Tedeschi Vineyards is in the area. They actually make some pretty decent tasting wine. There's also a lavender farm (I think it's called Ali'i Lavender) and they give tours.

For sure do the whalewatching trip. There are several local outfits that do this (I've been on several), but the best one from a scientific standpoint is the one put on by the Pacific Whale Foundation because they have scientists on board. Most of the whalewatching boats depart from Maalaea Harbor (a little closer to Wailea) but some do come out of Lahaina Harbor. The Pacific Whale Foundation tour operates out of Maalaea. Maybe on the day you do the whale tour you can also go see the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium which is near the harbor. That's definitely worth a visit.

One of the best snorkeling/swimming beaches with fairly calm water (because it's in a bay that's protected by a reef) is Kapalua Beach. It's kinda hard to find, but ask the people at the front desk of the place you're staying at in Kaanapali and they can give you directions. Kaanapali Beach itself has nice clear, blue water and it's shallow so your hubby would like swimming there, but Kapalua is also a marine sanctuary so there are lots of colorful fishies. One of my favorite beaches is called Kalepolepo in north Kihei. It's an ancient Hawaiian fishpond that's being restored now. It's right next to the Pacific Whale Foundation Offices. From that office, you can borrow binoculars and watch the whales playing right in front of the beach (the humpbacks and their babies tend to congregate in the waters off south Maui). The beach next door is extremely protected from waves because of the stone wall that surrounds it, and often there's no one there (the tourists haven't discovered it yet). The morning low tide is probably around 9:30 or 10 a.m., and when the tide is coming in, you can walk all the way out to the outer wall of the fishpond.

When you're at the Villas, I'm assuming you'll have cooking facilities. There's a large supermarket in the Cannery (the only air conditioned shopping mall on the island). Stock up on the fresh local fruit (papaya, mango, pineapple) and have it for breakfast before hitting the road. There's also a unique fruit drink made up of passion fruit juice, orange juice and guava juice (Islanders call it POG) that visitors seem to love.

When you're on Maui, you'll find a whole variety of different restaurants in every price range and every cuisine. When you get to Kahului, go to the rack of visitor guides that's in the baggage claim area and pick up a bunch of different guides because each one has discount coupons for activities, etc. Wailea has some extremely expensive but good restaurants right within the resort. There are 2 or 3 less expensive restaurants in the Wailea Shopping Village (on the second floor, towards the back of the complex). That place is a trip...there's a Gucci Store, a Versace Store, a Coach Store...very upscale. About the only place I ever go into when I go to that shopping mall is the ABC Store, which carries all kinds of less expensive souvenirs and sundries, etc.

One other good resource for you to check periodically is the online edition of the Maui News (http://www.mauinews.com/default.aspx) and if you want to find out what the islanders are thinking, read the letters to the editor.

Good luck and have fun.

Miulang

ExtraScoop
August 18th, 2005, 11:13 AM
Hi Nancy,
One tip I found useful when I visited Hana was to do the drive "backwards" if you are planning to go all the way "around". This will keep the locals less frustrated with the constant slowing you will do to sightsee and also you will face less traffic.

The fresh fish sandwiches (mahi mahi) at the Ocean center restaurant were real good.


Have fun.

Miulang
August 18th, 2005, 01:23 PM
Hi Nancy,
One tip I found useful when I visited Hana was to do the drive "backwards" if you are planning to go all the way "around". This will keep the locals less frustrated with the constant slowing you will do to sightsee and also you will face less traffic.

If you decide to drive the long way around to Hana (the back way) be prepared for some pretty desolate driving. You're going to think it weird that you can't drive straight up Haleakala to get to the road that gets you to Hana (since once you're up there, you'll probably be able to recognize the hotel you're staying at...it'll be directly below where you are). Take a styrofoam cooler with water and fruit drinks and some nibbles with you..there's nothing between Tedeschi Winery and about Kipahulu (there's an art gallery stuck in the middle of nowhere, but most of it that area is dry and desolate...this area was the site of the last lava flows on Maui...it's an area known by the Hawaiians as Kahikinui. Beautiful vistas from the cliffs, but absolutely desolate and barren, quite unlike the pictures you always see of a lush, green Hawai'i. If you head up to Tedeschi, before there (where the Upper Kula and Lower Kula Roads intersect), there's a little town called Keokea. Right on the roadside is a place called Mama's. It serves coffee that the owners grow and roast onsite and they have some decent breakfast items. That's also where the local artists congregate (there's an art gallery next door).

Miulang

nfahey
August 20th, 2005, 11:36 AM
Thank you all for the great advice & tips. I'm sure I will have more questions as the time comes closer.

Nancy