It's kind of crazy to think we were in Maui for two and a half weeks.
Staying there so long gave us a lot of time to explore and have a good balance of lazy days and adventure days - everything we needed after an exceptionally busy year.
When I think of our trip what I enjoyed most was driving in our Jeep with the roof off, staring at Derek in the water from over top of my surfboard, cooking with lots of butter and fresh ingredients in our apartment, and endless date nights.
It's really nice to spend that much time with someone and be like "Damn, I love this guy."
Here's a little video featuring some highlights...
If you're thinking of visiting Maui, here are our top ten...
A friend of mine recommended we visit O'o Farm for their brunch or lunch farm tour. The farm is run by a small team who provide produce for their local restaurant (Pacific'O - where we also had a great meal), Feast at Lele and Aina Gourmet Market. They have Hawaii coffee and fruit trees, rows of lettuce and garden vegetables, tomatoes, herbs and flowers. They even roast their coffee on site!
We loved the laid back tour where we got to eat fresh berries from the coffee plant, persimmons (our favorite), carrots tugged freshly from the soil and more. We all worked together to pick the ingredients for our salad, the first course of an exquisite four course feast prepared by Chef Daniel Eskelsen finished with their own coffee (and amazing chocolate). It was our best meal on the island and a very reasonable $58.
We rented surfboards for a week from A&B Surfboard and Snorkel Rentals for a true Maui experience. The guy there was super friendly and gave us great advice on where NOT to surf (there's a wave called the Hope Crusher...enough said.) They apparently some of the best prices on the island.
Our big Maui splurge was a snorkel adventure to Molokini on Maui Magic Snorkel. For $110 we were well taken care of by a fun youthful team. We got to see several whales, snorkeled up close with sea turtles, had a burger bbq lunch on deck, snacks and wine. Even though we went on the coldest day possible, it was a blast.
Mama's Fish House
Our splurge honeymoon meal was lunch at Mama's Fish House. We sat right by the window with a beautiful view of the ocean, had two fish entrees, and shared my first Blue Hawaiian cocktail. The menu was a little pricier than we are used to, and the food was good, but the real value came in setting itself.
Poke from the Liquor Store
I have a secret to share with you. Some of the best poke on the island can be found hidden away in Tamuras Fine Wine and Liquor. They have a huge variety, reasonable prices, and it is fresh as can be. It's also near the Grocery Depot which quickly became my favorite grocery store for having far better produce and selection than any other shop we went to.
The Road to Hana (and Beyond)
Many people will warn you about the Road to Hana. It is one hell of a drive. If Derek wasn't driving, we wouldn't have survived. But if you have an adventurous spirit and a skilled driver... DO IT. This 64.4 mile stretch of a twisting road is stunning. It is rich, green, tropical, waterfall laden, and lined with little fruit stands as you go. Once you make to Hana there are great food trucks (Bruddah Hutts BBQ ftw) and an epic red sand beach.
The highlight for us however happened after Hana. We kept driving along the coastline where there were few other cars and it was absolutely breathtaking. We snuck in a few little off-road adventures too!
Side note: I highly recommend renting a Jeep or some kind of off-road vehicle. If you want to explore some of the roads are a little tricky.
The night we finished the Road to Hana we also stopped in Paia. It's a very cute little bohemian town with a great restaurant called Cade des Amis with a Mediterranean and Indian menu. We had big bowls of curry and house made chutney while listening to a musician play outside and enjoyed the super chill vibe.
There are several waterfall hikes in Maui. I believe the one we found was this one through the "Bamboo Forest". This hike is an ADVENTURE. You enter the bamboo forest through one of the random openings off of the road to hidden waterfalls, rope swings, rock climbing and pools of water in the rocks. I recommend going in your bathing suit and surf shoes and you're likely to get wet and muddy (I had my phone in a ziplock bag for photos!)
On Christmas day we went to explore the Olivine pools. A small trek down from the main road are several tide pools beside the ocean located on barren lava. Some become surprisingly deep and are heavenly to swim in. *Avoid swimming if the waves are crashing into them
Mai Tais at the Ritz
The Banyan Tree restaurant at the Ritz serves the best Barrel-Aged Mai Tai on the island made with Zaya 12 Year Reserva Rum.