Your perfect Maui itinerary and Photographic Travel Guide
Sometimes you get lucky and have friends who want a destination wedding in Maui, so I of course capitalized on this by spending a few days on the beautiful island. If you're a surfer or swimmer then it's your paradise, clear waters and turtles...need I say more?
If you're like me and prefer looking at the water rather than being in it, there are some breathtaking hiking trails on the island. For food, I snacked on fresh fruits and delicious Hawaiian dishes like loco moco - fried eggs, hamburger patty, gravy on rice... basically a total bikini-bod meal.
The Island is famously known for the Road to Hana, a winding coastal route that will take you all day to drive since you stop at beautiful locations along the way. Pair this itinerary with a few days in Kauai, and you’ve got yourself the perfect Hawaiian vacation.
GO IF YOU LIKE:
EARLY MORNINGS | SURFING | SCENIC DRIVES | TURTLES | FRESH FRUIT | WATERFALLS | BEACHES
MY Maui ITINERARY
If you’re flying from the East, you should use the jet-lag to your advantage and start your trip by visiting the sights that require early starts.
My itinerary mixes some beautiful hiking trails with relaxation on the beach. It’s a perfect mix of active and slow travel for both water babies and land dwellers alike.
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Haleakala Crater
Day 2: Road to Hana
Day 3: Iao Valley and Ho’okia Beach Park
Day 4: Waihee Ridge Trail and Lahaina
Day 5: Kihei
Expand the legend on my map for a detailed itinerary.
My Favorite Things to do in Maui
Watch Sea Turtles nap on Ho’okipa BEach
Of course seeing sea turtles would be a highlight!
I visited twice before seeing them and learned that your best chance to catch a glimpse is at the far East side of Ho'okipa Beach.
The trick is to come at sunset, and watch them slowly come ashore, one-by-one. Remember: look, don't touch.
Drive the long and winding Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is an essential day in Maui and for good reason. All my stops, plus tips are located in my map, note that cell reception is limited so download the map before you go.
In order to really enjoy it you've got to start the route by at least 7am. This gives you the time to make stops throughout the day and get back before nightfall.
My favourite pit stop was at Waianapanapa State Park. It had such cool contrasting colours of black and florescent green. Don't forget to check out the lava tubes (caves) which are on the right side of the beach.
There's not a ton of restaurants along the route but the few things we had were delicious.
About midway through the drive there is Aunty Sandy's Banana Bread. It's fresh and above all else, moist. Towards the end of the route is Braddah Hutts BBQ Grill, if you like pork, get the pork.
Relax on the Beach in Kihei
It goes without saying, if you’re visiting Maui then you’d better plan some beach time. There’s plenty to do in the water like snorkeling or surfing but it’s equally enjoyable to sit on the beach and people watch.
For epic sunsets, visit the beaches on the West side of the island in Kihei like Kamaole Beach Park III.
Fill that Belly
Hawaiian food is fresh with lots of Asian influence. Personal favourites of mine were:
My favourite breakfast was the acai bowls I had at The Farmacy Health Bar. Don't forget the organic peanut butter and honey.
OK close your eyes and picture fried eggs, hamburger patty and gravy on top of rice. It's not light, but it is delicious and you can find it at 808 Grindz Café.
It's Spam in a sushi roll and deep fried. You either love it or you hate it. I was more in the love camp. Find it at Da Kitchen Café.
All the poke bowls I had tried in Canada and the rest of the States were good, but the major difference being they were packed with additional bits. The Poke bowls at the Like Poke? Food Truck were simple, and this was perfect because the fish was fresh, so there's no need to mask it with jazzed up toppings.
Fresh fish means great sushi. I was recommended Koiso Sushi Bar and sadly didn't have the time to go but it's top of my list for our next visit. Make reservations because there's not much seating.
A lot of people visit Mama's Fish House, and I did and it was good, and the views were great but it felt a little touristic to me. If I were to do it again I'd try Paia Fish Market. It's more casual but I've heard the fish is better.
You're going to need a car to get around Maui. We got a basic sedan and this worked for all our purposes. Some people enjoy the top down Mustangs, others like Jeeps, whatever is your style, just get it and enjoy. Know that the backend of the Road to Hana (between Kapahulu & Nuu) is often uninsured with rental car companies, because the road isn't in great shape.
Where to Stay
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We spent our time in an AirBnB in Kihei. It wasn't anything special so I'm not recommending it but find something on the island that fits your budget and style.
Location wise, I liked Kihei as a home base, it was pretty central to all activities. You’ll find most of the big resorts by Wailea. If you’ve got the budget then consider splurging at The Four Seasons Resort.
I felt very safe in Maui but be weary of a few things. Firstly, car break ins can occur, so don’t leave valuables in the car.
Be careful of driving on the Road to Hana, as the roads are pretty windy and the locals take them pretty quickly. Take your time and most importantly, pull over if you notice you're holding up the car behind you.
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Grab your zoom lens for the turtles and surfers. The turtles on the beach are roped off so you can't get very close to them. A polarizer filter may also be handy here, I dealt with lots of haze during hikes and glare from the water. I used the Fujinon XF55-200mm for the turtle shots. And this is the polarizer I now own which fits perfectly onto my Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR.