Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Honeymoon Recap Part III: Favorite Things We Did in Maui

Hello from Chicago! I'm back with a post about favorite things we did in Maui!

One reason we were drawn to Hawaii as a honeymoon destination is that it's a beautiful, beach location but it also has hiking and other outdoorsy things to do. Since we were there for 9 days, we alternated days of relaxing/reading/snorkeling at the beach by our condo with days of exploration. This was the perfect approach for us as we came back from our honeymoon feeling relaxed and refreshed (well, except from dealing with the exhaustion of an overnight flight on the way back). We usually take shorter 3-5 day trips as Phil has limited vacation time and prefers shorter trips, but when we take shorter trips, we don't have the luxury of really relaxing since we always want to do and see as much as possible. I'm so glad this trip was longer and allowed for more down time because if there was ever a time that we needed to relax, it was after our wedding!!

This post will cover some of the adventures and day trips we did. I would also add that one of our favorite things we did in Maui was snorkeling right out in front of our condo! But this is a summary of our favorite excursions, outside of spending time on the beach! I debated breaking this up into 2 posts because it's going to be a bit really long, but in the end, I decided to just keep it as one post as it's going to be mostly pictures! So settle in for LOTS of Hawaii photos!

#1 - Waihe'e Ridge Trail - Phil and I LOVE to hike. We tend to pick vacation destinations with hiking options because it's one of our favorite things to do together. So it's no surprise that our first 'adventure' in Hawaii was a hike. This hike is located on the north shore of Hawaii, not far from the airport. It's a moderately challenging 4-5 mile (we saw conflicting info and I didn't wear my garmin that day) hike.

At the start of the hike

At the mid-way point! How gorgeous is that view of the ocean?

The beautiful, lush mountains of Hawaii

At the top of the hike, feeling like I'm on top of the world - literally and metaphorically!
If you do this hike, make sure you bring lots of water. I wore my camel back and we drank about 2 of the 2.5 liters it holds (I probably drank 2/3 of the water because Phil is like a camel and does not need to drink as much as I do!). This was probably my favorite thing we did in Hawaii. The views were so beautiful and it was awesome to be surrounded by gorgeous, lush mountains. We both said this is exactly what we picture when we think of Hawaii.

#2 - Kapalua Coastal Trail - Napili Bay is adjacent to Kapalua Bay, which has a beautiful point-to-point trail for walking/running. The trails starts at Kapalua Bay and ends at DT Fleming Beach. There is a parking lot at Kapalua Bay but it fills up early in the day so we opted to run to the trail head since it was so close to our condo. As the name of the trail implies, it runs along the ocean. The views are absolutely gorgeous!

We only did this run once which I kind of regret. In hindsight, I should have ran this trail on some of the mornings that Phil was sleeping in...  but it was also nice to relax in the mornings and read on the lanai so I can't say I regret it ALL that much. But hopefully we'll be back some day and can run it again!

# 3 - Snorkeling Excursion to Molikini - Snorkeling is one of our favorite things to do in tropical locations, so we knew we wanted to do a snorkeling excursion while we were in Maui. The snorkeling in front of our condo was amazing, so we debated whether we needed to spend the money to do a trip, but we are glad that we did because it was fun to see a different area. There are so many different tour companies to choose from and many of them come highly recommended, but we decided to go with Triology as they had the best ratings on yelp. We had a wonderful experience with them. Unfortunately I do not have any photos as we decided to leave our phones behind that day as we didn't want to risk having them get wet. Trilogy usually does 2 stops - one at Molokini, which is a crater island with great snorkeling, and another along the coast where you tend to see sea turtles. The visibility was 150-200 feet! The highlight of this trip was seeing a reef shark!  People have asked if that scared me, but it didn't not scare me at all - it was just like seeing another fish. Plus it wasn't huge and it's my understanding that they are not aggressive. On the way back they serve adult beverages, including mai thais which sure were refreshing after being in the sun so much!

#4 - Road to Hana - This is a very popular thing to do in Hawaii. Before our trip, I read my friend Kelly's post about The Road to Hana. We debated whether to do this because it's a long day and a difficult drive with all the winding roads and single-lane bridges. But we ultimately decided to do it. I'm glad we did it (Phil might feel differently because he did 100% of the driving - I did offer to drive on the way back, though!) but we wouldn't do it again on future trips to Maui and I wouldn't say it something you HAVE to do.

If you do this drive, buy the GyPSy ap for the drive. It runs off your GPS so you don't need cell service for it to work (which is good because there is little to no cell reception for much of the drive). The guide tells you about the different stops and what is worth stopping for. On the way back, he gives you the history of Hawaii, which is fascinating and heart-breaking.

One thing we never would have noticed or known about if it wasn't for the ap was the rainbow eucalyptus trees, with the ap points out as we drove past. The ap also told us to stop at a free Botanical garden to see them up close.

Not the best picture, but how cool are these colorful trunks?
Some of the stops were short, like this stop on the Keanae Peninsular. We stopped and got fresh, warm banana bread here, which I wasn't able to eat due to my gluten intolerance (doh!) but Phil thoroughly enjoyed it.

This little guy hitched a ride for us for awhile after we left the peninsular!

One of our favorite stops was Wainapanapa State Park, which has a black sand beach. We stopped here for quite awhile as there is a lot to see.

Selfies in one of the coves
The black sand beach
We also saw several waterfalls along the road, like this one!

Our final stop was Haleakala National Park for the Pipiwai Trail. This was a fairly easy hike, but the views along the trail were gorgeous as you hiked through a bamboo forest. I took so many pictures

The beautiful Banyan tree we saw before getting into the bamboo forest
Hiking through the bamboo forest was just amazing. The bamboo were swaying in the slight breeze, which resulted in a chorus of bamboo clinks. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

At the end of the hike, there is a cool 400 foot waterfal!

At the start of the trail there are some pools that you used to be able to swim in, but they have closed them for safety reasons. We thought this hike still made the stop worthwhile.  It is about 45 minutes beyond Hana, though. At this point we turned around and headed back. The road does go beyond this stop but it's not paved for part of it and rental cars prohibit driving on it.  After the rental car damage debacle in Bend, we decided not to take the risk of damaging another car and we turned back.

It was about a 10-11 hour day, so if you aren't in Maui for a week or more, I would probably skip this excursion as it's a very long day!  And Phil would tell you that the drive was pretty awful because of the countless single-lane bridges. We would also advise renting a smaller car if you are going to do this drive because the roads are quite narrow. We met so many jeeps on this road and were glad we didn't rent a jeep as there would barely be enough room for 2 jeeps to meet at certain parts of the road! Also, if you get car sick - don't do this drive!  We saw one person throwing up in a tour van, and another on the side of the road. There are 600+ turns on this road so it's not a drive for those who get motion sickness in cars!

#5 - Sliding Sands Trail at the summit area of Haleakala National Park - We opted not do sunrise at Haleakala National Park as I couldn't convince Phil to get up at 3 am to drive 2 hours to see the sunrise. You need admission tickets to do this (in the past you just showed up), and we weren't able to secure tickets in advance. I could have tried to get a ticket as they release more 48 hours before each sunrise, but we decided to visit it another time besides sunrise. Please note that this is in a completely different area than the Pipiwai trail that we did on the Road to Hana. It was cool to see a volcano and I'm glad we checked it out as I don't know when we'll be up close and personal with a (dormant) volcanic region again!

If you made it this far - CONGRATULATIONS. This was one super long post. But hopefully if someone stumbles upon it, they'll have a nice summary of the best things we did in Hawaii!

That wraps up my honeymoon posts!  Any extra questions or things you wish I would have covered? I highly, highly recommend going to Maui if you have the opportunity/budget to do so. It is a pricey destination but I would say we did not spend all that much money on this trip as we used airline miles for our flights and saved a lot of money staying in a condo versus a resort. It was the trip of a lifetime. Now I'm trying to convince Phil that we should try to buy an investment property here so we can go back for future vacations and rent it out when we aren't there. He's not *quite* on board with that yet because we are planning to move (within the same neighborhood) next year.


Charbelle4 said...

I love that y'all were able to do so many fun things! We have 3 excursions booked so that we do have a few things planned but we're not overbooked as you know I am a master at overbooking myself.. I know that Michael and I would love all the hiking trails! I do get car sick so the idea of winding narrow roads kind of makes me feel queasy even thinking about it! We're going to have the opportunity to snorkel on our trip too and I'm really looking forward to it! I'm glad that you were able to see a few different spots as I think that makes it even more fun and special! LOVED the recap!!! The pictures are AMAZING!!!

Emilie said...

Ahhh this makes me miss Hawaii! We did the Road to Hana on the single worst day of my morning sickness! It was equally awful and so much fun, if that makes any sense! I am glad we did it but we will likely not do it again on a return trip. I wish I had known about that app! We spent most of our time relaxing/doing easy activities because I felt so crummy while we were there. I hope to do a lot more hiking and exploring when we go back someday!

Marlys Dotzenrod said...

Wow, those views were beautiful! The history of Hawaii is so interesting. I started reading the book many years ago, but never finished, but it was a great read.
Thanks for sharing. We were only in Maui for 4 days and even worked in a side trip to Pearl Harbor, so didn't see as much of the island as you did.

Jeanie said...

As you know, hiking isn't my thing but I have to say that when you do, boy -- do you ever get some fabulous views! The scenery on every hike/walk/run was unbelievable!

Now snorkeling! Oh, I wish you had pix of that. I can only imagine how wonderful.

Most of all you were doing things you loved doing and doing them together. And you can't beat that!

Stephany said...

You did so much hiking and activity! But I like that you interspersed the active days with low-key ones. Sounds like the perfect honeymoon. :)

I want to visit Hawaii so badly! It just seems like one of those places you MUST visit, so maybe someday. Also, I love that you're trying to convince Phil to buy an investment property. Haha. Give it a few years, maybe?!

Amber said...

It is literally our DREAM to buy an investment property in Maui! Maui is definitely our favourite vacation spot ever and we are tossing around the idea of going back next year if we can swing it with me being on mat leave. I would really like to do the Road to Hana next time we go as it looks beautiful, but when we were only there for 6 days it just didn't make sense to do it. I'm SO glad you guys loved Maui so much and it turned out to be the perfect honeymoon destination for you!!

Sandra Bond said...

I love that you guys like to be active on your vacations... that's exactly how I would plan out my own trips! Sounds like you had a fantastic time and saw a lot!