On September 22nd, my husband I had the privilege of visiting the island of Maui in Hawaii. To say it was the most spectacular vacation we have had to date is an understatement. We went to Maui for a variety of reasons, our friends were getting married in Wailea, it was recently our anniversary, my husband and I were finally taking our honeymoon (six years late) and we were celebrating my husband and brother-in-law’s birthdays. They were born the same day!
We began our Hawaiian journey at The Days Inn Oceanfront in Kihei. I am going to be completely honest with you guys, we ended up here because it was the cheapest hotel for our stay, but it was amazing! It was literally ten steps to the ocean and the bed was so comfortable. It was not at all fancy, but if you are just looking for a place to lay your head RIGHT NEXT TO THE BEACH this is it. The Days Inn is also adjacent to one of new favorite restaurants on the island, Sarento’s. Sarento’s is open for breakfast and dinner. You sit right next to the ocean during your meal.
These photos were taken while watching the sunrise on our second day in Hawaii.
The second day of Hawaii was dedicated to the wedding of our wonderful friends Kate and Timothy. I had never before had the privilege of witnessing a Hawaiian wedding ceremony and it was absolutely beautiful. One of the best wedding ceremonies, ever!
The wedding was in the evening, so during the day, we spent our time exploring Kihei and playing in the ocean. The water was perfect! Unfortunately, for me, I was not feeling well after the wedding ceremony and could barely dance, but I am still grateful we were there for our friend’s very special day. The ceremony was at the beach of The Grand Wailea and the reception was in their location as well. The Grand Wailea is sufficiently explained in its name and is a fancy schmancy hotel. I am not going to lie, I felt out of place every time I was in there, I am just not a fancy person, but it was beautiful to behold. We also returned there the next day and they have a series of really fun waterslides. Along with a rope swing, water elevator, and cave bar. It was all very fun! My husband also now thinks we need a cave bar.
On our third day, along with the waterslides at the Grand Wailea, we again ate at Sarento’s and met our friends at another restaurant in Kihei called Three’s. After our fun time at the waterslides, I had scheduled a sunset dinner cruise as a surprise to my husband. It left from the harbor in Lahaina and I did not realize at the time, it was about 40 minutes away. We gave ourselves plenty of time to be early, but there is traffic on Saturday nights in Kihei! I was shocked, but thanks to our wonderful friend, Ted we made it to the cruise just in time! Fortunately, Hawaii time is a little slower than the rest of the world.
The cruise we took was called the Maui Princess Dinner Cruise. I’m going to be as honest about my vacation as I want to in this post because no one is sponsoring this and it really does not help anyone if I lie. The food on the dinner cruise was nothing to write home about. I had the prime rib and my husband liked his fish, but nothing extraordinary. The best part was our musician! He was playing classics and new tunes and we got up to dance, it was a blast! However, dancing on a boat; not the easiest task ever, but so much fun!
During this vacation, I really wanted to take advantage of all the free time my husband and I were given away from our children and explore as much as possible, because I have no idea when we will be back in Hawaii. So, when I had the urge to get up and dance, I did! Normally, I sit back and watch others have fun, but this time I was jumping in, too!
Our next day there was Sunday. We had to check out of the Days Inn and pick up our car as we headed to pick up my sister and brother-in-law. While we were waiting we decided to explore near the airport. There is a Maui Mall and while we were there we found a fabulous restaurant for Sunday football. It was called The Ale House and it was where I had the best hamburger of my life!! My stomach had not been feeling well all weekend and I decided it would best to fill it up to help it out. Sounds weird, but it totally worked! I inhaled my hamburger and garlic fries. After this, I was feeling much better and ready for our next week of fun!
We surprised my sister and brother-in-law, Katie and Matt, at the airport with some leis and a sign with their name. Then, we were off to our second hotel! The rest of our stay was at The Sands of Kahana. We had a two bedroom, with an ocean view and it was breathtaking. The ocean waves were in the background the rest of the week. Unfortunately, only one of the rooms and the living room had the ocean view, so we decided we would trade rooms after a few nights. We enjoyed the rest of the evening at the resort restaurant and a walk on the beach.
Our next morning was early, we had a tour on the Road to Hana. Our tour was through Valley Isles and it was amazing. Hana is a really small town and it’s not so much the drive to get to the town, but taking the crazy road around the island to see everything Maui has to offer. My favorite parts were The Black Sand beach, the Red Sand beach, the vegan ice cream in Hana and lunch. I’ve been craving the lunch we had there every day since our return. The lunch was provided by the tour company, so if you’re on the island and looking for somewhere to go. I would recommend Valley Isle Excursions. Sadly, for us, the swimming areas were closed, but again, we had so much fun at the Black Sand beach. I was very excited to see it and just had to stick my feet in the water. The entire tour took about 12 hours, but we saw most of the island. It was incredible! I think it can be best described in the photos.
Our next day, we went snorkeling with Aqua Adventures at Pier 51 in Lahaina. I had never been snorkeling. There were a lot of firsts for me on this trip! They also offered us snuba diving, which is a bit like scuba, but you have a buoy floating on top and just sort of swim at the bottom of the ocean. After I watched the snuba diving, I was glad I didn’t sign up. I think I would have been claustrophobic. However, if that’s not an issue for you, I would highly recommend trying it out. As I said I had never been snorkeling and our Captain, Daryl took us to a bird sanctuary near the island. I was nervous about snorkeling and decided to take a pool noodle with me. It was a great accessory! The moment I got in the water and looked through my goggles I was astonished! Of course, I’ve seen under water videos, but it was so different to experience it for myself. I believe I yelled something like “oh my gosh, this is the coolest thing ever!” We were even able to see an octopus! At the second site Katie and Matt got up close and personal with some turtles. One of the best parts of the trip, besides snorkeling of course, was riding on the boat. There are tradewinds you have to go through and it was a blast to get hit with the waves! Thanks to our awesome captain and divers my first experience snorkeling was a great one. The entire tour lasted about 5 hours and we were able to rent a go pro to take under water photos and videos. After snorkeling we had lunch, napped and read on the beach. Another amazing day in paradise.
On Wednesday we had not made any plans and decided to rent some mopeds to drive around. The hubster and I thought we could share a moped, but apparently that is not legal in Hawaii, so we both had to rent our own. I was pretty nervous about the whole idea. I did grow up riding four wheelers and dirt bikes, but we rode them in the middle of nowhere. In this case, I would have to drive among traffic. The man who rented us our mopeds at 808 mopeds gave us a great lesson and made sure we were ready before we left. After we rented the mopeds my husband and I had lunch at L&L a delicious Hawaiian restaurant. I believe they also have a few locations in CA. Check them out if you’re in that area, the food is delicious! After our lunch we decided to drive our mopeds out to the blowhole, which included driving along a highway and windy one lane roads. I made it about halfway there before my anxiety hit full mode and I was crying on the side of the road. The mopeds are not to blame. I’ve been in two car accidents and after the second I developed some anxiety. I just kept imagining myself splattered in the middle of the road. I couldn’t do it. We had pulled over at a bay and the boys decided to go find some snorkeling stuff, because supposedly this bay had some of the best snorkeling in the area. Katie and I were hanging out in the water waiting for the boys and my nerves to calm. After a bit we talked to some people who were snorkeling in the area and they said the water was very murky. We decided then to call the boys and let them know it wasn’t worth it, but they didn’t answer. After a bit we wondered where they had gone. Then, my amazing husband showed up with our car! He said I could drive that while they rode their mopeds. I’ve never been so excited to see the interior of a car! I rolled my windows down, blasted music and followed along. We all had a great drive to the blowhole. Once we arrived, we couldn’t find the blowhole. So, we went on a hiking excursion and after climbing rocks and ledges, we realized we had gone the back way, also the hard way. It was totally worth it! The hiking was a blast and we got soaked by the blowhole. Btw, salt water-not so tasty. However, I had already discovered that the first day. We also found some friends along the way. Brian and wife, I hope you guys had a great time!
After our hiking excursion we drove back down to our hotel and on the way decided to stop at a little spot on the beach, near Napili Bay. We took our snorkeling gear and swam around a bit. As we were sitting there we realized how low the sun was and decided to watch it set. While watching the sun I saw a figure in the water and realized there were turtles! I was ecstatic since we had missed them the day before. We swam out and snorkeled near them. It was phenomenal. As we drove back to the hotel, Katie got a call from the a woman telling us we were missing our luau. We both thought it was on Thursday, but apparently we were wrong.
We had our luau reservation at Old Lahaina Luau and we raced over there. We were just in time to get food, drinks and watch the show. It was a great experience and the food. Omg!!! It was the bees knees. Totally worth the rush. It was also amazing to watch the show and see the history and culture of the Hawaiian people. After the luau we headed home for a night of good sleep.
Thankfully, our hotel had switched our room for us. The amazing Luluca made sure of that! We had been living with a rat since the beginning of our stay. The first night it got into all of our food and we didn’t notice until the next morning. We notified the hotel staff and they set some traps, so we figured everything would be well. We also put away our food. The second night I heard the rat again and when I woke up, it ran across the living room. That day was long and I figured it would eventually get caught in the traps, so we shut our doors and tried to sleep. Unfortunately, the rat did not get caught and even though we had shut our doors it came into our room and ran across our bed!!!!!
We told the morning staff and nothing had been fixed when we returned Wednesday evening, so while we were rushing to get to our luau. I quickly spoke to Luluca and when we returned she had switched our room, hallelujah! And, we finally got a great night of sleep. It’s amazing how great sleep can make life so much better. The resort also gave us a free weeks stay for the trouble, so totally worth it!
Okay, guys. Only two more days in Hawaii. Anyone else sick of my rambling? On Thursday we had an ATV off-roading tour and it was great! I was a tad nervous this time as well, but since my hubby was driving, it wasn’t as bad. Our atv ride was at the amazing Kahoma Ranch (ps I want to live here!) Our guide Stevie was great and everyone was so nice. It was a super bumpy ride and you get so messy, but the views are phenomenal and breathtaking. My hubby was surprised to be off-reading in Maui. It’s definitely a unique experience. If you’re looking for something fun, that’s not ocean related, this is the way to go. They also have water slides, but unfortunately they were broken while we were there (sobs).
After our atv ride we were really dirty and decided to rinse off in the ocean and went down to the beach by our resort. Again, we saw turtles! Then, we watched the sunset. That night the hubs and I went to the restaurant Miso Phat. It is a sushi restaurant with freshly caught fish. The sushi was delish! We also got a bit tipsy and played some drinking games after dinner. This was an adult trip, after all.
Friday was our last day in Hawaii and we spent most of the day preparing to go home. I was sad to be leaving, but also excited to go home to our kiddos.
However, before we left we spent our last day touring the Maui Brewing Company. This tour was by far the best bang for our buck. With this tour we got to sample the beer and received a token for a free drink. And, it was only $15.00 per person. My absolute favorite part of our tour was watching the Quality Assurance woman do her work. If you don’t know who the quality assurance person is, she’s basically a master chemist who makes sure all your beer is delicious and made correctly. Because, scientists get shit done.
After our brewery tour we went to their sister location in Kahana, where we were staying, so we could walk and everyone could drink without worrying about a driver. After our drinks and food we bought some knick knacks for the ones we love and finished our packing. Then, we watched our last sunset and had dinner before our departure.
We had so much fun in Hawaii, but there were some unpleasant parts to our trip and I have added a list of must-haves to bring to Hawaii.
Must-haves for Hawaii travel
1. Pepto bismol or tums. Eating and trying new food can do a number to your stomach. Traveling can also affect things and I would bring these.
2. Miralax-another side affect of traveling. No explanation needed.
3. Ibuprofen. Because, hangovers.
4. Sunscreen AND chapstick with sunscreen. I didn’t burn my body, but I did burn my lip and wow, it hurts! Still. Days later.
5. Tampons and summers eve wipes. It’s hot, humid, sweaty and you just never know when Aunt Flo is going to come to town. Also, just an FYI Road to Hana has a ton of bathroom stops. I was worried about this.
I’m also including a few important facts about Hawaii.
Good to know; facts about Hawaii
1. There are critters and by critters I mean cockroaches, lizards, but rats not normal.
2. Uber is in Maui! They are great and always uber when drinking.
3. Chickens are everywhere. Just wild chickens walking about.
4. All of the tour companies we used were great and I would highly recommend them. They are…
Aqua Adventures- Snorkeling and Snuba
Kahoma Ranch- ATV and Ziplining
Valley Isle Excursions- Road to Hana
Maui Princess Dinner Cruise- Sunset cruise
Maui Brewing Company- Brewery tour
808 Mopeds- Mopeds and scooters
Restaurants We Loved
Koa’s Seaside Grill
L&L Hawaiian BBQ
The Ale House- get the hamburger!
If you’re ever headed to Maui I hope you find this helpful and have a great trip as well!
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