People usually visualize beautiful crystal clear blue beaches when they think about Hawaii. However with me, Hawaii has many other wonderful things to offer, of course, in addition to pristine beaches. And we, my husband and I, love everything about it.
Makena Big Beach (no filter – all pictures in our trip are original) Since I was a little girl, Hawaii has always been on my mind as a favorite honeymoon destination. Growing up in Vietnam, I was not sure that dream could come true since it is too far away. Then until ten months before our wedding day, we decided to go to Hawaii and that was such a greatest decision. I know it is further than the Caribbean, it requires more logistic planning since Hawaii has no all-inclusive packages, and it could cost a little more but let me tell you one thing: it is worth every penny in your pocket.
Kapalua Bay Beach (turquoise water)We had a tough time to pick one island among multiple islands of Hawaii and we chose Maui over Kauai in the “final round” just because Maui has more things to do & more good restaurants. Next time when we get a chance to come back, we will want to go to Kauai & Oahu (and Maui again & again).
The peak time to visit Hawaii is from Mid December to March (winter months), nicest time (weather wise & money wise) is spring (April – Mid June) and fall (September-November). The summer is a little warmer and crowded but in general, temperatures in Hawaii do not change much, it is beautiful all year round. Just like other islands of Hawaii, there are leeward side and windward side on Maui. Leeward side is the dry side of the island which includes West & South of Maui. Windward side has more rain which are the North and East side of the island.
Kapalua Bay BeachIf you asked me what I love about Maui the most, I would have a real difficult time to pick one thing. I love the crystal clear blue beaches, the daily ocean breeze/ wind, the food, the mountains, the sceneries (it’s beautiful everywhere and repeated …everywhere). I love sitting on the beach listening to Hawaiian music enjoying relaxing breeze & ocean waves, I feel we are closer to nature, hearing bird chirping everywhere…My hubby loves swimming in the ocean and the waterfalls. It is a paradise on earth, truly.
Garden of Eden (This is where they filmed the beginning of Jurassic Park)First, let’s talk about the beaches. Most beaches in Maui (and Hawaii) have slopes, unlike a lot of beaches in the Caribbean, meaning only about five to ten steps from shore could be over 5 feet deep which could be a challenge for terrible swimmer like me. Beaches in Maui have a lot of waves, very strong waves which could be fun to swim & great for surfing. It’s gorgeous, very clean and crystal clear water with gold or white sand. Beaches in Maui (and Hawaii I believe) are very natural, in State Parks, does not have beach chairs and cabanas unless you are in a resort. They are different from beaches in the Caribbean: wilder, more windy (I love that), less humid (that was why I picked Hawaii), variable (colors of water & sand are different from beaches to beaches), bigger fishes to snorkel.
Makena Big Beach – Crazy waves
Second, food in Maui did impress both of us, from appetizers at a local bar to fancy dinners. Everything was so fresh, cooked to high quality and the taste is always just right. Papayas are small and sweet and we ate papayas everyday. I do not recall anything tasted bad there. For a foodie like me, this is the right place to be at.
Mama’s Fish House has been considered as The State of Hawaii’s iconic restaurant and we luckily got a table there on the 3rd day of our trip. Just like many other architecture in Hawaii, this restaurant is completely open-air to get all the ocean breeze in. It has a breathtaking view of the ocean. Of course, the food lived up to our expectation, very delicious. We had two appetizers: three kinds of raw fishes mixed with sauces and steak cube in grilled papaya and one entree: a grilled same day wild caught fish that I unfortunately forgot the name. The restaurant ambiance is layback and romantic.
Beach Front @ Mama’s Fish House
I love Poke (pronounced as poki) and I tried to eat it as much as I could because fishes are super fresh there. Poke is typically raw fish cubes mixed with soy sauces and some other ingredients or wasabi.
If you have not done the Road To Hana, you have not been to Maui. It is the most winding roads in the world with the view of the blue Pacific, around mountains, lush green trees, grass velvet valleys, tropical flowers in the emerald rainforest. It has total 600 curves & crosses, more than 50 one-lane bridges and takes about 3 hour drive. We, as many other visitors, started our “Hana day” early, hit Paia town first to pick up breakfast and get gas. Paia is a cute town with trendy restaurants, eclectic boutiques, and high-tech windsurf shops stand next door to a ma-and-pa grocery, a fish market, and storefronts that have been serving customers since plantation days. Then we got on Hana Highway and begin our journey. There are many stops along the way to enjoy: waterfalls, black sand beach, peninsula, Garden of Eden (where they filmed some scenes of Jurassic Park movie), food trucks, etc. We did this on our 4th day of the trip, got out of the house at 630am and came back home before 6pm. We had so much fun. Kevin enjoyed jumping in the waterfalls and swimming. We hiked in the enormous Garden of Eden. We ate BBQ chicken and pork and drank fresh coconut at a food truck on the road. It was very delicious for a $30 lunch. We swam in the black sand beach, walked cross a waterfall stream with full of rocks, etc. After all, we made it to Hana town and it was nothing going on over there. But Hana town itself is very peaceful, gorgeous and felt like we were in the 1950s. After all, it’s not about Hana, it’s about the journey to Hana and it is definitely one of the highlights of our honeymoon.
Twin Falls – Road to Hana
My Kitty Friend on Road to Hana
Ke’anae Peninsula – Road to Hana
(A beautiful example of what lava crashing into the sea looks like).
2:30am the next day, we got up, packed our stuffs and drove to Haleakala summit to watch the sunrise in 10,000 ft height. It took us less than two hours to get there with winding roads in the dark around the mountains. It was rather a scary drive especially in the dark. We saw lava and realized this is an active volcano. It was really windy and cold on top of the mountain. When people from Buffalo says it’s cold & windy, you know it’s real cold and windy. We shared a blanket and waited for the sunrise for about an hour. Tourists in Maui do not usually dress right for this cold (including us), we caught one guy walked around with a hand towel (like it was the only warm thing he had in his car that day and it did look a little wet too), girls with flip flop, guys in shorts. Eventually, the sun rose at 5:41 am and it was spectacular with all the clouds around…Such an incredible scene we were lucky enough to witness.
Sunrise on Haleakala (House of the Sun)
Clouds are behind us
Later of that day, we took it easy by opting for a Sunset Cruise for dinner. The cruise started at Malaaea, the most windy area of Maui. All the wind from the Pacific is funneled between the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala and comes out in Maalaea. Our cruise lasted about two hours with good food, cocktails and live Hawaiian music. The sunset was so beautiful. It was a lovely evening for both of us, probably one of my top favorite moments in Maui. We also enjoyed talking to the cruise staffs and other guests from different parts of the world.
We also checked out Kapalua Bay Beach which is also breathtaking, all the sight-seeing covered in the jade color of the ocean, the blue color of the sky, the black color of the rocks and the white color of the clouds. We did about one hour hiking along the coastal hiking trail which I think it is the most beautiful hiking trail I have ever been to. My hubby of course enjoyed swimming in the ocean but it was kind of rocky where he was.
Other stuffs we did were meeting with our photographer for honeymoon photoshoot and it was fun. We absolutely enjoyed our stay at our pretty beach condo: private, more amenities, cut some spending. Dined at a local restaurant near our condo with live soft music and wonderful food. Then the rest of the trip we relaxed at the lovely resort Hyatt Regency. We did enjoy our condo life so much and felt sad leaving it but the resort was very nice with oceanfront room to listen to the waves, spa treatments, ocean view pool, cabana on the beach with delicious food & drink service and oceanside dining. The Luau was so much fun with amazing pig roast buffet and open bar. We did not want to leave…
Lu’au – Drums of the Pacific
Maui Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa
Living On Paradise
From Our Oceanfront Room – Listening to the waves roll inSpeaking of weather, we are unsure June is the best month to visit Maui or not but it did not rain in our entire trip, except for 10 minutes when we were in the rainforest (Road To Hana). We did not feel the need to turn our AC on because we liked to keep our windows open to enjoy the breeze and it was always pleasant.
Garden of Eden – Road to HanaThere were some stuffs happened during our trip like we got pulled over for speeding but we got away with it because we were on our honeymoon (ha, isn’t that a perfect excuse?). I got mosquito-bite allergies on the Road to Hana so make sure you brought bug spray with you. Our sunset cruise got to hang around the middle of the ocean for an extra one hour in the dusk to make sure the coastguard came to rescue a little random boat that ran out of power. Also there was a brush fire on the mountain near Kaanapali where our resort is so we got power outage for about one hour. What a trip!
The Beach in front of our Condo in Kihei
It was an unforgettable trip for both of us, as Hawaii first timers. We had an amazing time and we will come back one day. We have so many things that we had wanted to do but did not get a chance in this trip: snorkeling (Maui is probably the best snorkeling place on earth), whale watching, Lavender farm on Upcountry Maui, staying at Wailea, a manicured oasis of multimillion-dollar resort hotels along 2 miles of palm-fringed gold coast. From now on, Maui stays in our memory as our dearly romantic honeymoon island and we can tell our kid(s) and grandkids all about it as we get older.