Romance on Mau'i
Most likely your accomodations will be in West Maui for several days. We recommend spending a couple of nights in Hana, one of the most romantic destinations on Maui. Picture a tropical beach at sunset, hibiscus flowers scattered in the sand, an exotic luau reception. This paradise is the perfect setting from which to rediscover each other. The word Aloha is used in Hawaii to greet each other and to show love and care, sentiments which are extended by the friendly locals to island visitors. Year-round good weather makes this Hawaiian island an even more desirable location.
Day 1: Arrival & Kapalua Beach
Check into your hotel, and then head for Kapalua Beach for a couple of hours. Kapalua Beach is great for swimming year-round because it is protected from winter swells by lava rock on both ends.
The beach can get quite crowded, however, because it is popular with vacationers staying at one of the Kapalua Resort properties. Kapalua bay beach is one of Maui's most beautiful beaches. The protected beach offers great swimming and snorkeling and is a favorite for families with children. The beach has good parking and facilities, with a nice lawn backing the beach. In the past Kapalua beach has been cited as the best beach in the United States.
After an hour or two at the beach, head to Lahaina and spend a couple of hours walking the historic old town. To really feel like you are in Hawaii, go to the Old Lahaina Luau at sunset to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture. An evening at the Old Lahaina Lu'au is an evening of traditional Hawaiian cuisine, music, cultural dances and island crafts. You will no doubt appreciate a genuine reflection of Hawaii's rich history while enjoying an ocean view and sunset. Get a good nights sleep and prepare for your day in West Maui at Haleakala National Park.
Day 2: Haleakala National Park Summit Area
You'll likely wake up early on your first day on Maui, so head up to the 10,000-foot (dormant) volcano, Haleakala. The name Haleakala is Hawaiian for "house of the sun." According to local legend, the demigod Maui, imprisoned the sun here in order to lengthen the day. The park features the dormant Haleakala Volcano, which last erupted at around 1490 and is divided into two distinct sections: the summit area and the coastal Kipahulu area. Today you will be visiting the summit area and when you are in Hana you will be able to visit the Kipahulu area.
You can hike in the crater, speed down the mountain on a bicycle, or just wander about Haleakala National Park. Try to make it to the top at sunrise; just be prepared for the crowds. Bring water, sunscreen and warm clothes, because its freezing in the morning. Even though its a little crowded its still an awe-inspiring and wonderful Maui experience. The summit area of Haleakala National Park has over 30 miles (48 km) of hiking trails. Trails range from just 10 minutes to long overnight trips. Stop by a visitor center to pickup a free trail map and check on current conditions before you head out. You might hike in the native shrubland, looking for native forest birds and endemic plants, or in the aeolian cinder desert, exploring the geologic history of the summit. Also at the visitor center you can learn about the day's talks, sign up in advance for the weekly Waikamoi Cloud Forest Hike or ask about upcoming special programs.
On your way down the mountain, turn right onto Makawao Avenue, and explore the little town of Makawao. You can have lunch here, or make a left on Baldwin Avenue and head downhill to the North Shore town of Paia, which has a number of great lunch spots and shops to discover. Spend the rest of your afternoon at Paia's main strip of sand, Hookipa Beach. Plan for a sunset dinner at Mama's Fish House. It's pricey but well worth it on this romantic getaway! Just make sure you make reservations. Look for the old fishing boat perched above the entrance to Mama's, about 1 1/2 miles east of Paia on Hana Highway.
Another idea is you may also want to head over to the Haleakala National Park after lunch or an early dinner, and experience the sunset and sky watching at night. This will be a great experience especially if you are an avid star gazer, and very romantic! Day or night, the summit of Haleakala ranks among the best in the world for sky watching. Daily cloud shows intrigue many visitors as they watch the weather form before their eyes, sunrise and sunset are popular sky-phenomena, and the park is open 24-hours for night owls who want to see the Milky Way! With world-class night sky conditions, Haleakala also offers one of the most easily accessible places to watch planets, stars and moons after dark. Rent a pair of 10x50 or 7x50 binoculars at one of the island dive shops, pick up a star map at the Park Headquarters Visitor Center or the Haleakala Visitor Center, and see if you can find the moons of Jupiter.
Day 3: South Shore and the Maui Ocean Center
Get in touch with the marine life with and head down to the south shore early in the morning, past Makena into the rugged lava fields of La Pérouse Bay. This is where Maui received its first official visit by a European explorer—the French admiral Jean-François de Galaup, Comte de La Pérouse, in 1786. At the end of the road you'll find certain areas of the Ahihi-Kinau Marine Preserve which are open to the public and offer wonderful morning snorkeling adventures. This is also the start of the Hoapili Trail, or "the King's Trail," where you can hike through the remains of one of Maui's ancient villages. Too far for you? Check out Polo Beach for its equally excellant snorkeling. As you face the ocean head to your right for a plethora of fish and beautiful coral.
Head back up to Kihei for lunch, and then enjoy the afternoon learning more about Maui's marine life at the outstanding Maui Ocean Center at Maalaea. The Maui Ocean Center is an unrivalled aquatic experience and the largest tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere. The Center is located in oceanfront Ma'alaea Village off the Honoapiilani Highway, within minutes of all major resort areas. It consists of indoor and outdoor displays allowing visitors to see, touch and explore Hawaii's unique marine environment. The walk-through aquarium contains thousands of fish showcased in more than 60 interactive habitat exhibits. If you're not too tired, why not catch dinner at Kimo's in Lahaina. They're located right on the water at 845 Front Street in the heart of historic Lahaina. Their Lanai offers great views of the ocean and it's a great spot for lunch. It's also a very popular spot for after dinner cocktails and entertainment on weekends. Their dinner menu features fresh Hawaiian fish, prime rib, and prime steaks. And of course, their original Kimo's Hula Pie - macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream and more macadamia nuts - Yum and to die for!
Day 4: The Road to Hana
No visit to Maui is complete without hitting the Hana Highway, that runs for about 50 miles (81km) between Kailua and Hana on the northeastern coast of the island. Grab some snacks or better yet pack a lunch and spend the entire day driving this must see Maui attraction. This cliff-side driving tour through rain-forest canopy reveals Maui's most lush and tropical terrain. This exciting but incredibly scenic coastal drive was built in 1927 by gangs of convicts. It twists and turns its way along the coastal cliffs, containing 56 bridges and 600 hairpin bends. The route winds through numerous lush valleys lined with dozens of waterfalls, dense rainforest, bamboo thickets, fern groves and tulip trees. Visitors need at least a day to traverse the route, stopping to enjoy a dip in mountain pools or exploring off-shooting hiking trails, many of which lead to historic sites, like the little 19th century church built of lava and coral in the village of Keanae. There are two national parks on the route, some lava caves, blowholes, temple ruins and of course unsurpassed views. Pull over as much as you can, stop at the fruit stands, get out to take photos, smell the flowers, and jump in the mountain stream pools. We suggest planning on spending at least 2 nights in Hana.
At the end of the road to Hana, you will find the small town, teeming with nature lovers and other visitors. Stay at the Hotel Hana Maui and Honua Spa for an unrivaled look at the island, top-notch in all its amenities. Have dinner at Hana Ranch and finish the evening with cocktails and Hawaiian music at the Paniolo Lounge at Hotel Hana. A relaxing destination featuring a large, covered lanai overlooking beautiful Hana Bay. This is where Hana's finest musician's find a home and a captive audience every evening of the week, performing the best in traditional and contemporary Hawiian music. A wonderful romantic way to end your long day getting here. But well worth it!
Day 5: A Day in Hana
An entire day in paradise, so many things to do. Take an early-morning hike along the black sands of Waianapanapa State Park Maui's only black-sand beaches. This park also features freshwater caves for adventurous swimmers to explore, this park is right on the ocean. It's a lovely spot to picnic, hike, or swim. To the left you'll find the volcanic beach, picnic tables, and cave pools. To the right is an ancient trail which snakes along the ocean past blowholes, sea arches, and archaeological sites. then Get a picnic lunch and drive 40 minutes out to the Kipihulu end of Haleakala National Park at Oheo Gulch. Inside the Kipahula area of Haleakala National Park lies a genuine treasure, the Seven Sacred Pools. Haleakala Park officials refer to this area as the Oheo Gulch but it's commonly known by tourists as the Seven Sacred Pools In Maui. The Seven Sacred Pools are considered one of the most striking natural wonders in all of Maui. Hikes to the Seven Sacred Pools are easily self guided and visually stunning. Inhabited by native Hawaiians for centuries, Kipahula has major cultural significance. The Visitor Center offers cultural demonstrations in Kipahula and can inform visitors of more details.
The best route to the Seven Sacred Pools in Maui is along the two-mile Pipiwai Trail that continues alongside the arterial stream and through Oheo Gulch. It begins at a ranger station where the only restrooms are available. The Pipiwai trail is an awesome 4 mile round trip and 650 feet elevation gain to a 400 ft (Maui's largest hiking accessible) waterfall coming down the face of lava rock. Round trip through a bamboo forest takes 1.5 to 3 hours depending on you! Shorter hike to Makahiku falls is 186 feet and only 1/2 mile up Pipiwai trail. (Warning, flash floods during moderate to heavy rain. Do Not stand under waterfall due to possible falling rocks! Wear sturdy shoes due to slippery rocks and mud. Use bug spray for mosquitoes.)
Splurge on dinner at the dining room at the Hotel Hana-Maui. Ka’uiki was a top choice for the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for three consecutive years, since 2007. The always fresh menu features native, locally caught fish and exquisite produce grown in Hana locally or on the island of Maui. The majestic views from Ka’uiki look toward Hana Bay, helping take a dining experience from ordinary to extraordinary. Enjoy more Hawaiian music and cocktails at the Paniolo Lounge to wind down your last evening in heavenly Hana.
Day 6: Goodbye to Hana, Winery
Last day in Hana, hopefully you've explored this wonderful little town. If you have some time to spare, stop by the Hana Cultural Center on Ke‘anini Street to view their collection of Hawaiian art and artifacts. Admission is free. On your way back along the Hana Highway the way you came, make more stops along the way and reminisce about the fantastic time you had in this beautiful slice of paradise. Stop for lunch at Haliimaile General Store on your way to Kula for your wine stop at the Maui's Winery and Tedeschi Vineyards at the Ulupalakua Ranch.
You can tour the winery and its historic grounds, the former Rose Ranch, and sample the island's only wines: a pleasant Maui Blush, Maui Champagne, and Tedeschi's annual Maui Nouveau. The top-seller, is the pineapple wine. The tasting room is located in one of the most historic buildings on the island of Maui. The King's Cottage dates to 1874, when it was built specifically for the visit of Hawaii's monarch David Kalakaua and queen Kapi'olani. During his turbulent reign, which began that year and lasted until his death 1891, Hawai'i's last king often came to Ulupalakua find peace of mind. The centerpiece of the Tasting Room is an eighteen-foot-long bar cut from the trunk of a single mango tree. Shelves are stocked with Hawaiian-made products and specialty foods and gifts.
For your last evening in Maui, check out "Ulalena" at the Maui Theatre. It is one of Maui's hottest tickets an features a 75-minute Cirque du Soleil inspired musical extravaganza. It mixes native thems with acrobatic feats of wonder. One of the best shows in the islands and not to be missed. Have dinner at Gerards where French-born owner and top Lahaina chef Gerard Reversade honors the French tradition but incorporates an island twist in such delectable appetizers as shrimp sautéed in hazelnut oil, and ahi and smoked salmon carpaccio with lemon Chantilly. Located in the Plantation Inn, Gerard's resembles a country estate with a wide veranda for dining make this exquisite for special occasions.
Day 7: Relaxing & Shopping
Depending on how much time you have on your final day, you can choose from relaxing on the beach, indulging at a spa, shopping for souvenirs or checking out a museum or two. The Whalers Village Museum in the heart of Maui's commercial center, Lahaina, documents the sleepy port city's evolution into a whaling boomtown in the middle of the 19th century, combining exhibits and educational displays. And itss FREE! The Baldwin Home Museum is one of Lahaina's best preserved 19th-century landmarks, the house in Front Street built by Rev. Dwight Baldwin in 1834, stands now as the oldest house in Maui. Baldwin was a missionary who started a farm on the island and was responsible for growing the first plantations of Hawaii's indigenous pineapples, the fruit that is now enjoyed worldwide. Baldwin's home gives an insight into island life in the missionary era. Alongside is the Master's Reading Room, another of Maui's oldest buildings, which used to be frequented by visiting sea captains when missionaries closed down seafront bars in the early 19th century. The building is now occupied by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation, which issues maps and guides for visitors wishing to take a walking tour around Lahaina's historic attractions.
If you have a late flight, you might want to check out Iao Valley State Park which is near the Kahului Airport. Mark Twain dubbed this place the Yosemite of the Pacific. Maybe a smaller version. However it is a beautiful deep valley with the surprising Iao Needle, a spire that rises more than 2,000 feet from the valley floor. Explore the Iao Stream and explore the thick, jungle-like topography. This park has some lovely short strolls on paved paths, where you can stop by the edge of a stream and examine the native plants and flowers. Mist often rises if there has been a rain, which makes being here even more incredible.