About a year ago, always freezing or slightly slipping on canadian ice, my friend Ania and I daydreamed of traveling far away. Looking at our world map, the Hawaii idea scored so high on our bikini test that we booked our plane tickets immediately for an escapade in September!
We arrived to our first island, Maui, after a delayed flight, an unplanned night at the airport’s hotel and two hours of waiting for our rented car in line behind a crowd of sweaty tourists. We drove to our airbnb and, exhausted but cheerful, we jumped into the arms of our friend Manu.
As we walked on the beach that same evening, we curiously observed a couple exchange vows. The few wedding guests were dressed so casually it blew our minds. The bottom of the bride’s dress was covered in sand but she did not seem to notice, her large smile making everyone forget this unimportant detail. Looking back, this scenery embodied Maui perfectly: a very relaxed and carefree paradise for lovers. As for us, with no serious masculine lovers in mind, we celebrated our friendship and the simple beauty of life on Maui!
5 days in Maui
The Road to Hana
After a good first night of sleep, we went for the most touristy activity on Maui: driving to the town of Hana. The attraction isn’t the town itself, but the stops you make along the way.
We drove from 8AM to 11AM and first stopped at a food stand to share a mango smoothie and chat with the owners, who lived a tranquil life of farming and smoothie-making in the wilderness.
Fascinated by their simple lifestyle, we savored the mango delicacy while inquiring about their life and asking for Road-to-Hana advice. Back in the car, heads full of inspiring thoughts, we drove past the town of Hana to the Seven Sacred Pools. Unfortunately, the attraction was half closed and we couldn’t see a pool clearly. A little tired from all the driving, we went back on the road we came from and promised ourselves to stop soon for a picnic.
To our delight, we found Black Sand Beach, which opens with views of greens and blues. Wild vegetation grows at the edge of a beautiful cliff at the bottom of which lies a beach of dark sand and calm waves of turquoise water.
We sat at a picnic table and happily ate our sandwiches. We then walked to the edge of the cliff and down to the beach to swim along with the other happy tourists. After hours of driving, it felt heavenly.
Our clothes decorated with black sand and our hearts filled with amazement, we got back to the car.
A couple of miles later, we found a hidden waterfall and felt the excitement rush in immediately. Dressed in nothing but swimsuits, we carefully stepped on the rocks at the edge of the waterfall pool to plunge in the greenish water.
Road to Hana advice:
Choose a sunny day, leave early, have a good motivated driver and stop when you feel like it on the road. You can plan your stops in advance, but depending on the number of tourists there when you stop, you might change your mind. Most of all, enjoy the beauty of the ride! Bring your swimsuit, beach towel, water shoes, flip flops, running shoes, snacks and music for the road trip.
Beach Days & Surfer Towns
In Maui, we spent a lot of time unwinding at the beach, swimming and snorkeling. My personal favorite beach on Maui is Wailea Beach. There, we played the photographer game for a little while…
We spent mornings lying on the beach and afternoons walking around in adorable hawaiian surfer towns, where the cool relaxed people hang out and the sun always shines. We joyfully visited adorable boutiques and fell in love with Sand People and Honolulu Cookies (hello free cookie samples!). The town of Lahaina was the most lively!
Sunset at the Haleakala Crater
On our last day in Maui, we drove to the top of the Haleakala Crater to watch the sunset. The end goal was worth it, but the road to get there was a total challenge. It brought us so high and twisted and turned so much that our driver Ania stopped seeing straight at some point. We told her that we could drive back down anytime and forget about the sunset, but she wanted to keep on driving up and so we did.
When we finally arrived, what we found took our breath away: beauty, silence and pure air. In our daily lives, we’re always surrounded by noise and visual overload. Car noise, heating noise, chatting noise. Computer screens, phone screens and ads on many corners. On the top of the Haleakala Crater, there was only silence. The air was pure and the over-the-clouds view so peaceful and unique, I took one deep breath and promised myself to always remember this moment and go back to it whenever I needed to find peace and calm in my life.
Haleakala Crater Advice
A lot of people say that sunrise at the Haleakala Crater is one of the most beautiful spectacles they’ve ever seen. While I encourage you to go for sunrise, keep in mind that you will be driving a twisting road that you don’t know in the dark. A splendid sunset is a bit trickier to attend because it tends to get cloudy in the afternoon and you might not be able to see it because of the clouds. But if it is a cloudy day, go either way! The experience is too unique to miss.
Maui Restaurant Suggestions for the foodie
Being food and nightlife lovers, Ania, Manu and I found the yummiest restaurants on the island. We loved Tommy Bahama, Duke’s and Hula Grill, which serve popular but delicious food. Since we ate a lot of fried delicacies during the trip and craved vegetables to balance it out, we became fans of Duke’s salad bar.
Paia Fish Market is a heaven for fish lovers. Located in the cute town of Paia, this casual restaurant serves large plates of fresh seafood at a very reasonable price. The people are very chatty and you sit on large tables that are always full.
In Maui, we were a carefree and simply happy. Stay tuned for a Oahu and Kauai travel guide!