So now that you know all about our accommodations and the best places to eat on Maui, let's talk about what we did.
Brandon and I like to balance our vacations at about 50 percent activities/tours and 50 percent pure relaxation. That way we don't get burned out with too many activities and come home hopefully feeling relaxed. So when we weren't sailing on catamarans and hiking craters, we were hanging out on our beach towels on the beach; me reading, Brandon sleeping.
As I mentioned before, the beach located right in front of our resort is perfect. If you're used to more crowded beaches (i.e Mrytle Beach, Cocoa Beach, Daytona), you will be amazed at the beaches in Hawaii. There's room to move. It's peaceful and quiet. No commercialization.
If you head into the water, there's a whole new world: under the sea. Nothing is better, down where it's wetter.
Take it from me.
We bought a $25 plastic cover from Amazon for our Canon s90 and had some fun taking underwater photos. We highly recommend just driving to this beach and renting snorkel equipment ($30/day) from a surf shop instead of going on the snorkel boats, which are usually super crowded with mediocre meals.
Also, the water near this beach is nicknamed "Turtle Town" and if you are lucky, you'll see a giant sea turtle. I saw one right in front of me and about pulled a Kirsten Bell Sloth Meltdown. Seriously, I couldn't breathe and had to remove my mask and go up for air. It was awesome.
One day we headed to Lahaina (about a 40 minute drive from the Wailea area) to shop and later catch our whale watching boat.
To be completely honest with you, if you aren't into touristy shops and crowded sidewalks, you might want to skip Lahaina. We enjoyed a few of the photography galleries, but definitely do not consider downtown Lahaina to be a must-see. It's pretty cute, but cruise ships dock here and it brings a lot tourists. Not really our thing.
There is a cool tree though. The Banyan Tree.
We grabbed lunch at a burger place (not worth mentioning) and then headed to our next activity: The Hula Girl Whale Watching Cruise.
Yelp wins again. This was a 2ish hour cruise on a catamaran with about 20 other people. It didn't feel crowded at all and Brandon and I enjoyed most of our time laying on this baby (not sure what it is called. Brittany?). Oh the life.
Of course, we saw a few humpbacks as well. More Kristen Bell moments ensued. I am completely mesmerized by these animals.
Did you know that humpbacks travel to Hawaii in the winter and head back to Alaska in the summer? The mamas come to warmer waters to have their babies. They nurse their young...but not how you think. They spew a cottage-cheese like milk into the water and the young eat it out of the water. Again, mesmerized. Such beautiful creatures.
Sigh. I miss Hawaii.
Mt. Haleakala Sunrise
On your first trip to Hawaii about a dozen people will ask you, "Have you seen the sunrise on the crater yet?" We thought about going before, but the wake up call of 2am held us back. I mean, come on. You know my sleeping habits.
This time though: we did it. Alarm went off at 1:30am (we went to sleep at 7pm, so it wasn't too bad). We drove the two hours up the mountain. The temperatures went from 78 degrees to 30 degrees in the matter of 10,000 feet.
And then, we watched this happen.
There are no words. Actually, there really weren't. We.were.frozen.
Brandon, my little smurf. Easily within the Top 5 Coldest I've Ever Been in My Life Experience. Beautiful? Yes. Worth it? Yes, just once.
Fake smile. Can't feel my hands.
Mount Haleakala Crater Hike
What do you do when you wake up at 1:30am and freeze your bums off watching a sunrise? The obvious choice is to go back to the beach and sleep. But no, we hiked.
Going down into the crater was easy peasy. Going back up after three miles? Oh.my.word. 10,000 feet is no joke for your lungs. We'd pick a spot to hike to and say we'd take a break there. Every three minutes we stopped to breathe.
But have you ever seen anything like this??
We eventually made it back up the crater and drove down to warmer tropical temperatures. We took a nap on the beach later and it was glorious.
Later that night, we walked along the shore in Wailea (there's a beautiful walking trail right along the resorts and water) and watched the sunset for our last night in Maui. Sunrise that morning and sunset that night. Couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.
Mahalo, Hawaii. You were just what I needed.
Future 2013 travels plans:
- Park City, Utah
- Outer Banks, North Carolina
- Telluride, Colordao