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Hawaii vacation

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Next week, I will be taking a much-needed vacation to Hawaii, specifically the island of Maui.  I don't have any plans other than to attend a high school friend's wedding, and would appreciate any suggestions on what to do/see there.  Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 30
Never been to Maui; can give you all kinds of tips on Oahu though. Been vacationing there for over 30 years.
post #3 of 30
Ah, a trip to Maui. My wife and I honeymooned in Hawaii, and I have really fond memories. Do you know where you'll be staying? On Maui, we stayed in the Lahaina area, but the island is small enough that you can get to everything with a little bit of driving. Activities: - snorkeling at Molokini - you can charter any one of a number of boats which do this. Great snorkeling (crystal clear water). This probably takes about half a day. - Haleakala crater - you can go hiking here or take one of the many "sunrise bike trips" through several charter companies. They drive you to the top of the crater, allow you to enjoy the sunrise, and then have you bike down. It's a lot of fun, but an early day (I think we got picked up at our hotel at around 3:30 am - you're done in the early afternoon). A couple of words of caution - we had a clear day to see the sunrise, but it can often be cloudy; also, when they tell you it's going to be cold at the top of the crater prior to the sunrise, BELIEVE THEM (i.e. don't be a stupid New Englander like yours truly and figure, "these people don't know what cold is"). - Hana Highway - this is a very twisty road in the Northern part of the island. It takes about an hour to drive it round trip. Some of the views are really nice, but the drive is really tiring (it's a narrow, twisting road). - Various beaches up and down the coast. At the hotel where we stayed (I think it was the Sheraton), the snorkeling was great right off the beach. I had a sea turtle literally brush past my shoulder. - I believe you can take helicopter tours, charter SCUBA expeditions, hire a paraglider, or do anything else you can imagine relating to water activities. My wife and I also went on a day hike through another charter company. You can arrange a lot of the above activities through your hotel's concierge. Restaurants (all in Lahaina or thereabouts): - Kimo's - a good place for lunch or a more casual dinner. The best thing about this place is that there is a large outdoor seating area right on the water. Just beautiful, and good food, too. - David Paul's Lahaina Grill - Good place for a more formal dinner. I had an excellent meal of grilled shrimp there. - Roy Yamaguchi's - a little north of Lahaina (toward Kaappalua (sp?), I think). Great food with a far eastern feel. Order the chocolate souffle - trust me. - Cheesburger in Paradise - we didn't go here, but I was told that it's underwhelming. - The Ritz Carlton - (up toward Kaappalua, I think) the food was good, but not spectacular. The service was, of course, impeccable. It's worth experiencing, just for that. Also, the hotel itself is beautiful. You can always stop in at the bar and just admire the view. Shopping: - nothing out of the ordinary that I remember. There is an outdoor mall called "The Shops at Wailea." I remember that they had a Tommy Bahama (I remember this because we ate there - the food is surprisingly good). This is located to the south of Lahaina in Wailea. - if you have the chance to get over to Oahu and you like Hawaiian shirts, pay a visit to a store called Newt at the Royal, located at the Royal Hawaiian hotel. This is a really nifty store that specializes in Hawaiian shirts and Panama hats. I think the shirts run about $70, and the hats are a good deal more expensive. All of the shirts are manufactured in Hawaii. I have no affiliation with this store, I just like it. Their website is www.newtattheroyal.com. In general, everything is very casual. You probably don't need to bring a jacket or tie outside of your friend's wedding. Most of the restaurants we ate at (even the Ritz) required, at most, "smart casual." I hope this helps. Double-check on the locations of some of the information I gave you, because our honeymoon was in 2001, so things could have changed or I may be remembering incorrectly. Enjoy yourself. You won't want to come back. Best regards, Jeff
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Jeff.  Your post gives me a good start.  I'm going to be staying at a resort on the shore of Maalaea Bay, slightly north of Kihei.  I take it that the crater biking is not for the faint of heart of individuals (like me) whose biking "skills" are at the 10-year-old level?
post #5 of 30
Kihei puts you in a really good, central location on the western coast of Maui (where most of the tourist action is, from what I can tell). Lahaina is just to the north. You can do the bike trip as long as you have mastered basic biking skills (i.e. balance and peddling). It's pretty much all downhill on a paved road, and the bikes are all one speed. You basically coast the whole way. The guides don't let you go too fast. On the other hand, if you're not really into biking, you can probably skip it (it's an early start, it's cold, and you're not guaranteed a spectacular sunrise). Jeff
post #6 of 30
I will second most of Jeff's remarks. More ideas: Restaurants: Joe's Bar & Grill in Wailea, overlooking the tennis club.  Really good food.  It is run by the same people as the Haliimaile General Store in Makawao.  Joe's is great for dinner (fresh fish, awesome opakapaka when in season) and Haliimaile General Store IIRC is lunch only.  If you aren't watching your cholesterol, get the crab dip at either place--same recipe.  The crab dip is excellent. Roy's is good, but if you can't get in there go to Nicolina, which is in the same building and also run by Roy.  Basically the same style of cuisine, just a different side of the same kitchen. Aloha Mixed Plate.  This is behind the Cannery Mall on the outskirts of Lahaina (1285 Front Street).  They have pretty good plate lunch, and serve some of the same food as the Old Lahaina Luau, which is next door and owned by the same people.  A bit touristy, but it is right by the beach and they have a liquor license.  None of the hotels have plate lunch this good, so if you want to sit under a banyan tree and drink a mai tai while digging in to kalua pig with two scoops of rice and one scoop of mac salad, this is as good as it gets on Maui.  Oh, and Old Lahaina Luau is supposed to be the best on the island--never been personally, but if you want to do a luau this is probably the one to do. Ritz Carlton--no real reason to eat there if you aren't staying there.  The food is OK, but it isn't worth driving over from Kihei, especially if you drink.  In fact, I think you are better off eating at Plantation House, which is also on the Kapalua golf course property, which is quieter, has a nice view, and doesn't have people walking in from the pool. Shopping: Not a lot on Maui.  The Cannery Mall in Lahaina is an air conditioned enclosed mall with a grocery store and a Long's drugs, and plenty of touristy shops.  They have a food court with an L&L Drive-Inn and a decent banh mi stand.  Queen Kaahumanu Center over in Kahului has typical mall stores and a few places that have local crafts and aloha wear.  Shops at Wailea is geared towards the well-heeled tourists--no bargains there. Activities: Molokini cruises are good--but take the earliest possible one.  You want to get there before the other dozen boats disgorge their snorkeling tourists around you. Also, beware of the "activities" kiosks that will try to rope you into a timeshare pitch in exchange for a discount coupon book.  They are very aggressive. If you do drive to Hana, eat and go to the bathroom before you go.  Hunger and nature's urge will set in before you reach the end. The Haleakala cycling trips aren't really my thing.  It is a downhill ride where you can pick up a lot of speed, and if your skills are lacking you can wipe out not only yourself but people around you.
post #7 of 30
Another restaurant that was suggested to me is Mama's Fish House, which is located in the Northern part of the island. We didn't eat there, but our hiking guide said it was his favorite restaurant on the island. Also, Kapalua is spelled just like it sounds. Ignore my attempts to "Hawaiianize" it above (i.e. Kaappalua). I hope I haven't made your head spin, AC.
post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I hope I haven't made your head spin, AC.
I am an ISTJ on the Myers Briggs scale who tends to plan what I am going to do on vacation in minute detail, so the information you and retro have provided has been most helpful.  Particularly the insider-type information.  Any good suggestions on what to bring back for the folks and the neighbors who will be picking up my mail?
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Any good suggestions on what to bring back for the folks and the neighbors who will be picking up my mail?
Depends on how much you want to spend and can carry. I often go to the ultimate tourist trap--Hilo Hatties--and buy a bunch of island souvenirs. Hilo Hatties usually has a discount coupon in the tourist map/guide magazines. They have a decent selection of aloha wear, from the fugly poly-blend tourist special on up to some of the nicer ones that locals actually wear. The ubiquitous ABC Discount Stores are everywhere (like Starbucks in a major city business district) and you can get some (mostly kitschy) stuff there for souvenirs. I usually also get a case of macadamia nuts at the grocery store or Long's Drugs that I take to the office. If you want to get something nicer than these places have to offer, there are a lot of local jewelers and galleries where you can get things. Lahaina has stores with everything from classic antique Hawaiiana from the preWWII era, to cheesy Hawaiiana of the 60s and 70s (OMG. Greg fell off the surfboard. Take that tiki back to Vincent Price right away.), to some very nice work by local artisans.
post #10 of 30
Kona coffee is a good choice. It's not really any cheaper in Hawaii than it is anywhere else, but it is grown there, so you're bringing something which is "authentically Hawaiian." It is very tasty. It wil probably run you about $15.00 per half pound, maybe a little less. It won't take up a lot of room on your luggage. As retro stated, macadamia nuts are good, too, and I like the idea of the "cursed tiki idol" (of course, your friends may not).
post #11 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks, guys.  These posts are really getting me excited about the trip.  I assume that when it comes to packing for the trip, less is more.  Are there any must brings?
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Quote:
(JBZ @ June 14 2005,14:41) I hope I haven't made your head spin, AC.
I am an ISTJ on the Myers Briggs scale who tends to plan what I am going to do on vacation in minute detail, so the information you and retro have provided has been most helpful.  Particularly the insider-type information.  Any good suggestions on what to bring back for the folks and the neighbors who will be picking up my mail?
ISTJ? Cool, I'm an ESTJ...does that just make me a more gregarious version of yourself? I agree with a lot of what has been posted. My only addition is to pick up the book 'Discover Maui'. I don't recall the author's name, but it's a blue-cover book with a lot of pictures for about $15. There is a similar book for each island (Discover Oahu, Discover Hawaii, etc.). This book gave fantastic recommendations for everything from activities to dinner locations to off-the-beaten-path hikes. It can be read cover to cover and/or used as a reference when looking for a recommendation on a boat to take you to Molokini for example (Four Winds II was fantastic). Highly recommended.
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Are there any must brings?
I don't think there are any must brings (other than what you need to wear for the wedding). You need the typical stuff you'd need for any beach vacation. If you do the Haleakala sunrise thing, bring some long pants and a sweatshirt. I'm really envious. The closest I'll get to Hawaii in the near future is by wearing my Hawaiian shirts. Jeff
post #14 of 30
Bring whatever toiletries and sunscreen you may need (since those items always cost more in the Islands). Other than that, just pack light beachwear. Just about the only rule on formality level is that you should not wear T-shirts to the nicer restaurants for dinner (or in the lobby of nicer hotels). If you plan on laundering anything by hand in the room, make sure it is a fabric that dries well in a humid environment. For example, cotton T-shirts will never dry out in a hotel room, while silk will dry pretty easily.
post #15 of 30
Thread Starter 
I'm out -- thanks again for all the great suggestions.
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