After spending three days in Maui and experiencing the rainfall effect from lovely El Niño on our honeymoon in 2015 (more to come on that later), Dan and I left Hawaii feeling like we had unfinished business.  In early 2016 we began brainstorming where we wanted to vacation that year, and tossed around ideas and potential places to check off of our bucket list.  Then, the home buying process sucked us in and the search for the perfect first property for us was on.  Six months later, we had successfully secured a roof over our heads, but a vacation remained unplanned.  We both agreed Maui in October was the perfect choice.  It was zika-free, the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure that we were after, and wouldn’t take a whole lot of time to plan since we were already familiar with it.  We decided that for the first four days of our trip we’d hit the ground running with outdoor activities, and spend the last few days beach and poolside.

For the first few nights, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.  Overall we were very satisfied with this resort and felt it was a good bang for our buck. The vibe was family friendly and the the swim up bar within a cave was unique.  The open air resort was located on Kaanapali Beach; very close to great shops and restaurants in Lahaina and walkable to Whaler’s Village.  While our bodies were still adjusting to HI time, we woke up at the crack of dawn (read, 2AM) and headed up to Haleakala Crater to watch the sunrise.

That night, we hit Mama’s Fish House, a splurge (to be expected when Hawaiian fisherman are catching your fresh mahi-mahi DAILY and stuffing it with king crab) but a must.

The next day we drove up to Kapalua and visited the Olivine Pools and did some snorkeling around Black Rock Beach. Tip: We brought our own snorkel gear and a small fold up cooler this time around.  We stopped here (great beer/wine selection and also great poke?) and stuffed it with local Maui brews and grabbed a few bottles of wine for sunsets. Best decision ever. The cooler was especially nice to have on the 12 hour Road to Hana.  That night we went to Fleetwood’s for rooftop drinks – something about a bar illuminated by tiki torches, ocean breezes and live music makes it a favorite spot.

The Road to Hana, sometimes called heaven’s highway, was a major highlight of our trip.  We had heard mixed reviews about the Road, but if you have a day to do it, I highly suggest it, and bring bug spray! We were on the road by 7AM to be ahead of traffic (we’re talking one lane bridges on this thing) and picked up lunches ahead of time from Hana Picnic.  The lush Road to Hana is full of waterfalls and hikes.  No drive is more beautiful, and if you are worried about reaching a destination your missing the point.  We had downloaded the Gypsy App ahead of time (a must).  Our personal favorite stops were the Allele Falls, Three Bears, and driving through back country Maui on the way home.  Lahaina Pizza was the perfect end to the day.

Dan’s shirt              Dress  || Watch

If you are considering Maui as a vacation, pick up a copy of this book, Maui Revealed – it is full of hidden gems you’ll want to know before you go.

Also, if you are indecisive when it comes to what part of the island to stay at, choose more than one! Experiencing more than one is very doable in one trip and I highly recommend it. Stay tuned for Maui Part 2!