favorite things in Maui * must - do Maui recommendations

24 March 2022


What a beautiful place!! Seriously, you can't go wrong with any island in Hawaii. When $139 each way tickets come up on Southwest you find a time and GO. Maui was a perfect escape. ♥ Here are some thoughts on our first time there at the beginning of March. No affiliates with any of these, just our experience.

Where to stay: we LOVED the Westin Kaanapali. We had siblings stay here and had recommended it and it exceeded our expectations. If you love a resort feel with lots of pools, hot tubs, but right on the beach with a boardwalk/sidewalk right in front for running/walking, restaurants on site, etc. this is your place. The Westin Nanea next door was more family friendly. We found a room from a timeshare on AirBnB - we got it from this seller and I was hesitant to book without reviews but Airbnb said we were guaranteed so we went for it and it was wonderful (we had a King bed although the listing says queen?). Also check out Redweek where people sell their timeshare weeks! You can also find great condos along beaches on AirBnB but book early. This was the view from our room 😍


Whale/Dolphin/Snorkeling Adventure: One of my favorite things was the Captain Steve's Whale/Dolphin/Snorkeling Adventure. We went to two beautiful snorkeling spots and swam with turtles and saw beautiful fish and coral and went dolphin and whale watching. It's from 7a.m. - 2 p.m. and includes snacks and lunch -- I would definitely recommend as it checked a lot of Maui bucket list items for me. There were 20 people on our excursion and it was so fun talking and getting to know everyone on the boat. When we were talking our new friends they also highly recommend the Sea Maui sunset cruise and the Teralini dinner cruise (but they said get the gift cards at the Costco in Maui for the Teralini)

West Maui Day: 

Spend a morning or afternoon exploring West Maui. You can take a few hours or all day, depending on what you want to do. Put it in your GPS and decide. Note: you may not have reception after you get out of the residential areas so you'll want to download directions on your maps/phone.  This was close to Kaanapali and a perfect outing for a Sunday afternoon. Here is what you can do:

* if you want tons of information and directions and good stopping spots you can buy and download the Shaka West Maui Guide. Not necessary but if you are information nerds like us and enjoy good stories, I think you'll like it. If you are planning on Road to Hana guide (which was just awesome, see below) you can also buy the bundle.

Eat breakfast or lunch at Gazebo Restaurant (this had too long of a wait so we moved on but looked delicious!!)

This was an awesome tip from our friend, Drew. If you want great snorkeling or a great chance to spot some sea turtles walk next door to the Napili Point Condos and enter Honokuana Bay and bring snorkeling gear or just watch for turtles! We saw a couple surface and lots of snorkelers. Or, if you want to skip eating at Gazebo we just parked on the residential street near 7 Malialani Pl and walked over through the Napili Point Resort parking lot and stay left on the sidewalk and you should see where the access to the bay is. All beaches in Hawaii are public so you should see people there.

Magical Enchanted Forest: frrom there you can head to the Enchanted Forest. It's just an amazing, peaceful forest you can walk through that leads to Honolua Bay which is also beautiful. WELL worth the stop. Just put Honolua Farms kitchen in your GPS and there is a parking lot with lots of spaces and the trailhead is directly across from it. It truly is magical!

Nakalele Blowhole -- continue on to the amazing Nakalea Blow Hole. So cool to see! You can go down close to it and get wet (but please be so careful) or admire from above

 Olivine Pools - continue on to the Olivine Pools and bring your suits for a dip but again be so careful if the waves are big and crashing up high on the shore. We were fine admiring from above but lots of people had on bathing suits to fully experience the pools. 

I would head back after the Olivine Pools if you don't like heights or windy roads but if you are adventurous and have a strong stomach you can continue on to the Waihee Ridge trail for a beautiful hike. 

We continued on to the Pulehu Chapel, one of the must-sees for my husband. It was the first chapel on any of the islands for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and has a rich history. Download and listen to Saints, Volume 2 Chapter 10 Truth and Righteousness on your way if you can and read as much about the life of Jonathan Napela as you can. Just remarkable.  It is closed right now for Covid restrictions so we just wanted to drive by. Again, I need to stress that the drive to the chapel from the Olivine Pools is windy, one way at points, and steep if you're up for it! Otherwise, I would come from the main highways.  As we drove up to the fence a car pulled up at the same time and it was one of the Bishops on the island that was bringing some friends over so we got to take a tour with them. A true tender mercy and a highlight of our trip. ♥

Warren & Annabelle's Magic Show - this was super fun and I appreciated that is was clean and family friendly and just laugh out loud FUNNY with amazing tricks. There aren't many things to do after sunset so if you want a fun night on the town this is a great option. We went to the later show and I was SO tired with the time change so I would have probably done the earlier show since the later one ended at 11 p.m.. They do offer an appetizer package and we got that but I probably wouldn't do it again. Good but nothing to write home about and pretty pricey. Note that the doors open but the show doesn't start until an hour and a half past that. I would call and see what time is the latest you can show up for the show 😉

Road to Hana! By far this is what everyone will tell you to do! We loved it. Make sure you know it's an all day adventure. We were on our last day in Maui and we didn't want to spend it all in the car, especially after our West Maui adventure day on Sunday! We loved the resort and hanging out there and on the beach so we decided to just do a half day Road to Hana 😁 You can see our favorite stops and recommendations here for the perfect shortened Road to Hana trip.

Food Here are our favorites:

Mama's Fish House: there is a reason there is a 6 month wait. Seriously, make reservations now or download the Open Table app on your phone and set it up to be notified if a table comes open. I had the notifications on and when a table came open it was gone in seconds. Here is a little tip: when you get to Maui, check Open Table between 11:30 a.m and 1:45 p.m. Maui time. That seems to be when they are calling people with reservations and some cancel around that time and they seem to be available before they go to the notifications. Also when we were there I was talking to the attendant and she said if you show up around lunch and ask for bar seating you will most likely get it and then see if there are any open tables you can move to. 

 We got a lunchtime reservation and I'm not kidding that it was the best meal of my life. I had the Mahi-Mahi stuffed with lobster baked in a Macademisa nut crust. I'm drooling just typing that.  For appetizer, I also loved the shrimp won tons.

My husband got the Mama's Curry and liked it but he just doesn't get excited about seafood like I do but he was thoroughly entertained with how much I loved it. If you love good fish, it's pretty safe to say you're going to love Mama's.
And look at the setting!!! It's part of the whole experience.

Baya Bowls - our friends Drew and Hailey recommended this and they were our favorite acai bowls! Definitely add the peanut/almond butter for extra protein.

Lahaina Pizza Company - come an hour or so before sunset to get on the list and you will not regret it!! Such a beautiful view and we loved the deep dish pizza.  You can shop around while you are waiting for your table. Our favorite thing to bring back are the pineapple, acai, and lilikoi Hi Chews that I think you can only get in Hawaii?? We got them at the ABC store below the on the main level. Also, be sure to see the Banyan tree while you are in Lahaina, and grab some  Ululani's Shave Ice afterward 😋

photo from Google User - I didn't take any there 

Kihei Caffe  we LOVED this place for breakfast. We also appreciated that they opened at 6 a.m. for an early start on Road to Hana! Make sure to request the coconut syrup with the banana macademia nut pancakes. Very family friendly too ♥

We ate at other places but there was nothing else that wow-ed me enough to write about. Have fun exploring and eating!

I hope this helps! If you are going to Maui I'm envious of you! You can't go wrong there. Just enjoy and be excited to experience such a beautiful part of the world. Feel free to add any other recommendations in the comments! Thanks ♥

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