We were lucky enough to spend the holidays (during covid) in Maui for our honeymoon. Hawaii is very safe right now as they are very strict about getting in. You have to take a Rapid Covid test within 72 hours of travel from their preferred vendors and do a health screening. Almost everything we wanted to do was open so we didn’t feel like we missed anything.
We stayed in Kihei where you can either find inexpensive condos or high end resorts. I would recommend staying in this area.
Here are our favorite spots.
Road to Hana-This was my husband and my favorite part about Maui. See my guide on this here.
We did the next three stops all in one day as they are not too far from each other.
Haleakala Crater-Drive up to the peak of the Haleakala Crater. Make sunrise reservations a week in advance. Bring lots of water and warm clothes as the summit elevation is 10,023 feet above sea level and about 30-40 degrees cooler than Kihei! Do this within 3 days of doing the Path to Hana as one of your stops is also in Haleakala and your parking pass is valid for 3 days.
Makawao– Just a short drive from Haleakala is this cute town with great shopping and food. Makawao is “paniolo” country and has a Western feel with plenty of great shops and couple of good cafes that make it a good day destination. Hit Komoda Bakery for some of their famous stick donuts.
Paia- Just a short drive from Makawao is this “hippy” town with some of the best shopping and dining on Maui. It’s laid back vibe makes it feel more local than other parts of Maui. On the way down from Makawao on Baldwin Avenue to Paia, stop at the Holy Rosary Church and view St Damien’s statue. You can also take some fun tours in this area of a pineapple plantation, glass blowing, and Oceans Vodka distillery: Visit Ho’okipa Beach just south of Paia to see green sea turtles and surfers. Make a reservation a month in advance for the number one restaurant on the island, Mama’s Fish House. Beautiful views, amazing food and the most expensive dinner you will have in Maui.
O Farms Lunch Tour– Book a 4 hour tour of O farms and have a 4 course meal with food from the farm. Don’t forget to bring your wine for lunch.
Big Beach in Makena- This was one of our favorite beaches with the perfect sand and perfect waves. This is one of the Conde Nast’s 10 Best Beaches in the World and is great for a long beach walk & some energetic swimming. The beach is a good 30-40 minute stroll from end to end. You can get some shade if you need it as well and there are two public parking facilities.
Snorkel Molokini Crater- Getting out on the boat and in the water is a great way to really feel like your in Hawaii. Use Four Winds II Catamaran. They give you a light breakfast and lunch and alcoholic beverages after the snorkeling and their service was great. You may see a few whales!
Whale Watching– There are a ton of operators doing whale watching in the winter and you can choose from a big boat which is cheaper or a small one. We went with the big one and we were lucky enough to see a Mom, Baby and two male humpback whales.
Explore Lahaina– In West Maui you can see the huge Banyan Tree and visit the shops in this cute area. Stop by these restaurants:Leodas Kitchen-Coconut Cream Pie and lunch, Star Noodle-Asian shared plates, The Plantation House-Fancy Dinner
Upcountry Farmers Market- I LOVED this hippy farmers market that is only open Saturday 7-11 certain times of the year. There is an amazing ramen shop, so many great fruits and veggies and great kombucha and smoothies.
Kihei- This is a great area to stay, watch the surfers and eat at a lot of great restaurants. Some of our favorites: Kihei Cafe-Dive with amazing banana macadamia pancakes and fresh breakfast (always busy), Coconuts-The BEST fish tacos, Fabiani’s Kihei-homemade pastas/garlic bread, Paia Fish Market-very casual, great fish, Humble Market Kitchen-go for happy hour, Monkeypod Kitchen-Best mai tais on the island, trendy, Ulalanas Shave Shop-coconut leche with sweet and condensed milk, Cafe O Lei, Humuhumunukunukuapua’a-amazing sunset views
Wailea Shopping Center- I would only do this if you have time to kill, otherwise it is just another mall but they do have interesting art galleries, high end shopping, t-shirts galore and where else but Lappert’s Ice Cream Shop you can treat yourselves to the most expensive waffle ice cream cone you’ve ever eaten in your life…? There are two great beaches near here: Ulua and Mokapu, and Keawakapu.
We didn’t do these but were recommended from other people to visit Alli Lavender Farm, a pineapple plantation, take a ferry to Lanai, a helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian and a Luai (Old Lahaina or Drums of the Pacific)
I hope you enjoy my recommendations and make sure you enjoy the Aloha way of life and really just relax, take in the scenery, explore and get to know the locals.