HAWAI’I TRIP PART I – MAUI 2018
Being away for three weeks on the beautiful Islands of Hawai’i (Maui and Oahu) was a dream, one that I am fortunate to experience year after year. Hawai’i to me is paradise, a place where I can spend my days being completely ecstatic and always in awe of the majestic views of the Pacific Ocean. There is something about the islands in particular Oahu that just makes me feel complete and at peace with life. Is it the sunshine? The ocean? Maybe the culture and the people? I say that for me it is all of it. The moment I set foot on the islands my soul feels connected, I am in vacation mode and the daily routine is all but forgotten. I am ready to enjoy absolutely everything that comes my way. Back home winter is long and very cold which at times seems hard to get through so getting away for a little sunshine is a great way to feel healthier, more energized and ready to survive the winter.
Our Maui trip was beautiful and refreshing. Waking up every morning at 6 am to save prime location loungers by the pool where we could watch the kids play in the pool didn’t seem like a chore compared to waking up at the same hour to pack lunches and get the kids ready for school. I was happy to be up early to enjoy the views, to breathe in the ocean air and walk barefoot on the sandy beaches. Complete bliss. Getting up early allowed me to spend quiet time, get inside my head, and reconnect with nature while listening to the waves washing up on the shores.
During this trip we stayed at the beautiful Kaanapali Ocean Villas Resort, an upscale child friendly resort located on the beaches of Ka’anapali. The rooms were spacious, the amenities were great, the staff was friendly and we had an amazing time. Each room has a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer and a Jacuzzi tub if you’re into that sort of thing. I never use the jacuzzi anywhere other than the one in my home, it’s an intimate fixture that I don’t like to share but for anyone open to it, it’s there. Being that this was our first time on Maui we wanted to hit all the popular spots that were recommended to us however not without renting a car. Kaanapali has only one car rental spot, Budget and Alamo which are both in the same office therefore you must make your reservation at least one week in advance, as they run out of cars fast. Although this was more of a relaxation trip rather than an exploring one, we did venture out to visit a few of the popular touristy spots.
Our first adventure was the Road to Hana. Driving from Kaanapali taking the scenic route (only option actually) through Lahaina and Pa’ia Town, taking in the gorgeousness of the ocean and listening to local Hawaiian beats, was unreal. The kids were in the back seat trying to entertain themselves but were dying of boredom. The whole idea of enjoying the drive all the way to Hana escaped their little brains. So being the fun mom that I always I am, I attempted to entertain them by playing little games with them including pointing out different things out in the distance. We happened to be stopped near a field full of horses and so I enthusiastically pointed them out and asked the boys what they thought of them. One said that they were massive and the other pointed out a spotted horse, which in his opinion looked more like a cow. So he made up a name for it saying that since it was a horse but it looked more like a cow that it should be called a Corse (get it? cow horse, lol). Right away, I piped in that maybe it should be a Horcow (the reverse Horse Cow). Well that was it. My oldest son lost it, laughed so hard and when he was finally able to form a full sentence without laughing his head off, he proceeded to tell me that I should never be in charge of naming things. Needless to say, for the rest of the trip we were entertained with songs about Horcows.
Driving through the Pa’ia Town, we stopped to enjoy the bohemian style store fronts, restaurants, galleries, music and the vibe of the town. Pa’ia Town is a surfer’s paradise. Everyone we saw or stopped to chat with, looked relaxed and happy like they didn’t have a worry in the world. My kind of vibe.
Driving along the beautiful beaches, we stopped to take pictures and to watch the surfers show off their skills by riding some of the biggest waves I have ever seen. This was truly spectacular, something I could watch all day long while laying on the beach sun tanning.
A must-see on our way to Hana was the Garden of Eden Arboretum where we were amazed by the beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, lush greenery and majestic waterfalls. Here we found a tree house that is situated on the edge of a cliff overlooking the valley, a little boutique selling local handmade souvenirs, ducks to feed and a magnificent peacock that followed us the entire visit and even jumped on our car as we were exiting the gardens. On the way out we met a man named Nick who happened to be the caretaker of the gardens. He lives on the property and found out that he has lived off the grid since the 1980s. How simple and worry-free does that sound? I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live simple and be completely disconnected from the real world. Sounds tranquil, doesn’t it?
Leaving the Garden of Eden, we realized that we were low on gas and would not make it all the way to Hana. This was such a disappointment as our only option was to drive back to Pa’ia Town to gas up and not continue our Road to Hana trip since it was getting late. According to the locals you do not want to drive back from Hana in the dark as the roads are narrow and wet on most of nights. Instead we decided to drive up to Haleakala Crater to enjoy the sunset, which WAS spectacular. If you decide to go up there at night time, remember to pack warm clothes as temperatures drop as low as 6 degrees.
Another attraction you don’t want to miss out on is the Blowhole past the Lighthouse in Honokohau. However, do not attempt it at 6 am with kids as it’s still somewhat dark and you have to actually hike down to it. On our last day we tried to get to it and drove there at the crack of dawn but when we got there the kids were passed out in the back of the car. I guess we’ll have to see this one the next time we visit. Bad planning on my part, I take full responsibility, lol.
Zip lining is a rather promoted activity on the island and is super fun for kids. My boys had a blast doing it and had zero fear of heights. Since this trip wasn’t all about the kids, I felt that a shopping trip was well deserved after laying by the pool/bumming on the beach for 8 days straight sun tanning while watching the kids splash around in the pool. So, we drove to the famous Four Seasons Hotel in Wailea, where I enjoyed a “little” 😉 retail therapy and a few spa services while the kids played in the pool and ran around on the stunning sandy beaches. I also managed to get away and pay a visit to The Shops at Wailea. This trip was a great success and everybody was HAPPY by the end.
Child Friendly Restaurants
Leilani’s on the Beach – great food for adults and kids; excellent service.
Relish Oceanside – food and service were mediocre; food was already prepped as it came to our table 5 minutes after we ordered; the service was also mediocre.
Pulehu, An Italian Grill – excellent food and service.
Monkeypod Kitchen – excellent food and service, a hit for the kids.
Roy’s – will not go back, food was undercooked, servers were a little schetchy looking; Roy’s on Kona is way better.
Duo’s Steak and Seafood in Wailea – Breakfast and dinner and both dining experiences were top of the line. Will definitely go back.
Auntie’s Kitchen-great food however the buffet menu is the same every single day; service is mediocre