Olivine Pools – Deep Dive

Olivine Pools – Deep Dive

The “Deep Dive” series takes longer looks at some of our favorite places on Maui.

Our first Deep Dive piece is on the beautiful, yet dangerous Olivine Pools, truly one of the most scenic places on the island. During whale season, you’re bound to see the humpbacks frolicking just offshore. You will also witness the majestic power of the waves as they crash into the walls surrounding the pools. Of course, the pools themselves have their own beauty.

The Olivine Pools are located on the Kahekili Highway, accessible from both the Lahaina side of the island and Kahului. If you’re in Kihei/Wailea, you can really go either direction, though the drive from the west side (Lahaina) is less crazy. By crazy we mean, if you’re coming from Kahului, much of the highway is one lane with hairpin turns. The road starts to feel claustrophobic… even with the expanse of the ocean right below your wheels. The advantage of going “counter-clockwise” (from Kahului) to the Pools is you’ll drive past the Julia’s Best Banana Bread stand. It truly is the best banana bread on Maui. OK, we actually rated it a tie with Aunt Sandy’s, but it’s definitely worth the stop.

When you arrive at the Olivine Pools, you’ll find ample parking on the street. You’ll also come across this sign and memorial:

As stated in the intro to this piece, the Olivine Pools are dangerous. In 2017, a Utah man was swept away and his body was not recovered. SFGate.com named the Olivine Pools one of Hawaii’s most dangerous places. The Pools sit on a rocky point where the waves generally crash into the walls. However, larger waves will jump the walls and flood the pools. When the water goes back out, it sweeps everything and everyone out to the ocean.

You can actually take nice photos prior to the descent down to the tide pools. If you’re with small children or people who may not be in the best of shape, you should stop here. Here’s what the view looks like from the top:

If you decide to risk it and head down, you should wear shoes. Hiking-type sandals with heavy soles would work well, too, and if you’re heading into the pools, they’re the best thing to wear. While it’s not a difficult hike, the rocks are sharp and can get slippery. If you slip, you’ll most likely end up with cuts. Here’s what the hike looks like (the photo makes it look more difficult than it is):

After the first descent, there’s a fantastic viewing ledge. If the water is unpredictable, this is where we stop. From this ledge you can see the entirety of the Olivine Pools, as well the surrounding cliff walls. It’s relatively (but not totally) safe here and unless you want to go into the pools themselves, you’ll see everything you need to see. We recommend you venture no further than here. Even from up here, you’re not totally safe from the waves, so pay attention to the ocean. Here’s the view from the ledge:

The hike down to the pools is also filled with sharp, wet rocks. Again, it’s not difficult, but you may find yourself occasionally slipping. Once you reach the pools, you REALLY need to pay attention to your surroundings. Even on what may seem like the calmest of days, one rogue wave is all it will take to sweep you out to sea.

If you’ve come down this far, the pools are quite lovely and worthy of a plunge. They are safe in that the water isn’t poisonous or anything like that, but know that you are in the direct line of a potentially life-altering wave. Take a dip, then get back up to higher ground.

We’re sorry if we sound like worry warts, but deaths and near death experiences at the Olivine Pools are preventable. Common sense dictates you stay above the shoreline, but human nature will probably lead you down to the pools. Look, we’ve gone down there a few times so it would be hypocritical to say you shouldn’t go. But if you go, please be smart. Be safe.

Five Fun Horseback Rides on Maui – HOP to it

Five Fun Horseback Rides on Maui – HOP to it

There are many fun things to do on Maui, but most involve the ocean. Whether you go on a whale watch, a snorkel tour or just hang out the beach, you’re bound to be having a fun time. But if you’re looking for a little more adventure, have you thought about horseback riding?

Believe it or not, Maui has a long history of ranching. We even have a Hawaiian word for cowboy: paniolo. In 1793, Captain Vancouver gifted King Kamehameha a few head of cattle. By the 1820’s, cattle were roaming Maui, destroying everything in their path. Soon, cowboys were brought in from the mainland to corral them. Eventually, the natives were taught cowboy techniques, and the rest, as they say, is history.

If you’re interested in going horseback riding on Maui, you’re in luck. There are many options. Here are our five favorite places to ride horse, listed alphabetically.

Lahaina Stables (Lahaina)
Conveniently located in Lahaina, Lahaina Stables is the easy choice if you’re staying on the west side and either don’t have a car (it’s an easy Lyft/Uber trip) or don’t feel like driving very far. Lahaina Stables offers three different rides, AM, Lunch, and Sunset that take you along the West Maui Mountain ridge giving you fantastic views of the ocean. The sunset ride, while quite a bit more expensive than the AM ride ($189 vs. $135) offers smaller groups and champagne and chocolate-dipped fruit, making for a uniquely romantic evening. (Lahaina Stables)

Makena Stables (Kihei)
Offering morning, sunset and private tours, Makena Stables also offers something the others on this list don’t… the chance to ride through lava fields that will make you feel like you’re on Mars. Riding along the shoreline south of the Wailea, you’ll have outstanding views of the ocean, Molokini and may even see the Big Island. But, oh, those lava fields. You will feel transported to different time and place once you hit the trail. Makena Stables is easily the most convenient horseback tour if you’re staying in Kihei and Wailea. (Makena Stables)

Mendes Ranch (Wailuku)
Starting from the beautiful Mendes Ranch, ride down from the valley to the coastline for 1.5 hours of gorgeous trail riding. If you visit during the winter and early spring, you are likely to see whales. When is the last time you saw whales from the back of a horse? Mendes Ranch offers two rides, AM and early afternoon. On the afternoon ride, there’s an option for a pre-ride barbecue lunch. (Mendes Ranch)

Piiholo Ranch (Makawao)
Ever see the movie “City Slickers,” where Billy Crystal played a New York City businessman who decides to vacation on an active ranch and cattle drive? Well, Piiholo offers the unique opportunity to spend three hours as an actual cowboy, rounding up cattle! Of course Piiholo Ranch also offers a more traditional two and three-hour rides (both are private, with a minimum of two riders), as well as lessons for children. (Piiholo Ranch)

Thompson Ranch (Kula)
A working cattle ranch, Thompson Ranch is known for its small groups (no more than six riders at a time) and the gorgeous vistas provided while riding along on Haleakala mountainside. Outside of the incredible views, you’re also likely to see cattle, chickens, turkeys and other creatures great and small. Morning, picnic and sunset rides, along with private rides are offered. This is a smaller operation with a decidedly less “tourist” feel. (Thompson Ranch)

Have you been horseback riding on Maui? Where did you and do you recommend it? Let us know in the comments below…

High-End Suites and Villas at Maui’s Finest Resorts

High-End Suites and Villas at Maui’s Finest Resorts

Just for kicks, we thought we’d compare the high-end suites and villas at Maui’s finest resorts that are available to the general public. We know resorts hold back certain suites to VIP’s and dignitaries, but these are all available for booking by us common folk via the internet… assuming we can afford a few thousand a night. Unless otherwise noted, we set the cost by attempting to “book” the rooms from 12/23/18 – 12/30/18.

Four Seasons Maui (Wailea)
Maile Presidential Suite with “complete suite experience service”
$20,000 per night (approx.)
This massive 4,000 square foot (plus lanai), three-bedroom/three bathroom penthouse suite features a 180 degree view of the ocean and your own personal assistant for the length of your stay. Transportation to/from the airport is provided via either a luxury SUV or a Tesla. Daily breakfast, either buffet-style at the restaurant or via room service and one private dinner are included. You’ll also receive two 50-minute massages. The master bathroom has a private, cedar sauna. The lanai is large enough to hold a full dining table, sofas and lounge chairs and overlooks the ocean. You’ll receive twice daily housekeeping and evening turndown service. This is one of the places for which we needed to look at alternative dates. For this article, we were able to “book” from 11/25/18 – 12/2/18, which is not yet prime season. (Four Seasons Maui Suites)

Fairmont Kea Lani (Wailea)
Three-bedroom Oceanfront Villa
$7849 per night
These two-level, three-bedroom/two-bathroom 2,200 square foot oceanfront villas feature two master bedrooms with full marble bathrooms, a second floor lanai and a private courtyard with your own wading pool, barbecue, dining table and lounges. There’s a fully stocked gourmet kitchen, as well as a washer and dryer. You also receive daily breakfast from the hotel’s Kea Lani Restaurant and complimentary guest parking. (Fairmont Kea Lani)

Grand Wailea
Napua Royal Suite (one bedroom)
$7,074 per night (plus $30 resort fee)
For over $7,000 per night, you’d think the resort fee would be included, right? We get upset paying a resort fee when the room is $120! So what does seven grand a night get you? Start with a room that measures in at just under 2,000 square feet. Actually, let’s start at the airport. When you land, you’ll receive car service to the resort. Upon arriving at the hotel, you’ll have a private check-in and a personal concierge for the length of your stay. You’ll have access to two private lounges, which include a complimentary continental breakfast in the morning, tea in the afternoon, drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the early evening and dessert bar at night. The private, covered lanai has stunning views of the ocean, with a large dining table and lounge chairs. Of course you’ll have access to the rest of the immaculate Grand Wailea grounds. If this isn’t enough for you, there’s also a 2-bedroom Grand Suite, but for information on it, you need to contact them directly. (Grand Wailea Napua Tower Suites)

Ritz-Carlton Kapalua
Ritz-Carlton Presidential Suite
$4,930 (plus $35 resort fee)
Checking it at 2,560 square feet, the one-bedroom/1.5 bathroom suite features two large lanais with full ocean views and the master bathroom has both a marble soaking tub and a shower, as well as a state-of-the-art TOTO bidet-style toilet. You also get full club access, which includes continental breakfast, all-day cocktails and soft drinks/juices and snacks and evening hors d’ oeuvres. It was hard to find open dates to get a room rate, but the rate we show here is for January 23, 2018, which was the day the article was written, we imagine if you’re booking in advance it would be a lot more! (Ritz-Carlton Kapalua)

Ho’olei at Grand Wailea
Deluxe Ocean View Three Bedroom Villa
$4795 per night
Located at the highest elevation of the property, this three-bedroom/3.5 bathroom villa is equipped with a private elevator, attached garage, full kitchen, barbecue and two lanais with panoramic views of the ocean. Though these villas are “homes,” the grounds contain a full-service concierge, a swimming pool with a waterfall and gym facilities. In addition to that, you also have access to everything the Grand Wailea hotel offers, including a gorgeous pool, spa facilities, restaurants and beach access. (Ho’olei at Grand Wailea)

What’s the nicest place you’ve stayed in? Indulge us in the comments below…

Best Mountain and Road Biking on Maui – HOP to it

Best Mountain and Road Biking on Maui – HOP to it

Whether you bring or rent a bike, there are many options for those looking to bicycle on Maui. For the best mountain biking, you’ll want to head upcountry. For road biking, you’ll find plenty of bike paths or roads with wide shoulders to accommodate you. In this article, we will recommend three road and three mountain bike rides that you can do without going through an activity service. Click here to download a (slightly outdated) PDF map of Maui with bicycle paths highlighted. The map is only a photo of a map, so it’s not all that clear, but it’s fine for an overview. Stop by a bicycle shop to pick up an actual map.

Maui has some outstanding mountain bike paths, but if you want to ride on the best, you’re going to need to head upcountry.

Kahakapao Loop (Makawao Forest Reserve)
Drive just past Makawao Town (be sure to visit Komoda’s for some tasty baked treats in Makawao before or after your ride) and you’ll find this popular mountain bike trail. It’s roughly six miles long with around a 1000′ elevation gain. Unless it’s wet, which creates a sloppy terrain, it’s a good trail for all levels, from strong children to adults. If you have kids, we recommend doing the trail counter-clockwise. Otherwise, go clockwise, the descent will be a little more fun. (Kahakapao Loop)

Polipoli Springs Loop (Kula)
Located in Kula, the Polipoli Springs Loop is one of several mountain bike trails in the Polipoli Spring State recreational area. This loop covers the popular Mamane trail, which many consider to be the most fun part of the Skyline Trail (listed below). This ride can get technical, with some areas of rocks and boulders, so make sure you’re prepared. The Polipoli Springs area is generally quite nice before 10:00 AM, but after 10, it is almost always covered with clouds. So we recommend waking up early and hitting the trail first thing in the morning. (Polipoli Springs Loop)

Skyline Trail (Haleakala Summit)
The crown jewel of mountain bike rides on Maui, the Skyline trail up at the summit of Haleakala is a once-in-a-lifetime ride so fulfilling you may do it twice. You start at the summit, where it’s freezing (literally) cold, then you head down. As such, unless you plan on riding back up, you’ll need to park one car at the summit and another at the Rice Memorial Park pick-up point in Kula. You’ll encounter different terrains on the ride including loose volcanic cinder, forest, grass and gravel. One of the nice things about this trail is that tour operators are not allowed to go up there. So you won’t find yourself behind a large group when the trail turns to single-track. Before you do this one, make sure you do your research. It can be tricky at spots, but it’s so worth it! The views are simply breathtaking. (Skyline Trail)

Some people don’t like road biking on Maui because dedicated bike lanes are rare. But, most of the roads do have wide shoulders and biking is legal on highways.

Haleakala (Paia to the Haleakala Summit)
Amazingly, Haleakala is not considered a steep climb by avid bikers. We’ve only done this ride once (once is enough!), but we think it’s pretty darn steep. With that in mind, even experienced bikers say the climb is relentless. If you’re going to do this ride, know that roads are well paved and drivers are on the lookout for riders (mostly going downhill) so it’s fairly safe from a traffic perspective. One issue is the weather. If you start in Paia, you’re basically starting at sea level and ending up at 10,000 feet. Along the way, you may encounter heavy winds and even sleet, especially in the winter months. The ride from Paia is about 35 miles to the summit. (Haleakala Summit Ride)

Maui North Shore Greenway Trail (Kahului to Paia)
Compared to the other two rides in the “road” section of this article, this one is a piece of cake, but it’s also quite cool. The ride from Kahului to Paia is only about 7 miles. You can stay on the trail, which takes you behind the airport, if you want to beeline to Paia, but we recommend you veer off the trail into the neighborhoods along the ocean. Spreckelsville and Baldwin Beach are amongst the stops you can make. This ride is flat the entire way and is safely tucked away from the highway, save for about a 100 meter stretch just prior to hitting Paia, making it a great family ride. The way Paia traffic is nowadays from Kahului, riding a bike may actually be faster than driving a car! (Maui North Shore Greenway Trail)

West Maui Loop
You can start this loop, really, anywhere between Kapalua and Kahului. Even from out in Kihei/Wailea, though from there it isn’t technically a loop. The ride essentially goes around the West Maui Mountains, affording you incredible views of the ocean and the mountains. In total, the loop is about 60 miles. Outside of the mountain part of the ride, it’s relatively flat. If you do it, the folks at West Maui Cycles recommend you start early in the morning and go clockwise from Lahaina and counter-clockwise from Kahului so you’ll avoid the heavy afternoon winds.

Do you have a favorite bike ride on Maui? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Five Romantic Activities on Maui – HOP to it

Five Romantic Activities on Maui – HOP to it

Maui is a featured destination for weddings and honeymoons. But its beauty and romantic settings aren’t just for newlyweds. One doesn’t need to be married to explore Maui like a newlywed. Sure, a romantic sunset dinner on an outdoor patio is always nice. But here are some other fun and romantic things to do on Maui with a loved one that will set your hearts aflutter.

Couples Massage
It may be a bit of a cliche, but a couples massage is really romantic. Add in an the allure of Maui and your massage gets taken to the next level. We polled a couple of massage therapists who are NOT affiliated with any these locations and they recommended the following:

Full Moon Hike
If you have an adventurous streak, this might be the one for you. Obviously, you’ll need perfect timing to do this hike, as in, there needs to be a full moon and the skies need to be clear of clouds. OK, if both of those are in play, then we highly recommend giving the 5-mile roundtrip (if you’re doing it as up and back) Pali Trail hike up to the windmills a shot. You’ll still want to bring a headlamp or flashlight with you, but the moon does a great job illuminating the trail. Once you’ve reached the windmills, the view of of the stars is a sight to behold. It takes about 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace to reach the windmills (both from the Lahaina and the Ma’alaea side).

Full Moon Tide Pools
If a 3.0 hour hike in the dark isn’t your thing, then maybe exploring tide pools by the light of the moon is more in your wheelhouse. Here’s a list of our favorite tide pools. All of them, except the Olivine Pools would be fantastic with a full moon. The creatures that come out at night are fascinating. Combined with a sunset stroll and some light snacks and you have a uniquely Maui night of romance.

Haleakala Sunrise
Waking up at 3:00 and driving for nearly 1.5 hours to stand in the freezing cold is no one’s idea of fun or romantic. But once you reach the summit of Haleakala and see the first glimpses of light peaking out over the horizon, you’ll be so thankful you did. Hold your sweetie tight and take in one of nature’s true beauties. Two things to note. Most days, it’s literally freezing. You’ll see ice up there from late fall to early spring, so dress appropriately. Second, you need to make reservations with the National Parks Service or you’ll be turned away at the summit. Follow this link to make reservations.

Sunset Dinner Cruise
A romantic three-course meal with table side service and cocktails is just the start of a sunset dinner cruise with Hawaii Ocean Project. With guaranteed deck-top seating, you won’t miss a second of the Maui’s famed sunset. Add in live music and dancing, and you’re sure to spend a romantic evening at sea with the one you love. Book a trip here and save 10%

Sunset Walk
Both Wailea (Wailea Coastal Walk) and Kapalua (Kapalua Coastal Trail) have wonderful paths for a nice sunset (or sunrise) walk along the shore. Both paths are roughly 1.5 miles in length. So if you head out at sunset, make sure you’ll be back before the sun completely sets or you bring a flashlight (or use your phone’s flashlight app). As a bonus, during the winter months, you may see whales from both locations.

What do you like to do for romance on Maui? Leave us a comment below!

Getting Around Maui: Rental Cars, Shuttles, Busses, Cabs and Ride Sharing Options

Getting Around Maui: Rental Cars, Shuttles, Busses, Cabs and Ride Sharing Options

(Complete listing of all forms of Maui transportation is at the bottom of the article)

Often the first thing a person does when landing on Maui is head to the car rental station and hop on a shuttle to pick up a car. This part of the rental car journey is fairly seamless. It’s once you get to the agency where troubles can pop up. For whatever reason, the larger agencies seem to be continually understaffed. Waits of two hours to get your car have been known to happen. It’s a real bummer of a way to start your vacation. That said, most of the time the waits are not that extreme and unless you wish to go carless, you really have no choice but to bite the bullet.

But good news is on the way. A new rental car facility, housing all of the rental car agencies, is being built on the airport grounds, complete with an electric train to carry passengers to and from the main terminal and baggage claim areas. It is scheduled to be up and running in the Fall/Winter of 2019. Hopefully by then the agencies will have their acts together.

More good news? There is healthy competition for car rentals and the prices for rentals by the week are actually quite comparable to mainland pricing, depending on the time of year you visit. If you come during the winter months, expect to pay more. We’ve found the best deal vs. hassle incurred to be at Costco. If you’re a Costco member, you can save significant amount from four of the larger rental car agencies: Alamo, Avis, Budget and Enterprise.

If you’re not a Costco member and you aren’t picky about the agency you use, Hotwire.com and Priceline.com both offer “blind” pricing, meaning it will quote you a price, but not tell you which rental agency the car is from until after you book it. The pricing at these two places tends to be non-refundable. So, if price isn’t your ultimate decision factor or you have “member” status at a particular rental car company, you may be better off spending a few extra bucks and booking directly with the company of your choice.

Another option for low cost cars is to go through one of the smaller, local car companies. Where the larger car companies tend to rent “like new” cars that glisten with the sun, the local companies tend to rent used cars that have a bit of a rundown feeling. That said, these cars also don’t scream “tourist,” so the cars are safer from prowlers. There’s also an option for eco-friendly electric cars and Prius models (see list below).

The final option for renting a car on Maui is to not rent a car on Maui. If you’re staying out in Lahaina/Kaanapali/Kapalua, this may not be a good option. Generally speaking, getting to grocery stores or leaving your resort can be quite a hike. If you’re staying in Kihei, not having a car is definitely doable.

No matter where you are, though, Uber and Lyft have a much better presence than they did even a year ago. Cabs are also readily available, though you’ll often need to book them in advance. You don’t often see cabs just driving the streets looking for rides. The bus system on Maui is OK. You can generally get anywhere you need to go by bus, but be prepared to wait. They don’t run often and it can be maddening trying to find a bus stop.

Here’s a guide to all of your transportation needs on Maui…

Costco Travel


Cheap Maui Car Rental
Discount Hawaii Car Rental
Hawaii Car Rentals

Aloha Rental Car
Bio-Beetle Rent-A-Car (eco-friendly cars)
Frank’s Friendly Cars
Kimo’s Rent-A-Car
Manaloha Rent-A-Car
Maui Car Rentals, Inc.
Maui Cruisers
Maui Rent-A-Car

Route Maps and Bus Tracker
Bus Schedules
Rider app for IOS and Android (real-time bus updates)


CB Maui Taxi Service
Maui Airport Taxi and Shuttle
West Maui Taxi

Aloha Share Express
Christopher Luxury Sedan Service
Go Airport Shuttle
Hawaii Executive Transportation
King’s Transportation Services
Maui Pleasant Taxi
Roberts Hawaii (The largest bus/shuttle on Maui)

Do you have a Maui car rental horror or success story? Please share with us in the comments below…

Best Waterfalls on Maui – HOP to it

Best Waterfalls on Maui – HOP to it

There’s really no such thing as a bad waterfall. And choosing the “best” waterfall is completely subjective. How does one rate a waterfall? For this article, we’re going to judge the waterfalls based on beauty (again, subjective) and ease of access. Just know that to see the best waterfalls on Maui, you’re probably going to need to jump in a car. There are few waterfalls near the larger towns on Maui.

Wailua Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 44)
Located directly off the Road to Hana at mile marker 44, Wailua Falls is thought to be the most widely photographed waterfall on Maui. Of course, ease of access is one reason. There’s ample parking and you can easily view the falls from the side of the highway. But the other reason Wailua Falls is considered a top waterfall is its sheer beauty. The falls flow strongly year-round and are surrounded by lush greenery. Climbing into the pool beneath the falls is also quite easy. You can even snap a photo as you’re driving by if you’re feeling rushed on your way to Hana Town.

Twin Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 2)
If Wailua Falls is the most photographed waterfall, Twin Falls may be the busiest. Or at least, they seem to be. Twin Falls is generally the first stop on the Road to Hana, located just a couple of miles outside of Paia Town. Though because they’re so close to Paia, many people will just visit Twin Falls without continuing on to Hana. Once you’re parked, to get to Twin Falls, there’s a simple one mile hike, really more of a walk, on a well kept trail. Once at the falls, you’ll be greeted by a large swimming hole into which you can easily swim behind and under the waterfall. Scenic in its own right, it’s probably not photographed as often as Wailua Falls because you will rarely snap a photo without other people in the picture. If you keep hiking beyond the Twin Falls, you’ll be treated to more waterfalls and swimming holes.

Waimoku Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 41)
On the two-mile (each way) hike to Waimoku Falls, you’ll have a few different spots to view the waterfall, so no need to go the full route. But if you do complete the hike, standing beneath the 400-ft falls is breathtaking. The only issue with being so close to the massive waterfall is that it’s nearly impossible to fit the entire waterfall in one picture. But, about 50 yards from the falls, there’s a nice location for a perfect picture. A bonus for Waimoku Falls is the hike itself. Walking through the bamboo forest is a treat unto itself.

Hanawi Falls (Road to Hana, Mile Marker 24)
This is another waterfall located right off the highway. There is street parking available just prior to and just beyond the small bridge from which you’ll have the best view of the waterfall. It’s also possible to hike down to the falls basin. Because most people tend to snap photos from the bridge and move on, you generally won’t come across too many people swimming here. We recommend it! The water is absolutely pristine. Cold. But very clean and refreshing.

Makamaka’ole Falls (Waihe’e Ridge Trail)
The last waterfall on our list is the only one you do not need to drive the Road to Hana to see. Centrally located on Maui, you can get to Makamaka’ole Falls by driving counter-clockwise along the highway from Lahaina or from Kahului in the other direction. If you go from Lahaina, take note the “highway” becomes single-lane against a scary cliff at points. It makes the Hana Highway seem like a 10-lane highway through Nebraska. Going from Kahului is a safer, easier drive. OK, so you survived the drive and made it to the falls. You can catch a view from the highway, but the best way to photograph the falls are while hiking the Waihe’e Ridge trail. The trail itself is roughly 5 miles roundtrip, but if you just want to see the waterfall, the best viewing point is about a mile in. Unlike the other waterfalls on this list, you will not get up close and personal to the Makama’ole Falls. In fact, unless you have a zoom lens, your pictures will not do the waterfall justice. But beyond the waterfall, the Waihe’e Ridge Trail is worth the hike for its views of the valley and the ocean.

Do you have a favorite waterfall on Maui? Leave us a comment below!

Five Easy Nature Walks on Maui

Five Easy Nature Walks on Maui

One of the true pleasures of being on Maui is being able to go on early morning walks surrounded by nature and beautiful views. Unlike hikes, which require some planning and frankly, some endurance, these walks are all relatively short and simple, with no altitude gains, and can be done with children. With the exception of the first one, these all feature paved or partially paved paths and can be completed wearing flip-flops. Here are five easy nature walks, listed alphabetically, we recommend to all visitors and residents of Maui.

Hanomanioa Lighthouse on the King’s Highway Trail (Makena)
This is an easy walk in that it’s only about 1.5 miles to the lighthouse. What makes it somewhat difficult, though, is the terrain. The trail is flat, but the entire walk is on volcanic rock. As long as you’re wearing proper footwear, not flip-flops or open-toed shoes, you’ll be fine and will be able to enjoy the Mars-like surroundings on the walk. The trail follows the ocean coast, so the views can be stunning. The lighthouse itself is a bit of dud. The only thing that could live in that house is a tiny bird. It’s more accurate to call it a light beacon. But again, from the lighthouse location, you’ll have incredible views of the ocean and the shoreline. To get to the trail head, drive out past Wailea and Makena until the road stops. The trail starts there.

‘Iao Valley State Monument (Wailuku)
This half-mile loop around the base of the park is a plant lover’s dream. The botanical garden is host to numerous plant and flower species, all clearly marked. From the park, you have perfect views of the iconic Iao Needle, a 1200-foot rock formation that seems to rise out of the valley like a tree. The Iao Valley is also a place of great cultural significance to the Hawaiian people. It is a sacred burial place of past chiefs. It was also the final battle site on Maui when Kamehameha the Great defeated the Maui army in his quest to unify the Hawaiian islands. You can learn about this and more on the park grounds. Parking is $5, free with Hawaii ID. (‘Iao Valley State Monument)

Kapalua Coastal Trail
Following a partially paved, but never too rough trail, the Kapalua Coastal Trail is a simple path that runs from Kapalua Beach to D.T. Fleming Beach. The walk is 1.5 miles each way. One of the great things about this walk, besides gawking at the amazing views, is that it takes you past the relatively empty Oneloa Beach. This “hidden” cove sports a nice reef with plenty of turtles. If you bring snorkel gear, you’ll be in for a treat. On days with large surf, it’s also great for body surfing. Because of its location, the Kapalua Coastal Trail can get congested, but we think you should pack some snacks, take your time and check it out.

Waikamoi Nature Trail (Road to Hana)
The most difficult part of this hike is getting there. But if you’re on the Road to Hana, it’s a nice stop to get out of the car and stretch your legs. While there’s no waterfalls, there’s only a slight incline and very little mud. The trail is a nice dirt path that runs in a simple loop and takes about 20 minutes to compete. Along the way you’ll see many plant varieties including trees that are over 600-years old. Bamboo and the multi-colored bark of the Instagram-favorite rainbow eucalyptus tree are two standouts. The trail is located just past mile marker 9 on the Road to Hana.

Wailea Coastal Walk
This mostly paved, 1.5 mile path takes you along the Wailea shore from Ulua Beach to Polo Beach. In between, if you start at Ulua Beach, you’ll be passing in front of Wailea’s gorgeous resorts on your left and some of the nicest beaches on Maui on your right. You’ll see three islands– Molokini, Molokai and Kahoolawe, and you can leave the path for a quick round of shopping or snacking at the Shops at Wailea. The beaches along the path are teeming with fish and turtles making for excellent snorkeling, especially at Ulua Beach. During the winter months, it’s not unusual to see whales. Once the trail ends, if you continue along the rocky beach on a day with decent sized surf and wind, the beach literally whistles. It’s a really neat phenomenon.

Do you have a favorite walk on Maui? Leave us a comment below!

Best Maui Guidebooks – HOP to it

Best Maui Guidebooks – HOP to it

Coming to Maui and need to do a little research? The guidebooks presented here are all fantastic. For some visitors, a general guidebook is perfect, for others a specialized guidebook focusing on hiking or beaches might be better. We’ll include a little of each in this article. At the bottom of the list, we’ll also include a link to an online guide “book” that we think is outstanding. In fact, we use it more than the books currently lining our bookshelves. Just remember, the public libraries on Maui are stocked with guidebooks. For $10, you can get a 3-month visitors card and check out all of these books!

Fodor’s Maui
Fodor’s has a long history of producing excellent travel guides. Fodor’s Maui does a great job of covering the basics: where to stay, where to eat, what to do. But the really nice thing about this book is a series of sections that gives historical backgrounds on such things as hulas and luaus, as well a nice fauna guide for plants and a mini-fish guide for what to expect to see while snorkeling. For a complete fish guide, we posted one here. Fodor’s guides always have excellent maps and photos. Fodor’s Maui is no exception.

Frommer’s Maui
Our preference for a place like Maui is to have the guidebook broken out first by area/region, for example Lahaina, then show the lodging, restaurants and activities fall in that particular area. Frommer’s Maui, though, divides their book by the activity, meaning you’ll see the header “Lodging,” then under that header it’s broken down by region. Still, everyone has their own preferences. The information Frommer’s does provide is deep. The maps and photos are nice. The section on the history of Maui is excellent, in fact it’s the best of all of the books listed here. The “movies made in Hawaii” is a fun list.

Hiking Maui: The Valley Isle
This one is a classic. If hiking is your sole reason for coming to Maui, it’s a no brainer that Hiking Maui: The Valley Isle should be your book of choice. It’s easily the most in-depth and well researched Maui hiking book. That said, if you use this one, confirm your hike on Google first as it’s been a few years since the last update.

Lonely Planet: Maui / Discover Maui
We always appreciate Lonely Planet guidebooks. To a book, they are easy to follow and the way they break down their sections makes sense. For Maui, they have two distinct guides. First is their complete Maui guidebook simply titled Maui. It covers what you expect in a multi-purpose guidebook… hotels/restaurants/activities. Like all Lonely Planet books, the pictures are vibrant and the content is well written. While their other book, Discover Maui, does cover lodging and restaurants, it’s to a much lesser extent. Instead, it focuses on activities and adventures. If you already know where you’re staying, we recommend this one. You can’t go wrong with either book, though.

Maui Trailblazer
For a general “adventure” guide, this is our favorite book. When we first moved to Oahu, the Oahu edition is the book we chose. When we eventually moved here to Maui, it was again the first (and only) book we purchased. Maui Trailblazer is easy to read and well organized. It gives clear directions for hiking, surfing and general road trips. It also includes day-trip guides for Molokai and Lanai.

Easily our favorite online Maui resource, this website is informative, well written and fun. If you’re looking an interesting hike or a “hidden” beach, mauiguidebook.com will point you in the right direction. Being online, it’s able to stay current. The photos are excellent. (MauiGuidebook.com)

You may be asking, “Where is Maui Revealed?” For the uninitiated, Maui Revealed is probably the most popular Maui Guidebook. It IS excellent, to a point. But it does things we just can’t condone. Sure it points to “secret” places, but often at the cost of crossing private and sacred lands. If you use this book, please be respectful of your surroundings.

Did we miss one? Do have a favorite Maui guidebook? Let us know in the comments below. Mahalo!

Ocean Cafe in Lahaina

Ocean Cafe in Lahaina

Did you know Hawaii Ocean Project also owns a cafe on Front Street in Lahaina? It’s called Ocean Cafe and it sits across the street from Banyan Tree Court Park. We chose this location because it’s perfect if you’re riding on a boat docked at Lahaina Harbor.

At the Ocean Cafe, they serve coffee from Maui Coffee Roasters, which, if you’re not familiar, is roasted daily on Maui in small batches. Whether you like it hot or cold, black or with cream and sugar, or whipped up and frothed, the Ocean Cafe has your coffee needs covered. In addition to coffee, the cafe serves breakfast sandwiches, danishes and muffins for breakfast. For lunch, they offer sandwiches, hot dogs, and our favorite, chili dogs. Of course there’s also chips, cookies, sodas, smoothies, water and more. You’re allowed to take snacks on our boats, so fill up before your trip.

The Ocean Cafe also offers rentals for the beach, snorkel gear and even bicycle rentals. We recommend the tandem bike for just $25 a day. You can also book any of our ocean activities– snorkel adventures, whale watch tours and sunset dinner cruises directly at the cafe, skipping the middleman.

So next time you’re in Lahaina, swing by and say “aloha”!