Friday, July 6, 2007

Our Maui Travel Guide

It just seems that everyone in the world wants to come to Maui. And why shouldn't they? The weather is fantastic with a year round average of 82 degrees, there are so many wonderful things to see and do, and the people are friendly and helpful.We have been coming to this magical island for over 20 years, so understandably we now consider it our second home and a welcome escape from the cold winters of Canada. As Kama'aina (or locals) we feel qualified to share with you, some of our cherished Maui experiences. The following is Our Maui Travel Guide.

It is a fact that Maui beaches are rated among the best in the world, and water sports are unsurpassed. Kaanapali Beach is our favourite beach, and here you can either walk for miles on the sand, or take a leisurely stroll along a pathway through the many resorts and hotels that are strung along the beach. If you end up at Whaler's Village you may catch an outdoor concert of local performers, eat in one of the great beachfront restaurants, browse through a myriad of shops and boutiques or take in the informative Whaler's Museum, offering free admission.

If you keep going to the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, you will be treated to a free hula show each evening and later you can dance to a great Hawaaian band with the moonlight shining down through the Palms. Rudy Aquino, a native Hawaiian who has played there for years will leave you with a special memory when he plays "Phantom of the Opera" on his Vibra Harp. Also worthy of mention, and somewhere we have taken many of our guests, is a magic show called Kupanaha, also at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. The magicians are top notch, and you really go away with a new respect for magic.

One of our favourite Maui activities is snorkeling with the colourful fish and green sea turtles. If you try this you may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an eel or octopus as you explore your own coral wonderland. Our favourite snorkeling spots on Maui are Airport Beach and Black Rock in Kaanapali, Honalua Bay (a marine reserve) north of Kapalua, and Le Perouse Bay out past Wailuku and the last lava flow on Maui (also a fascination drive through the lava).

If you visit Maui between December and March you will be sure to see the many humpback whales that come from Alaska each year to mate and bear their young. To watch a mother teaching her calf to breach is the thrill of a lifetime. For whale watching we recommend booking with The Pacific Whale Foundation. Their mission is to promote appreciation, understanding and protection of whales, dolphins, coral reefs and our planet's oceans.

One of the most memorable day trips we have done on Maui, was a visit to the Ali’I Kula Lavendar Farm. We had a sumptuous “Lavender tea” and believe it or not everything from the tea, to the scones to the jam, had lavender in it. The best part was sitting outside overlooking breathtaking views of Kula in “up country” Maui. After that we were given a very delightful tour as we strolled through 45 varieties of lavender.

A trip up to Haleakala National Park where you can see the famous dormant volcano, is a must. We even got up a 3:30 in the morning once to experience a spectacular sunrise from the summit. Do take warm clothes, and a picnic as there are many great hiking trails which gives you a chance to see the local flora and fauna first hand.

Another of our favourite Maui pastimes is to take in the free jazz concert at Canoes restaurant in Lahaina during their happy hour every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. These top notch musicians sometimes even invite singers from the audience to take part in their show.

We still never tire of Lahaina town with its historic store fronts and buildings, reminiscent of the era of whaling ships and missionaries. Our favourite haunt for a happy hour is the Lahaina Bar and Grill. From here we overlook the largest Banyan Tree in the world and the bustling street with much local colour and activity. The cruise ships bring thousands of visitors every week to Lahaina Town, in search of fantastic shopping and the experience of a Hawaiian Luau. There is also a wonderful show running in Lahaina called Ulalena, which tells the history of Maui with music and dance.

A visit to The Maui Ocean Centre, the nation’s largest tropical fish aquarium, is a great thing to do on a rare rainy afternoon. It was startling and awesome at the same time, to find ourselves in a glass tunnel with sharks swimming around us. Not far away on the road to Wailuku, you can visit the Maui Tropical Plantation and even stay for lunch in the restaurant which overlooks a beautiful lagoon. If you get to Wailuku it is worth a visit to the Iao Valley and see the Iao Needle, a high mountain peak which used to be a lookout for Hawaiian warriors.

A visit to Maui is not complete without travelling along the road to Hana. It is the journey, even more than the destination, that makes this trip so memorable. It is easily done in a day, however if you plan to go on to the Seven Sacred Pools you many want to consider renting a cottage or vacation home and stay the night in Hana before the jouney home.

We hope you enjoyed reading our Maui Travel Guide but want you to know that we have only shared a small sample of the many things to see and do on Maui. One thing we know for sure, is that even after 20 years we still have a lot more to experience in this magical island of love. That is why there is no doubt that “Maui No Ka Oi”, a saying fondly used by the locals, meaning Maui is the Best, is how we feel.

If you are planning a trip to Maui search for some Maui Vacation Rentals and rent directly from an owner.

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