Maui, oh Maui! One of the most beautiful, tropical locations I have ever visited, MJD and I had such a great time exploring the island. Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island. While it is quiet a long trip to get to Maui from Boston (or anywhere on the east coast really), it was absolutely worth every minute of flying time once you got there! Once you get to Maui, you can really do as much or as little as you want. The gorgeous beaches make it perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun and the different landscapes, volcanos and islands are all there waiting for you to explore. Our trip was a bit of a combination of relaxation and exploring- just the way I like it. If you are making your way to Maui, here are my favorite places to eat, to stay and things to do!
Where To Stay-
Grand Wailea– We absolutely loved the Grand Wailea. It’s a stunning hotel located right on Wailea beach making it super easy to enjoy Maui’s sandy shores. The hotels was so big and while I definitely got lost a few times (I have the worst sense of direction), it was great because there were so many different options for food, things to do, etc. Our room had a great view of the beach and we loved sitting out on our balcony at night or early in the morning. If you stay at the Grand Wailea, a few notes- it is much easier to get beach chairs than pool chairs. We happen to be beach people so it was fine for us, but if you want to go to the pool, you may want to go earlier in day to get chairs or get a cabana. There are a few good places to eat at the hotel too! Our favorite was the acai bowl breakfasts from Café Kula. We also loved the poke nachos served at the poolside restaurant.
Where To Eat-
Mama’s Fish House– This was definitely the recommendation we received from friends most when we said we were going to Maui. After our visit there, we completely understood why! The fish was beyond delicious, the drinks were fun, the service amazing and the view truly breathtaking. Be sure to try the Mai Tais and Aunty Karen’s lemonade for some tropical cocktails. If you go to Mama’s, you have to order fish. They serve all the fish within 24 hours of being caught, making it some of the freshest fish most of us will ever have. The appetizers we had were interesting and delicious- a poke in a coconut and a fried fish collar (literally the collar of a fish) which is a local fave. For our entrees, MJD and I shared two of them. I really couldn’t decide which I liked better as they were both amazing! The macadamia crusted mahi-mahi is Mama’s most popular dish and for good reason- we loved it. We also ordered the Traditional Hawaiian plate for a bit more local fare. It comes with a lot of food- fish, poke and wild boar cooked in a ti leaf. The meat was so soft and flavorful. We couldn’t skip dessert and the Black Pearl- a chocolate mousse in a shell shaped pastry/cookie- was both decadent and beautiful. For a trip to Mama’s, definitely make a reservation as early as possible-I made one about three weeks before our trip and could only get a res at 4:30. It ended up working out for us as we made it into a really leisurely dinner and were able to enjoy the sunset too. I would highly recommend making your reservation for a little before sunset so you can enjoy the views of the beach while it is still light and then catch the gorgeous sky as the sun goes down too (see pic above for a sneak peek)!
South Maui Fish Company– One of our goals going into our trip to Maui was to eat as much poke as possible. When we mentioned poke to our guide at one of the wineries in Napa, he told us he had just come back from Maui and about a food truck we had to go to. South Maui Fish Company is an amazing food truck located in Kihei. MJD and I both got the poke bowl which comes with poke, rice and slaw. I loved that you could do a split order on the poke and try both the traditional and the spicy. I hate making decisions sometimes as I feel like I am missing out so this was key for me. The servings are pretty big too. The guys working at the truck were friendly and I would recommend a visit for anyone staying in the area- it isn’t far from Wailea- and there is a cute/touristy market area next door and nice beach across the street to walk around after you eat.
What To Do-
Take a snorkeling trip to Molokini on the Alli Nui– I truly can’t say enough good things about our snorkel and sail trip on the Alli Nui! The boat is gorgeous, the staff went above and beyond and the snorkeling was unlike anything we had ever seen. The ride we went on was a half day ride kicking off bright and early with breakfast on the boat and a gorgeous ride out to Molokini. Once we were there, the snorkeling was amazing- we saw so many tropical fish and the water was a blue I had never seen in real life. We had lunch and cocktails back on the boat, thanks to the fabulous staff. We went out with Captain Nicole and her team’s attention to detail made the trip. Another highlight? When we got the chance to jump in the middle of the ocean on our way home off the side of the boat. Seriously so cool!
Visit the Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea– If you are staying at the Grand Wailea, you have to take advantage of their spa! It was one of the best spa experiences I have ever had. Their spa was gorgeous and the numerous baths featuring the healing waters of Maui were a great way to relax before my massage. After the massage, you can relax on the lanai overlooking the entire property- it is such a nice way to spend your morning at the Grand Wailea.
Go for a helicopter ride with Air Maui– There are some places in Maui that are quite hard to get to or see, unless you are in the air. Our trip with Air Maui over Maui and Molokai was a highlight of our time on the island. We saw gorgeous waterfalls, a rainbow, the beautiful rolling greens we all know from Jurassic Park from above. MJD and I were able to sit in the two front seats in the helicopter and it almost felt like we were flying! I was sitting right next to the pilot which was a really cool experience. I definitely think a helicopter tour is worth it during a trip to Maui!
Other Maui tips:
Our trip to Maui may be a bit different from others as our trip was part of an award from MJD’s company to recognize his sales achievements last year. We didn’t rent a car at all and relied on either transportation from the hotel or local cabs- if you are going on your own, I think renting a car may be easier. Because of this, I am sure there are other recommendations for delish “side of the road” food stands that we didn’t really experience.
Happy Hawaiian adventures!