You might have picked up on by now that my traveling style usually includes packing as much as I can into every 24 hours. I have a difficult time ‘shutting off’ on a normal day, let alone when I’m in a new place and eager to see every single thing possible. While my husband is as active as they come, I bring it to a whole new level. Luckily, we have seemed to found the perfect balance between go-go-go and stop-and-smell-roses. Due to my teacher schedule, we took a delayed honeymoon over the holidays. We had initially planned an epic trip though Thailand but, alas, the Zika virus is alive and well. With a little one on the way, we couldn’t reason risking it. So, we turned to the popular alternative, Hawaii. I had never been before but was eager for some downtime after a serious few months. The past half a year was spent buying a home, demolishing the interior, renovating, getting married, expecting a kiddo and adopting a sweet, yet stubborn, rescue pup. We were due for a serious vacation. Since we changed our plans rather last minute, we didn’t have a ton of time (or motivation) to plan a whole new trip. It ended up working out for the best since we had time in-between activities to truly relax. After reading about all the islands, we decided that Maui and Kauai would be the best balance for us. They offered different aspects of Hawaii and we loved how well they paired together.
Hyatt Regency Maui
Booking our hotel and flights was the first thing we got done. We spent one night in L.A. to help the jet lag which ended up being amazing. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Maui and couldn’t have been more pleased. We usually avoid big resorts due to their tendency to be overcrowded and touristy, but this one was the perfect balance. The property was stunning and we were treated to a beachfront room. Three extravagant pools laid below, including one just for adults which we spent much of our time at. Our hotel even included the most highly-recommended shaved ice place on the island. Food in Hawaii is expensive in general, but we enjoyed the majority of the meals we had around the resort. While there were certainly many families around, it wasn’t packed and we were easily able to find lounge chairs and beach space when we wanted.
One of my favorite parts of the hotel was that is offered yoga and fitness classes to guests every morning. After taking the past few weeks off from working out (the first trimester was exhausting), I attended a few of the yoga classes and loved how it offered a relaxing start to the day. They were incredibly popular too. Almost 50 people there each morning!
Haleakalā National Park Sunrise Tour
This was the only tour we made sure to book ahead of time, since it can fill up fast. Haleakalā is the large volcano on the island that has renowned views of the sunrise. However, you have to get up there before 5am to witness it. While you can drive yourself to the top, you’ll need to reserve a pass months ahead of time. We opted for a tour the picked us up at our hotel at 3am (ah). They also provided us with serious wind and warmth gear which was ABSOLUTELY needed. It was FRIGID. There are options to bike down the volcano, but we stuck with the van to be safe. Our tour included an excellent brunch at a family-owned restaurant on the way down the mountain. The tour ends around 11am so you still have most of the day in front of you!
Since we’d already been up since 3am, we thought we might as well pack as much as we could into the day. We booked a last minute afternoon snorkeling tour. We didn’t make it to Molokini, but ended up snorkeling at a little cove off the island. We saw some beautifully colored fish which far surpassed our experience in Key West. However, this adventure would later be dwarfed by our snorkeling in Kauai where a pod of dolphins swam through. It was a gorgeous day and the time relaxing on the boat was enjoyable.
There was no way we were going to head to Maui without fitting in some sort of hike! I’d read about Iao Valley and couldn’t get enough of the stunning mountainous pictures. Since we had rented a car (a must), we packed a lunch and drove to the state park about 20 minutes from our hotel. It cost about $3 to park, and was pretty crowded by the time we left. We were expecting a trail of sorts, but the park ended up being a short walkway up to the view. It took us less than an hour total. The view was worth it, but it certainly wasn’t enough there to fill a full day, or even half a day. Luckily, this gave us more time for the pool back at the hotel.
We made a pit stop in the old village of Lahaina for a bite to eat after our morning adventures. I enjoyed fish tacso for the 100th time and walking through the quaint shops. We also saw the oldest tree on the island and enjoyed another round of shaved ice.
Road to Hana
This is the number one rated activity on the island so we new we had to fit it in, though we weren’t positive what to expect. TL:DR, we wouldn’t do it again. The highlight of the road trip was the app we downloaded full of amazing stories, and a roadside stand we stopped at to get fresh lemonade. Other than that, the road was beautiful and we liked the ocean views and rainbow eucalyptus, but it wasn’t anymore beautiful than the other places we’d seen. It rained the entire drive (duh, rainforest) and was stressful for the person driving…which happened to be Dan for six-seven hours. There isn’t much actually in Hana, so we struggled finding a place to eat. Logistic-wise, we drove from the north down to Hana, then took the same road back (rental cars are often banned from taking the southern route since the roads aren’t great). The drive wasn’t awful, nothing compared to Iceland’s Ring Road, but there were many narrow bridges and minor flooding. Overall, we’re glad we checked it off our list since we’d always be wondering about it, but it wouldn’t have been a big deal to miss.
Overall, we absolutely loved out time in Maui, especially where we stayed. The weather was mid-80s and sunny every day and we felt like we had a good balance of action and relaxation. After four days here, we were excited to head to the Garden Isle, Kauai, next. Stay tuned!
Have you ever been to Hawaii? What is your favorite beach to travel to?