Saturday, February 4, 2017

Maui, Hawaii


Hawaii kind of snuck up on us.  We didn’t book the trip that far in advance but with the craziness of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the trip was here before we knew it.  We had worked with Christy, our travel agent, to get the hotels booked but decided to use miles to fly to Hawaii since it was only 50K miles per flight and I had so many Delta miles. We started the day with an 8:30 flight to SFO.  That meant we had a 6 AM wake up and took an Uber to the airport, but the morning drive was pretty easy since we were ahead of traffic.  The flight to SFO was about 5 hours and unfortunately we weren’t lucky enough to get an exit row so it was a bit cramped.  Joe worked during the flight while I watched Bad Moms and Couples Retreat.  Both movies were cute movies and we got to SFO before we knew it.   The cool thing was that recently Delta decided to change their snacks (no more peanuts/pretzels/cookies) and added some yummy yogurt bars and trail mix and said they would be changing it up every couple months!  Now that is exciting news for someone who travels a lot.

From SFO we had a quick flight to LAX, but we were starving when we landed in SFO so we grabbed a bite to eat at the stand at the end of the Delta terminal.  The chicken salad sandwiches were amazing! The layover wasn’t very long and we were taking off from the same gate we landed at so before we knew it we were on our 45 minute flight to LAX.  Once we landed in LAX we were informed that the water main had broken at Terminal 5 (the Delta terminal) so there was no running water/working bathrooms/open restaurants.  We had a pretty long layover so we weren’t too worried about it except for a pregnant lady has to go to the bathroom a couple more times than normal!  They had set up 4 porter potties outside one of the gates that they actually kept shockingly clean.  It was entertaining listening to the outrageous complaints as people had to go to the porter potties if they did not want to walk to another terminal.  Since the water main was broken Delta was providing all sorts of free snacks like goldfish and fig bars as well as water!  I made sure to stock up on snacks.  About an hour before boarding, we headed to Terminal 4 where we found another food stand type place to grab dinner. I had a cup of tortilla soup since we hadn’t eaten that long ago and Joe had a really good chicken sandwich (with very sub-par fries).  Once we finished up we walked back to the terminal where the water had been restored to the terminal and before we knew it we were taking off.

The flight from LAX to Maui was about 5 hours as well and we took off on time which meant we were landing in Maui a bit early!  Joe and I both read for the majority of the flight and Joe dozed a little bit as well.  Once we landed our luggage was out in no time and we headed to Enterprise to pick up our rental car.  That wasn’t a bad process and then we hit the road.  Joe had decided we would stay at Royal Lahaina the first night to not have too long of a drive and then we could do the Kapalua Coastal Trail in the morning.  It was about a 45 minute drive but it wasn’t too long of a drive before we got there.  We checked in in no time and were told we had gotten upgraded for our room! 

When we got to the room it was probably the nicest hotel room we have ever stayed in!  You walk into a really large foyer, then to the right you have a full living room and kitchen area with a balcony.  Straight ahead was a huge bathroom, and then to the left was the bedroom.  The bedroom was huge but the best part was the second huge balcony overlooking the beach!  No joke this room was amazing!  Unfortunately, we were both so worn out with the travel and it was 10:30 in Hawaii which meant it was super late for us, so we headed straight to bed.  You could hear the waves crashing on the ocean.  We were both fast asleep, glad to have made it to Hawaii.

Day 1
We woke up around 6 and snoozed until about 7 before we realized there was no way we could sleep any longer.  We were both quite hungry since our last meal had been so long ago so we snacked a bit then got ready for the day.  The first stop was breakfast, which was at 808 Grindz Café.  This was such a cute small restaurant.  We got there right around 8:20 or so and were happy to find only one person on the waiting list before us.  We got seated in about 10-15 minutes and were greeted by the sweetest hostess!  Joe ordered the Portuguese Sausage Mojo which was sausage, fried rice, and egg while I got the 3 pancakes, s’mores flavored with vanilla cream.  My pancakes were probably the best pancakes I have had, and I am so glad Joe talked me into getting the s’mores instead of my chocolate chip go to order! Joe enjoyed his meal as well and we were glad to have full bellies.

After that we stopped by the grocery store and grabbed beer and water before hitting the road to the Kapalua Coastal Trail.  Parking at the start of the trail can be tough and we drove in circles a bit trying to find the public parking, then realizing it was full, the trying to parallel in a spot that we realized was too small once we got to it, then going back to public parking to turn around, then getting super lucky and having someone pull out right as we pulled in!  We started the mile and a half stroll and took our time going and exploring the inlets, the lava cliffs along the beaches, and taking in the scenery.  The weather was right around 80 which was perfect for walking around.  We spent about an hour and a half walking the trail and back before heading back to the car.  We weren’t hungry yet even though it was lunch time so we decided to do the hour drive to our hotel and see if we could go ahead and check in. 

Our next hotel was Hotel Wailea where we would be receiving 5 star service for the next 4 nights!  Upon check in, I received a beautiful lei while Joe got a great necklace. We were happy to hear that our room was ready so we headed out with our concierge to check out the grounds then get settled into our room.  Our room here was a cute little section of a cottage where we had a beautiful kitchen (with a subzero fridge drawer that Joe loved), a living room, the largest bathroom ever with a HUGE tub, and a bedroom.  We received a wonderful welcome card with shortbread cookies (I guess this is more acceptable when they know you are on a babymoon and opt out of a bottle of champagne).  The Falcons were playing in the second round of playoffs and we had been listening to the game during the drive so we finished watching the second quarter while Joe enjoyed a beer and then headed out to lunch.

Lunch was at Pita Paradise where I got the Mediterranean chicken pita and Joe got the spicy falafel pita.  They were pretty large portions but both were amazing!  We finished watching the 3rd quarter and the start of the 4th when Joe was confident enough that the Falcons would win and headed back to the hotel.  At the hotel we got ready and headed up to the pool for a couple hours to relax.  The pool is beautiful and we sat under the cabanas for a bit and then by these really cool chairs by the pool for a while.  Around 4:30 we headed back to our room to shower up and get ready for the night.  The hotel has happy hour with free wine at 5 so we got dressed and then headed up for Joe to enjoy a couple glasses of wine and watched the sunset.  As the sun went down we headed to dinner.

Dinner was at Paia Fish Market.  This is in Kihei which is a small beach town down the streel from the hotel about 10 minutes.  It had a bit more of a relaxed vibe with a cute market.  I got the fish tacos which were amazing but a very large serving for me!  I got the side of potatoes which were amazing as well as the cole slaw which wasn’t my favorite because it has so much sauce.  Joe ordered a blackened Ono sandwich which he thought was quite tasty and fries.  We wondered our way back to the car and headed back to the hotel for the night.  In our room we had received tiny deserts in our room so we sampled through the deserts before relaxing for a bit before heading to bed early (8:30).  We were worn out from the day and ready for a good long night of sleep!

Day 2
Since we fell asleep so early, we were both awake around 6:30 or so.  Since we were up early we relaxed in our room for a bit and researched what we wanted to do for the day before heading to breakfast at 7:30.  Maui was hit by some pretty bad flooding in September and a lot of the hikes we were planning on doing are unfortunately closed for the time being.  We had to improvise and change our plans a little bit so it was nice to have some time to do that.  We had a $50 credit for breakfast at the hotel so we figured we should make the most of it.  I ordered the avocado toast and Joe ordered the farm omelet which had mushrooms, red peppers, summer squash, feta, and a hardy serving of breakfast potatoes.  We wrapped up breakfast and got back to the room to get ready for our volcano hike.

The drive was about an hour and a half through super windy roads.  We took the more scenic route and got to see a lot of farms growing sugar cane as well as a couple more local villages. The entrance fee to Haleakala National Park is $20 for three days so we paid that and went on our way.  We stopped by the visitor center and then started making the rest of the way up the mountain.  We stopped at Leleiwi Overlook which was a quick hike to a beautiful overlook point of the volcano.  We continued to make our way up and made it to the summit which is just over 10,000 feet.  Since I am pregnant we had to be very careful with how much time we spent that high up as well as how much energy I exerted.  Knowing me, I would push it, but Joe did a good job forcing us to turn around on walks.  At the top we went to the observation center as well as the peak before going back down to the head of the Sliding Sands Trailhead.  We walked the trail for a bit but most people warned us that you don’t realize how sloped downhill it is until you have to turn around and walk back up.  We kept that in mind while we walked and turned around with ample energy to make it back to the top.  The views were absolutely breathtaking and although we didn’t get to do the full hike, I am glad that we made the trip.

After the hike we started making our way back to the hotel.  We stopped for lunch at Kula Bistro which was a tough find.  There aren’t many places that are open on Sundays here so make sure to plan ahead!  This was one of the only places we have been to but like I told Joe, this was a top 5 meal for me.  I had the crab cake panini which was absolutely amazing and I could have eaten it every day on this trip.  Joe had the Kalua Pork Panini which was quite tasty as well.  I was feeling the effects of the altitude a bit so it was nice to get some food in my stomach and I was already feeling better.  We made the remaining 45 minute trip back to the hotel and got back around 2:30.

Once we got back we changed into our suits and headed to the pool where we relaxed for until a little after 5.  Joe enjoyed happy hour at 5 and then we headed back to the room to get ready for dinner.  We got dressed then drove to the field right at the entrance of our hotel where they have an open field.  From the field we watched the sun set before driving to dinner.  Dinner was at Nula which was close to the restaurant we ate at the night before.  I got the brie and apple burger and Joe got the short ribs.  The burger was fantastic and Joe loved his ribs.  They came with a huge serving of rice, kimchee, and super yummy mac salad which I am pretty sure I ate the majority of.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel for the night.  We tried to push bed time but were worn out by 8:30 so another early bed time for us!

Day 3
After another early bed time we were awake by 6 AM.  Joe had a little bit of work to do so he tried to get the majority of it done before we started the day.  We thought we had ordered room service so we were planning on a knock on the door at 7:30 but come 7:45 we still didn’t have breakfast so we check outside.  We found our room service card laying on the floor so they most likely didn’t see it so we headed to breakfast.  I ordered the papaya bowl with chia pudding and Joe got the crispy waffle.  The papaya bowl was good but not what I was expecting but Joe loved the waffle.  We also got croissants which were freshly baked and amazing.  After breakfast we went back to the room to pack up for the morning and hit the road.

The first beach we stopped at was Maluaka Beach and snorkeled to turtle town.  Unfortunately, there were no turtles to be found so we made our way back to the beach where we relaxed until a little after 10.  The sun was out and the day was beautiful so we wondered on to our next beach.  Our next stop was La Perouse Bay which was in the middle of all of the lava fields.  It wasn’t really a beach but more of an area to hike so we explored just a little before heading to Ahihi Bay where there were a ton of snorkeler and a ton of fish.  It was a really cool snorkel spot and there were a ton of fish in a very small area which was nice.  The water is definitely cooler so be prepared, but the snorkeling was worth it!  Once we wrapped up there and got dried off we headed to lunch.

Lunch was at South Maui Fish Company which is a food truck in a parking lot.  It was amazing.  Joe got the poke bowl while I got the fish tacos, and both were amazing as well as the staff was very friendly.  After lunch we drove down the street Maui Gelato for some ice cream.  We picked peanut butter and double chocolate brownie for desert which was delicious!  After lunch it was time for our afternoon relaxing by the pool.  We spent the afternoon reading, Joe answered some emails, and hanging out in the pool until about 4:45 when we headed to quickly get showered and ready for dinner.  We stopped by happy hour where Joe enjoyed a glass of wine before heading to dinner at Matteos which was a recommendation by the bar tender at the pool.  Happy hour was from 5-6 so we decided we would go ahead and hit up happy hour for some half price food!  This was well worth it and a great recommendation.  We had calamari and sgabei which is an Italian fried sandwich.  Then we got two pizzas, Portofino (potatoes, pesto, mascarpone) and Upcountry (Italian Sausage, Onion, Mushroom) which were both amazing.  We ended with real authentic tiramisu which is hands down my favorite desert when done right!  With all of that food and two beers our bill was only $50!  For those who know Hawaii prices, that was a steal!  Joe is joking about going back and trying the other two appetizers and pizzas tomorrow for happy hour! 

We finished up by heading back to the room where we relaxed for a bit and Joe enjoyed the hot tub for a little while before heading to bed super early again.  Why break a schedule when it’s set and then we have some time to relax in the morning before breakfast!

Day 4
The day started around 5 AM when my body decided it was time to wake up.  Since we were awake so early it was the perfect time for Joe to get some work done while I read a bit.  At 7:25 we got a knock on the door with the breakfast we had ordered the night before!  I had ordered the seasonal fruit which was amazing but a VERY small serving size and Joe got the waffle again.  After we finished up breakfast it was time to go turtle hunting.  Since we booked the trip that was the one thing I wanted to do, swim with turtles.  We were unsuccessful the day before so we tried again. 

We started the day with about a 3 mile walk along the Wailea Walking Path which was surprisingly crowded at 8 AM and very narrow.  We strolled along and saw a ton of whales in the distance as well as a couple turtles in the water.  As we made our way back we decided to go to the two other beaches where you are supposed to be able to snorkel with turtles first to see if they were there (big mistake…always go swim where you verified a turtle spotting!).  We ventured back to Ahihi Bay, this time with a little research that you were supposed to swim to the right of the bay to find turtles.  The water was quite cold and the sun wasn’t peeking out like it had during our walk so it was quite chilly!  We snorkeled around for quite some time but had no success finding turtles to swim with!  That being said, we loved this spot and there were so many schools of fish out, as well as many dolphins and whales playing in the distance.  This is a must go to place to snorkel as long as you are able to snag a parking spot in the tiny lot. 

From there we ventured back to Maluaka Beach where we went exploring again.  Unfortunately, we weren’t so lucky here, and I was getting a bit cold since again, the sun wasn’t wanting to come out and the wind was picking up a bit.  We hopped out of the water after another long snorkeling trip and made our way to lunch since I was starving from a light breakfast and lots of physical activity.  Lunch was at 808 Deli which was a recommendation by our bar tender.  It was amazing!  I got the Chicken Pesto Panini with Caprese Pasta Salad and Joe got the Roast Beef Melt with Spicy Pasta Salad.  We both devoured them in a couple minutes.  We also got the peanut butter, banana, chocolate pudding which was amazing!  After lunch we headed back to the hotel and hung out on the lanai for a little bit before heading to the hotel beach at the Grand Wailea Hotel.  There they have water and chairs and towels ready for us so we hung out for a bit before strolling to find some turtles.  The wind picked up a lot in the next hour or so so we decided to give up on turtle searching and head back to the hotel to get out of the wind.  Once we got back to the hotel we relaxed by the hotel pool until about 4:30 before getting ready for dinner.

We took a pit stop at happy hour before going down to Wailea Beach to watch the sun set.  It was a great sunset since half of the sky was cloud free and the other half looked like storm clouds!  As the sun set we headed to dinner at Coconuts Fish Café which was somewhat newly opened but the second location in Maui.  It is known for their fish tacos which are piled high with 14 ingredients.  We started with the seafood chowder which was amazing then we each had two tacos.  They are HUGE but were amazing and full of flavor.  Just be careful eating so you don’t get it everywhere, and make sure you have plenty of napkins on your lap so you don’t get your clothes dirty when you drop some toppings.  After that we headed back to the hotel to relax for a bit before starting to pack a little around 8 and then head to bed!  We had a canoe trip in the morning before starting our trek to the next hotel so we knew we needed to get to bed early (not that it was any different from the previous nights!)

Day 5
Just like all the other mornings, we were up and at it around 6:30 or so.  After relaxing for a bit we got breakfast delivered around 7:45, which was a bit late.  Joe got bacon, potatoes, and a bagel while I got toast, a croissant, and hard boiled eggs.  We had to meet in the hotel lobby at 7:45 for our canoe excursion so we scarfed down breakfast and got to the beach just before 8. 

The outrigger canoe is a very traditional Hawaiian mode of transportation.  Our hotel provided many complimentary activities and this was the first one we opted to attend, and were lucky we got a spot because they booked up quick!  The hotel contracted this excursion to Hawaiian Outrigger Experience and I am so glad they did.  We started off the morning learning about the traditional culture of Hawaii, how Hawaii was discovered, traditions of the tribes and chiefs, and navigating the waters based on reading the starts.  This was done by a pure blood Hawaiian who dedicated his life to keeping the old traditions.  After a bit of learning, he sang to the gods of the ocean to allow us into their home, and then we were off.  I was the lucky winner to get put in the front of the canoe to lead the rowing.  We made our way out and saw some whales popping up here and there.  Once we got far out the guide put a hydrophone in the water so we could hear the beautiful whale songs that the whales were singing only about 50 feet away.  We hoped they would surface again, but animals just haven’t been cooperating with us this trip so it was nothing new!  As we made our way back we learned some traditional chants to encourage each other to make it back to shore before we wrapped up with more learning.  We learned about traditional Hawaiian greetings, the meaning of some words, and snapped some photos.  It was such an amazing cultural experience that I would suggest to anyone to do this excursion!

Once we got back to the hotel we changed into swimsuits and headed to the water for one last attempt to snorkel.  Try as we might, we were unsuccessful at finding turtles, this time we were told because the water was too choppy.  A bit sad, we headed back to the hotel to shower and hit the road around 11.  We were sad to say goodbye to Hotel Wailea but excited for the road to Hana.

Our first stop on the trip was Paia for lunch.  We stopped at Flatbreads which was another recommendation by the bar tender and it did not disappoint.  We got a large pizza to split and got half and half.  Half was the traditional Hawaiian pizza, Mopsy’s Kalua Pork which was pork shoulder, mango BBQ sauce, red onions, pineapple, goat cheese, mozzarella, and parmesan, while the other half was Punctuated Equilibrium which was rosemary, red onion, goat cheese, red pepper, mozzarella, and herbs.  Both were amazing and we devoured the pizza after so much activity in the morning!  After that we stopped by Paia Gelato which I highly recommend and we thought it was better than the last place!  We got tiramisu, cheesecake, and salted caramel and they were all amazing!  Then it was time to hit the road. 

Before we actually started the trip to Hana we made a stop at Ho’okipa Beach which we were told we can definitely see turtles.  This time around, we saw so many turtles!  This beach is known as a turtle resting spot and a huge wind surfing spot (you can’t swim because the waters are too harsh).   We loved getting to see so many turtles hanging out and crawling out of the water to the shore!  After spending some time taking in the turtles it was time to hit the road.

Joe did a great job pulling together our trip for the day so we were off at mile 0 on the road to Hana around 1.  It was great timing because we were after the morning rush since we didn’t have to make the trip back at night!  This was perfect because we not only didn’t hit traffic, but there was always parking or time to slow down to enjoy a view.  The first stop was between mile 6 and 7 where it looks like there are painted trees on the side of the road.  These are Eucalyptus trees and they are absolutely amazing.  There is a little area to pull off after the trees and you walk back a ways to see the trees up close and they are stunning! 

From there at mile 9.5 we stopped at Waikamoi Ridge Trail.  This was a walk that took about 30 minutes to go to the top of the trail where you were supposed to enter a clearing and have stunning views.  Unfortunately, things have definitely grown a lot on this hike and the views were overgrown by bamboo.  That being said, we loved stretching our legs and got to see some great lookouts.  There were a couple stops along the way that we had hoped for views but are finding that they are overgrown so we cannot see what we expected.  This hike was a bit muddy and slippery so be prepared! 

From there we stopped at Garden of Eden at 10.5 miles.  There is an entrance fee here, we paid $10/person even though we expected to pay $15/person.  I definitely think this is worth a stop as it is pristine land that showcases all the beautiful flowers, trees, plants, etc. that Hawaii has to offer.  We loved strolling around for about 30 minutes or so on the paths and taking in the views and plants.

Next was Kaumhina State Park which we only stopped for a lookout point at around 12.1 miles.  We weren’t quite sure where the trails were but the lookout was pretty amazing because you can see Ke’anae Peninsula and village.  After that there was a pullout right after the falls where you could see the Lower Poukokamoa Falls.  At mile 14 we expected to be able to hop out at a couple lookouts to look out onto the by as well as see the winding road to Hana but unfortunately, at this time everything was overgrown.  The next stop was going to be the Ke’anae Arboretum around mile 16.5 which unfortunately, was closed for the day but we felt it wasn’t necessary to see since we had done the Garden of Eden.

From there we went to Ke’anae Peninsula which was around mile 16.8.  It can be found right after the Arboretum where the road splits off.  After about 0.75 miles you come to the beach with beautiful jagged black rocks rising up out of the water. Hala trees are the only plant that are able to grow along this coast line so it was quite a site to see.

Then it was time to hit up some waterfalls.  This is where we were lucky because most of the falls are seen from one way bridges and either don’t have pull offs or have very small ones. Since it was getting to be around 4:30 at this time, most of the round trip Road to Hana people had already turned around and were headed back so we could drive slow, park on the road, etc.  At 19.5 were the Upper Waikani Falls, at mile 24.1 was the Upper Halawi Falls, and at 25 were the Makapipi Falls, and we saw one other waterfall along the way.  All of them are quite unique and look very different so we loved hopping out for a bit to not only breathe from all of the winding roads, but explore the beautiful waterfalls. 

After that we decided we would skip over the last two stops, the Kahanu Garden and Wai’anapanpa State Park since we were pretty worn out from the day and driving and these were only a couple miles from our next hotel.  We made our way to Travassa which is one of the only hotels in the area and were greeted with yummy drinks and got checked in.  We got a tour of the property right as the sun was setting.  It is a very extensive property with tennis courts, a beautiful infinity pool, lots of grounds, and more to explore.  Once we got settled into the room we headed to dinner around 6 at the Thai food truck down the road, Ae’s Thai because it was maybe 0.1 miles down the road from us and a quick walk.  We ordered Cashew Chicken and Chicken Krapow and took it to go.  I’m pretty sure my meal weighted over 10 lbs. but we liked getting back to the room to eat dinner and relax after a long but scenic day.  We knew there was a chance of some rain later in the week so we planned out what we wanted to do the next day so we could get as much in over the next couple of sunny days and relax when it rained!

Day 6
I woke up around 5 or so and couldn’t go back to sleep and Joe was up shortly after.  Like most mornings, we relaxed for a bit before walking down to the pool and beach to watch the sunrise right around 7.  Unfortunately, it was quite overcast so the sunrise wasn’t anything to write home about, but we enjoyed walking around the property and seeing what it has to offer.  Once we got back to the room Joe worked for a bit and then we hit the road around 7:45 to go to Wai’anapanapa State Park.  This was the state park we passed the day before since we wanted to get back to the hotel.  Unfortunately, they were working on the road to the park and there was only one way in so we made our way to Hana Farms.  They open at 8:30 but we were there a bit earlier.  We were hoping for a smoothie but they have fruit “soda” which is fruit juice and mineral water as well as an assortment of banana breads.  We opted for the chocolate chip banana bread which was actually pretty good, and I normally hate banana bread! 

Once we finished up breakfast we hit the road to Koki Beach at Mile Marker 51 to see if there were any surfers out. After that we made our way to Mile Marker 45 where the Wailua Falls are.  This is a beautiful waterfall that I think is one of the prettiest that we saw during our trip. 

Once we finished up there it was time for our real morning activity, hiking Pipiwai Trail in Haleakala National Park.  This is at Mile Marker 42 and since it is a state park, it has a $20 entrance fee.  The hike is about 4 miles (2 miles one way) where you end up at a beautiful waterfall.  The hike was a bit uphill at the beginning but then the second mile was more flat and was on boardwalks.  This was one of my favorite hikes that I have ever done since it was a lot of changes of scenery.  You start in the forest, and pass the most amazing tree I have ever seen that has hundreds of roots and is super wide.  After the first mile and some overlooks you do the second part through a lush bamboo forest where most of the path is raised up on a boardwalk since the forest is so thick that the ground simply does not dry out.  You finish up the walk listening to the stream and then come out to the tallest waterfall!  Although there were signs that you aren’t suppose to swim or pass a certain point, everyone seemed to ignore those and head up to a close up of the waterfall and take a dip.

There was another shorter trail shorter trail that is under a mile and a loop with a couple outshoots that we finished up with.  It takes you to a stunning overview to the pools as well as some waterfalls and a black sand beach with huge waves crashing below.  This was the prettiest view I have seen during our time hear and we took our time exploring some of the baths that break off of the main path (making sure we were safe) to get some really beautiful views.  After all of that hiking, I was pretty worn out when we finished up around noon, just in time for lunch.

We made the 10ish mile trip back to Travassa with a lot more traffic than we had seen the day before and in the morning.  On the way back we stopped at Braddah Hutts BBQ where we got some ribs and pulled pork, which were both very tasty.  The BBQ sauce on the ribs was amazing!  After we finished up lunch we got some gas at the gas station (definitely didn’t fill up since it was $4.75 a gallon!) and then headed back to the hotel to change into our bathing suits and finish up the day at the beach relaxing.  Travassa has a view of the beach but it isn’t very sandy so we went to the beach where they have a stand with chairs and umbrellas.  Once we got there we realized it was Koki Beach where we had started the days!  We got settled in for a little bit, but around 3 or so the wind picked up and it got a bit chilly since the sun was behind the clouds.

We headed back to the hotel and sat in the hot tub for an hour or so (I just stuck my feet in) before heading back to the room to shower and relax for the evening.  Dinner is very hard to find in this town so we weren’t quite sure what our dinner plans were.  We decided it was best to hunt down dinner in the daylight so we hit the road around 5:30.  We went a ways down the road and realized that most of the food trucks had packed up for the day so we ventured back where we ate the night before.  Joe was super excited to find that Ae’s Thai had Penang curry which is his favorite food so he didn’t mind eating at the same place two nights in a row.  I ordered the guava chicken quesadilla from Surfing Burro which was located in the same parking lot.  The guava sauce was amazing and a nice change to a standard chicken quesadilla.  Once we wrapped up dinner we headed back to the hotel around 6:30 to read, work, write, etc. until about 8 when we started the bed time routine!  We were worn out from the hike and sun but were also use to our time schedule by now so there was no point in going to bed later!

Day 7
We were up and at it again in the morning as we had a full morning planned.  We were hoping for an upper sunny day, but it looked to be misting a little as we started getting ready for the day.  As the sun rose, we decided the first trip would be a couple hikes from our hotel.  We finished up the banana bread that we had gotten from Hana Farms the day before to hold us over until breakfast.  The first was to a secluded Red Sand Beach, Kaihalulu Beach.  We weren’t exactly sure where we were going but as we followed the narrow path along the coast we assumed that we were headed in the right direction.  This was one of my favorite things we have done and seen!  You come up onto the beach from the side cliff where we took in the view for a while then walked down onto the beach.  The water was a beautiful blue against the red sand and it was a stunning site to see. 

From there we made our way back to the hotel and started the walk to Fagan’s Cross which is right across from the hotel.  The walk is straight up hill and the cows were grazing on the hill so it was fun seeing them graze, the calves play, and most importantly avoid the poop on the trail! It drizzled on and off during the walk but we were glad to have the sky clear just a bit as we reached the top to take in the city view of Hana.  As we made our way down we got about 5 minutes away from the hotel and the rain started coming down pretty hard so we made our way back to the room for a bit.  We got dried off and as quickly as the rain came, it passed, so we hit the road to Waianapanapa State Park where there was a black sand beach. 

Along the way we stopped at Hana Fresh, which had fantastic reviews but was only open on the week day from 10:30 to 2.  It was still raining a bit when we got there so Joe and I ordered two different yogurt bowls which both were amazing.  One had seasonal fruits with fresh yogurt and the other had apples, agave, and cinnamon with fresh yogurt.  Both of them were super yummy and just what we needed for breakfast.  We headed along our way to the black sand beach once we finished up since the rain had cleared.  It was nice because we got there before anyone else was there (most likely waiting out the rain showers) so we got to explore without too many people around. There is a cave right as you get down to the beach on the right which was really cool, then we explored and hiked the rocks beyond the black sand beaches.  As we finished up, it was getting close to 1 so we decided to head to lunch.  Since we hadn’t eaten that long ago, I stopped at Hana Fresh along the way for a fresh smoothie for lunch with blueberries, raspberries, and pineapple.  Joe went to Da Fish Shack where he got fish and chips (and I helped him out a bit) which were quite tasty! 

Once we finished up lunch we headed back to the hotel to take in the rest of the day by the pool relaxing.  It wasn’t sunny out but it was warm and the beach scenery was beautiful.  We headed back to the room around 4:30 and got showered up and ready for dinner since we had a bit of a lite lunch.  We headed to dinner at East Side Pizza where they make brick oven pizza.  We were a bit before the rush so we didn’t have to wait long to get our pizza which we ate there.  We ordered the traditional Hawaiian pizza and cheesy bread sticks (which is pretty much just a cheese pizza).  As we ate we realized there was no way that we would finish the pizza so we asked them if we could take it to go.  They wrapped up the remaining pizza and bread-sticks in banana leaves which was really cute!

On the way hope I said I wished that they had ice cream somewhere in Hana so we decided to venture to the General Store down the street from the hotel to check it out and see if they have ice cream.  We did manage to get our hands on some ice cream.  As we ventured back to the hotel, we relaxed for a bit then headed to bed, hopefully that we don’t get rained out the whole day like the weather forecast had predicted!

Day 8
During the night the weather was super windy and rainy.  Since there is no AC in the hotel, we sleep with all of the windows open, which normally isn’t a problem since Hana is a quiet town, but the wind made it quite noisy.  I was up pretty early but Joe slept until about 7 or so, which was late for us!  Once the sun rose we started seeing that it was actually pretty sunny out so we needed to make some plans for the day since we had expected for it to rain all day!  We decided to head back to the black sand beach and explore some of the other areas we hadn’t walked the day before as well as visit the lava tubes.  At around 8:30 we headed out for the day, unsure as to how long we would have before the rain started.
We got Waianapanapa State Park which was still very quiet and only a few campers had started moving around.  First we walked the path that takes you to the fresh water cave.  This is a loop and probably a mile or so but there are so many caves and hidden nooks to explore.  After that we walked along the coastal path to see some of the blow holes and explore a little more.  As we finished up, we brought a beach blanket and headed down to Pailoa beach to relax for an hour or so since the sun was out and the weather was beautiful (although it gets hot quick because of the black sand!).  Around 10:45 we decided to head to the Hana Lava Tube.  The entrance fee was $12.50 per person and you were given a bit of instructions and a flashlight and then were left to explore.  The lava tube is all underground and beautiful to see!  The path is well laid out and there are boards along the way to help explain what we were looking at.  We loved walking around at our own pace, looking at all of the beautiful lava structures.
It took about 30 minutes and once we wrapped up it was 12:00.  We were super please that it still wasn’t raining so Joe grabbed lunch at Troys where he ordered the Korean BBQ Chicken and stuffed Ono along with brown rice and salad.  I grabbed a blueberry and pear smoothie from the stand next to Troys and then we headed back to the hotel to eat lunch and head to the pool to take in some sun.  We sat at the pool for a bit then headed back to the hotel since it looked like it might rain.  As we got back to the room the sky cleared up so I took the lawn chair out on the back lawn and read for a while.  At 2 I decided I had gotten enough sun for the day so I joined Joe on the back porch (to catch up on writing) before we decided to take a stroll around the resort since we hadn’t really taken the opportunity to do that yet!  As we roamed around we came across the activity room where we took the opportunity to play some shuffle board, foosball, connect 4, and Ping-Pong.  After we had sufficiently played all of the games we went and strolled around the beautiful art gallery they have and then headed back to the room.  We finished up the afternoon sitting on the back porch relaxing and planning out our last day before heading to dinner.

Since it was a Saturday, it was really hard to find a dinner spot that was open so we decided to just walk to Surfin Burro which was right down the street from us.  It rained on and off while we made our way there and back.  Joe opted for the spicy pulled pork burrito while I had the guava chicken burrito.  We made our way back to the room and enjoyed dinner.  The burritos were huge and we both struggled finishing them but they were amazing!  After dinner we started pulling some things together to get packing then headed to bed.

Day 9
This was our last day in Maui before making the trek back to Atlanta.  The Falcons were in the NFC championship so we wanted to be able to watch it.  Travassa does not have TVs anywhere and there aren’t any sports bars in Hana so we decided that we would hit the road in the morning back to civilization.  We finished up the banana bread we had bought from Hana Farms and some of the snacks before getting packed up.  We hit the road around 9:45 or so since it would take about an hour and a half to two hours to make our way back. 
Our first stop was at Hana Farms to pick up some more banana bread (can you tell we really liked it!) to bring back with us, and then started the trip.  It was supposed to rain the whole day again so we were happy to find it just drizzled on and off.  We also hit the road pretty early so we didn’t run into too much traffic on the way out until the end of the trip where we met quite a few people that were starting the trip to Hana!  There isn’t much internet on the road so we couldn’t follow the game.  When we finally got service we were pleased to see the Falcons dominating! I was relieved to make it to Piai because I was starting to feel a little bit car sick since the baby was moving all around the whole trip.  We found a spot to park in Piai (they can be hard to find!) and headed to Rock & Brews for lunch.  We walked in just as the second half of the Falcons game started, perfect timing!  We settled in for the second half of the game and grabbed some lunch.  I had a mushroom Swiss burger and Joe got a burger with avocado and bacon which were both really good.  Once the game started looking like it was in the bag we headed out (around 1:15 our time) to do some souvenir shopping.
We found a super cute wood turtle that we thought would go perfect in the nursery next to the elephant we have from Thailand.  After that we headed to the beach to relax for a bit.  We went back to Ho’okipa Beach so I could see more turtles and we were so pleasantly surprised not only to find turtles, but a Hawaiian Monk Seal which is an endangered species just laying out in the sun sleeping!  The seal was so cute and would lift its head on occasions and then lie right back down, content to bask in the sun.  After hanging out with the turtles we pulled out the beach blanket and relaxed for about an hour.  It sprinkled on and off but was warm and sunny for the most part.  Around 3:30 we decided to head to Maui Brewing.

Maui Brewing was about 30 minutes away so we headed there since our dinner reservations weren’t until 6:45 at Mama’s Fish House (known as the best restaurant in Hawaii).  We were enjoying drinks (well Joe was) when we got notified that our flight had been delayed until midnight, which meant that we would miss our next flight.  We decided to venture back to the beach to watch the sun set around 6 and get dressed for dinner.  I had called Delta to see if we can get rebooked for another flight (hopefully a direct flight to Atlanta) but there was a two hour call wait and I was not asked to leave a call back number.  I stayed on the line as we drove around and watched the sun set. It wasn’t super pretty but it was nice to relax a bit after being on the go all day.
Around 6:30 we headed to dinner since it was right next to the beach.  Joe grabbed a drink at the bar while we waited.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get seated until 7:10 or so, so we were both starving.  Luckily we had plenty of time!  Jonathan, our server was wonderful, so it made up for the delay in the reservation and was very patient with explaining the menu and giving suggestions.  After much debate, we ended up ordering crab cakes crusted with macadamia nut for an appetizer which was amazing.  I got the seafood bouillabaisse which had so many different fishes, crab claws, huge scallops, mahi-mahi, shrimp, and the most amazing saffron broth.  Joe ordered one of the local fishes that had been caught that day.  The food was amazing and we were both stuffed by the end.  We also had yummy bread and tried poi since we were feeling adventurous.  We finished up dinner around 9 and still weren’t sure how we were getting back to Atlanta so we started making our way back to the airport.
We had to stop at Paia Gelato on the way to the airport since we had to fill the car up with gas anyways and it was right next door.  We got cheesecake, salted caramel, and cookies and cream since they didn’t have tiramisu.  We got our car cleaned up and settled (we had stuff everywhere) and then headed to the airport.  We got the car dropped off just before 10 and headed to the Delta counter so we could see if we can get rebooked.  At the counter they said that there was a chance we could still make the layover if we made up time in the air and the plane got flipped quickly enough for us to leave earlier than the delay, but they put us on a backup flight direct from Seattle to Atlanta at 10:15.  We weren’t sure if that meant we were booked for that flight or if we had to run to catch the other flight since they weren’t clear, but our SFO flights were no longer on our Delta app.
We didn’t take off early like they had hoped, but once we took off we were still scheduled to land just as our SFO flight was meant to take off.  Joe got a great night sleep while I tossed and turned on the freezing flight, but we made it to Seattle, not sure what our plan was.  Joe saw the SFO flight was delayed which would cause us to miss our flight to Atlanta, but we knew that there was an ATL flight at 8:10 (we got to the gate at about 7:50).  Joe was a risk taker so he walked up to the ATL gate that was just a bit from where we got to the airport, and decided to check if there was a way we could get to flight and get home early!   Lucky for us, there were two seat available (both middle seats) and the doors were closing in 2 minutes so we had to make up our mind quick.  We decided to go for it and make our way home even though our luggage wouldn’t make it until the later flight!  We will cross that bridge when we get there.  We were just happy to be getting home a bit earlier than expected so that I could get repacked for a sales trip the next day!


  • Maui in January is amazing and it saves you a lot of money.  Our flights were incredibly cheap (we actually used miles) and hotels were less expensive too
  • The weather in January is perfect, it is not too hot and not too cold, so you are able to hike and explore without worrying about overheating
  • Hawaii in general is a perfect babymoon destination because it is Zika free so make sure to keep that in mind if you are trying to get pregnant or pregnant looking for a warm place to babymoon in the winter months!
  • Although Travassa had great reviews, we were not impressed and I don't think I would recommend it. Patrick was the only concierge that was a 5 star experience, and without turn down service or any extras, it seemed a bit excessive to be paying $500 a night for the least expensive room they had.
  • Rent a car!  We loved having the flexibility to explore and saved a lot of money doing a little research and exploring on our own.  It also gave us the luxury of going to so many amazing restaurants that were not within walking distance of the hotel.
  • In Hana, venture out to the food trucks (if you have a car).  Not only will it save you money but the food and atmosphere is amazing and from what we heard, the food is much better than at the hotel for 1/3 the cost!
  • Hana Farms has the best banana bread ever, even if you hate banana bread like I do!
  • In January you see TONS of whales!
  • Hotel Wailea is amazing and the service is over the top, from the valets to the bar tenders, we were always greeted with a smile, water, and always felt welcome
  • Unless you get free breakfast at Hotel Wailea, although it is good, it is super overpriced and the portions are small.  We had a $50 voucher and it didn't get us more than two meals that were on the lower side of cost when it came to the menu!
  • Book the outrigger canoe trip as soon as you get there if you can because it books up early and was one of our favorite experiences!
  • The bar tenders at Hotel Wailea will give you amazing recommendations from hiking to meal options to happy hours!
  • All in all, Maui was the perfect combination of relaxing and exploring!