Aloha to the Valley Island
Our second visit in Maui last week was kind of a coincidence. I booked flights to Kaua’i for my husband and me in February (It was his birthday surprise and I’m a pretty awesome wife!?) and with a layover in Maui the flights were just much cheaper! Just back in March I had a 24 hours stopover in Iceland and it was awesome. Besides, we have friends that have a place in Maui, just north of Pa’ia, which is not far from the airport, perfect!
It’s a very cool place, far from all the super touristy places, in the middle of paradise. Thanks Mariska and Danh for letting us stay there and use your car, too!
West Shore: Lahaina and Ka’naapali
We drove to our place, dropped off the luggage and went back southbound. First stop was watching the surfers at Ho’okipa Beach Park. Then along Honoapi’ilani Highway and to Lahaina for a quick bite to eat and
coffee & ice cream at Ono Gelato Company with a beautiful view. Then we drove up a bit farther north to Ka’anapali to snorkel at Black Rock Beach. All the beaches in the State of Hawai’i are public and even though often hotels are adjacent to the beach, there has to be always a public beach access. After that we went to Leilani’s on the Beach for early dinner. We enjoyed a cocktail and the Chef’s Tasting Menu during Happy Hour. Brilliant! The Parmesan Crusted Mahi-Mahi was to die for.
Sunrise at Haleakalā – not without reservation
The next morning we could not drive up to the Haleakalā to see the sunrise because I didn’t know that since February 2017 you need a registration to drive up to the crater. I tried to get a spot last minute, but no luck. Bummer. Well, one more reason to come back another time. But if you’re planning a trip to Maui and you don’t want to miss this renowned phenomenon of nature, make a reservation in advance, because they only let a certain number of cars up there.
Haleakalā Sunrise Reservations here. The registration fee is $ 1.50.
The Road to Hana
So instead of watching the famous sunrise, we decided to drive to Road to Hana for a bit. We stopped for coffee at Jaws Country Store and had a nice chat with the owner. She just rescued a little chameleon from the tree cutters and waited for her kids to take it to their own backyard.
We drove about 20 miles on the Hana Highway and made a few stops on the way. You should totally take a hike to a waterfall. There are several options on this first half of the way to Hana: Twin Falls, Lower Puohokamoa Falls or the falls and water hole at mile marker 6.5 where we actually stopped. The problem was that we missed the right trail in the bamboo forest, but we met a nice couple from Switzerland who was looking for the same adventure and we agreed that the “journey is the adventure”.
We kept driving until mile marker 20, parked along the highway and walked down to Honomanu Park, a beautiful beach. On our way back we treated ourselves with a fresh fruit smoothie at the Garden of Eden. With more time we’d have checked out the Garden, too. It sounds lovely.
Finally, our last stop on the way to the airport was the little surfer town Pa’ia. “An unassuming hub of the North Shore community, Paia Town has great restaurants, interesting shops, and the best natural food store on the island.” We had coffee at Honolulu Coffee and strolled along the Main Street.
In conclusion I’d say don’t miss these 5 things when visiting the Valley Island:
- Honolua Bay: Beautiful for surfing & snorkeling.
- Haleakalā: Go for sunrise or sunset. Or cycle up and down. Or just down.
- Hike to a waterfall.
- Road to Hana: Drive at least parts of it.
- Have a Mai Tai and watch the sunset!