ROMANTIC ISLAND WITH GOLDEN, RED AND BLACK SAND BEACHES; MAUI, HAWAII, USA
Day 1 – Arrive Maui, Hawaii, USA
There are direct flights to/from Maui, USA from USA cities, such as Dallas, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle and Honolulu. Upon arrival at the Kahului Airport in Maui, we pick-up our rental car and drive around 40 minutes to the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. We relax at our resort and have dinner at Spago Restaurant. Note: We use Enterprise Rent-A-Car that offers excellent quality vehicles and a responsive customer service.
Day 2 – Wailea Beach
We spend the day on Wailea Beach, a golden-red sand beach in front of our resort. We enjoy the panoramic views of the Molokini Volcanic Crater and the islands of Lanai and Kaho’olawe. We rent snorkeling gear and explore the marine life along the rocky coastline, encountering colorful fish, green sea turtles and manta rays. Our beach picnic includes fresh poke from the Beachwalk Café run by our resort. We spend an afternoon on the beach, take an evening stroll along the coast and observe the humpback whales in the distance. We get ready for dinner and take our resort’s shuttle to the nearby The Restaurant (www.hotelwailea.com/rhw), located inside the Hotel Wailea, Relais & Châteaux.
Day 3 – North-West Maui
In the morning, we drive around 45 minutes to the ʻĪao Valley State Park, a 4000-acre park in central Maui. We walk from the parking lot to the observation point to view the Īao Needle, a mountain peak rising 2,250 feet above the sea level. A 15 minutes’ drive from the park leads to the Maui Tropical Plantation that has tours showcasing Hawaiian plants and fruits. Note: The plantation closed in 2020, but we recommend checking if/when this popular tourist destination reopens. We follow the Honoapi’ilani Highway (Route 30) along the north-west coastline to the historic town of Lahaina. We park in the large public parking near Front Street, visit the town and have lunch. We continue north on Route 30 to the Nakalele Blowhole and take the trail leaving the parking lot to view the blowhole. Note: Farther north, Route 30 connects to the narrow coastal Route 340 (Kahekili Highway) but we do not continue on this route. We drive back south on Route 30 to Kahekili Beach Park to enjoy the sun and swim. Early evening, we drive around 1 hour back to our resort and get ready for dinner. We take our resort’s shuttle to the nearby Nick’s Fishmarket Maui Restaurant located at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui and have dinner.
Day 4 – South-West Maui
We spend a relaxing half-day in our resort. We enjoy Mediterranean-Italian food for lunch at the Ferraro’s Bar E Ristorante, an oceanfront restaurant in our resort. Our afternoon excursion starts with a 15 minutes’ drive to the Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, a marine nature reserve encircled by a volcanic rock terrain. We take the Hoapili Trail, starting at La Pérouse Bay and follow the trail to Kanaio Beach. We relax on the beach, then walk back to our car and drive north around 5 minutes to Makena Beach (Big Beach). We park in the Big Beach Parking Lot, visit the Little Beach, then spend the rest of the day on the Big Beach, swimming and sunbathing. In the evening, we drive back to our resort and have a light dinner at the Lobby Lounge.
Day 5 – Wailea Beach, Shops at Wailea
We start the morning with a scenic hike along the coast, then take kayaks to enjoy the scenery farther away from the shore. Early afternoon, we drive 5 minutes to do some shopping at the upscale Shops at Wailea. We have lunch at the Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, then visit the artisanal boutiques, souvenirs shops and gourmet produce market. We return to our resort and have dinner at the Ferraro’s Bar E Ristorante.
Day 6 – East Maui (Route to Hana)
Early morning, we head out to east Maui and take the Hana Highway. We pass the quaint town of Pa’ia, then follow a long winding route along the dense rainforest, waterfalls and the coastline. En route to Hana, we visit the Garden of Eden Arboretum, a private arboretum with a $15 admission fee. Upon arrival in Hana, we visit the Wai’anapanapa State Park, located at the end of Honokalani Road (off the Hana Highway). We walk in the park to the Wai’anapanapa Beach and admire its volcanic black sand. Afterward, we drive a short distance south to the Hana-Maui Resort (Hyatt’s Destination Hotels Brand) to have lunch. After lunch, we drive a few minutes south to Koki Beach, a dark red sand beach, and then continue south for a few minutes to Hamoa Beach, a stunning crescent-shaped beach. Farther south, around 25 minutes away, is the Oche'o Gulch, part of the Haleakala National Park (this site has an entry fee). The Kipahulu Valley has spectacular cascading waterfalls and pools. After the visit we drive a few hours back to our hotel. Note: Mama’s Fish House, located near Pa’ia, is a popular restaurant for dinner and requires advance reservation).
Day 7 – Haleakala National Park
Early morning, we drive around 2 hours to south-east Maui to visit the Haleakala National Park and the Haleakala Crater standing at 10,023 feet above sea level. We take the succession of Route 31, Route 311, Hanset Road to Route 36, Route 37, Route 377 and Route 378 toward the summit. We stop at the Headquarters Visitor Center at 7,000 feet above sea level, then continue driving on the winding Route 377 to the Haleakala Visitor Center at 9,740 feet above sea level. We take a multi-hour hike in the cinder desert terrain to the floor of the Haleakala Crater. We enjoy a relaxing picnic in the park. We depart late afternoon the Haleakala National Park drive back to Wailea. We stop for sushi at the Morimoto Maui Restaurant (morimotomaui.com), situated a few minutes’ drive from our resort.
Day 8 – Maui, Hawaii Departure
We spend the half-day in our hotel, enjoying the beach. Late afternoon, we drive to the Kahului Airport, return our rental car and take our flight home.
Maui – The Hawaiian Islands are a chain of islands, atolls and islets spread across the North Pacific Ocean. The main islands include Hawai’i, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, Niihau and Kahoolawe. The Island of Maui, also called the “Valley Isle”, is the second largest island of Hawaii. Formed by volcanic activity, Maui encompasses the West Maui Mountains (Mauna Kahalawai) in the northwest and the Haleakala Volcano located in the southeast. The eastern coastline of Maui is undeveloped, rugged and beautiful. The famous Road to Hana is a long winding route passing one-lane bridges, beautiful waterfalls, dense rainforests and a rocky coastline. The south-west Maui has glorious beaches, vibrant coral reefs, world-class golf courses, luxury resorts, and upscale restaurants and shops. The Shops at Wailea feature premium fashion boutiques, the Whalers General Store selling Hawaiian souvenirs and the Island Gourmet Market selling organic produce and Hawaiian delicacies. Maui is an ideal destination for snorkels and scuba divers to observe diverse schools of fish, five species of sea turtles and manta rays. Between the months of December and April, visitors can observe the migration of humpback whales to the ocean waters surrounding Maui. The island of Maui epitomizes luxury, romance and beauty.
South-West Maui – South-west Maui is a highly desirable holiday destination with golden sand beaches, vibrant coral reefs, beautiful luxury resorts, world-class golf courses and upscale restaurants and shops. The stunning coastline, dry tropical climate and clear turquoise water attract many visitors. The Pi’ilani Highway (Route 31) and the coastal South Kihei Road connect the towns across the south-west part of the island. Wailea Beach, located on Maui’s southwest coast, is a dazzling beach with a powdery golden-red sand along a glittering ocean. The diverse and vibrant coastline is ideal for snorkelers and the scuba-diving enthusiasts to encounter colorful fish, Hawaiian green sea turtles and majestic manta rays. Situated along the Wailea Beach is the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, a luxury resort with panoramic views of the Molokini Volcanic Crater and the islands of Lanai and Kaho’olawe. The walks on the shore or kayaking farther from the shore reward visitors with spectacular sunsets and whale sightings during the season. Situated farther south of Wailea Beach, the Makena Beach State Park comprises a long stretch of golden sand beach. The park encompasses Makena Beach (Big Beach) and Pu’u Olai Beach (Little Beach), separated by lava rocks. There are three places to park and we choose the middle parking, near the location where Big Beach and Little Beach meet. A short hike north of Makena Beach across the volcanic rock leads to the Little Beach. Makena Beach is surrounded by lush greenery and black lava cliffs, and overlooks a brilliant turquoise ocean water. It is an ideal destination to swim, sunbathe and photograph brilliantly colored sunsets. A short drive south of Makena Beach leads to the Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, a marine nature reserve located on the southern coast. The nature reserve has a volcanic rock topography, a vibrant coral reef and a diverse marine life, including schools of fish, turtles, dolphins, sharks, rays and seals. Visitors can snorkel, hike or enjoy the coastal scenery. The scenic Hoapili Trail starts at La Pérouse Bay, runs by the coast, lava terrain and Kiawe forest, and leads to Kanaio Beach, a place to enjoy tranquility and nature.
Haleakala National Park – The Haleakala National Park is situated in southeast Maui and covers an area of 33,265 acres. The park has three visitor centers: the Headquarters Visitor Center at 7,000 feet above the sea level, the Haleakala Visitor Center at 9,740 feet above sea level and the Kipahulu Visitor Center in the Kipahulu District, reachable by taking the Hana Highway. The Haleakala Visitor Center is the closest to the Haleakala Crater, a dormant volcano with a summit at 10,023 feet above sea level. Route 378 guides visitors to the Haleakala Visitor Center to observe breathtaking volcanic landscape. The Haleakala National Park features diverse ecosystems, such as shrublands, rainforest, dry forests, Haleakala silversword and endemic birds. The multi-hour hike in the cinder desert terrain leads to the floor of the Haleakala Crater. Other visitors climb the summit of the volcano to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The park’s expansive landscape and diverse volcanic terrain ensure incredible sunrises and sunsets. Note: Advance reservation is needed to enter the park before sunrise. The park’s high elevation, remote location and changing weather conditions require that visitors bring appropriate attire and sufficient supplies of water, food and gas.
North-West Maui – The topography of north-west Maui is defined by the West Maui Mountains (Mauna Kahalawai) and their highest peak of Pu’u Kukui. Lahaina, Ka’anapali and Wailuku are the main districts in western Maui. The Honoapi’ilani Highway (Route 30) is a 35-mile road, starting in the town of Wailiku, following the north-west coastline and connecting to the Kahekili Highway (Route 340) at Honokohau Bay. Route 340 is a winding narrow coastal route that requires special attention while driving. A route west of Wailuku town in central Maui leads to a 4000-acre park, called the ʻĪao Valley State Park. The pathway from the park’s parking lot leads to an observation point to view the Īao Needle and the valley covered with a dense rainforest. The Īao Needle (Kuka’emoku) is a mountain peak rising 2,25o feet above sea level, formed by the erosion of the caldera. The sacred Īao Valley is the location of the historic Battle of Kepaniwai that was fought in 1790. Visitors interested in tropical vegetation should head out to the Maui Tropical Plantation, an expansive estate offering tours showcasing diverse Hawaiian plants and tropical fruits. The estate includes a souvenir shop and the Mill Hill Restaurant overlooking the mountainous terrain. Note: The plantation closed in 2020, but we recommend checking if/when this popular tourist destination reopens. Route 30 continues along the north-west coastline to Lahaina, a historic capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom and center of the whaling industry in the 19th century. Front Street, the historic district of Lahaina, showcases distinct wooden buildings occupied by art galleries, souvenir shops and restaurants. Lahaina, a quaint oceanfront town, has a collection of restaurants serving a regional cuisine, some places offering coastal views. During the season, boat tours depart the Lahaina Harbour to watch the majestic humpback whales. Lahaina is a lively tourist destination and the location of the island’s premium real estate. Route 30 continues north to the Kahekili Beach Park, a remarkable golden-red sand beach along the crystal clear water. Kahekili Beach is ideal for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing, and is a laid back beach frequented by the local residents. A drive farther north leads to Nakalele Point, situated east of Poelua Bay on the northern shore. The Nakalele Blowhole, a partially submerged hole in the ground, spouts ocean water into the air with the tides and waves. A hiking trail starting at the parking lot leads to the Nakalele Blowhole, enabling a closer view of the spectacular eruptions from the blowhole and the surrounding coastal scenery.
East Maui (Road to Hana) – The eastern coastline of Maui is undeveloped, rugged and beautiful. The Hana Highway, also known as the famous Road to Hana, runs along the coastal rainforest and leads to the remote small town of Hana. The Hana Highway is a long winding route passing one-lane bridges, beautiful waterfalls, lush rainforests and botanical gardens. Pa’ia, a quaint town with boutiques and restaurants, is the last town before the start of the Road to Hana. En route, we visit the Garden of Eden Arboretum, a private arboretum with a $15 admission fee. The visitors discover lush rainforest, coastal views, waterfalls, exotic plants and beautiful trees, including a 100-year old Mango Tree. Traversing the rainforest, we photograph waterfalls, tropical flowers and lush greenery. Upon our arrival in Hana, we visit the Waiʻanapanapa State Park, a beautiful 120-acre park located at the end of Honokalani Road (off the Hana Highway). The park comprises a native hala forest, a unique beach, lava caves, lava rock formations, blowholes, lava arches and dense vegetation. The Wai’anapanapa Beach, also known as Pa’iloa Beach, is a stunning volcanic black sand beach created hundreds of years ago by lava flowing from the Haleakala Volcano. Located on the western part of the park is the Ke Ala Loa o Maui trail, a 3 miles round trail along the rugged coastline and lush vegetation. An aerial view of Maui’s southern coastline reveals the Pokowai Sea Arch created by the volcanic lava and ocean waters. A short drive south on the Hana Highway leads to the Hana-Maui Resort (formerly Travaasa Hana), a great place to have lunch. The Hana-Maui Resort joined Hyatt’s Destination Hotels Brand and boasts a premium location above the Hana Bay. Visitors to the remote eastern coastline of Maui discover beautiful beaches and panoramic ocean views. Koki Beach, located between Hana and Hamoa Beach, is a dark red sand beach created by the nearby red cinder hill called Ka Iwi o Pele. A walk on the beach reveals a rugged coastline, ironwood trees and wonderful views of the small Alau Island near the shoreline. The coastline is defined by strong currents and high waves, making it popular with surfers but not advised for swimmers. The coastal hiking trail along the red cinder hill is not recommended due to safety issues. The Hana Highway continues south to Hamoa Beach, a stunning crescent-shaped beach with soft grey sand, set along the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. We park our car on the side of the Hana Highway and walk down to the beach, discovering a magical beach enclosed by verdant hills, native hala trees and palm trees. The Hana Highway, around 45 minutes south of Hana, leads to Oche'o Gulch, also known as the Seven Sacred Pools. Oche’o Gulch is located in the Haleakala National Park and has an entry fee. The gorgeous Kipahulu Valley boasts a dense forest, spectacular cascading waterfalls and pools suitable for swimming. Hiking enthusiasts can take the Pipiwai Trail and hike to the beautiful Waimoku Falls.
Beaches – Maui boasts a diverse coastline with gorgeous beaches, tranquil coves and rocky coastline. Wailea Beach, located on Maui’s southwest coast, is a dazzling beach with powdery golden-red sand along the glittering ocean. The rocky coastline is a premium destination for snorkeling and scuba-diving enthusiasts to observe colorful fish, Hawaiian green sea turtles and manta rays. The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, situated along Wailea Beach, offers beautiful views of the Molokini Volcanic Crater and the islands of Lanai and Kaho’olawe. Walking on the shore or kayaking farther away from the shore reward with whale watching encounters during the season. Situated farther south of Wailea Beach, Makena Beach State Park comprises a long stretch of golden sand beach. The park encompasses Makena Beach (Big Beach) and Pu’u Olai Beach (Little Beach), separated by lava rocks. A short hike north of Makena Beach across the lava rocks leads to the Little Beach. Makena Beach is surrounded by lush greenery and black lava cliffs, and overlooks brilliant turquoise ocean water. It is an ideal place to photograph its beautiful scenery and colorful sunsets. In the northwest of Maui, the Kahekili Beach Park is a remarkable golden-red sand beach along crystal clear waters. Situated a short distance from Lahaina, the beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing. A journey to the eastern coastline of Maui follows the Hana Highway, a winding 65-mile route to the town of Hana. The Hana Highway connects Hana to Hamoa Beach, a stunning crescent-shaped beach set along the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. The beach is surrounded by the verdant hills and has soft grey sand. Koki Beach, located between Hana and Hamoa Beach, is a dark red sand beach created by the nearby red cinder hill called Ka Iwi o Pele. A walk on the beach reveals a rugged coastline, ironwood trees and scenic views of the small Alau Island. The coastline is defined by strong currents and high waves, making it popular with surfers but not advised for swimmers. The coastal hiking trail along the red cinder hill is not recommended. The drive north of Hana leads to the Waiʻanapanapa State Park, a beautiful 120-acre park located at the end of Honokalani Road (off the Hana Highway). The park comprises unique beach, lava caves, dramatic lava formations, blowholes, lava arches and dense vegetation. Inside the park is Wai’anapanapa Beach, also known as Pa’iloa Beach, a stunning black sand beach created hundreds of years ago by lava flowing from the Haleakala volcano. Located on the western part of the park is the Ke Ala Loa o Maui trail, a 3 miles pathway running along the rugged coastline and lush vegetation. An aerial view of Maui’s southern coastline reveals the Pokowai Sea Arch created by volcanic lava and ocean waters.
Hawaiian Cuisine – The visitors to Hawaii can degust diverse seafood, including Ahi-Tuna, Opah, Mahi Mahi, Marlin and Ono. The Hawaii Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish made with fresh raw fish, seaweed, herbs and the Hawaiian spices. The Hawaiian Luau is a traditional Hawaiian banquet, comprised of a lavish dinner buffet accompanied by Hawaiian music. The Kalua Pig, a whole pig traditionally cooked underground, is the culinary centerpiece of the banquet. In south-west Maui, high-end restaurants serve excellent Hawaiian, Asian and modern American cuisine. The Morimoto Maui Restaurant (morimotomaui.com) serves excellent sashimi and sushi, featuring local Hawaiian fish and fish imported from Japan. The Spago, Maui (wolfgangpuck.com/dining/spago-maui), located within the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, is a high-end restaurant run by the famous chef Wolfgang Puck. The Spicy Tuna Tartare in Sesame Miso Cones is an inventive and flavorful dish. Located inside the Hotel Wailea, Relais & Châteaux, The Restaurant (www.hotelwailea.com/rhw) serves an excellent and unique cuisine. The Torched Ahi on Brioche, is an interesting dish, unifying Japanese and French ingredients. The Hawaiian Ahi Poke Cracker perfectly unifies fresh raw tuna with a crispy cracker. In different regions of Maui, we discover savory and sweet Hawaiian delicacies. The Lilikoi Butter, a Hawaiian passion fruit spread, is tangy and delicious. The refreshing fresh coconut and freshly baked banana bread taste divine. In Maui, Banana Bread is made with Apple Bananas, resulting in a soft-textured and the most delicious bread.
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea – The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is a luxury resort set along the Wailea Beach, a stunning golden-red sand beach. The resort is surrounded by tropical vegetation, has a beautiful swimming pool lined with cabanas and an adults-only serenity pool. The diverse and vibrant coastline is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, watersports activities and encountering Hawaiian green sea turtles, manta rays and humpback whales. Our selected Ocean View Room is situated on the higher floor, and has a specious layout and a stylish décor. A few nice restaurants reside in the resort, including the Spago Restaurant, created by master chef Wolfgang Puck. The Lobby Lounge is a lively place that serves light Japanese-Asian food and cocktails. The water sports team is available to assist with beach activities and the concierge team assists with island tours. The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea tends to feel overcrowded during the high season. Our Maui trip takes place in March, affording us plentiful sunshine, luxury and tranquility in this tropical paradise.